Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Perspective: On This Day In Iraq -- July 25th edition

July 25, 2005: An Army C-23 Sherpa aircraft flies over the 4,000 year-old Ziggurat at Ur, the earliest known city. The ancient Sumerican structure was the temple of the Moon God. It is now part of a U.S. airbase in Iraq.

July 25, 2002:

Former CIA Chief: World War IV Began on Sept. 11

Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey told a Washington audience Wednesday, "We are in a world war, we are in World War IV." He said World War IV began on Sept. 11, 2001.

Woolsey, former director of central intelligence (1993-1995) under President Clinton, warned a packed audience at a Washington, D.C., symposium that this current world war will be unlike any other in history. The symposium discussed intelligence requirements in the new century and was hosted by the Institute on World Politics.

Woolsey said that America won the Cold War, which he described as World War III, and he expects America to meet the challenges of the new war.

The former CIA chief did not mince words as he challenged the administration to continue to pound out the message that America is not simply on a mission of self-defense but on a sacred campaign to safeguard the ideals of democracy.

"For the fourth time ... we are on the march, and we are on the side of those they most fear – their own people!" Woolsey exclaimed, pointing his finger at Iraq as the primary opponent of America in the new war.

Woolsey suggested it would be futile to wait for a "[former Soviet President Mikhail] Gorbachev figure to evolve" in Iraq. He said Iraq is ruled by a murderous family that will not give up power.

"Iraq can only be dealt with effectively by military action," Woolsey said. "I like to draw analogies. Iraq is like Hitler's Germany in the mid-1930s. There's no sense waiting, as the situation will only get worse."

Woolsey voiced his strong opinion that it makes sense to wage war against Saddam Hussein even without the "smoking gun" of a clear and provable nexus to 9-11.

"His general support of terrorism is enough," Woolsey concluded, pointing to the dictator's cease-fire violations, the testimony of defectors describing hijack training within Iraq, the meetings of the former Iraqi ambassador to Turkey with al-Qaeda members, and the Czech intelligence service's repeated public reports of meetings with bomber Mohamed Atta in Prague.

"Put all this together with the foiled attempt to assassinate the senior George Bush in Kuwait," Woolsey advised.

And Woolsey made it apparent that he was not impressed with Iraq as a potential battlefield opponent, noting that Saddam's standing army is much depleted from the days of the Gulf War.

He also cited the edge of the "smart bomb," suggesting that only 5 percent of the ordnance dropped on Saddam's forces in the Gulf War were smart weapons.

"Sixty-five percent of the bombs used in Afghanistan have been smart weapons. There will be at least that level in any campaign in Iraq," Woolsey said. "The U.S. is totally capable of success."

Woolsey said the U.S. military needs to deploy only 100,000 to 200,000 troops to successfully invade Iraq.

He noted that the U.S. will likely gain access to one or more countries in the region that could be used as jumping-off points for an invasion. He specifically noted the U.S. will likely get the green light from Turkey, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar to allow U.S. troops.

As to dealing with al-Qaeda, Woolsey suggested the conflict will be protracted.

"We will have to deal with them in their lairs. It will be a long and bloody conflict lasting years, perhaps decades," he said.

"We've got to get busy," Woolsey advised, noting that only an aggressive policy will keep things from going from "bad to catastrophic." He described al-Qaeda as a canny and dangerous enemy.

Read the rest at Newsmax

July 25, 2003:

Cheney says ignoring Iraq would have endangered U.S.

Vice President Dick Cheney launched a White House counterattack Thursday against rising criticism of the administration's handling of Iraq, arguing that failing to confront Saddam Hussein would have been "irresponsible in the extreme" and could have endangered the United States.

Cheney, one of the main architects of the administration's case for war that Democrats are now challenging as exaggerated, said that "the safety of the American people was at stake" because of Iraqi efforts to build weapons of mass destruction and "cultivate" ties with terrorist groups.

"At a safe remove from the danger, some are now trying to cast doubt upon the decision to liberate Iraq," Cheney said. "The ability to criticize is one of the great strengths of our democracy. But those who do so have an obligation to answer this question: How could any responsible leader have ignored the Iraqi threat?"

Cheney, speaking at the American Enterprise Institute, devoted much of his address to a grave assessment of the continuing threat posed by terrorism. He compared the war on terrorism to the struggles against fascism and communism in the last century.

"The terrorists intend to strike America again," Cheney said. "One by one, in every corner of the world, we will hunt the terrorists down and destroy them. In Iraq, we took another essential step in the war on terror."

Administration officials described Cheney's remarks as an effort to regain the offensive after more than two weeks of shifting White House accounts of how an allegation about Iraq seeking nuclear materials in Africa landed in President Bush's State of the Union address last January even though U.S. intelligence agencies had doubted the claim for months.

Bush's aides said the speech also was intended as a warning to congressional Democrats, many of whom had access to the same intelligence, that the White House planned to fight back against criticism of the administration's Iraq policy. Aides said Bush planned to follow up on the Cheney speech next month with a major address updating the war on terrorism.

The Cheney speech was part of a coordinated response to Democratic criticism being executed at the behest of the White House by the GOP leadership on Capitol Hill, the national Republican Party and television appearances by well-known Bush supporters. Ed Gillespie, chairman of the Republican National Committee, suggested in a memo to party leaders that they frame the choice as "confronting terrorists in Baghdad or Boston, in Kabul or Kansas City."

Read the rest at the San Francisco Chronicle

July 25, 2004:

Paper Closed by U.S. Is Back in Business

About four months ago, U.S. combat troops seized the offices of the al-Hawza newspaper, evicted the staff and padlocked the front gate, armed with an order from Iraq's U.S. administrator saying the paper had incited violence against U.S.-led forces and their Iraqi supporters.

This week, al-Hawza reopened for business in the same dingy, tangerine-colored office covered with posters of turbaned Shiite clerics. Though officially welcomed back by the new Iraqi prime minister, the paper's officials defiantly vowed to return to the same brand of provocative criticism and religious agitation that got it shut down in March.

"We know that the American occupation is not really over, and we intend to remain as critical as before," said Abbas Rubaie, the chief editor, 38, shortly after returning to his office Saturday to a round of congratulatory kisses from his staff. "Closing the paper was a disaster" for U.S. officials, he added. "The Iraqi government should think hard before doing the same thing."

Al-Hawza is the editorial arm of a radical Shiite Muslim movement headed by Moqtada Sadr, a firebrand cleric who became an impassioned opponent of the U.S. presence in Iraq and formed a militia of young followers known as the Mahdi Army, named after the legendary lost imam of Shiism.

Founded in May 2003, shortly after the U.S.-led forces toppled the government of Saddam Hussein, the weekly paper, with a circulation of about 13,000, featured red-letter headlines excoriating U.S. troops and the U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer as enemies of Islam and Iraq. One of its most notorious articles was titled, "Bremer Follows the Steps of Saddam."

Finally, Bremer lost patience and shut down the paper on March 28, accusing it of reporting lies, fomenting instability and seeking to "incite violence against coalition forces" and their Iraqi collaborators. The action drew considerable criticism in Iraq and abroad; the Columbia Journalism Review called it "questionable" and counterproductive.

The crackdown sparked a series of street protests and led to several months of violent clashes between U.S.-led troops and youthful Shiite militia forces that left hundreds dead. But by May, the violence had subsided and public attention had turned to the U.S. military prison scandal and the impending transfer of sovereignty from U.S. to Iraqi hands, which took place on June 28.

On Sunday, Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi issued an order allowing the paper to reopen, saying he wanted to stress his "absolute belief in freedom of the press." But Sadr's aides responded with studied indifference, saying they did not need Allawi's approval and suggesting he was making a clumsy effort to buy them off.

"We were surprised by Allawi's statement," Rubaie said. "We are an independent newspaper, and it is not up to the government to authorize us or not." He said he had personally cut off the padlock and chains on the newspaper office the week before Allawi's order and had already intended to resume publishing.

Read the rest at the Washington Post

July 25, 2005:

U.S. military admits error in news releases

The U.S. military expressed regret Monday for issuing news releases about two separate attacks in Iraq that included almost identical quotes attributed to an unidentified Iraqi.

In both statements, the military quoted an Iraqi calling the attackers "enemies of humanity" and vowing to "take the fight to the terrorists," the latter an expression President Bush frequently has used in speeches.

In the first news release, issued after a July 13 Baghdad bombing that killed mostly youngsters, an unidentified Iraqi spoke of terrorists attacking "the children."

In the second release, sent out after an attack Sunday near a police station in the capital, an unidentified Iraqi referred to strikes on "the ISF," or Iraqi Security Forces.

Task Force Baghdad with the Army's 3rd Infantry Division released both statements.

After the media contacted officials Sunday on the similarities, the military reissued the latest release without the quote.

"Task Force Baghdad Public Affairs regrets the confusion regarding two press releases issued in support of our operations July 24," said a statement Monday.

Although not referring to the quote in Sunday's release, it said there was "a draft press release which, due to an administrative error, was mistakenly issued on behalf of the 3rd Infantry Division."

Lt. Col. Clifford Kent, spokesman for the 3rd Infantry Division, also spoke Sunday of an "administrative error."

Kent did not explain why the quote apparently was changed to apply to the latest attack.

Below are the two news releases from the U.S. military with the similar quotes:

From Sunday:

" 'The terrorists are attacking the infrastructure, the ISF and all of Iraq. They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the terrorists,' said one Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified."

From July 13:

" 'The terrorists are attacking the infrastructure, the children and all of Iraq,' said one Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified. 'They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the terrorists.' "

Read the rest at CNN

July 25, 2006:

Bush: New Plan to Help End Iraq Violence

President Bush said Tuesday a new plan to increase U.S. and Iraqi forces in the besieged capital of Baghdad will help quell rising violence that is threatening Iraq's transformation to a self-sustaining democracy.

"Obviously the violence in Baghdad is still terrible and therefore there needs to be more troops,"Bush said in a White House news conference with visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Al-Maliki, on his first trip to the United States since becoming prime minister two months ago, said he and Bush agreed that training and better arming Iraqi forces as quickly as possible, particularly in the capital city, was central to efforts to stabilize the country.

"And, God willing, there will be no civil war in Iraq,"al-Maliki said, speaking through a translator...

The shifting of U.S. troops will mean that the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Armored Division that had been stationed in Kuwait as a reserve force, will now all be in Iraq. And the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division, which was based in Schweinfurt, Germany, is moving into Kuwait to serve as the reserve force.

One of the 1st Armored Division brigade's battalions was sent to the Baghdad area in March to bolster security as the new national government was seated, and additional troops from the brigade were moved to the Anbar province in May.

It was not clear how many U.S. troops will be in Baghdad as a result of the new plan. About two weeks ago, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said that the number of Iraqi and U.S. troops in Baghdad had recently grown from 40,000 to 55,000.

Read the rest at Fox News