Monday, July 26, 2004

War News for July 26, 2004 Bring ‘em on: Three Iraqis killed, five US soldiers, three Iraqi policemen wounded by car bomb in Mosul. Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi wounded in three Baghdad mortar attacks. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqis working for British forces killed in Basra. Bring ‘em on: Iraqi interior ministry official assassinated in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Insurgents threaten to kill two Pakistani hostages. Bring ‘em on: Jordanian Insurgents kidnap two truck drivers. Allawi says terrorist attacks have diminished since transfer of sovereignty. Daily bombings reported in Baghdad. “A heavy sense of dread hangs over the morning rush hour in Baghdad as Iraqis brace for the near daily explosion in a deadly game of Russian roulette, but most refuse to let the violence keep them at home.” No water. “Rising security and other overhead costs of Western contractors are cutting into the billions of dollars set aside for some 90 planned water projects, allowing them to supply only half the potable water originally expected, Iraqi officials say. Scaling back the projects by that much would vastly reduce the benefits for the citizens of a country that already meets no more than 60 to 80 percent of the demand for water on a given day, depending on the region. The Iraqi government estimates may also have wider repercussions, because they provide the first concrete measure of how the continuing violence in Iraq could affect the $18.4 billion reconstruction program approved by Congress last fall.” Low profile. “Some top U.S. military officers are questioning whether the practice of keeping U.S. troops highly visible in Iraq is doing more harm than good, challenging a key tenet of the Army's approach to occupying the country. Advocates of the new approach say U.S. troops would be more effective if they were kept out of view of the Iraqi public, and even removed to remote desert bases, appearing only when needed to conduct operations beyond the capacity of Iraqi security forces. For most of the Iraq occupation, the U.S. military has assumed -- based on lessons drawn from peacekeeping missions in Bosnia and Kosovo -- that maintaining ‘presence’ through extensive patrols, large-scale raids and other highly visible operations would increase stability. Now, however, some officers are saying that such operations are doing more to inflame anti-American feelings among Iraqis than to secure the streets, and the resulting debate may shape the military's future structure and tactics in Iraq.” This “strategy” is a crock of shit on two levels, and I can’t believe any professional officer would propose such nonsense. First, the “lessons learned” from Bosnia and Kosovo are entirely inapplicable to the occupation of Iraq. In Bosnia, there was a functioning, recognized civil government in both the Republica Srpska and in the Bosnian Muslim Federation that had the authority to accept a multinational peacekeeping force. NATO forces patrolled only in the Zone of Separation between the RS and the BMF, on designated main supply routes, and in the direct vicinity of NATO base camps. NATO troops had power of detention only in the ZOS. Law and order functions were the responsibilities of the civil government, augmented and supervised by UN a police force. None of those conditions apply in Iraq. The Iraq campaign was an invasion followed by an occupation. The civil government was the CPA followed by an appointed interim government. Law and order functions were and remain the responsibility of the occupying power in the absence of a functioning Iraqi security force. You cannot defeat an insurgency unless you can secure the population by isolating the insurgents, and you cannot secure the population by isolating security forces from the population. This policy appears an attempt by the Bush reelection campaign to reduce American casualties during the next few months. Again, US policy in Iraq is driven by the reelection fortunes of Lieutenant AWOL rather than any coherent military or reconstruction considerations. I wish these so-called military correspondents would call bullshit on this foolishness rather than regurgitate GOP talking points. Analyst says Iraqi forces are undertrained and underequipped to deal with insurgency. Commentary Editorial: “To attempt, as Mikolashek apparently has, to whitewash what happened, is simply unacceptable. More investigative reports on what happened at Abu Ghraib are due in August. Here's hoping they are credible. As a nation, we have to figure out how this happened and make it perfectly clear that not only will we not stand behind anyone who permits or participates in such abuse, we will hold them wholly accountable for the damage they have inflicted, not only on potentially innocent people, but on America.” Editorial: "US troops have lost territory - including the town of Samarra in an impeccably synchronised attack by insurgents - and more troops. About twice as many American soldiers have been dying daily since the handover - 36 in the first 17 days of July, against 42 in all June. Iraqis, meanwhile, remain subject daily to rampant criminality and random terror." Opinion: “But the core question still is whether to stay or not, whatever the incidentals. The thing is, the Philippines should not have found itself in the mess that was Iraq had it not been too quick in throwing its support to this American-sponsored race and having our troops sprint into the game. Now most everyone agrees that the world would be a much safer arena if Australia, the United Kingdom and America itself followed our lead and ran out of Iraq as quickly as they broke in.” Casualty Reports Local story: New Jersey Marine killed in Iraq. Local story: Louisiana soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: South Carolina Guardsman wounded in Iraq. Local story: Pennsylvania Marine wounded in Iraq. Local story: Florida soldier wounded in Iraq. Awards and Decorations Local story: 1st Infantry Division soldier decorated for valor in Iraq. 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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