Sunday, December 21, 2003

War News for December 21, 2003 Bring 'em on: "A number" of US soldiers wounded in Baghdad demonstrations. Bring 'em on: RPG attacks on pipeline and oil storage facility in Baghdad. Bring 'em on: Four oil pipelines ablaze between Tikrit and Mosul. Bring 'em on: CENTCOM reports US troops from 3d Brigade, 82d Airborne attacked by small arms and RPG fire. Bring 'em on: US convoy attacked with RPG fire in Mosul. Capture of Saddam Hussein has left Arab world divided and dangerous. "The fact that the first attack against the American forces in the Gulf after the capture of Saddam took place in Kuwait, not Iraq, is seen by Arab analysts as an indication of the deep resentment against American policy in the area. Contrary to Tony Blair’s statement said last Sunday, the capture of Saddam Hussein is unlikely to be the beginning of the end in Iraq." Internal conflicts increasing since capture of Saddam Hussein. Kurds say they captured Saddam. More on Bechtel and Iraqi schools. "Under the contract from the US Agency for International Development, Bechtel renovated 1,239 schools for a total of about $48 million, about $38,000 per school. Thor Christiansen, who oversaw school reconstruction for Bechtel, did not give an exact breakdown on how the money was spent on each school. But he said materials and salaries for 10 expatriates who oversaw the work of the Iraqi subcontractors accounted for the bulk." - snip - "Two months after the work was finished, students were getting locked into classrooms when new door handles broke. Toilets were overflowing because sewer systems weren't cleaned properly. Children couldn't wash their hands, because handles on new water taps had snapped off. Desks and chalkboards, already in short supply, were in the trash heap after painters had used them as makeshift stepladders. Laborers had carted off working ceiling fans and sturdy doors, and installed cheap replacements, teachers and principals said." Army reinstates combat zone bonus to improve retention. "Army officials believe those fence-sitters are the reason the Army is about 12 percent behind on its first-quarter 2004 re-enlistment target, or about 2,000 fewer soldiers than the Army hoped to re-up between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31." More sounding off about Operation Jive Turkey: " What caught my attention was that our two top medical military leaders were unable to visit base hospitals in Iraq because President Bush’s Thanksgiving visit 'made it difficult to get clearance.'… At some point in his presidency, Bush must forgo his manic desire to grandstand with soldiers for his own self-aggrandizement." (Third letter. Fifth letter is a bonus - the end of a whining lieutenant's brilliant career.) Commentary Opinion: Saddam's capture won't help US win Arab hearts and minds. "If President Bush were serious about ending anti-U.S. terrorism, he would seek to counteract that resentment. He would ask his Defense Policy Board how to improve the perception of the United States in the Middle East. Changes in U.S. policy in the region would be required." Casualty Reports Local story: Arkansas soldier wounded in Iraq. Local story: Alabama soldier wounded in Iraq.


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