Sunday, October 24, 2004

War News for Sunday, October 24, 2004 Bring ‘em on: Forty-nine Iraqi soldiers executed by insurgents near Baquba. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi soldiers killed, six wounded by land mine near Samarra. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi civilians killed in fighting between US troops and insurgents near Samarra. Bring ‘em on: Insurgents execute Iraqi working for US forces near Mosul. Bring ‘em on: Iraqi police chief assassinated near Erbil. Bring ‘em on: Iraqi police chief survives assassination attempt near Mosul. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqis killed, one wounded by mortar fire in central Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: US patrol ambushed by car bomb, RPG fire near Mosul. Bring ‘em on: Five Iraqis killed in US air strikes near Fallujah. Bring ‘em on: US diplomat killed, one US soldier wounded in Baghdad mortar attack. Bring ‘em on: US tank destroyed by bridge bomb in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Car bomb detonates near Abu Ghraib. Insurgent attacks increased by 25 percent since the beginning of Ramadan. Coalition of the Wobbly. “The prime minister didn't cave. But a new conventional wisdom is taking hold among Britain's military and foreign-policy elite: even if John Kerry defeats Bush, any British government will find it difficult, if not impossible, to muster popular support for a future American-led military intervention. A senior British diplomat put it bluntly to NEWSWEEK: ‘Never again.’” The unreported quagmire. “The list of attacks stretches across seven pages and, ominously, begins with attacks on a convoy southwest of Baghdad (where the Black Watch are headed). There are mortar attacks on a camp at Abu Naji, attacks on Al-Thawra, on patrols north of Nasaf, Camp Baha ruia and Camp Rustaniyah near Baghdad, RPG attacks on a military supply route near Mahmudiyah, an attack at Al-Rasheed, a mortar and RPG attack on the government centre at Ramadi, a mortar attack on an observation tower, explosive devices found at Baquba, more RPG and mortar attacks, IED (improvised explosive device) attacks at Baq ubah, another IED attack on a convoy near Muhmudiyah, another convoy attack south-east of Habbaniyah, an attack on the MAF (military airfield) near Mosul, a rocket attack in Samarra, a mortar attack at Balad, other attacks at Hawija, more at Samarra, an RPG attack on an OP (observation post) near Kirkuk, an IED attack on a patrol near Baghdad, another RPG attack; the ‘incidents’ recorded go on and on. This is over a mere 48 hours.” Lawsuits. “The case is among 4,611 never-before-released civil claims from Iraq - hundreds alleging abuse and misconduct by American military personnel - on a computer database obtained by the Dayton Daily News through the federal Freedom of Information Act. The U.S. Army's tort claims database is the most comprehensive public record released to date of alleged acts against Iraqi civilians by American forces, which do not otherwise systematically track civilian casualties. The records provide a previously unseen portrait of the toll the war has had on civilians in Iraq, offering hundreds of descriptions of the kinds of incidents that have fueled the growing insurgency and hatred toward the American-led coalition. About 78 percent of the claims are for incidents that occurred after President Bush declared major combat operations over on May 2, 2003.” “Ghost Detainee” policy alive and well. “At the request of the CIA, the Justice Department drafted a confidential memo that authorizes the agency to transfer detainees out of Iraq for interrogation -- a practice that international legal specialists say contravenes the Geneva Conventions. One intelligence official familiar with the operation said the CIA has used the March draft memo as legal support for secretly transporting as many as a dozen detainees out of Iraq in the last six months. The agency has concealed the detainees from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other authorities, the official said.” UN tells Lieutenant AWOL to pound sand. “The United Nations has refused a U.S. request to assist Iraqi judges and prosecutors seeking to try former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and his top lieutenants for war crimes, saying that a new Iraqi special tribunal includes a death penalty provision opposed by the United Nations and fails to meet the minimum standards of justice. The Bush administration appealed to the U.N. war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to send some judges and prosecutors to a training conference in London for members of the Iraqi tribunal. But U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's office sent the court's chief prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, a letter barring her staff from attending the week-long conference, which ended Monday, according to U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric.” Commentary Editorial: “The president's handling of the past year in Iraq -- his dismissal of those who warned him about the difficulty of reorganizing the country, his neglect of deep problems that are costing American lives there -- made us doubt his ability to bring our involvement there to a successful conclusion. And we became concerned by the secrecy of his subordinates such as Dick Cheney and John Ashcroft, coupled with an unnecessary disregard for some of our most cherished civil liberties. Kerry offers a different leadership style that would give us a new start internationally -- an awareness of the world outside our borders, an acknowledgment that the United States is a world leader, not a rogue state, and as such we have responsibilities to treat those who we would count as friends in a certain manner. Bush has mocked this as kowtowing to France. We see it as diplomacy.” Editorial: “These sentiments mean that as long as Bush is president, we have no real allies in the world, no friends to help us dig out from the Iraq quagmire. More tragically, they mean that if terrorists succeed in striking at the United States in another 9/11-type attack, many in the world will not only think of the American victims but also of the thousands and thousands of Iraqi civilians killed and maimed by American armed forces. The hatred Bush has generated has helped immeasurably those trying to recruit anti-American terrorists—indeed his policies are the gift to terrorism that keeps on giving, as the sons and brothers of slain Iraqis think how they may eventually take their own revenge. Only the seriously deluded could fail to see that a policy so central to America’s survival as a free country as getting hold of loose nuclear materials and controlling nuclear proliferation requires the willingness of foreign countries to provide full, 100 percent co-operation. Making yourself into the world’s most hated country is not an obvious way to secure that help.” You must check out the source of this endorsement to fully appreciate its significance. Analysis: “The war was conducted in the worst way possible, designed with the sole objective of winning a military victory against the Iraqi army, with no thought to the aftermath that would be created. Repeated reports -- about Iraq's nuclear facilities, cultural and archeological sites, exploding crime rate as well as the insurgency -- indicate that the administration failed to plan adequately or commit the resources necessary to get the job done. The net effect has been profoundly detrimental to U.S. security. While Bush administration supporters are quick to claim that ‘the world is better off without Saddam Hussein,’ the truth is that removing Hussein's regime did not occur in a vacuum. We have to ask, ‘better off than what?’ An Iraq sliding toward civil war and chaos in which American soldiers and money are lost daily, and which has become a beacon for terrorist recruitment efforts, is demonstrably worse for U.S. security than an Iraq contained and weakened, with no active weapons of mass destruction programs, regardless of who might be in charge.” Analysis: “President Bush summoned his secretary of Defense, Donald H. Rumsfeld, and the commander of his forces in the Middle East, Army Gen. John P. Abizaid, to ask what they recommended. Rumsfeld and Abizaid were ready with an answer, one official said: ‘a specific and overwhelming attack’ to seize Fallouja. That was what Bush was hoping to hear, an aide said later. What the president was not told was that the Marines on the ground sharply disagreed with a full-blown assault on the city….But beyond the declaration that the goal was to kill or capture those responsible for the contractors' deaths, there was no clear definition of the endgame. No one explained what, at the end of the day, the U.S. would have won.” Long LA Times article on the administration’s process that led to the decision to attack Falloujah in April. Casualty Reports Local story: South Carolina Marine dies of wounds received in Iraq. Local story: Texas Marine wounded in Iraq. 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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