May 03, 2004

The Iraqi general chosen to run a new security force in Falluja yesterday distanced himself from the US military by refusing American demands to give up foreign fighters supposedly hiding in the city.

Eleven US soldiers have died in the first 48 hours of
May. For what? But instead of leading with the grim
statistic, the 'US Mainstream News Media" wants you to
focus on the escape of one Red State (Mississippi)
trucker working for Halliburton who had been taken
hostage. The LNS does not begrudge the Hamill family
its relief, but dear God what about the eleven familes that
lost their loved ones this weekend? The "war on
terror" is NOT the strength of the incredible
shrinking _resident's abomination, excuse me, I mean
"administration," it is the SHAME of the incredible
shrinking _resident's abomination, again, excuse me, I
mean "administration." Yes, the November 2004
Presidential election is nothing less than a national
referendum on the CHARACTER, CREDIBILITY and
COMPETENCE of the incredible shrinking _resident, who
is riding around Ohio and Michigan today, while his
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Dick Mires,
blunders his way through comments like this one:

"There's another general they're looking at," Gen
Myers told ABC's This Week. "My guess is, it will not
be General Saleh. It will not - he will not be their
leader ... He may have a role to play, but that
vetting has yet to take place."

What is happening in this country? The "US mainstream
news media" forfeited its responsibility to provide
the US electorate with facts in the ramp up to this
foolish military adventure. Now is it going to forfeit
its responsibility to provide the US electorate with
the facts of the DEBACLE in Iraq? We are on the verge
of a catastrophe. It is important to note at this
moment that much if not most of the miliary
establishment, much if not most of the intelligence
establishment and much if not most of the foreign
policy establishment was against this war at this time
under these conditions without eithe rour traditional
allies or a UN mandate...When will the "US Mainstream
News Media" wake up and defend the US Constitution
instead of providing cover for the incredible
shrinking _resident, Gen. Mires and the rest of this
INCOMPETENT "national security team"...The Guardian,
published in the UK, is still America's best
newspaper...Read it, and weep...

Rory McCarthy, Guardian: The Iraqi general chosen to run a new security force in Falluja yesterday distanced himself from the US military by refusing American demands to give up foreign fighters supposedly hiding in the city.
As a flood of civilians returned home after four weeks
of a ferocious assault on the city by American
marines, Major General Jasim Mohammed Saleh said the
US had provoked a backlash from ordinary Iraqis.
"The reasons for the resistance go back to the
American provocations, the raids and abolishing the
army, which made Iraqis join the resistance," he said.

Support Our Troops, Show Up for Democracy in 2004:
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http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0503-01.htm

Published on Monday, May 3, 2004 by the Guardian/UK
Iraqi General Refuses to Give Up Falluja Fighters
by Rory McCarthy in Falluja

The Iraqi general chosen to run a new security force
in Falluja yesterday distanced himself from the US
military by refusing American demands to give up
foreign fighters supposedly hiding in the city.

As a flood of civilians returned home after four weeks
of a ferocious assault on the city by American
marines, Major General Jasim Mohammed Saleh said the
US had provoked a backlash from ordinary Iraqis.

"The reasons for the resistance go back to the
American provocations, the raids and abolishing the
army, which made Iraqis join the resistance," he said.


American commanders say 200 foreign fighters are holed
up in Falluja and have demanded that the city hands
them over. But Gen Saleh, an ex-Republican Guard
officer who has been mooted to run a 1,000-strong
local security force, has refused. "There are no
foreign fighters in Falluja and the local tribal
leaders have told me the same," he said.

His remarks have put him at odds with the US-led
coalition.

Yesterday America's most senior military officer, the
chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Richard
Myers, added to the confusion about Gen Saleh's role
by denying that he had been put in charge of Falluja.

"There's another general they're looking at," Gen
Myers told ABC's This Week. "My guess is, it will not
be General Saleh. It will not - he will not be their
leader ... He may have a role to play, but that
vetting has yet to take place."

Gen Myers, who stressed that the marines were not
withdrawing from Falluja, did not respond to a
question earlier on Fox News about whether Gen Saleh,
one of Saddam Hussein's generals, had been involved in
brutally suppressing Iraq's Kurdish minority.

He told Fox: "The goals and objectives ... in Falluja
have been what they've been all along. We've got to
deal with the extremist and foreign fighters, we've
got to get rid of the heavy weapons and we've got to
find the folks that perpetrated the Blackwater
atrocity", in which four American contract workers
were killed and mutilated by a mob.

Yesterday Iraqi police and members of the new Iraqi
Civil Defense Corps were positioned along the main
street in the city, but many of the back roads were
still under the control of men with their faces
wrapped in scarves and armed with Kalashnikovs and
rocket-propelled grenades.

In a back street behind the ICDC's headquarters, young
recruits gave their names to register for the new
security force. Once approved by a local former Iraqi
army officer they received a uniform and a pair of
desert boots. Several tried to sell the boots almost
immediately, asking for 15,000 dinars (8) a pair.

"What the people want now is security and that is what
we are providing," said Salah Noori, 22, a Fallujan
student who studies management at Baghdad University
and signed up yesterday to join the new force. "But
you know this big battle in Falluja wasn't just to get
the Americans out of our city, it was to get the
Americans out of Iraq. We have had a great victory in
Falluja. The Americans have all these weapons and we
had nothing, and we fought them."

Until now the police and civil Defense corps, both
created by the US military, have struggled to assert
any authority in Falluja. Marked out as collaborators,
they regularly face attack.

"The core of the problem is when you bring people to
provide security who have been chosen by the Americans
and not by the people of Falluja," said another
recruit, Ahmad Khudair, 32. "Gen Saleh is not chosen
by the Americans and he is supported by the people
here. He will bring the right solution."

Several of the families returning to the city called
at the football stadium, which at the start of the
fighting was turned into an impromptu graveyard. At
the entrance a white cloth banner hung from the wall,
leading to the "martyrs cemetery of Falluja". Doctors
say at least 600 Iraqis died in the fighting, and many
are buried here.

Yesterday each grave was marked with a simple concrete
slab for a headstone, a name and an epithet quickly
painted on. "The courageous martyr Nasser Hussein.
Killed doing his duty on April 15 and buried the same
day," read the first.

Others were unidentified. "Here lies an unknown
martyr, a big security guard with a blue shirt ...
found near the industrial area with a chain of keys,"
said one. A pair of brown boots stuck out from one mud
heap. The inscription on the stone read: "An unknown
worker from the industrial area, wearing a black shirt
with yellow pants, found inside a white Oldsmobile
car."

Some were women, while other graves held more than one
body. Many of those at the graveyard came not to
search for relatives, but just to look. "What can I
say?" said one man. "Just look for yourself at this."

Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

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Posted by richard at May 3, 2004 02:14 PM