Tuesday, December 28, 2004

<>War News for Tuesday, December 28, 2004 Bring ‘em on: Twelve Iraqi police executed in attack in Dijla. Three policemen shot dead outside of Tikrit. Four police and an ING soldier killed in Ishaki. Local police commander assassinated in Baquba. Three ING soldiers and three civilians killed in bombing in Samarra. B<>ring ‘em on: Militants claim to have executed eight Iraqi employees of American company The Sandi Group. Five ING soldiers killed and twenty six wounded in bombing in Baquba. Five civilians killed and dozens wounded in car bombing in Muradiya. One policeman killed when gunmen attack a station in Mosul. Ten people, including three children, wounded in car bombing in Samarra. Three policemen injured in mortar attack in Mufriq. Bring ‘em on: Five Iraqi police killed and three wounded in four separate attacks on police checkpoints in Tikrit. Bring ‘em on: Six wounded in car bombing attack on ING general in Baghdad. Unfortunate message: For the military personnel on the front lines — and their families and friends — the war is exacting bitter costs. For all other Americans, even for the officials whose decisions sent the troops into battle and shaped the conditions under which they are fighting and dying, the war is imposing no discernible consequences. Like the Civil War, when a rich draftee in the North could hire a poor man to take his place, and Vietnam with its loophole-ridden draft, the Iraq war risks being stained by systemic inequity. Soldiers tend to salute not complain, but this war is straining the military so much that "volunteer service" may no longer precisely describe it. Ordinarily, the Pentagon limits each soldier to one overseas deployment every four or five years. But nearly one-third of the roughly 1 million U.S. troops who have fought in Afghanistan and Iraq have been forced to serve more than one tour of combat duty, the Boston Globe reported last month. Like his tax cuts, Bush's personnel decisions are sending the unfortunate message that no one apart from the soldiers on the ground and their families should pay any price for this war. If the cause in Iraq is as vital as Bush insists, all Americans should contribute. A pity: What puzzled many of us who had listened to Shinseki was the contrast between his emphasis on careful military planning and how shortsighted the administration was in preparing for the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath. Before the war, Shinseki's Army planners were not once consulted by Rumsfeld's office. The State Department's planning proposal for postwar Iraq was similarly ignored by the administration. It was a case of an outside group of civilian neoconservatives moving into the Pentagon and arrogantly taking over the military. Heedless of any advice to the contrary, Rumsfeld's "shock and awe" attack gained an apparent quick victory at the cost of postwar policy. Some 20 months after the fall of Baghdad, Iraq remains in pieces, with anti-American fervor strong and our military victory tarnished by a stubborn insurgency and the needless brutalities at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. If this is what Rumsfeld's idea of "transformation" has brought us, it's a pity we didn't try Shinseki's. Love this first line: U.S. President George W. Bush claims his policy is to promote democracy because democratic countries do not wage aggressive wars. Most observers think it very unlikely that democracy can be imposed on Iraq, which has no democratic traditions and is, in any case, deeply divided among the Shiite majority, a Sunni minority and a large Kurdish population. It seems improbable that full, free and fair elections can be held in Iraq on Jan. 30, as planned, even if security in the main centers of population can be assured. The best that can be hoped for is the emergence of an Iraqi regime that can claim a reasonable element of legitimacy. After all that has happened in Iraq since March 2003, it is inevitable that the new regime will be judged according to how it stands up for Iraqi rights and brings together the various elements in Iraq. It will have to be nationalist in its policies, if it is to win the backing of the Iraqi people. Above all it must not be viewed as an American puppet. It must be prepared to criticize and oppose U.S. policies if it considers them not in Iraq's national interes<>t. The Iraq you have: The Wasington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIC) said on Wednesday that the US is facing increasingly deadly attacks in Iraq because it has failed to honestly assess facts on the ground. And in a report published on the same day, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group said Iraqi hostility towards the US-led "occupation" means that Washington can no longer achieve its pre-war goals. The US said its initial objective was to turn Iraq into a model for the region - a democratic, secular and free-market oriented government, sympathetic to US interests, not openly hostile towards Israel, and possibly home to long-term American military bases. "Washington has to realise - you occupy the Iraq you have, not the Iraq you might wish to have later," said Robert Malley, director of the IGC's Middle East/North Africa Programme. The Iraq Civil War Black hordes: It is unsettling that even some of Allawi's supporters are contributing to heightened tensions. They have been inciting Iraqis to a level of hatred that had previously been preached only by extremist fringe groups, and are being backed by politicians ranging well into the ranks of moderate groups. Allawi's defense minister, Hazem Shaalan, has demonized the election alliance headed by Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim. "Iran is Iraq's and the Arab world's most dangerous enemy," Shaalan told a group of American and military personnel and NATO officers in Baghdad. "We must focus all of our efforts on stopping these advancing black hordes," he said. Shaalan's words may have reminded some in his audience of Saddam's anti-Persian propaganda during the Iraq/Iran war. But the central message in Shaalan's election campaign - that the black-turbaned Shiite mullahs plan to establish a "dictatorship of Islam" -- has long been a standard argument of Washington's foreign policy hawks. Triple setback: The drive to hold nationwide elections in Iraq on Jan. 30 may have suffered a triple setback yesterday with the suicide car bombing of a major Shiite leader's residence, the withdrawal from the race by the main Sunni party and a call to boycott the elections apparently by al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. U.S. and Iraqi officials hope the elections to create a new government will cool the country's simmering political passions and stanch a violent rebellion by Sunni Arabs resentful of their diminished status following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. But the six-week official campaign season appears to have raised sectarian tensions, with recent violence apparently aimed at driving the country's two Muslim sects into civil war. The ethnic card: Iraq faces the prospect of civil war as Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's government loses credibility and violence against U.S. forces increases, according to almost a half dozen former and serving administration officials. Upcoming January elections will not improve the deteriorating security situation, these sources said, all speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitiveness of the topic. Plus a new threat has arisen. "We are starting to play the ethnic card in Iraq, just as the Soviets played it in Afghanistan," said former CIA chief of Afghanistan operation Milt Bearden. "You only play it when you're losing and by playing it, you simply speed up the process of losing," he said. These Are The Real Americans Families of US troops killed in the offensive on the Iraqi city of Fallujah are to travel to Jordan next week with $600,000 worth of humanitarian aid for refugees. The November assault on Fallujah left 71 US military dead, according to the families, and the Iraqi government said more than 2 000 Iraqis had been killed. "This delegation is a way for me to express my sympathy and support for the Iraqi people," said Rosa Suarez of Escondido in California. "The Iraqi war took away my son's life, and it has taken away the lives of so many innocent Iraqis. It is time to stop the killing and to help the children of Iraq" Regardless of their religious affiliations, these people have more of the true spirit of Christianity in their eyelashes than you can find in the entire so-called religious right. Casualty Reports Local story: Oklahoma soldier wounded in Mosul. Local story: Lincoln County, MT, Marine killed in Al Anbar province. Local story: Loyal, WI, National Guardsman killed in Samarra. Local story: Camp Marez bids farewell to four soldiers killed in mess hall bombing. .


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