War News for April 6, 2004
Bring ‘em on: Eleven Italian soldiers wounded during fighting in Nasiriyah
Bring ‘em on: Four US Marines killed in fighting near Fallujah
Bring ‘em on: Three US soldiers killed in fighting near Baghdad
Bring ‘em on: US forces Iraqi interpreter killed in Baquba
Bring ‘em on: Bulgarian soldier wounded during patrol near Karbala
Bring ‘em on: British troops continue fighting Shi’ite militia in Amarah
Bring ‘em on: Heavy fighting reported near Fallujah
Bring ‘em on: Bulgarian base camp near Karbala
under mortar fire.
Bring ‘em on: Firefight reported in central Ramadi
. One Iraqi killed, three wounded.
Bring ‘em on: Fighting continues in Nasiriyah
. Two Iraqis killed, four wounded.
Bring ‘em on: One Ukrainian soldier killed, five wounded during fighting in Kut
Bring 'em on: Three Bulgarian soldiers wounded in Karbala
cancelled. “Since the war began a year ago, senior military leaders have given frequent assurances to troops and their families that Iraq duty would be no longer than a year. Now, those assurances have met the reality of Iraq, where military leaders are planning for the possibility that anti-U.S. violence will spread. U.S. troops are stretched thin around the world, and the Pentagon has few options to increase the force in Iraq if necessary. On Monday, a senior official with U.S. Central Command said that the return home of about 24,000 U.S. troops who were scheduled to leave in the next few weeks would be delayed as their replacements arrive. Central Command's responsibility includes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Battle in Sadr City
. “Fighting was particularly fierce in Sadr City, a Shiite-majority neighborhood in Baghdad, in what Maj. Gen. Martin Dempsey, commander of the U.S. forces in Baghdad, called the biggest gunbattle since the fall of Baghdad a year ago. Eight U.S. soldiers and at least 30 Iraqis were killed. Some 1,000 U.S. troops moving into the area at one point for the battle with hundreds of militiamen using everything from automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades to homemade pipe bombs. It began when gunmen ambushed a U.S. patrol, forcing the Americans to take refuge in a nearby building and call in reinforcements, Dempsey told reporters. The Humvees and armored vehicles that came in to help came under three separate ambushes. ‘It was a very calculated action" by the militiamen, Dempsey said. 'It's really a mob, a mob with a lot of weapons.’ Gunmen sprayed weapons fire from rooftops and fired RPGs from alleyways. Militiamen seized three police stations after police evacuated and moved to a single station for safety. More than four hours of fighting ended and the stations were retaken only after a column of tanks rumbled into the neighborhood in the evening, Dempsey told reporters.”
Battle in Nasiriyah
. “More than 500 Italian troops battled Shi'ite militiamen in the southern Iraqi town of Nassiriya on Tuesday in clashes that left two civilians dead and 11 Italians wounded, witnesses and the Italian military said.”
. “Lieutenants of the Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr, whose followers sparked the fighting, have pointedly invited members of rival Muslim sects, as well as Iraqi nationalists, to resist alongside them, and turn what had been relatively contained resistance to the U.S. occupation into a genuinely national revolt. If Sunni Muslims, Wahhabi extremists, and Iraqi nationalists heed that call, as appeared the case in some Baghdad neighborhoods Monday, it could create a disastrous scenario for U.S. officials. ‘This is an intifada,’ said Sheikh Abdul Jabbar Hosai, a comparatively moderate Sadr representative who speaks fluent English.”
Mercenaries in action near Najaf
US commanders plan for worst-case scenario
in Iraq. "But he acknowledged that the recent attacks, including one Wednesday in Fallujah where four civilian contractors were killed and mutilated, had caused Gen. John Abizaid, chief of the U.S. Central Command, to take a fresh look at war plans to ensure that U.S. forces would be prepared with a wide range of contingency options if the violence escalates. ‘Clearly, if this thing got out of control over there, we would have to start looking at the number of forces that we have in theater and whether they were adequate to meet our needs,’ said the officer, a senior official at Central Command, which has responsibility for Iraq.”
. Jerry Kuhaida says he was eager to go to Iraq and take a job as a contractor helping local governments. But months later, the former Oak Ridge mayor says he was even more eager to get out of that troubled country, which he says is descending into chaos and likely civil war. Frustrated by a maze of bureaucracy, stymied by cultural roadblocks and embittered by what he calls a ‘total lack of postwar planning’ by the United States, Kuhaida said he left when it became obvious that things were becoming more and more dangerous… Also in November, Kuhaida said that Paul Bremer, administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority, announced that the CPA would end June 30, and the Iraqi governing council would take authority beginning July 1. ‘From my perspective, the mindset of the CPA was, 'We're getting out of here. We're leaving.' That seemed to have a negative effect on everything that was done from then on.’ There became a direct correlation between ‘bad decisions’ by the CPA and increases in terrorist activities, Kuhaida said.”
: “President Bush keeps clinging to his politically driven deadline of June 30 for handing over symbolic sovereignty in Iraq to an Iraqi entity. While everyone is eager for the country to be turned over to its people, simply sticking to a timetable is not the same as making real progress toward self-government. After the weekend's clashes between the American-led occupation forces and heavily armed militias loyal to a Shiite Muslim cleric, Mr. Bush presented the date as a watershed and its timing as a test of American will. In fact, neither is true.” Did the editorial page of the New York Times just call Lieutenant AWOL a liar? It's about time.
: “Mr Sadr's followers contrast their liberation theology, which they call al Hauza al-Ilmiya, and Mr Sistani's non-violent civil protest, which they call al Hauza al-Samita, or the silent Hauza. They accuse Mr Sistani of deflating an uprising against Saddam Hussein which followed the 1999 assassination of Mr Sadr's father, Ayatollah Mohammed Sadeq al-Sadr, a long-standing rival of Mr Sistani's, by refusing to bless the insurrection. Mr Sistani will not be allowed to spoil their revolt a second time, they say.”
: "Aside from our military personnel and their families, most Americans still seem detached from the deteriorating conditions in Iraq, but they constitute a direct threat to our national security. Iraq may have started out as an illogical battlefield in the war against terrorism, but the Bush administration's political and military miscalculations have spawned a new generation of Islamic radicals in Iraq and surrounding countries. Those miscalculations also have left our government more isolated when it desperately needs the world's help. Unless Lakhdar Brahimi is a miracle worker, the approaching deadline for a June 30 transfer of power may start looking more like a countdown to all-out civil war."
Local story: Oregon
soldier killed in Iraq.
Local story: Illinois
soldier killed in Iraq.
Local story: Indiana
soldier killed in Iraq.
Local story: Pennsylvania
Marine killed in Iraq.
Local story: Illinois
Marine killed in Iraq.
Local story: Two Tennessee
Marines wounded in Iraq.
Local story: Texas
Marine wounded in Iraq.
Note to Readers
By now it should be fairly clear that all hell has broken loose across Iraq. This is the third day of a major Shi'ite uprising - no other word for it - and Coalition troops are engaged in sustained urban combat operations against well-armed and organized insurgents throughout the Tigris - Euphrates valley south of Baquba to Basra. In addition, the US 1st Marine Division has entered Fallujah and is apparently encountering stiff resistance.
In a combat command post, the general rule is, "The first report is always wrong." In the kind of fighting we're witnessing now, I suspect that rule applies to news stories as well. The point I'm making here is to take the news stories I post about combat engagements with a grain of salt because in sustained combat the situation is always changing.
I've never made any attempt to make this blog a running tally of casualties. I post a section about casualty reports, but that's because I believe the troops who sacrifice so much deserve to be mentioned by name. In low-intensity conflict, I think that a daily snapshot of combat activity by individual incident and location provides a much more accurate assessment of the success - or failure - of the US occupation than simply counting the casualties.
But as the conflict ramps up I can't provide that kind of individual incident reporting. There will probably be dozens of firefights in and around Fallujah in the next few days and I simply can't identify them all.
In any case, please take a moment and offer a prayer to whatever Deity you worship for an end to this insanity. Thanks, YD.
86-43-04. Pass it on.