Monday, August 23, 2004

War News for August 23, 2004 Bring ‘em on: One US soldier wounded in Najaf fighting. Bring ‘em on: Four US Marines killed in separate incidents in al-Anbar province. Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed, one wounded by roadside bomb near Mosul. Bring ‘em on: Indonesian contractor, two Iraqis killed in ambush near Mosul. Bring ‘em on: Japanese troops under mortar fire near Samawah. Bring ‘em on: One Turkish contractor, three Iraqis killed in ambush near Tikrit. Bring ‘em on: Forty Iraqis killed in fighting in Kufa. Bring ‘em on: Iraqi truck driver killed in convoy ambush near Kirkuk. Bring ‘em on: Iraqi policeman killed by insurgents in Basra. Bring ‘em on: Heavy fighting continues in Najaf. Bring ‘em on: Kurdish politician assassinated near Kirkuk. Lieutenant AWOL, the Great Uniter. Nearly 100 prominent Muslims yesterday called on followers around the world to support resistance to American forces in Iraq and the government installed in June. In an appeal released by the offices of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the 93 figures from nearly 30 nations, from Germany to Indonesia, said the aim should be to ‘purify the land of Islam from the filth of occupation.’ The signatories included senior members of the brotherhood, Youssef al Qaradawi, a leading Qatari-based moderate; Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah of Lebanon, Hizbollah leader; Khaled Mashal, of the Palestinian group Hamas; two Egyptian opposition party leaders; Sheikh Abdeslam Yassine of Morocco's Justice and Charity Group; and Sheikh Abdullah al Ahmar, Yemeni speaker of parliament. Others came from Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bosnia, the Comoros, Germany, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Malaysia, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan and Tunisia.” Fighting in Kufa. “In pre-dawn darkness, American tanks and Humvees also staged a raid on Kufa, trundling down the high street and past the library. Commander Hilu and his men were waiting. ‘The Americans went as far as the mosque then got out,' the commander said, having escorted me back to the scene of what, he suggested, was a heroic victory.” Reconstruction. “Ordinary Iraqis and U.S. officials have expressed growing concern that although the U.S. aid is finally arriving, it may have come too late to win the sympathy of the people, who have endured more than a year of haphazard electricity, water and other essential services. A program that was supposed to convince the Iraqi people that U.S. money and know-how would improve their lives has instead left many bitter and no better off materially than they were under Saddam Hussein.” Fallujah. “Blackwater Security Consulting violated its own standards in March by sending four contractors on an undermanned mission in Fallujah, Iraq, where they were ambushed, mutilated, burned and dragged through the streets, the company's contract for the job shows.” Mission accomplished. “A USA TODAY database, which analyzed unclassified U.S. government security reports, shows attacks against U.S. and allied forces have averaged 49 a day since the hand-over of sovereignty June 28, compared with 52 a day in the four weeks leading up to the transfer. Iraqi guerrillas are relying heavily on weapons that allow them to attack and then slip away, such as roadside bombs and mortars. In June and July, U.S. and Iraq forces were attacked with 759 roadside bombs and uncovered at least 400 others before they exploded.” The upbeat tone of this article is entirely inconsistent with the facts it contains. Déjà vu, all over again. “As many as 30,000 members of Iraq’s new police force are to lose their jobs in a radical shake-up aimed at weeding out troublemakers and officers considered unsuitable for employment. A $60 million (£33 million) fund has been set aside by the interim government in Iraq to pay off the sacked police officers, with the axe due to fall at the end of this month. They will receive an average pay-off of $2,000 (£1,100). But critics of the plan in Iraq say that it risks repeating the mistakes made when the Iraqi army was disbanded after the end of the war in 2003, when 400,000 disaffected soldiers were turned on to the streets with no source of income. Many joined the insurgency against the coalition forces.” Commentary Editorial: “The Abu Ghraib scandal above all was a failure of leadership, and although the inquiries multiply, the top brass have escaped direct discipline. At the time of last year's prison abuse, which included torture, sexual humiliation and suspicious deaths, U.S. forces in Iraq faced a deadly insurgency. U.S. commanders sought ‘actionable’ intelligence from Iraqi detainees. Despite Red Cross protests, U.S. intelligence officers seemed to have had a clear hand at Abu Ghraib to extract information as they pleased. The original, limited inquiry by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba found soldiers had committed ‘sadistic’ criminal acts. Last week, it was reported that Army reservist Joseph Darby, who tipped off investigators about prisoner abuse, received death threats and has been put in protective military custody.” Editorial: “Last fall, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld ducked the embarrassing matter of grossly offensive, anti-Islamic remarks by Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin by asking the Defense Department's inspector general to examine his behavior. This was a ruse. The problem with Gen. Boykin's words was never the possibility that they violated this or that department regulation -- the sort of thing inspectors general are charged with investigating. The problem was that Gen. Boykin, deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, was delivering himself of bigoted remarks -- generally while in uniform -- that directly undercut President Bush's repeated insistence that America's war is not against Islam generally and is not a clash of religious civilizations. By unloading the matter on the inspector general, Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. Bush avoided having to condemn the remarks forthrightly while seeming to take appropriate action.” Opinion: “It's interesting how we choose whether to root for a team or not. A dozen years ago in Barcelona, few people rooted for Iraq and many rooted against it. A dozen years ago almost everyone rooted for the U.S. basketball team and few rooted against it. Now it's just the opposite.” Casualty Reports Local story: Washington State soldier wounded in Iraq. Awards and Decorations Local story: Kansas soldier decorated for valor. Lieutenant AWOL's Military Decorations 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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