Tuesday, July 27, 2004

War News for July 27, 2004 Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi civilian killed, 14 US soldiers wounded in Baghdad mortar attack. Bring ‘em on: Iraqi hospital director assassinated near Mahmoudiyah. Bring ‘em on: Oil pipeline ablaze near Kirkuk. Bring ‘em on: Iraqi interior ministry official assassinated near Latifiya. Bring ‘em on: “Several” Iraqis wounded by bomb in Tikrit. Bring ‘em on: One US soldier wounded by roadside bomb near Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Filipino contractor wounded in rocket attack on US base near Balad. Bring ‘em on: Six Iraqis wounded in explosion near Fallujah. Insurgents threaten to close Amman – Baghdad main supply route. And this article in Der Speigel clearly indicates they have the capability to do so. Leaflets. “United States aircraft dropped leaflets on the rebellious Iraqi city of Fallujah on Tuesday, warning residents they will lose $102-million (about R637-million) in rebuilding funds if they do not halt attacks and allow US troops to enter freely.” The most dangerous jobs in Iraq. “Several assassination attempts against high-ranking officials in the emerging Iraqi government, some successful, have been widely publicized. But insurgents also are waging a campaign of intimidation and assassination against Iraqis who work for the U.S. in relatively low-level jobs. Dozens have been killed: laundry workers, interpreters, construction workers, security guards and general laborers. Low-ranking police officers and soldiers in the Iraqi National also are targets, even when off-duty.” Iraqi translator's story. “From anger to idealism to simple cash flow, each of the 30 Iraqi translators employed by the Oregon Army National Guard has his or her own reason to risk the wrath of insurgents by showing up for work every day. For Salam, an Iraqi veteran of the Persian Gulf War now working for the Americans, all three reasons apply.” Reality TV comes to Baghdad. “‘Labor and Materials’ is Iraq's answer to ‘Extreme Home Makeover’ and the country's first reality TV show. In 15-minute episodes, broken windows are made whole again. Blasted walls slowly rise again. Fancy furniture and luxurious carpets appear without warning in the living rooms of poor families. Over six weeks, houses blasted by US bombs regenerate in a home-improvement show for a war-torn country.” Terry Waite sounds off. “Waite identifies a clear link between the regime at Guantanamo and the abuses that took place in Baghdad's notorious Abu Ghraib jail, and points an accusing finger directly at the White House.” Army War College monograph reveals the folly of Rummy’s “transformation” policy. “The study argues that the condition, morale and training of Iraqi forces had deteriorated so badly that they were unable to respond effectively even when weak points developed in the US attack. For example, the monograph noted that it was far from clear that the US had sufficient forces in the theater to surround multiple Iraqi cities simultaneously in the face of aggressive partisan action against coalition lines of communication. Since many of those cities controlled key bridges, the United States' ability to sustain a siege of other cities deeper in the country would have been reduced accordingly. With large numbers of forces tied down providing security, coalition forces would inevitably have been forced to leave many Iraqi cities - and possibly Baghdad itself - under Ba'athist control. And the countryside would have remained almost wholly in Ba'athist hands. This in turn would have reduced the ability of either standoff precision or air raids to destroy key nodes in the city centers. Fortunately for the US military, the Iraqi forces were not skilled enough to capitalize on these vulnerabilities.” Commentary Editorial: “The world will not be watching out of any expectation of witnessing the kind of gritty political dramas which occasionally still marked nominating conventions in those earlier times. Like British party conferences, but on a far more extravagant scale, US conventions long ago became entirely presentational events aimed at television viewers back home rather than at party enthusiasts in the hall. Yet the whole world will be watching Boston this week none the less. It will be doing so because there has never been a US presidential election in which the interests and sympathies of the peoples of the world are more at stake than this one. George Bush has been the most divisive and dangerous president to occupy the Oval Office. It is not just a narrow majority of American voters who, according to current polls, want Mr Bush to be defeated in November. It is an overwhelming majority of the citizens of other lands, those of this country very much included.” Analysis: “Terrorism has not been at the center of our foreign and military policy for the last two years: Iraq has. Everything else has been subordinated to this unexpectedly demanding mission. Though President Bush portrays the toppling of Saddam Hussein as a crucial part of the global war on terrorism, it wasn't. That's easy to forget, since we're now fighting a war in Iraq against enemies who use terrorist methods. But the terrorists we're fighting in Iraq are almost all people who were not terrorists before we invaded. They're the offspring of our invasion.” Historical analysis: “To conclude, imagine yourself an Iraqi. You've suffered terribly under a ruthless dictator. The Americans invade your country under false pretenses. They promise democracy but don't organize elections. They appoint exiles to rule you, exiles who spend most of their time out of the country and the rest in a few highly protected areas. The occupiers break into your homes in the middle of the night and arrest your men, who then disappear, with no accountability. They shoot Iraqis at roadblocks and from convoys. They declare war on the second most popular man in the country, announcing his death in advance. They open the economy to US corporations and give them sweetheart contracts, ignoring local business. Then they write hundreds of laws and establish commissions limiting any future government. They build permanent military bases on your soil. Then they turn your country over to a former associate of Saddam Hussein, also a former CIA agent, known for his ruthless brutality. Imagine that was your country. What would you do?” Opinion: “This is Hobbyism at its most egregious. She, too, was a wealthy Texan, and maybe there is a kind of softheadedness that afflicts that state's more affluent citizens. But it takes a New York kind of chutzpah for Bush to suddenly announce he will do what he has put off doing for lo these past three years. In that time the president steadfastly stood by his team of jolly incompetents who, rather than explain what had gone wrong, merely slapped Bush on the back and bonded with him in a manly fashion. George Tenet stayed at the head of the CIA even after he had assured Bush that it was a ‘slam-dunk’ that Iraq retained weapons of mass destruction.” Casualty Reports Local story: Pennsylvania soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Kentucky soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Ohio soldier wounded in Iraq. Note to Readers The Washington Post is running a feature that allows readers to nominate and vote on blogs. The contest is scheduled to run from July 26th through September 3d, so the focus is clearly on blogs that are covering the US national political conventions. Since the I thought readership here might be interested, you can go to this link to participate. And I'd like to thank the readers who nominated this blog for a similar contest run by the Guardian last year. 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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