You can't really spin 1700 dead Americans

With four GIs killed in a day, the official death toll of American personnel reached 1,700 on Sunday.

Oil production remains sporadic, and a story reports that various northern tribes currently paid to defend Iraqi pipelines may in fact be attacking those lines, in order to provide the appearance of more demand for their services. On the other hand, maybe Kurds are being awarded these security jobs at the expense of Arabs. Haaretz ponders "Why isn't Iraq getting on its feet?"

Does Bush believe his own propaganda? And is persuasion dead?

Pirates raid the oil tankers at Basra. The persistence of the insurgency. Pointed out that suicide tactic-using groups generally direct their fire against foreign occupiers. A rare interview with Muqtada al-Sadr. Oh great, Zalmay Khalilzad is ready to provide Iraq with his special golden touch as our new ambassador. Stories about the "Bunkers reveal well-equipped, sophisticated insurgency:"

an Islamic mufti, or spiritual leader, living near Fallujah offered a different take: He said the bunkers were proof that the insurgency is unbowed.

"This shows the failure of the Marines. It was close to their base and they could not see it," said the mufti, who formerly sat on the council that directed insurgents in Fallujah. He spoke by phone Saturday evening on the condition of anonymity. "The Americans think they know everything. But when they came to Iraq they thought the people would receive them with flowers. Instead of flowers they found these bunkers."

Haitham al-Dulaimi, who works at a garage in Ramadi, had a similar reaction.

"Are you sure they found it near Fallujah?" he asked, laughing. "It shows you how much the Iraqi resistance has insulted the Americans."

Our Man Bolton is in some more trouble as news comes out that he monkeyed with WMD bureaucrats at the UN, basically in order to prevent the further erosion of Bush's WMD war rationale. And of course more from a DailyKos diarist.

"The Left Must learn from 2004" an interview addressing the antiwar movement etc. Blumenthal on the Gulag.

Freedom House is one of the sketchiest things in the world. Consider press releases about the evil of Kazakhstan, the major cash they have running it... more on this later.

Did I already mention Karen Kwiatkowski? Yeah.

We heard about a recent video that purportedly showed the Srebrenica massacres. but was it all sort of a spun-up justification for "Imperial intervention in the Balkans"? Why not?

Latin America doesn't fancy the Democracy Monitoring thing.

Newsweek's Baghdad Bureau Chief is leaving the place after two years, and he sounds sad and embittered.

Frontline has a bunch of sweet Middle East stories including the stuff in Lebanon, Iraq etc.

Daniel 'Pentagon Papers' Ellsberg reflects on the need to call for withdrawal from Iraq. Rep. Lynn Woolsey has offered a proposal in the House about finding withdrawal policies. Sort of a symbolic gesture but worthwhile.

"Long-exiled general battles warlord in Lebanon voting." Ah the sublime ironies of Lebanese politics.

"Iran from the Inside."

Interesting BBC documentary called the Power of Nightmares, which I linked to a while ago, now has a fairly astute review of it via PressTrust.com.

Reflecting on Deep Throat week in Washington. I watched "All the President's Men" the other day. Hell yeah. "It's not about the big break; it's about doing the job well." The best kind of anon source. Larry David is hilarious.

A German city is building 'sex huts' for prostitutes at the World Cup. Now that's servicing a crowd...

WaPo opines that the recent court ruling wasn't really about pot. Another victory for the industrial-drug-law-enforcement complex. People at smokedot are sad.

Interesting looking website: "Defense and the National Interest" @ defense-and-society.org. Haven't examined it too closely but they have a very interesting feature pages about fourth generation warfare, Col. Boyd and military strategy, as well as various essays from such folks as William Lind (Rummy's Wreck it and Run management, striking back at the empire, the Century of the Believers), and also the "Werther Report - fourth generation warfare and riddles of culture." I don't agree with all this stuff but i find it interesting.

Also a SFTT story about how the military pursues deserters. Certainly has its own viewpoint on the matter... I tend to believe that people bailing on the armed forces have the right to do so, considering the top management is quite crazy and the war is incredibly bad.

Here's the full text of the British Cabinet Office paper "Conditions for Military Action." I just like to read these paragraphs:

1. The US Government's military planning for action against Iraq is proceeding apace. But, as yet, it lacks a political framework. In particular, little thought has been given to creating the political conditions for military action, or the aftermath and how to shape it.

2. When the Prime Minister discussed Iraq with President Bush at Crawford in April he said that the UK would support military action to bring about regime change, provided that certain conditions were met: efforts had been made to construct a coalition/shape public opinion, the Israel-Palestine Crisis was quiescent, and the options for action to eliminate Iraq's WMD through the UN weapons inspectors had been exhausted.

3. We need now to reinforce this message and to encourage the US Government to place its military planning within a political framework, partly to forestall the risk that military action is precipitated in an unplanned way by, for example, an incident in the No Fly Zones. This is particularly important for the UK because it is necessary to create the conditions in which we could legally support military action. Otherwise we face the real danger that the US will commit themselves to a course of action which we would find very difficult to support.

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