Sunday, April 18, 2004

War News for April 18, 2004 Bring ‘em on: Three US soldiers killed, three wounded by RPG fire in Baghdad. Bring 'em on: Three US soldiers killed in convoy ambush near Diniwayah. Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed, two wounded by anti-tank mine near Tikrit. Bring ‘em on: Five Iraqis killed by US shellfire near Karma. Bring ‘em on: Six US Marines killed, nine wounded in heavy fighting near Husaybah. Bring ‘em on: One “coalition” soldier killed in fighting near Najaf. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqis killed, US soldier and two contractors wounded in Baghdad mortar attack. Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed by roadside bomb near Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Explosions reported near Green Zone in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Salvadoran troops under siege in Najaf. Bring ‘em on: Two British soldiers wounded in convoy ambush near al-Amarah. Tensions high in Karbala. Tensions high in Kosovo. “Three UN policemen - two Americans and a Jordanian - were killed in Kosovo during a shootout between officers sparked by a quarrel over the conflict in Iraq, UN officials and sources said…A fellow officer, a US citizen, described the incident as a clash over the US role in Iraq. ‘They quarrelled over the situation in Iraq,’ he said.” The New York Times story on this incident carefully omits any reference to a quarrel over American actions in Iraq. Pentagon gives $1,000 monthly bonuses to 20,000 soldiers extended in Iraq. Jesus H. Christ! The troop bitching must be pretty intense for this administration – which just a year ago sought to limit combat pay, hazardous duty pay, and burial allowances – to pony up twenty million dollars for the troops every month. Supply routes interdicted. “The closings appeared to confirm the effect of two weeks of heightened violence in Iraq. American soldiers, stretched thin, have already been deployed in large numbers to contain serious and unresolved uprisings in the cities of Falluja and Najaf. Now they have been sent to face the growing problem of keeping crucial sections of highway open for the passage of critically needed convoys reaching the Iraqi heartland from Turkey, Jordan and Kuwait… American forces had already effectively lost control of long sections of the 375-mile highway leading west from Baghdad to Jordan. The road runs through the battle zone around Falluja, 35 miles west of the capital. Ambushes near Falluja and the adjacent city of Abu Ghraib have destroyed numerous convoys carrying fuel and other supplies for American troops in the past two weeks… On Friday, General Kimmitt said American commanders believed that there was "a concerted effort on the part of the enemy to try to interfere with our lines of communication, our main supply routes," but said the main effect would be on ordinary Iraqis, who would eventually pay higher prices in the capital's shops and markets. The general said American military supplies were less of a problem because there were ‘alternative methods’ of delivering ammunition, food and fuel, presumably by air. But even at the bases, commanders have been rationing use of critical stockpiles and urging decisive action to ensure that road convoys get through.” Fighting a fire with gasoline. “As well as facing the volatile religious situation the US has risked further instability in Iraq over the death of Rantissi. Israel’s full frontal assault on the Hamas leadership has already been exploited by Osama bin Laden to lever further violence against the US and its allies. In his latest audio cassette, offering a truce to European countries that pulled of Iraq, bin Laden also promised vengeance for the Israeli attacks on Hamas.” “Security consultants” in Iraq. “Ex-military commandos armed with M4 rifles are fighting insurgents in Iraq as part of a private contracting force, many of them hired by the US-led coalition, raising some deep concerns. About 15,000 personnel from private military firms (PMFs) were operating in Iraq, making them more numerous that even the biggest US ally, Britain, estimated Peter Singer, author of Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry. At least 30 to 50 had been killed in action, he wrote in a report for the Internet news magazine Salon.com.” A South African “security consultant,” now deceased in Iraq. “Gray Branfield, 55, admitted to being part of a death squad which gunned down Joe Gqabi, the ANC's chief representative and Umkhonto weSizwe operational head in Zimbabwe on July 31 1981. Gqabi was shot 19 times when three assassins ambushed him as he reversed down the driveway of his Harare home.” Bremer’s Iraqi police in shambles. “US officials have not publicly disclosed the extent to which Iraqi police officers quit, stayed home, or mutinied during the nearly two weeks of turmoil that engulfed Iraq at the beginning of April. But discussions with senior Iraqi interior ministry officials, police officers, members of the Civil Defense Corps, and some military officials who work with them highlight the deep flaws in the security services that were hastily assembled beginning last summer. They also paint a disturbing picture of a security force nowhere near ready to take a central role.” New tactics to calm Iraqi insurgency. “By enlisting the aid of Iraqi Governing Council members, more-moderate Shiite clerics such as Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, and diplomats from other countries to stabilize Iraq, U.S. officials are betting that bargaining will succeed where a show of force has not. The United States even has allowed the Iranian government, with which it has no formal ties, to send a negotiating team to try to calm the Shiite rebellion in southern Iraq and parts of Baghdad.” This is what the CPA should have been doing since they first occupied Baghdad, instead of dicking around with Chalabi and applying a military solution to every problem. And note that things have become so bad that the Bushies are reduced to appealing to a charter member of the Axis of Evil for help. UN not exactly eager to change Lieutenant AWOL’s soiled nappies. “’There is a mixture of vindication on the one hand and great apprehension on the other," said Edward Mortimer, a senior aide to Secretary General Kofi Annan. Mr. Mortimer contrasted the recent calls for assistance from President Bush with the disparagement he said the United Nations had become used to from the administration. ‘It's quite nice when you've been generally dissed about your irrelevancy and then suddenly have people coming on bended knee and saying, “We need you to come back,”’ he said. ‘On the other hand, it's quite unnerving to feel you're being projected into a very violent and volatile situation where you might be regarded as an agent or faithful servant of a power that has incurred great hostility.’” Maine Guardsmen on convoy duty in Iraq. “Standing in the back of the lead Humvee, Sgt. Mark Ray of New Gloucester grips a 50-caliber machine gun with both hands. Next to him, Roy balances on one knee, his M-16 at the ready. Their heads never stop moving. ‘If we see kids, great - they don't want to blow up their own kids,’ Roy explained before the trip began. ‘If we don't see kids, well. . . ‘” Casualty Reports Local story: Florida soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Virginia soldier dies in Iraq. Local story: Wisconsin soldier wounded in Iraq. 86-43-04. Bring it on.


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