Archive for the ‘Saddam Hussein’ Category

Economy Got You Down? Even Yacht Worth $35 Million For Sale

November 3, 2008

Has the economy made you miserable?  Well, even the richest have to give something up now and again….Even someone’s “many millions of dollars” worth of ocean going fun may be on the chopping block…

Iraq has decided to sell Saddam Hussein’s luxury yacht after winning a legal dispute over its ownership.


The former dictator’s 269-foot superyacht is fitted with swimming pools, salons, a secret passage and a rocket launching system.

From the Associated Press

Iraq’s government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh says in a statement that the government on Sunday agreed to part with the superyacht.

French authorities seized the boat on Jan. 31 after it docked in Nice on the Mediterranean coast. The yacht remained there while courts settled a row over the ship’s ownership.

A yacht brokerage firm had tried to sell the boat for a reported $35 million.

The 270-foot-long Ocean Breeze, built for former Iraqi dictator ...
The 270-foot-long Ocean Breeze, built for former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, is seen in the bay of Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, southeastern France in this March 13, 2008, file photo. The Iraqi government plans to sell a luxury yacht, moored off the French resort of Nice, that was one of many opulent treasures belonging to Saddam, a senior official said on Sunday.REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (FRANCE)

Ballistic Missile Defense: Doing What Was Once Thought Impossible From Warships of U.S., Japan

November 3, 2008

Warships from the U.S. and Japan demonstrated anti-ballistic missile capability during the last week in tests that were breathtaking but not perfect.

Saddam Hussein sent a shock wave through the U.S. military and also into the hearts of U.S. allies in 1991 when he used SCUD ballistic missiles during Operation Desert Storm.

At the same time the U.S. Navy sent a shock wave through the U.S. defense establishment with the news that Navy AEGIS cruisers had tracked those Iraqi SCUDS and U.S.  warship computer systems at sea calculated everything needed to achieve precision intercepts of those hostile ballistic missiles.

Now the Navy of the United States and that of the forces of Japan are deployed with ballistic missile defense capability that is being refined, varified and tested continuously.

This last weekend, USS Paul Hamilton shot down a ballistic missile target in the mid-Pacific.  This was another success in a long and highly complex ballistic missile defense development in the U.S. Navy — and in the Navy of Japan.

USS Paul Hamilton.jpg
Above: USS Paul Hamilton

The following is from the Honolulu Advertiser:

By Diana Leone
A Japanese Navy ship, the JDS Chokai, has successfully tracked a ballistic missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kaua’i, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said.

DDG-176 Choukai.jpg
Above: Chokai, of Japan’s Navy.

The tracking practice on Thursday was preparation for a mid-November test of the Chokai’s ability to shoot down a separating missile target, said Chris Taylor, agency spokesman.

The ship used on-board radar and data from other ships and shore command to calculate a “fire control solution” and simulate an intercept of the target by a Standard Missile-3, Taylor said.

The Chokai is the second Japanese ship to deploy the Aegis weapons system developed by the U.S. and used on U.S. Navy vessels as part of the country’s overall missile defense.

Japan’s ship, the Kongo, shot down a nonseparating target at the Pacific Missile Range Facility last December. The separating target is more complex, requiring the defensive missile to distinguish between the booster rocket and the warhead missile.

DDG173 JDS Kongo.jpg
Above: Kongo

U.S. ships have successfully shot down separating targets a number of times. The mid-November attempt by the Chokai will be the first for the Japanese.

The November test will draw a “surge” of about 500 Japanese and U.S. military and contractors to Kaua’i, said Tom Clements, missile facility spokesman.
In this image provided by the US Navy a ballistic threat target ... 
In this image provided by the US Navy a ballistic threat target missile is launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii, Saturday Nov. 1, 2008 enroute to an intercept over an open ocean area northwest of Kauai. The target missile was successfully intercepted by a Standard Missile – 3 (SM-3) launched from the Pearl Harbor-based guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton.
In this image provided by the US Navy a Standard Missile - 3 ... 
In this image provided by the US Navy a Standard Missile – 3 (SM-3) is launched from the Pearl Harbor-based guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton enroute to an intercept over an open ocean area northwest of Kauai, Hawaii Saturday Nov. 1, 2008. The SM-3 successfully collided with a ballistic missile target launched from the Pacific Missile Range Test Facility at Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii. However a second threat target missile was not successfully destroyed by the USS Hopper according to the Navy.

Ballistic Missile Defense: U.S. Navy Again Demonstrates Proven Success!

Zbigniew Brzezinski’s Plan to End Iraq War

March 30, 2008

By Zbigniew Brzezinski
The Washington Post
Sunday, March 30, 2008; Page B03

Both Democratic presidential candidates agree that the United States should end its combat mission in Iraq within 12 to 16 months of their possible inauguration. The Republican candidate has spoken of continuing the war, even for a hundred years, until “victory.” The core issue of this campaign is thus a basic disagreement over the merits of the war and the benefits and costs of continuing it.

Zbigniew Brzezinski
Zbigniew Brzezinski

The case for U.S. disengagement from combat is compelling in its own right. But it must be matched by a comprehensive political and diplomatic effort to mitigate the destabilizing regional consequences of a war that the outgoing Bush administration started deliberately, justified demagogically and waged badly. (I write, of course, as a Democrat; while I prefer Sen. Barack Obama, I speak here for myself.)

The contrast between the Democratic argument for ending the war and the Republican argument for continuing is sharp and dramatic. The case for terminating the war is based on its prohibitive and tangible costs, while the case for “staying the course” draws heavily on shadowy fears of the unknown and relies on worst-case scenarios. President Bush‘s and Sen. John McCain’s forecasts of regional catastrophe are quite reminiscent of the predictions of “falling dominoes” that were used to justify continued U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Neither has provided any real evidence that ending the war would mean disaster, but their fear-mongering makes prolonging it easier.

Nonetheless, if the American people had been asked more than five years ago whether Bush’s obsession with the removal of Saddam Hussein was worth 4,000 American lives, almost 30,000 wounded Americans and several trillion dollars — not to mention the less precisely measurable damage to the United States’ world-wide credibility, legitimacy and moral standing — the answer almost certainly would have been an unequivocal “no.”

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Bush defiantly defends war in Iraq

March 20, 2008
By BEN FELLER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – President Bush defiantly defended the Iraq war Wednesday as U.S. troops began a sixth year of combat in the long and costly conflict that has dominated his presidency. Bush conceded the war has been harder and more expensive than anticipated but insisted it has all been necessary to keep Americans safe.
President George W. Bush speaks at the Pentagon in Washington ... 

President George W. Bush speaks at the Pentagon in Washington March 19, 2008 on the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion in Iraq.(Jason Reed/Reuters)

Protesters marked the anniversary of the U.S. invasion with demonstrations near the White House and in other cities, though they seemed to lack the fervor of those that preceded the war.

Bush, in a speech at the Pentagon, offered some of his boldest assessments of progress and said the war’s legacy is absolute: “The world is better, and the United States of America is safer.”

A war-weary country isn’t nearly so convinced.

The majority of people think the invasion was a mistake, polls show. However, Americans are more split about how the war is going and when U.S. troops should be pulled home, as reduced violence in Iraq has begun to influence the public view.

Almost 4,000 U.S. military members have died, and more than 29,000 have been wounded. The cost is $500 billion and counting.

“No one would argue that this war has not come at a high cost in lives and treasure,” Bush said. “But those costs are necessary when we consider the cost of a strategic victory for our enemies in Iraq.”

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Cheney Tells Troops U.S. Will Complete Iraq Mission

March 18, 2008
Holly Rosenkrantz

March 18 (Bloomberg) — Vice President Dick Cheney, rallying troops during a visit to Iraq, vowed that the U.S. will stay committed to its mission to end the conflict in the country.

US Vice President Dick Cheney (L) shakes hands with Iraq's ...
US Vice President Dick Cheney (L) shakes hands with Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki ahead of their meeting in Baghdad on March 17. Iraq’s main Sunni parliamentary bloc has boycotted a crucial national reconciliation conference, delivering a fresh blow to the country’s battered political process.(AFP/POOL/Ceerwan Aziz)

“Tyranny in Iraq was worth defeating,” Cheney said today. “Democracy in Iraq is worth defending.”

This week marks the fifth anniversary of the March 20 U.S.- led invasion of Iraq. Cheney spent two days in the country meeting with U.S. commanders and Iraqi leaders to assess the needs of troops before a report on the conflict is delivered to Congress next month. He stayed last night at Balad Air Base, about 45 miles (72 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, where mortar fire could be heard throughout the night.

Cheney later flew to Irbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan, to meet with Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s Kurdish administration. Iraqi Kurdish leaders have criticized Turkey for an incursion into Iraq last month that targeted the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, saying it was an attack on Iraq’s sovereignty. The PKK is designated a terrorist group by the U.S. and the European Union.

There is evidence of “dramatic improvements” in security in Iraq, Cheney said yesterday. U.S. military commanders will brief Congress on progress in the country since President George W. Bush ordered the deployment of 30,000 extra U.S. soldiers and Marines a year ago.

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Cheney warns against large cuts in Iraq

March 18, 2008
By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD – Vice President Dick Cheney warned Monday against large U.S. troop cuts that could jeopardize recent security gains in Iraq, as he marked the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion with a two-day visit to the country.

Iraq's President Jalal Talabani (R) sits next to U.S. Vice President ...
Iraq’s President Jalal Talabani (R) sits next to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney in his office in Baghdad March 17, 2008.
(Mohammed Jalil/Pool/Reuters) 

Cheney used words like “phenomenal” and “remarkable turnaround” to describe a drop in violence in Iraq, and he hailed recently passed legislation aimed at keeping Iraq on a democratic path.

“It would be a mistake now to be so eager to draw down the force that we risk putting the outcome in jeopardy, and I don’t think we’ll do that,” Cheney said after spending the day zigzagging through barricades and checkpoints to get to meetings in and out of the heavily guarded Green Zone. He spent the night at a U.S. military base, the second overnight stay in Iraq for the vice president — the highest-ranking official to do so. Reporters accompanying him were not allowed to disclose the location. Last May, Cheney stayed at Camp Speicher, a base near former leader Saddam Hussein‘s hometown and about 100 miles north of Baghdad.

“It is good to be back in Iraq,” Cheney, dressed in a suit and dark cowboy boots, said after his meeting with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. “It’s especially significant, I think, to be able to return this week as we mark the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the campaign that liberated the people of Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s tyranny, and launched them on the difficult but historic road to democracy.”

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Millions of Iraqis lack water, healthcare: Red Cross

March 17, 2008
By Stephanie Nebehay Sun Mar 16, 7:05 PM ET

GENEVA (Reuters) – Five years after the United States led an invasion of Iraq, millions of people there are still deprived of clean water and medical care, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Monday.

Kurdish woman lays flowers at a monument   for the victims of ...
Kurdish woman lays flowers at a monument for the victims of Halabja massacre on its 20th anniversary in Halabja, Iraq , Sunday, March 16, 2008. Some 5,600 people were killed when Saddam Hussein ordered the attack in Halabja as part of a scorched-earth campaign to crush a Kurdish rebellion in the north (AP Photo/Yahya Ahmed)

In a sober report marking the anniversary of the 2003 start of the war, which ousted dictator Saddam Hussein and unleashed deep sectarian tensions, the humanitarian body said Iraqi hospitals lack beds, drugs, and medical staff.

Some areas of the country of 27 million people have no functioning water and sanitation facilities, and the poor public water supply has forced some families to use at least a third of their average $150 monthly income buying clean drinking water.

“Five years after the outbreak of the war in Iraq, the humanitarian situation in most of the country remains among the most critical in the world,” the ICRC said, describing Iraq’s health care system as “now in worse shape than ever.”

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Change from within in Iran?

March 14, 2008

USA Today

The dangers posed by Iran can hardly be ignored. Tehran continues to enrich uranium and could restart its nuclear weapons program at any time. It has been undeterred by sanctions. Its virulently anti-American president has called for the destruction of Israel and supports Middle East terrorism. Its regional influence is growing — in part because it is no longer held in check by one-time ene
my Saddam Hussein. The United States has accused it of being behind attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq.

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America Needs To Do More Hard Work

March 10, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom 

“We have lift off!”

Those words, spoken at every space launch, bury decades of work and investment necessary to make tough missions successful.

After U.S. military forces toppled Saddam Hussein in Iraq, President George W. Bush confidently marched across the flight deck of USS Abraham Lincoln beneath a banner bearing the words “Mission Accomplished.”

That was May 1, 2003.
President Bush addressing sailors aboard USS Abraham Lincoln
Democrats have derided the president since as over confident and ill prepared for the long-term work needed to insure peace and security in a new democratic Iraq.

Today, as we approach May 1, 2008, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes say the war in Iraq is costing the United States $12 Billion every month – three times the predicted monthly costs in 2003.  Add to that thousands of wounded and dead.
USS Lake Erie docked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
USS Lake Erie (CG-70) docked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

When USS Lake Erie, a U.S. Navy guided missile cruiser, shot down an errant satellite on February 20 of this year, the missile and satellite intercept was rooted in a ship and combat systems development that began in the 1970s and a missile and ballistic missile defense effort that started in 1991. The costs would be staggering but are difficult to tally.

The point is simple: as we watch space shuttle Endeavour launch from the Kennedy Space Center tomorrow for a rendezvous with an orbiting International Space Station, the important thought is not those few seconds of “We have lift off.” The more important part of our space “endeavor” is the huge investment made by engineers, scientists, astronauts, mission planners, financial analysts and tens of thousands of others since the 1950s.

Endeavor’s mission to the ISS will last 16 days: the longest shuttle mission ever to the ISS.  A main task at the ISS will be installing the first stage of the Japanese laboratory called Kibo, a micro-gravity research facility which aims to open a vital new stage in deeper space exploration. Kibo, which means “hope” in Japanese, will be delivered in three stages. Once installed, it will complete the research nucleus of the ISS along with the American, Russian and European laboratories.

The space shuttle Endeavour lifts off from its launch pad at ...
The space shuttle Endeavour lifts off from its launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, August 8, 2007.(Scott Audette/Reuters)

Projects like our shuttle and ISS efforts take tons of sweat.

The same might be said of the war in Iraq. The same Democrats that criticized George W. Bush for “Mission Accomplished” are now critical of Senator John McCain for saying that American troops could be in Iraq for a long time – maybe up to 100 years.

This should not be too much a surprise to a nation with troops in Germany since 1945 and troops in South Korea since the brokered cease fire in the mid-1950s.

Tough tasks take a very long time and they also cost a lot of money.

The United States is the richest nation on earth ever – and the longest lasting democracy ever. And the Founders didn’t create our Constitution and the other underpinnings of this greatness overnight: it took years.

Life — and especially foreign policy — is not a viedo game.  It takes care, patience invested energy and time. Patience (for those who have forgotten) is the ability to endure waiting, delay, or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset, or to persevere calmly when faced with difficulties.  Thus goals are achieved.

In a society now enamored by lighting fast cell phones and an American Idol contest that only has drama for weeks at a stretch, we might reflect upon American greatness and history which teaches us, without a doubt, that great achievements are only within our grasp after long-term effort and investment — and plenty of it.

Only in America: Boundless Technology; Brilliant Youth

Bush’s ‘Axis of Evil,’ Six Years Later

December 21, 2007

By Charles Krauthammer
The Washington Post
December 21, 2007; Page A35

Just four months after Sept. 11, George Bush identified Iran, Iraq and North Korea as the “axis of evil” and declared that defanging these rogue regimes was America’s most urgent national security task. Bush will be judged on whether he succeeded.

Iran’s Maḥmūd Aḥmadīnezhād
محمود احمدی‌نژاد
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Six years later and with time running out on this administration, the Bush legacy is clear: one for three. Contrary to current public opinion, Bush will have succeeded on Iraq, failed on Iran and fought North Korea to a draw.

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