http://projects.washingtonpost.com/fallen/ - Faces of the Fallen
http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?list=type&type=15 - Halliburton This company truly has a guardian angel: former Halliburton CEO and now Vice President Dick Cheney who looks out for its interests from the White House. The result? $8 billion in contracts “rebuilding” Iraq in 2004.
The www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2006/11/13/us_is_top_purveyor_on_weapons_sales_list/?rss_id=Boston.com+%2F+News - United States last year provided nearly half of the weapons sold to militaries in the developing world, as major arms sales to the most unstable regions -- many already engaged in conflict -- grew to the highest level in eight years
In Other News
11.13.2006 -- As violence rages in Iraq -- 159 people, including 35 members of Iraq's police force and three U.S. troops, were killed Sunday -- President Bush meets with the Iraq Study Group (ISG) today, an independent panel reexamining the administration's Iraq policy. The Washington Post reports that James Baker, former secretary of state and co-chairman of the ISG, has been testing the waters for some time to determine how much change in Iraq policy will be tolerated by the White House." Hopefully, that report is in error. For too long President Bush and the White House have been listening only to people who tell them what they want to hear. Baker and the rest of the ISG have an obligation to tell the administration and the public what, in their view, is the best course of action for the country. Early reports indicate that the ISG may recommend "withdrawing American troops in phases."
Yesterday, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), who will become chairman of the the Senate Armed Service Committee next year, declared his support for a "phased withdrawal" of U.S. troops, beginning early next year. Levin's call was echoed by incoming Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and incoming Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE). The new leaders will introduce a resolution calling for phased withdrawal. White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten called it "a very bad idea."
Yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) again called for sending more troops to Iraq. McCain's plan is to send 20,000 more troops to Iraq. He acknowledges that to do so it would require "expanding the Army and Marine Corps by as much as 100,000 people," something that can't happen overnight. Yet McCain also said yesterday, "We’re either going to lose this thing or win this thing within the next several months." McCain's plan for more troops is supported by just eight percent of the American public (and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I/D-CT).) There is ample reason for the American public to be skeptical. Sending more troops to Baghdad over the last several months failed to reduce violence in the capital.
McCain suggested that, if U.S. forces were to redeploy, it would lead to "chaos." How would he describe what's happening in Iraq now? The morgues in Baghdad are overflowing. In October, "about 1,600 bodies were turned in at the Baghdad central morgue." At other morgues, bodies are being turned away because there isn't "enough cold storage" to accommodate them. Although estimating civilian casualties is difficult, "The Iraqi health minister last week put civilian deaths over the entire 44 months since the U.S. invasion at about 150,000 -- close to the U.N. figure and about three times the previously accepted estimates of 45,000 to 50,000." Strategic redeployment provides the best opportunity to end the chaos because it 1) provides an incentive for Iraqis to move beyond sectarian disputes and take responsibility for their own security, and 2) eliminates a key target and source of motivation for insurgents, i.e. the U.S. occupation.
As the situation deteriorates in Iraq, new congressional leaders are seeking to restore some modicum of accountability. This year, a provision "slipped into a huge military authorization bill" by administration allies "set a termination date for...the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction." The New York Times reports, "The agency’s findings have consistently undermined Bush administration claims of widespread success in the reconstruction of Iraq." Congressional Democrats say they will "press new legislation next week" that will restore the power of the Special Inspector General, and "add about $2 billion -- for training and equipping Iraqi security forces -- to the amount that the agency could investigate."
From the “Who Cares” Section
Citing last year's "overwhelming response," religious right groups have already launched their annual efforts to "defend Christmas." Liberty Counsel, a Jerry Falwell-linked conservative legal watchdog group, recently kicked off its "Friend or Foe" campaign "to defend Christmas from secularist attempts to suppress the holiday's traditional, faith-based aspects." Said one Counsel representative, "We wanted to give people enough time this year to report issues regarding Christmas so they can be resolved before Christmas." Meanwhile, "wishing for a bigger holiday season after a sluggish fall," Wal-Mart announced last week that "60 percent more of its merchandise will be labeled with 'Christmas'" and that "customers will hear Christmas carols as they shop." "We listened to our customers," Wal-Mart spokesman Steven Restivo said. "There's a call to return to a core Merry Christmas message." Whether the right-wing media will get behind the campaign this year remains to be seen. Last year, Christmas warrior Bill O'Reilly "apparently reversed his previous position that the phrase 'Happy Holidays' is offensive, stating, "'Happy Holidays' is fine, just don't ban 'Merry Christmas.'" Media Matters noted that O'Reilly had previously claimed the term "Happy Holidays" is offensive to "millions of Christians" and "insulting to Christian America."