Realists in US Tone Down Iran Accusations;
Baquba Dean Executed in Public
Two US GIs were announced killed in al-Anbar Province on Friday. Police found 23 bodies in Baghdad. Iraqi authorities made several arrests, in the small southeastern Shiite city of Kut, of members of a messianic cult that attacked the holy city of Najaf on Sunday.
McClatchy reports that there were two roadside bombings in Baghdad, wounding 3; and a katyusha rocket attack on the Shiite shrine district of Kadhimiya in Baghdad, wounding another 3. In Baladruz in the Diyala province east of Baghdad, guerrillas killed 6 persons. In Diyala's capital, Baquba:
' Dr.Walhan Hameed Al-Timimi, Dean of the College Physical Education in Dyala University was assassinated in full view of the teachers on campus. His son was with him and suffered the same fate. The Staff point an accusing finger at the President of the university, Dr. Alaa' Al-Atbi, saying that he is involved with armed groups and facilitates their tasks by setting up the targets and doing nothing in way of calling for assistance if any attacks took place . . .
The big briefing planned by the Bush administration on supposed Iranian weapons shipments to Iraq had to be postponed because the presentation was judged exaggerated and unsubstantiated by Secretary of State Condi Rice and by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates. So that raises the question of who was spearheading this presentation inside the Bush administration? Getting Iran is an obsession of the Neoconservatives at the American Enterprise Institute and their plants inside the administration, such as Iran-Contra felon Elliot Abrams in the National Security Council and David Wurmser and John Hannah on Cheney's rump Veep national security council. Many Neoconservatives and other sorts of wingnut have a secret alliance with the Marxist Islamist MEK terrorist organization, which feeds them allegations about Iran in Iraq just as Ahmad Chalabi used to with regard to the Baath regime in Iraq.
So have the Cheney Neoconservatives been at least somewhat reined in by a new Rice-Gates axis of Realists?
As for the Karbala operation where US troops were kidnapped, a reader with experience in Iraq sends along extensive evidence for the ability of the Sunni Arab guerrillas to pull off sophisticated such attacks, including the infiltration of the lunch room at a US base at Mosul.
Tom Teepen recalls that in the Korean War, Truman and Eisenhower could easily have escalated to conflict with the Soviet Union on the grounds that it was aiding the enemy war effort, but declined to do so. Sometimes one enemy is enough to deal with.
Iranian officials suggest that it is US failures, in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine, that drive Bush to scapegoat Iran. Also, Iraqi authorities lifted a curfew in Najaf and surrounding towns as turmoil died down from the conflict with millenarian Shiites of the Army of Heaven.
Jim Lobe has further response to the Iraq National Intelligence Estimate. I am quoted, pointing out that the NIE explicitly acknowledges that a civil war is being fought in Iraq, but that other sorts of violent conflict are also occurring. I'd say that is worse than just a civil war.
The Bush administration is asking for another $100 billion ($100,000,000,000.00) for Iraq (and a little of it goes to the war in Afghanistan). This is off the budget books. It may get figured in eventually, but when the budget deficit estimate was made this fall, it was not included even though Bush knew he would ask for this money. Bush is also planning to ask for another $145 billion, which is also not in the regular budget. Basically, around the time Bush goes out of office we may know what the real deficits were that he ran. Cost of his wars so far adjusted for inflation: $663 billion ($663,000,000,000.00)