Television evangelist Pat Robertson has admitted to CNN that President Bush claimed to him that there would be no casualties during the US invasion of Iraq. Robertson said Bush dismissed his warnings that the US would suffer heavy casualties in Iraq. Robertson said Bush told him before the invasion “we’re not going to have any casualties.” Robertson’s comments come as the U.S. death toll in Iraq has topped 1,100. Robertson, who backs Bush’s re-election said, “I met with him down in Nashville before the Gulf war started. And he was the most self-assured man I ever met in my life… He was just sitting there, like, I’m on top of the world, and I warned him about this war. I had deep misgivings about this war, deep misgivings. And I was trying to say, ’Mr. President, you better prepare the American people for casualties.” Robertson said Bush responded “Oh, no, we’re not going to have any casualties.” Robertson then said ” 'Well,' I said, ’it’s the way it’s going to be. . . . The Lord told me it was going to be, A, a disaster and, B, messy.’ ”
In Iraq, the heavy U.S. bombing of the city of Fallujah continues. Reuters is reporting a a U.S. airstrike yesterday killed a family of six. After the bombing a local resident said “Is this the gift that Iyad Allawi is giving to the people of Falluja? Every day they strike Fallujah.” Meanwhile in Sammarah, a double suicide car bombing has killed at least eight Iraqis, mostly women and children. The two suicide attackers reportedly exploded the bombs in the path of a US army convoy near a nursery school.
The highest-ranking Army reservist charged in the Abu Ghraib torture scandal pleaded guilty yesterday to eight counts of abusing prisoners. Staff Sgt. Ivan Frederick II admitted he had forced prisoners to masturbate, sucker-punched a hooded detainee and strapped wires to a prisoner who feared that he would be electrocuted if he fell from a box. According to a pool report from the Associated Press, Frederick told the judge that he was following the lead of military intelligence officers even though he knew what he was doing was wrong. In the wiring episode he said an Army investigator had wanted a prisoner who reportedly knew the whereabouts of soldiers’ remains “stressed out” to talk more, according to a pool report provided by The Associated Press. The investigator said it did not matter how badly the Iraqi was treated “as long as you don’t kill him.” During the court proceeding Frederick said he saw detainees who were “naked, handcuffed to their doors, some wearing female underclothes.” This all happened upon orders of military intelligence officers. Frederick said QUOPTE “Nudity was to humiliate and degrade them for military intelligence purposes. It was very embarrassing for an Arabic male to be seen nude by another.”
In election news, to counter the group Rock the Vote, the Christian Right has formed the group Redeem the Vote. And the group is using Jesus to help get out the vote — well at least the actor who portrayed Jesus in Mel Gibson’s Passion of Christ. The group has hired actor Jim Caviezel to film ads pushing conservatives to go to the polls. The Washington Times reports the ads featuring Caviezel are “designed to remind Christians that Mr. Bush shares their opposition to abortion, judicial activism and homosexual marriage.”
The Bush administration has lifted a 13-year arms embargo on Haiti which will allow opponents of ousted President Jean Bertrand Aristide to better arm themselves against Aristide loyalists. The State Department confirmed the decision on Tuesday. Anti-Aristide forces have fired on peaceful pro-Aristide demonstrators and rounded up well-known leaders of Aristide’s political movement, Lavalas. Last week the prominent pro-democracy priest Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste was detained while he was distributing food to hundreds of children and poor people at a church outside of Port Au Prince.
And in Kentucky the Senate race between Republican Sen. Jim Bunning and Democrat Daniel Mongiardo has grown surprisingly close after questions have arisen over the state of Bunning’s mental health. On Tuesday the incumbent Bunning failed to show up for a debate. Earlier his campaign admitted that he had used a teleprompter during an earlier debate. Earlier in the campaign Bunning claimed his opponent, who has Italian roots, looked like one of Saddam Hussein’s sons.