Monday, June 07, 2004

War News for June 7, 2004 Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed, one wounded in mortar attack near Balad. Bring ‘em on: US Marine base camp near Fallujah under rocket fire. Bring ‘em on: Three Iraqi Arabs killed in two assassination incidents in Kirkuk. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi policemen killed, six wounded by roadside bomb near Ramadi. Bring ‘em on: Iraqi police station in Sadr City attacked and demolished. Bring ‘em on: Arab journalists ambushed near Iskandariyah. Two Iraqis killed in accidental RPG detonation near Kut. Great Mosque in Kufa on fire after explosions caused by detonation of insurgent ammunition. Flip-flop. “U.S. President George W. Bush may use the Group of Eight Summit this week to offer France, Germany and Russia a share of $18.4 billion in Iraq reconstruction contracts as an inducement to help the U.S. stabilize the Arab nation…Bush effectively barred companies such as France's Alcatel SA and Germany's Siemens AG from bidding on postwar projects in Iraq because their countries wouldn't take part in the invasion. ‘It's very simple,’ Bush told reporters Dec. 11. ‘Our people risk their lives. Coalition -- friendly coalition folks risk their lives, and, therefore, the contracting is going to reflect that. And that's what the U.S. taxpayers expect.’” Employment report. “Centerville resident Robert Gross, a former Utah Department of Workforce Services executive director, returned home Saturday after spending the past four months helping the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority prepare Iraqi bureaucrats to put people back to work and handle other social-service needs when power is turned over to an interim Iraqi government on June 30. ‘Job availability will really begin to take off in earnest now,’ said Gross, citing the $18.4 billion in supplemental funding that will be released to private contractors to reverse the destruction of the war and years of tyranny before that. ‘It will emerge in the next 60-90 days in almost unbelievable fashion as contractors put the supplementary money to use on construction and reconstruction projects,’ he added.” No more troops available. “The army has spent much of the past several months, in the words of a senior Army officer, ‘looking under rocks for every spare soldier’ to send to Iraq. It took formal action last week to stretch its troop strength as far as possible. According to the so-called stop-loss order, soldiers will be kept in uniform for an extra three months before and after their units' one-year stint in Iraq or Afghanistan. By unilaterally extending their enlistments by as much as 18 months, the policy will force tens of thousands of soldiers to put personal plans on hold. Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry calls it a ‘back-door draft.’” National Guard stretched thin by Bush’s War. “With almost 40,000 troops serving in the unexpectedly violent and difficult occupation of Iraq, the National Guard is beginning to show the strain of duty there, according to interviews and e-mail exchanges with 23 state Guard commanders from California to Maine…Some Guard commanders are beginning to say they simply can't deploy any more troops. ‘As far as New Hampshire goes, we're tapped,’ said Maj. Gen. John E. Blair, that state's adjutant general, or Guard commander. Of his 1,700 Army National Guard troops, more than 1,000 are in Iraq, Afghanistan or Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, or on alert for deployment. And to get units fully manned to head overseas, he said, ‘we've had to break other units.’” Bush administration solves troop shortage. “Late today, President George Bush and Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld announced at a brief press conference that up to 150,000 Boy Scouts from across America would be called into active duty in Iraq effective immediately.” Commentary Editorial: “Brace yourself, for there almost certainly will be more. About 700 Oregon guardsmen are stationed in and around Baghdad, where the three guardsmen were ambushed and killed Friday. Another 300 Oregon guardsmen with the 116th Calvary Brigade soon will be deployed there. By this fall, more than 1,000 Oregon soldiers could be in the thick of the fighting.” Analysis: “The neocons were right about one thing: The Arab world, however fractious, is bound by strong psychological and cultural ties, and whatever happened in Iraq would have profoundly affected the whole. The trouble is that the interplay works both ways. Just as American success in Iraq would have made success likelier elsewhere, so the failure now so ominously threatening will breed failure elsewhere. Not merely does the situation in Palestine become worse because of Iraq, but the rebound makes the situation in Iraq worse too. This interaction between the region's two great crisis zones is only the kernel of a multiplier effect that ramifies everywhere, with local troubles that have an anti-American aspect coalescing, emotionally, politically, even organizationally, in a single stream. An American disaster in Iraq has the built-in propensity to become a regional one.” Opinion: “The shortage of soldiers was widely recognized by insiders, but the administration never made the problem clear to the public, and never took the steps necessary to deal with it. Senator Reed, a former Army captain, told me in an interview last week that he felt the civilian leadership at the Pentagon ‘should have recognized very early on that we needed a bigger army and should have moved aggressively’ to expand the force. ‘Last fall,’ he said, ‘I sponsored an amendment along with Senator Schumer on the supplemental appropriations bill to increase the Army by 10,000, just as sort of an opening salvo. And they vociferously opposed it. They lobbied against it and they killed it.’” Editorial: “A separate independent investigation is needed to probe how the Bush administration altered standard Army interrogation policies after 2001 and whether the new policies helped to create the climate of lawlessness that clearly prevailed in a number of detention centers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The connection between CIA interrogations and other secret operations and the abuse of foreign detainees also should be established. Outside expert judgment is needed about whether the secret interrogation techniques now approved for use -- reportedly including hooding, placing prisoners in stress positions, sleep deprivation and intimidation by dogs -- are legal under the Geneva Conventions or related U.S. laws.” Editorial: “Thus, more and more young Americans are being called to duty to continue an occupation that is unpopular, expensive and doomed to failure. Yet the Bush administration continues to press more and more Americans into the service of its misguided mission. Indeed, growing numbers of soldiers who signed up to serve for a specific number of years are finding that, when their service is complete, they cannot leave.” Opinion: “This column will not change the course of national events; it will have no impact on the public mind. Even so, the Guardsman who wrote asked that I not forget their plight. So, this column is not to change public policy, but to speak for those North Dakota young men and women who feel trapped in a harsh country for a cause that has never been established by public discussion.” Casualty Reports Local story: New Jersey Guardsman killed in Iraq. Local story: Illinois soldier wounded in Iraq. Local story: Maine soldier wounded in Iraq. 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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