BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Monday Stuff

From The Australian.

"In a village southwest of Baghdad"

Action!
AJIL SHARKIA, Iraq: Beneath a starlit sky, 60 members of the Iraqi and US special forces aboard four helicopters speed towards a village southwest of Baghdad suspected of harboring insurgent fighters.

"One minute ... 30 seconds ... go!"

Soldiers equipped with night vision equipment jump into the muddy fields and take cover by a wall as the helicopters disappear into the night. "Snipers, go," a US captain whispers to troops near him who spread out to take up positions in houses identified several days earlier on satellite images.

Explosive charges blow in doors and set off cries that are quickly covered by the sounds of dogs barking and donkeys braying.

In one house, Iraqi soldiers gather a dozen women in one room and begin searching, throwing mattresses and blankets on the ground.

"Where are the men?" a young officer asks sharply.

"My two sons and my husband left three hours ago," the oldest woman replies.
CUT TO:
"When they heard the choppers coming they ran like rabbits," says the Iraqi commander, posted on a rooftop to coordinate the raid. "We know that this village, which represents one large family, helps insurgents," he said. "Foreigners from Saudi Arabia pass through here on their way to fighting in Fallujah or Ramadi," two rebel hotspots nearby.

With a radio at his ear and a long list in hand, the officer tries to verify the identity of people picked up in other homes. "They all have the same name; it's impossible," a US soldier tells him.

Outside, 15 men dressed in traditional white dishdasha robes, their hands tied behind their backs, emerge from a house and are lined up on the ground in front of a wall, bowed heads on their knees.

"Now we can identify them," the Iraqi commander says with a smile. One by one they are brought before two cars that have their headlights turned on. In the vehicles, two Iraqi intelligence agents who work for the army and who have infiltrated the town are tasked with the identifications.

"Bad guy, bad guy, bad guy," a US soldier repeats, following advice from the agents.
My friend's two-year old does the same thing with his Star Wars sticker book. He just points at all the characters and says, "Bad guy."
Of 15 taken into custody there, five are later released.
Were they identified as "good guys?"

Get ready for the next bit:
SUSPECTS HAVE NUMBERS AND TWO LARGE Xs WRITTEN ON THEIR FOREHEADS AND BACKS before being loaded into a pick-up truck that takes them to helicopters for transport back to Baghdad.
"Damn straight. You act like a scum-bag, you'll be treated like a scum-bag."

Right.

"They should start branding them sons o' bitches."

Sure.
The Iraqi officer doesn't worry about cases of mistaken identity. "Intelligence is not my job," he said. "My mission is to come and arrest terrorists. Their IDs will be confirmed in Baghdad."
I'm sure they will.

Here's the second half of the DOWNING STREET MEMO. I've broken the sentences apart...so you can read EACH ONE carefully.

It's all here.

Until the press/government tells us it's a fake.

Check out the previous post for more info on the memo...and CUE the "Smurf Themesong":
The Prime Minister said that it would make a big difference politically and legally if Saddam refused to allow in the UN inspectors.

Regime change and WMD were linked in the sense that it was the regime that was producing the WMD.

There were different strategies for dealing with Libya and Iran.

If the political context were right, people would support regime change.
"And if the political context isn't right?"

"You people make it right!"

"Right. Sorry. Forgot about that."
The two key issues were whether the military plan worked and whether we had the political strategy to give the military plan the space to work.

On the first, CDS said that we did not know yet if the U.S. battleplan was workable.

The military were continuing to ask lots of questions.

For instance, what were the consequences, if Saddam used WMD on day one, or if Baghdad did not collapse and urban warfighting began?
Remember that? When Saddam used a nuke on DAY ONE, right before we pulled down his statue?

God. That was horrific.
You said that Saddam could also use his WMD on Kuwait. Or on Israel, added the Defence Secretary.

The Foreign Secretary thought the U.S. would not go ahead with a military plan unless convinced that it was a winning strategy.
Ha!
On this, U.S. and UK interests converged. But on the political strategy, there could be U.S./UK differences.

Despite U.S. resistance, we should explore discreetly the ultimatum. Saddam would continue to play hard-ball with the UN.

John Scarlett assessed that Saddam would allow the inspectors back in only when he thought the threat of military action was real.

The Defence Secretary said that if the Prime Minister wanted UK military involvement, he would need to decide this early. He cautioned that many in the U.S. did not think it worth going down the ultimatum route.
"Many in the U.S." meaning Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Bolton, et al; The Neo-cons.
It would be important for the Prime Minister to set out the political context to Bush.

Conclusions:

(a) We should work on the assumption that the UK would take part in any military action.

But we needed a fuller picture of U.S. planning before we could take any firm decisions. CDS should tell the U.S. military that we were considering a range of options.

(b) The Prime Minister would revert on the question of whether funds could be spent in preparation for this operation.

(c) CDS would send the Prime Minister full details of the proposed military campaign and possible UK contributions by the end of the week.

(d) The Foreign Secretary would send the Prime Minister the background on the UN inspectors, and discreetly work up the ultimatum to Saddam. He would also send the Prime Minister advice on the positions of countries in the region especially Turkey, and of the key EU member states.

(e) John Scarlett would send the Prime Minister a full intelligence update.

(f) We must not ignore the legal issues: the Attorney-General would consider legal advice with FCO/MOD legal advisers.

(I have written separately to commission this follow-up work.)

MATTHEW RYCROFT
Matthew Rycroft was a Downing Street foreign policy aide.

"La la la la la la, la la la la la."

One last insurgency thing:

"Huge Underground Bunker Discovered in Iraq"

Huh?
LATIFIYAH, Iraq - Hundreds of Iraqi and U.S. troops searched fields and farms Saturday for insurgents and their hideouts in an area south of Baghdad known for attacks, and the Marines said they discovered 50 weapons and ammunition caches and a HUGE UNDERGROUND BUNKER west of the capital fitted out with air conditioning, a kitchen and showers.

To the west of the capital, the 2nd Marine division said its forces had discovered 50 weapons and ammunitions caches over the past four days in restive Anbar province. The military said the find included a recently used "insurgent lair" in a massive underground bunker complex that included air-conditioned living quarters and high tech military equipment, including night vision goggles.

That bunker was found cut from a rock quarry in Karmah, 50 miles west of Baghdad. The Marines said the facility was 170 yards wide and 275 yards long.
That's pretty fucking big.

I'm thinking that "bunker" was constructed A LONG TIME AGO.

Long before "Operation Iraqi Freedom," leastways.

"Why would the evil-doers build an underground bunker?"

Gee. I don't know.
In its rooms were "four fully furnished living spaces, a kitchen with fresh food, two shower facilities and a working air conditioner. Other rooms within the complex were filled with weapons and ammunition," the announcement said.

The weapons included "numerous types of machine guns, ordnance, including mortars, rockets and artillery rounds, black uniforms, ski masks, compasses, log books, night vision goggles, and fully charged cell phones.
If this is true...then...uh...?

What if...Saddam knew he was gonna get thumped by the US...but decided to fight back...by sending some of his loyal troops...underground...armed to the f'ing teeth...to fight another day?

"Rasta say, 'He who runs from fight today, lives to fight another day.'"

Think they might still be fightin'?

More later...

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