From the January 2005 Idaho Observer:

Iraq: The call for withdrawal

"I felt like we would find weapons of mass destruction, like many, many here in the United States ... (and) many around the world. Therefore, one, we need to find out what went wrong with the intelligence gathering." ~G.W. Bush, January 13, 2005

Bring 'em home

From the halls of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Hollywood, Washington D. C. and around the globe comes the call to bring the troops home and end the Iraqi occupation. North Carolina Republican Rep. Howard Coble, head of the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, declared January 8, 2005, that, "it's time for the U.S. to consider withdrawing."

Brent Scowcroft, National Security Adviser during Bush's father's presidency, stated January 6, 2005, that the situation in Iraq now raised the "fundamental question of whether we should get out now."

At the same Washington, D.C., insider event, former National Security Adviser under President Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, flatly declared, "I do not think we can stay in Iraq in the fashion we're in now. If it cannot be changed drastically, it should be terminated."

On January 12, 16 Democrats in the House of Representatives sent a letter to President Bush calling on him to begin the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.Bush regrets "Bring 'em on" talk

Bush regrets "Bring 'em on talk"

WASHINGTON, Jan 14 - President George W. Bush said in an interview that he regrets his blunt talk may have sent "wrong impressions" to a global audience. "Sometimes, words have consequences you don't intend them to mean," he said recently. "'Bring 'em on' is the classic example, when I was really trying to rally the troops and make it clear to them that I fully understood, you know, what a great job they were doing. And those words had an unintended consequence. It kind of, some interpreted it to be defiance in the face of danger. That certainly wasn't the case."

The president also downplayed talk that the U.S. will declare victory in Iraq after elections scheduled there for January 30 and pull its troops home. "It's not coming out of the White House," said Bush. "I know that I want to get our troops home as quickly as we can. I also know we must complete the mission. And, I'm confident we'll succeed."

The costs of occupation

The occupation has to end. Each day that the U.S. stays in Iraq brings death and suffering for all involved. The devastation of Iraq is plain to see, even if impossible to measure, thanks to the Pentagon's refusal to count the Iraqi dead. Each day brings news of more civilian casualties, adding to the 100,000 already estimated by a Lancet study. No one knows how many more have been disabled, maimed, or traumatized by U.S. efforts to bring "freedom and democracy" to their country.


Bush post-election war strategy?

A month before the elections, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh predicted the consequences of a Bush victory for Iraq. "If Bush wins re-election, he will bomb and bomb and bomb," he said. "Civilian targets, civilian neighborhoods."

He was right. Within a week after the election, the administration launched a no-holds barred offensive against Fallujah. Unlike the first assault in 2003, this time around no building was out of bounds in a strategy that was summed by Capt. Paul Fowler in the Boston Globe: "The only way to root them out is to destroy everything in your path."

When the first air strike targeted the city's sole hospital, The New York Times explained the Pentagon's rationale: "The offensive also shut down what officers said was a propaganda weapon for the militants: Fallujah General Hospital, with its stream of reports of civilian casualties." ~From Rethinking Iraq by Lakshmi Chaudhry,


The not so welcome home

The 1,200-plus death toll does not begin to weigh the burdens of war being shouldered by American soldiers. It doesn't count the wounded.

The Pentagon counts 10,000 wounded among the combat-related casualties of war, but there are tens of thousands of non-combat related injuries that are airbrushed out of this carefully edited picture of the occupation. More than 31,000 veterans have sought "disability" benefits for physical or psychological injuries. And most medical and military experts concede that post traumatic stress disorder - which can lead to alcoholism, domestic abuse, homelessness, and suicide - could affect up to 75 percent of all returning soldiers. Let's not forget that a great number of these men and women are between 18 and 22 years old, their young lives destroyed by a cruel, futile and arguably illegal war.

Vietnam-era veterans can tell soldiers returning from Iraq all about the benefits of Veteran's Administration medical care. The legacy of American soldiers broken in U.S.-led corporate wars continues.


Mel Gibson, a hero of many conservatives, shocked many of his fans after the People's Choice awards January 9 by declaring that he liked Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 911" and exclaimed: "What the hell are we doing in Iraq? No one can explain to me in a reasonable manner that I can accept why we're there, why we went there, and why we're still there."

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