Archive for bush

Catatan Rahasia Bush untuk Obama

Posted in USA with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2009 by indonesiaunderground

Selasa, 20/01/2009 21:54 WIB
Catatan Rahasia Bush untuk Obama
Gagah Wijoseno – detikNews

Washington – Pada setiap pergantian tampuk kepemimpinan Amerika Serikat, ada sebuah tradisi yang selalu dilakukan presiden yang lengser. Yaitu meninggalkan pesan tertulis untuk presiden penggantinya yang diletakkan di Meja Resolusi.

“Bush menulis surat pada hari Senin dan meletakkannya di laci teratas meja resolusi,” kata juru bicara Bush, Dana Perino, seperti diberitakan AFP, Selasa (20/1/2009).

Meja Resolusi tersebut terletak di ruang oval, Gedung Putih. Dinamakan Meja Resolusi karena meja tersebut dibuat dari kayu bekas kapal Inggris yang memiliki nama itu.

“Saya tidak akan menjelaskannya lebih rinci. Tetapi isinya mirip dengan apa yang pernah dikatakannya pada saat malam pemilihan berlangsung soal perjalanan hidup baru Obama akan segera mulai. Dan dia mengharapkan yang terbaik buat Obama,” lanjut Perino.

Pada saat-saat terakhir sebelum meninggalkan Gedung Putih, Bush menghubungi Menlu AS Condoleezza Rice, Penasehat Keamanan Nasional Stephen Hadley, dan mantan kepala staf

Gedung Putih Andy Card. Kepada mereka, Perino mengisahkan, Bush mengucapkan salam

“Presiden mengatakan, beri saya ciuman di kening yang tidak terlupakan,” ungkapnya. (gah/rdf)

Source :

U.S. spent $ 1 Trillion in war against Islam

Posted in USA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2008 by indonesiaunderground


Written by

Sunday, 28 December 2008 19:46

The news that President Bush’s so-called “war on terrorism” (on other word war on Islam) soon will have cost the U.S. taxpayers $ 1 trillion – and counting – is unlikely to spread much Christmas cheer in these tough economic times.

A trio of recent reports – none by the Bush Administration – suggests that sometime early in the Obama presidency, spending on the wars started since 9/11 will pass the trillion-dollar mark. Even after adjusting for inflation, that’s four times more than America spent fighting World War I, and more than 10 times the cost of 1991’s Persian Gulf War (90 % of which was paid for by U.S. allies). The war on “terrorism” looks set to surpass the costs the Korean and Vietnam wars combined, topped only by World War II’s price tag of $ 3.5 trillion.

The cost of sending a single soldier to fight for a year in Afghanistan or Iraq is about $ 775,000 – three times more than in other recent wars, says a new report from the private but authoritative Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA). A large chunk of the increase is a result of the Administration’s cramming new military hardware into the emergency budget bills it has been using to pay for the wars. (See pictures of U.S. troops in Iraq.)

These costs, of course, pale alongside the price paid by the nearly 5,000 U.S. troops who have lost their lives in the conflicts – not to mention the wounded – and the families of all the casualties. And President Bush insists that their sacrifice and the expenditure on the wars have helped prevent a repeat of 9/11. “We could not afford to wait for the terrorists to attack again,” he said last week at the Army War College. “So we launched a global campaign to take the fight to the terrorists abroad, to dismantle their networks, to dry up their financing and find their leaders and bring them to justice.”

But many Americans may suffer a moment of sticker shock from the conclusions of the CSBA report and similar assessments from the Government Accounting Office (GAO) and Congressional Research Service (CRS), which make clear that the nearly $ 1 trillion already spent is only a down payment on the war’s long-term costs. The trillion-dollare figure does not, for example, include long-term health care for veterans, thousands of whom have suffered crippling wounds, or the interest payments on the money borrowed by the Federal Government to fund the war. The bottom lines of the three assessments vary: the CSBA study says $ 904 billion has been spent so far, while the GAO says the Pentagon alone has spent $ 808 billion through last September. The CRS study says the wars have cost $ 864 billion, but CRS didn’t factor inflation into its calculations.

Sifting through Pentagon data, the CSBA study breaks down the total costs of the “war on terrorism” as $ 687 billion for Iraq, $ 184 billion for Afghanistan and $ 33 billion for homeland security. By 2018, depending on how many U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan and Iraq, the total cost is projected to likely be between $ 1.3 trillion and $ 1.7 trillion. On the safe assumption that the wars are being waged with borrowed money, interest payments raise the cost by an additional $ 600 billion through 2018.

Shortly before the Iraq war began, White House economic adviser Larry Lindsey earned a rebuke from within the Administration when he said the war could cost as much as $ 200 billion. “It’s not knowable what a war or conflict like that would cost,” Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld said. “You don’t know if it’s going to last two days or two weeks or two months. It certainly isn’t going to last two years.”

According to the CSBA study, the Administration has fudged the war’s true costs in two ways. Borrowing money to fund the wars is one way of conducting them on the cheap, at least in the short term. But just as pernicious has been the Administration’s novel way of budgeting for them. Previous wars were funded through the annual appropriations process, with emergency spending – which gets far less congressional scrutiny – used only for the initial stages of a conflict. But the Bush Administration relied on such supplemental appropriations to fund the wars until 2008, seven years after invading Afghanistan and five years after storming Iraq.

“For these wars, we have relied on supplemental appropriations for far longer than in the case of past conflicts,” says Steven Kosiak of the CSBA, one of Washington’s top defense-budget analysts. “Likewise, we have relied on borrowing to cover more of these costs than we have in earlier wars – which will likely increase the ultimate price we have to pay.” That refusal to spell out the full cost can lead to unwise spending increases elsewhere in the federal budget or unwarranted tax cuts. “A sound budgeting process forces policymakers to recognize the true costs of their policy choices,” Kosiak adds. “Not only did we not raise taxes, we cut taxes and significantly expanded spending.”

The bottom line: Bush’s projections of future defense spending “substantially understate” just how much money it will take to run Obama’s Pentagon, the CSBA says in its report. Luckily, Defense Secretary Robert Gates plans to hang around to try to iron out the problem.

Source :

George W Bush still lies about Iraqi inspections

Posted in Iraq, USA, Who is The Real Terrorist? with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2008 by indonesiaunderground

Written by

Thursday, 04 December 2008 18:12

It looks as if that pattern – of Bush lying and the Washington press corps nodding along – will continue.
In what’s been called George W. Bush’s first exit interview, the outgoing President continues a lie that he first unveiled several months after launching the Iraq War, justifying the invasion by claiming that Saddam Hussein didn’t let the UN inspectors in.

Like previous times when President Bush has used this lie, it went unchallenged by the journalist who heard the false claim, in this case ABC News anchor Charles Gibson.

According to the text of the ABC News interview, which was released Dec. 1, Gibson asked Bush, “If the [U.S.] intelligence had been right [and revealed no Iraq WMD], would there have been an Iraq War?”

Bush answered, “Yes, because Saddam Hussein was unwilling to let the inspectors go in to determine whether or not the UN resolutions were being upheld.”

Of course, the historical record is clear: Hussein did let UN arms inspectors into Iraq in the fall of 2002 to search any site of their choosing. Their travels around Iraq in white vans were recorded daily by the international news media, as they found no evidence that Iraq had WMD stockpiles, even at sites targeted by U.S. intelligence.

Hussein and his government also declared publicly that they didn’t possess WMD, including providing the United Nations a 12,000-page declaration on Dec. 7, 2002, explaining how Iraq’s stocks of chemical and biological weapons had been destroyed in the 1990s.

However, still set on invading, Bush forced the UN inspectors to leave Iraq in March 2003, a departure that was followed within days by his “shock and awe” attack on Iraq, beginning March 19.

Several months later, with Hussein’s government ousted and with the US military coming up empty in its search for WMD caches, Bush began his historical revisionism by insisting publicly that he had no choice but to invade because Hussein supposedly had barred UN inspectors.

On July 14, 2003, Bush told reporters:

“We gave him [Saddam Hussein] a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn’t let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power.”

Facing no contradiction from the White House press corps, Bush continued repeating this lie again and again in varied forms.

On Jan. 27, 2004, for example, Bush said, “We went to the United Nations, of course, and got an overwhelming resolution – 1441 – unanimous resolution, that said to Saddam, you must disclose and destroy your weapons programs, which obviously meant the world felt he had such programs. He chose defiance. It was his choice to make, and he did not let us in.”

  • Color of truth

As the months and years went by, Bush’s lie and its unchallenged retelling took on the color of truth.

At a March 21, 2006, news conference, Bush again blamed the war on Hussein’s defiance of UN demands for unfettered inspections.

“I was hoping to solve this [Iraq] problem diplomatically,” Bush said. “The world said, ‘Disarm, disclose or face serious consequences.’ … We worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world. And when he chose to deny the inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him. And we did.”

At a press conference on May 24, 2007, Bush offered a short-hand version, even inviting the journalists to remember the invented history.

“As you might remember back then, we tried the diplomatic route: [UN Resolution] 1441 was a unanimous vote in the Security Council that said disclose, disarm or face serious consequences. So the choice was his [Hussein’s] to make. And he made a choice that has subsequently caused him to lose his life.”

In the frequent repetition of this claim, Bush never acknowledged the fact that Hussein did comply with Resolution 1441 by declaring accurately that he had disposed of his WMD stockpiles and by permitting UN inspectors to examine any site of their choosing.

Prominent Washington journalists even have repeated Bush’s lie as their own. For instance, in a July 2004 interview, ABC’s veteran newsman Ted Koppel used it to explain why he – Koppel – thought the invasion of Iraq was justified.

“It did not make logical sense that Saddam Hussein, whose armies had been defeated once before by the United States and the Coalition, would be prepared to lose control over his country if all he had to do was say, ‘All right, UN, come on in, check it out,” Koppel told Amy Goodman, host of “Democracy Now.”

In the real history, Hussein did tell the UN to “come on in, check it out.” But faux reality had become the trademark of the Bush presidency — and its supporters in the press corps.

  • Choosing war?

The Washington conventional wisdom eventually embraced another fake belief, that Hussein provoked the war by misleading people into believing that he still possessed WMD.

In line with this bogus version of history, “60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley asked FBI interrogator George Piro, who had debriefed Hussein in prison, why the dictator kept pretending that he had WMD even as U.S. troops massed on Iraq’s borders, when a simple announcement that the WMD was gone would have prevented the war.

“For a man who drew America into two wars and countless military engagements, we never knew what Saddam Hussein was thinking,” Pelley said in introducing the segment on the interrogation of Hussein about his WMD stockpiles, which aired Jan. 27, 2008. “Why did he choose war with the United States?”

This “60 Minutes” segment never mentioned the fact that Hussein and his government did disclose that it had eliminated its WMD. Instead Pelley pressed Piro on the question of why Hussein supposedly was hiding that fact:

“Why keep the secret? Why put your nation at risk, why put your own life at risk to maintain this charade?”

After Piro mentioned Hussein’s lingering fear of neighboring Iran, Pelley felt he was close to an answer to the mystery: “He believed that he couldn’t survive without the perception that he had weapons of mass destruction?”

But, still, Pelley puzzled over why Hussein’s continued in his miscalculation.

Pelley asked:

“As the U.S. marched toward war and we began massing troops on his border, why didn’t he stop it then? And say, ‘Look, I have no weapons of mass destruction,’ I mean, how could he have wanted his country to be invaded?”

It apparently never matters to the major U.S. news media (nor to President Bush) that Hussein and the Iraq government did declare that they had no WMD and did let the UN inspectors in to check.

Now, with the new ABC News interview, it looks as if that pattern – of Bush lying about the circumstances of the Iraq War and the Washington press corps nodding along – will continue until Bush’s last days in office.

Source : pakistan daily

Sarkozy: Israeli Attack Inevitable

Posted in Israel, USA with tags , , , , , on September 9, 2008 by indonesiaunderground

by Gordon Prather

While the Republicans were nominating Sarah Palin – who reportedly believes the Bush-Cheney war of aggression against Iraq was inevitable, part of “God’s plan” – French President Nicolas Sarkozy was in Damascus, warning the “leaders of Syria, Turkey and Qatar” that an Israeli attack on Iran also appears to be inevitable.

In comments broadcast on Syrian television, Sarkozy said

“One day – whatever the Israeli government – we could find one morning that Israel has struck.

“The question is not whether it would be legitimate, whether it would be intelligent. What will we do at that moment?”

Now, it is somewhat encouraging that Sarkozy apparently doesn’t agree that illegitimate irrational acts are parts of “God’s plan.”

But, according to Sarkozy, there seems to be nothing we mortals can do to prevent an Israeli attack on Iran.

However, the Russians just may have seriously upset their plans.

According to UPI’s Arnaud de Borchgrave, the special relationship Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has with the Cheney Cabal and with certain Israelis resulted in a secret agreement “earmarking” two military airfields in southern Georgia for regular use by Israeli unmanned aircraft for spying on Russia and Iran, and for special use by U.S.-supplied Israeli fighter-bombers, in the event the paranoid Israelis decide to launch an illegitimate (under international law) attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, all currently subject to a Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

But, in driving Georgian invasion troops out of Ossetia, pursuing them back into Georgia, proper, the Russians briefly occupied those two military airfields and reportedly destroyed most of the U.S. and Israeli equipment they found there (and elsewhere), perhaps creating serious obstacles to the near-term implementation of the Israeli “bomb-bomb Iran” game-plan.

You see, the new “sovereign” state of Iraq had prohibited the Israelis from penetrating Iraqi airspace in order to attack Iran. However, if the Israelis could launch and recover their fighter-bombers from airfields in Georgia, they could avoid Iraq and the distance they would have to cover to their targets would be sharply reduced.

Of course, to utilize the Georgian airfields, the Israelis would have to over-fly Turkey.

However, the Turks didn’t lodge a formal complaint when the Israelis penetrated their airspace last year to destroy – in violation of international law – a site in Syria where the Israeli paranoids suspected ten-foot-tall North Korean scientists and engineers had been busy since 2001, replicating their Soviet designed/supplied nuclear reactor, in order to produce plutonium for the Iranians.

The IAEA has since visited the site in Syria the Israelis destroyed and – as of this writing – have no reason to suppose the Israelis are anything but paranoid.

Here are excerpts from UN Security Council Resolution 487, condemning the attack on, and destruction of, Iraq’s IAEA Safeguarded facilities by Israeli paranoids back in 1981;

“Fully aware of the fact that Iraq has been a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons since it came into force in 1970, that, in accordance with that treaty, Iraq has accepted IAEA safeguards on all its nuclear activities, and that the agency has testified that these safeguards have been satisfactorily applied to date …

“Strongly condemns the military attack by Israel – in clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the norms of international conduct;

“Calls upon Israel to refrain in the future from any such acts or threats thereof;

“Further considers that the said attack constitutes a serious threat to the entire IAEA safeguards regime, which is the foundation of the non-proliferation treaty.”

Of course, the entire IAEA Safeguards regime – which serves as a guarantor to all signatories to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons – has been under sustained attack ever since the Cheney Cabal came to power.

In a letter of March 25, 2008 sent by the Foreign Minister of Iran to the Secretary General of the United Nations, and forwarded to the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran challenged the legality under the UN Charter of certain resolutions passed by the UN Security Council – at the insistence of the Cheney Cabal – which relate to certain resolutions improperly passed by the IAEA Board of Governors, also at the insistence of the Cheney Cabal.

In particular, on March 3, 2008, the UN Security Council – allegedly “Acting under Article 41 of Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations” – perversely proceeded to “reaffirm” its “decision” of 23 December 2006 that Iran “shall, without further delay, suspend”

“a) all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the IAEA; and

“(b) work on all heavy water-related projects, including the construction of a research reactor moderated by heavy water, also to be verified by the IAEA”

Which prompted the Iranians to send that March 25, letter to the Secretary General, explicating the largely successful efforts of the Cheney Cabal to not only corrupt the IAEA Board of Governors and UN Security Council, but to undermine the IAEA Statute, the NPT and UN Charter, itself.

In particular, Iran correctly notes that

“Involvement of the Security Council in the Iranian peaceful nuclear program is in full contravention with the organizational, Statutory and safeguards requirements governing the IAEA practices and procedures.

“Furthermore, the substantive and procedural legal requirements, that are necessary for engaging the Security Council in the issues raised by the Agency, have been totally ignored in this regard.

“The Security Council has never determined Iran’s Nuclear Program as a threat to international peace and security under Article 39 of the UN Charter and, thus, it could not adopt any measures against the Islamic Republic of Iran under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

“The Security Council, as a UN organ created by Member States, is subject to legal requirements, and is obliged to comply with the same international normative rules that the Member States are bound to.

“The Council shall observe all international norms, in particular the UN Charter and the peremptory norms of international law, in the process of its decision making and in its taking actions.

“Needless to say that any measure adopted in contradiction to such rules and principles will be void of any legally binding effects.”

Now comes a statement from the Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement – which includes Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bolivia, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, et al. – wherein the Ministers

  • “reaffirmed the basic and inalienable right of all states” – including, by name, the Islamic Republic of Iran – to the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, “without discrimination”
  • “recognized the IAEA as the sole competent authority for verification of the respective safeguards obligations of [NPT] member states”
  • “reaffirmed the inviolability of peaceful nuclear activities,” whether operational or under construction, against “attack or threat of attack,” either of which “constitutes a grave violation of international law, principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and regulations of the IAEA.”

Okay, the rest of the world is in Iran’s corner on this issue. So, the question is – what will they do if the paranoid Israelis attack Iran and “we” are viewed as having enabled them?

source :

Bush intends to punish Moscow for invading Georgia

Posted in USA with tags , , , on September 8, 2008 by indonesiaunderground

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush is poised to punish Moscow for its invasion of Georgia by canceling a once-celebrated deal for civilian nuclear cooperation between the U.S. and Russia.

With relations between the two nations in a nearly Cold Warlike freeze over Russia’s actions against its neighbor last month, planning is under way at the White House for the largely symbolic move by Bush, according to senior administration officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision was not yet final. Action could come quickly, within days at the most, and officials see no need to wait until Vice President Dick Cheney returns next Wednesday from an overseas trip that includes stops in three former Soviet republics.

Withdrawing the agreement from Capitol Hill would have little actual impact, as the deal very likely would not gain approval during Bush’s presidency.

But taking the overt and public step of pulling it would be intended to send a message to Russia and the world that its actions in Georgia last month are not acceptable and will not go unanswered.

It would require a statement by Bush to Congress that the deal is “no longer in the national security interests” of the United States. A future president could reverse that and send the agreement back to Congress.

Signed in May by the two nations, the administration originally presented the deal as a landmark breakthrough.

It represented a significant reversal in policy for the U.S. on cooperation with Russia on nuclear issues. It would give the U.S. access to state-of-the-art Russian nuclear technology and clear the way for Russia to establish itself as a lucrative center for the import and storage of spent nuclear fuel from American-supplied reactors around the world. Such a deal was seen as crucial to boosting relations with Russia, and to fulfilling Bush’s vision of increasing civilian nuclear energy use worldwide as a way to combat rising energy demands and climate change.

But key lawmakers were suspicious of it even before the disastrous Russia-Georgia war.

Some feared it would undermine efforts to rein in Iran’s nuclear program, because of Russia’s extensive business and energy — including nuclear — ties with Tehran. That has so far prevented a move to approve the deal, and now there isn’t enough time left in the fall legislative calendar for the required review period to run out and have the agreement take effect without congressional action.

After years of tensions between Russia and Georgia, the recent fighting began Aug. 7 when Georgia’s military tried to re-establish control over its breakaway province of South Ossetia. Russia joined the battle, brutally repelled the Georgian offensive and then pushed deep into Georgia proper, where many of its forces remain.

Both sides signed a cease-fire, but Russia has ignored its requirement for all forces to return to prewar positions.

Administration officials determined almost immediately that Russia must suffer some consequences for its actions and wanted to take punitive measures in concert with Europe. But they have been frustrated at the lack of similar resolve among allies, who have offered condemnation of Russia but little else.

If Bush decides against pulling the deal, there are other penalty options available.

The administration could insist that Russia continue to be quietly left out of any discussions among the elite Group of Eight nations, essentially denying Russia membership in the club of major industrialized democracies without actually kicking it out.

The United States also could sell sophisticated anti-aircraft and anti-tank military hardware to Georgia.

A $1 billion economic recovery package for Georgia that Bush announced Wednesday — and which puts the tiny, impoverished nation in the top tier of U.S foreign aid recipients — does not include any military aid. But the U.S. had been helping the Georgian military modernize and U.S. officials have said it is likely that more military assistance will be forthcoming at some point to help the badly routed Georgian forces rebuild again.

Moscow has greeted such talk with anger, already accusing the U.S. of instigating or even helping Georgia make its ill-fated incursion into South Ossetia.

Among the most aggressive moves in Washington’s potential arsenal are withdrawing its support for Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organization or trying to strip Russia of the right to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, now scheduled to be held in the Black Sea town of Sochi, near the border with Georgia. These options have been all but rejected as too harsh.

Associated Press writer Desmond Butler contributed to this story.

Source : The Associated Press

Divergent Accounts of Afghan Strike Raise Tension

Posted in USA with tags , , , , , , on September 8, 2008 by indonesiaunderground
Published: September 7, 2008

AZIZABAD, Afghanistan — To the villagers here, there is no doubt what happened in an American airstrike on Aug. 22: more than 90 civilians, the majority of them women and children, were killed. The Afghan government, human rights and intelligence officials, independent witnesses and a United Nations investigation back up their account, pointing to dozens of freshly dug graves, lists of the dead, and cellphone videos and other footage showing bodies of women and children laid out in the village mosque.

Cellphone footage seen by this reporter shows at least 11 dead children, some with blast and concussion injuries, among some 30 to 40 bodies laid out in the village mosque. Ten days after the airstrikes, villagers dug up the last victim from the rubble, a baby just a few months old. Their shock and grief is still palpable.

For two weeks, the United States military has insisted that only five to seven civilians, and 30 to 35 militants, were killed in what it says was a successful operation against the Taliban: a Special Operations ground mission backed up by American air support. But on Sunday, Gen. David D. McKiernan, the senior American commander in Afghanistan, requested that a general be sent from Central Command to review the American military investigation in light of “emerging evidence.”

“The people of Afghanistan have our commitment to get to the truth,” he said in a statement.

The military investigation drew on what military officials called convincing technical evidence documenting a far smaller number of graves, as well as a thorough sweep of this small western hamlet, a building by building search a few hours after the airstrikes, and a return visit on Aug. 26, which villagers insist never occurred.

The repercussions of the airstrikes have consumed both the Afghan government and the American military, wearing the patience of Afghans at all levels after repeated cases of civilian casualties over the last six years and threatening to erode their tolerance for the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan. President Hamid Karzai visited Azizabad on Thursday to pay his respects to the mourners, condemning the strikes, and vowing to arrest the Afghan he says misled American forces with false intelligence.

President Bush expressed his regrets and sympathy in a call to Mr. Karzai on Wednesday. And General McKiernan has issued several statements voicing sorrow for civilian casualties.

The Afghan government is demanding changes in the accords defining the United States military engagement in Afghanistan, in particular ending American military raids on villages and halting the detention of Afghan nationals.

“People are sick of hearing there is another case of civilian casualties,” one presidential aide said.

The accounts of the airstrikes’ aftermath given by Afghans and Americans could not be further apart.

A visitor to the village and to three graveyards within its limits last Sunday counted 42 freshly dug graves. Thirteen of the graves were so small they could hold only children; another 13 were marked with stones in the way Afghans identify women’s graves.

Villagers questioned separately identified relatives in the graves; their names matched the accounts given by elders of the village of who died in each of eight bomb-damaged houses and where they were buried. They were quite specific about who was killed in the airstrikes and did not count those who died for other reasons; one of the fresh graves, they said, belonged to a man who was killed when villagers demonstrated against the Afghan Army on Aug. 23.

At the battle scene, shell craters dotted the courtyards and shrapnel had gouged holes in the walls. Rooms had collapsed and mud bricks and torn clothing lay in uneven mounds where people had been digging. In two places blood was splattered on the ceiling and a wall. An old woman pushed forward with a cauldron full with jagged metal bomb fragments, and a youth presented cellphone video footage he said was shot on the day of the bombing; there was no time stamp.

The smell of bodies lingered in one compound, causing villagers to start digging with spades. They found the body of a baby, caked in dust, in the corner of a bombed-out room.

Cellphone footage a villager said he shot and seen by this reporter showed two lines of about 20 bodies each laid out in the mosque, with the sounds of loud sobbing and villagers’ cries in the background.

An Afghan doctor who runs a clinic in a nearby village said he counted 50 to 60 bodies of civilians, most of them women and children and some of them his own patients, laid out in the village mosque on the day of the strike. The doctor, who works for a reputable nongovernmental organization here, at first gave his name but then asked that it be withheld because he feared retribution from Afghans feeding intelligence to the Americans.

The United States military, in a series of statements about the operation, has accused the villagers of spreading Taliban propaganda. Speaking on condition that their names not be used, some military officials have suggested that the villagers fabricated such evidence as grave sites — and, by implication, that other investigators had been duped. But many villagers have connections to the Afghan police, NATO, or the Americans through reconstruction projects, and they say they oppose the Taliban.

The district chief of Shindand, Lal Muhammad Umarzai, 45, said he personally counted 76 bodies that day, and he believed that more bodies were unearthed over the next two days, bringing the total to more than 90. Mr. Umarzai has been praised for bringing security to the district in the three months since his appointment and is on good terms with American and NATO forces in the region.

American military investigators said that they had interviewed him and that he had told them he had no access to the village. But Mr. Umarzai said Taliban supporters came into the village mid-morning after the airstrikes, forcing him and the police to leave the village, but that later he was able to return and attend the burials.

The United Nations issued a statement pointing to evidence it considers conclusive that about 90 civilians were killed, some 75 of them women and children. One possible reason for the discrepancy is that bodies are scattered in different locations; many of the victims were visiting Azizabad for a family memorial ceremony, and their relatives took their bodies back to their home villages for burial, villagers and relatives said. This reporter did not visit the other villages but was given a detailed list of names and places where the remaining victims were buried.

Accounts from survivors, including three people wounded in the bombing, described repeated strikes on houses where dozens of children were sleeping, grandparents and uncles and aunts huddled inside with them. Most of the village families were asleep when the shooting broke out, some sleeping out under mosquito nets in the yards of their houses, some inside the small domed rooms of their houses, lying close together on the floor, with up to 10 or 20 people in a room.

“I woke up when I heard shooting,” Zainab, a 26-year-old woman who doctors said was wounded in the attack, said in an interview in Herat city hospital.

“The shooting was very close to our house. We just stayed where we were because it was dangerous to go out,” she said. “When the bombardment started there was smoke everywhere and we lay down to protect ourselves.”

Yakhakhan, 51, one of several men in the village working for a private security firm, and who uses just one name, said he heard shooting and was just coming out of his house when his neighbor’s sons ran in.

“They were killed right here; they were 10 and 7 years old,” he said. In the compound next to his, he said, four entire families, including those of his two brothers, were killed.

“They bombard us, they hate us, they kill us,” he said of the Americans. “God will punish them.”

A policeman, Abdul Hakim, whose four children were killed and whose wife was paralyzed, said she had told him how an Afghan informer accompanying the American Special Operations forces had entered the compound after the bombardment and shot dead her brother, Reza Khan; her father, and an uncle as they were trying to help her. She said she had heard her father plead for help and ask the Afghan: “Are you a Muslim? Why are you doing this to us?” Then she heard shots, and her father did not speak after that, he said.

A United States military spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Rumi Nielson-Green, said in an e-mail message that she was unaware of such an allegation, and that the American military did not have Afghan civilian informers accompanying its forces during the mission. Soldiers treated wounded people at the scene, which indicated that the Laws of Armed Conflict were followed, she said.

While the American forces reported they had come under fire upon entering the village, it is not clear from whom. The villagers and the relatives of some of the men killed in the raid insisted none of them were Taliban, nor were there Taliban present in the village. Eight of the men killed worked as security guards for a private security company and so did possess weapons, said Gul Ahmed Khan, whose brother, Reza Khan, supplied the guards to the security firm ArmorGroup, an American contractor. Two other ArmorGroup guards and three members of the local Afghan police were detained by United States forces during the raid. Four of them were released a week later.

The Khan brothers are from the most prominent family in the village and were hosting the memorial ceremony for their brother, Taimoor Shah, who was killed in a business dispute a year ago. They had cards issued by an American Special Forces officer that designated each of them as a “coordinator for the U.S.S.F.” Another brother, Haji Abdul Rashid, blamed a business rival for feeding American forces with false information about the family.

American military officials in Afghanistan and Washington have stood by their much lower body count. Capt. Christian Patterson, an American military spokesman at Bagram air base north of Kabul, said that an investigating officer, an Special Forces major, visited the village after the airstrikes. Based on aerial photographs, he visited six burial sites within a 10-kilometer range of the incident; only one had any freshly dug graves, about 18 to 20 in total, Captain Patterson said. The investigating report does not indicate whether they were the graves of children or women.

The officer did not interview villagers, he said.

Mr. Khan, whose house is just yards from the main graveyard, which contains 24 fresh graves, said no members of the American military had entered the village since Aug. 22. Villagers living around the graveyards would have seen them, he said.

The American military also said that it had only found two wounded people, a woman and a child, at the scene, and that in a survey of clinics, doctors and hospitals of the area it had found no other wounded.

In a series of statements about the operation, the American military has said that extremists who entered the village after the bombardment encouraged villagers to change their story and inflate the number of dead. Yet the Afghan government and the United Nation have stood by the victims’ families and their accounts, not least because many of the families work for the Afghan government or reconstruction projects. The villagers say they oppose the Taliban and would not let them in the village.

“You can see our I.D. cards,” said a police officer, Muhammad Alam, 35, who was accused by the Americans of being a Taliban supporter and detained for a week after the airstrikes, then released. “If the Taliban caught me they would slaughter me.”

Two families in the village have lost men serving in the police during recent Taliban attacks. Reza Khan, whose house was the main target of the U.S. Special Operations forces operation and who was shot dead in the operation, was a wealthy businessman with construction and security contracts with the nearby American base at Shindand airport, and with a mobile phone business in the town of Herat. A recent photo of him shows a clean-shaven, slightly portly man in a suit and tie — far from the typical look of a Taliban militant.

His brother, Haji Rashid, said the American forces “should question the people who gave them the wrong information.”

“We want them brought to trial and punished for what they have done,” he added.

His claim was supported by the district chief, Mr. Umarzai, who said, “The victims did not fire on the Americans.”

He said he suspected that an informer, who falsely told the American forces that Taliban fighters were in the village that night, also staged the firefight. The gunmen first fired on the police checkpoint on the edge of the village that night, he said.

“When the Americans came, they laid down heavy gunfire and then they left the area. Then the Americans called in airstrikes,” he said.

Villagers also challenged the American military’s claims that it successfully conducted its planned operation against a Taliban commander, Mullah Sadiq, and a group of his men.

A man claiming to be Mullah Sadiq called into Radio Liberty several days after the raid and declared that he was alive and well and was never in the village of Azizabad that night. Reporters at the radio station, who asked not to be identified, said they knew his voice well and double-checked the recording with residents of Shindand and they were sure the caller was Mullah Sadiq.

American military officials have said that the man who called into the radio program was an imposter and that they are confident they killed their target.

A senior American officer who has been briefed on the military investigation’s findings said in an e-mail message: “I will simply say that the soldiers — U.S. and Afghan — reported what they saw and found at each building site as they looked for material, weapons, bodies. I cannot explain why later the numbers are so far apart.”

Members of the Afghan government investigation commission said that the Americans were just covering up the truth.

“The Americans are guilty in this incident: it is much better for them to confess the reality rather than hiding the truth,” said Abdul Salam Qazizada, a parliamentarian and government-commission member from Herat province, where the village is located.

Villagers suggested that the soldiers just counted those who died in the open and did not try to dig under the rubble. A local journalist, Reza Shir Mohammadi, said that when he visited the village on second day, women and children were still weeping at one collapsed house, saying they still had not found their mother and siblings.

The operation in Azizabad once again raises questions for the military about whether it is worth pursuing members of the Taliban with airstrikes inside a densely populated village where the collateral damage can be so high. A similar raid in the same district by American Special Forces in April last year that killed 57 people led American and NATO commanders to tighten rules on calling in airstrikes on village houses.

“This is not fair to kill 90 people for one Mullah Sadiq,” said Mr. Umarzai, the district chief. “If they continue like this, they will lose the people’s confidence in the government and the coalition forces.”

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting from Washington, and Sangar Rahimi and Abdul Waheed Wafa from Azizabad and Kabul.

source : The New York Times