Millions Embezzled at Iraqi Ministry
British officials are seriously concerned about the level of corruption in the Iraqi defence ministry, after the embezzlement of vast amounts of money earmarked for the country's security forces.
Officials from the British Ministry of Defence had already warned US and Iraqi authorities against the squandering of money - and have been proved right, on a catastrophic scale.
A report compiled by the Iraqi Board of Supreme Audit has concluded that at least half, and probably more, of $1.27bn (£700m) of Iraqi money spent on military procurement has disappeared into a miasma of kickbacks and vanished middlemen - or else has been spent on useless equipment.The report, leaked to the US news organisation Knight Ridder, comes as a blow to the credibility of the Iraqi army and its ability to contain the increasingly cogent insurgency.
According to the report, led by former human rights minister Abdel Baset al-Turki, the vanished money came solely from Iraqi funds, not from foreign donations to Iraq's military or the US-funded training budget
Thousands Protest Bush, Iraq War In Salt Lake City
Bush spoke to more than 6,000 people at the annual convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, while three blocks away about 2,000 people gathered to protest Bush administration policies and the war in Iraq.
Zappala and members of her family have spent the last week in Crawford, she said, hoping the president would take time to answer one question from families who have lost loved ones in the war.
``What noble cause is it? What noble cause is it that has taken the lives of our best Americans? What noble cause is it this month?'' Zappala said. ``Why do the architects of this war not risk the lives of their children?'' One of the event's organizers, Aaron Davis with a group called Veterans for Peace, said he filed a permit for a gathering of 1,000 people. Thirty minutes into the three-hour event Monday, he said he knew there would be that many and more.
``Not only is our message today support our troops and bring them home now, but treat them right when you bring them home,'' said Davis, who said he served as a Marine from 1972 to 1976.
Amid growing skepticism, Bush defends Iraq war
With U.S. casualties rising and his approval rating falling, Bush urged Americans to stand united in the war in Iraq and against terrorists everywhere.
While the United States has not been attacked since Sept. 11, 2001, Bush said, "We're not yet safe. Terrorists in foreign lands still hope to attack our country. We must confront threats before they fully materialize."
"The only way to defend to our citizens where we live is to go after the terrorists where they live," Bush said in a speech to the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Between 400 and 500 people gathered at an anti-war rally in Pioneer Park, about three blocks from the Salt Palace where Bush spoke. "It's like Vietnam all over again, and I opposed that too," said George Muller of Salt Lake, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who was dressed in desert fatigues.
Muller, who said he served from 1961-2002, said he was pleased to see so many people at the rally, and that he believed there was a shift in the country's attitude toward the war.
"That's what it's going to take — veterans groups, veterans and mothers who have lost kids speaking out," Muller said.
Iraq assembly gets charter draft, Sunnis irate
Sunnis are being left out of the constitution planning process.
An Iraqi man tears an advertising poster, calling for Iraqis to register for the constitutional referendum, as Iraqi Sunnis demonstrate against the draft constitution in the city of Ad Dawr near Tikrit, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, August 23, 2005. Iraq's Shi'ite-led government ruled out major concessions on Tuesday over a draft constitution that parliament looks set to pass this week in the teeth of minority Sunni objections that it could ignite civil war. REUTERS/Amir Al-Amori
The draft that was submitted is approximately the draft that will be implemented," government spokesman Laith Kubba said after parliament received the text before a midnight deadline. The assembly put off a vote for three days to let tempers cool.
President Jalal Talabani, who has brought Iraqi leaders together for weeks in a bid to keep the political process on track, renewed mediation efforts.
A statement from his office said the Kurdish leader urged all Iraqi sects to unite on the issue of the constitution, which the government hopes will undermine the Sunni insurgency.
The Shi'ite head of the parliamentary drafting committee again made clear he did not intend to reopen contentious clauses such as those on autonomous "federal" regions which Arab Sunnis say discriminate against them and could break up the state.
Two US Troops Killed in Iraq - 1866
The marine was killed when his vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb during a combat operation near the former rebel bastion town of Fallujah, 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of Baghdad.
Earlier, the military said a soldier was killed in a rocket attack by rebels in the south of Baghdad on Monday.
The deaths brought to 1,866 the number of US military personnel killed in Iraq since the US-led March 2003 invasion, according to an AFP tally based on Pentagon figures.
August has been one of the deadliest months for the American military in Iraq since the invasion.