Monday, December 29, 2003

War News for December 29, 2003 Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed by roadside bomb ambush in Fallujah. Bring ‘em on: Assassination attempt in Arbil wounds one, kills three Kurds. Bring 'em on: Two US soldiers wounded, three Iraqis killed in Mosul firefight. Bring 'em on: US troops under RPG fire in Mosul; roadside bomb defused. Karbala transformed by latest insurgent offensive. “Iraqi policemen stand watch in 24-hour shifts at government buildings and carry AK-47's when attending the funerals of their colleagues. The Polish military has imposed a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Bulgarian soldiers have set up roadblocks and checkpoints around the city.” Report from Mosul. The US detention system in Iraq. “Every day, hundreds of Iraqis crowd U.S. centres and the offices of human rights groups desperately looking for clues to the whereabouts of missing relatives…U.S. army officers blame much of the problem on bad communication and the difficulty of transliterating Arabic names. ‘Every time you put a different spelling in the computer, there's a mix-up,’ said Maj. Hector Flores, who deals with prisoners' issues.” With $87 billion available, you’d think the CPA could find the resources necessary to un-fuck this kind of problem. Aside from the Iraqi public opinion dividends this would reap, how the hell does the CPA keep records and resolve identified security risks within the detention system? An accurate account of life in the field at the infantry platoon level. “A soldier's world is heaped on and around his cot: sleeping bag, high-laced desert boots, rucksack, body armor, care packages from home brimming with magazines, cookies, and Grandma's fudge. Candy wrappers, empty plastic water bottles and, of course, caked mud litter the damp asphalt floor. Black-steel M-4 or M-16 semiautomatic assault rifles lie at the foot of each cot. Makeshift clotheslines crisscross the tent, holding T-shirts, socks and towels that never seem to dry in the dank air. Latrines are outside. Soldiers know to bring their own toilet paper, a precious commodity here.” Poll of military personnel says Army is stretched too thin. If anybody knows where I can find the full text of the article from Military Times, please let me know. Stop-Loss Policy: "Other edicts have been more sweeping, such as the Army's most recent stop-loss order, issued Nov. 13, covering thousands of active-duty soldiers whose units are scheduled for duty in Iraq and Afghanistan in the coming months. Because the stop-loss order begins 90 days before deployment and lasts for 90 days after a return home, those troops will be prohibited from retiring or leaving the Army at the expiration of their contracts until the spring of 2005, at the earliest. The proliferation of stop-loss orders has bred confusion and resentment even as it has helped preserve what the military calls 'unit cohesion.' In the past two years, the Army alone has announced 11 stop-loss orders -- an average of one every nine or 10 weeks." No soldiers are left behind. Lieutenant AWOL just doesn't want anybody to see them come home. Iraqi trade ministry investigates corruption in Bremer’s CPA. “Mr Allawi says he has discovered that a $US80 million contract for wooden doors has been manipulated, and up to one-third of the money has been stolen.” No oversight on contracts, spending at Bremer’s CPA. Mona Charen supports the troops. "Time magazine has chosen the American soldier as its Person of the Year. Ha! Meaning no disrespect at all to the world's finest fighting force, I have a feeling that the excellence of our men at arms had little to do with this decision." Mona wants to emphasize that she will "bow to no one in my admiration for the U.S. military" except when shamelessly kissing the ass of an AWOL lieutenant and exploiting American soldiers to score political points. Last week I posted Kathleen Parker's contemptible hatchet job on PFC Lynch. Parker had her panties in a twist, hysterically questioning both PFC Lynch's personal courage and soldierly fitness. "What the hell was Jessica Lynch doing in the U.S. Army?" Parker shrieked. Let me remind Ms. Parker - since she seems to have missed it the first time - that PFC Lynch served her country honorably in wartime, fought and was wounded in battle. Serving honorably was something Parker's beloved but booze-sodden Lieutenant AWOL couldn't accomplish even in peacetime. The point behind posting both of these right-wing screeds is to warn that conservatives really have no respect for either soldiers or veterans except when they want to score political points. Had PFC Lynch played ball with the Republican propagandists who tried to exploit her service, you can bet Ms. Parker would be singing a different tune. As Lieutenant AWOL and his bungling minions mismanage the Iraq War into disaster, you can fully expect more hysteria from the prissy Monas and Kathleens as they blame the soldiers who served rather than the conservative chickenhawks they hold so dear. Don't call me Osama. Break out your Kleenex as you read this Halliburton apology piece by noted NYT fiction author Jeff Gerth. Commentary Editorial: The Thinning of the Army: “This is the clearest warning yet that the Bush administration is pushing America's peacetime armed forces toward their limits. Washington will not be able to sustain the mismatch between unrealistic White House ambitions and finite Pentagon means much longer without long-term damage to our military strength. The only solution is for the Bush administration to return to foreign policy sanity, starting with a more cooperative, less vindictive approach to European allies who could help share America's military burdens.” The Bush administration has clearly demonstrated that it is ideologically incapable of a cooperative foreign policy, wholly committed to the destruction of internationalist institutions, and cherishes vindictiveness as both personal virtue and public policy. The only solution for America is to throw Lieutenant AWOL and his entire gang of bungling ideologues out of office in November, and it’s high time the NYT editorial board realized that painful reality. Reader Navy Wife sounds off: "As far as asking returning soldiers to pick up very expensive last minute tickets to fly across the country, what more would anyone expect from this administration? They don't have the courtesy to meet any 'transfer tubes' returning from Iraq or Afghanistan, they expect reservists to do 18 month tours (starting when boots hit ground) and then don't let their families enroll in TriCare (military health care plan), try to limit combat pay, spend 9 months bickering about who gets awarded the Global War on Terrorism ("GWOT") Expeditionary and Service Medals and then question why service members need medals or ribbons anyways, and tell military families that the DoD is studying shutting down all of the DoD schools on American and foreign bases, and for good measure, some of the commissaries and exchanges, too." From yesterday's Comments. Opinion: Recognition for the US soldier. "To those we owe so much we pay so little that the spouses and children of volunteer enlisted soldiers sometimes have no choice but to seek public welfare. They exist in shabby trailer parks on the outskirts of places like Ft. Hood and Ft. Riley and Ft. Stewart while their loved ones soldier in some foreign country for months, if not years. We should be ashamed." Eat my crusty GI skivvies, Mona Charon. Editorial: " Time decided to pay tribute to the character, history and bravery of the men and women who make up our armed forces. It's a well-deserved honor, regardless of how a person stands on the war in Iraq." Casualty Reports Local story: California soldier dies in Iraq. Local story: Kentucky soldier wounded in Iraq. Local story: Vermont soldier wounded in Iraq. Local story: Tennessee soldier wounded in Iraq. Awards and Decorations Local story: Ohio sailor decorated for valor. Local story: Tennessee soldier posthumously decorated for valor.


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