Sunday, September 05, 2004

War News for September 5, 2004 Bring ‘em on: US troops remain engaged in heavy fighting near Tall Afar. Bring ‘em on: Explosions, small arms fire reported in southern Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: US soldiers reported wounded in roadside bomb ambush near Baquba. Bring ‘em on: Twelve Iraqi policemen killed, five wounded in fighting in Latifiyah. Bring ‘em on: Egyptian hostage found dead near Beiji. Bring ‘em on: Kidnappings and assassinations of government officials reported in Al-Anbar province. Bring ‘em on: Iraqi national assembly mortared again in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: US troops reported fighting in Ramadi. Bring ‘em on: One US soldier and two Iraqi civilians wounded by car bomb near Dijiel. Bring ‘em on: Three Iraqi policemen killed by mortar fire near Mahmoudiyah. Bring ‘em on: US troops ambushed by roadside bomb in central Baghdad; two Iraqis killed. Bring ‘em on: Seventy insurgents reported killed in massive US raid near Tikrit. Allawi bans Al-Jazeera indefinitely from reporting in Iraq. One thousand, one hundred US military personnel wounded in August. “There were also indications that troops might have suffered more severe wounds in August than in previous months. At the Baghdad hospital, staff members are accustomed to seeing the most severely injured soldiers and Marines. The hospital, the only one in Iraq where the military's brain and eye surgeons work, handles the worst head wounds. Normally, perhaps half the patients who come to the emergency room qualify as ‘acute’ cases, a term that indicates severity and urgency. ‘A soldier who comes in and is almost bleeding to death will require more care than someone who is just shot with a bullet,’ Beitz explained. In August, however, the rate of acute cases jumped to three of four ER patients. ‘It was intense,’ said Lt. Col. Greg Kidwell, who oversees the emergency room at the hospital.” Support the troops! “But Herrick was called to active duty in Iraq six months ago. A month after landing in the war zone, his unit was blown up. Five people were killed and several others were injured in the May 2 attack. Herrick lost his left leg and was paralyzed from the neck down. He is being treated at the spinal cord center at James A. Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa. When he gets out, Herrick, now 37, will need special housing, transportation and around the clock medical care. Beverly Young, the wife of House Appropriations Chairman C.W. Bill Young, R-Largo, is calling attention to the plight of wounded soldiers. She cites case after case of lives shattered because of serious injuries in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the frustration of dealing with government red tape. ‘America needs to know this story,’ Mrs. Young said. ‘We have to do better.’… Away from the patients, Mrs. Young complained the government wasn't doing enough to help soldiers incapacitated by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. She said in many instances their pension is too small to make ends meet. She said a young Marine paralyzed from the waist down has no place to live after he is discharged. Another soldier could not get pain relief because the medical procedure would have violated VA policy.” CENTCOM website fails to update casualty reports during Republican convention. Shambles. “The greatest obstacle for the government in its efforts to get the Indian hostages in Iraq released was the lack of a proper government in Iraq with which it could communicate, government sources said. Despite having an embassy and ambassador in Baghdad, and sending a special envoy to assist the efforts, the security situation in that country was so bad that every step was an ordeal, they said. Beyond making appeals on television and using contacts among clerics, there was little the Centre could do, although authorities in Kuwait ‘were very cooperative.’” No-Go Zones. “In Iraq, the list of places from which American soldiers have either withdrawn or decided to visit only rarely is growing: Falluja, where a Taliban-like regime has imposed a rigid theocracy; Ramadi, where the Sunni insurgents appear to have the run of the city; and the holy Shiite cities of Karbala and Najaf to the south, where the Americans agreed last month to keep their distance from the sacred shrines of Ali and Hussein. The calls are rising for the Americans to pull out of even more areas, notably Sadr City, the sprawling neighborhood in eastern Baghdad that is the main base for the rebel cleric Moktada al-Sadr. There, leaders of his Mahdi Army are demanding that American soldiers, except those sent in to do reconstruction work, get out. Negotiations with rebel leaders foundered last week on precisely the issue of the freedom of American soldiers to enter the area; the Iraqi government, possibly with American backing, refused to accept the militia's demand. Even so, the point seemed clear enough: where Iraqis once tolerated American soldiers as a source of stability in their neighborhoods, they increasingly see them as a cause of the violence. Take out the Americans, the Iraqis say, and you take out the problem. Leave us alone, and we will sort our own problems.” Military retirees get boned. “Starting Oct. 1, military retirees and their family members in Japan, Korea and Guam will have to foot the bill for commercial airfare to routine medical appointments. Pacific Air Forces announced the policy change in a memorandum this week to PACAF military treatment facility commanders, underscoring that retirees from all branches, and their dependents, still are eligible for priority and urgent aeromedical evacuation on military aircraft.” Lieutenant AWOL is back on the sauce. Commentary Editorial: “Bush said in an interview published Friday in the New York Times that he ‘miscalculated’ post-war conditions in Iraq and that the long insurgency was the product of a ‘swift victory.’ Good grief. Perhaps we will next hear that the long insurgency in Vietnam against the American armed forces decades ago was a consequence of the Vietnamese people's rice-rich diet, or something equally fanciful - for the president's explanation of the violence in Iraq is just as mistaken. The most troubling aspect of Bush's mindset is that he seems capable of going to extreme lengths to refuse to come to grips with a truth that virtually the entire world has long held: The American-led military regime change in Iraq has created as many problems as it may have resolved. It has replaced tyranny with chaos, and in the name of fighting terror it has expanded the range and ferocity of terrorists who are partly angered and inspired by events in Iraq.” Editorial: “The flaw in this picture -- and one that Mr. Bush's challenger has so far been unable to exploit to any significant effect -- is that the President's penchant for making bold, irreversible decisions doesn't always lead him to the right choices. In Iraq, Mr. Bush and his Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, badly underestimated the difficulties of occupation and reconstruction -- and had no good excuse for doing so, since many credible Middle East experts warned of such difficulties before the war. Yet Mr. Bush has only recently -- in the past week -- admitted any miscalculation. And when it became obvious that the campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq would cost far more than the administration had earlier envisioned, Mr. Bush refused to do the sensible thing and moderate his tax cuts. The result is that the U.S. fiscal position is worse than at any time since the early Reagan years, two decades ago.“ Analysis: “In the immediate aftermath of the fall of dictator Saddam Hussein, the U.S. military was indeed greeted by many Iraqis as a liberating force. The insurgency, by most accounts, did not hit its stride until about last September, a full five months after U.S. forces entered Baghdad. Iraqis had gone through a long, dangerous summer with scarce electricity and water and no sense of order, and then the insurgency began to swell. The looting and utility woes did not create the insurgency, but there is little doubt that the dismal conditions left many Iraqis angry at U.S. forces to the point that they were willing to stand by while insurgents carried out attacks, or, in some cases, residents gave them cover. ‘Iraq was a very good example of how to create conditions that create a violent movement,’ said Dominique Moisi, senior adviser to the French Institute of International Relations. ‘The object is to fight the radicals without losing the moderates. Because of the planning in Iraq, or the lack of planning, the moderates were lost. It would have been unacceptable to most Iraqis to see soldiers attacked who made things better for them. It became perfectly acceptable for attacks against an invading army that failed to protect the country. This is an example, in my opinion, of conditions affecting outcomes.’” Opinion: “In the $107 million (U.S.) fantasy beamed out of Madison Square Garden in New York, there was nary an acknowledgment of several inconvenient facts. To wit: Self-absorbed Americans are not the only victims of terrorism. The applause greeting the president's triumphant declarations coincided with the cries of children and adult hostages at their impending murders in Russia by Chechen terrorists. The 140,000 American troops in Iraq are presiding over an exponential growth in terrorism. Extremism is flourishing in almost every place this president has intervened. America is deeply divided at home and almost universally reviled abroad. Yet, here was Bush promising more wars, not fewer. And, oblivious to all of the above, the faithful were cheering him on.” Opinion: “A commission empaneled by the White House says Bush's defense secretary bears some responsibility for the reprehensible treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib? Four more years! Bush refuses to denounce the widely discredited ads aired by Swift Boat Hypocrites for Truth despite their implicit insult to all war veterans? Four more years! Bush's own envoy concludes there probably were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq when Bush chose to attack? Four more years! The 9/11 commission reveals Bush did little despite being handed a document a month before the Sept. 11 attacks entitled, ‘Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S.?’ Four more years! It's disconcerting when a leader can induce adoring followers to believe what he says over the reality that should be evident to their own eyes and ears. It almost makes you want to cry out, ‘Snap out of it! Don't drink the Kool-Aid!’” Casualty Reports Local story: Florida Marine killed in Iraq. Local story: Nebraska sailor killed in Iraq. Local story: West Virginia airman wounded in Iraq. Local story: Massachusetts Marine wounded in Iraq. 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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