Saturday, May 29, 2004

War News for May 28 and 29, 2004 Bring ‘em on: Four Iraqis wounded in mortar attack near Green Zone in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Two Japanese journalists, Iraqi interpreter killed in ambush near Mahmoudiyah. Bring ‘em on: Five Iraqis killed in fighting near Najaf. Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi killed, four wounded in fighting near Baquba. Bring ‘em on: Two US soldiers wounded in ambush near Kufa. Bring ‘em on: US troops attacked with small arms near Abu Ghraib. Bring ‘em on: Two explosions reported in central Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: US troops mortared near Najaf. Bring ‘em on: ICDC general and family assassinated near Kirkuk. Bring ‘em on: CJTF-7 reports three US Marines killed in al-Anbar province. Bring ‘em on: Two Dutch soldiers wounded in ambush near Samawah. Bring ‘em on: Iraqi police station attacked near Basra. Six Australian soldiers injured in vehicle accident near Baghdad. IGC selects interim Iraqi prime minister. “The role of the UN in selecting the interim government remained unclear. A spokesman for Brahimi referred to Allawi as "prime minister-designate" and said Brahimi looked forward to working with him in selecting the members of the interim government. A UN spokesman in New York later told reporters the world body ‘respected’ the selection of Allawi but declined to endorse the nomination despite several invitations by reporters to do so. Chief UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said at the UN later in the day that the announcement was ‘not how we expected it to happen,’ according to Reuters.” Demographics of US KIAs in Iraq. “Nonetheless, some conclusions can be teased out of the available data. A study done for the Austin American-Statesman by Bill Bishop and Robert Cushing revealed that, although the majority of the war dead come from what the Census Bureau calls "metropolitan" areas, which usually include close-in suburban counties, a disproportionately large share came from "nonmetro" counties. According to Bishop and Cushing, nearly a third (29 percent) of dead troops came from rural areas and small towns, compared with only a fifth (19 percent) of the general population. Given the concentration of political, economic, and cultural power in America's cities and near suburbs, and the slow dwindling of opportunity in many small towns, this analysis does suggest that the lower middle class is unduly bearing the burden. But the information is hardly conclusive. The definitive answers will take years to disinter. And in the end, the truth, like the dead, may be lost in the fog of war and time.” General Zinni uncorks on Lieutenant AWOL and his neo-con bunglers. “He says the U.S. military was provided with unrealistic objectives in Iraq. ‘We were in there talking about Jeffersonian democracy, free market economies, changing the face of the Middle East with this one blow. That was ridiculous, and I think now what we have is young kids paying the price...’” Profiles of IGC members. Chickenhawks defend Chalabi. “’There is a smear campaign under way, and it is being perpetrated by the C.I.A. and the D.I.A. and a gaggle of former intelligence officers who have succeeded in planting these stories, which are accepted with hardly any scrutiny,’ Mr. Perle, a leading conservative, said in an interview. Mr. Perle, referring to both the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency, said the campaign against Mr. Chalabi was ‘an outrageous abuse of power’ by United States government officials in Washington and Baghdad.” Sounds like an effort to impede a national security investigation to me. Bible-thumping foreign policy. “Organized, motivated and self-confident, evangelicals are girding for two more foreign-policy battles. They seek freedom to proselytize in the Muslim lands of Iraq and Afghanistan. And they want to link any future U.S. aid for North Korea, in case of a nuclear accord, to progress there on human rights.” Just what our foreign policy needs: Elmer Gantry as Secretary of State. Sergeant loses security clearance for talking to the press. “Sgt. Samuel Provance said he wasn’t surprised when Lt. Col. James Norwood summoned him to Wiesbaden on Friday, less than a week after the sergeant spoke to ABC News about his experiences at the Abu Ghraib. Provance is the only military intelligence soldier who served at the prison to publicly speak about prisoner abuses there, despite orders from his command to keep quiet. Now, Norwood, his battalion commander, has flagged Provance from favorable actions and pulled his top-secret clearance.” Commentary Editorial: “President Bush said yesterday that he would transfer ‘complete and full sovereignty’ to an interim Iraqi government in barely a month. But nothing even close to that is likely to happen. Recent developments suggest that this ‘sovereignty’ will have little substance and that the president still has no coherent plan to create the security and political trust required to negotiate a constitution and hold fair elections. The sovereignty timetable remains driven by the American electoral calendar and growing Iraqi impatience with an incompetent and deeply unpopular occupation. That unpopularity also taints the American-appointed Governing Council, which makes the council's announcement yesterday of the selection of Iyad Alawi, one of its most prominent members, as interim prime minister disheartening. The choice of Mr. Alawi, a Shiite exile with close ties to former Baathist generals and to the Central Intelligence Agency, hardly signals a fresh start. The manner of his designation raises questions about the authority of the United Nations' special representative, Lakhdar Brahimi. Paul Bremer III, Washington's proconsul, didn't even give Mr. Brahimi time to announce his support for Mr. Alawi before striding into the council's meeting to offer congratulations.” Opinion: “There is a difference between the administration decision to go to war and the decision of men and women who are called to follow their leader. This leader - the president - has made poor decisions, in my view, and jumped to conclusions before the facts. As a result, we are in a war that may be more unforgettable than any other war in our history. So, on this Memorial Day, I will remember my father, brothers, uncles, friends and relatives who have died or spent time fighting in a war. I will say a prayer of thanks for their brave deeds and place a flower on their final resting place. I also will ask them to pray for us. We may have let loose dogs of war that can't be tamed until a terrible price is paid.” Casualty Reports Local story: Two Nebraska Marines killed in Iraq. Local story: Maine soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: California soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Maine soldier wounded in Iraq. Local story: Six Vermont Guardsmen wounded in Iraq. Local story: California soldier wounded in Iraq. Local story. Florida Guardsman found dead after returning from Iraq. Off Topic Superb rant. “When a new history of the United States of America comes to be written, the narrative will show that the biggest disaster that ever happened to that country was President George W. Bush Jnr., and not the calamity of September 11, 2001. And if George Bush should write his memoirs after being voted out of the White House, he should title the work, ‘Failure’ with the sub-title, ‘How the Son Never Rose.’ George Bush is the clearest example of how, in spite of all the privileges and advantages at one's disposal, one can easily fail to succeed in life.” 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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