Sunday, April 25, 2004

War News for April 25, 2004 Bring ‘em on: Two US sailors killed, five wounded in Persian Gulf boat attack. Bring ‘em on: Fourteen Iraqis killed in roadside bomb attack near Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Four children killed, two US soldiers wounded in Baghdad patrol ambush. Bring ‘em on: Rocket attack on Mosul hospital kills two, wounds ten Iraqis. Bring ‘em on: Eleven insurgents killed in Fallujah ambush. Bring ‘em on: Rocket attack reported at Mosul television station. Bring ‘em on: Two hotels struck by rocket attacks in Mosul. Four Iraqis killed, 11 wounded. Bring ‘em on: Bulgarian troops under mortar fire near Karbala. Bring ‘em on: Two US soldiers killed by RPG fire near Kut. Lieutenant AWOL in charge. “Facing one of the grimmest choices of the Iraq war, President Bush and his senior national security and military advisers are expected to decide this weekend whether to order an invasion of Falluja, even if a battle there runs the risk of uprisings in the city and perhaps elsewhere around Iraq. After declaring on Friday evening in Florida that ‘America will never be run out of Iraq by a bunch of thugs and killers,’ Mr. Bush flew to Camp David for the weekend, where administration officials said he planned consultations in a videoconference with the military commanders who are keeping the city under siege.” MOUT. “The street had become ‘a 300-meter-long kill zone,’ recalls Aguero. The vehicles swerved and ran onto sidewalks, rolling on the rims of flat tires, as gunmen kept up the barrage of bullets. Suddenly Sgt. Yihjyh Chen, gunner in the lead truck, collapsed after taking a hit. The Iraqi translator in his vehicle began administering first aid. Another soldier was shot, and began bleeding from the mouth. Then two of the Humvees became disabled. Aguero yelled at one driver to gun the engine to get his Humvee moving. That’s when the engine literally fell out. It was time to bail. As they’d been drilled to do, the soldiers set out to strip the disabled vehicles of sensitive items and to “Zee off the radio”—to ensure critical communications codes and equipment don’t fall into enemy hands.” Support the Troops! “For the Bush administration it has been a mantra, one the president intones repeatedly: America's troops will get whatever they need to do the job. But as Iraq's liberation has turned into a daily grind of low-intensity combat—and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld grudgingly raises troop levels—many soldiers who are there say the Pentagon is failing to protect them with the best technology America has to offer. Especially tanks, Bradleys and other heavy vehicles, even in some cases body armor... Soldiers in Iraq complain that Washington has been too slow to acknowledge that the Iraqi insurgency consists of more than ‘dead-enders.’ And even at the Pentagon many officers say Rumsfeld and his brass have been too reluctant to modify their long-term plans for a lighter military. On the battlefield, that has translated into a lack of armor. Perhaps the most telling example: a year ago the Pentagon had more than 400 main battle tanks in Iraq; as of recently, a senior Defense official told NEWSWEEK, there was barely a brigade's worth of operational tanks still there. (A brigade usually has about 70 tanks.)” US troops prepare to enter Najaf. Iraqi oil export facilities closed after boat attacks. Bulgarians reject Powell’s request for more troops in Iraq. Guard families. “As the war in Iraq continues, and the Pentagon prolongs the mobilization of tens of thousands of troops, the toll on both the soldiers, and the families they have left behind, is mounting. But while the war has been hard on all military personnel and their loved ones, the financial and emotional impact has been particularly acute for the members of the Guard and the Reserve who have been forced to give up civilian jobs, in a few cases, for 20 months. Among members of the 269th Military Police Company, about 170 men and women from across central Tennessee, the financial hardships are rising as deployments stretch far beyond the traditional six-month mobilization.” Coalition of the Disillusioned. “Poland's 2,500 troops serving in Iraq and its role as a pivotal US ally in the war, as the government keeps reminding Poles, confirm this historic transformation in Poland. But Wojciechowski has a hard time seeing it that way. ‘I wasn't a Polish soldier acting as an occupier; I was a mercenary hired by America to do their work for them,’ said Wojciechowski, who was wounded on Christmas night by an ‘improvised explosive device’ when his unit was on patrol on the road between Baghdad and al-Hillah.” Commentary Editorial: “It is past time for the president to let go of Mr. Rumsfeld's flawed theories of war and authorize a real long-term increase in the force in Iraq. There is debate about how many more soldiers are needed — some experts say at least 50,000 in the short term, while others say even more. What is certain is that the nation cannot continue limping along on small, politically calibrated 90-day infusions. The White House likes to shift responsibility to those in uniform by saying it is up to the military to figure out what it needs to do its job. Unfortunately, military planners are not certain what that job is in broad political terms. They stick to the safer ground of figuring an adequate force to handle very specific, immediate assignments. The administration needs to create a long-term military strategy and accept the burden of providing the troops to carry it out.” Emphasis added. Analysis: “Politically, the Bush administration's claim to bring democracy to Iraq is bogged down in a singular contradiction. Having gone to Iraq with a blueprint on what democracy in Iraq should be like, the administration is both unprepared for and unwilling to allow a democratic process unless it has a fixed and guaranteed outcome…The political failure translates into a series of battlefield dilemmas. Wedded to a military solution through the use of massive and overwhelming force, the United States seems unable to separate civilians from fighters or to distinguish between different kinds of fighters.” Opinion: “It’s a pity that the freshest images of the America's fallen consist of blackened bodies being dragged through the street and hung off a downtown bridge in Fallujah. In response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the Air Force this week released hundreds of flag-draped photographs to thememoryhole.org, a Web site that publishes hard-to-find government information. The repatriation of dead soldiers is among the military's highest and proudest traditions. It's wrong that Americans can't share in it.” Opinion: “In Bushworld, our troops go to war and get killed, but you never see the bodies coming home. In Bushworld, flag-draped remains of the fallen are important to revere and show the nation, but only in political ads hawking the president's leadership against terror. In Bushworld, we can create an exciting Iraqi democracy as long as it doesn't control its own military, pass any laws or have any power.” Casualty reports Local story: Illinois soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Missing North Carolina soldier found dead in Iraq. Local story: Arkansas Guardsman killed in Iraq. Local story: Michigan soldier dies in Iraq. Local story: West Virginia Marine wounded in Iraq. 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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