Monday, October 18, 2004

War News for October 18, 2004

<>Bring ‘em on: Seven people killed, at least twenty wounded by car bomb in Baghdad

Bring ‘em on: Three Iraqi policemen killed, eight people wounded in Baghdad explosion

Bring ‘em on: Five Iraqis killed, fifteen wounded in bombing in Mosul

Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi civilians killed, two wounded in two separate Baghdad bombings (see halfway down, “Baghdad Blasts”)

Taking the Battle to the Enemy: The latest counterinsurgency effort began in a week that included the start of Ramadan and saw the U.S. military — primarily the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force — move boldly to try to subdue the rebellion raging in Fallujah and Ramadi, the two most restive towns in Anbar, Iraq's most restive province. New forces were brought in, new strategies employed. But despite clear successes, the week's record of strikes and counterstrikes suggests that if, as the young Marine said, the Americans are predators, the prey is dictating the nature of the hunt.

2 pictures emerge of militants' power: Top American military officials said in interviews that they won't shy from an all-out confrontation with militants in Fallujah, and they expect victory over a nationwide insurgency that they described as fragmented, weakened, and losing popular support. But on the ground, a different picture of the resistance is emerging. Military statistics indicate that insurgents across the country have killed more Americans with every passing month since June, even as the number of attacks has fluctuated widely.

In Ramadi, U.S. Seizes 17 Accused of Aiding Insurgency: Marines and Special Forces soldiers captured 17 men suspected of working with the Iraqi insurgency in a raid of nine Ramadi homes early Sunday, including a couple of midlevel leaders and a senior aide to a man believed to be organizing guerrillas in this city, American officers here said.

Iraq May Extend Buy-back Of Weapons: Iraqi and U.S. officials said they believe that al-Sadr is still retaining a significant portion of his arsenal. But U.S. commanders echoed Allawi's encouragement Sunday, though they emphasized that the militia must deliver far more weaponry before they are satisfied. The U.S. military said that al-Sadr's militia had so far turned in about 700 rocket-propelled grenades and about 400 mortar shells, along with hundreds of other lighter weapons, and that the Iraqi government had paid about $1.2 million for the weapons.

Aussie newsman detained, released in Iraq: An Australian TV journalist has been released after being detained by unknown group in Baghdad last weekend, SBS Television said in a statement on Monday. John Martinkus, a freelancer, was seized near his hotel about 0700 GMT on Saturday and held for more than 20 hours.

Inside besieged Falluja: Residents of the rebel-held city of Falluja in Iraq are packing their bags and leaving town after one of the heaviest US bombardments for weeks. BBC News Online spoke by phone to a reporter in the city, contacted by the BBC's Arabic Service, who gave the following account of life there.

British Army wanted in town where bombing and murder are the norm: Soldiers from the Black Watch may be deployed to Iskandariyah, south of Baghdad, an area that has seen militants mount sustained attacks on US and Iraqi government forces, as well as the kidnap and murder of foreigners and Iraqis. The Americans claim to have "pacified" the area in a military operation after it passed into the hands of insurgents for months. But it remains highly volatile.

Iraq's Shadow Ruler: Grand Ayatullah Ali Husaini Sistani, the revered leader of the nation's 15 million Shi'ites, receives visitors, powerful and meek alike, in a plain, bare room in his modest home down a dusty alley in the holy city of Najaf. He sits on the floor with his back to the wall, dressed always in the same simple robe and turban. (An intimate says he hasn't refreshed his wardrobe in 10 years.) He is modest and respectful, and listens more than he talks. But his charisma is striking.

Updates: The Unit That Refused Orders

<>General Reported Shortages In Iraq: The top U.S. commander in Iraq complained to the Pentagon last winter that his supply situation was so poor that it threatened Army troops' ability to fight, according to an official document that has surfaced only now. The lack of key spare parts for gear vital to combat operations, such as tanks and helicopters, was causing problems so severe, Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez wrote in a letter to top Army officials, that "I cannot continue to support sustained combat operations with rates this low."

GIs Who Refused Job Had Unarmored Trucks: "Not all of their trucks are completely armored. In their case, they haven't had the chance to get armored," said Brig. Gen. James E. Chambers, commanding general of 13th Corps Support Command, which sends some 250 convoys ferrying Army fuel, food and ammunition across Iraq each day.

Soldiers Saw Refusing Order as Their Last Stand: What does it take for a man like Staff Sgt. Michael Butler, a 24-year veteran of the Army and the Reserve who was a soldier in the first Persian Gulf war and a reserve called up to fight in the current war in Iraq, to risk everything by disobeying a direct order in wartime?

5 troops may get general discharge: Five members of an Iraqi-based platoon who refused a convoy order earlier this week were told they would be punished with a general discharge, the father of one of the soldiers said Saturday.

Iraqi Conflict: International Ramifications

<>Putin says terror attacks in Iraq target Bush's re-election bid: ''International terrorism has as its goal to prevent the election of President Bush to a second term,'' he said. ''If they achieve that goal, then that will give international terrorism a new impulse and extra power.'' Still, Putin didn't say which candidate he favored in the Nov. 2 election. ''We unconditionally respect any choice of the American people,'' he said. I hope all patriotic Americans will join me in a resounding “Fuck you, Pooty Poot!

Blair is 'Using Our Troops to Boost Bush': The Prime Minister faced protests from all sides over plans to redeploy British forces to an area 25 miles south of Baghdad, freeing the US 24th Marine Expeditionary Force for an expected assault on the rebel stronghold of Fallujah. Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, is preparing to make a Commons statement tomorrow announcing that about 650 soldiers from the Black Watch will leave Basra and come under US command "for a few weeks". The Sunday Telegraph understands, however, that the deployment is being resisted by Gen Sir Michael Walker, the Chief of the Defence Staff.

Tens of Thousands Throng London to Protest Iraq War: Organisers said that between 65,000 and 75,000 protesters had taken to the streets for the peaceful march, which began at Russell Square, close to the British museum. Police put the figure at between 15,000 and 20,000. Protesters from around the world clutched banners and blew whistles as they marched towards Trafalgar Square, where a mass rally was taking place.

Australia: No more troops for Iraq: "We're supporting the U.N. presence in Iraq by providing equipment and training for the Fijian contingent," spokesman Chris Kenny said. But Australia would not add to the 850 non-combat troops it already had in the region, he said.

Iraq War: lessons for Pakistan: “We as a country must keep a keen eye on world occurrences and learn from history. A super power fully capable of winning the wars has failed to act accordingly in a post war scenario. It may have won the battle but seems to be losing the war on moral and ethical grounds. It, therefore, highlights once again the reality that those with absolute power must first recognize their limits, not be short sighted, have enough foresight and awareness to not only justify their acts but also to keep themselves aligned with other nations and most importantly, not allow power in any form to corrupt them.”

Dutch soldier acquitted over Iraqi's death: A Dutch military court has acquitted a soldier charged over a shooting incident in Iraq last December when a civilian was shot and killed, the ANP news agency has reported.

Commentary <>Analysis: Bush is changing the goal in Iraq: President Bush last week, in his Wilkes-Barre, Pa., speech, escalated the mission another notch by declaring that Iraq should become not only a "free society at the heart of the Middle East," but an ally in the war on terror and "a model of hopeful reform in a region that needs hopeful reform." If Iraq can be free, he said, "every free nation will be more secure." Those were not the goals he originally set.

Book Review: 'Chain of Command': What Geneva Conventions? The war on terror began as a defense of international law, giving America allies and friends. It soon became a war in defiance of law. In a secret order dated Feb. 7, 2002, President Bush declared, as Hersh puts it, that ''when it came to Al Qaeda the Geneva Conventions were applicable only at his discretion.'' Based on memorandums from the Defense and Justice Departments and the White House legal office that, in Anthony Lewis's apt words, ''read like the advice of a mob lawyer to a mafia don on how to . . . stay out of prison,'' Bush unilaterally withdrew the war on terror from the international legal regime that sets the standards for treatment and interrogation of prisoners. Abu Ghraib was not the work of a few bad apples, but the direct consequence, Hersh says, of ''the reliance of George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld on secret operations and the use of coercion -- and eye-for-an-eye retribution -- in fighting terrorism.''

Casualty Reports <>Local story: Santa Cruz soldier killed near Tikrit

Local story: List of Texas casualties in Iraq

Local story: List of Michigan casualties in Iraq

Local story: List of Ohio casualties in Iraq

Local story: Las Vegas Marine killed in Al Anbar province Local story: Oceanside Marine remembered

Mini Rant – What’s With the AP and ABC?

<>Iraqis Release Fallujah's Top Negotiator: Ok, that’s the headline. Here’s the sub-head: Iraqi Government Releases Fallujah's Top Negotiator in Apparent Bid to Revive Peace Talks. One more time – here’s the first sentence of the article: The Iraqi government on Monday released the chief negotiator for the city of Fallujah in a gesture apparently aimed at reviving peace talks to end the standoff in Iraq's major insurgent bastion. Got it? Repeated three times: The Iraqis had him. The Iraqis released him. So here’s the fifth through eight paragraphs (with some snippage): In Fallujah, city negotiator Sheik Khaled al-Jumeili was released from U.S. custody, three days after he had been detained following the breakdown of peace talks with the Iraqi government. Al-Jumeili, who spoke to the Associated Press from his home, said he had been detained by U.S. troops, along with three others, on Friday. Al-Jumeili said the four men were taken to a Marine base outside Fallujah and then transported by helicopter to another location. During his detention, Al-Jumeili said he was well treated by the Americans, and was not handcuffed or blindfolded like his companions. The other three men have not been released, he said. You know, this kind of half-assed stuff just pisses me off. If you’re going to be a Stalinette press and just parrot the party line – “sovereign government of Iraq”, uh huh, “ordered release of detainee”, sure - you don’t go and ruin the effect of your lies by telling the truth just a few paragraphs further down. Karl Rove needs to have a word with these guys.

Kudos and Thanks

Much appreciation to all who have posted or written with encouraging words. Please be sureto check out yesterday’s Comments for more excellent links from Cloned Poster, Butch, Mark, ThePaper, the one or several Anonymeeses, and that brave individual who has stepped out of the shadows and revealed his or her identity as Not Anonymous – thanks to you all. I don’t have time to cross-check our posts and give credit where we overlap, but your efforts are appreciated, so please don’t stop. Also thanks to Liz for her touching concern about my problems with the little pointy things – have I mastered them? We’ll know as soon as I post this entry…here goes...


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