Sunday, September 12, 2004

War News for September 12, 2004 Bring ‘em on: Heavy fighting erupts in central Baghdad; 17 Iraqis killed, four US soldiers wounded. Bring ‘em on: Iraqi interior ministry official assassinated by car bomb in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Three Iraqi policemen killed by car bomb in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Car bomb detonates near Abu Ghraib. Bring ‘em on: Multiple rocket attacks reported in central Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Oil pipeline sabotaged near Kirkuk. Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi policeman killed in Baghdad ambush. Bring ‘em on: Five Iraqi security guards wounded in attacks on oil facilities near Kirkuk and Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: US launches air strikes in Sadr City. Bring ‘em on: US troops ambushed near Ramadi. Bring ‘em on: US troops ambushed near Baghdad airport. Bring ‘em on: Car Bomber killed attempting to attack Green Zone in Baghdad. One British soldier killed in vehicle accident near Amarah. Iraqi casualties. "At Sheik Omar Clinic, a big book records 10,363 violent deaths in Baghdad and nearby towns since the war began last year - deaths from car bombs, clashes between Iraqis and coalition forces, mortar attacks, revenge killings and robberies. The violent deaths recorded in the clinic's leather ledger come from only one of Iraq's 18 provinces and do not cover people who died in such flashpoint cities as Najaf, Karbala, Fallujah, Tikrit and Ramadi. Iraqi dead include not only insurgents, police and soldiers but also civilians caught in crossfire, blown apart by explosives or shot by mistake - by fellow Iraqis or by American soldiers and their multinational allies. And they include the victims of crime that has surged in the instability that followed the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime.” Portrait of an insurgent. “Intelligence experts in Iraq talk of three main types of insurgent. There is the Mahdi Army of Shia Muslims who follow the radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and have led recent resistance to coalition forces in northern Baghdad, the central shrine city of Najaf, and Basra, the southern port under British control. There is also 'al-Qaeda' - non-Iraqi militants who have come to Iraq to wage jihad. And finally the 'former regime loyalists', who are said to want the return of Saddam Hussein or, if that is impossible, his Baath party. Abu Mujahed, worryingly for the analysts, fits into none of these easy categories. For a start, he was pro-American before the invasion. 'The only way to breathe under the old regime was to watch American films and listen to their music,' he said. He had been a Bon Jovi fan.” Thai troops leave Iraq. Lawsuit. “In a lawsuit that reads like a proposal for a Hollywood movie, Mobile businessman Robert Isakson, his brother Bud and 14-year-old son Bobby have accused a company led by an ex-CIA agent of kidnapping them at gunpoint and forcing them to flee ‘through the Sunni Triangle, the most dangerous area of Iraq ... without weapons, security or guards.’…As told in the legal filings, Custer Battles took revenge against Isakson and DRC after Isakson accused Custer Battles of defrauding the Coalition Provisional Authority, the American-led body that governed Iraq until the United States turned that role over to the Iraqis in June.” Najaf. “Three weeks of urban warfare killed at least 1,000 Iraqi rebels and civilians, the governor of this battle-weary city said Saturday in his first estimate of the death toll since the standoff ended two weeks ago. During last month's relentless close-quarters combat between U.S. troops and militants loyal to rebel cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, hospital officials and military officers had estimated the death toll in this southern holy city had climbed far into the hundreds, though most conceded any estimates could not be verified until fighting eased.” Yesterday, Rummy said Najaf was “taken back peacefully.” Is Rummy not reading the Army’s after-action reports, is he lying, or does he just live in an alternate universe? Morale indicator. “A Schweinfurt Army officer was sentenced Tuesday to 30 days of confinement after shooting himself in the chest in order to be sent home from Iraq.” Can’t keep his story straight. “US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld mixed up al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein twice in a speech about the war against terrorism.” Lousy pilot. “George W. Bush twice required multiple attempts to land a one-seat fighter just before he quit flying for the Texas Air National Guard in 1972, his pilot logs show. He began flying a two-seat training jet more frequently in the period, according to the logs. The logs show that Bush flew nine times in T-33 trainers in February and March 1972, including eight times in one week, and four of those only as a co-pilot. Bush, then a first lieutenant, flew in T-33s only twice in the previous six months and three times in the year ending July 31, 1971.” The obvious explanation is that he was a flying T-33 because his squadron safety officer thought he wasn’t competent to handle an F-102 without remedial training. Commentary Editorial: “So far, the preventive war doctrine has had one real test: the invasion of Iraq. Mr. Bush terrified millions of Americans into believing that forcibly changing the regime in Baghdad was the only way to keep Iraq's supposed stockpiles of unconventional weapons out of the hands of Al Qaeda. Then it turned out that there were no stockpiles and no operational links between Saddam Hussein's regime and Al Qaeda's anti-American terrorism. Meanwhile, America's longstanding defensive alliances were weakened and the bulk of America's ground combat troops tied down in Iraq for what now appears to be many years to come. If that is making this country safer, it is hard to see how. The real lesson is that America dangerously erodes its military and diplomatic defenses when it charges off unwisely after hypothetical enemies.” Editorial: “The record of the U.S.-trained Iraqi security organizations up to this point has been less than stellar. Polls suggest that Iraqis themselves take considerable pride in their newly fielded forces - and that, to be sure, is something to build on - but they haven't been effective. In some cases, units have actually been infiltrated by insurgents. More of the same is unlikely to help. In fact, Mr. Negroponte - who is in some ways reprising a role he first played as American proconsul in Honduras in the 1980s - does have a few refinements in mind. He reportedly wants to create two new agencies: a paramilitary force to maintain public order and an elite unit to provide what might be called palace security. Accounting rules would be loosened as well, even though corruption is already rampant in Iraq. This setup, bluntly stated, practically invites abuse.” Opinion: “Given that this currency is so precious, we're morally obligated to spend it carefully. So even though we're talking about ‘only’ 1,000 lives, it seems fair to pause and consider what they have bought. Actually, it's easier to list the things they have not bought. They have not bought a sense of security. Pollsters say over half of us expect a terrorist strike in the near future. They have not bought peace in Iraq. The death toll rose by four while I was writing this column. They have not bought the world's respect. We are feared by allies and vilified by people we purported to liberate. So what have those lives bought? As near as I can tell, only tickets to a magic show. Maybe you consider that an insult to those who lost their lives in their country's service. I would only point out that the search for meaning in death has nothing to do with the dead. It is, rather, a comfort the living give themselves to soften the rough edges of mourning.” Analysis: “It's not only that U.S. casualty figures keep climbing. American counterinsurgency experts are noticing some disturbing trends in those statistics. The Defense Department counted 87 attacks per day on U.S. forces in August—the worst monthly average since Bush's flight-suited visit to the USS Abraham Lincoln in May 2003. Preliminary analysis of the July and August numbers also suggests that U.S. troops are being attacked across a wider area of Iraq than ever before. And the number of gunshot casualties apparently took a huge jump in August. Until then, explosive devices and shrapnel were the primary cause of combat injuries, typical of a ‘phase two’ insurgency, where sudden ambushes are the rule. (Phase one is the recruitment phase, with most actions confined to sabotage. That's how things started in Iraq.) Bullet wounds would mean the insurgents are standing and fighting—a step up to phase three.” Analysis: “What happened this summer, and particularly last week, is likely to be recalled as the end of the era of network news. At the very least, mark this as the moment when the networks abdicated their authority with the American public.” Example "I hate this fucking blog." 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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