Monday, April 19, 2004

War News for April 19, 2004 Bring ‘em on: One US Marine killed in action in al-Anbar province. Bring ‘em on: Polish troops under mortar fire near Karbala. Bring ‘em on: Spanish troops under mortar fire near Najaf and Diwaniyah. Bring ‘em on: Swedish embassy in Baghdad hit by mortar fire. Bring ‘em on: Two British soldiers wounded by roadside bomb near al-Amarah. Bring ‘em on: Mortar attack in Baghdad kills Iraqi mother and son. Two US soldiers killed in separate accidents in Iraq. New mayor “elected” in Baghdad. “But rather than a general election open to all eligible residents of this city of 5 million, 49 local government representatives assembled in a heavily guarded municipal building to choose who'll lead them in tackling the problems that plague this fabled and unwieldy metropolis.” Spain orders immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq. Just fan-frickin-tastic. “A US soldier shot dead Sunday the daughter of an influential local tribal chief who was minding sheep near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, a police officer told AFP.” Iraqi security forces won’t be ready for June 30th transfer of “sovereignty.” Baghdad fashion maven and incompetent administrator L. Paul Bremer wants to get tough with insurgents. With no sign of a breakthrough in talks with rebels in Fallujah and Najaf, the leader of the U.S. occupation appeared to move closer on Sunday to a military showdown, saying that the rebels' failure to submit to U.S. demands would necessitate decisive action against those who ‘want to shoot their way to power.’ ‘They must be dealt with, and they will be dealt with,’ the official, L. Paul Bremer, said, breaking a week of silence on the confrontation with Muqtada al-Sadr, an anti-U.S. Shiite cleric, in Najaf and Sunni Muslim insurgents in Fallujah. Bremer spoke of the need to bring an early end to the standoffs, to return Iraq to the political path the United States has mapped out, starting with the formal return of sovereignty on June 30.” Commentary Opinion: “To arouse public opinion in the preparation for war, the neo-conservatives around the US Administration frequently compared Saddam to Adolf Hitler and George Bush to Winston Churchill. Given that by 1939 Hitler's Germany was the most powerful military force in Europe and that by 2003 Saddam's Iraq was an impoverished tinpot tyranny, the comparison was laughable. Yet inside the Australian media virtually no one laughed. As the invasion was mounted, most of the Australian media suggested that the creation of a prosperous, stable democracy in Iraq would be relatively easy to achieve. Given that Iraq was a desperately poor country, burdened by a grotesque totalitarian past, and was divided between Shiite and Sunni Muslims and between Arabs and Kurds, this was an attractive but a childish dream. Throughout the Australian media the dream was nonetheless taken very seriously. Inside the powerful Murdoch empire - where to my knowledge from inside sources a general pro-war directive was delivered around February 2003 - it represented nothing less than the party line. Most serious commentators knew that the Iraq adventure was liable, as one put it, "to end in tears". Such thoughts were uncommon in the Australian media. They were forbidden to the editors of our overwhelmingly most powerful newspaper group. If we want to learn from the failure of judgement with Iraq it is over the questionable performance of our media and not of our intelligence services that a searching national debate should now begin.” Analysis: “The pattern was familiar: After bloody confrontations last week that left more than 40 Americans and hundreds of Iraqis dead, the blame in Washington focused on a single "outlaw" Iraqi Shiite leader, Moqtada al-Sadr. As the Bush administration portrayed it, Sadr was one of the only dark spots in an otherwise positive picture of an emerging prosperous and democratic Iraq…Hindsight is always clearer. But in this case, there is a pattern of wishful thinking that blurred the picture and resulted in flawed decisions. Administration officials have indulged in such thinking in part because they continue to rely for information on self-interested Iraqis, especially former expatriates, many of whom provided erroneous information before the war on weapons of mass destruction.” Opinion: “One of the things I remember from my time in the service many years ago was the ubiquitous presence of large posters with the phrase, in big block letters: Know Your Enemy. This is a bit of military wisdom that seems to have escaped President Bush. The United States was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, by Al Qaeda, not Iraq.” Casualty Reports Local story: Nebraska Guardsman killed in Iraq. Local story: Wisconsin soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Oklahoma Marine wounded in Iraq.


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