Wednesday, June 30, 2004

War News for June 30, 2004 Bring ‘em on: US troops mortared near Balad. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqis wounded in car bomb attack on Samawah police station. Bring ‘em on: Eleven US soldiers wounded in mortar attack near Baghdad airport. Bring ‘em on: British security contractor killed in ambush near Mosul. Bring ‘em on: Two insurgents killed in attack on Baghdad police station. Bring ‘em on: Two insurgents killed building a bomb in Baquba. Bring ‘em on: US troops ambushed by roadside bomb near Baghdad. NYT reports abducted Marine had deserted. Miserable failure. “More than a year into an aid effort that American officials likened to the Marshall Plan, occupation authorities acknowledge that fewer than 140 of 2,300 promised construction projects are under way. Only three months after L. Paul Bremer III, the American administrator who departed Monday, pledged that 50,000 Iraqis would find jobs at construction sites before the formal transfer of sovereignty, fewer than 20,000 local workers are employed.” Thailand begins troop withdrawal from Iraq. Let freedom reign. “But the past 14 months were nothing like they'd seen - a foreign occupation that most of them considered heavy-handed and insensitive, bombings that killed thousands and maimed many more, an insurgency that often triggered harsh retaliations, and violent crime. With the spirit of the city near breaking point, Monday's restoration of sovereignty meant little - not least because many Iraqis are convinced that it means little with 160,000 foreign troops still in the country. The woes of the past 14 months manifest themselves in multiple ways - from what people talk about to the graffiti and the lifestyle many have had to adopt. Upbeat views are rare. Grim outlooks are common.” Basra airport won’t open as scheduled. “Capt Francis said to date no money had been spent on infrastructure but £14.6 million had been allocated by the now defunct Coalition Provisional Authority to spend on buildings, a radar and air traffic control equipment.” But the good news is that the CPA organized a Baghdad chapter of the Optimists Club and bought summer-camp property for the Iraqi Boy Scouts. Commentary Editorial: “While piously declaring its determination to unearth the truth about Abu Ghraib, the Bush administration has spent nearly two months obstructing investigations by the Army and members of Congress. It has dragged out the Army's inquiry, withheld crucial government documents from a Senate committee and stonewalled senators over dozens of Red Cross reports that document the horrible mistreatment of Iraqis at American military prisons. Even last week's document dump from the White House, which included those cynical legal road maps around treaties and laws against torturing prisoners, seemed part of this stonewalling campaign. Nothing in those hundreds of pages explained what orders had been issued to the military and C.I.A. jailers in Iraq, and by whom.” Opinion: “The ceremony in Baghdad is the appropriate time to pronounce the war in Iraq a failure, maybe even a debacle. Its only success was the removal of Saddam Hussein – an ogre, yes, but one who had been largely defanged by years of U.N. sanctions, arms inspections and his own stunning incompetence. No meaningful link to al-Qaida has been established, no weapons of mass destruction have been found and no diminution of terrorism has resulted – an astounding trifecta of failure. In fact, as the State Department reluctantly reported, there is now more worldwide terrorism than ever before. Even Saudi Arabia, our friendly filling station, is now a risky place for Americans. More successes like Iraq, and Americans won’t want to travel farther than Bruce Springsteen’s Jersey Shore.” Casualty Reports Local story: Two Maryland airmen wounded in Iraq. Local story: Texas Marine wounded in Iraq. Local story: Texas Marine wounded in Iraq. Local story: Florida contractor killed in Iraq. Note to Readers "Today in Iraq" is one year old today. I just wanted to thank everybody who takes the time to read this blog and contribute comments. Atrios over at Eschaton is running a John Kerry Wednesday fundraiser. If you really want to help America take out the trash in November, go there and throw Kerry a few bucks. It's worth it and I have it on very good authority Kerry will reward Atrios' fundraising by appointing him ambassador to Iraq. For any readers who are interested, here are the latest statistics from Sitemeter. I have no idea what these numbers mean, but I present them for your edification and amusement. VISITS Total 289,033 Average Per Day 1,298 Average Visit Length 1:16 Last Hour 84 Today 614 This Week 9,089 PAGE VIEWS Total 349,914 Average Per Day 1,566 Average Per Visit 1.2 Last Hour 104 Today 740 This Week 10,959 Update: GAO Report: "The 105-page report by Congress' investigative arm offers a bleak assessment of Iraq after 14 months of U.S. military occupation. Among its findings: • In 13 of Iraq's 18 provinces, electricity was available fewer hours per day on average last month than before the war. Nearly 20 million of Iraq's 26 million people live in those provinces. • Only $13.7 billion of the $58 billion pledged and allocated worldwide to rebuild Iraq has been spent, with $10 billion more about to be spent. The biggest chunk of that money has been used to run Iraq's ministry operations. • The country's court system is more clogged than before the war, and judges are frequent targets of assassination attempts. • The new Iraqi civil-defense, police and overall security units are suffering from mass desertions, are poorly trained and ill-equipped. • The number of what the now-disbanded Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) called significant insurgent attacks skyrocketed from 411 in February to 1,169 in May." Haul your happy asses over to Eschaton and donate to the Kerry campaign if you want to end this Bush-league incompetence. 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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