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Signs of the Times for Tue, 21 Mar 2006

By Greg Palast
The Guardian
20 Mar 06
Get off it. All the carping, belly-aching and complaining about George Bush's incompetence in Iraq, from both the Left and now the Right, is just dead wrong.

On the third anniversary of the tanks rolling over Iraq's border, most of the 59 million Homer Simpsons who voted for Bush are beginning to doubt if his mission was accomplished.

But don't kid yourself -- Bush and his co-conspirator, Dick Cheney, accomplished exactly what they set out to do. In case you've forgotten what their real mission was, let me remind you of White House spokesman Ari Fleisher's original announcement, three years ago, launching of what he called,



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By Aram Roston, Lisa Myers
& the NBC Investigative Unit
Updated: 7:36 p.m. ET March 20, 2006
In the period before the Iraq war, the CIA and the Bush administration erroneously believed that Saddam Hussein was hiding major programs for weapons of mass destruction. Now NBC News has learned that for a short time the CIA had contact with a secret source at the highest levels within Saddam Hussein's government, who gave them information far more accurate than what they believed. It is a spy story that has never been told before, and raises new questions about prewar intelligence.

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Monday, March 20, 2006
Juan Cole
The American war against Iraq began on March 20, 2003, so today is the third anniversary. The Himalyan mistakes of the American administration of the country in its first two years have by now been much analyzed -- the punitive steps against even low-level Baath Party members, the firing of tens of thousands of Sunni Arabs, the dissolution of the army, the permitting of looting on a vast scale, the failure to understand tribal honor, the failure to get a handle on the early guerrilla war, the failure to understand Shiite Islam, the torture at Abu Ghraib, the failure to get services on line, the destruction of Fallujah, the ill-timed and ill-advised attempt to "kill or capture" Muqtada al-Sadr, the adoption of an election system that allowed the almost complete exclusion of the Sunni Arabs, etc., etc.

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By Callum Macrae and Ali Fadhil
The Guardian
20 Mar 06
At the beginning of the Iraq war, the UN entrusted $23bn of Iraqi money to the US-led coalition to redevelop the country. With the infrastructure of the country still in ruins, where has all that money gone?

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By Mike Whitney
Information Clearing House
20 Mar 06
What goes through George Bush's mind when he sees the dead bodies of Iraqi women and children loaded on the back of a pickup truck like garbage?

Is there ever a flicker of remorse; a split-second when he fully grasps the magnitude of the horror he has created?

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ABC News
20 Mar 06
A bloody videotape shot by a local Iraqi journalism student has prompted the Pentagon to launch a criminal investigation into an incident that left at least 15 Iraqi civilians dead in the city of Haditha.

The details of what happened four months ago in Haditha are just now coming to light with the release of the videotape by an Iraqi organization called Hammurabi Human Rights.

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Time Magazine
19 Mar 06
The incident seemed like so many others from this war, the kind of tragedy that has become numbingly routine amid the daily reports of violence in Iraq. On the morning of Nov. 19, 2005, a roadside bomb struck a humvee carrying Marines from Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, on a road near Haditha, a restive town in western Iraq. The bomb killed Lance Corporal Miguel (T.J.) Terrazas, 20, from El Paso, Texas. The next day a Marine communiqué from Camp Blue Diamond in Ramadi reported that Terrazas and 15 Iraqi civilians were killed by the blast and that "gunmen attacked the convoy with small-arms fire," prompting the Marines to return fire, killing eight insurgents and wounding one other. The Marines from Kilo Company held a memorial service for Terrazas at their camp in Haditha. They wrote messages like "T.J., you were a great friend. I'm going to miss seeing you around" on smooth stones and piled them in a funeral mound. And the war moved on.

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By Matthew Schofield
Knight Ridder
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqi police have accused U.S. troops of executing 11 people, including a 75-year-old woman and a 6-month-old infant, in the aftermath of a raid Wednesday on a house about 60 miles north of Baghdad.

The villagers were killed after U.S. troops herded them into a single room of the house, according to a police document obtained by Knight Ridder Newspapers. The soldiers also burned three vehicles, killed the villagers' animals and blew up the house, the document said.

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Patrick Cockburn in Arbril
20 March 2006
Iraq is a country paralysed by fear. It is at its worst in Baghdad. Sectarian killings are commonplace. In the three days after the bombing of the Shia shrine in Samarra on 22 February, some 1,300 people, mostly Sunni, were picked up on the street or dragged from their cars and murdered. The dead bodies of four suspected suicide bombers were left dangling from a pylon in the Sadr City slum.

The scale of the violence is such that most of it is unreported. Iyad Allawi, the former prime minister, said yesterday that scores were dying every day. "It is unfortunate that we are in civil war. We are losing each day, as an average, 50 to 60 people throughout the country, if not more," he said. "If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is."

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Comment: Probability is that the "death squads" are American hired mercenaries or MOSSAD gangs just killing as many people as they can get away with while blaming it on "insurgents."

Last Updated Tue, 21 Mar 2006 08:15:29 EST
CBC News
Suspected insurgents killed at least 17 police officers and freed 33 prisoners during a daybreak attack on a police station in Iraq on Tuesday, police said.

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Evening Echo
20 Mar 06
Iraqi authorities today reported finding 10 more bullet-riddled bodies dumped in the capital Baghdad, one of them that of a 13-year-old girl.

The 10 bodies were the latest gruesome discoveries tied to the underground sectarian war being conducted by Shiite and Sunni Muslims as they settle scores in the chaos that grips the Iraqi capital.

As many as 700 people have been killed in sectarian violence since the February 22 bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra and the subsequent series of car bombings and mortar attacks in the Sadr City slum on March 12.

Baghdadis voiced anger today when asked about their lives as the war entered its fourth year.

"Since US-led troops) came into Iraq, we get nothing," said Ali Zeidan. "Three years have passed by for the Iraqi people and they are still suffering psychologically ... and economically."

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