Sunday, August 01, 2004

War News for August 1, 2004 Bring ‘em on: Car bomb at Mosul police station kills five Iraqis, wounds 50. Bring ‘em on: Heavy fighting continues in Fallujah; 10 Iraqis killed, 40 wounded. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqis killed, two wounded by roadside bomb in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Kirkuk airport under rocket fire. Bring ‘em on: Four US soldiers wounded in patrol ambush near Samarra. Bring ‘em on: US troops under mortar fire in central Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Three US convoys ambushed near Fallujah. Bring ‘em on: US Marines repel insurgent attack near Fallujah. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi policemen killed, three wounded in ambush near Haswa. Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed, two wounded by roadside bomb near Samarra. US troops arrest al-Sadr aide in Karbala. British troops may withdraw from Iraq in January. “Despite continuing violence in Iraq, senior British military figures believe that the elected Iraqi government would not want large numbers of foreign troops to stay for long, the paper said. The report quoted Lieutenant General Andrew Ridgeway, the chief of defense intelligence, as saying that with elections due in Iraq for January, it was unlikely that any political party would win power without promising to scale back foreign troops.” Iraqi police. “Insurgents see police as collaborators with U.S.-led forces, who are struggling to restore order. They've blown up police stations all over the country, sometimes disguised as cops. They've gunned down officers in drive-by shootings as they left home for work, and they've battered police stations with mortar barrages and rocket-propelled grenades. From April 2003 to May 2004 alone, 710 Iraqi police were killed out of a total force of 130,000 officers, authorities said. Until then, police say, an officer's death was nearly always of natural causes. Last month's handover of sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government has brought little change.” More on Iraqi security forces. "Defections pose a serious obstacle to the rebuilding of Iraq's security forces but not the only one. Planning has been chaotic, units have staged mutinies, and essential equipment has not been delivered. In recent months, the entire process of recruitment and training has been largely scrapped and begun again, and the interim Iraqi government that was installed on June 28 has dictated more changes. ‘It was worse than starting from scratch,’ complained Sabah Kadhim, a top official in the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of police. ‘We had to weed out criminals from the policemen who the Americans put there.’” Ramadi. “The strategy in Ramadi, 90 miles west of Baghdad, has kept insurgents from gaining the free hand they wield in nearby Fallujah, where Marines headed off a bloody showdown in April by handing security duties to a group of former army officers and resistance fighters. It has also kept millions of US reconstruction dollars pouring into Ramadi, while the resistance in Fallujah has led to a cutoff in US aid. But staying in Ramadi comes at a high price. The Marines stationed in three small bases downtown have borne the highest concentration of US casualties since early April. The Second Battalion, Fourth Marine Regiment, has seen 31 Marines killed, and more than 200 wounded. That casualty rate amounts to more than 20 percent.” Sergeant Craft. “That fleeting moment on the big screen in Michael Moore's controversial movie came at a steep price. Emotionally and physically. Craft and his unit were on patrol outside Baghdad on Nov. 25 when a roadside bomb ripped through his Humvee, blowing away the sergeant's left leg and shattering his right.” Sergeant Gomez. “He lies there frozen on his bed as his parents and doctors explain why he has been in the hospital for the past three weeks. The information comes quickly, and parts of it confuse him after a long coma. There had been an accident in Iraq. His tank rolled into a river near Bayji, and he had been under water for 10 minutes. His spine is broken in two places, and some internal organs have been severely damaged. He will not walk again. If he gains enough arm mobility to brush his teeth, it will be a major accomplishment. In the ensuing weeks, Joel Gomez will become a nameless number in military records and media reports. History will now refer to him as one of the 308 U.S. soldiers injured in Iraq during the month of March.” Abu Ghraib. “The new classified military documents offer a chilling picture of what happened at Abu Ghraib -- including detailed reports that U.S. troops and translators sodomized and raped Iraqi prisoners. The secret files -- 106 ‘annexes’ that the Defense Department withheld from the Taguba report last spring -- include nearly 6,000 pages of internal Army memos and e-mails, reports on prison riots and escapes, and sworn statements by soldiers, officers, private contractors and detainees. The files depict a prison in complete chaos. Prisoners were fed bug-infested food and forced to live in squalid conditions; detainees and U.S. soldiers alike were killed and wounded in nightly mortar attacks; and loyalists of Saddam Hussein served as guards in the facility, apparently smuggling weapons to prisoners inside.” Commentary Analysis: “It would have been easy to tackle the fighters in Afghanistan. But it is difficult to zero in on them in Iraq. They are now like a needle in a haystack. Iraq’s towns are thickly populated. The fighters are under the umbrella of the millions of people there. It would have been easy for the US to bomb a mountain or scarcely populated hamlet in Afghanistan, and eliminate these men. But it is difficult to hit them now in Iraq.” Opinion: “As a senator for 20 years, John Kerry has cast enough votes for anyone to campaign against him straight up on national security and foreign policy. But it's been about more than that. President Bush took the National Guard pass on Vietnam, vaulting over about 100 others to get in. Many of his top aides, including the vice president, used deferments to avoid the war. Yet the Bush campaign has implied that Sen. Kerry, who chose to put himself in harm's way, saved another man's life and earned his colleagues' lasting respect is unpatriotic because he came home and opposed the war. Is this tactic repulsive? Yes, but it's also the Bush Way.” Casualty Reports Local story: New York Marine killed in Iraq. Local story: Wisconsin Guardsman wounded in Iraq. 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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