War News for Sunday, December 12, 2004
Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed, three wounded by roadside bomb in Baghdad
Bring ‘em on: Two US soldiers and Iraqi interpreter wounded by car bomb near Kirkuk
Bring ‘em on: Two US soldiers wounded by car bomb near Beiji
Bring ‘em on: Eight US soldiers wounded in ambush and car bombing in Mosul
Bring ‘em on: Two US soldiers wounded by roadside bomb near Hawifa
Bring ‘em on: ING patrol in central Baghdad
attacked with mortar and RPG fire.
Bring ‘em on: Insurgents launch coordinated assault on Iraqi police academy in Mosul
Bring ‘em on: Car bomb attack on US convoy between Haditha and Rawah
Bring ‘em on: Iraqi police colonel assassinated near Beiji
Bring ‘em on: Heavy fighting reported in Fallujah
Bring ‘em on: Iraqi “collaborator” assassinated in Mahmoudiyah
Bring ‘em on: One US Marine killed in fighting in al-Anbar
Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed in fighting in Fallujah
Bring ‘em on: Four children killed, eight wounded in Mosul
"Back in May I visited the ArmorWorks factory in Tempe, which produces body armor for American soldiers and kits of the same material that can be attached in the field to Humvees. As I was leaving the plant, company President Bill Perciballi showed me an e-mail from a soldier in the war zone. It read in part: ‘It's me eddie from iraq thank you for saving my life. I'm doing good except I can't hear out of my left ear but at least I'm alive. And the only reason is because of your armor. It saved my life and the rest of the guys in the truck. We got hit by and I.E.D. on the road and the armor works so well the ceramic didn't even get (expletive) so I just want to say thank you once more and tell you that I will be in touch.’
"The message was sent in January, nearly a year ago. According to the Pentagon, nearly two-thirds of the Americans who have died in combat in Iraq were killed by IEDs: improvised explosive devices.
"When a reservist asked Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld last week why some troops must scavenge through garbage dumps to cobble together a kind of makeshift armor for their vehicles, Rumsfeld said that everything possible was being done. He said, ‘It's essentially a matter of physics. It isn't a matter of money. It isn't a matter on the part of the Army of desire. It's a matter of production and capability of doing it.’
"But in Arizona, the folks at ArmorWorks knew that wasn't true. Matt Salmon, the former Republican congressman who is a consultant for the firm, told me, ‘This is horribly frustrating. This is supposed to be about saving lives. We're producing 300 Humvee kits a month and we could be producing 600. This technology has been in the field. It's battle-tested. And we're incredulous that we haven't been asked to step up production. If the government is doing everything humanly possible then this factory should at close to capacity.’”
More lying Rummy
. “The explosion left him completely deaf in his left ear, and the shrapnel nearly severed his left arm. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld visited Sandrell while he was recovering. That’s when Sandrell says they talked about the armor issue. ‘Basically he said, what do you guys need over there? What are you lacking? Then I got to talking about how our Humvees were just regular light humvees nothing major, and then I told him we needed armor.’ But according to Sandrell, the answer Rumsfeld gave earlier this week, ‘we are working on that,’ is similar to the one he gave him more than a year ago
. “If you blinked, you would have missed news of a Pentagon ‘strategic’ report to Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld revealing that U.S. actions ‘have not only failed, they may also have achieved the opposite of what they intended.’ There was a bit in some newspapers about a damning classified cable from the Central Intelligence Agency's station chief in Baghdad that painted a dismal picture of Iraq's economic, political and security prospects. And, while it got notice when published in October, there's been no follow-up on a study in an esteemed British medical journal suggesting that up to 100,000 civilians had died since the invasion. No follow-up, that is, except to trash the research.”
. “Abdel-Hassan was the doctor's first case in a six-hour shift that began at 8 a.m., and there was nothing he could do. Blood from the dead man's scalp dripped from the black leather stretcher to the grimy tile floor. A green sheet was draped over the body, then pulled over the head. Abdel-Jabbar tried vainly to pull a ring off one finger. Another friend splashed a cup of water over the dead man's right hand, loosening the ring. A nurse then tucked the limp arm under the sheet, blood already seeping across it. ‘It was just banditry, right out in the open,’ Abdel-Jabbar said angrily, lighting a Viceroy cigarette in the emergency room.”
Support the troops
! “The Iraq war veteran, who has been unable to work since his return home, and his two young children have received gifts and cash donations after The Pantagraph highlighted his battle with the U.S. Army over whether his disability is war-related. But, Geason, 29, of Eureka, received a letter from the U.S. Army this week indicating a one-time payment of about $9,000 was the only money he can expect from the military, said his mother, Ruth Tabor of Congerville, who is supporting her son and grandchildren. All but about $2,000 of that was deducted for overpayments and equipment left behind in Iraq, and that was used up long ago, she said. Geason was advised to continue pressing his case with the Veterans Administration and the Social Security Administration.”
. "’We are seeing some unprecedented things. The real fear is that these could be tips of a larger iceberg,’ said P.J. Crowley, a retired colonel who served as a Pentagon spokesman in both Republican and Democratic administrations and was a White House national security aide in the Clinton administration. ‘The real issue is not any one of these things individually. It's what the broader impact will be on our re-enlistment rates and our retention,’ Crowley said.”
By the numbers
. “The Pentagon confirmed to United Press International Wednesday that a cumulative total of 955,000 troops from all military services had been deployed for Operation Iraqi or Enduring Freedom by the end of September. More than 300,000 of those troops have been deployed more than once, the Pentagon said. One government source said the total number of troops deployed has likely hit 1 million since then.”
: “As Americans found out this week, the more enterprising of these soldiers find ways to improvise armor, diving into Kuwaiti scrap heaps or cannibalizing damaged American vehicles. Some, like the soldiers of the 343rd Quartermaster Company, refuse their missions entirely, risking court-martial instead of facing combat with broken or unarmored trucks. Others simply drive on, with blind (and some would say foolish) faith in their equipment. None of these approaches are acceptable. The Army (and to a lesser extent the Marine Corps) must reshape its entire force, front to back, to fight the noncontiguous, nonlinear battles. Every vehicle must have sufficient armor to protect its crew; every convoy must have the right mix of light and heavy weapons to protect itself; every unit must be equipped with night-vision goggles and global positioning systems; every soldier must have the skills and training to fight as an infantryman. One of our military's great strengths is its ability to learn from its mistakes - when things go wrong for a platoon or company, its soldiers and officers put together reviews to make sure it won't happen again. On the larger scale, that system has broken down: the Pentagon has had more than a decade since the cold war ended - and 20 months since the fall of Baghdad - to identify and fix these problems to protect its support troops. There is no excuse for its failure to do so.”
Local story: California
Marine wounded in Iraq.
Local story: New York
soldier wounded in Iraq.
Local story: New Hampshire
Marine wounded in Iraq.