9 thoughts on “McCain admits Iraq war is about oil

  1. http://pacificfreepress.com/content/view/2557/81/

    Thursday, 01 May 2008

    Funding the War to End It: Vietnam 1972, Iraq 2008
    by Jack Random

    If congress wanted to create an indelible impression of its departure from reality and common sense, they could not do better than this: They are preparing to pass a war appropriation of $108 billion to express their unwavering opposition to the war.

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly plans to hold out for extended unemployment benefits by making war-funding contingent on unemployment funds. Put in human terms, we will pay for a needless extension of a war that we cannot afford but at least we’ll keep the unemployment checks coming.

    Representative Barbara Lee of Oakland, California said it best: “It just [doesn’t] make sense to force [us] to choose between providing food stamps for people who are hurting and need help during this terrible time and funding an occupation that people do not support.”

    Here’s an idea: Pay for the direct and immediate withdrawal of all military personnel and equipment (not a penny for military installations, mercenaries or Fort Embassy) and deliver the savings to the infirm, the unemployed, the homeless and the wounded warriors coming home to a rude awakening: All is not well in the homeland.

    We know how this game goes. We’ve seen it before. The house pushes for an antiwar amendment (a deadline, a guideline, a register of indignation), the White House vetoes or threatens veto and congress capitulates. The president gets everything he wants and we get a sound bite from Lynn Woolsey.

    If Obama thought we were bitter before, check us now. Where are the voices of the candidates on this matter? Hiding in the shadows? Regardless the house, the Senate will package war appropriations into a larger spending bill, allowing Clinton and Obama to defer.

    Come out and declare yourselves while it still matters! There are eight more months of this administration: Plenty of time to beginning planning a withdrawal. Do you want this war to end or not? Will you stand before the American people and tell us why or why not?

    History will tell us we stand at the crossroads where Richard Nixon stood in 1972. Like Lyndon Johnson before him, he knew the war was lost but he was willing to spend the nation’s treasure, tens of thousands of American lives and perhaps a million or more Vietnamese, Laotians and Cambodians so that history would not brand him the first president to lose a war. As it turned out, he was both the first to lose a war and the first to resign from office in disgrace.

    Forty years later, is it any different? Political insiders tell us the Democrats do not want to own the war but they are nevertheless willing to pay for it. They don’t want to own the chaos and bloodshed that will follow our withdrawal but they are willing to watch the chaos and bloodshed with us in the center of it.

    Once again, this kind of equivocating (as if bartering the price of rice rather than weighing the lives of people and the costs of perpetual occupation) is what we might expect of Hillary Clinton but not of Nancy Pelosi or Barack Obama.

    What will happen if we get out now? The same thing that is happening now: A struggle for power and resources until a balance is reached without the interference of an armed and profoundly biased mediator.

    What happened in Vietnam? The same thing that would have happened had we got out in 1968 or 1972. The same thing that would have happened had we stayed another twenty years. From the cold distance of time, it worked out for the best.

    We cannot turn back the hand of time and we cannot pretend that it never happened. We invaded a country for nefarious reasons and we are responsible for everything that follows. We can posit the question: Would Iraq be better off under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein? But we cannot erase the damage we have done or the suffering we have caused or give back the lives that have been lost to the gods of corporate greed and imperial ambition.

    We must find the wisdom to stand back and understand that from the cold, dispassionate distance of time, only the Iraqis can settle this account.

    From what we have already observed there will be more bloodshed. There will be a period of terrible reckoning. The Iraqi oil supply that we so coveted will be disrupted for a very long time.

    We will continue to pay for this disaster well beyond the last day of occupation but we cannot use this reality to justify prolonging the agony.

    We are staying in Iraq for one reason and one reason only: Just as Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon prolonged the agony of Vietnam for fear of being the president that lost the war, George W. Bush fears the same. He wants desperately to hand the baton to the man he defeated in the 2000 primaries. If he succeeds, McCain will play Nixon to Bush’s Johnson.

    Just as Nixon expanded the war to Laos and Cambodia (helping to create the monster of the Khmer Rouge), McCain will expand the war to Iran and Syria.

    History also records that despite overwhelming evidence of failure congress did not find the strength to challenge the White House until after Watergate brought Gerald Ford to the Oval Office.

    How long will this congress wait? How many lives will be lost in the interim? How many more dollars that could be spent to fight global warming and famine will be thrown down the cesspool of destruction?

    April marked the deadliest month for American soldiers in seven months.

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  2. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iraq1-2008may01,1,5292444.story

    Death toll in Iraq jumped in April
    It was the highest in months for U.S. troops as well as Iraqi civilians.

    By Alexandra Zavis
    Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

    May 1, 2008

    BAGHDAD — The four U.S. soldiers who died in a series of roadside bombings Wednesday lifted the number of American service members killed in April to a seven-month high of 50.

    Civilian deaths reported by the Iraqi government also reached the highest levels in months as Baghdad experienced intense clashes triggered by an Iraqi government crackdown against Shiite Muslim militias.

    U.S. commanders say Sunni Arab militants are also attempting to reassert themselves by staging suicide bombings and other high-profile attacks in parts of the country where they have come under pressure since last year.

    The jump in deaths raises questions about whether U.S. and Iraqi forces can consolidate last year’s security gains as most of the additional 28,500 American troops deployed to the country return home.

    “We have said all along this will be a tough fight,” said Army Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner, a U.S. military spokesman. “There will be periods where we see the extremists, these criminal groups and Al Qaeda terrorists, seek to reassert themselves and reignite violence for their own purposes.”

    U.S. commanders will be relying increasingly on their Iraqi counterparts to provide security as the American presence diminishes from a peak last year of nearly 170,000 to about 140,000 by July.

    Navy Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll, another military spokesman, said the Iraqis added more than 105,000 to their forces in the time the U.S. brought in five additional combat brigades.

    “So we’ve seen a substantial surge within a surge, and they’re continuing to grow,” Driscoll said.

    U.S. commanders say the Iraqi military and police are becoming more capable. Though they acknowledge that the government crackdown was poorly planned at the start, they say the Iraqi military quickly mobilized reinforcements and regained control of the southern oil hub of Basra with the help of U.S. and British air power.

    But the government did not appear to have anticipated the fierce backlash from militiamen loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr in Baghdad, where clashes continue daily.

    Many of the militiamen’s attacks are directed against U.S. forces, who have moved into the southern portion of the cleric’s stronghold in the capital, the slum known as Sadr City, in a bid to stop rockets and mortar rounds from being fired toward the troops’ bases and the city’s fortified Green Zone.

    U.S. soldiers in Sadr City have faced assaults by militiamen wielding rocket-propelled grenades on roads laced with bombs and have responded with airstrikes and tank fire.

    The military says it makes every effort to avoid civilian casualties; however, residents are often caught in the crossfire.

    The number of civilian deaths reported by the Iraqi government for April was 969, the highest since August, when 1,773 were recorded killed. At least 28 Iraqi soldiers and 69 policemen also were reported killed. Officials at two hospitals in Sadr City alone said they had received 321 bodies in the last month.

    Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, a Shiite, lashed out Wednesday at the militiamen, whom he accused of using civilians as human shields. He vowed to disarm all militias, Sunni or Shiite.

    “There is only one army, and that is the army of the state,” he told reporters at a news conference broadcast on state-run television.

    A total of 354 suspected militants were killed and 1,270 arrested in Baghdad last month, according to government figures.

    Sadr’s followers say they are being unfairly singled out while Maliki’s political allies are permitted to maintain armed wings. They accuse their Shiite rivals of using the crackdown to weaken the chances of Sadr’s followers in provincial elections scheduled for Oct. 1.

    Two of the latest attacks against U.S. troops occurred in Baghdad, where three soldiers were killed in two bombings Wednesday. A fourth soldier was killed in a similar attack in Nineveh province, north of the capital.

    The number of U.S. military deaths in April was the highest since September, when 65 U.S. service members were killed. In April 2007, 104 died, according to figures compiled by the independent website icasualties.org.

    At least 4,063 U.S. personnel have been killed since the start of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to the site.

    The level of violence has been inching up since January, after a 60% drop in attacks nationwide in the second half of last year, according to U.S. military figures.

    Commanders attribute the 2007 drop-off to the U.S. troop buildup, the decision by tens of thousands of Sunni tribesmen and former insurgents to fight against extremists, and a unilateral cease-fire declared by Sadr in August.

    Three of the additional combat brigades deployed for the buildup have returned home. U.S. commanders had been counting on Sadr’s truce to allow them to focus on keeping up the pressure on Sunni militants as more troops left.

    That truce is in tatters since the crackdown against Shiite militias began March 25 in Basra, sparking an uprising by the cleric’s followers that quickly spread to Baghdad and other Shiite centers. The level of resistance in the overwhelmingly Shiite south dropped significantly when Sadr called his supporters off the streets five days after the crackdown began. But the fighting shows no sign of abating in Baghdad.

    The U.S. military said it killed at least 23 gunmen in exchanges Wednesday in and around Sadr City, one of which lasted two hours. The district’s hospital officials said they had received 18 bodies and treated 31 people for injuries.

    “Fighting in Sadr City is one of the main reasons for the spike in deaths this past month,” said Joost Hiltermann of the International Crisis Group. “That trend will continue, and the relative quiet accomplished by the surge [will] come to an end, if the U.S. does not reach a new understanding with the Sadrists.”

    alexandra.zavis@latimes.com

    Special correspondents in Baghdad contributed to this report.

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  3. http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m43672&hd=&size=1&l=e

    Iraq hospital ‘damaged by US raid’
    Women and children were among those injured in the Sadr City raid [AFP]
    May 3, 2008

    At least 28 people have been wounded after a hospital in Baghdad’s Sadr City district, a stronghold of Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr, was damaged in what witnesses described as a US air strike.

    A medic at the al-Sadr hospital said women and children were among the wounded in the raid, which an Iraqi security official said took place at around 10am local time (0700 GMT) on Saturday.
    The US military confirmed the attack but said it targeted “known criminal elements”.

    “I can confirm that we conducted a strike in Sadr City this morning. The targets were known criminal elements. Battle damage assessment is currently ongoing,” a US military spokesman said.

    Witnesses said the target of the air raid, in which US forces fired several missiles, was a small house adjacent to the al-Sadr hospital and used as a rest area by Shia pilgrims.

    The impact of the attack damaged more than a dozen ambulances belonging to the hospital, one of the three main medical facilities in the district, and shattered the windows of the building.

    Fighters killed

    Elsewhere, US soldiers killed 14 suspected Shia fighters and an American soldier was killed in a roadside bomb attack in the latest clashes in Baghdad, the US military said on Saturday.

    Another 100 people were wounded in clashes on Friday and Saturday in Sadr City, Iraqi health officials said.

    The US military said 10 fighters were killed in clashes on Friday, including a sniper and a triggerman suspected of planting armour-piercing roadside bombs in Sadr City and the adjacent Ubaydi area.

    US forces used aircraft and an Abrams battle tank in the attack.

    The soldiers also killed four fighters early on Saturday elsewhere in Baghdad, the US military said.

    Several vehicles and buildings were destroyed in the clashes, Iraqi police said.

    Separately, the US military announced on Saturday that an American soldier died of wounds sustained the previous day in a roadside bomb that struck the soldier’s vehicle during a combat patrol in eastern Baghdad.

    The announcement comes a day after the military said another roadside bomb attack in eastern Baghdad killed a US soldier.

    :: Article nr. 43672 sent on 03-may-2008 19:41 ECT

    http://www.uruknet.info?p=43672

    Link: english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/86D6C28E-6E04-4549-BA78-E2C4AFCB24F6.htm

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