Tuesday, March 09, 2004

War News for March 9, 2004 Bring 'em on: One US soldier killed, one wounded by roadside bomb near Baquba. Bring ‘em on: Sunni cleric assassinated in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: US troops attacked in Mosul; seven Iraqi civilians wounded. Bring ‘em on: Iraqi truck driver killed by roadside bomb near Baghdad. (Last paragraph.) CENTCOM reports one US Marine dies from a gunshot wound in Kuwait. Iraqi Sunnis fear electoral marginalization and rule by Shi’ite clergy. “There's a palpable concern among Sunnis that the Americans are anxious to mollify the Shiites and Kurds during the handover process, but have less time for the concerns of the Sunnis, who are viewed as having collaborated with and profited from the Hussein regime over the past three decades. This has led to predictions that Sunni leaders will reject whatever political settlement the Americans offer, plunging the country into a fresh political crisis.” Burial ablutions in Najaf. “Islam calls for people to be buried within a day of their deaths. But the bombings often make that impossible, Mr. Abboud said. By the time a family locates someone, identifies the victim, gets the paperwork done to collect the remains, days pass. Mr. Abboud thinks that the dead from the mosque bombings will trickle in for at least a week. By then, if experience is any gauge, he said, another bombing will occur, and the cycle of washing victims whose bodies have been shattered will begin again.” War memorial. “Officers from the U.S. Army's Fourth Infantry Division commissioned a life-size bronze sculpture of the tableau to honor dozens of troops the unit has lost in its 11 months in Iraq. Thanks to an unusual choice of sculptor -- and an unusual source of bronze -- the officers added a touch of poetic justice to the work.” Returning veterans. “What doesn't change from war to war is this: The soldier is sent to a foreign land and is on constant alert to danger. Months later, the soldier arrives home, drops the duffel bag and then wonders why everything has changed.” Unemployed Iraqis organize. “With no reliable figures, estimates of unemployment in Iraq vary wildly -- from 20 percent to as high as 70 percent -- although virtually everyone acknowledges joblessness as one of the country's most pressing problems. The union has set out to register as many of the unemployed as it can.” Halliburton stiffs a subcontractor. “The company, Event Source, serves 100,000 meals a day in Iraq under a contract with a Halliburton subsidiary. vent Source claims Halliburton owes it $87 million, including payment for President Bush's Thanksgiving dinner with the troops. ‘When you get stuck out there for $87 million,” explains Event Source Chief Executive Officer Phil Morrell, “it’s a question of economics.’ In an interview with NBC News, Morrell says he’s already laid off employees in the United States and soon will have to feed sandwiches to the troops, instead of hot meals, because his company is running low on money.” (Emphasis added.) Ain't defense privatization wonderful? Meanwhile, Halliburton is whining about all those pesky audits. “Halliburton Co.'s liquidity could be negatively affected if ongoing government audits uncover additional problems with its Iraq work, the company said Monday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission…’ It is possible that we may, or may be required to, withhold additional invoicing or make refunds to our customer, some of which could be substantial,’ Halliburton said in its annual report. "This could materially and adversely affect our liquidity.’” Army announces plan to resolve tensions over detainees. “An American commander unveiled a plan Monday aimed at defusing tension over Iraqis held in U.S. military custody, which tribal leaders in Saddam Hussein’s hometown say is the leading cause of anti-American animosity.” You gotta read this “plan.” Basically, a detainee’s relatives report his arrest to the president of the local provincial sheik council. Then, the council president contacts tribal leaders from the area where the detainee lives to learn if he has been involved in anti-coalition activities. Then, “the sheik council seeks details or the release of the detainee by applying to American forces, the Coalition Provisional Authority, regional governor and, if they are in the area, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Iraqi equivalent, the Red Crescent.” At this point, the “authorities” decide if there is cause to continue holding the detainee. Why is the Army resolving this problem and not the CPA? General Abazaid asks soldiers leaving Iraq to remain in the Army. Reenlistment numbers must be in the toilet to generate this kind of four-star concern. No wonder Rummy won't publish the projected retention rates. Commentary Opinion: “Each time I return to Iraq, it's the same, like finding a razor blade in a bar of chocolate. The moment you start to believe that ‘New Iraq’ might work - just - you get the proof that it's the same old Iraq, just a little tiny bit worse than it was last month.” Editorial: "But a looming clash of interests appeared over the weekend with the dispatch of a vanguard of some 50 US investigators, prosecutors, and lawyers to Baghdad to staff the Regime Crimes Adviser's office within the US occupation authority…One source of conflict concerns the calendar. Iraqis have already objected to the administration's idea of having such a tribunal commence well before the first Tuesday in November and having it begin with Saddam himself in the dock." Opinion: "The pitch -- the mother of all reality shows pits three tribes, hand-picked for their skills and intelligence, against each other in search of weapons of mass destruction. The tribe that finds the WMDs will win $1 million and a thank-you, week-long vacation at the White House. Episode One: the tribes elect leaders. Tribe 1 votes for Secretary of State Colin Powell. Tribe 2 goes for National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. Tribe 3 gets stuck with Vice President Dick Cheney." Casualty Reports Local story: Florida soldier wounded in Iraq. 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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