Wednesday, February 18, 2004

War News for February 18, 2004 Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqis killed, six coalition soldiers wounded in car bomb attack in Hilla. CPA reports an average of 17 attacks per day on Coalition troops and four attacks per day against Iraqi police during the last week. US mortar fire kills three Iraqi civilians near Tikrit. LTC Russell, please tell me you didn't authorize unobserved H &I fire missions in a populated area. Please tell me you didn't put that in your fire control plan and your targeting matrix doesn't include random H & I fire. Tell me your fire control plan requires a forward observer with eyes down on the target for every fire mission and every swinging dick in your battalion is supposed to know that. Because if you're shooting unobserved indirect fire in a populated area and civilians get killed, don't come crying to me that somebody fucked up the grid coordinates. It's your goddamb fire control plan. Richard Perle says “heads should roll” at US intelligence agencies. “Richard Perle, a chief proponent of last year's U.S. invasion of Iraq, yesterday called for the chiefs of the Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Defence Intelligence Agency to step down because of their faulty conclusions that Saddam Hussein possessed mass-killing weapons. Perle, a close adviser to U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, said top officials made no attempt to skew the intelligence about Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction. Instead, he implied, top policymakers relied in good faith on the conclusions of the intelligence agencies.” Good idea! Let’s start with YOUR head, Dickie. Army issues draft After Action Report for invasion phase of Iraq War. CPA abandons caucus plan. “The development marks another major policy adjustment for the Bush administration in its efforts to install a stable, post-Saddam Hussein government in Iraq. It would rewrite a hard-won Nov. 15 agreement between U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer and Governing Council members.” US allies angered by crony contract. “The award of a major contract to equip the new Iraqi army has triggered an uproar in staunch U.S. allies Poland and Spain, where officials are questioning why their nations' experienced arms companies lost out to a U.S. company with little history in such project. The $327 million contract to supply everything from canteens to AK-47s was awarded in January to Nour USA, a Virginia-based company whose president is A. Huda Farouki. Farouki is a close friend of Ahmad Chalabi, a controversial member of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council who has close ties with some Pentagon officials. The winning bid was so much lower than those by the Polish and Spanish companies — both for more than $500 million — that officials from the two nations have questioned Nour USA's ability to make good on the contract.” A soldier’s grim homecoming. Attacks on contractors jeopardize reconstruction. “While attacks on military targets and Iraqi citizens have received widespread attention, the assaults on the companies, which have left at least 17 dead and others wounded, are lesser known. Those attacks could jeopardize the success of the coalition efforts in Iraq, according to a Coalition Provisional Authority document reviewed by The Washington Post.” The Hollow Army. “While increasing America's worldwide obligations, the Bush Administration has been reluctant either to shore up traditional soft-power assets, especially alliances, or to take the steps necessary for maintaining hard power. In particular the Administration is dead set against increasing the military's end strength. This is partly because it would be expensive: each soldier adds $50,000 to $100,000 to the annual Pentagon budget. But mostly it is because Rumsfeld believes so strongly and argues so forcefully, inside and outside the Administration, that the military must become smaller, as part of a ‘transformation’ to a radically leaner and more agile force, before anyone can think about making it larger again. Rumsfeld's determination to reform the military is his most admirable trait. But as he showed by insisting on a disastrously small force for Operation Iraqi Freedom, when gripped by theory Rumsfeld can be blind to practical realities. The military—particularly the Army—is hidebound and inefficient. But right now, for the jobs it has been assigned, it is also too small.” Commentary Opinion: “Still, recent polls show that a lot of jaw-tensing is going on right now in the country. You have to wonder: Is this really a President who turned centuries of international law on its head, who misled Americans with justifications for invasion that have turned out to be spectacularly false, sent other sons and daughters into a war that continues to kill one or two of them every day, has concocted half-baked plans for rebuilding a land torn asunder, and plunged the U.S. budget into an ocean of red ink so he could figuratively stare into Saddam's eyes and say, ‘You tried to kill my father. Prepare to die.’ Bush has some explaining to do if he is to be reelected.” Casualty Reports Local story: Wisconsin soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Arizona soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Maryland soldier dies in Iraq.


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