Saturday, June 02, 2007

Perspective: On This Day In Iraq -- June 2nd edition

June 2, 2005: Marines of 6th Marine Regiment, 1st Battalion, Charlie Company, patrol through fields in Asragiyah searching for weapons caches

June 2, 2002:

CIA warns of more attacks against US

CIA chief George Tenet warned today of increased terrorist threats by militant groups such as the al-Qa'eda network against the United States and its allies around the world.

Mr Tenet said the readiness of such terrorist groups to attack with weapons of mass destruction has become the top concern of the US intelligence community. Terrorist groups worldwide, he said, had access to information on chemical, biological and even nuclear weapons.

"One of our highest concerns is their stated readiness to attempt unconventional attacks against us," Mr Tenet told a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Such high-profile events as the Olympics which are due to open in Utah on February 8, "fits the terrorists' interest in striking another blow within the United States," he warned.

"Make no mistake, despite the battles we have won in Afghanistan, we remain a nation at war. I must repeat that al-Qa'eda has not yet been destroyed. It and like-minded groups remain willing and able to strike us."

He said al-Qa'eda had plans to strike not only against the United States but also against allied targets in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia. "American diplomatic and military installations are at high risk - especially in Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey."

Mr Tenet also warned that global proliferation of weapons of mass destruction had reached a "critical threshold," adding that by 2015, the United States would most likely face missile threats from North Korea, Iran, and possibly Iraq.

Read the rest at the the Telegraph

June 2, 2003:

Bremer defends Iraq action

Paul Bremer, the chief US administrator in Iraq, on Monday defended the decision to abandon plans for a 300-plus national conference in July, saying it had been taken in order to speed up the formation of an Iraqi interim authority.

The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Baghdad announced on Sunday that rather than holding a "big tent" meeting, along the lines of the loya jirga that elected Hamid Karzai transitional leader in Afghanistan, it would instead appoint a 25-30 member political council, to advise Iraqi ministries.

"Most of the Iraqis we are talking to have been anxious to move ahead rather quickly with the formation of the Iraqi interim authority," Mr Bremer told journalists on Monday, explaining the reason for the shift. "The best way to get that to move ahead was to step up the pace of discussions and get to a deal fairly quickly."

The accelerated political process is likely to be welcomed by many Iraqis but the formula is not. Many are suspicious that the coalition is abandoning the idea of conference not because it is too slow and unwieldy but because it may be difficult to control.

Under the new formula, the interim authority will be created mainly behind closed doors, in direct negotiations with a small group of Iraqi political leaders - most of whom have been in exile for decades. Particularly suspicious of the new process are Islamist groups who command a great deal of popular support but who fear the coalition is seeking to marginalise them.

Amir al-Basri, a spokesman for the Islamist Da'wa party, said on Monday the changes "create the impression that the Americans are not very serious about getting out of interim period and arriving at an Iraqi sovereign government".

The biggest supporters of the new model appear, by contrast, to be the moderate, democratic groups that lack large constituencies in Iraq but enjoy close ties to the US and UK administrations.

Read the rest at the Financial Times

June 2, 2004:

Bush compares Iraq to World War II

In the second of a series of speeches on his plan for Iraq, President George W. Bush sought to portray the war Wednesday as a fight between freedom and oppression, similar to World War II.

"Like the Second World War, our present conflict began with a ruthless surprise attack on the United States. We will not forget that treachery, and we will accept nothing less than victory over the enemy," Bush told graduates of the Air Force Academy in Colorado, just ahead of his trip to Europe to commemorate the 60th anniversary of D-Day.

The president is scheduled to meet with Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi later this week and with French president Jacques Chirac this weekend, before attending ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of allied forces landing on the beach in Normandy.

"Like the murderous ideologies of the 20th century, the ideology of terrorism reaches across borders and seeks recruits in every country. So we're fighting these enemies wherever they hide across the earth," Bush said.

He told the nearly 1,000 graduates that they will soon be fighting in the war against terrorism, which he said revolved around Iraq and the Middle East.

Read the rest at Market Watch

June 2, 2005:

Cheney praises Iraq, Afghan wars

COLORADO SPRINGS -- Vice President Dick Cheney issued an unapologetic defense of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan yesterday and promised Air Force Academy graduates more "great victories to come."

"America chose to lead and had the courage to act," he told 906 graduates on the academy's sun-drenched football field. "And so the murderous regimes of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein are history, more than 50 million people have been liberated from tyranny, and democracy is coming to the broader Middle East."

The vice president's rhetorical victory lap included a swipe at the administration's detractors.

"There are some in the world who doubt the seriousness of our commitment," he said. "But those doubters do not include members of the former regime in Afghanistan or the former dictator of Iraq."

Still, Mr. Cheney acknowledged that the administration's quest to democratize the Middle East is not entirely altruistic.

"We are committed to the advance of freedom in that region not just because it serves our ideals, but also because it serves our interests," he said. "Our country is safer today because Afghanistan and Iraq have governments that fight terrorists instead of harboring them."

Mr. Cheney reminded the class of 2005 that the task of keeping America safe has changed radically since they began their studies late summer of 2001.

"Four years ago, when you arrived at the Air Force Academy, some believed our nation had entered a long period of relative quiet -- with few real threats to our security, little reason to expect serious danger from abroad and no chance of direct attack," he said. "You were here on that day comforting illusions gave way to immediate and critical national priorities."

It was a reference to September 11, 2001, when terrorists killed nearly 3,000 Americans.

"The attacks on our country underscore the seriousness of the profession you had entered and the oath you had taken only a few months earlier," Mr. Cheney said. "And many of you shared the same wish that you could graduate on September 12 and take your place in the first war of the 21st century."

Read the rest at the Washington Times

June 2, 2006:

Soldier's Diary: Political Opinions Are Irrelevant in Iraq

There was a pretty big MWR [morale, welfare and recreation] event on FOB [forward operating base] Striker today. Every month or so, the USO brings in some comedians or celebrities to put on a short show for the soldiers and follow up with an autograph session. Toby Keith was the entertainment today. I am not a big country music fan, and, as such, did not attend, but it was a good time to give some of the soldiers who could make it some time off. The show was short, about six songs in a half-hour; but at mid-afternoon when the temperature is reaching 105 degrees, that's probably all you can get in.

Over the past six years, I have seen a number of USO shows, from the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders and a professional wrestling tour in Korea, to meeting Roger Clemens and Conan O'Brian back in Kuwait prior to this war kicking off. Two of my most treasured pictures in my photo albums at home are shots of me along with the Honkey Tonk Man and another of Wayne Newton serving me Thanksgiving dinner.

You would think only one side of the political spectrum would be coming over here to support the troops, but that is just not the case. During this tour, we have had Charlie Daniels visit, and a couple months prior, Al Franken was telling his jokes.

Political opinions are irrelevant. If you make a trip to Baghdad to entertain soldiers, you have convinced me that you support them. I have said it before: Soldiers have jobs to do, we all have our political views and we express them in the voting booth. I often make the joke that before accepting any care packages, I always check the label to see the political affiliations of whoever sent it. Naturally it's a joke; political choices do not affect the quality of the candy, baby wipes, books or foot powder we get in the mail.

Read the rest at Fox News