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Rules of Engagement: Shoot, Kill, Lie, Repeat

Shoot, Kill, Lie, Repeat: America's New Moral Universe        
by Chris Floyd
Tell me that this doesn't sound like something out of a history of Nazi tactics in World War II:

"The rules [of engagement] explicitly allowed the killing of unarmed Iraqis under certain circumstances... Specifically, the snipers were allowed to shoot unarmed people running away from explosions or firefights... Of course, it's not unusual for innocent people to run from explosions.

"Didier, who has since been promoted to captain, said that "if that individual makes contact with you and then breaks contact of their own accord and disarms themselves while they are breaking contact, they are still an engageable target because they are not wounded, nor did they surrender." He explained, "They are only breaking contact so that they can engage coalition forces at a later time." In court, Sgt. Anthony Murphy, one of the snipers who was responsible for a questionable kill, testified that he interpreted this order about breaking contact so they can engage at a later time as: "Engage fleeing local nationals without weapons."

In other words, if an innocent, unarmed Iraqi runs away to seek safety from a suicide bombing, a missile attack or a gunfight -- which any human being would instinctively do -- then he is fair game to be killed by an American sniper.

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Terror Report: Selective Data, Wrong Lessons

US Terrorism Report: Selective Data, Wrong Lessons
by Ramzy Baroud
The data provided in the US State Department's annual terrorism report for 2007 points to some interesting if puzzling conclusions.
The much publicised document, made available 30 April via the State Department's website, makes no secret of the fact that Al-Qaeda is back, strong as ever. It also suggests that violence worldwide is nowhere near subsiding, despite President Bush's repeated assurances regarding the success of his "war on terror".

Will the report inspire serious reflection on the US's detrimental foreign policy and its role in the current situation?

Let's look at some of the data.

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Diyala Province: Nary Any a Drop to Drink

Running Out of Water in Rising Heat
by Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail
Water supply is drying out in what was once the agriculturally rich Diyala province north of Baghdad. Baquba, the capital city of Diyala, is now running out of water both for drinking and for irrigation.

Water supply has been hit by power failures. The central pumping station has been running short of electricity supply over the last two years.

The pumping station is located between two districts in conflict -- Hwaider, which is predominantly Shia, and Jupenat, mostly Sunni. For two years now, fighting between Sunnis and Shias here has led to reduced water supply.

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The Critical Journey From Apathy to Empathy

The Critical Journey From Apathy to Empathy: The Battle Against a Tyrant Named “George”
by Shelley Bluejay Pierce
(Part one in series May 9, 2008)
Like many students in the Unites States of America, I have read and studied the Declaration of Independence written and adopted by the new Congress on July 4, 1776.  I must admit however, that many decades have past since my last real study of this important political document. The study of our own history here in the USA is part of all formal studies across the country. However, most of us never have cause to revisit these critical pieces of written history that are still meant to guide our country and its leadership in all dealings with the citizens here.

Most average Americans can recall certain famous passages, but I doubt that many can recite larger portions of this document from memory. With a growing need to remind myself of these earliest political platforms, I felt compelled to return to these historic words once again.

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Fallujah Comes to Sadr City

Fallujah Revisited: Bush, Petraeus Prepare 'Cleansing' of Sadr City        
by Chris Floyd
I. George W. Bush and David Petraeus are preparing to make a new Fallujah in Sadr City, home to two million Shiites in Baghdad. Thousands of people are already fleeing the area before the full-scale slaughter and destruction begin.
image: Fallujah 2004 
As in Fallujah, the multitudes who cannot escape will be trapped in a "free fire zone", subjected to ruthless bombardment and ground assault. Thousands -- perhaps tens of thousands -- of innocent civilians stand in the shadow of imminent death.

The assault is part of the run-up to the coming attack on Iran -- an attempt to secure the rear of that new front by destroying Iraq's Shiite nationalist forces. It is also part of an on-going effort to eliminate the strongest rival to the Shiite extremists that Bush has installed in office in Iraq, before the conquered land's fall elections.

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Palestine/Israel: Conditionally Unresolved Conflict

Anatomy of a Conditionally Unresolved Conflict
by Gilad Atzmon
According to Hegel, attaining ’self-consciousness’ is a process that necessarily involves the other. How am I to become conscious of myself in general? It is simply through desire or anger, for example. Unlike animals that overcome biological needs by destroying another organic entity, human desire is a desire for recognition.

In Hegelian terms, recognition is accomplished by directing oneself towards non-being, that is, towards another desire, another emptiness, another ‘I’. It is something that can never be fully accomplished.
“The man who desires a thing humanly acts not so much to possess the thing as to make another recognise his right. It is only desire of such recognition, it is only the action that flows from such desire, that creates, realizes and reveals a human, non biological I.” (Kojeve A., Introduction to the Reading of Hegel, 1947, Cornell Univ. Press, 1993, p. 40).
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The Road that Never Should Have Been

The Road that No-One Wanted; The Road that Never Should Have Been
by 'T Soeur
I write this as the grand arbutus forests are crashing down the steep slopes all around us. It is Langford. In the midst of self-proclaiming "Mass Wasting" (just a development strategy - a style) one lost ravine, almost a canyon, deserves mention.

"The Powers that Be" once again acted in defiance of the wishes of long-standing residents along this "so-called" roadway just off Florence Lake Road. Many have lived there for decades on the shores of Florence Lake. And, they clearly expressed their opposition to development; to roads and driveways, and to wide paved cement "trails" in the ravine just behind them and immediately adjacent to their properties.
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Reviewing Muqtada

Reviewing Muqtada
by Jim Miles
An excellent work, Muqtada ends off right where current events pick up with the recent Iraqi army attacks ordered by Nuri al –Maliki in southern Iraq, Basra in particular. The media view that this was purely an Iraqi effort is put into place with one of author Patrick Cockburn’s closing comments that Maliki “had limited real power” and felt “that he could not move a company of troops without American permission.” 
This morning’s news on al-Jazeera fully demonstrates American involvement with the new surge into Sadr City - the Baghdad stronghold of Muqtada’s Mehdi army – supported by American Abrams tanks and aerial bombing.

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Flushing Finally 'Mainstream' Cred

Pity the Poor Mainstream Media!
by Ernest Partridge
It is very difficult for an old liberal like me to be sympathetic about the plight of the corporate media, given the way they have behaved of late. But the simple fact of the matter is that the commercial news media have fallen into a deep financial pit, and that is both good news and bad news for the political health of our republic.

In 2005, newspaper circulation declined over the previous year by 2.6 percent, with the largest declines posted in the major newspapers. Still worse, in 2007, newspaper advertising revenue fell by 9.4 percent. As a result of this shrinkage, in 2007 2,400 journalists lost their jobs, and 15,000 have been canned in the last decade.

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Grabbing Wall St. Crime by the Horns

Investigating Wall St. Crime
by Danny Schechter
The Question: As The Feds Broaden A Mortgage Fraud Probe, Will The White Collar Perps Of Subprime Crime Ever Do Time?

New York, May 6: There is a time in the life of every writer when you find yourself fearing that you have become a robo call phone machine—repeating the same message over and over with diminishing results.

That’s how I felt after eight months of silence after labeling the credit crisis a “subcrime” scandal, lashing out at the fraudulent activity at its core and calling for the investigation and prosecution of wrong doers. Almost no media outlets accepted this way of framing the problem, although, as usual, the British press was ahead of its American cousins in putting the blame on the bankers, not the borrowers.

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Air Force Uber Alles

The Air Force Above All: Dominating the Air, Space, and Cyberspace
by William J. Astore
When I first joined the Air Force, its mission statement was straightforward: to fly and fight. The recruiting slogan was upbeat: the Air Force was "a great way of life," and the ROTC program I enrolled in was the "gateway to a great way of life."

Mission statements and slogans are easy to poke fun at and shouldn't, perhaps, be taken too seriously. That said, the people who develop them do take them seriously, which is why they can't be ignored.

Consider the Air Force's new slogan: "Air Force -- Above All."

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