Sunday, December 19, 2004

War News for Sunday, December 19, 2004 Bring ‘em on: Iraqi policeman killed in fighting between insurgents and British troops near Basra. Bring ‘em on: Ten Iraqi contractor employees taken hostage near Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Three Iraqi election officials assassinated in central Baghdad, heavy fighting ensues. Bring ‘em on: Heavy fighting, air strikes reported in Fallujah. Bring ‘em on: Northern pipeline attacked near Beiji. Bring ‘em on: Three Iraqis killed in fighting with US troops in Ramadi. Bring ‘em on: Five attacks on oil pipelines reported in past 24 hours. Bring ‘em on: Four wounded in mortar attack on Sunni mosque in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Ten Iraqis killed, 40 wounded by car bomb at Karbala bus station. Bring ‘em on: Car bomb detonates at Imam Ali shrine in Najaf. Merry Christmas in Iraq. “Fearing insurgent attacks, bishops across the predominantly Muslim country recently announced that they would call off the usual Christmas festivals and celebrations. Some churches will also forgo Christmas Eve Mass, a step unheard of even during Saddam Hussein's regime. Attendance has plummeted. During the holiday season, Haddad's church would have been packed with more than 700 people. Last Sunday, only 27 brave worshipers showed up.” Samarra. “But the attacks haven't stopped. Car bombs target U.S. soldiers at main intersections, mines are left on patrol routes, insurgents pop up and take potshots. On Friday, four mortar rounds landed about 200 yards east of the soldiers' base at an abandoned college building at the center of Samarra. On Saturday, in addition to the 11 a.m. attack that wounded three soldiers just off 40th Street, insurgents launched two other RPG attacks and planted an anti-tank mine nearby. The police force, which sputtered from the start, has completely disbanded, some of its weapons and body armor in the hands of insurgents. The City Council has not met in weeks. U.S. troops are hoping to use Iraqi National Guard and Interior Ministry forces to protect the elections scheduled to take place in less than 45 days.” Rummy. “A new wave of criticism was set to hit US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld Sunday after he admitted that he had not personally signed Pentagon condolence letters to families of soldiers killed in Iraq. But he has vowed to do so in the future, according to a Washington Post report. ‘I wrote and approved the now more than 1,000 letters sent to family members and next of kin of each of the servicemen and women killed in military action,’ Rumsfeld said in a statement to the military newspaper Stars and Stripes. ‘While I have not individually signed each one, in the interest of ensuring expeditious contact with grieving family members, I have directed that in the future I sign each letter,’ the defense chief said, according to the Post.” British wounded. “The MoD has revealed that by last Wednesday, 2,862 personnel had been evacuated back to Britain - mostly because they were too ill or injured to be treated in Iraq. The evacuation rate is currently running at more than 25 soldiers a week, and includes 65 servicemen and women seriously injured in combat over the past four months.” Operation Warm and Fuzzy. “So many wounded troops arrive at Landstuhl these days that suppliers around the medical center have run out of clothing. Wounded soldiers usually show up in the uniforms they were wearing when injured. Temperatures in Germany can be 70 degrees lower than those in the Middle East. Lt. Col. Richard Sirianni, chaplain for the Oregon Air National Guard's 142nd Fighter Wing, learned of the need for clothing after receiving orders to serve at Landstuhl beginning last September. Sirianni, a Catholic priest who counsels soldiers and families there, also found that injured troops needed long-distance telephone cards to call home. So Operation Warm and Fuzzy was born.” Meanwhile, Lieutenant AWOL’s excellent adventure in Iraq should be renamed “Operation Warm and Soft and Brown and Smelly.Commentary Editorial: “The cascading allegations of prisoner abuse, of which these are but a few examples, long ago demolished the president's claim that only a few bad apples were responsible. So did reports that soldiers and officers who complained to their superiors about this mistreatment were threatened with reprisals and even physical harm. Yet as reports of unexplained deaths, humiliations and depravity across the services multiply, President Bush has recently remained silent.” Editorial: “We all know that war claims lives. But it is so easy to forget that war forever changes the lives of those who survive at home. This is one more reason the words of Sen. John Kerry, spoken at the Democratic Convention in Boston, deserve to live long beyond his candidacy. He said that before you go to war, you must be able to look a parent in the eye and say you've done everything possible to avoid this, but it is necessary. We'd only add that you also need to make the same profession to the spouses and children who will be left behind.” Opinion: “But as this war grinds on, as these dead stack up, soldiers and their families are faced with the appalling suspicion that their troops are risking their lives in a cause that is uncertain at best and illegitimate at worst. While some voice private doubts, others insist -- often with increasing stridency -- that the war is justified, that the insurgency can be crushed and that naysaying undermines both national will and troop morale. I admire their steadfast faith, even as I recognize the dilemma. To disbelieve seems too much like betrayal. Skepticism and dissent appear inimical to service and sacrifice. Keeping the warriors and the war untangled is extraordinarily difficult, intellectually and emotionally. All that most of us can do is to mean precisely what we say: We back you.” Casualty Reports Local story: Texas Marine killed in Iraq. Local story: New York soldier wounded in Iraq. Off-Topic Rant of the Day Things that make you want to puke. “After winning re-election and ‘reshaping the rules of politics to fit his 10-gallon-hat leadership style,’ President George Bush for the second time was chosen as Time magazine's Person of the Year.” I wouldn’t have a problem with this if Time had justified their selection by citing Lieutenant AWOL’s staggering incompetence, ability to lie with a straight face on any topic, monumental arrogance, contempt for American democracy, smear-job campaign style, or any of the other characteristics that define this miserable specimen of ignorant and spoiled rich kid. Instead, TIME opts to suck up to the worst president in American history. I therefore award the TIME magazine editorial staff YD’s coveted Brown Nose of the Year Award. Wipe the jizz off your chins before you pose for pictures, hacks.


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