Sunday, July 11, 2004

War News for July 11, 2004 Bring ‘em on: Iraqi translator working for US forces killed near Kirkuk. Bring ‘em on: Four US Marines killed in al-Anbar province. Bring ‘em on: Iraqi police captain wounded in ambush near Kirkuk. Bring ‘em on: Movie theater firebombed in Kirkuk. Bring ‘em on: Iraqi police foil pipeline sabotage near Karbala. Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed, one wounded in roadside bomb ambush near Mosul. Blowback. “An increasing number of Saudis who crossed the border into Iraq to fight the U.S.-led military occupation are returning home to plot attacks against the Saudi government and Western targets in the desert kingdom, according to Western counterterrorism officials and Saudis with ties to militant groups. The Iraq veterans are serving as fresh recruits for an underground network in Saudi Arabia that, until recently, was led by an older generation of fighters that had trained in Afghanistan and was closely connected to al-Qaida and its founder, Saudi native Osama bin Laden.” Mission accomplished. “Nearly a quarter of the service members killed in action since Feb. 1 in Iraq were from the Reserve or National Guard, according to a Star-Ledger review of Defense Department records. In the past five months, the proportion of all part-time soldiers killed is nearly six times higher than before President Bush declared the end of major combat on May 1, 2003…Federal call-ups of the National Guard left 15 states with fewer than 60 percent of their forces at home and available for emergencies. In Idaho, the hardest-hit state, 81 percent of the Army Guard has been mobilized for federal duty. In New Jersey, about 70 percent of the 6,300-member force will be serving overseas by the end of the fall, with the majority headed to Iraq.” Hanging Judge. “An Iraqi judge has condemned to death three men in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, even before a ban on capital punishment has been officially lifted.” More CPA failure. “The US-financed reconstruction program in Iraq has so far hired just over 30,000 Iraqis, far below the projected goal of 250,000 set last year and well below even the more modest objective set just a month ago by former US administrator L. Paul Bremer III…Many say that barring Iraqis from filling these less-skilled jobs punishes the US taxpayer since it costs substantially more to hire a foreigner due to insurance and security costs than an Iraqi, and at the same time fails to boost the Iraqi economy. ‘The American taxpayer is spending billions of dollars on no-bid contracts to companies like Halliburton. Not only has this money often been poorly spent or outright wasted, but in many cases it is paying the salaries of foreign workers to do jobs in Iraq that are well within the skill sets of Iraqis,’ said Representative Martin T. Meehan, Democrat of Lowell and a member of the House Armed Services Committee.” Feith-based intelligence. “According to dramatic testimony contained in the annexe, Mr Feith's cell undermined the credibility of CIA judgments on Iraq's alleged al-Qa'eda links within the highest levels of the Bush administration. The cell appears to have been set up by Mr Feith as an adjunct to the Office of Special Plans, a Pentagon intelligence-gathering operation established in the wake of 9/11 with the authority of Paul Wolfowitz. Its focus quickly became the al-Qa'eda-Saddam link. On occasion, without informing the then head of the CIA, George Tenet, the group gave counter-briefings in the White House. Sen Jay Rockefeller, the most senior Democrat on the committee, said that Mr Feith's cell may even have undertaken ‘unlawful’ intelligence-gathering initiatives.” Hareth al-Dhari. “In the year since he founded the ultraconservative Association of Islamic Scholars, Hareth al-Dhari has emerged as the closest thing U.S. military officials have to a public face for the shadowy insurgency that controls most of Anbar province, including the flashpoint towns of Ramadi and Fallujah.” Commentary Editorial: “The American people were duped into war by an administration that knew exactly what it was doing. Now it's trying to prevent exposure of its prewar conniving. Its efforts are cynical attempts to thwart the proper working of American democracy. Those efforts are not worthy of the American people, and they must not be allowed to succeed.” Editorial: “At the end of May, President Bush outlined five goals for Iraq's near-future, culminating in national elections by January. On paper, the blueprint is an ideal how-to guide for rebuilding a nation. In reality, the blueprint will test the promise of Iraqi stability and democracy. And it will test the credibility of the administration. To the extent that the blueprint will match with reality (or not), it will decisively impact two elections: Iraq's in January, and the presidential election here in November. If asking what happens next in Iraq is barely a translation of what happens next in the United States, what's happening now in Iraq, in terms of Bush's blueprint, is preview. Comparing the five goals with reality, the signs are not promising.” Editorial: “Congress also has a duty to probe more deeply into the actions of Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and former CIA director George J. Tenet. Mr. Rumsfeld stated publicly last month that at Mr. Tenet's request he ordered that several prisoners in Iraq not be registered with the International Red Cross, as required by the Geneva Conventions. As an official Army report put it, this was ‘contrary to Army doctrine and in violation of international law.’ If, in fact, Mr. Tenet and Mr. Rumsfeld conspired to violate the Geneva Conventions in Iraq, they should be held accountable -- just like the lowly reservists whom the Pentagon now prosecutes.” Analysis: “Alas, for reasons about which no two members of the Bush team seem able to agree, the very officials who only last year were touting Makiya's work as an essential foundation of Iraqi democracy have reduced his status to that of an unwanted stepchild, leaving him penniless and adrift in this blood-soaked landscape. Last year the administration requested $1 million from Congress to fund the Memory Foundation. Coalition Provisional Authority administrator L. Paul Bremer, however, never passed the funds on to the foundation. Instead he signed an order establishing his own National Commission for Remembrance, whose mission duplicates that of the Memory Foundation -- and which he funded to the tune of $10 million. Then, on the same day that U.S. forces raided Ahmed Chalabi's house in Baghdad, the CIA descended on Makiya's home -- this despite the fact that the human rights activist has no use for Chalabi's shenanigans or, indeed, for any cause other than the commemoration of Iraq's past.” Opinion: “Like Moore, the Al Jazeera journalists refuse to follow the official script. They refuse to airbrush the reality they put on display to their 40 million Arab viewers. Thus we see the blood and entrails of the Iraqi wounded; we hear their screams. We see frightened American POWs. We see American corpses, which one commentator thought might be ‘especially jarring to U.S. viewers,’ since such sights do not, after all, make it to the television screens of the folks back home. The official script has us bringing democracy to Iraq. The raw reality purveyed by independent media outlets shows us bringing fear, pain and death.” Casualty Reports Local story: Illinois soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Oklahoma soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Massachusetts Marine killed in Iraq. Local story: Ohio Guardsman dies in Iraq. Local story: Kentucky soldier wounded in Iraq. Local story: Ohio soldier wounded in Iraq. 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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