Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Put My Son’s Name on a Bomb

Where is the Truth?

[I am taking a break from my usual ravings about politics and religion and terror to relate some sequence that involves people who are directly affected by personal losses that came as a result of the present bloody conflict. It is these losses that are felt by people on both sides that so many politicians, war mongers, terrorists and bloody minded fools pay so little attention to. The post is unusually long put I make no apologies for that this time.]

Regular readers may recall that some time ago, I was deeply disturbed by poll statistics depicting how many Americans believed Iraq was responsible for 9/11.

Less than a fortnight ago, a friend forwarded to me an ugly story about a retired policeman who wanted to put the name of his son who was killed in 9/11 on a bomb going to Iraq.

I did a Google search of the term “put my son’s name on a bomb” and found several links. I followed a few of them to confirm the transaction which troubled me deeply. Please do your own search and follow the links for full details of the exchange of e-mail messages. Here is a summary:


A NY retired police officer started the “Simple Request”:
From: ***@aol.com [mailto:***@aol.com] Sent: Friday, March 14, 2003 5:32 PM To: pao@centcom.mil Subject: Simple Request

Dear Public Affairs Officer:

If possible can this be relayed to a Navy, Air Force or Army or Marine unit in the Gulf Region. A simple request from a Vietnam Veteran and Retired New York City Police Department Sergeant who lost his son on 911 at the WTC. Simply to have his son's name put on one of the munitions (bomb, missile, artillery shell) that will be used on the war on terrorism including Iraq. His son's name was Jason Sekzer, the father is Wilton A. Sekzer and can be reached at ***@aol.com.

Thank you.

Gary Gorman Retired Police Officer NYPD ESS#1 Brooklyn, NY 11214

A long series of emails between various officers follows which ended with a short
“Can do” message from a Major Boehm on March 19 – only 5 days after the original request. Quite efficient I must say. The war hadn’t started yet.

And finally, 10 days into the war, “Mission Accomplished” message from Major Boehm:
From: Boehm Maj Joseph R [mailto:BoehmJR@taoc.3mawdm.usmc.mil] Sent: Wednesday, April 02, 2003 4:50 AM To: DiDomenico SSgt John C; Johnson Maj Thomas V Cc: ProudPD@aol.com; NYPD24423@aol.com Subject: RE: Simple Request

Attached from yesterday. Hope this is satisfactory. Sorry for the delay but business is booming. The weapons don't stay still long enough to write on them. For the record: The weapon this tribute was written on is a 2000 pound, Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) GPS guided bomb. It's big, it's ugly and it's always lethal, just like we love them. It was dropped on the night of 1 April 03 against targets located east of Baghdad. The targets were associated with the Al Nida division of the Republican Guard. A United States Marine Corps F/A-18D based in Kuwait flew the mission. The mission and the weapon were 100% successful. Let me know if there is any more I can do. It's my honor and pleasure. Regards.

Semper Fi Major Joe Boehm

Attached to the message were three photographs of the bomb with the dedication “In Loving Memory of Justin Sekzer” being loaded on the plane.


I felt so angry!

Almost immediately I wrote an (extremely) angry message on April 12th to Mr. Sekzer and to Mr. Garman who had initiated the original request.


I am writing this message from Baghdad (the receiving end) to late Jason’s father to let him know what he has done.

Mr. Wilton A. Sekzer,

Over the past two years I have had to suffer many losses. I am writing this letter to you “in loving memory of my life-long friend Ghassan” who never hurt anybody in his life and who was killed for no reason other than that there are many people like you in this world.

All that blood shed in Afghanistan in 2001 was not enough to avenge your son. You had to put his name on a bomb going to Iraq in 2003 to kill more innocent people… in his name!

I hope you that your revenge was sweet. That bomb did not bring your son back. It turned you into a murderer yourself. You put your son’s name on a 2000 lb. weapon that must have killed quite a number of innocent people who had absolutely nothing to do with your son’s death.

You have taken part in killing innocent people who had nothing to do with your son’s death or with 9/11. Many happened to be Arabs. Many happened to be Muslim. That’s it! It may help you sleep better at night to know that some of those people were not Muslim and some were not Arab.

Blind Revenge! No wonder the US army was so fond of repeating that on the second day of the war more than 3000 bombs were dropped on Baghdad.

There were many other bombs like that during that war and many more during the two years that followed which killed many more innocent people. There were other atrocities during those two years. Abu Ghraib, Fallujah, Najaf, Tel Afar, Ramadi, Mosul…thousands of innocent bystanders gunned down for no reason.

Your people haven’t even yet bothered to count how many. All we have are “estimates” ranging from 20,000 (estimated through media reports in a country where reporters cannot venture outside protected fortresses!!) to 100,000 (estimated by Lancet, a professional medical body which many people in the States would like to see discredited – I don’t know why!) That is not to mention the countless others killed or kidnapped by terrorists and criminals let loose by the other administrative revenge implemented by your administration.

Wouldn’t you like to know how many of those terrorists were killed to avenge your son? Your rationale may be to kill as many people as you can so that perhaps you will kill enough terrorists. You have also devastated a country and made many millions of people suffer for two years.

Well, like all mad murderers you failed. You killed many, many innocent people and managed to create many terrorists bent on blind revenge.

Those innocent people have fathers too.
They have sons and daughters and mothers.
They have brothers and sisters and cousins.
They have friends and townsmen and tribes.

People down here are much more closely connected.
You try and visualize the numbers.
Some of them will have dreams of revenge too.
Some of them will be blinded by that revenge too.
Some will do anything they can to send death to NY city to avenge their loved ones too.

These feelings of anger and injustice have rippled to 300 million people who see themselves as Arabs. They are felt by a further 1000 million people who see themselves as Muslims who now believe that they are targeted simply for being what they are… because of people like you!

Do you have any idea how many vindictive fanatics there are in 1300 million people?

No War on Terror, no technology, no puppet regimes, no freedom and democracy pretences and no claims of being decent will convince them or protect you from them. And you don’t know where they will hit or when… in a year, in 10 years’ time… or a 100 years’ time. But I sadly assure you that they will. People like that unfortunately do exist… just like you.

The problem is that those people in seeking revenge will not kill you but will kill other innocent people.

And people like you will start wailing: “Why do these people hate us?…. What have we done to them?… they are not human!...”.

Please remember that in this in this new series of terrorism you are the original terrorist and “Original Sinner”.

Sir, you have disgraced the memory of your own son and have assisted in the future murder of other innocent people like him.

I feel sorrow that innocent Jason lost his life. But I also feel sorry for him that he had such a primitive, vindictive father who, as a retired police officer, is supposed to represent the law of civilization… not the law of the jungle.

Abu Khaleel


Several days later I received a reply from Mr. Garman who had initiated the original request. Following a request, he kindly gave me his permission to publish it.

Dear Mr. Khaleel,
I believe you were misinformed regarding this request. I was the original person requesting Jason's name be pout on munitions that were to be dropped in Afghanistan on terrorists operating in that country. The request was made in early 2002. No mention was ever made of Iraq.

I am only a retired NYPD Police Officer but I think I speak for most Americas in that we do not hold the Iraq people rerp[somsibe for Sept 11th. We hope that American forces will be able to soon come home and a free Iraq will florish in the reagion.


Gary Gorman


By any standard, and whatever a person’s position regarding this war is, this is a sad story of sorrow and anger between people who lost loved ones in this violent episode.

The transaction is all there. I seek the help of those who took part in the sequence of events to shed some light on the truth.


Apparently you were the enthusiastic victim of an urban legend. You believed because you wanted to believe.

Don't follow the "urban legend" thought. If Gorman's reply is genuine, the basic facts of the story are confirmed - the discrepencies that Abu wants clarified are just where and when?

Hello Abu Khaleel,
Bravo! I think you 'got' Officer Gorman, based on his rather sheepish formula reply. Never let these 'patriotic pals' get away with their 'bullshitting'.
It seems that they never expected that anyone would actually confront them, let alone an angry Muslim. Maybe it will make them think twice?

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Urban legends go both ways here's another:

One of my dear sons serves in the military. I'm a very proud Mom. He is still stateside here in California. He called me yesterday to let me know how warm and welcoming people were to him and his troops everywhere he goes. Telling me how people shake their hands, and thank them for being willing to serve and fight, for not only our own freedoms, but so that others may have them also.

But he also told me about an incident in the grocery store where he stopped yesterday, on his way home from the base. He said that ahead of several people in front of him stood a woman dressed in a burkha. He said when she got to the cashier she loudly remarked about the U.S. flag lapel pin the cashier wore on her smock.

The cashier reached up and touched the pin, and said, "Yes, I always wear it."

The woman in the burkha then asked the cashier when she was going to stop bombing her countrymen, explaining that she was an Iraqi.

A gentleman standing behind my son stepped forward, putting his arm around my son's shoulders, and nodding towards my son, said in a calm and gentle voice to the Iraqi woman, "Lady, hundreds of thousands of men and women like this young man have fought and died so that you could stand here, in MY country and accuse a checkout cashier of bombing your Countrymen. It is my belief that, had you been this outspoken in YOUR OWN country, we wouldn't need to be there today. But, hey! if you have now learned how to speak out so loudly and clearly, I'll gladly pay your way back to Iraq so you can straighten out the mess you are obviously here to avoid."

Everyone in line, and within hearing distance, cheered the older Gentleman, coming forward as they reached for their wallets. The woman in the burkha left the store in silence.

I am, like at least some that were in the store, outraged! But it also warmed my heart to know that we as Americans are speaking out, calmly and succinctly (finally) to those that enjoy the freedoms here in the US.

Hooray for Ann Rea's son, hooray for that checker, hooray for the gentleman in the store for his actions, hooray for Ann Rea for sharing this with all of us.

God Bless America and Our Troops!

Origins: We first encountered this e-mail in April 2003, during the early days of the war in Iraq. Since then it has been passed from inbox to inbox, variously titled "Ann Rea's Son," Rea's Son," and "Letter From A Mom."

Is it a true story? We don't know. There is little in it that lends itself to independent verification — other than his being identified as "Ann Rea's son" in some tellings, the serviceman is not named (and the question remains open as to whether "Ann Rea" is a first-and-surname combo or a double-barreled given name), and neither his base nor his unit is mentioned. Likewise, none of the other characters in the story have names or are in any other way identifiable; not the patriotic cashier, the burqa-clad woman, or the outspoken older man. Indeed, neither the name of the store nor that of the city where the incident purportedly took place is provided.

Some folks question the e-mail on the basis of its key figure being described as wearing a burqa, a traditional head-to-toe covering worn by many women in Afghanistan — someone from Iraq would be highly unlikely to don such a garment, given that Iraq is a far more secular part of the Muslim world. They correctly point out that in the U.S. a woman clad in such a garment would be a rare sight indeed and that anyone so garbed would be unlikely to be found shopping unaccompanied by her husband or other male relative or to be addressing those she encountered in the outspoken manner attributed to the woman in this story. Yet it is entirely possible the story's author confused one unfamiliar article of clothing for another, describing the woman as clad in a burqa when he meant she was wearing a chador (a quite different kind of robe) or a hijab (a head scarf), the latter commonly worn by Muslim women in the U.S.

In the almost-year since this story first made the rounds, no one has stepped forward to claim authorship of it or to say "Yes, I was that soldier" or "My mother was that cashier" or "I was another customer in the store that day and saw the confrontation." Does this mean the story is fiction? Well, no. The lack of supporting evidence doesn't disprove the account, it just fails to prove it.

However, when evidence to confirm them is lacking, one should strive to remain skeptical of what are presented as real-life accounts that state in narrative form things people are predisposed to believe, especially those tales wherein wrongdoers get their comeuppance through being told off by others. The "ungrateful Iraqi read the riot act over her lack of appreciation for the sacrifices Americans are making for her" is too neat an illustration of a concept held too dearly by too many not to be viewed with a dose of suspicion.

Many Americans view their country's war with Iraq as a humanitarian effort undertaken to liberate the sorely oppressed Iraqi people from a monster of a leader, and they are therefore angered by a seeming lack of gratitude on the part of those they are rescuing. Because the issue is so clear-cut to them, they find it hard to accept that some Iraqis may continue to be resentful of the coalition forces that invaded their land, bombed their cities, killed some of their citizens, and are still occupying their country. To those Americans who have seen their sons and daughters shipped off to fight this war, it's ludicrous their soldiers are being cold-shouldered by the very folks they're dying for. A story of one such Iraqi being publicly reminded of what's being done for her will resonate quite strongly with those parents (and other Americans), in that such a tale represents a voicing of what many of them would very much like to say.

Barbara "yarns that cause the brows to knit" Mikkelson

Last updated: 26 March 2004

The URL for this page is http://www.snopes.com/rumors/lapelpin.asp

BTW - Abu or anyone else. Please load the picture of the bomb into 'photoshop' type image editor and let me know if it doesn't look fishy to you as well.

Even zooming to 200% you will notice a distinct white pixel layering around the writing. If it was black marker ink on a gray bomb, why would the lettering by highlighted?

It becomes even more pronounced if you zoom further. The pixelation around the lettering is all broken up, while the pixelation on other parts of the image is clear.

Some of you may recall that snapshot of a US soldier laughing with an Iraqi boy and holding a cardboard sign saying something like: "I bombed your dad, I raped your sister, and look how happy I am..."

Did any of you see that?

Anyway, the pic was a sham. I never did see the original, but he sure didn't write what a clever left wing photoshop editor propagandist wanted us to think he wrote.

I'm not an image editor, so I suggest you look at the image yourselves.

What do you think? Is it legit?

Brian H,

I probably believed because many other similar bombs killed many innocent people.


I allowed abusive remarks on the last post because they helped illustrate my point… but I assure you that this will not be the new ‘policy’ on this blog.

As to my own actions locally… again, you are employing your standard tactic of “Assume and Attack”. Such a tactic may influence those “uninformed” people who may be “misinformed” by your statements. Please do not assume too much about things you know so little about.

Anonymous (= gutless);

To start with, the bomb fell in Afghanistan, not Iraq. Which is, you may recall, where the Taliban and Al Quaeda were in charge? So the Iraqi's outrage is totally out to lunch, because he believed a "legendized" version of the story which transplanted the bomb to Iraq.

Got it yet?

Brian H
I don’t normally waste my time on fools, but if you are addressing me then I will assist you with the complex task of reading simple English.
1) In Abu’s post, the e-mail reply he quotes from Mr Gorman says "The request was made in early 2002."
2) However Mr Gorman’s e-mail to the military is dated 14 March 2003.
3) In the chain of military e-mails that Abu references, from InformationClearingHouse, the final e-mail from Major Boehm says quite specifically "...it was dropped on the night of 1 April 03 against targets located east of Baghdad ..." Baghdad is in Iraq, not in Afghanistan.
This is what is known in English-speaking circles as a discrepancy, and is what, as I understand it, Abu is wanting to clarify.
Got it yet?

Abu Khaleel,
I did a google search on this as well. Google came up with 5 different links all originating from the same site. http://www.albasrah.net/ ...
Hardly an unbiased news agency. Don't be so quick to believe everything that you read.

Abu Khaleel,

It seems you are quite selective when deciding what is abusive.

Other than referring to that one person as a 'feckless and etc.,' (mind you there was no profanity), there wasn't anything abusive in the post. Funny there wasn't a peep from you when others leveled similar epithets against me...

My point was that Gorman forwarded the request from a very upset father who's son had been deliberately murdered by terrorists. It had nothing to do with patriotism. The request is not so surprising. This man was just lashing out irrationally. That often happens when your son gets murdered.

Regarding my assumption of things I know little about - I was actually asking for information.

It struck me as odd that so much outrage was levelled against this man who lost his son and sent a letter, while I see very little outrage on this blog against the terrorists. Perhaps you feel outrage, but you don't show it? "Die Tone macht die Musik."

Personally, I am far more outraged against people who deliberately murder innocent civilians.

What is it like on the ground in Iraq? Do you fear the terrorists personally? Is there a risk that acquaintences may be participating? Have people organized against them? What are your ideas on the matter? I would think with daily bombing of innocents by these madmen it would be a topic on your mind.

Why not leave Gorman alone for a bit and go after the terrorists?

Dear American super-patriots,

This raghead on this side of the Atlantic is unimpressed!

I particularly take issue with Lynn’s patronising attitude. I gave you a lead for an investigation. You saw albasrah.net and made important conclusions. BTW my google gives not 5 but 59 links. Perhaps you should upgrade yours!

I also enjoyed Brian’s jumping to conclusions. I find these especially amusing because of his fondness of providing us with various propaganda links. Please follow some of the links that you do not like. We all have to sometime.

Here is another lead: the BBC documantary “Why we fight” interviewed the retired police officer. Please let me know if you need some more help.

When we have that difficult task behind us, perhaps we can have a more fruitful debate to analyze the discrepancies in hand.

Charles: Will you please read what I write for a change? You may find some answers to your questions there. This particular post is about Officer Gorman. If you do not like the subject, you can go away and come back when we discuss terrorists. More significantly, this post is about innocent people killed by your bombs. I can understand if you do not find the subject appealing.

Circular: Will you calm down please? This is going to be a long “debate”. It is not the end of the story! The discrepancies are far from resolved.

OK Abu.

google did come up with 4 links all back to the same place.

CNN had this:

"Construction worker William Sekzer's son, Jason, died September 11. He attended the rally because he believes the terrorist attack is connected to the war on Iraq.

"What do you want as proof?" Sekzer asked. "Do you want Saddam Hussein shaking hands with Osama bin Laden?""

BBC - Why we fight:
Interview with Director:

"If a viewer can see a man on screen, like Wilton, who after losing his son in 9/11, comes to understand that the extraordinary patriotism and downright hawkishness of his youth was misguided, Wilton Sekzer, retired NY cop and turns in another direction, that's the kind of learning I think everyone should seek. It inspires one to remember that there is the prospect for change."

What are we looking for BTW?

Did anyone load picture into photoshop?

Abu Khaleel,
You particularly take issue with Lynn’s patronising attitude? I don't get it. Where was the patronizing attitude? And I certainly would never consider myself an American SUPER patriot! Is that what you think I am? How ridiculous. Makes me laugh! If you only knew! That would be like me calling you a terrorist just because you believe and get upset by something that that wesite, albasrah.net put out for that very purpose. I'm not saying that a version of it was not true but it was put out by that website intentionally to get your rage up just as that other thing that I had posted was put out in order to incite hatred for Arabs living in this country. Rational, peace loving people are able to see the hate for what it is. Then others try to put themselves in others shoes and understand that if it were true the man was out of his mind with grief and be able to forgive him. That bomb was going where it was going whether that man had asked for his son's name to go on it or not. The name being on it was only symbolic and as the man told you it was aimed at Osama not innocent Iraqis. So who do you think it was that put the Iraqi spin on the letter? Would you have been as upset as you were had you known then what the father told you in his e-mail?
Of course Google came up with more than just five hits. But the majority of them were only related because they contained the words son or bomb or name. Obviously I'm no computer whiz because I have no idea how to update other's websites. Is there a google update that can be dowloaded or something?

Dear all:

I just hate to be part of the finger pointing war that is taking place on Abu Khaleel’s blog. The mission of this blog, if I am not mistaken, is far from hatred and racism.. It is a message of peace, unity and learning.. It is a great source of information and an important tool for global discussion.

As for the Iraqi- American growing hate… I strongly believe that it does not exist and if it does then it is in the mind of a group of sick people.. I don’t really think that Iraqis hate Americans ( I am an Iraqi just so you know) I think they are frustrated and confused because they have such high expectations for the U.S. before the war and it is all gone with the wind now… They thought that the U.S. had the magic power of doing things fast and RIGHT! No need to say that the Iraqis don’t have this kind of power either!

Having said that, I have been living in the US for the last 8 years, been here during the Iraqi- American war and was treated with respect, admiration and encouragement during that time.. Most of my American friends strongly believe in G.W. Bush and his administration but at the same token they strongly believe that the American administration needs to start a damage control plan. No one has ever blamed me or my countrymen for the September 11th attack, as a matter of fact my supervisor offered me the keys to his basement incase I need a shelter during that time! So let’s not jump into conclusions, believe whatever we hear/say on the net and point fingers at each other.

I grew up in Iraq and love my country of birth with all my heart but I can not deny the fact that I adore the U.S. where I was able to fulfill my dreams and prove myself… Interestingly enough the people of both countries have a lot in common regardless of all the culture differences and dirty politics.. Let’s send a message of Peace and Unity and Pray for the Best…

Abu, I’m quite calm.
I’m probably less outraged than you are by this story, because with my background I grew up with images of WW2 RAF ground crew writing messages on bombs being dropped on Germany (cop this, Adolf ... one for Joe, etc) And there was no ambiguity about aims: because night area bombing was the only tactic available to Bomber Command for much of the war, the British were very clear that they were targeting cities and the civilians in them. And saw the bomber crews as heroic.
The point I guess is that that was "total war," nation states pursuing complete victory (unconditional surrender) over one another by virtually any means available. We are meant to be more "civilised" now, and to be fair to the US I don’t think it can be said that their military policy has deliberately targeted civilians in Iraq. Nor can it be said that this is advocated in the US by significant numbers, only by the vociferous extremity of the lunatic right wing.
I suggest that, leaving aside the moral and emotional elements of the story, this is partly about the good old issue of "collateral damage." Xena above seems to me to put this well when she says "I think (Iraqis) are frustrated and confused because they have such high expectations for the U.S. before the war and it is all gone with the wind now… They thought that the U.S. had the magic power of doing things fast and RIGHT!"
Charles, in a post that you have deleted, displayed what seems to be a common attitude in regard to collateral damage, first implicitly minimising the amount of it, and then appearing to say that those who have lost innocent loved ones, or been injured, should accept that it was worthwhile in regard to long term goals, and try to "get over it."
I don’t know whether he would give the same advice to the victims of 9/11, who as Mr Gorman says were not attacked by Iraq. (Or by Islam or Arabs in general - just by lunatic fanatics.)
How much collateral damage is too much? Is it essentially an issue of to what extent the ends can justify the means? The debate about area bombing in those terms went on for a long time in Britain after WW2.


There is an Iraqi fellow with a blog called 'freeiraqi" (?). He was once part of Iraq the Model and broke off to the delight of the left who thought it was out of a protest aginst the US, etc., etc., - they were wrong as usual.

Anyway he has a thoughtful post along the lines of Xena's "I think (Iraqis) are frustrated and confused because they have such high expectations for the U.S."

He argues that the Iraqi's expected the US to come in as an all powerful 'benevolent' dictator to replace the 'malevolent' Saddam. The great and powerful OZ would set things right, etc. etc. Part of that of course could be linked to collatoral damage, but that isn't the main thrust. Maybe Xena meant something different, but the general disappointment related to US lack of omnipotence seems to be a common thread.

Fortunately or unfortunately, democracy is the kind of thing you have to build and maintain with your own hands.

Re: Collatoral damage. It is just the hard cold truth that when people from both outside and inside Iraq consider this issue, they will balance the cost and benefit. During WWII there were tens of thousands of French civilian casualties just in the liberation of France during 1944. Many French to this day would consider that a worthy and justified sacrifice. There were tens of thousands of friendly fire KIA due to horrendous planning and communications and mistakes. Many consider the costs justified.

It seems we agree that the US is not deliberately targeting civilians, but I would go further to say that the US has caused relatively few civilian casualties compared to the terrorists/insurgents, and that the latter do so deliberately. For 2 years now, the US has not been the cause of violence in Iraq. it has been trying to respond to violence initiated by the terrorists/insurgents. That is a fundamental difference.

If the US pulled out of Iraq tomorrow, you can be sure that violence would increase. If the terrorists laid down their weapons and/or left Iraq, the violence would stop.

"I don’t know whether he would give the same advice to the victims of 9/11,"

I would hope they could find the strength to move on, but not out of a calculation that the 9/11 attacks were somehow motivated by a 'greater good.'

My comment is not related to omnipotence or the lack of it as u said, my countrymen are disappointed for the following reasons (I apologize in advance because I have not experienced any of this first hand) :

1- Lack of Security
2- Lack of Electricity
3- Lack of Water
4- Lack of Gas
5- Lack of trust

These are some of the reasons but in my opinion the main reason is the lack of humanity.. when innocent people got killed just because they happened to be in the way, or got shot by friendly fire.. this causes rage, anger and disappointment.. I don’t agree with you Charles, “If the US pulled out of Iraq tomorrow, you can be sure that violence would increase. If the terrorists laid down their weapons and/or left Iraq, the violence would stop” from where did u pull this?? the US left the boarders open during the war and afterwards which allowed US enemies to get in and fight! Iraq has become the battle field for all people around the world to make a statement thank to the great planning of the US gov. Yes the power is important to achieve all the goals listed above but now it is too late.. the US had lost credibility, trust and most importantly global respect.
P.S I am glad u did not criticize my English.. yet!

"... but I would ... say that the US has caused relatively few civilian casualties compared to the terrorists/insurgents ..."
Doubtless you would, but you don’t know, do you. I think that is what Abu means when he says to you "Please do not assume too much about things you know so little about."
He is the one actually living in the middle of this mess, he knows exactly how many of his relatives, friends, neighbours, fellow tribesmen have become in one way or another "collateral damage." And how many have been affected by "terrorist/insurgent" action. Maybe he could give us a rough head count?
But if he did, and his figures weren’t what you wanted to see, I bet you wouldn’t accept them. In which case he would entitled, in my view, to request your departure from his Blog. Think about it.

Dear Lynn et al,
I just did a google search for "Put My Son's Name on a Bomb" "Jason Sekzer" and came up with 18 hits. One of them, celebrating the story, was from 4/30/03, and is on FreeRepublic.com

Was it true? I don't know. There is an online reference at Harpers Magazine for August 2003, which refers back to the post at InformationClearingHouse.info

There is another reference (undated?) at http://www.conservativevoice.net/jdam.html
There is a further reference at The New Libertarian
( http://qando.net/archives/002956.htm ). This was posted on May 8, 2004.
I found the references by a simple google search for "Jason Sekzer" Wilton bomb
and then ignoring all instances of Wilton Connecticut.

I saw the earlier doctored photo of the soldier and the Iraqi kid myself, as well as what was apparently the original. I have no idea who doctored the photo, but the expression on the kid's face didn't make sense in light of the doctored photo. On the other hand, and in the light of the various references (and Wilton Sekzer's further political activities) it makes sense to take the current post as probable fact.

Be Well,

To all and sundry,
As an American of Northern European ancestry, I have an odd fascination with Iraq. I have posted in the past regarding issues affecting the Iraqi ChaldoAssyrian community.
In light of this exposure, I'd like to let you know that the vitriol here is no worse than that on some Assyrian sites, where it is more-or-less community infighting and deals with issues such as ethnic name, who is an Assyrian...
There is some small disagreement as to whether the invasion was the right thing to do, but there seems to be little rancour involved in that issue.

Thought I'd share that with y'all.

Be Well,

Abu Khaleel,

It appears Retired Officer Gorman's memory is at fault here. Most of the on-line information regarding Officer Gorman deals with his involvement honoring deceased Law Enforcement Officers. I ran across one post from very early September, 2001, expressing condolences to the family and friends of a Southern Californian Armenian-American police officer killed while on duty on August 31,2003.
I believe that given Officer Gorman's respect and care for his fellow officers, when Retired Officer Sekzer's idea came to his attention he forwarded it on to the military. Like many Americans at the time, he believed that Iraq was a legitimate target in the War on Terror, though he apparently didn't blame Iraq (or Iraqis) for the destruction of the Twin Towers.

From my google scans on Officer Gorman, he appears to be a man of high character, and probably is and was a credit to all honorable police officers. Of course, this doesn't help with regards to the innocents killed by the bomb (may God have mercy on them).

Be Well,

Having re-read your first response, I can see how Abu Khaleel might have misunderstood your stance in posting it. I had to read carefully to make sure that I didn't attribute to you the attitude displayed by those applauding the story.

Be Well,

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Hello Abu Khaleel,
This post is an interesting contrast with the previous 'Glass Houses'. I am thinking about bricks thrown thru windows in the absence of direct evidence( fingerprints, DNA, video tape,etc.). In life very few cases can be settled on direct evidence and even fewer can be 'proven' on the the Internet. The 'character' of the defendent needs to be established and the plausibility of the defense in that light needs to be weighed. If Gorman admits to having 'advertised'to get his Jason's name on a bomb for Afghanistan, it seems probable that it he would do the same for Iraq, especially as a 'picture' is produced showing a bomb with the name on it. Charles response is that the photo 'could' be a fake. Yes, it could be a fake. [Why would there be a fake photo? To trick(a nasty personal attack meant to humiliate)?]
You could 'leap'(as Charles likes to ) to the unsupportable
belief that it is a 'legend', a fake--meant to deceive. [Meant to deceive who?].
This is the 'bullshit'/dirty tricks I was referring to. But what is a good reputation on the Internet?
"It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime."
-Thomas Paine

Mr. Uh Paine,

I didn't say the the whole story was a fake. To my untrained eye, zoomed at 200%+, the writing looks faked. I invite you to check it yourself.

The only reason I brought it up is because there was a very similar story with picture circulated right after the war showing a grinning GI bragging about murder and rape. That WAS a fake but I know it caused tens/hundreds of thousands of people accross the internet to curse those dirty yanks. The image fit right into what they wanted to believe and no one questioned it. Many probably still have the image seared into their minds. Propaganda works.

Will at least one person look at a zoomed in shot of the pic? Come on Abu - I checked your links. Thanks.

Of course, nothing can be 'proved' either way.
But it raises questions of one's character. These are the tactics of 'bloggers in pajamas'.
'Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we pratice to deceive.'


What is a blogger in pajamas?

Bob, “Hello” Anon,

Thank you for putting the discussion back on track.

So far, I hope that the existense of the main characters, as well as ‘some’ original request letter, have all been established. I hope that we can discard the ‘urban legend’ scenario. (This was actually the main cause of my quarrel with some of the respondents: jumping to conclusions, passing hasty judgments and giving advice freely without doing their ‘homework’ first and spending some effort to do a simple search).

Bob, I am inclined to agree with you regarding Mr. Gorman’s character. I am taking the liberty of posting Officer Gorman’s permission to publish his reply in full:

Dear Sir,

Please yes. It is the truth. I would like to add for your information. As human beings we all grieve for the suffering the Iraqi people have endured. I pray the turmoil will soon end.

Sincerely and respectfully,

Gary Gorman

To me, these words sound truthful and the gentleman’s character seems to be in line with your assessment.

I like Mr Gorman’s use of the word "turmoil." Not only does it accurately reflect the state of Iraq, but it contains within itself a reference to a certain viscous black substance ...
But I must confess that, however nice a gentleman he is, I remain a bit uneasy with the whole ghoulish idea of a "memorial bomb," in this day and age. Whichever country it was dropped on, and however "smart" it was, there was surely an unavoidable possibility that it would hit not just its intended target but some innocent child or peasant as well.
Referring back to my previous post, I would like to think that those RAF ground crew, in their old age, would say something like, "Yes, we used to scrawl messages on the city-buster bombs. It was a damn silly thing to do!"
Am I being all wimpy and over-sensitive here?


Did you know that "friend" and "freedom" come from the same root? I guess everyone here would say you are free to be "wimpy and over-sensitive". :)

Everyone: You are amazing.

All for one,
and one for all!!

I'm sorry Abu Khaleel but it WAS an urban legend. Wasn't it? Urban legends do not have to be totally false in order to be urban legends. It was proven to you that that bomb was not being sent to Iraq but to Afghanistan and Osama. In a previous post you were disturbed at a supposed poll that convinced you that most Americans wanted to attack Iraq because they linked Iraq to 911. Well, I was never polled and I've never met anyone that was polled but you believed that poll and then when your friend e-mailed you this "urban legend" version of a factual story you believed it and "Almost immediately I wrote an (extremely) angry message" to this grieving father. Had you been a bit more skeptical about things you might not have worded your letter in such a manner. Maybe you would have written a letter asking him if this was true and then once he admitted it you could have lashed out at him. You do realize that that kind of temper,judging too quickly and becoming immediately angry, is detrimental to civilized society? I wonder what would have happened to that father had he been visiting Iraq when that e-mail was being sent around?


No one ever said that dedicating a bomb to anyone was a rational exercise. Even Charles, the resident neo-fascist (apparently) on this blog agrees that naming bombs after dead children, ex-wives, or movie stars is a misplaced emotional gesture.

We thought you were just visiting?

It appears based on the various references I found that it wasn't an urban legend, and at the time we were about to go into Iraq and were no longer focusing on Afghanistan.
Have you checked the references I posted?
All of the records appear to refer to March or April 2003, and the references all include mention of Iraq. Remember, President Bush had been including Iraq as part of the 'Axis of Evil' for some time, so it's not unlikely for Officer Gorman to have included mention of Iraq. Moreover, at the time we were anticipating a probable invasion of Iraq in the near future.

I found no references to anything prior to March 2003, so I see no evidence that Afghanistan was the target at the time.

You might take the time to do a google search on Officer Wilton Sekzer, the man whose idea is being discussed.
From one item:
Monday, May 5,2003,
In an April article on a Ground Zero rally for U.S. troops, CNN quotes Sekzer -- apparently misidentifying him as "Construction worker William Sekzer" -- on a 9/11 tie-in with Iraq: "What do you want as proof? Do you want Saddam Hussein shaking hands with Osama bin Laden?"
That item links to the following CNN page:
NY rallies at Ground Zero for troops
where I read
'Construction worker William Sekzer's son, Jason, died September 11. He attended the rally because he believes the terrorist attack is connected to the war on Iraq.

"What do you want as proof?" Sekzer asked. "Do you want Saddam Hussein shaking hands with Osama bin Laden?"

So Lynn, given the attitude shown by Officer Sekzer in April, 2003, it seems quite likely that Officer Sekzer was happy with the idea of targetting Iraq. On the other hand, Officer Gorman, who wrote the email, was assisting a fellow officer, and may or may not have believed Saddam Hussein was involved with Al Qaeda.

I hope that sheds a little light on this.

Be Well,

Brian, Lynn, et al:

Over the past three years I've come across quite a few people who believe(d) Saddam Hussein was allied with Osama bin Ladin. My skepticism on this was treated as a sort of liberal stupidity by most.
If you happen to believe that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Ladin were allies, then your own beliefs add credence to the probability that Officer Sekzer wanted that bomb dropped on IRAQ. If you used the believe that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Ladin were allies, but you've changed your mind, then please understand that this may also be true of a number of Americans. I have no idea what Officer Sekzer's current opinions on this are.
Most of the conservative posts and comments I've read over the past two years have asserted (when relevant) a connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Ladin. This belief is no longer quite so popular, but I wouldn't be surprise if at least a significant minority of Americans still believes in such a connection.

Be Well,


In addition to Bob’s links, may I suggest that you follow the link I have already given you.

The procedure is quite simple: On Google search [ bbc “why we fight” iraq ]

The FIRST item on the list will be:


Wilton Sekzer, Retired officer, NYPD

Wilton's son died on 9/11. After George Bush explained that Saddam Hussein was behind the attacks, Wilton emailed all branches of the armed forces to ask if his son's name could be written on a bomb to be dropped on Iraq.

May I respectfully ask you again not to be too hasty.

Why doesn't someone just watch the documentary?

Apparently it is much more in depth than the little snippets we are seeing.

What made the director of the documentary use Wilton as a compelling example of someone who had shown a growth and a change of heart?

And could someone please remind me when and where George Bush blamed 9/11 on Saddam?

The BBC directly wrote "... after George Bush explained that Saddam was behind the attacks...?

Why does this keep getting repeated? Did BBC retract?


Thank you for finally getting there!

I hope that we have just shown that Mr. Zesker actually asked for the bomb to be dropped on IRAQ.

The man is on tape!

Please do not try to derail the discussion again. I promise that we will come back to the question of how poor Mr. Zesker was "misinformed" (or was it "uninformed"?) later.

But for now, let us please stay on this topic.

Well thank goodness for Bob Griffin.
I had been scared to enquire further into why this was seen as "urban legend" when it seemed to be supported by a clear and simple documentary trail, if the e-mails quoted were genuine: last time I did so I was reprimanded by Mr Kahleel and told to calm down, which made me go all weak at the knees.
Not that it matters a damn to me, but have I now got the following facts correct?
a) There was indeed a "memorial bomb" as shown in the photographs
b) It was dropped in Iraq in April 2003, as reported by Major Boehm
c) The request for this came by e-mail from Mr Gorman, on behalf of Mr Zesker
If I have understood so far, then I still do not understand why Mr Gorman’s e-mail to Abu states that the request was made in early 2002, when his e-mail to the military is dated March 2003.
Frankly the simplest explanation, to me, would be that Mr Gorman’s memory was at fault.
In support of this, I quote the following from a post above by the excellent Mr Griffin: "I ran across one post from very early September, 2001, expressing condolences to the family and friends of a Southern Californian Armenian-American police officer killed while on duty on August 31,2003." Since Mr Griffin presumably does not own a time machine, he obviously has inadvertently transposed his dates. Mr Gorman has done something similar?

Dear Circular,

Thanks. In my case it was writing 2003 rather than 2001. In Officer Gorman's case it was trying to remember whether he did something 2 years ago or 2 1/2 years ago.
I have trouble remembering whether I moved into my current apartment two years ago, three years ago, or still further back.

Be Well,

Dear Abu Khale,

I am an a college student from California and I happened across your website from HealIraq. I am sorry that there are people in my country that are bigoted and are so blinded by their pain that they will take it out on a nation of peoples whose only faults were that they are different from them. Please know that while there are people in my country that do not want to understand are want to take out their anger on others, that there are also countless people who are trying to love one another and live compassionately, for peace in this world. I can't even begin to imagine what it is like to live in a place where not only is there so much violence, but also corruption, instability and injustice all around. My prayers go out to you that you continue to build a community that is founded on kindness and love and that you will strive for peace and justice for humanity.


This comment section is unique.

Nowhere else on this blog were decent people so vividly vindicated and the others so demons ratably exposed and disgraced.

It is basically a study in human nature!

“Hello” Anon didn’t even need to follow links to know where the truth was. Almost instinctively the heart of a poet sometimes sees the essence in things. Thank you for those two wonderful quotes. So apt and fitting!

Circular was there from the start, barely restraining anger at the villains. I apologize if I have offended you but I was afraid that you would be provoked into a side track. I don’t blame the soldiers; they have to work up some anger to be able to “do their job” and kill other people. It is the people who ask them to do the killing who are the real criminals. Thank you for leading the discussion into the next stage.

Bob Griffin: rationally, methodically and with an open mind making logical conclusions en route and finding the truth. Thank you for being so fair and intellectually honest.

I would also like to thank Bruno who indirectly gave me the idea that those bad people were predictable.

As to those people with evil intentions or through ignorance and bigotry refusing a helping hand to seek the truth (!) because of their closed hearts and dead souls… you are a disgrace to the human race. I pity you.

Finally, the substance of this post is bigger than poor Wilton Sekzer and his grief. I hope that this gentleman turns his anger and activism in the right direction now that he knows that he was deliberately misguided and neo-conned.

Millions of other Americans were similarly conned into supporting criminal acts against countless innocent civilians who never did them or their country any harm.

Now, they are being conned again into supporting similar acts in the noble name of Freedom and Democracy. There is nothing noble about their true intentions. One day we will also have the proof.

Poor Charles refused to accept defeat with some dignity. He was immediately on the attack again defending his idol… conveniently forgetting the evil scheme:

Al Qaeda linked to 9/11
Iraq linked to Al Qaeda

Charles: are you evil or stupid? I am not making a statement; I am only asking.

Heather: thank you for the sentiment. I have no doubt that there are many millions of decent people where you are… but why do the evil ones have the upper hand and are calling the shots and dropping the bombs?

Armed with the later findings, please go back and read those comments again (slowly!) to see all those people for what they are: the good, the bad and the criminal.

Googling on Saddam 9/11 Bush brings up some interesting stuff.
The Christian Science Monitor, March 2003 ( http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0314/p02s01-woiq.html )
says 'In his prime-time press conference last week, which focused almost solely on Iraq, President Bush mentioned Sept. 11 eight times. He referred to Saddam Hussein many more times than that, often in the same breath with Sept. 11.
Bush never pinned blame for the attacks directly on the Iraqi president. Still, the overall effect was to reinforce an impression that persists among much of the American public: that the Iraqi dictator did play a direct role in the attacks. A New York Times/CBS poll this week shows that 45 percent of Americans believe Mr. Hussein was "personally involved" in Sept. 11, about the same figure as a month ago.

'Polling data show that right after Sept. 11, 2001, when Americans were asked open-ended questions about who was behind the attacks, only 3 percent mentioned Iraq or Hussein. But by January of this year, attitudes had been transformed. In a Knight Ridder poll, 44 percent of Americans reported that either "most" or "some" of the Sept. 11 hijackers were Iraqi citizens. The answer is zero.

According to Mr. Kull of PIPA, there is a strong correlation between those who see the Sept. 11-Iraq connection and those who support going to war.

In Selma, Ala., firefighter Thomas Wilson supports going to war with Iraq, and brings up Sept. 11 himself, saying we don't know who's already here in the US waiting to attack. When asked what that has to do with Iraq, he replies: "They're all in it together - all of them hate this country." The reason: "prosperity."
From a somewhat more conservative viewpoint, from 2004 ( http://frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=13323 )
'Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, when President Bush asked him to look into the possibility of Iraq’s involvement, Clarke was “incredulous” (his word), treating the idea as if it were one of the most ridiculous things he had ever heard. On September 18, when Deputy National Security Adviser Steven Hadley asked him to take another look for evidence of Iraqi involvement, Clarke responded in a similar fashion.

Yet as we know now, thanks to Epstein’s work, Czech intelligence at that point had already informed their CIA liaison that they had tentatively identified Mohammed Atta as the Arab whom al-Ani had met on April 8, 2001.
I don't know what The Daily Texan's political stance is, but this quote is from 9/18/2003 ( http://www.dailytexanonline.com/news/2003/09/18/WorldNation/Saddam.Not.Involved.In.911.Bush.Says-468829.shtml ):
'The administration has argued that Saddam's government had close links to al-Qaida, the terrorist network led by Osama bin Laden that masterminded the Sept. 11 attacks.

On Sunday, for example, Vice President Dick Cheney said that success in stabilizing and democratizing Iraq would strike a major blow at the ''the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault for many years, but most especially on 9-11.''

I know Rush Limbaugh doesn't is not Bush's spokesman, so perhaps this ( http://www.rushonline.com/visitors/linkconfirmed.htm ) isn't relevant:'Never before in this country's history has a president ordered American soldiers into battle, without fully explaining why they are asked to risk life and limb. One would never know from the administration's public stance that senior officials, including the President, believe that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks.

Iraq was indeed involved in those assaults. There is considerable information to that effect, described in this piece and elsewhere. They include Iraqi documents discovered by U.S. forces in Baghdad that U.S. officials have not made public.
Hmmmm, I find the Limbaugh note interesting. Note that he states that the president believes 'that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks', and that one 'would never know' that fact 'from the administration's public stance'.

This post ( http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/04/27/walq327.xml )from the News Telegraph from almost exactly 2 years ago adds light:'The revelation that Saddam Hussein's intelligence chiefs were seeking to establish links with Osama bin Laden's al-Qa'eda network is the first concrete proof that the dictator was colluding with the world's most ruthless terrorist operation.

The documents discovered yesterday by The Telegraph in the former headquarters of the Iraqi intelligence service, the Mukhabarat, will also reopen the debate about whether Saddam was directly involved in the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

The issue of Saddam's involvement has been a long-standing source of contention between London and Washington. In the days immediately following the attacks, President George W Bush confided to colleagues that he believed that Saddam was directly involved in the attacks. "He probably was behind this in the end," he said.'

On the other hand, according to the News Bureau of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign ( http://www.news.uiuc.edu/news/04/0909saddam.html ) 'Polls, not Bush Administration, helped shape Americans' bias against Saddam'. I recommend you read the article.

It's late (after 1AM), there are nearly 2 million hits on the combo Saddam 9/11 Bush, and I have work in the morning, so I'm heading to bed.
Note to anyone who decides to do the query themselves:left-leaning blogs and/or websites, even if they agree with or support your viewpoint, are not authoritative sources when quoting GWBush and company. Likewise, right-wing blogs and websites are not authoritative when quoting Michael Moore and other left-wingers.
Use left-wing blogs to quote and/or analyze left-wingers, and right-wing blogs to quote and/or analyze right-wingers.

Sorry this post went on so long.
Be Well,

I see that this issue has been dealt with in some detail already.

Nevertheless, I’d just like to throw in another two cents. Charles made a statement where he believed that the writing on the bomb had been photoshopped. Let’s assume that he is correct.

The question then is: WHO photoshopped it? Could it be possible that one of the military officers along the way decided that it was not possible (or too much work) to actually get the writing written on the bomb, photograph it and send it back … and photoshopped a generic picture of a fighter bomber himself instead?

I must really take a look at the picture personally.

Abu Khaleel,
You ask me not to be too hasty yet that is exactly what I am saying to you. Had YOU researched this story I don't think that you would have sent off that e-mail to the man. My being too hasty did not cause any pain to anyone. Other's hastiness leads to WARS. The link that you gave me for the BBC documentary did not give enough detail about the documentary. Further research would have shown you that the man has a completely different view now and is upset that he was misled. Therefore, it would have been completely unecessary for you to send him a scathing letter.
Personally, when I receive one of these mass e-mailings (like the one I had posted here) I put them exactly where they belong. In the recycle bin. We must look to the reasons that people have for sending these stories out. No reson other than to foment anger. What other reason would there be? Looking into this story was not going to bring that bomb back. That man did not send this bomb out. It was going to go wherever it went whether they had put that name on it or not. I haven't seen this BBC documentary so I will not pass judgement on it. However, just because something is labeled a "documentary" does not automatically make it an unbiased piece of journalism. I am a very skeptical person. I try not to pass judgement until I have clear and absolute evidence and that isn't always an easy thing to find especially on the internet with the number of sites that are so totally one sided.I do research before I come to conclusions but some things are really not worthy of the time spent researching because it just doesn't matter in the whole scheme of things.
Just in case you were believing that I am some kind of "super-patriot" I never even considered that Sadaam was behind 9-11 and that would be irrelevant anyway in light of all of his other atrocities. He was a danger to the world and he had to be taken out. Not that I necessarily agree with the way that it happened.

Abu Khaleel,

Please explain more fully these deep insights you gleaned from the comments section.

It seems to me the following occurred:

1. Brian suggested it might be a fabrication/exaggeration.
2. Anon patted you on the back for exposing gorman as a 'patriotic... bullshitter."
3. Charles responded to Anon that Wilton's irrational request/gesture was understandable in his grief (that is different from being "right" or "good", etc.).
4. Lynn brought up example of another pro-US position 'urban legend' to illustrate the fact that these things happen.
5. Charles wondered about authenticity of photo because it looked doctored and he has seen other blatant examples from anti-US 'photoshopping' (later confirmed by Abu Billy).
6. Brian tried to point out discrepencies between Gorman's response on dates, and dates on supposed emails.
7. Circ caleld Brian a fool and relied upon copies of email dates as fact.
8. Charles again pointed out that request was from emotionally destraught father and should be considered in that light. He also wondered what the point of the exercise was considering terrorists were blasting civilians to bits every day and this did/didn't happen several years ago.
9. Abu Khaleel popped in with condescending, stereotyped epithets about ragheads and super-patriots.
10. Charles looked at more links, found Sekzer believing Saddam was behind 9/11, and documentary director praising Sekzer for personal growth or some such.
11. Lynn responded to Abu's comments.
12. Xena piped in with friendly, cooperative, albeit sceptical tone.
13. Circ gave hostorical anecdotal evidence of writing on bombs during wartime.
14. Abu Billy pipes in reasonably as usual to point out links praising bomb, and that this blog is not especially extreme in terms of its participants expressed views.
15. Anon quoted famous people and accused Charles of believing that Sekzer/Gorman never did it.
etc., etc. etc.

"Nowhere else on this blog were decent people so vividly vindicated and the others so demons ratably exposed and disgraced."

What are you talking about???

"Bob Griffin: ..."

Good 'ol Abu Billy. I think he is everyone's favorite.

"I would also like to thank Bruno who indirectly gave me the idea that those bad people were predictable."

Which one's?

"As to those people with evil intentions or through ignorance and bigotry refusing a helping hand to seek the truth (!) because of their closed hearts and dead souls… you are a disgrace to the human race. I pity you."

Is anyone else getting this?

Let me guess - Charles, Brian, and uh, Lynn? are dead souled, disgraceful, pitiful, and etc., because...? Or were you referring to someone else?

"Millions of other Americans were similarly conned into supporting criminal acts against countless innocent civilians who never did them or their country any harm."

Perspective Abu Khaleel.

"There is nothing noble about their true intentions. One day we will also have the proof."

Uh, stealing oil?

"Poor Charles refused to accept defeat with some dignity. He was immediately on the attack again defending his idol… conveniently forgetting the evil scheme:"

Poor me. If you notice my very first post (and most all others) - I acknowledged that Sekzer was a distraught father who acted irrationally - what conclusions are you jumping to?

"Charles: are you evil or stupid?"

That is not a fair question. are those my only options?

"to see all those people for what they are: the good, the bad and the criminal."

I'm sure you have proved some great point here Abu Khaleel. Since I am both stupid and evil (mostly former) I would appreciate it if someone could point out the glaring truth for me in simple straightforward English.

PS - touche to Lynn - eh? Abu?

Abu Khaleel,

An idea for a new 'investigation' thread might be to look into this whole issue of whether or not the US administration publicly connected Saddam to 9/11 prior to the war. How? In what context? Directly? Inderectly?

It still seems to be a contested point and keeps coming up over and over again.

Abu Billy posted many good links but if you notice, most are third party assesments made after the war had begun.

So what are the facts in timeline?

PS - Congrats on a new government at last.

Charles and everyone else,
I realized after posting the list of links regarding Bush, Saddam Hussein, and 9/11 that there are two crucial links. The first is the Rush Limbaugh link. (Abu Khaleel and whoever else is unfamiliar with American talk radio--Rush Limbaugh is an outspoken, often vitriolic right-wing talk radio host. If I were one of his fans I would describe him as someone who is not willing to pussy-foot around regarding liberal stupidity ..., but I am definitely NOT one of his fans) Rush, in his post, both stated clearly that President Bush believed that Iraq was involved in 9/11 and that the President's administration was hiding that fact.
The second crucial link is to the University of Illinois page, where it is stated that polls were primarily responsible for creating the belief that Saddam was connected with 9/11. I don't know if anyone else has experienced a politically motivated poll. I have received two or three such phone calls over the years. The questions, while seemingly designed to discover the attitudes and beliefs of the public, are actually designed to influence those attitudes. Such a question would be "If you knew for a fact that Parvez Musharraf was behind the attacks on 9/11 would you believe that we should invade Pakistan?" If you ask enough people that question, many of them will begin to wonder if perhaps Pakistan WAS connected with 9/11. Some will remember that India counselled invading Pakistan. If the question is asked enough, people will start to believe that there was a connection between Musharraf and 9/11.
Similar questions are asked about American candidates. "If you knew that candidate XYZ has advocated releasing convicted child molesters from prison, would you still vote for him/her?" does NOT claim that the candidate has actually advocated ANYTHING. On the other hand, it is designed to create the IMPRESSION that the candidate supports releasing child molesters from prison.

I would be VERY interested in knowing who funded the polls which focused on a connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11.

Be Well,

Charles, Lynn, Brian, & whoever,

Please take a breather folks. I understand you might be a bit upset with parts of the interchange. I suggest you re-evaluate given circumstances.

As far as I can tell, our host would be roughly middle-of-the-road were he in the US. However he's in Iraq. He is moderately pro-Western, and faces the daily threat of being targetted for being too pro-Western. He faces almost constant threats to family and friends, both from the soldiers and from their opponents.

He began the dialog hoping to influence the US--NOT to show how bad the US is, but to point out mistakes which both could and should be corrected were we to desire an optimal result from the invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. In other words--the equivalent of a 'Bug Report'. Almost every such 'Bug Report' he has presented has been taken by one or more of us out here (the commenters) as evidence of his rabid anti-Americanism (slight overstatement there). One of us this time accuses him of enthusiastically believing an urban legend simply because he wanted to believe it, without first checking (as I did) to see what the evidence was. To me, that reads like a mild(?) insult. So far, as far as I can tell, that poster has not retracted that position, so that appears that our host simply lays himself open to being insulted.

In this light, I can understand his anger. He is a human being, and most of us humans tend to get angry when we feel insulted. (Abu Khaleel, that also goes for the above addressees.) There are blogs where I will NOT comment because I do not want to invite insult either from the blogger or from fellow commenters.

Please understand, this blog is meant as a Bug Report, not as an attack on America. That doesn't mean our host is always correct--I know no one who is. If we doubt him, we can do our own research, but PLEASE make your research balanced. If all we do is find ammunition in a war of words we don't increase understanding.
Gotta go, someone's computer is acting up.

Be Well,

Abu Billy et al,

OK. Clean slate. Sometimes I have been baited into direct insults against some folks here. My bad. I'm sorry for that.

I don't apologize for having an opinion that differs from many here.

For the record, I do not think Abu Khaleel is a 'rabid anti-american.'

Abu Khaleel,

This has little to do with your search for the truth (which is laudable in itself). There is something in your letter that I don't understand.

You quoted an alleged report of a bombing, "It was dropped on the night of 1 April 03 against targets located east of Baghdad. The targets were associated with the Al Nida division of the Republican Guard."

You complained, "You put your son’s name on a 2000 lb. weapon that must have killed quite a number of innocent people who had absolutely nothing to do with your son’s death." I don't dispute the lack of connection between Iraq and September 11, but Do you think that the Republican Guard was "innocent?" Weren't they guarding the whole regime, shielding it in the perpetration of all its crimes and participating in many of them? I recall that they crushed the uprising after the 1991 Gulf War; I expect they filled many of those mass graves. Perhaps you believe that "the targets east of Baghdad" included many civilians and that they suffered. What evidence had you for this?

Michael in Framingham

"An idea for a new 'investigation' thread might be to look into this whole issue of whether or not the US administration publicly connected Saddam to 9/11 prior to the war. How? In what context? Directly? Inderectly?"

Ugh. Evidently you haven't been paying attention in class, AGAIN. Or maybe you just like wasting other people's time(and taxpayer money).

"No al Qaeda, Iraq cooperation
The panel said it found "no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States." http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/06/16/911.commission/

Your 'punishment' shall be to write the above on the blackboard 100 times in your best handwriting before submitting more comments.

I would guess, given the dedication of Abu Khaleel's response to his lifelong friend Ghassan, that Ghassan quite likely was a civilian who died during the bombing.

Be Well,
Bob Griffin

Annonymous (who wrote against Charles),
I'm afraid you misunderstood the intent of Charles' comment. He is apparently saying that Bush DIDN'T claim a connection between Saddam and 9/11.
Charles is NOT claiming such a connection himself.
Please read just a bit more carefully.
My frustration with several of the pro-Bush is that they don't read the posts or comments carefully, and often respond with questions which have already been clearly answered.
You have just fallen into the same mistake.

Note, if you're not familiar with my posts--I'm far closer to Circular in my views and attitudes than I am to Charles. I just don't think it helps to target people for the wrong reasons.

Be Well,

I don't see a need for you to apologize for having a different perspective either.

What you might do, which apparently few are doing, is give our host a bit more credibility. Also, I'd stay clear of the 'you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs' stuff. It tends to anger those whose eggs get broken, and thus to PROMOTE disagreements.
I don't recall if you're the one who's said something like that, but someone did.

Be Well,

"I'm afraid you misunderstood the intent of Charles' comment. He is apparently saying that Bush DIDN'T claim a connection between Saddam and 9/11.
Charles is NOT claiming such a connection himself."
May I disagree?

"An idea for a new 'investigation' thread might be to look into this whole issue of whether or not the US administration publicly connected Saddam to 9/11 prior to the war."

Why investigate if this connection(shown to be not credible) was based on deliberately or innocently propagated? You can't prove anything. But it gives Charles the opportunity to repeat charges by Cheney since declared to be not credible[sow confusion and waste time].
Charles is trying to derail this blog by resurrecting bogus issues that are settled by the independent 911 commission. We need to move forward and not indulge our darling boy. Not every argument needs to be reconsidered, although I am occasionally partial to the Flat Earth Society, UFOs and astral projection.
Onward and upward, excelsior!

In case you are wondering(?)if the administration was propagating the story...."Vice President Dick Cheney, in a speech Monday in Florida, raised eyebrows by reasserting claims that Saddam "had long-established ties with al Qaeda...
Next topic?


Don't be deliberately obtuse.

There is a big difference between Saddam planning the 9/11 attack and Saddam having ties with Al quaeda and supporting terrorists.

Don't pretend you can't see the difference.

This is why we should have the discussion. We can list the purported facts, and either debunk, confirm, or put them in the undecided list.

PS - Abu Billy - nice link to university study and thesis. Did you get the chance to read the whole thing?


Poor Abu! It seems that whatever his intentions, the Comments section of his Blog is always destined to end up as an "Educating Charlie" session.
The only comment I can make on the apparent futility of this exercise is to disagree with Bob Griffin’s advice to Charles to "stay clear of the 'you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs' stuff." I still see this topic as actually being about three things. The first is the morality or sensibility of a "memorial bomb." I think that ones settled. The second is how propaganda led to it being dropped on the wrong target, ie not on the people who killed Mr Setzler’s son. And the third is, once again, collateral damage, which Bob hints at by suggesting that Abu’s friend may have been killed if not necessarily by this particular bomb then by one that accompanied it.
Despite the apparent formation, finally, of some sort of Government, it is still very very far from certain that all those broken Iraqi eggs are going to make an edible omlette.
Two points: First, to us "neutrals" in the real world there is no doubt about the way the justification for this war, over the last two years, has "evolved" from the "war on terror," through WMD and links, to getting rid of Saddam and his regime, to bringing freedom and democracy, first to Iraq, and now by example to the Arab or Muslim world. (I hope when Bob talks of "left-wing" sources of information he is not referring to such organs as the BBC, The Times, Guardian and Independent, or come to that the New Zealand Herald. It’s implying that most intelligent people in the English-speaking world are gullible or have poor judgement.) In the latest rumpus in the UK over Blair’s reasons for war, the essence of the legal opinion appears to be that Saddam was a very naughty boy when he invaded Kuwait, and needed to be stopped by international consensus, but the fact that he continued to be a very nasty boy in Iraq was basically Iraq’s problem, he posed no immediate threat to the rest of the world.
Which leads to the second point, that a war of liberation to bring freedom to the Iraqi people is only justifiable if it is done well, not if it leads to thousands of innocent deaths and the wreckage of the country from end to end. (And to forestall Charles’ inevitable rejoinder, the Coalition bears the ultimate responsibility for deaths due to terrorist action: if you couldn’t conquer the place properly, and control it and put it back together again afterwards properly, then you shouldn’t have bloody well invaded in the first place, when there was no urgent need to do so. That was what Xena was saying in her post above about the US not having the "the magic power of doing things fast and RIGHT!" It is so sad that an Iraqi who is living in the US, and loving it, has to say "but now it is too late.. the US had lost credibility, trust and most importantly global respect."
It certainly seems to be fast losing Abu’s respect.

"Don't be deliberately obtuse.
There is a big difference between Saddam planning the 9/11 attack and Saddam having ties with Al quaeda and supporting terrorists.
Don't pretend you can't see the difference."

Poppy-cock Charles,
I myself told YOU about Saddam's ties to Palestinian terrorists (also Mujahadin Klaq Iranian terrorists) on this blog a few posts ago. They are not relevant to anything we are discussing.

More from the 911 report:
"Contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda after bin Laden moved to Afghanistan "do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship," according to the commission's report, which was released Wednesday morning. It added that two senior al-Qaeda officials now in U.S. custody "have adamantly denied that any ties existed between al-Qaeda and Iraq."

Bin Ladin turned against the House of Saud when his offer to defend Arabia against Saddam in 1990 was dismissed, so collaboration is unlikely on its face. I remember that in the ramp up to the war various intelligence officials claiming that AlQaeda was training to fly planes at Salman Pak. Of course, WMD inspectors, US troops found nothing of the kind.
However, the illustrious Michael Ledeen believes there IS a connection.
But without no evidence of one, well..
Bob, don't you see what Charles is about?
Charles, can't you find something new to lie about?

Oh, and to answer Charles' next point before he raises it, thereby saving him some typing, my country didn't join the Coalition to "liberate" Iraq because it wasn't invited to join that Coalition: it was invited to join the one that was getting rid of WMD and Iraqi International Terrorists, and like France, Germany and most of the rest of the world who can actually think and read, we knew that there were no WMD's or IIT's to get rid of.


I promised Abu Billy that I would not be baited by slanderous remarks... at least for a while.

Let me just write something on the blackboard I hope you will read:

The contention that Bush changed tac, as many claim, from terrorism, to WMD, to regime change, to freedom and democracy for all, etc., is patently false.

All of those elements were present from the very beginning and espoused directly and publicly by the administration.

These issues were also understood implicitely by most Americans because:

1. We had been in a de facto state of war with Iraq since 1991, i.e. Saddam was our enemy;
2. As per unanimous UNSC Saddam did sponsor terrorism and was not complying with WMD disarmament (back in 2001 Bush made it clear that the war on terrorism included terrorist groups and the countries that harbor and sponsor terrorists);
3. In 1998 Congress passed the Iraq Liberation Act under Clinton (regime change), etc., etc.

Read his speeches and public comments. You might not agree with him, but nevertheless it was all there from the beginning - And even earlier:

"Neither the United States of America, nor the world community of nations can tolerate deliberate deception and offensive threats on the part of any nation, large or small. We no longer live in a world where only the actual firing of weapons represents a sufficient challenge to a nations security to constitute maximum peril."

JFK 1962

Crikey! How did Kennedy suddenly get in on the act? I think you might find he was talking about the Cold War, Charles, and USSR intentions. Arab terrorists hadn’t been invented yet.
"Deliberate deception and offensive threats ..." Maybe he was thinking of Marilyn Monroe?
Didn’t that particular pre-emptive policy sort of get him and his successors into the Vietnam War, where your army definitely did kill thousands of innocent civilians in the cause of bringing them freedom, and ended up a mutinous drug-addled mess - the drugs of course being partly supplied by the CIA and Air America?
What on earth did you bring that up for? Weird. Are you predicting something?
At least it clarifies your position, though. It doesn’t really matter whether Saddam had thousands of terrorists all trained up ready to infiltrate New Hampshire or not; he mighta got them someday, so he had to go, and too bad about those who got in the way. Similarly, it’s kinda tough about Iraqi motorists being gunned down by panicky US troops, but hey, some of them were probably terrorists, or kids who might grow up to be terrorists, so that’s OK. Under the pre-emptive doctrine you can’t go wrong: it can never be proved that an imaginary threat might not someday become a real one.
And as a corollary, since pre-emption is apparently the USA’s self-declared prerogative, the US can never be in the wrong.
Which only leaves the question, why are you wasting your time (and ours) telling us about it? It makes no difference whether we are persuaded or not.


You have a selective memory. As I recall - EVERYONE thought he had WMD. Remember? Please provide me with some link that proves the kiwi's, French (and other thinking people) officials KNEW he had no WMD. Even a link where someone says the don't think he had them (but not after the fact - ok?).

As I recall the argument even by the French was that while Saddam could never be trusted to comply (the thing he had to do immediately, unconditionally, and completely to avoid war), a strategy of continued containment was preferred as a more practical approach.

Even Blix thought Saddam had WMD. Blix thought that maybe even Saddam thought he had WMD!

From LA Times

"Blix conceded that his own gut feeling at the time, based on Hussein's past intentions and capabilities, was that Iraq did have unconventional weapons. "I thought that there were weapons of mass destruction like everyone else."

The fact that Hussein's Republican Guards were equipped with gas masks and biohazard suits suggests that the Iraqi leader's own scientists had misled him about the military's capabilities.

"It seems that, at any rate, he might not have been all that well-informed, that they might have fooled him a bit about what they were doing, that he was more optimistic about getting new weapons and so forth," Blix said.

Spare us the historical revisionism. As Abu Billy pointed out, we all have memory slips, but please don't do it deliberately.

@ Anon,

You might not find the support of terrorists relavent to the war on terror, but many people disagree. I admit its an awfully convenient response on your part.

Did Iraqi agents EVER meet with Al Quaeda reps? What did they discuss (I can imagine they exchanged cookie recipes...)? Did Saddam harbor terrorists like Zarqawi? Did he offer OBL sanctuary (I heard that but have no idea if its true)?

Excerpt from Justice Dept. OBL Indictment from 1998:

"Al Qaeda also forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in the Sudan and with the government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hezballah for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States. In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq."


I don't thik there is anything 'good' or 'right' or 'proper' about killing civilians - deliberately or accidentally. I never said there was.

Then why are you so fervent and fanatic in your defence of an Administration that went to war in a precipitate way that ensured the deaths of so many of them? That went to war with "the army it had" when it could have done it much, much better with a bit less arrogance and a bit more planning. Why, Charles, why? What's in it for you?


I don't think there has ever been a clean war where everything went perfectly for everyone and no one got hurt.

If the 'ends' of neutralizing Saddam and establishing democracy in the greater ME are achievable, then it is a worthy endeavor. Then the cost must be calculated and history will decide. History will also judge those who could have helped to minimize the ambiguity and suffering and did nothing.

@ Anon,

BTW - I checked the 9-11 report again. Try pages 61 and 66 for starters. Iraq and OBL were definitely linked and negotiating on various fronts none of which could be considered benevolent.

Charles: "If the 'ends' of neutralizing Saddam and establishing democracy in the greater ME are achievable, then it is a worthy endeavor. Then the cost must be calculated and history will decide."
Ends and means now, is it? That’s an interesting one. With Abu’s permission I’ll go off on a tangent. Well, I’ll do it without his permission, he can always delete me.
I’ve heard it argued that the ends can never justify the means, the ends must include the means.
Out here in the free world, we’ve seen and read a fair bit lately about this "rendition" business, the CIA practice of flying terrorist suspects to co-operative countries for interrogation. A recent documentary featured a German citizen of Arab origin who was kidnapped in Stockholm, flown to Afghanistan and interrogated for several months, then dumped in Albania with the explanation that he had been mistaken for a terrorist of the same name. A retired CIA agent defended the action on the grounds that it was necessary in the defence of America.
So where do you stand Charles? Ethics 101:
A criminal gang has kidnapped a child for ransom. The police capture one of the gang, who refuses to speak.
1) Should they torture him to make him reveal the child’s location?
2) What about if they only suspect that he’s one of the gang, and he denies it?
3) In either case, what if he’s a she?
I think I know what my answers are. Be interested in yours, because it’s another aspect of the collateral damage issue, and may help us understand you.
And of course according to some reports the Iraqi Police and Security forces are re-employing some of Saddam’s finest for this purpose.

(Yawn) Page 66.9/11 report?
No doubt you were tantalized by...'According to the reporting[gossip?], Iraqi officials offered Bin Ladin a safe haven in Iraq.
Bin Ladin declined, apparently judging that his circumstances in Afghanistan
remained more favorable than the Iraqi alternative. The reports describe
friendly contacts and indicate some common themes in both sides’ hatred of
the United States."
[CIA reports? Oh, that's convincing.]

Then I read..."But to date we have seen no EVIDENCE that these or the earlier
contacts ever developed into a collaborative operational relationship. Nor
have we seen EVIDENCE indicating that Iraq cooperated with al Qaeda in developing
or carrying out any attacks against the United States."

I require 'EVIDENCE', not 'reports', especially when it means dragging two nations into bloody war.

Now Charles, you will write 100 times in your best handwriting the following;
'Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our
inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the
state of facts and evidence.'-John Adams

I count the BBC, The Times, Guardian and Independent, or come to that the New Zealand Herald, CNN, etc as main-line news organizations. They may (or may not) have a slant, but they generally tend to be fairly reliable.
My reason for stating that in regards to Bush, Delay, Cheney, etc. one ought to derive information primarily from right wing sites, is that left-wing sites will tend to focus on what would be embarrassing to the right, so that if a right wing item is celebrated on right wing pages, it is more likely to be credible to the doubters. Likewise, in regards to the left. If I hear that Rush Limbaugh has quoted Michael Moore, I will tend to doubt the reliability of the quote.
It is quite possible for both left and right (and others) to misquote those with whom they might tend to agree, but it is not as common as misquoting or misrepresenting the opposition.
Be Well,

Circ again,
One of my primary irritations with the invasions (other than its actual occurrence) was that it seemed to be done in such a slipshod fashion. If we were going in, there were a number of things to keep in mind if we didn't want to alienate our potential allies -- the people of Iraq. We needed far more grunts with at least a minimal fluency in Iraqi Arabic. We needed to practice respect for the culture to such a degree that the idea of Americans disrespecting Islam, Muslims, Iraqi history (Babylon as an military base), or the local Christians would be unthinkable to the Iraqis (unlike the current situation, where all of the above feel disrespected).

Be Well,

If I recall correctly (and I REALLY don't want to go back to google again for this--I got to bed WAY too late last night) Hans Blix was saying that we should let the inspection process continue, and was attacked as some sort of intellectual wimp for saying that.
The CIA said that Saddam wouldn't be a threat to the US UNLESS we attacked (and proved to be wrong--Saddam wasn't even a threat then).

Be Well,

Circ and Anonymous,
I hope you understand that I agree with quite little asserted by Charles when I request that you not bait him. You can communicate clearly without being insulting. (I know it's tempting. Please resist)
I think I find Charles' assertions as frustrating as you do. However, I don't see any gain by attacking him.
My kid and a friend are coming to grab a cup of coffee with me, so I gotta go.

Be Well,

I thought you might find this article from the Detroit Free Press interesting.

ROLE-PLAYERS: 12-hour workday is just part of the job

April 25, 2005


FT. POLK, La. -- Thanks to the U.S. Army, the new life these immigrants sought in Detroit suddenly looks a lot like the old life they left in Iraq.

GAMES OF LIFE, DEATH: Center prepares U.S. troops for life in Iraq

Towering pines supplant Iraq's graceful palms, and dusty red earth replaces the desert's shifting sands. But walking around the 18 Potemkin villages of Talatha -- past Arabic street signs and Iraqi flags snapping in the breeze -- feels a lot like walking around some obscure little piece of the Middle East.

The goal at Ft. Polk is teaching U.S. soldiers how to stay alive in Iraq. What better way to do it than to build a microcosm of the place and staff it with people, including about 50 from metro Detroit, who grew up in the real one?

"When we come here, we act like we are back home," said 30-year-old Amir Saymari of Dearborn. "We teach them about the culture, and we teach them about the Iraqi people."

The gratitude these Arabic-speaking Detroiters feel to U.S. soldiers for toppling Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is fierce, and they want to return the favor by helping soldiers stay alive.

"I believe in what I'm doing," Saymari said. "It's not about the money. I used to be a truck driver, and I made more money. But this helps save lives. ... As long as they ask me to come back, I will do this."

Yahya Bayati, who said his job at a Sterling Heights automotive parts supplier is being outsourced to Mexico, agreed.

"I come to help the Army," said Bayati, 33. "I'm here because they take Saddam out. For 35 years, Saddam Hussein killed too many people."

Bayati's younger brother, Abbas Bayati, also works at Ft. Polk.

"That's why we come here -- we save American soldiers," Abbas Bayati said. "When they are going to Iraq, they gotta be right."

In exchange for their 12-hour days and their language and cultural expertise -- not to mention their isolation from home, their living conditions in World War II-era barracks, and their virtual inability to leave the Army base -- they earn about $220 per day, plus board.

Ali al-Taye, 47, of Dearborn, said he thinks the sacrifice is worth it.

"I work very hard to save the American soldier, to save lives," said al-Taye, an artist who was born in Babylon, south of Baghdad, Iraq. "We who are here in America, we are Americans, and we hope everyone is safe in Iraq on both sides -- American and Iraqis."

It's not hard to understand, he said.

"Iraqi people, we got family there," he said. "And American soldier, they got family, too."

The jobs, which most of the role-players heard about through word of mouth, come with other hardships besides long hours and less-than-luxurious living conditions.

"It's really opened up my eyes to what the soldiers must feel," said Neda Kadri, 23, of Dearborn. "Sometimes I truly, honestly feel scared. It isn't role-playing to me anymore. It's real."

After a particularly harsh battle recently between insurgents and Americans, Kadri, whose normal job is selling insurance in Southfield, found the realism of the exercises a little too intense.

"When the sun sets, you're sitting in the dark because the insurgents have cut the power. Flares going up in the air, that's the only light," Kadri said, wrapping her arms around her knees. "And insurgents don't play by the rules. They use women as human shields."

The fighters dragged the women out into the street, where they were confronted by Americans in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

"That big barrel, pointed right at us," Kadri said with a shudder -- "it's like you're in the middle."

Despite the difficulties, Kadri, like nearly all the other role-players, said she'll be back to help train more soldiers.

"If we get just one soldier to say to himself, 'Hang on, this happened in training,' or if he says, 'If this had been Iraq, I would have just died. ...' " She pauses. "That's why we all take it very, very seriously."


Re: ends/means

I don't think the means used by the military in this case differ significantly from the means used by militaries in general on similar operations. Except for the fact that weapons/targeting/ employment tactics have advanced and deliberate efforts are made to minimize civilian casualties.

In principal I am opposed to torture. There may be specific examples when you know the person is guilty, is withholding info, other methods have failed, time is running out, and many will suffer if the info isn't received. Even in such cases it should be regulated and the methods should be approved and those involved held responsible - whatever the outcome.

You may recall the story of a US major in combat in Iraq (early in war). His detachment was under attack, there had been several patrols ambushed, they captured one of the attackers. Knowing another attack was coming, and having failed to politely convince the prisoner to talk, the major put him up against a wall, took out a pistol, and aimed it at his head, demanded info, and when the guy didn't talk - he fired. not at the guy, but right next to his head. The guy proceeded to spill the beans and they successfully thwarted next attack. The major then returned to his superior officer, reported the incident himself, and awaited discipline. The result was that this major - just some months away from retirement, was reprimanded, pulled from the line, sent home, and forced into retirement, and lost most of his benefits.

That's how brutal, bloodthirsty, and arrogant our military is.

@ Anon,

For all of the people who won't bother reading the report, you discretionary presentation of quotes is no doubt impressive. Especially if those people have faith that whatever you utter must be true. Quoting John Adams just makes your post ooze credibility.

Let's consider what little we do know about the facts, shall we?

OBL and his bunch are terrorists. His folks set up links with other local terror organizations (Hez/PLO/etc.) and Iran for purposes of weapons training, joint operations against the US. His folks trained in Iran and Lebanon, among other places. In the mid-90's OBL approached Saddam to set up mutual relations. There is no evidence to prove one way or the other if anything developed at this stage. In late 90's OBL/Iraq formed truce where OBL would stop supporting anti-Saddam efforts. He continued to support ansar al islam and apparently Saddam also supported them against Kurds in north.

In mid-98, Iraq approached OBL with offers of cooperation and sanctuary. Iraqi intelligence officers went to Afghanistan and met with OBL and made offer of sanctuary. Commission believed meetings continued throughout 99 along the common anti-US theme. In this same paragraph the commission states that they have no evidence to support that these meetings developed into a collaborative 'operational' relationship, nor do they have any evidence that Saddam supported 9/11 attacks.

Anon - the relationship existed, it was founded on mutual hatred of the US - OBL and Saddam were willing to work together - OBL/Saddam/anti-Isreali terror organizations were linked. One big happy family.

You would spin the report - as everyone did - that there were no ties. Even newspapares ran headlines saying "Commission Finds no ties between Saddam/OBL" - when this is not the truth.

These are terrorists and tyrants, not some book of the month club. Could you imagine the King of Sweden having 'links' with OBL?

Its a bit silly on your part to pick pieces of the report and cling to them faithfully, and disparage other parts you disagree with. The commission was very stingy about what they would even mention as possible fact.

Remember Atta's supposed meeting in Prague with Iraqi agent? The commission found that unreliable and would not include it. What were the facts?

Czech agent reported that he saw Atta (eye witness) meeting with Iraqi agent in Prague on 4/9 at 11:00am. Czech officials confirmed this and US officials interviewed czech agent and believed that he was sincere. Czech officials put credibility at 70% - whatever that means. On April 4th Atta was caught on surveillance camera withdrawing $8K cash in Virginia (to buy milk and tomatoes?). On April 11th he was confirmed back in Florida. Apparently his cell phone made calls from Florida to Florida on the 6th, 9th, 10th, 11th. This is the 'positive' evidence used to place him in Florida - although no one has any idea whether Atta made the calls, or someone else like his co-conspirator roommate. A US cell phone will not work in Europe so atta would have left it with his buddy anyway. Its about a 7 hour flight to Prague and Atta was missing for 144 hours.

My point is not that Atta was in Prague, but rather that the commission was so stingy and careful with facts that they discredited a trained Czech intelligence officer eyewitness report. You can bet that anything they did mention has plenty to back it up.

Haven't you guys solved all the world's problems yet?

Oh well maybe next month.

Good luck.

I have read about such operations. They are, as far as I can tell, relatively recent. We should have had the language/culture program in place in 2002, or January 2003 at the latest.
During WW II the US Armed Forces prepared small booklets on the local languages for the soldiers who would be stationed or fighting there. I have such booklets for Bahasa Malayu, Korean, Turkish and Chinese. The fluency is minimal, but sufficient. When we were about to go into Iraq, I started asking about similar programs (just a matter of curiosity and concern) and heard that we had little, partially because it was "a waste of time," since the soldiers learning Arabic wouldn't stay in the service.

Everything we did in going into Iraq effected how the Iraqis viewed us. Taking Saddam out was positive. Allowing a Museum to burn up, allowing a museum to be looted, were negative. The response at the time, that we weren't there to protect museums, was even more negative.

If you ever get a chance, try to find one of the old WW II languages booklets, and look at how the American soldiers were being taught to deal with the locals.
(The booklets for officers and translators are a bit different, with a lot more vocabulary, including a fair amount of military vocabulary.)

Be Well,

"Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company."
George Washington

Got any videotape, photographs, etc? You got a witness who will stand up in court and swear that he saw Atta? Try 'Curveball' and some of the other paid CIA informants(the same ones who gave us all the good Intel on Saddam's WMD--now they are saying Saddam didn't have any but he was going to order them just as soon as sanctions were lifted).
This is what happens when you turn out to be a liar--people stop believing in what you say.
"It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it"
Benjamin Franklin


You missed my point. I was not trying to prove that Atta was in Prague. I have no idea.

You were quoting selected excerpts from the 9-11 commission report to prove that Saddam was not connected to Al Qaeda.

I provided the full information and reference to the text directly so that people (if they wanted to) could review for themselves whether or not Saddam had ties to Al Qaeda. The report clearly states that he did. The report also makes it clear that various ME regimes and terrorist groups (PLO/Hez/etc.) cooperate.

This directly undermines your position that Saddam's confirmed support for terrorists is irrelevant.

You then responded by saying that the report was not credible:

"I require 'EVIDENCE', not 'reports',"

You can't have it both ways.

I went further to try to show how the commission did not include claims lightly in the report by showing an example of how they did not include the Atta in Prague evidence.

No one doubts that the Czech agent spotted who he thought was Atta. No one disputes that days earlier Atta had withdrawn a large sum of cash (for travel?). But they rejected the eye witness account as insufficient because Atta's cell phone made calls from Florida the day he was supposedly in Prague and because no one by the name of Atta booked a flight to Prague.

I'm sure George Washington would be impressed with you.

For a good time call...

Whoops wrong place!

"You missed my point. I was not trying to prove that Atta was in Prague. I have no idea."

You are attempting to prove a connection and denying that you can prove it--arguing out of both sides of your mouth simultaneously. You won't be successful in your energetic filibustering of this blog(I hope).
Notice the course of this blog under Charles's spam-attacks, Bob?

"I provided the full information and reference to the text directly so that people (if they wanted to) could review for themselves whether or not Saddam had ties to Al Qaeda. The report clearly states that he did. The report also makes it clear that various ME regimes and terrorist groups (PLO/Hez/etc.) cooperate."

You produce 'reports' which suggest, not prove contacts that didn't result in anything. Are contacts the same as ties? I am contacting you in this blog, are we therefore 'tied'? Why haven't the US investigators who have had access to millions of Saddam's files found any documents supporting either contacts or ties?

"This directly undermines your position that Saddam's confirmed support for terrorists is irrelevant."
Can't you see the difference between Abu Nidal and AL Qaeda?
Maybe Saddam funded Shia Hezoballah 'terrorists'(the Dawa party that runs Iraq now) in his rage at Israel?

"You can't have it both ways."
I don't want it both ways, I want evidence not 'reports'.'Reports' without evidence is hearsay.

"I went further to try to show how the commission did not include claims lightly in the report by showing an example of how they did not include the Atta in Prague evidence."
Excellent, I agree. Now agree with the conclusion of the 911 commission that there was no connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam.

"No one doubts that the Czech agent spotted who he thought was Atta. No one disputes that days earlier Atta had withdrawn a large sum of cash (for travel?). But they rejected the eye witness account as insufficient because Atta's cell phone made calls from Florida the day he was supposedly in Prague and because no one by the name of Atta booked a flight to Prague."
Irrelevant or is Prague in Iraq?

Now in your best handwriting write the following 1000 times on the blackboard.
"Don't consider your reputation and you may do anything you like"
Chinese Proverb


Please go read your own post where YOU brought the commision report up as evidence.

You brought it up.

And then you discredit the very same source as unreliable?

That would earn a you "D" in my class. I would't fail you outright because you have memorized lots of nifty quotes - and that's got to stand for something.

So other than the absurdity of your line of argumentation - where you refute yourself, the meat of the issue is the following:

There is no evidence to support or refute that Saddam was involved in 9/11.

There is evidence to support that Saddam had at a minimum high level ties/connections/whatever you want to call it with the worlds deadliest terrorist organization that executed the 9/11 attacks for at least 10 years running. These links were deep enough that Saddam invited OBL et al to relo to Iraq in 1998.

There is evidence to support that these rogue regimes and the various ME terror groups are connected.

It is an established fact that Saddam provided at a minimum funding support for these terrorist groups.

So you are wrong on all counts.

We obviously disagree on the meaning of the facts. For that, everyone is left to decide for themselves.

You would assume that high level ties, meetings, offers of sanctuary, mutual support, etc., between this dastardly duo had nothing to do whatsoever with the violent policy aims of the parties.

Perhaps they had some other aims? Can you give me some examples of what they might have been? Does anything pop into your head? Keep in mind that during this same time period Saddam kicked out inspectors, and OBL was up to all sorts of murder and mayhem. Maybe those issues just never came up? Maybe they discussed their mutual love for fly fishing or mushroom picking? Tropical fish? Yeah - that's it...

Oh and PS -

I thought you were familiar with the Atta/Prague issue and had actually read the commission's report. My bad...

A Czech intelligence agent spotted Atta meeting with an IRAQI INTELLIGENCE AGENT on 4/9/2001 in Prague. The Czech government volunteered this info and it went public a long time ago.

Bob Griffin
Stop teasing Charles? Gee, you’re a hard man, aren’t you, depriving me of one of my few simple free amusements? You’ll be telling me to knock off the sex next!
Actually I’ve had a bit of free time lately but it’s back down to it tomorrow, so I’ll try to go back to mainly ignoring him. But I do feel slightly wounded that you undervalue my efforts. Some time back I patiently explained to him the invalidity of his habitual use of the ad hominen argument, and he seems to have got the message - it’s some time now since he has accused me, Abu, or anyone else on this Blog of being a supporter of terrorism. I call that progress.
Mind you, there’s possibly still a way to go. Although it has nothing whatsoever to do with the subject of this discussion, he and Mr Anon are apparently now engaged in a verbal duel to the death over whether or not there may have been the slightest hint of a breath of a whisper of some slight contact between Mr Hussein and Al Qaeda, with Charles firmly convinced that if he can prove that they were ever on the same planet at the same time then the conquest of Iraq with all its flaws and follies was totally necessary in March 2003 and that civilisation as we know it would have collapsed if it had been postponed for a while to gather sufficient forces and plan an occupation properly and that we will all be totally convinced by his wisdom on this issue. (Pant! Pant! Boy that was a long sentence. And a total waste of breath - Charles will now inevitably respond that Saddam’s terrorist links weren’t important anyway, because bringing freeeedom and dermocracy were what it was all about, really. I used to love merry-go-rounds when I was a kid, but they tend to make me upchuck now, despite my chosen nom-de-plume.)
Returning to the actual subject of this Blog chapter, I wonder if anyone has actually bothered to re-read Mr Gorman’s e-mail to the military, which requests on behalf of Mr Setzer "...to have his son's name put on one of the munitions (bomb, missile, artillery shell) that will be used on the war on terrorism including Iraq."
The more I think about it, the more uneasy I become about this whole subject. Perhaps we Kiwis are too bluntly-spoken, but if I had to summarise this matter, I would say something like "an American asked the military to put the name of a 9/11 casualty on a munition intended to kill some Arabs. What Arabs? Well, preferably some bad ones, but in principle, given the nature of warfare, any old Arabs will do."
The only redeeming feature I can find in the whole thing is that Mr Gorman does sound to be a little regretful now.

I'd say you fellows are awfully lucky to have such a swell supportive group of bloggers who would never dare to question any assumptions that might call your positions into doubt (however absurd they may be). Circle the wagons boys...

But seriously Circ, the whole idea of 'blowing off' my correct arguments through condescension won't always work. It will work here on this blog because no one has the guts to correct anyone whom they see as being on 'their' side. Up to now I admit Abu Billy has been an even handed fellow, but he still avoids any tactical involvement.

It would be quite refreshing to see one of you pipe in on 'quote monger anon' and mention that it is quite absurd to one moment quote 9-11 report as an authority to prove a point, and then disparage the report as useless when it turns out the report refutes his point.

That's just one example.

You all seem so very dodgy whenever it comes down to details. Its so easy to make blanket statements supported by the mob:

"Aargh, Bush, always in a hurry - aargh"

"Yeah - Aaargh - after the oil he is - grrrrrh"

"Yeah - killen all them children, aargh"

"Yeah - those sweet kids - grrrrr"

"Bad planner too"

"Yeah - grrrrh - couldn't even fix everything - aaaargh"

"Bush said Saddam did 9/11 - what a liar - arrgh"

"Yeah - liar - grrrr"

"And he made mistakes too - yeah"

"First terrorism, then Saddam, then freedom - aaargh - can't make up his mind - grrrr"

"We all knew there were no WMD - grrrr"

"Yeah - what a dummy - aaaargh"

"I heard he likes to torture people - aaargh - grrrrh"

"Torture bad - Bush bad - aaargh"

"And his soldiers - they like to kill - aaargh"

"Just killers - aaaargh"

"He's a liar - aaaargh"

"Full o fibs he is - gggrrrrr"

"You got that right - aaaargh"

"He should have waited - aaargh"

"Yeah - we woulda done it later - grrrrh"

"And better - arrrgh - no mistakes - grrrrh"

"Yeah - grrrrh - no one woulda been hurt - aaargh"

"Pinochet bad - old man going to jail - grrrh - good"

"Yeah - years ago they say he was a tough dictator - aaaargh - killed many hundreds - baaad"

"Bush wrong to take Saddam from power - grrrrh"

"Saddam not so bad - Bush worse - arrrgh"


"Yeah - aaargh".

Did I miss any key arguments?

"Please go read your own post where YOU brought the commision report up as evidence.You brought it up."
Yes I brought up the 9/11 commission FINDINGS. You say that a unsubstantiated 'evidence'[yes, that word 'evidence' is in the report describing hearsay and yes it is an oxymoron] and FINDINGS are the same thing. You are playing with words again.
"And then you discredit the very same source as unreliable?
To repeat, I accept the 9/11 FINDINGS, and although the 9/11 report does contain various amorphous, not detailed'accounts' of Bin Ladin contacting Iraqis and Iraqis contacting Bin Ladin, Again, the conclusion is that there was no evidence of collaboration- that is, NOTHING HAPPENED.
"Blah, blah... the meat of the issue is the following:

There is no evidence to support or refute that Saddam was involved in 9/11."
This is new. Hm! No evidence that exhonerates Saddam! Did Saddam forget to call up Bush to warn him? Is there any evidence that exhonerates the Israelis, which some Arabs believe were behind the 911 attacks? Why didn't Sharon call up Bush? Come to think of it I can't think of any thing that exonerates Kim Il Jung either! Okay, Charles really ya got me!
"There is evidence to support that Saddam had at a minimum high level ties/connections/whatever you want to call it with the worlds deadliest terrorist organization that executed the 9/11 attacks for at least 10 years running. These links were deep enough that Saddam invited OBL et al to relo to Iraq in 1998."
Maybe enough 'evidence' to convince you, but not to convince the 911 committee of a collaboration between Saddam and Bin Ladin.

But hold on..what does our dear Rummy have to say about your 'connection'(he should know, right?).
Tuesday, 5 October, 2004, 14:27 GMT 15:27 UK
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has cast doubt on whether there was ever a relationship between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. The alleged link was used as a reason by President Bush for invading Iraq.

"To my knowledge, I have not seen any strong, hard evidence that links the two," he said, though he later issued a statement saying he was misunderstood. (Donald Rumsfeld)

Several hours after his appearance, Mr Rumsfeld issued a statement saying his comments had been "regrettably misunderstood" and that he had acknowledged there were ties between Osama Bin Laden and Iraq based upon CIA intelligence.
In the past, Mr Rumsfeld has spoken of credible information about a link, while Vice-President Dick Cheney regularly goes further and talks of Saddam Hussein having provided safe harbour and sanctuary for al-Qaeda.

Holy smokes,Rummy completely forgot about the critical Saddam-Bin Ladin 'relationship'! Thankfully Dick Cheney reminded him!

"There is evidence to support that these rogue regimes and the various ME terror groups are connected."
Certain groups, yes.

"It is an established fact that Saddam provided at a minimum funding support for these terrorist groups."
Certain groups, yes.

"So you are wrong on all counts."
Non sequiter, and don't bother restating your 'argument'.

"We obviously disagree on the meaning of the facts. For that, everyone is left to decide for themselves."
"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts." -- Daniel Patrick Moynihan
"You would assume that high level ties, meetings, offers of sanctuary, mutual support, etc., between this dastardly duo had nothing to do whatsoever with the violent policy aims of the parties." Yeah, Charles, so Nixon was selling the US out to Mao and Brezhnev(commies). Contacts are not collaboration.

"Perhaps they had some other aims?"
As many aims as you can imagine in that fertile brain of yours. Maybe Saddam just wanted to buy some opium from Osama?

Let's run that Rummy tape again..
"To my knowledge, I have not seen any strong, hard evidence that links the two," he said, though he later issued a statement saying he was misunderstood."
I love videotape.

"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts." -- Daniel Patrick Moynihan


I think we do agree.

There was no evidence that Saddam and OBL ran joint collaborative operations together.

Saddam and OBL (both ruthless killers) did have ongoing contacts for about 10 years at least. Mutual solicitations of support, non-aggression, etc. Both parties supported regional terror groups. Both parties motivated by mutual enemy.

I find that to be another incriminating tid-bit to add to Saddam's already very dense portfolio of threats. You find it meaningless.


Congratulations for having succeeded again in derailing the debate away from the intended issues.

You started off by insulting another poster without any provocation.

You then attacked me (insinuating that I did not address the real terrorists… or that perhaps I had acquaintances with them) in the hope of provoking me! I simply deleted your comment! I only answered back in kind after facts were established.

You then had to tackle the question in hand, questioning the authenticity of those photos (which was fair enough for attempting to catch the cat by the tail).

When the truth became evident you wondered why nobody watched that documentary! Immediately, you attacked the BBC for implying that Bush misled the American public… and wondered if the BBCD retracted.

Your next theme was to question whether the administration ever gave the impression that there was a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda. You were convinced that they didn’t!

You then went on and on trying to prove that there was such a link… based on some ‘intelligence’ that someone saw someone whom he thought was someone who was a terrorist who might have met someone who was possibly with the Iraqi intelligence.

[By the way, what do you think of another documented and photographed meeting between Saddam and Mr. Donald Rumsfeld… at a time when Saddam was actively chemically attacking both Iraqis and Iranians. Does that meeting constitute some collaboration of the type you are looking for? Remember Mr. Seckzer’s statement hinting that the ultimate proof of collaboration was a handshake?]

So, if I have understood your long-winded argument correctly:

1. There was a definite link between Iraq and the international terrorists.

2. Yet, your present administration never gave that impression to people.

Millions of Americans somehow simultaneously got that wrong impression from somewhere.

Michael in Farmingham,

Your army was a short distance away when Saddam’s republican guard was killing those people. They gave them permission to use helicopters to do it. That is well documented. So, why the sudden outrage after 12 years?

No, I do not have direct evidence that that particular bomb killed civilians… but I have several hundred thousands pieces of human flesh as evidence that similar ones killed many thousands of innocent people. I certainly personally know a good number!

It is people who supported that adventure out of misguided revenge or patriotism who gave the permission to do that.


I was delightedto know that the Chinese had similar saying. Down here we say: “If you have no shame, then do as you please”.

Abu Khaleel,

You misinterpret my comments on a far too regular basis. That is unfortunate.


I thought the issue was settled? Distraught Sekzer requested to have his son's name put on a bomb.

"You started off by insulting..."

You mean the guy who used profanity and called the man who's son was murdered a 'patriotic B.S. er."

If confronting him for callous stupidity is an insult, than I am guilty as charged.

"You then attacked me..."

It wasn't an attack - just an observation. Namely, that I found it odd that so much energy was spent going after this distraught old man who didn't hurt anyone in fact, while no energy is spent going after today's culprits.

I NEVER insinuated that you were somehow involved with or collaborating with terrorists. You are COMPLETELY mistaken. I think you just read an attack into everything I write. That is also unfortunate.

"Immediately, you attacked the BBC..."

I simply made a comment regarding the BBC's use of very biased language that is untrue. This should not be acceptable behavior for major international news media outlet.

"Your next theme was to question whether the administration ever gave the impression that there was a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda..."

There ARE links between Saddam and Al Qaeda! But NO ONE ever said that Saddam was responsible for 9-11. Why is it so difficult to grasp this? Why do you all struggle so hard against this? Abu Billy provided a good link to a study on this. In short, Americans didn't need Bush to tell them that Saddam is nothing but trouble and will remain as such if left in power.

"You then went on and on trying to prove..."

The Prague issue was just to point out that the 9-11 Commission rejected a lot of things that were credible but not 100% verifyable, so therefore the evidence they did offer should be considered as reasonably valid. They rejected Prague, but stated that Saddam/OBL were connected.

"that there was such a link… based on some ‘intelligence’ that someone saw someone..."

A Czech intelligence agent 'eyeballed' Atta with an Iraqi embassy rep in Prague. That is not so vague and suspect as you make it sound. The reasons were provided why the intel was ultimately rejected and it doesn't seem much weightier than the eyewitness account.

"Does that meeting [Rummy]constitute some collaboration of the type you are looking for?"

Yes it does! I think back in the early '80s (right?), Reagan sent Rumsfeld (not part of gov't at time I believe) to meet with Saddam and feel him out. Remember we had some big issues with Iran and a common motive. Those relations developed over time to where the US was providing intelligence and material to assist Saddam against Iran. Our support for Saddam was far less than Europe, China, and USSR, (in fact a tiny tiny fraction) but it was still there and in hindsight it was a terrible mistake. As Saddam's nature became more apparent relations dropped off and finally led to armed confrontation.

"1. There was a definite link between Iraq and the international terrorists."

RIGHT! ME terrorists of all sorts - all sharing a common desire to strike US interests and allies, further inflame the region, and in general cause murder and mayhem.

"2. Yet, your present administration never gave that impression to people."

WRONG. The present administration never said that Saddam was directly responsible for 9/11.

"Millions of Americans..."

Go back to Abu Billy's link. I'm not saying its all correct, but premise is interesting and would provide possible explanations for these questions.

Please try not to take everything I write as an insult.

If the link in my comments to which you're referring people is the one dealing with polls, then I STRONGLY recommend that you and they also read my post of 9:11 PM (wierd coincidence, that) dealing with politically motivated polls.

I received my first such polling phone call either in the late 1970s or the early 1980s, and it was quite clear to me that the organization funding the poll wanted me to vote against a certain candidate (I've forgotten which).

Gotta run--long drive through Southern Calif traffic to an Esperanto group meeting (how liberal of me).

Be Well,

As you say, Charles has "succeeded again in derailing the debate away from the intended issues." (He’s also ignored your earlier request to moderate the number of his posts.) I guess this will continue to happen as long as he remains the self-described and self-appointed resident neo-fascist" in these discussions. (Yes Charles, I know you meant it sarcastically. Please don’t bother to respond.)
Before this section winds up: you said above " ... No, I do not have direct evidence that that particular bomb killed civilians… but I have several hundred thousands pieces of human flesh as evidence that similar ones killed many thousands of innocent people. I certainly personally know a good number!"
As I said earlier I would be very interested in some sort of accounting by you of the number of innocent people known to you personally who have been killed or injured over the last two years, including by "terrorist" action. I think it would help people to understand your feelings about the subject of this post.
Presumably Nihad was one, since you knew his father well. And his father and brothers are now in gaol, which I suppose is equivalent to being injured.
(It sounds like your younger son might have been another, if he had stayed at the billiard saloon much longer. But I don’t suppose you can count being damaged by an angry Dad as being a casualty of war.)
Your descriptions of the tensions in your daily life are very depressing. Cheer up, you’ll have a new "Government" any day now. Whoopee! Seriously, what is your outlook now - do you think there can be much progress towards stability and normality in the next year or two, have you any reason for optimism, or has it just gone too far downhill in too many ways? That’s certainly the impression I get from everything I read.

Where's Bruno?

The Sgrena report came out. Tomorrow we should have the Italian version. Politics aside, it looks like a tragic mishap.

Among other things, the US military needs to hire some IT specialists, or at least a competent secretary.

Apparently all of the redacted parts (soliders names/etc.) were rendered visible with a few mouse clicks. The whole thing is online.

Bruno? Bruno?


Charles has just confirmed your assertion about him. This guy never gives up. In fact he does succeed in even drawing me to other issues, even though I know his game!! I think I will leave that comment there as proof!

Besides, I feel a bit generous after the satisfaction he and his esteemed friends gave me in falling right into my trap in this post. I admit that I was a bit wicked!

In fact, since I have a bit of free time this morning I think I will put my thoughts about that in a post… just to keep our super-patriot friends amused.

But Charles is right: Sgrena’s incident was a mishap; so were hundreds of other similar incidents. Entire families were wiped out, and there was not even an investigation because the world didn’t know about them. No senior officer was responsible for Abu Ghraib. That ‘mercy killing’ guy was acquitted. That killing in the mosque in Fallujah was dismissed, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. Yet, that soldier who killed two of his American colleagues is to be executed. I sometimes feel that the American establishment and some of its supporters have a weird sense of justice (and Freedom… and Democracy).

You could perhaps see those double standards at play in this very post. Those people blaming me for sending a harsh “letter” to Mr. Sekzer to avenge my friend in response to his sending me a “bomb” to avenge his son! Such a sharp sense of justice! Having said that, I think that Sekzer has more decency than those people defending him. At least he had the integrity to realize that he was misled and admitted it.

As to my personal losses, I don’t think I will ever be able to put those in words that reflect the depth of my feelings. I only hope that you never experience even a minute fraction of a minute fraction of the feelings that come from such losses.

Regarding the new government, I was ‘slightly’ optimistic when a Kurd was chosen as president (though I wished it was somebody else with less blood on his hands). The people’s reaction was heartening. Iraqis made a statement to those there-will-be-civil-war people. Jokes went back to Kurdistan (very much like English-Irish jokes)… but then the government was announced.

We have a saying for this: “The mountain went into labor and gave birth to a mouse!”

A brilliant success for the new democracy. What an impressive proof of success! Those Iraqis somehow managed to ‘elect’ someone they are united in despising and who is a convicted embezzler… to entrust with the nation’s oil wealth.

To cheer you up a bit, I am starting a new “campaign”:

I have been troubled by the increasing level of corruption in our government (I frankly never thought that was possible!!). So the idea is to set aside about 5 billion of the oil revenues into a fund. Any politician who can prove that he is capable of stealing money from the state is given a generous amount in proportion to that ability on condition that he leaves the country.

What shall we call it? Amalgamated Iraqi Politicians Assistance Fund – AIPAF?

This might be a lot cheaper for us in the long run. What do you think? ;)

That's probably not a good idea, Abu. It would just make them come over here, get into politics, steal even more money from our government, and use it to further fleece your own country out of some sense of pety revenge.

I didn't read every last comment, so I'm not sure what trap you were refering to in this article, so correct me if I am wrong. I believe you have entangled yourself in your own snare.

You are angry and indignant that a man in the midst of grief would want his son's name to be written on a bomb. Perhaps to take the place of his son who might even now be serving with our troops in your country if he had not been crushed by thousands of tons of twisted metal, glass, and concrete. Of course, he may have burned up in the fire of a couple thousand pounds of jet fuel, or been smeared like a bug on the windshield of a 747 as he sat typing up some form at his desk. I'm not sure.

Yet, it is not the man's actions that you take umbridge with, but only whether he intended this care package to be dropped on your country or another.

I confess, I am confused. Are the lives of Afghani muslims worth less than those of Iraqi muslims? Were the bombs that were dropped on your country aimed at civilian office buildings? Were your countrymen completely unaware that an attack was iminant? Did they not have time to attempt an evacuation prior to the beginning of the war?

Of course, the option of evacuating may have been taken away by the government your people had allowed to rule them, I don't know. I was not there.

The question I have is not when or where or what time the next pety, pointless attack will take place in retaliation to our actions to stabalize the Middle East, it is simply this: "What will you and your people do to ensure that your country will not be the target of any further retaliation, justified or otherwise?"

It is a shame that the Iraqi people allowed themselves to be ruled by a tyrant for so long. It is a shame that the people of the Middle East have been fighting amongst each other for so long that it takes such actions on the part of our government to force them to work together against a common enemy, greater than those people who dare to wear a different symbol around their neck, or pray to their version of the Allmighty at a different time of day.

It is a shame that the people of the Middle East fight a war that is thousands of years old for no other reason than a grudge.

The United States, and all of the World, has been reluctant to commit aid to the Middle East for so very long because the Middle East does not try to aid itself. Quagmire does not begin to describe the economical, political, and religious bog that is the Middle East.

It is a shame that Iraq posed the best chance of creating a stable, tollerant country that could one day become a bastion for the peace loving people of the Middle East. It is also a shame that Iraq allowed itself to be ruled by a system of government that made it the only target America could choose without further destabalizing the Middle East.

The damage has been done. Your country was attacked. There is no changing that fact now. This leaves several options open for you and your country men.

You can choose to fight, prolonging the conflict; you can choose to flee, leaving it behind you; or you can choose to build a country of tollerance and forgiveness that will not only forstall future world conflicts, but create a country that the people of the Middle East will flock to in order to live their lives as they choose without fear of persecution or death.

The choice is yours.

You were given a powerful gift for writing and inciting thoughts and emotions in others. You could easily use this gift to incite riots against the Americans in your country. More of your countrymen would die, but they would die fighting for something they believe. Eventually the price would be too high, and our troops would be pulled out. Study Vietnam, though I'm sure you have already.

Or you could use that gift to convince your countrymen that tollerance and forgiveness will end this conflict much the sooner, win an ally in the United States, and build the strongest foundation of all for your new system of government.

Such was the foundation of my country. Unfortunately it was layed upon ground already fissured with racial prejudice, and it took a war amongst brothers to shore up the cracks that caused. Even then it was nearly a hundred years until true revolution came.

Study Martin Luther King, Jr. Though, I hope you have already.

Abu Khaleel,

"Those people blaming me for sending a harsh “letter” to Mr. Sekzer..."

For the most part we generously avoided pointing out the hypocrisy in that. I do believe it was my first post on this thread (which was promptly consigned to cyber never never land) that stated that Sekzer was a very distraught person when he made his irrational request.

No one argued that his request was a 'good' thing.

"I think that Sekzer has more decency than those people defending him."

Nothing like conciliatory rhetorical gestures to invite goodwill, and objective facts to promote debate - eh Abu?

PS - I think your AIPAF idea is great. I though of a similar approach to the kleptocracy in Russia back in the early 90's. I had hoped something similar might play out in Iraq before the war with Saddam.

What if we set up a really fancy vacation island somewhere in the Pacific/Indian ocean, pledged 0.1% of all our budgets, and offered 'free passes' to all the worlds baddies? By the time they realized the return tickets were no good it would be too late...

Dear Abu,
about the last but one post by resilient 'Charles', on the Calipari murder report (that was done only because the Italian secret service man was from a country where the Govt. is a member of the grotesquely named 'coalition of the willing'; hundreds of Iraqi civilians murdered in the same way by trigger-happy US troops do not get one), it is interesting to see some of the excerpts the incompetent members of the US military wanted to censure:
"Iraq. From July 2004 to late March 2005, there were 15,257 attacks against Coalition Forces throughout Iraq. The U.S. considers all of Iraq a combat zone.
Baghdad. From 1 November 2004 to 12 March 2005 there were a total of 3306 attacks in the Baghdad area. Of these, 2400 were directed against Coalition Forces.
Route Irish [the name US authorities call the road between the Green Zone & the airport]. Between 1 November 2004 and 12 March 2005, there were 135 attacks or hostile incidents that occurred along Route Irish. These included 9 complex attacks (i.e., a combination of more than one type of attack, e.g., an IED followed by small arms fire or mortars), 19 explosive devices found, 3 hand grenades, 7 indirect fire attacks, 19 roadside explosions, 14 rocket propelled grenades (RPGs), 15 vehicle borne explosive devices, and 4 other types of attacks".
Now, Charles & American Patriot, do your maths, and check these numbers of resistance attacks against 'Coalition' - i.e. mainly US - troops with the numbers of 'insurgent' attacks fed to your gutless media by the same US military command: there is quite a difference, don't you see? At present, the US propaganda line is that there are less than 200 attacks per month all over Iraq, & that the insurgents mainly attack Iraqi civilians (& police & un-National Guard). So you suck up such ludicrous propaganda, & then you come to Iraqi blogs to spread it further. 'Charles', don't you ever feel any shame?

Hi Italian,

My sincere condolences once again on the loss of a brave officer.

Regarding statistics mentioned, i.e. 15257 attacks on coalition forces during 8 months from July through March, I really don't know what to make of it. Seriously. Is it some military jargon that represents all after action combat reports from all soldiers involved in an engagement? Does it include Iraqi forces? Does it include both direct engagements and also situations where there is some violence nearby? What contitutes an attack? Mean looks?

During that time period the US suffered 576 deaths from hostile fire.

Maybe my math is wrong, but that indicates a casualty rate of about 1 per every 25-30 attacks. This means either: 1. coalition soldiers are practically bullet proof; 2. terrorists are crappy soldiers; 3. the numbers don't represent what you think they represent. Probably a combination of all three.

One very good thing from the release of the report is that people will want some answers to these questions.

Where do you get your numbers on 200 attacks/month? I don't have a source for that but a while back I recall hearing numbers like that - 200 attacks, 400 attacks, etc. Those numbers are off by a factor of ten.

PS - How are Italian's taking the Calipari report? Any backlash against Sgrena for trying to make such political hay over death of officer? Remember? Hundreds of bullets? Speeding through puddles? Not speeding? The US knew of operation? Etc. Are there any facts the Italians are disputing?

"He [Caprani] told Sergeant First Class Feliciano that he heard shots from somewhere, and that he panicked and started speeding, trying to get to the airport as quickly as possible. Mr. Carpani further told Sergeant First Class Feliciano that he continued to speed down the ramp, and that he was in a hurry to get to the airport."

The report seems very straight forward and contradicts almost entirely what Sgrena reported.

It sounds like the Italian report will differ primarily in pointing out that the US "tampered" with the scene by immediately taking Sgrena and party to hospital in one of the jeeps, and clearing road to repopen the lanes to traffic.

Hi Italian,

I just did a bit of googling and came up with this - that came out on 4/26/05:

"A U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said post-invasion attacks in Iraq were at lower levels — 150 to 200 per week — until April 2004, when uprisings occurred in Najaf and Anbar province. The first pictures of tortured prisoners from the Abu Ghraib prison were also made public that month.

Afterward, the rate of attacks doubled, to around 400 or more per week, the official said. The number spiked during U.S. offensives in Najaf in August and Fallujah in November.

In January, as Iraq prepared to hold its elections, the numbers increased to as high as 825 attacks in one week, the official said. Afterward, the number dropped again to 400 per week in February and 350 in March, leading to some hopes that the insurgency — a mix of Saddam loyalists and foreign terrorists — was finally ebbing because of the elections.

Except for the spikes, that rate has remained roughly consistent since April 2004, the official said."

So if most of the time period in question was 400 per week, plus major spikes for najaf, falujah, and elections, then the numbers are exactly on target.

So you are wrong on the facts about the "US propaganda line."
I think you were confusing attacks/week and attacks/month.

Yes, in WWII, they did write messages on bombs, although only the sender/writer got to read them. The level and type of bombing had been initiated by the Germans and the Japanese, although I cannot say it wasn't done in earlier wars and by whom.

In either Afghanistan or Iraq, the bombs or shells were not (intentionally) aimed at civilian or innocent targets, but were fired at authorized targets. So, the intent was not to kill innocent citizens of Iraq, but those who fought or were actual terrorists.

The number and type of bombs that targeted Iraqi citizens in recent months, whether they have anyone's name written on them or not, seem to be a form of terrorism directed at innocent Iraqis for the most part, and common sense tells us that some organization or individual is intent upon cowing the nation and eventually taking control. Who is it? Another Saddam in the wings?

Abu, instead of concentrating on a single bomb, an innocuous story, a concocted version, I would be most alarmed about who is killing the police officers in training, brothers/fathers/sons, men who are trying to bring order out of chaos, men whose aim is to restore order and protect the common man (like yourself) and his family.

Why waste time on this story? Why all this discussion about it? It happened months and months ago, and I am glad that the original story seems different than your Blog, but damn it, isn't the current killing, the bombing, the fact that whoever is doing it simply takes men prisoner and then executes them, Iraqi citizens. Who? Why? That's evil. There's your enemy.

These are perilous times for the Americans over there now, as well as for innocent Iraqis. Abu, you and your family are more at peril from these invisible murderous killers by a thousand times than you are from any Americans!

Charles, "PS - How are Italian's taking the Calipari report? Any backlash against Sgrena for trying to make such political hay over death of officer? Remember? Hundreds of bullets? Speeding through puddles? Not speeding? The US knew of operation? Etc. Are there any facts the Italians are disputing?"
Yes, the Italian reports states that the testimonies by US soldiers are "unreliable and contradictory"; and that Sgrena's testimony (which is identical to the one by the Italian secret services agent who was driving) is absolutely reliable. By the way, the Italian report says that even if not hundreds of bullets were shot, but tens of them, one can never know, since the Americans made any forensic evidence disappear, including the bullet casings. The puddles were there allright. The Italian report sticks by the testimony of the Major of the secret service who was driving ("I was driving at 50kmph"), adding that the matter of the speed is not relevant. What was relevant is that, contrary to the US report, there were no warning signals whatsoever, especially no fixed signals or barriers. Again against the US report, the Italian one states that the US chain of command was fully informed about the Calipari mission, and that it is strange that the patrol was not informed.
And the Italian report concludes that the accident was due to the "inexperience and stress" of Mario Lozano and the other US troops involved, a diplomatic way of saying that they were trembling with fear, and of no more professionalism than a glorified street gang.
"I think you were confusing attacks/week and attacks/month".
For once, you are right.


Do you have a link to Italian report? Do they have an English version?

"Sgrena's testimony (which is identical to the one by the Italian secret services agent who was driving) is absolutely reliable."

How could Sgrena be reliable? She changed her story every time she spoke? Remember, they were speeding through the city and she thought how ironic it would be if they escaped the terrorists but crashed the car? The lights in the car were on. The driver was talking on his cell phone. Caprani said himself that he was speeding and that when he heard shots he increased speed (probably a normal reaction). He said he was speeding on ramp. Does Italian report consider this testimony?

"Americans made any forensic evidence disappear, including the bullet casings."

How about the bullets in the car? If the whole event lasted several seconds, some of the shots were fired in warning, and we know the rate of fire (rounds/minute) of the weapon, then there really are not many gaps. Does it matter if there were 25 or 17 or 36 shots fired?

"adding that the matter of the speed is not relevant."

How could it NOT be relevant? The speed and momentum of a vehicle approaching a road block are the primary criteria the soldiers use to assess a threat in the space of a few seconds. Is the car moving faster than normal? Is it slowing down? Etc.

"there were no warning signals whatsoever, especially no fixed signals or barriers."

Even Sgrena admitted to the bright light. Everything happened in seconds. Reaction time was critical.

I agree that there should be visible warning signs for all kinds of road blocks. They should have better procedures. The military acknowledged this.

"the US chain of command was fully informed about the Calipari mission"

I am anxious to see the Italian version of events. US report was unequivocal on this issue.

"a diplomatic way of saying that they were trembling with fear, and of no more professionalism than a glorified street gang."

Maybe. But I have the feeling you are exagerating a bit.


the Italian version (I wasn't able to find an English one) of the Italian report is:


An English article about the differences between the American and the Italian reports is:



Let me know if you find a link in English.

Excerpts from Italian report don't provide any facts. And nothing that contradicts US report.

You may think American soldiers are a disgrace, etc., etc., but the truth is coming out that what they said from beginning was more or less correct - and that makes Sgrena worse than just a liar. She tried to take advantage of the tragic death of a brave officer, who died to save her, for her own propaganda purposes.

Now its politics and the Italian government needs to 'appease' the locals who have been worked into a frenzy by Sgrena's lies, and anti-US media., but the initial reports from Italian sources that drove the anti-US media frenzy - were false.

There was no deliverate attempt to assassinate Sgrena.

The Italians did not inform the US of the operation.

Sgrena admitted the car was driving so fast they almost lost control.

Caprani admitted to driving fast to airport and to accelerating when he heard the warning shots.

The car was not riddled with hundreds of bullets. One soldier fired several bursts from a machine gun.

It just sounds to me like one of those days when everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

Shame on Sgrena.

Actually, Howarde, many of those authorized targets were buildings and factories where civilians did work, but were necissisary to disable the infrastructure of Bahgdad and hinder Saddam's troop movements. Such as bridges and freeways, power plants, munitions plants, etc. All things which aid the military, but also places used, frequented, and populated by civilians.

Which is why as soon as we're done destroying a country, we spend billions repairing everything we destroyed.

I suppose this was the rationalization used in choosing the World Trade Center as a target by the strategists of the terrorist groups which organized the attack. If so, it was not thought out very well along those terms. Flying a plane into a Federal Reserve Bank would have had more effect than destroying office equiptment. That would be like someone shooting my laptop in order to destroy my e-mails.

That attack, as all "terrorist" attacks, was designed to destroy a symbol, to cause maximum damage against civilians in order to enrage government officials and force them into hasty action, while instilling fear in the populace. Hence the term, "terrorist."

So while buildings inhabited by civilians were chosen as tactical targets prior to our attack on Bahgdad, it differs from the attack on the World Trade Center in that those bombings were necissary to achieve a result, while the attack on the World Trade Center WAS the result.

Destroying bridges and powerplants was much along the lines of the hijackers begining by killing a flight attendant. With that one death, they were able to achieve their ends far easier than if they had merely threatened, enabling them to achieve their result with the least amount of casualty to their own forces.

At least, until they killed themselves anyway.

Cold comfort, I know, and it is a thin moral line. To those Iraqi families that lost sons, and fathers simply because they had a good job at a factory, our bombing was just as horrible and irreprehensible as the World Trade Center attack.

Those people will be our enemies for life. Hopefully, they will be the minority, and the majority of the Iraqi people will look back ten years from now and see their lives as better than they have ever been, and, in time, come to forgive.

Here's hopin, anyway.

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