Sunday, February 15, 2004

War News for February 15, 2004 Bring 'em on: Two US convoys ambushed simultaneously in Baghdad. One US soldier wounded, one Iraqi killed, six Iraqis wounded. Bring 'em on: Insurgents fire RPGs at Iraqi police near Kirkuk. Bring 'em on: Firefight reported between US troops and insurgents near Qaim. Bodies of missing US soldiers found near Mosul by Iraqi police. US soldier dies in vehicle accident near Baghdad. Instability may delay transfer of sovereignty. "By Saturday afternoon, rumors about the unknown gunmen were flying through the streets and in the corridors of Fallujah General Hospital, where angry tribesmen stormed in to demand the bodies of the dead, waving guns and smashing hospital windows." The "worst week yet." "The raid raised questions about the preparedness of some Iraqi police and defence units to take on security duties as the US administration wants. Guerrillas have killed more than 600 Iraqi security and police personnel since April in an attempt to undermine US efforts to prepare Iraqis to take over security of the country." Iraqis demonstrate at Abu Ghuraib for information about detainees. Analysis: "The warning cannot be dismissed by the White House as politically motivated since USAID is a government agency. Off the record at least, some US officials agree. Last week, speaking anonymously, one said the prospect of Iraq slipping into civil war was real. He pointed to the parallels with the civil conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and in parts of the former Soviet Union which broke out following the collapse of authoritarian rule." The schools. "For Iraq's young, the post-Saddam Hussein era has meant refurnished schools, the freedom to speak openly and the promise of a brighter future. But it's also meant a daily obstacle course of potential catastrophes, ranging from the violence in the streets to the domestic anxieties caused by energy shortages or suddenly unemployed parents." KBR recruiting soldiers for contractor jobs in Iraq. Planning for Lieutenant AWOL's Operation Cut and Run. The Permanent Scars of Iraq. "It's been nearly six months since Shrode and Bricklin arrived home from Iraq. Shrode lost most of his right arm, which was amputated just below the elbow in a Baghdad field hospital. Even healed, his face is pitted with purple shrapnel scars the size of raindrops. Bricklin, a broad-shouldered former competitive swimmer who came home honeycombed with shrapnel, bears larger, raw-looking scars from his thigh to his neck. Both men have significant hearing loss, cocking their heads like a couple of old-timers in order to grasp what's said. They are plagued by headaches and are convinced they've had some memory loss. Between them, they've had nine operations since getting, as they like to say, ''blown up'' in Iraq. Shrode, who is shorter and stockier than Bricklin and speaks with a soft Alabama accent, still visits the base hospital five days a week for occupational therapy. Once a month, he sees a military therapist. He has tried, without luck, to persuade Bricklin to get individual counseling too." Chalabi uses US taxpayer-funded reconstruction projects to get richer, create private army. "U.S. authorities in Iraq have awarded more than $400 million in contracts to a start-up company that has extensive family and, according to court documents, business ties to Ahmed Chalabi, the Pentagon favorite on the Iraqi Governing Council… But it is an $80-million contract, awarded by the Coalition Provisional Authority last summer to provide security for Iraq's vital oil infrastructure, that has become a controversial lightning rod within the Iraqi Provisional Government and the security industry. Soon after this security contract was issued, the company started recruiting many of its guards from the ranks of Chalabi's former militia, the Iraqi Free Forces, raising allegations from other Iraqi officials that he was creating a private army." Commentary Opinion: "Ten months after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s despotic regime, the situation is getting ever worse. According to aid agency USAID there were more attacks during January than any month since September. These included 642 organised assaults involving mortars, hand-grenades and small-arms, 522 ‘random’ incidents from drive-by shootings to rock-throwing, and 11 attacks on coalition aircraft. Little wonder that, as we report today, there is a growing demand for British machine-guns and other weaponry from security firms in Iraq." Opinion: "Well, that year will be up in a few weeks and we seem no closer to getting out of Iraq. And our soldiers are still dying at the rate of more than one per day. Those who don't see Iraq as another Vietnam are right in one respect. During Vietnam, America cared. Now it seems that only a handful of us even acknowledge there is still a war going on." Editorial: "Now, if you believe that Mr. Cheney’s status — he still owns stock in the company valued at $18.7 million, according to CNN, and he is still on the company payroll to the tune of more than $150,000 a year — has nothing at all to do with Halliburton’s ability to continue doing business with the government despite its record, you’d probably be interested in some nice beachfront property in Brogue. Given this record, the government should revoke all of its contracts with Halliburton and vigorously investigate whether Mr. Cheney, during his tenure with the company, was party to what appear to be multiple, serious violations of U.S. law." Opinion: "I always believed that preserving the army would be critical to reconstruction. I had been involved in rebuilding political, economic, social and security institutions in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, and I knew that if we could reshape existing structures rather than starting from scratch, we would have an advantage. The regular Iraqi army -- not the Saddam-loyal Republican Guard -- offered this opportunity. I was surprised when the Iraqi army was disbanded. This decision, along with the complete 'de-Baathification' of the government, has proved a miscalculation." Opinion: "We are approaching another turning point in the Iraq saga. If this moment is handled well by U.S. officials, Iraq's prospects will improve. If it is handled badly, Iraq will sink, and U.S. casualties will soar. The turning point involves the Bush administration's promised handover of political sovereignty to Iraqis by June 30. U.S. officials haven't been able to come up with a workable formula for the handover. They're so panicked that they invited a U.N. delegation to Baghdad to try to devise a solution." Editorial: "That's why it makes little sense to wait until March 31 of next year -- nearly five months after the election -- for the report of the panel named by the president to look into the quality of the intelligence related to weapons of mass destruction. This panel must get to the bottom of what American spies and political leaders knew about Iraq's WMD and Hussein's terrorist connections. Did the president or his aides spin or hype the intelligence? Were senior officials, in and out of the CIA, pressured to 'improve' the intelligence product?" Opinion: April 16, 1972. Casualty Reports Local story: Florida soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Two Texas soldiers wounded in Iraq. 86-43-04. Pass it on.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?