Tuesday, May 18, 2004

War News for May 18, 2004 Bring ‘em on: British contractor assassinated in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Two US soldiers killed in fighting in al-Anbar province. Bring ‘em on: Nine Iraqi militiamen killed in continued fighting in Karbala. Bring ‘em on: Two foreign civilians killed, one wounded in Mosul shooting. Bring ‘em on: Heavy fighting continues in Najaf. Italian troops re-occupy their base near Nasiriyah. Sistani urges US and Mahdi forces to withdraw from Karbala and Najaf. UK sends 3,000 more troops to Iraq. “And the British military is said to be increasingly upset at the willingness of US troops to ‘kill, kill and kill again’, according to a former British officer. The British chief of the General Staff, Sir Michael Jackson, said there was "military friction" last month when he gave evidence to a parliamentary committee. As a result of the growing rift, British commanders are becoming increasingly reluctant to commit troops to zones not under British control, according to Newsweek magazine.” Rummy’s happy-spin of the day. “Yesterday, in a speech to a warmly receptive audience at Washington's conservative Heritage Foundation, Mr. Rumsfeld lashed out at supporters of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and at those battling the U.S. occupation. ‘There's a lot of intimidation going on,’ Mr. Rumsfeld said. ‘The former regime elements, the Baathists and the terrorists are trying to intimidate the Iraqi people.’" Desperate measures. “The Defense Department, strapped for troops for missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, has proposed to Congress that it tap the Internal Revenue Service to locate out-of-touch reservists. The unusual measure, which the Pentagon said has been examined by lawyers, would allow the IRS to pass on addresses for tens of thousands of former military members who still face recall into the active duty. The proposal has largely escaped attention amid all the other crises of government, and it is likely to face opposition from privacy rights activists who see information held by the IRS as inviolate.” Would these be the same lawyers who examined Rummy's interrogation policies? Commentary Analysis: “Indeed, intelligence and regular Army sources have told UPI that senior officers and officials in both communities are sickened and outraged by the revelations of mass torture and abuse, and also by the incompetence involved, in the Abu Ghraib prison revelations. These sources also said that officials all the way up to the highest level in both the Army and the Agency are determined not to be scapegoated, or allow very junior soldiers or officials to take the full blame for the excesses…. But what enrages many serving senior Army generals and U.S. top-level intelligence community professionals is that the "few" in this case were not primarily the serving soldiers who were actually encouraged to carry out the abuses and even then take photos of the victims, but that they were encouraged to do so, with the Army's well-established safeguards against such abuses deliberately removed by high-level Pentagon civilian officials” Analysis: “Acting out of weakness and haste, the CPA is simply folding these militias into the new Iraqi Army and police. Such militias owe their primary loyalty to religious groups like the Dawa and the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq, which have strong fundamentalist leanings. Others have ties to smaller, less well-known groups. But the general phenomenon of armed groups is on the rise—easy in a country in which virtually every male over 14 owns a Kalashnikov. Over time, these political groups will struggle for power—and their militias will help them do battle. When elections are held, they will use force and money to ensure that the results come out their way.” Opinion: “Before the war, officials refused to discuss costs, except to insist that they would be minimal. It was only after the shooting started, and Congress was in no position to balk, that the administration demanded $75 billion for the Iraq Freedom Fund. Then, after declaring ‘mission accomplished’ and pushing through a big tax cut — and after several months when administration officials played down the need for more funds — Mr. Bush told Congress that he needed an additional $87 billion. Assured that the situation in Iraq was steadily improving, and warned that American soldiers would suffer if the money wasn't forthcoming, Congress gave Mr. Bush another blank check. Now Mr. Bush is back for more. Given this history, one might have expected him to show some contrition — to promise to change his ways and to offer at least a pretense that Congress would henceforth have some say in how money was spent.” Casualty Reports Local story: New Jersey soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Pennsylvania Guardsman killed in Iraq. Local story: Virginia soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: California soldier dies in Iraq. Local story: Texas soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Tennessee airman dies in Iraq. Local story: Louisiana soldier dies in Iraq. Local story: Utah Marine wounded in Iraq. Local story: Michigan soldier wounded in Iraq. Local story: Arkansas soldier wounded in Iraq. Local story: New York soldier wounded in Iraq. Rant of the Day The Bushies claim that releasing more pictures of Iraqi prisoner abuse would violate the Geneva Convention. Here’s a little blast from the past, when broadcasting humiliating pictures of an Iraqi prisoner was policy and the Bushies didn’t need no stinking Geneva Conventions. “Dec. 22 Issue - In a part of the world where pride and dignity mean everything, the images were clearly intended to shame. A nameless doctor or medical technician, wearing rubber gloves, was seen closely examining the man's hair, perhaps looking for vermin. Prodded with a tongue depressor, the man opened his mouth; the doctor peered at the pink flesh of his throat and scraped off a few cells for DNA identification. Then the world saw the man's face. Haggard, defeated, slightly disgusted and unquestionably Saddam Hussein, tyrant and terrorist, sadist and murderer, object of one of the greatest manhunts in history.” In the Army, this is called leading by example. Piss-poor leadership, to be sure, but leadership none the less. 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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