April 10, 2004

Language Barriers

Condi Rice, asked about a memo titled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States": "This was not a warning. This was a historic memo."

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi says: 'We can't cave in to terrorist threats.'

Muqtada al-Sadr, pledging a halt to violence and calling for the arrest of opportunist looters: "After the intervention of a number of learned clerics and Iraqi personalities and tribal notables, we have decided (we, the office of the martyered Sayyid al-Sadr), to halt the military operations and gatherings, and to stop the disturbance of secure citizens, to halt the attacks on their honor, and to apprehend these rebellious elements and to surrender them to the office of the speaking, fighting religious Center."

It appears this cease-fire, which was probably requested by Ayatollah al-Sistani (currently negotiating with Un reps), may have already collapsed.

Noah Feldman, a US constitutional lawyer involved in UN-Iraq negotiations: "Going after al-Sadr was the stupidest thing Bremer has done since the disbanding of the military."

One of the most pro-U.S. of the Iraqi Governing Council, Adnan Pachachi: “It was not right to punish all the people of Fallujah, and we consider these operations by the Americans unacceptable and illegal.”

Many Iraqis also consider the arrest warrant against al-Sadr illegal, as there is no recognized legal system to issue or enforce it.

General John Abizaid, America's top commander in Iraq, has warned Washington that he will not be "the fall guy" if violence in the country worsens.

Republican Senator Joe Biden: "Do you know what this reminds me of? Only one similarity to Vietnam - the Tet offensive." (the turning point in Vietnam's war)

Also comparing Iarq to Vietnam, Colin Powell says: 'This is quite different... We do not have huge, state sponsors outside of Iraq, flooding the place with weaponry and manpower. It is not a swamp that is going to devour us.'

So what is the US, if not a "huge state sponsor"? And where has all the weaponry come from? In fact, the US has pledged $1 billion to training and arming Iraq police forces, only to see these forces frequently standing aside or even siding with rebels.

And let's leave the last word to Bush, who (SMH reports) "unnerved many when he publicly stumbled over his explanation of who exactly will take over in Iraq on June 30. "The United Nations representative is there now to work on to whom we transfer sovereignty," Bush said haltingly. "It's one thing to say that it's a transfer; we got to ... we're now in the process of deciding what the entity will look like to whom we will transfer sovereignty."

Meanwhile, guess where Bush is spending Easter? That's right... "This is the 33rd visit by Mr Bush to his ranch as president. Adding his 78 visits to Camp David and his five visits to Kennebunkport, Maine, Mr Bush has spent all or part of 500 days in office, or more than 40 per cent of his presidency, at one of his three retreats."


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