Competent Intelligence Urged By

Competent Intelligence Urged by Rumsfeld

Ironies of Iraq today:

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is afraid that the new Shiite religious government in Iraq will purge ex-Baathists placed in the army and intelligence services by US ally Iyad Allawi, a long-term CIA asset. Rumsfeld said that competent persons should be retained. This is the same Rumsfeld whose own deputy, Douglas Feith, set up a grossly incompetent cell in the Pentagon to cherry-pick intelligence and produce a false image of Iraq as bristling with weapons of mass destruction and in league with al-Qaeda.

Halliburton, Dick Cheney’s old firm, has been accused of doing shoddy work on the oil facilities in southern Iraq. After yesterday’s admission by Bechtel that its work on energy and water facilities was now falling apart, this report raises the question of whether US reconstruction billions tossed to the private sector have bought anything useful at all for Iraq.

There were a string of violent incidents in Iraq on Monday, including three suicide bombings at a US base near Qaim, which wounded at least 3 US troops. Another suicide bombing at Samarra killed 3 Iraqis and wounded 20.

Some 400 university students in Baquba from the Sadr Movement demonstrated against the US on Monday, chanting “No, no to Jews!” Religious demography doesn’t appear to be their strong suit, or they’d have complained about Baptists and Catholics.

An Iraqi newspaper, according to BBC world monitoring, is reporting that the unemployment rate in Maysan province is 48 percent.

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