Sunday, October 17, 2004

War News for October 17, 2004

Bring ‘em on: Two U.S. soldiers killed, two wounded in two helicopter crashes.

Bring ‘em on: Nine Iraqi policemen killed in ambush in Latifiyah

Bring ‘em on: Two Turkish drivers taken hostage in Mosul

Bring ‘em on: Two South African private contractors killed south of Baghdad

Bring ‘em on: Three Iraqis killed, four wounded in US air strikes on Fallujah

U.S. Troops Battle Rebels in Iraq's Falluja: U.S. forces battled rebels in Iraq’s western city of Falluja on Sunday as American tanks, armored personnel carriers and Humvee vehicles gathered on a highway on its outskirts, witnesses said.

Unit That Refused Iraq Duty Said Released: The grandfather of an Army Reserve soldier whose platoon refused to deliver supplies in Iraq said his grandson told him Saturday that he and other soldiers had been detained by military authorities but were later released. Meanwhile, military officials said commanders reassigned five members of the unit.

Welsh troops face Fallujah backlash: Hundreds of Welsh soldiers who served in the Iraq war are returning to the country to help keep the peace. The 400 soldiers from 1st, The Queen's Dragoon Guards are leaving their German base for Basra. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tony Blair was yesterday warned that British troops could face a dangerous backlash if US attempts to seize the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah ended in mass bloodshed.

Soldiers wonder whether they're making a difference in Iraq: Still speaking as an officer, Patrick said, "From a military perspective, we're here to defend the people because they can't defend themselves. We overthrew their government and have to help them build something back up." The glazed look on his face and the rehearsed sound of the answer made his words seem hollow. "Yeah," he said when queried. "You could call that the official answer."

250 detainees released from Abu Ghraib: About 250 detainees were released Sunday from Abu Ghraib prison after a security review deemed them no longer a threat, the citing the U.S. military a foreign news agency reported. It was the fifth round of releases since a review board set up by coalition forces and the interim Iraqi government began work in August following prisoners’ abuse scandal at the detention facility. (What isn’t made clear is exactly who decided these people were a threat to begin with or what changed to make them no longer threatening.)

Department of Eating the Seed Corn: Army Trainers to Become Fighters in Iraq: The elite Black Horse Regiment, a California fixture for 10 years, will hand over its duties at Ft. Irwin to National Guard troops. "No one ever thought the Black Horse would be taken out of the National Training Center; they are just too valuable here," said Maj. John Clearwater. "But the Army is stretched too thin, and Iraq is a big mission."


Opinion: Bush spins Iraq and its ambiguities into deadly lies: We have been flimflammed, bamboozled, hoodwinked, suckered, conned and made fools of. The embarrassment we can live with. The flag-draped caskets of more than 1,000 troops and beheadings of civilian contractors will take some getting used to.

Analysis: Losing Mosul? Life still appears normal in many parts of Mosul, especially in the Kurdish neighborhoods on the eastern side of the Tigris River. Stores are open, traffic is thick and the Iraqi National Guard patrols the streets. But much of Mosul has become an incubator for regional terrorist groups like Ansar al-Islam, the Kurdish fundamentalists, and for foreign fighters crossing the still unsecured border from Syria, according to U.S. and Iraqi security officials.

Analysis: Iraq in grip of ‘vicious’ cycle, study finds: The blood of Fallujah, the thunder of Baghdad and the daily struggles of life have been distilled in columns of numbers and pages of dry prose. The experts have taken a hard look at Iraq and they don’t like what they see.

Casualty Reports:

Local story: New Hampshire National Guardsman killed in Mosul

Local story: Bremerton, WA, soldier’s body comes home

Local story: Bellingham, WA, soldier killed in Karabilah

Local story: Massachusetts Marine commits suicide

War History:

Revealed: the meeting that could have changed the history of Iraq: When six of the country's leading experts on Iraq went to Downing Street in November 2002 , they sought to warn Tony Blair about the dangerous consequences of his actions. In this extraordinary account of that meeting, they reveal for the first time their shock at his response, offering a unique insight into the mind of a Prime Minister determined upon war

Planning for after the war in Iraq non-existent: A Knight Ridder review of the administration's Iraq policy and decisions has found that it invaded Iraq without a comprehensive plan in place to secure and rebuild the country. The administration also failed to provide some 100,000 additional U.S. troops that American military commanders originally wanted to help restore order and reconstruct a country shattered by war, a brutal dictatorship and economic sanctions. "We didn't go in with a plan. We went in with a theory," said a veteran State Department officer who was directly involved in Iraq policy.

The Human Cost:

Fear is constant companion for those living in Baghdad: American soldiers have a difficult time understanding the complexities confronting them. It isn't hard to find U.S. soldiers in Baghdad who are stunned by what they consider the ignorance, ingratitude and hostility of Iraqis. In moments of candor, beyond the watch of their commanders, many question their mission. They are under frequent fire. They have seriously curtailed patrols and rarely venture off their base in unarmored vehicles. They suspect the same people who smile at them during the day are the ones firing rocket-propelled grenades at them by night. They trust no one, fear everyone.

Shattered future - Fiancées are Iraq's forgotten survivors: But unless the soldier has designated his fiancée, or her fiancé, to take care of the disposition of physical and material remains — something that rarely happens, said Lawrence — the betrothed receives no special attention from the Army brass. No flag at the soldier's funeral, no offer of an Army casualty assistance officer to help cope with the loss. Fiancées of fallen soldiers must deal on their own with perhaps the greatest grief of their lives. If they are lucky, an Army chaplain will offer his or her services, even though this gesture doesn't fall under official duties. Sometimes an extra flag will be set aside. But those cases are rare.

Two families who lost sons in Iraq differ over rationale for conflict: Kyle Codner and Matthew Henderson didn't meet until four months before they died together, side by side in a country about as far away from this Midwestern state as a person can get. Their families, who have clashing opinions about the wisdom of the war in Iraq, have formed, in grief, a kinship.

Note to Readers: There have been some excellent links posted in the Comments over the last couple days. Many thanks to readers Cloned Poster, ThePaper, John Doe, mark, Butch, and the one or several Anonymouses (Anonymice?) for their contributions. Apologies for any duplications in my own posts.


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