Saturday, May 22, 2004

War News for May 21 and 22, 2004 draft Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed, three wounded by car bomb near Mahmudiyah. Bring ‘em on: Four Iraqi policemen, one Iraqi civilian killed in attempted assassination in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Eighteen Iraqi militiamen killed in heavy fighting in Karbala. Bring ‘em on: Four ICDC members killed in ambush near Baquba. Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed, two wounded in ambush near Samarra. Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed, three wounded in Baghdad RPG ambush. Bring ‘em on: Green Zone mortared in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Heavy fighting continues in Najaf. Bring ‘em on: Three US soldiers wounded in attack on Najaf police station. CJTF-7 reports one US Marine died in a vehicle accident in al-Anbar province. US troops arrest al-Sadr supporters in Kirkuk. Sailboat fuel. A Halliburton Inc. subsidiary sent empty flatbed trucks crisscrossing Iraq more than 100 times this year, putting their drivers and military escorts at risk and handing taxpayers the bill with a little added profit. The drivers were in peril of insurgent attack while taking empty rigs on the 300-mile resupply run from Camp Cedar in southern Iraq to Camp Anaconda near Baghdad, said 12 current and former drivers for the company. The subsidiary, Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), billed the government for hauling what the drivers derisively called ‘sailboat fuel.’” More Halliburton corruption. “But the insider who spoke to the Herald claimed that demands for kickbacks made to caterers seeking Halliburton contracts were well known in the industry. ‘It was too blatant, the corruption that was going on, not to be caught,’ he said. He claimed a Halliburton employee involved in contracting used a go-between to solicit the kickbacks. The go-between was a European consultant.” Why isn’t this story reported in the US media? Rule of law, my ass. “The confidential memorandums, several of which were written or co-written by John C. Yoo, a University of California law professor who was serving in the department, provided arguments to keep United States officials from being charged with war crimes for the way prisoners were detained and interrogated. They were endorsed by top lawyers in the White House, the Pentagon and the vice president's office but drew dissents from the State Department. The memorandums provide legal arguments to support administration officials' assertions that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to detainees from the Afghanistan war. They also suggested how officials could inoculate themselves from liability by claiming that abused prisoners were in some other nation's custody.” Commentary Analysis: “Since the defining moment of the Bush presidency, the preposterous flight-suit, Fox News-produced photo-op on the Abraham Lincoln in front of the banner that read ‘Mission Accomplished,’ the shaming truth is that everything has gone wrong. Just as it was bound to go wrong, as many of us predicted it would go wrong--if anything more hopelessly wrong than any of us would have dared to prophesy. Iraq is an epic train wreck, and there's not a single American citizen who's going to walk away unscathed.” Analysis: “This bureaucratic feud was so entrenched that when I visited Baghdad in the early months after the collapse of the regime, I was horrified to see how much time and energy went into interagency fighting. Despite the news media's portrayal of Mr. Chalabi as "Washington's favorite Iraqi," it was obvious that L. Paul Bremer, the American proconsul in Baghdad, was doing his utmost to limit his influence. Within the governing council, Mr. Chalabi was highly effective, the go-to guy for the occupation forces whenever there was a problem. But at the same time, Mr. Bremer's staff worked hard to undermine Mr. Chalabi — haggling with him over government jobs; cutting off his communications with Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of Defense; and eventually eliminating direct aid to the Iraqi National Congress. Vacillating between liberation and occupation, American rule in Iraq has created a power vacuum. You feel this in Baghdad. The Americans micromanage the governing council, deny Iraqis a voice, live in secluded compounds, make exclusive decisions on contracts, and push away secular liberals like Mr. Chalabi in favor of Shiite clergy and former Baathists.” Casualty Reports Local story: Virginia soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Arkansas Guardsman killed in Iraq. Local story: Virginia Marine dies in Iraq. Local story: Illinois Marine wounded in Iraq. Local story: Oklahoma soldier wounded in Iraq. Local story: North Carolina Guardsman wounded in Iraq. Awards and Decorations Local story: Texas Marine decorated for valor. 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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