Sunday, December 07, 2003

If you read only one article today, read this one. "The Coalition Provisional Authority nominally has the job of "rebuilding" Iraq — using $20 billion or so of the $78 billion that recently flew out of America's deficit-plagued coffers. But during the time the 101st has been in Mosul, three regional coalition authority directors have come and gone. Only recently, long after the people of Mosul elected their mayor and city council, was a civilian American governance official sent to the area. And, according to the division leadership, not a nickel of the $20 billion controlled by the provisional authority has reached them. - snip - "The super-defended Green Zone is the biggest, most secure American base camp in Iraq, but there is little connection between the troops in the field and the bottomless pit of planners and deciders who live inside the palace. Soldiers from the 101st tell me that they waited months for the Bechtel Corporation to unleash its corporate might in northern Iraq. 'Then one of the Bechtel truck convoys got ambushed on the way up here three weeks ago, and one of the security guys got wounded,' an infantryman told me. 'They abandoned their trucks on the spot and pulled out, and we haven't seen them since.'" War News for December 7, 2003 Bring 'em on: One US soldier killed, two wounded in bomb ambush near Mosul. Bring 'em on: Two Iraqi insurgents die attempting to mortar US positions in Baghdad. Bring 'em on: Iraqi CDC member killed in rocket attack north of Baghdad. Bring 'em on: Insurgent bomb kills Iraqi child near Baghdad. Bring 'em on: Insurgent bomb derails freight train near Samarra. Rummy wants to lower Army readiness standards to conceal the damage from Bush's War and his own failed leadership as Defense Secretary. "… Rumsfeld was responding to reports that four army divisions will be rated at the lowest levels of readiness for up to six months as they rest and refurbish equipment after punishing deployments… He said the standards the army now uses were formed during peacetime, and may not reflect the changed conditions the United States is in with major operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the war on terrorism." If Rumsfeld doesn't understand the mechanics of the Unit Status Reporting system, he is unfit to be Secretary of Defense. The USR system is an objective evaluation of a unit's personnel, training, equipment and logistics posture measured against wartime contingency requirements. USRs are developed by company and battalion commanders, and validated by each higher echelon of command. It's not an abstract "peacetime" evaluation. This is just another example of Team Bush moving the goalposts to avoid accountability for their own miserable failures. Secretary Rumsfeld is a no-go at this station. Army faces massive shortage of Military Police soldiers. US troops suffer from parasitic skin disease. Soldier sounds off because Operation Jive Turkey caused troops to eat MREs on Thanksgiving. (Last letter on this page.) Tax cuts trump flak jackets. Field soldiers say Bremer's poorly administered reconstruction funds are being used to finance attacks against US troops. US applies lessons learned from 50 years of successful Israeli counterinsurgency operations. " Writing in the July issue of Army magazine, an American brigadier general said American officers had recently traveled to Israel to hear about lessons learned from recent fighting there." Tough tactics piss off Iraqis. International funds for Iraq reconstruction fall short of pledges. "Some countries similarly changed plans because of growing concerns about the political stability and the security of Iraq; some say they will donate money once the trust fund is set up; some, intent on seeing a greater United Nations role in Iraq, are reluctant to make grants during the American-led occupation. 'The problem with cash is that you don't know where it's going to end up,' said an official with a donor country. 'Who gets to draw this money down? The only contracts awarded for Iraq so far have been awarded by the Pentagon.'" Commentary Opinion: Bushies' tall tales undermine their credibility. Casualty Reports Local story: North Dakota soldier wounded in Iraq. Local story: New York soldier wounded in Iraq.


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