Saturday, July 24, 2004

War News for July 23 and 24, 2004 Bring ‘em on: Senior Egyptian diplomat seized by insurgents in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Two US soldiers killed, one wounded in roadside bomb ambush near Samarra. Bring ‘em on: One US soldier and 13 US Marines wounded in heavy fighting near Ramadi. Bring ‘em on: Five Iraqi civilians wounded in US air strike in Fallujah. Bring ‘em on: US patrol ambushed near Abu Ghraib. Bring ‘em on: Retired Iraqi general assassinated near Mosul. Bring ‘em on: Six Iraqis wounded by bomb in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Eight Iraqis wounded by roadside bomb near Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqis wounded in two separate attacks in Kirkuk. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqis wounded in firefight with US troops in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Oil pipeline ablaze near Samarra. Bring ‘em on: One US Marine killed in action in al-Anbar province. Bring ‘em on: US patrol ambushed in Samarra. Bring ‘em on: Baghdad police chief ambushed near Mahmoudiya. Two bodyguards killed. Bring ‘em on: US troops under mortar fire near Samarra. Bring ‘em on: Insurgents kidnap Iraqi construction official in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Iraqi police and US troops foil car bomb attack in Mosul. Nine Iraqis killed in collision with US tank near Tarmiyah. CPA bungling lives on. “One of the main problems is waste water pouring out of Baghdad's main sewage plants. Iraq's ancient sewage system collapsed during the war and insecurity is hampering efforts to repair it. Not a drop has been treated yet at the Rustumiya works, which was damaged during the war and then looted. Much of Baghdad's untreated waste, the sewage of more than two-and-a-half million people, is now flowing straight into the River Tigris.” Progress. “An Arkansas soldier serving in Iraq says that the children's attitude toward the Americans has changed in the last few months. Pine Bluff soldier Johnny Center said a few months ago when members of his National Guard squad waved to children in Baghdad, the youngsters smiled and waved back. Now, he sees parents slap children's hands if they wave, he told the Pine Bluff Commercial.” DoD issues today’s ration of shit. “’They're losing, because hope is spreading,’ secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said in a Pentagon press briefing Wednesday.” Support the troops! “Making a tough choice with U.S. troops still in Iraq, the House on Wednesday sided with the chamber's Republican leaders to embrace spending restraint over an expansion of a program to improve family military housing. In a near party-line 212-211 procedural vote, lawmakers signaled their willingness to remove a $500 million expansion of the housing program from a $10 billion military construction bill for next year… Without the expansion, the program is expected to exhaust its current $850 million spending limit by November. Supporters said that would delay new housing for 50,000 military families over the next two years.” 10th Mountain Division has had 645 deserters since 9/11. Commentary Editorial: “…The report effectively communicates the strategy of the military brass on the detainee affair, which is to focus blame on a few low-ranking personnel, shield all senior commanders from accountability, and deny or bury any facts that interfere with these aims. In that sense, the signal it sends to Congress is clear: The Pentagon cannot be counted on to reliably or thoroughly investigate the prisoner abuse affair. An independent probe by an outside authority is desperately needed.” Editorial: “Never mind any of that. The report pins most of the blame on those depressingly familiar culprits, a few soldiers who behaved badly. It does grudgingly concede that ‘in some cases, abuse was accompanied by leadership failure at the tactical level,’ but the report absolves anyone of rank, in keeping with the investigation's spirit. The inspector general's staff did not dig into the abuse cases, but merely listed them. It based its findings on the comical observation that "commanders, leaders and soldiers treated detainees humanely" while investigators from the Pentagon were watching. And it made no attempt to find out who had authorized threatening prisoners with dogs and sexually humiliating hooded men, to name two American practices the Red Cross found to be common. The inspector general's see-no-evil team simply said it couldn't find those ‘approach techniques’ in the Army field manual.” Editorial: “For anyone thinking that American forces and the new Iraqi government are getting things settled, consider Anbar Province. It covers 40 percent of the land in Iraq, from the outskirts of Baghdad west to the borders of Jordan and Syria. The U.S. has effectively given up trying to patrol it, tired of losing people to insurgent forces who have battled the Army and Marines to a stalemate. Iraqi security forces, largely reduced to doing guard duty for government installations, have no appetite for an offensive in Anbar, either, so the bad guys simply rule there.” Analysis: “The political class couldn't end the Vietnam war, even after its futility had become evident, because it was morally blackmailed by the war's supporters, who said withdrawal would show the United States ‘a pitiful helpless giant,’ and would inspire ‘totalitarianism and anarchy throughout the world’ (I quote Richard Nixon). The United States approaches a similar situation of political blockage today, with respect to Iraq. A situation exists to which the administration's explanations, expectations and promises are increasingly irrelevant. Its supporters nonetheless say that a policy of disengagement would be ‘to cut and run.’ The Democratic opposition is forced to deny that it would ever cut and run. It is reduced to claiming that it would go on waging the war, but would do it better. With Vietnam, the political blockage was ended by what happened inside the army, which was paying the price of the political failure. It began to come apart.” Casualty Reports Local story: Michigan soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Florida Marine killed in Iraq. Local story: West Virginia soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Colorado Marine dies of wounds received in Iraq. Local story: Ohio Marine killed in Iraq. Local story: Louisiana soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Nebraska Guardsman wounded in Iraq. Local story: Tennessee Marine wounded in Iraq. Local story: Missouri contractor killed in Iraq. Note to Readers Actually, this is a note to all the pissed-off Turks who are emailing me about the Iraq Ethnic Distribution map posted in the Reference Maps links section. The map is extracted from the 2003 Iraq Country Profile developed and published by the Central Intelligence Agency. If you don’t think the map is accurate, go complain to the CIA. If you’re right it won’t be the first time they’ve screwed up. I was stationed in Turkey twice for a total of two years. Turkey is a beautiful country and the Turkish people are some of the most courteous and hospitable people I’ve ever met. Istanbul is one of my favorite cities. When I was in Turkey, the Turks always treated me well. I just wanted to thank you for your hospitality. Teşekkür ederim. Off Topic What a classy bitch. Rude Pundit has the goods on this arrogant twat. (Warning: This is not family-oriented commentary.) 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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