Wednesday, September 15, 2004

War News for September 15, 2004 Bring 'em on: One US Marine killed in fighting in al-Anbar province. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqis killed, ten wounded by car bomb at Iraqi Army checkpoint near Suwayrah. Bring ‘em on: Three beheaded bodies found near Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Ten Iraqis killed in fighting with US Marines near Ramadi. WIA this week. “More than 200 U.S. service members were wounded in Iraq in the past week, the Pentagon said yesterday, and the total since the invasion was launched in March 2003 is 7,245. Of the 219 wounded in the past week, 81 service members were returned to duty; the 138 others were not. Journalists are terrorists. “US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says journalists have received tip-offs from terrorists of impending attacks in Iraq, singling out Al-Jazeera television as ‘Johnny-on-the-spot a little too often for my taste.’ Rumsfeld gave no specifics or evidence to back up the accusation, which he made during a talk to troops at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, home of the army's 101st Airborne Division.” Is there any wonder that American troops shoot journalists when the Secretary of Defense makes an inflammatory and unsubstantiated statement like this to US combat troops? The entire US press corps should tear Rummy a new asshole for this outrageous accusation. More US officers sound off. “Lt. Gen. James Conway, the outgoing commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Unit, told the Washington Post he resisted called for revenge after four American security workers were killed and mutilated in Fallujah March 31. Instead, civilian authorities, Coalition Provisional Chief Paul Bremer and the White House, decided to send the Marines in to capture or kill the perpetrators….More telling is the fact that senior commanders universally said in interviews -- all of them on condition of anonymity -- if they were making the decision, they would not have gone into Fallujah at that time under those conditions. It is a basic U.S. military tenet to choose the time and place of a battle. The streets of Fallujah may be an unavoidable and tricky battlefield, but the immediate aftermath of the March 31 killings was not the time to fight, they said. First, that robbed them of the element of surprise. It was well known -- because it was announced from press podiums in Baghdad -- that U.S. forces were going in to find the perpetrators and bring Fallujah under control. Second, it "taught" the insurgents that their provocative acts could draw the United States into an urban battle when they wanted it, rather than the other way around. Third, finding the individuals whose faces were on the videotape of the contractor killings is in essence a police job. Fallujah being the tribal city that it was, it would be easy under peaceful conditions to have local police find the identities of the killers and arrest them. Hunting down a handful of men and boys is not the best use of U.S. military capabilities.” You can be sure that the reasons not to assault Fallujah in April and cited in this article are the same reasons these anonymous “senior commanders” gave Bremer, Rumsfeld and Bush before they made the decision to attack. Instead, the White House saw domestic political advantage in pressing an attack so they ignored the professional military advice. When the casualty count began to affect Bush’s poll ratings, the White House ordered an end to the assault, again contrary to military advice. As I said in my September 13th Rant of the Day, these officers are clearly angry about these decisions, and by giving anonymous interviews to journalists – something senior officers rarely do – they are trying to communicate their anger to the American public. A story you won’t see in the US media:
“TONY JONES: And the ABC's foreign affairs editor Peter Cave joins us now from Baghdad. Peter, we'll come to the still unresolved question of whether there are or are not any Australian hostages in a moment, but first, we've just seen some extraordinary pictures, another of bloodiest days since the war, is there a sense there that the security situation is simply deteriorating? ”PETER CAVE: It certainly is. We're seeing kidnappings in the centre of Baghdad that we haven't seen the like of before. 30 armed men coming in and pulling those two Italian women and a couple of Iraqis out of their house. We've had a over the weekend on Sunday, we had five car bombs in and around Baghdad, 13 or 14 rockets and mortars rained down on the green zone and one of them landed at a building behind me here as a matter of fact. Today we've had that huge car bomb that you saw. There was another one outside the planning ministry. It didn't achieve its aim. Only the driver of that car was killed. And just in the last little while there's been another attack in central Baghdad, a roadside bomb which struck a column of three four-wheel drive vehicles, completely destroying one of them. The other two managed to escape. Not sure at this stage how many people died there. So certainly the temperature is hotting up.”
Lieutenant AWOL goes begging to the UN for help. “The United States and Iraq on Tuesday both pressed wary nations to contribute more to stabilising Iraq and helping the country get past the latest surge of deadly attacks by insurgents. Just hours after more Iraq violence killed at least 73 people, the two allies told the UN Security Council that the international community was vital in helping the country prepare for its first post-Saddam Hussein elections.” Commentary Editorial: “At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the War on Terror is a joke. It never really added up. The Americans should have known better. They won the War of Independence by refusing to take on huge standing armies. They preferred to fight the British on their own ground and on terms of their own choosing. They should know that it’s silly to chase terrorists with large standing armies. Terrorists don’t obligingly line up in formation to fight conventional armies. They hide among civilians and they target civilians as well as soldiers. When innocent people are killed by US army or Iraqi police retaliation, the terrorists gain recruits.” Analysis: “To make matters worse, the United States is trying to impose a quick solution by force in time for its own November presidential elections in which the issue of Iraq looms large, Neep said. ‘The entire notion that we can really influence what happens in Iraq in a timetable dictated by the American presidential election in November is simply absurd. One of the reasons why things have been going wrong is that the Americans have been trying to impose a timetable which doesn't bear any relevance to what's happening on the ground in Iraq,’ he said.” Casualty Reports Local story: Two Oregon Guardsmen killed in Iraq. Local story: Kentucky soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Utah Marine dies in Iraq. Local story: Virginia soldier killed in Iraq. 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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