Monday, July 12, 2004

War News for July 12, 2004 Bring ‘em on: Two US soldiers killed, three wounded by roadside bomb near Samarra. Bring ‘em on: Shi’ite political leader assassinated near Mussayib. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqis killed by US troops near Hilla. Bring ‘em on: US troops attacked with small arms, RPG fire in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Abu Ghraib prison mortared, one wounded. Bring ‘em on: Explosions, smoke reported in Baghdad’s Green Zone. More OSD blundering revealed. “Iraq's new leader wants to call some of its old army back to duty to help restore peace in his war-torn land. Disbanding that defeated force 13 months ago was a mistake made in Washington, says a U.S. Army colonel who held a pivotal role in Baghdad at the time. ‘It was because ideology ruled where reality should have,’ Col. Paul F. Hughes, then strategic policy director for the U.S. occupation authority, said of last year's decision. Other key players said the order came not from then-Iraq administrator L. Paul Bremer, as believed, but from top-level civilian officials at the Pentagon, and that it was done without consulting U.S. military chiefs.” (Emphasis added.) Failure. “Amid continuing efforts by the Bush administration to build international support for its mission in Iraq, countries have provided only a small fraction of the reconstruction aid they promised at a conference nine months ago…Some foreign policy analysts said they believe the slow pace of donations and debt forgiveness partly reflects the hesitancy of European and other allies to be seen as agreeing with the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq, particularly if it might give a pre-election boost to President Bush. ‘The reluctance to turn over the cash dovetails with the way the whole war has played out,’ said Steven A. Cook, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. ‘Even though this is for a humanitarian cause, they feel like they would be, in a way, legitimizing the Bush administration's invasion.’” I’m sure the CPA’s shady accounting procedures and crony contracting policies, as well as the general consensus that Lieutenant AWOL’s entire administration is hopelessly incompetent, contributes to the international reluctance to invest in failure. Power shortages. “These days in the Iraqi capital, most people get three hours of electricity followed by three hours of none. But even that's not certain. And with temperatures this week topping 50 degrees every day, the lack of electricity to power air conditioners and fans has begun to rival the lack of security as the greatest concern to Iraqis.” Commentary Editorial: “The buck does not stop with the Central Intelligence Agency, which delivered faulty information about Iraq's alleged nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The buck stops in the Oval Office. After all, the CIA reports on Iraq were not delivered in a vacuum. It was not exactly a secret that various key Bush appointees in the defense hierarchy were agitating for a showdown with Saddam Hussein from the moment Bush took office. The war cries intensified after Sept. 11, 2001.” Editorial: “It's called ‘stop-loss,’ and it keeps soldiers scheduled for deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan from leaving when their hitch ends. More than 10,000 soldiers are covered under the rules now, according to one senator. The Pentagon should long ago have realized that it was not committing enough soldiers to do the job in Iraq. Generals did everything but picket the place, but were ignored.” Opinion: “Even as these brave troops were dying in the cruel and bloody environs of Iraq, the Senate Intelligence Committee in Washington was unfurling its damning unanimous report about the incredibly incompetent intelligence that the Bush administration used to justify this awful war.” Analysis: “Oil terrorism is now emerging as one of the biggest threats to global economy. Pipelines, tankers and oil terminals are soft targets which can be easily sabotaged by those willing to sacrifice their lives in order to deny the U.S., the world's largest oil consumer, cheap oil. The fear premium of roughly $8 per barrel which brought the price of oil to its current peak is a true achievement for al Qaeda and its affiliates.” Opinion: “Our troops have performed courageously in Iraq. We who have sent them there, however, should feel not satisfaction but shame. We dare not brandish the evil of those who killed Nicholas Berg, Paul Johnson and Kim Sun-il as cover against our own guilt. Rather, we should beg forgiveness from our troops, the citizens of Iraq and decent people everywhere. The pious among us, beginning with our born-again president, should also repent before God.” Analysis: “Fifty years later, US President George W. Bush is about to suffer the same fate. He, too, looked invincible after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the war in Afghanistan. With help from advisers, Bush, too, intimidated critics into silence by challenging their patriotism. And Bush, too, eventually over-reached, insisting on a war in Iraq that has now blown up in his face. Opinion polls have shown for weeks that Bush is being dragged down by Iraq, but the polls only hint at a deeper problem: The costs of the Iraq war have turned America's political middle, both inside Washington and across the country, against Bush. Politics are unpredictable and a lot can happen in four months. But absent a miraculous return to calm in Iraq, Bush is headed for defeat in November.” Analysis: “Boiled down, what the best thinkers in the Army are saying is that we cannot count on winning all future wars with two Special Forces A Teams and an Air Wing. Even with all the high-tech stuff, all the precision GPS-guided bombs, all the blinking markers on blue flat-panel screens, you may very well need Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles and Apache helicopters and well-trained infantrymen to whip your next enemy. This may not be the message that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld wants to hear, but it has the ring of truth.” 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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