Iraq

Your Daily Clusterfuck News from Iraq

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Iraq's largest Sunni Arab political bloc announced its withdrawal from the government Wednesday, undermining efforts to seek reconciliation among the country's rival factions, and two bombing attacks in Baghdad killed at least 67 people.

In one attack, 50 people were killed and 60 wounded when a suicide attacker exploded a fuel truck near a gas station in western Baghdad. Another 17 died in a separate car bomb attack in central Baghdad.

The U.S. military announced the deaths of four American soldiers, three of whom were killed by a sophisticated, armor-piercing bomb. Britain also announced the death of one of its soldiers, by a roadside bomb in Basra.

More here.

Related: The House is investigating Pat Tillman's friendly-fire death in Afghanistan. Specifically, they are looking at some inconsistencies in the official story (which took a while to come out anyway) and the punishments meted out to those involved.

NEXT: The Fairness Doctrine

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  1. This is just another example of the overwhelming liberal media bias! Why aren’t you reporting all the good things that are happening? The situation in Iraq is actually getting better all the time!

  2. PAINTED SKUULS!!!! PAINTED SKUULS!!!

    PAINT!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Wait, but talk radio says that things are getting better all the time in Iraq! I thought that even libruhls were turning the corner and realizing how awesome Iraq war is!

  4. Well, according to Cheney, we are making progress. Whatever his definition of “progress” is, the world may never know…

  5. Malaki knows that as long as our military is there, he can count on us backing his side vs. the Sunnis when push comes to shove.

  6. You urkobold guys seem to travel in packs.

  7. Wait, but talk radio says that things are getting better all the time in Iraq! I thought that even libruhls were turning the corner and realizing how awesome Iraq war is!

    Calling Eric Dondero!

  8. “Look, it’s fine. It’s all good. We’ve got to believe in our President and our great nation to win the war against Islamofascism. Iraq is simply a battlefield in a larger global war against Islam that we must win at all costs. Only through bloodshed will we achieve peace. These people hate us because we have Freedom???? and they don’t. Everyone who disagrees with me is the enemy. There is no middle ground. We fight for our survival. It’s Us or Them.”

  9. As the administration keeps telling us, things always get worse before they get better.

    Unfortunately, they also always get worse before they get worser.

  10. Army doctor whose name was redacted in the report strongly hints that Tillman may have been fragged.

  11. Sarcasm level reaching critical.
    Abort. Abort.

  12. I knew a Tillman type who got fragged in the ‘Nam.
    Talk about war atrocities!

  13. With all this good news coming in, I can see why the Democratic majority in Congress decided to not pull the plug and keep funding the war — if you define “good news” as “allowing us to keep blaming the carnage on Bush and the Republicans through another two year election cycle, while hoping few of the sheeple notice we’re equally complicit now, because we pretended to try to end it via a process that would have required 2/3 of both houses of Congress, votes that we don’t have, instead of the process that only requires the simple majorities we do have”.

    Believe it or not, that’s precisely the contorted logic that Pelosi and Reid are following.

    And that’s why I’m voting Libertarian now. A pox on both their houses.

  14. Any US death since last November is the sole responsibility of the Democrats.

  15. The whole Tillman thing is fucked up. The idea that other Rangers (elite troops) in Tillman’s unit would kill one of their own on purpose is fucking chilling. I would say I don’t believe it, but they seem to have evidence.

    Maybe Tillman was working for Osama? Or he was a mole for National Fertilizers Limited?

  16. Because the Democratic majority doesn’t have the super-majority to overcome Republican vetoes and fillibusters of their bills that end the war, that puts the responsibility for the war on the Democrats.

    Sure, that makes perfect sense. Damn those Democrats, how dare they, uh, you know, have a president who keeps vetoing their bills and an opposition that keeps fillibustering them?

  17. I have no proof or evidence, but my best guess is that the Democrats will continue funding the war until the ’08 election (when, they hope, they maintain both houses and control the white house). Then they’ll pull the plug and take all the credit … which the American public and mainstream media will shower upon them.

    The fact that they could have pulled the plug earlier won’t register with most people.

  18. joe-

    Who says that they even have to pass a bill? Not passing a bill could have a significant effect as well. They’ve chosen to not go down that road. For good or for ill, that is a choice that they’ve made and so they are responsible for the consequences.

  19. Pat Tillman was fragged.

    The fragging was covered up.

    Conspiracies happen!

  20. thoreau,

    Even if the order was given to pull out Iraq tomorrow, it would take several months to carry it out. Even the withdrawal would require money.

    I don’t think cutting off funds is a plausible solution. The good news is, there are new Republican defections evey week. I don’t think the Stay the Coursers will have enough votes to fillibuster a war-ending amendment to the Defense Appopriations Bill this fall, and Bush cannnot veto that.

  21. Hey, but how about that soccer team!

  22. I don’t think cutting off funds is a plausible solution. The good news is, there are new Republican defections evey week. I don’t think the Stay the Coursers will have enough votes to fillibuster a war-ending amendment to the Defense Appopriations Bill this fall, and Bush cannnot veto that.

    Although I overall agree that you can’t really blame the Dems for not ending this war, there are other things that can be done..

    The could repeal the AUMF, they could also keep sedning Bush the same bill he vetoed over and over and take a hard line with him.

    But the aren’t. They know that his veto will provide political cover and they can pretend they are really trying to end the war but Bush won’t allow.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that the Dems are also fighting amongst themselves. The Blue Dogs and the conservative Dems don’t really want to be seen as tying the president’s hand in running the war. It was very hard get them to vote for withdrawl.

  23. joe-

    They could refuse to fund the war and force Bush to withdraw. That doesn’t require a super-majority, only political courage.

  24. joe, I agree with you that the political mechanics are complicated, especially with some of the H of R seats from the last election. I still wish, however, that more D’s would hammer at this more. Now is not really the time for subtlety. I do hope you’re right about more R’s, especially rural ones, coming over to the correct opinion. Finally, I grieve for what our nation did to a people who were already quite miserable enough.

  25. Repealing the AUMF would require overcoming a fillibuster and veto.

    I would have liked to have seen them keep sending the “timelines” bill back to Bush, again and again, after his vetoed it. At that time (this past spring), a minority of Congressional Dems (those blue dogs and conservatives), mainly from red states, seemed to think that they would suffer politically if they weren’t ablt to pass a bill that would actually get enacted.

    It seems to be dawning on them that they are going to suffer more politically for not ending the war than for not funding the troops – and to a significant minority of Republicans as well. I don’t think the next showdown is going to go the same way at this past spring.

  26. Cesar,

    Where would the funding for a withdrawal come from without an appropriations bill passing? Bush is already way over the core Defense budget every year.

  27. Where would the funding for a withdrawal come from without an appropriations bill passing? Bush is already way over the core Defense budget every year.

    He would buckle under pressure and a sign a bill that funds a withdraw.

    Bush has done some messed up things but leaving the troops in Iraq with no money to give them protection or weapons would be beyond even him.

  28. I was on the Garden State Parkway over the wekend, when about 8 or 9 canada geese brought the entire parkway to a schreeching halt.

    They decided to fucking walk (waddle) across the road. “You can fucking fly!” I’m screaming at them, “Darwin should be kicking your ass right now!” But no, they stayed the course and continued waddling as all 4 lanes went from about 80 MPH to 0 in about 4 seconds. What I can’t believe is none of us got rear-ended in that fracas.

    Still, we decided to name the goose leader Dubya.

  29. Cut military spending now!

  30. Cesar,

    What pressure? Is Bush running for something again?

    Bush will never sign a withdrawal bill. He thinks he’s Winston Churchill in 1938, and it’s everyone else who’s wrong, and history will prove him right if he hangs in there.

    Bush is always going to veto a withdrawal bill. The only way to pass one and make it stick is with a veto-proof majority.

    No one is going to leave Da Troooooops in the desert without resources. If you want to fault the Democrats for not playing chicken with the troops, that’s a fair charge. Bills to fund them will pass. The argument is over what conditions should be put on that funding, and the Democrats need a super-majority to make a withdrawal timeline. They keep getting closer, thanks to the public keeping the pressure on. We’ll just have to see if they get up to 2/3 by this fall.

  31. joe-

    If I were Harry Reid, I would have played chicken for a bit longer to see if Bush would buckle.

    I just hope come September Bush doesn’t say “Oh, we need another surge this fall, give it some more time”! This is already being hinted at.

  32. Ok, maybe I’m too much of an optimist here but I’m pretty sure Bush would think it extremely immoral if the troops were left in the desert without money because he refused to sign a withdraw bill. In fact thats damn near impeachable.

  33. Ok, maybe I’m too much of an optimist here but I’m pretty sure Bush would think it extremely immoral if the troops were left in the desert without money because he refused to sign a withdraw bill. In fact thats damn near impeachable.

    And then President Cheney would ….

  34. And then President Cheney Pelosi would get the troops out. But I don’t think it would come to that, Bush is stubborn but is he really so stubborn he’d leave American soldiers to die in Iraq with no supplies?

  35. “Wait, but talk radio says that things are getting better all the time in Iraq! I thought that even libruhls were turning the corner and realizing how awesome Iraq war is!”

    Not that I support the war (I don’t), but two guys from the Brookings Institute just got back from Iraq and claim things are improving. The Brookings Institute is a liberal think tank.

  36. Not that I support the war (I don’t), but two guys from the Brookings Institute just got back from Iraq and claim things are improving. The Brookings Institute is a liberal think tank.

    You mean O’Hanlan and Pollack? Two guys who were pro-war from day 1 and who supported the surge?

    Yeah those guys have a lot of credibility about how the war is going!

    Just because the work for a “liberal” think tank doesn’t mean that their point of view on the war is that different than what you find on talk radio

  37. Cesar,

    If I were Harry Reid, I would have played chicken for a bit longer to see if Bush would buckle. My heart’s certainly with you, but my head says that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid knows a bit more about nose-counting and the mood of the Congress and the public than I do. If a Pentagon appropriations bill with a withdrawal timeline passes in two months, Harry Reid is going to look pretty good.

    I just hope come September Bush doesn’t say “Oh, we need another surge this fall, give it some more time”! This is already being hinted at.

    I’m sure he will. I just don’t think he’ll have a majority, or even a fillibuster-sustaining minority, willing to go along with him.

    Isn’t it funny how the argument that the Democrats won’t end the war depends on how many Repubicans are willing to cross the aisle and support the Democrats’ bills?

  38. Cesar,

    Bush wouldn’t, in his mind, be leaving American troops in the desert. He’s be rejecting one bill to fund them, because he knows he will get another bill.

  39. and just to preempt any “prove it” replies about Pollack and O’Hanlon (the Brookings Morons)

    here is a pretty good pice by Glenn Greenwald exposing them

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2007/07/30/brookings/index.html

  40. I don’t think cutting off funds is a plausible solution. The good news is, there are new Republican defections evey week.

    Cutting off funds is the ONLY plausible solution. Bush will veto any legislation to withdraw, and Congress isn’t anywhere near the two-thirds supermajority for an override, a handful of defections or no. And Bush simply wouldn’t leave the troops stranded in the desert with no food, water, or bullets. That would give him the cover he needs to withdraw the troops and blame it on the Democrats. The Democrats would rather prolong the war and let a lot more soldiers die than risk such political fallout.

    Soldiers are dying because the members of Congress, in both parties, are more concerned about hanging onto their jobs than doing the right thing. Rational, truly compassionate people, who would give up such jobs in a heartbeat to save the lives of others, don’t get elected to national office, regardless of party.

  41. I’m sure he will. I just don’t think he’ll have a majority, or even a fillibuster-sustaining minority, willing to go along with him.

    Am I missing your point? with this?

    Cuz if I remember correctly, Congress didn’t actually authorize the surge, Bush did that unilaterally.

    Also, I doubt there will be a withdrawal bill with a veto proof majority as long as Bush is in office. This war will not end as long as Bush is in office. he has made it clear. Leaving is losing.

  42. Did anyone see the recent Frontline about the differing military strategies surrounding the occupation of Iraq? Very interesting stuff. Shockingly (I wanted to write for a PBS program, but at this point, really, just at all) it made it seem as though someone was actually thinking about what they were doing.
    Not that “clear hold build” will necessarily work, but at least they’re trying something different after 4 years of failure.

    The other thing that struck me was how poorly “the surge” had been explained to the public. Up until last week, I just assumed we were doing the same dumbass thing as before, but we just needed more meat for the grinder. See, George, there’s an advantage to using reasoning other than “I’m the decider, so trust me dammit.”

  43. jh,

    Bush will veto any legislation to withdraw, and Congress isn’t anywhere near the two-thirds supermajority for an override, a handful of defections or no.

    You’re forgetting about the Omnibus Defense Authorization Bill that’s coming up. There is no way Bush is going to veto that, so the Democrats would just need 60 Senate votes to stop (most of the) Republicans from fillibustering it.

    That’s a nice little speech about “pox on both their houses.” I heard that same “not a dime’s worth of difference” shtick from Ralph Nader seven years ago. It’s still nonsense – nonsense from a third party partisan who knows it’s in his interest to muddy the waters.

  44. joe,

    Is that why Harry Reid is preventing a vote on the Lugar proposal for implementing the ISG recommendations?

  45. I heard that same “not a dime’s worth of difference” shtick from Ralph Nader seven years ago. It’s still nonsense – nonsense from a third party partisan who knows it’s in his interest to muddy the waters.

    Absolutely right. The Islamic country with zero impact on our national security the Republicans want our troops occupying is 2000 miles away from the Islamic country with zero impact on our national security the Democrats want our troops occupying.

    2000 miles is a big difference, I guess.

  46. As a former soldier, I am glad that I am no longer in “this man’s Army”. Because it ain’t that anymore.

    I think Pat Tillman got into the military for the same reason I did, over 20 years ago. A sense of patriotism and gratitude for the nation that we used to have. (Notice I use the words used to have)

    Anyway, I think Pat was on board with Afghanistan, but after Iraq, he became disillisioned and maybe was openly calling shenanigans on GWB, et al and their policies. He also may have been a little too “Hard Corps” and told someone to stop their snivveling (a common grunt term, that I still use, but hardly hear from civilians)

    I say:
    1) a tight shot group to Pat’s skull, the lack of other casualties
    2)lack of damage to vehicles
    3)the examining doctor’s request for an investigation was initially denied…

    are pretty good indications of fratracide and an attempt to cover up that reaches way up in the chain of command.

    I’m glad that Pat’s family kept going on this. I hope that everyone involved gets what’s coming to them.

    IMHO, we need a return to a draft that is equally applied to all citizens, men and women, handicapped (don’t laugh, supply clerks don’t have to be A-1 condition) and otherwise (gay, whatever) to man a defense of our nation. With everyone’s family involved we would be much less likely to send troops, unless it was for the defense of the country.

    Right now we have a volunteer force that is augmented with civilian combat operators (mercenaries) to cover up the true size of the presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have civilian companies supplying and providing services to the troops, so we don’t have the troops pulling KP and other undesirable duties. What’s that cost? Plus that civilian is not under UCMJ…..I’m tired now /rant

  47. “You mean O’Hanlan and Pollack? Two guys who were pro-war from day 1 and who supported the surge?”

    That explains it.

  48. Nice example of muddying the waters, crimethink.

    It would take about half a second for a person who wanted to understand the difference between a protective mission involving 3000 soldiers in Darfur and an invasion/occupation/nation-building/civil-war-refereeing mission involving 180,000 soldiers in Iraq.

    For those who are determined not to understand whether of not there’s a difference, the amount of thought involved is a fraction of that.

    Remind me again, how many troops have we lost in Kosovo and Bosnia? How many did we lose guaranteeing the No Fly/No Drive Zone in Kurdistan?

    Shallow non-analysis that lumps unlike things together is how third party partisanship works.

  49. crimethink,

    The “Lugar proposal” is a toothless dodge intended to allow Republicans to claim that they’re doing something to end the war, that wouldn’t require Bush to do anything.

    The Democrats already passed one of those. At this point, passing another one would only serve to let potential Republican defectors off the hook on the upcoming votes to actually mandate an end to the war.

  50. “That’s a nice little speech about “pox on both their houses.” I heard that same “not a dime’s worth of difference” shtick from Ralph Nader seven years ago.”

    There really isn’t that much difference in both parties. They both support the welfare/warfare state.

  51. joe,

    We’ve done this before. “It’ll only require X,000 troops.” Sound familiar?

    And what happens when we leave? The root causes of the violence aren’t just going to disappear. Shouldn’t we ask that question before the invasion this time?

  52. “IMHO, we need a return to a draft that is equally applied to all citizens, men and women, handicapped (don’t laugh, supply clerks don’t have to be A-1 condition) and otherwise (gay, whatever) to man a defense of our nation. With everyone’s family involved we would be much less likely to send troops, unless it was for the defense of the country.”

    What we really need is a Congress that doesn’t shirk its responsibility of war making powers to the president. If war making powers were kept in Congress’ hands, we would be alot less likely to involve ourselves in useless wars. Not a complete check against it, but an improvement over the decisions of one man to send us to war.

  53. We’ve done this before. “It’ll only require X,000 troops.” Sound familiar?

    See, there you go again. Before the Iraq War, it was the POLITICIANS saying “it will only require XXXX troops,” and the military professionals saying otherwise.

    This time, the 3,000 figure comes from military analysis of the situation.

    In other words, you’re taking a situation where the military puts out a troop-level estimate, and equating it with a situation where the military pooh-poohed someone else’s troop level estimate, and equating the two, based on the observation that someone is saying something about how many troops it would take!

    And what happens when we leave? A mission of that size, like Kosovo and the containment of Saddam, could be sustained indefinitely without putting any undue strain on the military. It’s not a “we won, let’s go home” situation – there migh need to be peacekeepers in place as long as they’ve been in the Sinai.

    Now, whether this is a good idea is a fair question that people can disagree on, but to say that there are no distinctions that can be drawn because both missions involve using the military is a deliberate strategy of playing dumb.

  54. “It would take about half a second for a person who wanted to understand the difference between a protective mission involving 3000 soldiers in Darfur and an invasion/occupation/nation-building/civil-war-refereeing mission involving 180,000 soldiers in Iraq.”

    We’re only talking about degrees here. The point is both parties support a meddling foreign policy for which there is no provision for in our Constitution and is a violation of the principles of our founders.

  55. joe,

    OK, you’ve got a point: the Dems want our military fighting little meaningless wars all over the world for eternity, while the Repubs want to fight one big meaningless war for eternity.

  56. Jake,

    It is true that both parties have positions on military interventions that are different from your own. That does not make their positions the same.

    The fact that Democrats support Darfur-type interventions does not mean they support Iraq-type interventions. Even if you oppose both.

  57. crimethink wins the thread.

  58. Just a random thought … is there any evidence that Tillman’s fellow Rangers were jealous of him in any way?

  59. “”””IMHO, we need a return to a draft that is equally applied to all citizens, men and women, handicapped (don’t laugh, supply clerks don’t have to be A-1 condition) and otherwise (gay, whatever) to man a defense of our nation.”””

    You mean to defend other nations. All we need to defend this nation is a well armed citizenry.

  60. Poor Tillman.

  61. What kind of fuck-up frags a corporal?

  62. Tillman was a “troll.” 2004 was a bad time for trolls.

  63. If the Democrats don’t fund the war (by merely not passing a funding bill), do you really think Bush would withdraw the troops?

    I mean, you really think he’ll go, “Gosh, I guess I was wrong. I’ll end the war now.”

    Of course not.

    He won’t even have to break any laws to do so. There are legal mechanisms to allow him to continue the war.

    If no funding bill is passed, all non-critical spending must stop. But existing law allows critical spending to continue, even in the abscene of a budget. Things that are classified as critical can continue.

    National security spending is classified as critical.

    Bush will therefore classfy Iraq as national security-related.

    Think back to when the Republican Congress shut down Congress during Clinton’s term. The national parks were closed, but law enforcement actitivies continued.

    Of course, the law that allows this can be changed-but any attempt to do so would be filibustered and vetoed.

    The Iraq War will not end as long as Bush remains president.

  64. If no funding bill is passed, all non-critical spending must stop.

    Thanks for pointing out why the Democrats don’t want to try to stop the Iraq war — they might give libertarians their fondest dream.

    Note that the shutdown back in 1994 or so was for the entire federal government. Note that the funding for the Iraq war can be set up as a separate appropriation from all other government funding. If Congress keeps funding everything else, but doesn’t pass the supplemental appropriation to pay for the Iraq war when Bush next requests it, where’s the money going to come from? If it’s so darn easy for Bush to steal upwards of $100 billion from elsewhere in the budget without getting any authorization from Congress, wouldn’t the Democrats be jumping at the chance to hand him the rope to hang himself, and clarify that he is solely responsible for the war continuing? Why would they balk at setting up such a showdown that had so much upside for them?

    I think you’re overstating the power of the executive branch — it can decide which parts of the government can be shut down in case an appropriation isn’t sufficient to cover all expenses, but it can’t spend money that hasn’t been appropriated at all.

  65. Oh, yeh, Glenn “Sockpuppet” Greenwald vs. some thoughtful Brookings types.

    Libertines, yeesh…furious

  66. A mission of that size, like Kosovo and the containment of Saddam, could be sustained indefinitely without putting any undue strain on the military. It’s not a “we won, let’s go home” situation – there migh need to be peacekeepers in place as long as they’ve been in the Sinai.

    See, this is why mainstream liberals are completely useless. If anything, liberals have a more expansive view of what the U.S. military is for. At least conservatives *pretend* to be defending America. Openly advocating endless, no-win conflicts is perverse.

  67. In his last single

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