Saturday, September 18, 2004

War News for September 17 and 18, 2004 Bring ‘em on: One US Marine killed in fighting in al-Anbar province. Bring ‘em on: Thirteen Iraqis killed, 50 wounded by car bomb in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Twenty-three Iraqis killed by car bomb at Iraqi army headquarters in Kirkuk. Bring ‘em on: Three Iraqis killed, three wounded in US air strike in Fallujah. Bring ‘em on: Iraqi working for British troops in Basra assassinated. Bring ‘em on: Kidnapped governor of al-Anbar province executed by insurgents. Bring ‘em on: Nine Iraqis killed by mortar fire in Baquba. Bring ‘em on: Iraqi oil official survives assassination attempt near Mosul; four bodyguards killed. Bring ‘em on: Two American, one British contractor kidnapped by insurgents in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Insurgents execute three Iraqi truck drivers transporting US supplies. Bring ‘em on: British troops raid al-Sadr’s offices in Basra. Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi killed, two wounded by roadside bomb in Baghdad. British officer sounds off. “Colonel Tim Collins, the British commander whose stirring speech to his troops on the eve of the Iraq invasion was reportedly hung on a wall in the Oval Office by George Bush, has criticised the British and US governments over the war. The officer, who has now left the Army, condemned the lack of planning for the aftermath of the conflict and questioned the motives for attacking Iraq. He said abuses against Iraqi civilians were partly the result of ‘leaders of a country, leaders of an alliance’ constantly referring to them as the ‘enemy ... rather than treating them as people.’ This attitude was inevitably adopted by some soldiers on the ground, he said.” Now THIS is what I call a re-enlistment incentive. “Soldiers from a Fort Carson combat unit say they have been issued an ultimatum - re-enlist for three more years or be transferred to other units expected to deploy to Iraq. Hundreds of soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team were presented with that message and a re-enlistment form in a series of assemblies last Thursday, said two soldiers who spoke on condition of anonymity.” No good options.
But, according to the US military's leading strategists and prominent retired generals, Bush's war is already lost. Retired general William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency, told me: "Bush hasn't found the WMD. Al-Qaida, it's worse, he's lost on that front. That he's going to achieve a democracy there? That goal is lost, too. It's lost." He adds: "Right now, the course we're on, we're achieving Bin Laden's ends." Retired general Joseph Hoare, the former marine commandant and head of US Central Command, told me: "The idea that this is going to go the way these guys planned is ludicrous. There are no good options. We're conducting a campaign as though it were being conducted in Iowa, no sense of the realities on the ground. It's so unrealistic for anyone who knows that part of the world. The priorities are just all wrong." Jeffrey Record, professor of strategy at the Air War College, said: "I see no ray of light on the horizon at all. The worst case has become true. There's no analogy whatsoever between the situation in Iraq and the advantages we had after the second world war in Germany and Japan." W Andrew Terrill, professor at the Army War College's strategic studies institute - and the top expert on Iraq there - said: "I don't think that you can kill the insurgency". According to Terrill, the anti-US insurgency, centred in the Sunni triangle, and holding several cities and towns - including Fallujah - is expanding and becoming more capable as a consequence of US policy. "We have a growing, maturing insurgency group," he told me. "We see larger and more coordinated military attacks. They are getting better and they can self-regenerate. The idea there are x number of insurgents, and that when they're all dead we can get out is wrong. The insurgency has shown an ability to regenerate itself because there are people willing to fill the ranks of those who are killed. The political culture is more hostile to the US presence. The longer we stay, the more they are confirmed in that view."
Kofi Annan sounds off. “But Mr. Annan's radio interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation on Wednesday, in which he said for the first time that he believed the war was ‘illegal,’ set off a tempest of reaction and raised questions in a number of capitals about why he had chosen that moment to adopt more muscular language about the war. Iraqi officials are irritated by the timing of Mr. Annan's remarks, diplomats said, as Iraq's interim government struggles to organize its first elections in the face of a tenacious insurgency. His statements will be seen as a signal of wavering international support, they said. Mr. Annan also made clear his reservations about elections. ‘You cannot have credible elections if the security conditions continue as they are now,’ he said.” Intelligence estimate. “The estimate outlines three possibilities for Iraq through the end of 2005, with the worst case being developments that could lead to civil war, the officials said. The most favorable outcome described is an Iraq whose stability would remain tenuous in political, economic and security terms.” Oil sabotage. “The sharp rise in attacks on Iraq's oil pipelines in recent weeks has substantially impaired the country's production, dealing a blow to the economy and threatening the struggling reconstruction effort, U.S. and Iraqi officials say. Insurgents are bombing pipelines and other parts of Iraq's oil infrastructure almost daily, another sign that the country's security situation is deteriorating beyond the control of U.S. military and Iraqi security forces.” Reservists may get extended again. “Under current law, under a partial mobilization order, they cannot be involuntarily activated for more than 24 cumulative months. The Pentagon is considering seeking a change to the law to limiting it to 24 consecutive instead of cumulative months, which would allow the military to call mobilize and demobilize Reserve and Guard forces indefinitely. But that option likely will further demoralize a force already facing a possible mass exodus of troops leading to retention and recruitment woes in the next few years, the GAO study states.” Grudge match.
Foreign Office documents marked "secret and personal" reportedly warned the Prime Minister that British and coalition troops would need to remain in the country for "many years" following any military intervention. The documents are also said to contain claims that US President George W Bush was pushing for war to complete his father’s "unfinished business" and described it as a "grudge match" against Saddam Hussein. The papers, allegedly sent to the Prime Minister by Foreign Secretary Jack Straw a year before the war began, also advised that Mr Blair would have to "wrong foot" the Iraqi dictator into giving the allies an excuse for war. But it is the nature of the warnings about a post-war Iraq, which has seen the deaths of more than 900 allied troops since the war ended, that is likely to cause most embarrassment in London and Washington. The reports, from papers leaked to the Daily Telegraph, claim Mr Straw predicted a post-war Iraq would cause major problems, telling Mr Blair that no-one had a clear idea of what would happen. And he questioned the US claims that an invasion would eliminate the threat of weapons of mass destruction, saying "no one has satisfactorily answered how there can be any certainty that the replacement regime will be any better."
Commentary Editorial: “Bush has known of the National Intelligence Council's report since June. The situation in Iraq has only confirmed the assessment since. The disconnect between the reality on the ground and what Bush is telling the American public doesn't merely put in question Bush's credibility. It raises the disquieting possibility that Bush has lost sight of reality in Iraq, that his vaunted ‘ability to make a decision,’ as Vice President Dick Cheney describes it, has become more important than his ability to correct the wrong decision.” Editorial: “Increasingly, it becomes clear that the Bush Iraq strategy put too much emphasis on military power and not enough on the political and cultural issues that are roiling the country. The damage is approaching irreparable. The president ought to stop proclaiming that everything is going to be OK in Iraq and start talking about a strategy for getting Americans out of a place where they are less welcome every day.” Editorial: “Cheney's comparisons Thursday between current events in Iraq and the United States' 13-year struggle for a constitution and democratically elected government following the Declaration of Independence are naive, except as a reminder of how hard people will fight to evict foreign troops. Nor is there much evidence to support Bush's claim that Iraq now has a strong prime minister. The president's enthusiasm for elections in January is genuine, but if the security situation stays this bad, meaningful balloting will be impossible.” Analysis: “After 18 months of occupation, the US continues to grope in the dark. Its technical intelligence agencies find themselves totally helpless in the absence of the use of modern means of communications by the terrorists and resistance fighters. Its human intelligence (HUMINT) agencies are as clueless as ever, despite their claimed capture of dozens of alleged terrorists and resistance fighters. Their interrogation, despite the use of shocking techniques of mental and physical torture, has hardly produced any worthwhile intelligence. One does not need a mole in the US intelligence to know this. Had there been any worthwhile intelligence, one would have seen the results on the ground.” Analysis: “Well into his third month in office, Allawi has little to show for his overtures to Sunni and Shiite insurgents. His offer of amnesty has found no takers; his emergency powers to deal with resistance have apparently failed to deter anyone. The perception of Allawi as America's puppet is ever more entrenched as he embarks next week on his first official trip to the West.” Opinion: “The ordnance destroys homes and automobiles and the pitiful possessions of the dispossessed, and it creates even more recruits to the war against the Americans. You blow up my house and kill my mother, and I will soon be waiting on a rooftop with an AK-47 and an RPG launcher and hatred in my heart for all Americans. This is why the main emphasis in counter-insurgency warfare is, or should be, on the political side of political-military operations. This is why there can be no purely military solution in Iraq. This is why, until and unless some political solution is found, Americans and their allies will continue to be maimed and killed in Iraq on a daily basis.” Opinion: “But putting Allawi on a pedestal -- especially if it is to burnish a political campaign -- underlines the dangers of basing policy on image and a war strategy on any one individual. The administration rushes past the dubious history of U.S. involvement with Third World ‘strongmen’ eager to praise benefactors and crush opponents. Graveyards in African or Asian jungles, as well as on the French Riviera, are filled with allies deemed indispensable by past U.S. presidents. More significantly, the administration papers over widening inconsistencies in Allawi's approach to his country's main population groups and to the rule of law in Iraq. With U.S. acquiescence, he ignores the Transitional Administrative Law when that interim constitution is inconvenient for his purposes. His vaguely defined role in ordering U.S. troops into battle in the new "pol-mil" plan that is being pursued in Baghdad also causes confusion.” Casualty Reports Local story: Guam Marine killed in Iraq. Local story: California soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Illinois Marine killed in Iraq. Local story: Georgia soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: California soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Wisconsin Marine killed in Iraq. Local story: Washington D.C. Marine killed in Iraq. Local story: Texas Marine killed in Iraq. Local story: Washington State soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Tennessee Marine killed in Iraq. Local story: Maryland soldier wounded in Iraq. Local story: North Carolina soldier wounded in Iraq. Local story: Three Wisconsin soldiers wounded in Iraq. Local story: Illinois contractor killed in Iraq. 86-43-04. Pass it on.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?