Sunday, October 31, 2004
War News for Sunday, October 31, 2004
Bring ‘em on: Explosions reported in Baghdad’s
Bring ‘em on: Polish troops mortared near Karbala
Bring ‘em on: Sudanese translator working for US contractor kidnapped near Ramadi
Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi policemen killed in mortar attack in Ramadi
Bring ‘em on: Three US Marines wounded in Ramadi
Bring ‘em on: Air strikes and artillery shelling reported in Fallujah
Bring ‘em on: British troops mortared near Mahmoudiyah
Bring ‘em on: Ten Iraqis killed, 15 wounded in heavy fighting in Ramadi
Bring ‘em on: Iraqi Kurd newspaper editor assassinated in Baghdad
Bring ‘em on: One US Marine killed in attack on patrol in Ramadi
Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi soldiers killed in ambush near Baghdad
. “On average, two U.S. troops die every day in Iraq and almost 15 are wounded. …In 18 months of conflict, 1,106 U.S. personnel have died in Iraq from combat action or accidents and 8,150 Americans have been injured, according to Pentagon statistics as of Friday.”
Chemical weapons site
looted. “Looters overran an Iraqi complex last year where a bunker holding old chemical weapons was sealed by United Nations monitors, American arms inspectors have reported. The American inspectors say all of the sealed structures at the Muthanna site, 35 miles northwest of Baghdad, were broken into. But it is unknown if usable chemical warheads were in the bunker, what may have been taken and by whom.”
today. “When he stood among the clusters of bunkers, Mr. Mizher said, he felt the weight of dead silence, pierced now and then only by the screech of a desert bird winging overhead. The outline of a grinning Saddam Hussein had been sketched on a wall in a half-destroyed building. In one place, a handful of looters were still working under the watchful eyes of the mujahedeen. Nothing of much value was left except for the metal reinforcing bars inside some of the crumbling concrete walls of buildings around the bunkers. So the looters tugged at those and carried them off. There was no sign of any remaining explosives. The insides of the bunkers were picked clean. The complex was arranged in eight great clusters of seven bunkers each. Mr. Mizher visited three of those clusters, where a total of four bunkers had contained sealed containers of high-density explosives, according to confidential records kept by the International Atomic Energy Agency.”
Not enough troops
. “Six months after the fall of Baghdad, a vast Iraqi weapons depot with tens of thousands of artillery rounds and other explosives remained unguarded, according to two U.S. aid workers who say they reported looting of the site to American military officials. The aid workers say they informed Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the highest-ranking Army officer in Iraq in October 2003, but were told that the United States did not have enough troops to seal off the Ukhaider Ammunition Storage Area, which included more than 60 bunkers packed with munitions.”
. “A year ago the insurgents were relegated to sabotaging power and gas lines hundreds of miles outside Baghdad. Today they are moving into once safe neighborhoods in the heart of the capital, choking off what remains of "normal" Iraqi society like a creeping jungle. And they are increasingly brazen. At one point in Ramadi last week, while U.S. soldiers were negotiating with the mayor (who declared himself governor after the appointed governor fled), two insurgents rode by shooting AK-47s—from bicycles. Now even Baghdad's Green Zone, the four-square-mile U.S. compound cordoned off by blast walls and barbed wire, is under nearly daily assault by gunmen, mortars and even suicide bombers.”
: “To adapt the words of Talleyrand, the Bush presidency has been not merely a crime but a mistake. Mr Bush has proved a terrifying failure in the world's most powerful office. He has made the world more angry, more dangerous and more divided - not less. This, above all, is why it matters to us, as it should to Americans, that John Kerry is elected on Tuesday. A safer world requires not just the example of American power but the power of American example. Mr Bush has done more to destroy America's good name in the world than any president in memory. Mr Kerry provides an opportunity to begin to repair the damage. It is as simple - and as important - as that.”
: “If George W. Bush is indeed elected for real this time around, it would signal the triumph of White House falsehoods continuously told. The prime lie, for those who yet believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, took a country to war under false pretenses that Saddam Hussein posed a nuclear threat to the continental U.S. A corollary, that 41 percent still believe, held that the Iraqi dictator supported the al-Qaida consortium that brought down the World Trade Center towers.”
Local story: Texas
soldier killed in Iraq.
Local story: New Hampshire
Marine wounded in Iraq.
86-43-04. Pass it on.
Saturday, October 30, 2004
War News for Saturday, October 30, 2004
Bring ‘em on: Eight US Marines killed, nine wounded fighting in near Fallujah
Bring ‘em on: Sixteen Iraqis wounded in car bombing at Baghdad
Bring ‘em on: British troops mortared near Baghdad
Bring ‘em on: Insurgents seize Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan truck drivers near Mosul
Bring ‘em on: Insurgents execute Japanese hostage
Bring ‘em on: Turkish truck driver killed in ambush near Mosul
Bring ‘em on: Three US soldiers wounded in Mosul
Bring ‘em on: Car bomb attack on US checkpoint near Ramadi
Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed, one wounded in car bomb attack on US convoy near Ramadi
Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi killed, seven Iraqi soldiers wounded in Samarra
Bring ‘em on: Eleven Iraqis killed, 15 wounded in ambush of US and Iraqi Army convoy near Haswa
Bring ‘em on: Iraqi police patrol ambushed near Ramadi
Bring ‘em on: Three US soldiers wounded by roadside bomb near Tall Afar
Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi police killed in ambush near Latifiyah
Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi policeman killed, one wounded in RPG ambush near Baquba
Bring ‘em on: British convoy ambushed near Nasiriyah
Bring ‘em on: Pipeline ablaze near Kirkuk
One British soldier killed, three injured in vehicle accident in Babil province
. “The Pentagon has ordered about 6,500 soldiers in Iraq to extend their tours, the first step the military has taken to increase its combat power there in preparation for the January elections, senior Defense Department officials said Friday. About 3,500 members of the Second Brigade of the First Cavalry Division will stay in Iraq two months longer than initially ordered, and about 3,000 soldiers assigned to headquarters and support units of the First Infantry Division will have their tours extended by two and a half weeks.”
. “When the 1544th Transportation Company of the Illinois National Guard was preparing to leave for Iraq in February, relatives of the soldiers offered to pay to weld steel plates on the unit's trucks to protect against roadside bombs. The Army told them not to, because it would provide better protection in Iraq, relatives said. Seven months later, many of the company's trucks still have no armor, soldiers and relatives said, despite running some of the most dangerous missions in Iraq and incurring the highest rate of injuries and deaths among the Illinois units deployed there….Before the 103rd Armor Regiment of the Pennsylvania National Guard left in late February, some relatives bought those soldiers new body armor to supplant the Vietnam-era flak jackets that had been issued. The mother of Sgt. Sherwood Baker, a member of the regiment who was killed in April, bought a global positioning device after being told that the Army said his truck should have one but would not supply it. And before Karma Kumlin's husband left with his Minnesota National Guard unit in February, the soldiers spent about $200 each on radios that they say have turned out to be more reliable - although less secure - than the Army's. Only recently, Ms. Kumlin said, has her husband gotten a metal shield for the gunner's turret he regularly mans, after months of asking.”
: “I just don’t believe George Bush, who is one of the best speech givers I have ever heard, knows how to run a country. There are enough terrorists being created in this world without having a president who is in the process of creating hundreds of thousands more. “Pre-emptive invasions” are usually a disaster. They are a disaster for the invaded countries and for the invaders. Mr. Bush is the most divisive president we have known in our lifetime. The President has spoken frequently of Poland assisting the United States in Iraq with 3,000 troops. Those troops will be pulled out soon. Friends of mine who were in Poland recently watched the burning of an American flag in front of their hotel. The reputation of this nation as the greatest land the world has ever known — that reputation could be damaged for a long time if George Bush is re-elected. It’s time for a change.”
: “The opening proceedings last summer of the ad hoc military tribunals Bush ginned up to sort out who's dangerous and who's not proved a disaster. The interpreters were incompetent and even commission members were confused about the rules. The Pentagon is now scrambling to reorganize and restaff the panels in a doomed effort to salvage any credibility. As the administration continues to stonewall judges doing what the founding fathers intended — ensuring that the president doesn't overstep his authority — it is not a stretch to say that Americans are witnessing the makings of a constitutional crisis.”
The failed strategy in Fallujah is writ large across Iraq. In its engagements in Samarra, Najaf, Ramadi and elsewhere, the US has tended toward measuring success in terms of body counts. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld bragged that the US killed up to 2,500 insurgents in August alone (many of whom would have fallen in the siege of Najaf). But it is highly likely that the US is creating more enemies than it is killing. US Private Mario Rutigliano, 19, understands this if Rumsfeld does not. After the US attack on the northern border town of Tall Afar in mid-September that killed 104 Iraqis, Rutigliano told the Washington Post: "It doesn't matter how many we kill, they'll always keep coming back. They've all got cousins, brothers. They have an endless supply."
The upshot of this cycle of death and vengeance is that there are now 8,000-10,000 hardcore insurgents, or 20,000 if active sympathizers are included, according to US officials who spoke to the New York Times. Though former members of the Ba'ath security forces may have composed the original core of the insurgency, its ranks are now swollen with ordinary Iraqis. Combating Iraqis who are fighting to liberate themselves from their "liberators" presents the Bush administration with serious moral and legal quandaries, of course, and an acute public relations dilemma.
To traverse this minefield and salve any uneasiness the American people might have about crushing a nationalist uprising, the administration has sold the "foreign fighter" argument to the media. Zarqawi, the alleged leader of the Tawhid and Jihad group, has been particularly targeted, with the media gratefully wielding him to personalize the amorphous Iraqi quagmire to a befuddled nation. Even a recent headline in the left-leaning Christian Science Monitor read "Fallujans flee from US, Zarqawi fight", suggesting a showdown between the Jordanian militant and 5,000 marines. The media have also taken the US military's assurances that the strikes have been "precise" at face value, with occasionally surreal results. A recent CNN broadcast featured raw footage of a house in Fallujah that had been flattened by a US air strike and, as wounded children were pulled from the rubble, anchor Carol Lin informed viewers, without qualification, that the US had struck a Zarqawi meeting place.
Zarqawi is now a catch-all for the troubled Iraq project - prime mover of the insurgency and missing link to the "war on terror". Vice President Dick Cheney claimed in October that Zarqawi is responsible for "most of the major car bombings that have killed or maimed thousands of people". The recent pledge of loyalty to Osama bin Laden attributed to Zarqawi was understandably seized upon by the White House as vindication for the war and any future assault on Fallujah.
Because the US public imbibes much of its news about Iraq from television, which offers only a thin, uncritical filter of the administration's spin, many Americans, while understandably preoccupied with the 1,111 US military deaths, are only dimly aware of the immense Iraqi death toll and the resentment born of US military excess. And with the "war on terror" now neatly folded into the Iraqi uprising, there is little discussion of the ethical implications of suppressing it.
Local story: Maryland
soldier wounded in Iraq.
Awards and Decorations
Local story: New Hampshire
Marine decorated for valor in Iraq.
Young Republican Chickenhawks
86-43-04. Pass it on.
Friday, October 29, 2004
War News for Friday, October 29, 2004
Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed in ambush near Balad
Bring ‘em on: Insurgents execute eleven Iraqi soldiers
Bring ‘em on: One US soldier wounded in patrol ambush near Mosul
Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi policeman killed, one wounded in attack on police station near Hilla
Bring ‘em on: Deputy governor of Diyalah assassinated near Baquba
Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi killed, three Iraqis and two US soldiers wounded by car bomb in Mosul
Allawi sends negotiating team to Fallujah
. “Iraq's prime minister will send a team to insurgent-held Fallujah to discuss clearing the city of insurgents and heavy weapons in a last-ditch bid to avert a full-scale military assault, officials said on Friday. The comments came as some 1,000 US and Iraqi troops who have encircled the city for more than two weeks, said they were prepared for action if ordered.”
US prepares for major assaults in Fallujah and Ramadi
More weapons and explosives looted
. “Many U.S. officials and other experts blame the massive disappearance of Iraqi weapons-related materials on the Pentagon's failure to anticipate the waves of looting and lawlessness that convulsed Iraq after Saddam's ouster in April 2003. They also cited decisions by Rumsfeld and former Gen. Tommy Franks, the overall commander of the invasion, to deploy far fewer U.S. troops to stabilize the country than U.S. ground commanders had sought. Al Qaqaa was on a classified list of Iraqi weapons facilities that the CIA provided to Pentagon and military officials before the invasion, said the U.S. intelligence official. But when the Pentagon and U.S. Central Command produced their own list of sites that a limited number of U.S. ‘exploitation teams’ should search, priority was given to those identified by exiled Iraqi opposition groups, he said. Al Qaqaa wasn't one of them.”
British medical journal estimates 100,000 Iraqis
. “Since the war started in March 2003, more than 8,000 U.S. troops have been wounded - roughly seven for every death. And about half of the wounds have occurred in the last six months. The 31st Combat Support Hospital is in the former Ibn Sina Hospital, a private hospital built by Saddam Hussein for the exclusive use of his family and closest friends. It is located inside the heavily fortified Green Zone and admits about 10 patients a day, though that number changes according to insurgent activity, officials said.”
. “The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating whether the Army's handling of a large Iraq contract with the Halliburton Company violated procurement rules, according to lawyers for an Army official who made the charges of improprieties. F.B.I. agents have requested an interview with the official, Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, the chief of contracting with the Army Corps of Engineers, on her allegations regarding a 2003 contract with Halliburton to repair Iraqi oil fields, her lawyer, Michael D. Kohn, said in an interview yesterday. Ms. Greenhouse, in an Oct. 21 letter to the acting Army secretary, charged that officials had shown favoritism toward Halliburton, the Houston-based conglomerate formerly led by Vice President Dick Cheney, in the awarding and oversight of the oil contract. She also said officials at the Army Corps of Engineers had tried to remove her as chief contract monitor after she raised persistent questions about Halliburton contracts. The Army says it has referred her letter to the Pentagon's inspector general for review.”
. “The economic cost incurred so far may be as large as - or larger than - what has actually been spent directly on the war. (While estimates vary, the official figure for spending stands at around $120 billion since the conflict began.) And there are likely to be major economic costs as long as the war continues. But start with the economic impact to date. Two economists, Warwick J. McKibbin of the Brookings Institution and Andrew Stoeckel of the Center for International Economics in Australia, have calculated that the war may have already cost the United States $150 billion in lost gross domestic product since fighting began in March 2003. That is close to one percentage point of growth lost over the past year and a half. If that figure is correct, the nation's annual economic growth rate, which has been 3.7 percent during this period, could have been nearly 4.7 percent without the war.”
: “He went to war without serious thought to dealing with the aftermath. Because we lacked enough troops and even rudimentary plans to secure and rebuild the country, a variety of enemies have been able to fight for control of Iraq and hope to bleed America dry. That violence and our response to it are creating more terrorists and more terrorist sympathizers. Instead of encouraging democracy in the Middle East, the war is making it less likely.”
: “But Kerry has one huge advantage over Bush, and that is his willingness to recognize the situation in Iraq for what it truly is - a rapidly deteriorating crisis that is teetering on the brink of chaos. Bush has yet to demonstrate that he grasps either the reality of what is happening in Iraq or his mistakes and miscalculations that helped create that reality.”
: “There are few more telling symbols of the Pentagon's disastrously misplaced priorities than this week's debut of the F/A-22 Raptor, the most expensive fighter ever built. This gold-plated cold war plane enters service some 23 years after it was first designed and at four times its originally projected price, even after adjusting for inflation. Every F-22 will cost taxpayers more than a quarter of a billion dollars. The Air Force plans to buy 277….But this is Air Force money, and there would be shock, awe and anger among military bureaucrats and defense contracting executives if it was redirected to different services, like the Army and Marines, and different needs, like more ground troops for Iraq. These budgeting dogmas are as bipartisan as they are dysfunctional. It is the responsibility of this administration, and the one to be elected next Tuesday, to shut down these extravagant and unjustified programs. That is the best way to ensure that America can afford what it really needs.”
: “In May of 2003, President Bush thought the war was over. It had barely begun. Many thousands have died in the long and bloody months since then. Even now, Dick Cheney, with a straight face, is calling Iraq ‘a remarkable success story.’ One of the worst things about the management of this war is the way we've treated our men and women in uniform. The equipment shortages experienced by troops shoved into combat have been unconscionable. Soldiers and marines, in many cases, have been forced to face enemy fire with flak jackets from the Vietnam era that were all but useless, and sometimes without any body armor at all. Relatives back home have had to send the troops such items as radios and goggles, and even graphite to keep their weapons from jamming.”
: “When this economic record is combined with recent events in Iraq – over 1,000 U.S. troops killed, 7,000 wounded with thousands of amputees, 27,000 total medically-related discharges, and thousands of innocent Iraqi deaths – the picture of a government out of control comes into focus. So why is Bush, as of this writing, projected as the possible winner in this November’s general election?”
Letter to the Editor
: “There are more holes in George Bush’s Christianity than there are in his military service record.”
: “What would a Kerry presidency bring to the table in Iraq? Above all a renewed commitment to competence. It is difficult to imagine that his administration could possibly make as many mistakes as the Bush administration. From the start, the Pentagon ignored State Department plans for the postwar occupation, expecting instead that the Iraqi people would ‘greet us as liberators,’ as Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz predicted in 2003. This disdain for expertise continued throughout the occupation, as the Coalition Provisional Authority was stacked with political appointees rather than actual experts, and fatal decisions such as disbanding the Iraqi army were made over the objections of military personnel. The advisers in Kerry's inner circle, by contrast, are known for prizing competence and facts over mere ideology. Consider Richard Holbrooke, who is on the short list for Secretary of State in a Kerry administration. When tasked with managing the occupation in Bosnia during the 1990s, Holbrooke ‘scoured the Foreign Service, the military, and the civilian bureaucracy for experts who knew the Balkans, who could speak the local language, and who could do the jobs for which they were recruited,’ according to then-Croatian ambassador Peter Galbraith.”
: “The fight this time is expected to be just as bloody, experts say. And the spread of the insurgency - with its greater destructive expertise, numerous cells, and as many as 20,000 recruits across Iraq - means that a Fallujah triumph alone may not end the insurgency. ‘The logic is: You flatten Fallujah, hold up the head of Fallujah, and say “Do our bidding, or you're next,”’ says Toby Dodge, an Iraq analyst at the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London. ‘The reason for such [threats] is because there are not enough troops, which creates a security vacuum, which fuels the insurgency.’”
: “Inexplicably, the looting in Baghdad was not halted after a few days, but went on for weeks. Hospitals, museums, ministries and even some of Saddam Hussein's palaces were looted and, in some cases, burned. The U.S. inaction was bewildering and a source of great anger and frustration to most of the Iraqis I knew. There have been few public explanations from U.S. officials about this, but, off the record, senior U.S. military officers have told me they did not intervene because they had insufficient numbers of troops.”
: “How does the Bush administration get away with all this? Once again, thanks to the media. Apart from the New York Times, CBS News and the blogosphere, US corporate media are doing what the can to shun the story - duly following the White House line. The entire Bush administration spin now consists of ‘proving’ the explosives had already disappeared before April 3, 2003. But accumulated evidence from the ‘reality-based community’ - ie the real world, as compared with the Bush administration's fantasyland - keeps interfering.”
Local story: South Carolina
Guardsman killed in Iraq.
Local story: Virginia
soldier wounded in Iraq.
Local story: Texas
soldier wounded in Iraq.
Local story: Colorado
Marine wounded in Iraq.
Local story: Georgia
contractor killed in Iraq.
Note to Readers
I don't know if many readers read the local stories linked under Casualty Reports. The stories of today's three wounded soldiers not only give you insight into the nature of the wounds - a double amputee, a triple amputee and a Marine partially blinded and disfigured - but they are well written and also give some insight into the character of these casualties.
Rant of the Day
Al QaQaa (prounonced al ca ca)
A. ca-ca: 1. A hispanic term meaning shit. 2. Used mainly by hispanic parents as a way to deter young children from touching things. (1.) Damn that smells like ca-ca. (2.) Ca-ca, don't touch that!
B. ca-ca: 1. spanish for "poop" (1.) there's no way you have to ca-ca AGAIN!
If any of you saw today's Pentagon press conference with Larry Di Rita and MAJ Pearson on the fiasco at Al Qa-Qaa, you witnessed Lying Larry being repeatedly dipped in shit by the good Major. Truly a sight to behold.
86-43-04. Pass it on.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
War News for Thursday, October 28, 2004
Bring ‘em on: Three Iraqis killed in US air strike in Fallujah
Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed, two wounded by car bomb in Baghdad
Bring ‘em on: One foreign civilian killed, three wounded by roadside bomb attack near Baghdad
Bring ‘em on: Senior official from Iraqi Foreign Affairs Ministry assassinated in Baghdad
Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed, one wounded in convoy ambush near Sindiayah
Bring ‘em on: Iraqi television anchorwoman assassinated in Baghdad
Bring ‘em on: One Estonian soldier killed, five wounded by roadside bomb ambush in Baghdad
Bring ‘em on: Explosions reported at South Korean base camp near Arbil
Bring ‘em on: INC politician assassinated in Baghdad
Bring ‘em on: US troops attacked by roadside bomb near Baghdad
Bring ‘em on: Three Iraqis killed, four wounded in fighting near Baquba
Bring ‘em on: Three Iraqi policemen wounded in bomb ambush near Basra
Bring ‘em on: British troops ambushed in Basra
Bring ‘em on: Three US soldiers wounded by car bomb in Baghdad
Bring ‘em on: Insurgents take Polish woman
hostage in Iraq.
Bring ‘em on: Coalition checkpoint mortared near As Suwayrah
Bring ‘em on: Car bombing foiled in Mosul
Bring ‘em on: Insurgents seize Latifiyah
, expel residents.
the troops. “Prime Minister Ayad Allawi blamed the U.S.-led military forces on Tuesday for the weekend massacre of 49 freshly trained Iraqi soldiers, saying the military had shown ‘major negligence.’”
. “With a powerful mix of propaganda and intimidation, well-financed guerrillas have turned the people of Ramadi against the American occupiers and their allies, Iraqis and marines here say. ‘The provincial government is on the verge of collapse,’ said Second Lt. Ryan Schranel, whose platoon does 24-hour guard duty at the besieged government center opposite the main bazaar. ‘Just about everybody has resigned or is on the verge of resigning.’”
Support the troops
! “I know my uncle, a 22-year veteran of the U.S. Army currently fighting in Iraq, wants to vote. But because of Republican Party tactics this election year, he almost lost his chance.”
: “The gap between the administration's public statements and private actions is enormous. In May, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said civilians captured in Iraq would be treated according to the conventions. And Stephen Cambone, Mr. Rumsfeld's under secretary for intelligence, gave at best a misleading answer when he testified under oath that it was his ‘guess’ that President Bush would take the issue under advisement should it ever come up. Not only had it come up, but the decision had already been made to deny the protections of the Geneva Conventions to certain prisoners.”
: “The United States is in Iraq because ________. President Bush has been erasing his answers and writing new ones since before the invasion began. A recent answer is: To capture or kill Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Zarqawi is the Jordanian-born terrorist responsible for bombings, ambushes and beheadings. President Bush put Zarqawi at the top of his list to answer Sen. John Kerry's charge that Iraq is a distraction from the war on terror. That was before news reports revealed that poor decisions by President Bush have given Zarqawi the scope and possibly the munitions he needs to attack American and Iraqi forces.”
: “My peripatetic colleague Dana Milbank recently reported on a poll showing that 72 percent of Bush's supporters believe Iraq did in fact possess weapons of mass destruction and that 75 percent believed Hussein gave al Qaeda ‘substantial support.’ These beliefs are false, in contradiction of the facts, and even Bush, when pressed, has admitted that. But these beliefs did not arise out of nowhere. They are a direct consequence of the administration's repeated lies -- lies of commission, such as Cheney's statements, and lies of omission, the appalling failure to correct wrongly held views.”
: “If George W. Bush loses this election, he will face a career crisis not seen since his days as a failed oil wildcatter before he was elected governor of Texas. But like all confused job seekers, Bush should follow his passion, which is clearly bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq. That is why if John Kerry is elected president, he should appoint Bush to be his ambassador to Iraq.”
: “The damage done by Abu Ghraib might at least have been minimized had the administration pursued a strategy of publicly and sincerely holding accountable those responsible for it. Instead, it has done something close to the opposite. The Bush administration has condemned the abuses as the work of a ‘few bad apples,’ while working diligently to get the story off the front pages and out of the presidential campaign. In a meeting with Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth shortly after the scandal broke, reports Hersh, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice argued that the abuses resulted not from the president's policies in the war on terrorism, but from “implementation of policy” by the military. The various committees and commissions investigating the scandal have more or less abetted this line of defense. Discussing the results of the independent investigation into Abu Ghraib he chaired, former defense secretary James R. Schlesinger explained that while ‘institutional and personal responsibility’ for the abuses went all the way to Washington, they were rooted in the sadism and brutality of a few individuals—‘Animal House on the night shift,’ as he put it. While the military's civilian leadership was guilty of ‘indirect responsibility,’ Schlesinger told reporters, Donald Rumsfeld's resignation ‘would be a boon to all of America's enemies.’ Go past the executive summaries and press releases, however, and a careful reading of the reports reveals a different story. The devastating scandal of Abu Ghraib wasn't a failure of implementation, as Rice and other administration defenders have admitted. It was a direct—and predictable—consequence of a policy, hatched at the highest levels of the administration, by senior White House officials and lawyers, in the weeks and months after 9/11. Yet the administration has largely managed to escape responsibility for those decisions; a month from election day, almost no one in the press or the political class is talking about what is, without question, the worst scandal to emerge from President Bush's nearly four years in office.”
Local story: Arizona
soldier killed in Iraq.
Local story: Massachusetts
Marine killed in Iraq.
Local story: Hawaii
Marine dies in Iraq.
Rant of the Day
really frosts my ass. I don’t know what happened to the explosives at Al Qa Qaa, but I damn well know what should have happened.
Tucked away in one of the G4 annexes of every Division Operations Order, (I don’t remember which annex, and I’m too lazy to go dig out my copy of FM 101-5) there are instructions on what to do with captured enemy material. The capturing unit destroys enemy weapons in place. Small arms and crew-served weapons are collected and smashed with a tracked vehicle, while larger weapons are destroyed with a thermite grenade placed in the breech. (Never toss a thermite in the muzzle. If the previous owner left a round in the breech, you’ll get a big surprise.)
You report captured ammunition and other material with a spot report that eventually arrives at the G4 in the Division rear command post, while your brigade S3 and the Division G3 will alert follow-on units about the location. Based on the specifics of whatever you’ve captured and reported, the logistics weenies in G4 will either send out a survey team or ask the G3 to issue a fragmentary order to the Division engineers to blow that shit up.
If the G4 decides to survey whatever you captured, they can opt to destroy it, evacuate it or secure it. Again, the G4 - either at Corps or Division - will issue the appropriate FRAGO, directing an MP unit to secure the site, a quartermaster unit to haul it away, or an engineer unit to destroy it.
If I remember correctly, the time standard from spot report to final disposition is 72 hours.
Here’s the nub, and to make my point I’ll have to explain a bit about Army organizations and staff functions. Bear with me; it won’t hurt much. An Army division is a self-contained unit with organic resources configured to move, shoot, communicate and sustain high-intensity combat operation for 96 hours without reconstitution or outside support. An Army corps is a big, fat headquarters with shitloads of staff planners, logisticians, and even bigger shitloads of support units that is capable of maneuvering and supporting two or more divisions for an entire campaign. The corps augments subordinate divisions with resources from corps support units - say, engineers, military police, artillery, aviation or logistics outfits - based on mission, enemy troops, terrain, and time available. For example, a division assigned to breach an obstacle by assault will receive the lion’s share of corps’ combat engineer and artillery assets while the follow-on exploitation division will get a disproportionate amount of the corps aviation goodies.
Now, back to all that shit you captured and reported. If the division is moving rapidly, that stuff will end up in the Corps sector as boundaries change, but the disposition process remains the same - destroy, secure or evacuate the shit. We know Rumsfeld stripped out many corps support units from the time-phased force and deployment list (the document that identifies, alerts and deploys units required to support the campaign plan, abbreviated TPFDL and pronounced “tip fiddle“ or “dick fiddle” depending on your core beliefs about staff duty.) Rummy stripped out the XVIII Airborne Corps MP brigade, engineer brigade, and logistic units. Those units didn’t deploy for the initial invasion and couldn’t reinforce the assault divisions until they arrived in the theater of operations, well after the fall of Baghdad.
So you captured a depot of enemy material. You reported it. You marked it on your map and alerted the units to your left, right and rear. You told your troops not to fuck around with it and your sergeants enforced your order. Your battalion commander issues march order, you saddle up and submit a displacement report as you head off to your next objective. You did your job and you did it right.
The guy who didn’t do his job was Donald Rumsfeld, because he didn’t give your division and corps staff weenies the necessary resources to destroy, secure or evacuate all that shit you captured, and now the bad guys are throwing it at you with a vengeance.
So bite my Big Red One, Billy Kristol, Laura Ingraham and Rudy Giuliani.
86-43-04. Pass it on.
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Note to Readers, Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Due to my work schedule I won't be able to update today and tomorrow. Alert readers can post links in the thread below. Thanks,
86-43-04. Pass it on.
Monday, October 25, 2004
War News for Monday, October 25, 2004
Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqis killed, three Australian soldiers wounded in car bomb ambush in Baghdad
Bring ‘em on: One Bulgarian soldier killed, three wounded in car bomb ambush near Karbala
Bring ‘em on: US convoy attacked by car bomb near Khaldiyah
Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi killed, two wounded in two car bombings in Mosul
Bring ‘em on: Iraqi police station near Kirkuk
attacked by 20 insurgents.
Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi policeman kidnapped, one killed by insurgents near Ramadi
Bring ‘em on: Two US convoys attacked by roadside bombs in Baghdad
Bring ‘em on: Renovated Iraqi medical clinic damaged by mortar fire in Baghdad
Bring ‘em on: Five Iraqis killed in fighting with US troops in Ramadi
Bring ‘em on: Tribal leader assassinated bu bomb in Mosul
Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed, five wounded in roadside bomb ambush in Baghdad
Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi killed, one wounded in mortar attack near Beiji
. “A European diplomat reported that Jacques Baute, head of the arms agency's Iraq nuclear inspection team, warned officials at the United States mission in Vienna about the danger of the nuclear sites and materials once under I.A.E.A. supervision, including Al Qaqaa. But apparently, little was done. A senior Bush administration official said that during the initial race to Baghdad, American forces ‘went through the bunkers, but saw no materials bearing the I.A.E.A. seal.’ It is unclear whether troops ever returned. By late 2003, diplomats said, arms agency experts had obtained commercial satellite photos of Al Qaqaa showing that two of roughly 10 bunkers that contained HMX appeared to have been leveled by titanic blasts, apparently during the war. They presumed some of the HMX had exploded, but that is unclear….But the Bush administration would not allow the agency back into the country to verify the status of the stockpile. In May 2004, Iraqi officials say in interviews, they warned L. Paul Bremer III, the American head of the occupation authority, that Al Qaqaa had probably been looted. It is unclear if that warning was passed anywhere. Efforts to reach Mr. Bremer by telephone were unsuccessful. But by the spring of 2004, the Americans were preoccupied with the transfer of authority to Iraq, and the insurgency was gaining strength. ‘It's not an excuse,’ said one senior administration official. ‘But a lot of things went by the boards.’”
Report from Baghdad
. “There are indeed reasons for all this chaos, murder and mayhem. Those reasons lie in the nature of invasion, war and, most crucially of all, occupation. The US-led occupation forces presented themselves as champions of liberation, freedom and democracy. What they have achieved is chaos, collective punishment, assassinations, abuse and torture of prisoners, and destruction of the country's infrastructure.”
Lieutenant AWOL as CINC
. “Bush has failed the military on almost every level. While Halliburton and Boeing went to the bank this year with about $10 billion each, undermanned U.S. forces went into Iraq without armored vests and driving unarmored vehicles. The fatal results were hidden from public view as the dead were secreted home and the Department of Defense (DOD) obscured and juggled the numbers of maimed and wounded. Once back in the United States, veterans found no federal welcome mat laid out for them. By April this year, one in six veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan had filed benefits claims with the Veterans Administration for service-related disabilities. These figures do not include those troops still serving and are twice the number the DOD Web site says suffered ‘Non-Mortal Wounds’ in those conflicts. Today, one-third of those claims, almost 10,000, have yet to be processed. Further, Bush’s 2005 budget will cut 540 staff members of the Veterans Benefit Administration, which is the office that handles the claims. The outreach department that lets vets know of available services also was instructed in a 2002 memo by a deputy undersecretary in the Veterans Health Administration to run in silent mode to flush out people who had not made claims out of ignorance. Even if the war wounded succeed in getting disability pay, in 2003 Bush threatened to veto a bill that allowed veterans to collect disability pay and pensions simultaneously. In 2003, his administration also tried to cut combat pay”
. “In an Oct. 21 letter to the acting Army secretary, Ms. Greenhouse said that after her repeated questions about the Halliburton contracts, she was excluded from major decisions to award money and that her job status was threatened. In response, Army officials referred her accusations to the Pentagon's investigations bureau for review and promised to protect her position in the meantime.”
“Coalition of the Willing” information scrubbed
from White House website.
86-43-04. Pass it on.
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
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.”
. “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.”
” 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.”
: “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.”
: “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
: “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.”
: “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
Local story: South Carolina
Marine dies of wounds received in Iraq.
Local story: Texas
Marine wounded in Iraq.
86-43-04. Pass it on.
Saturday, October 23, 2004
War News for Saturday, October 23, 2004
Bring ‘em on: Ten Iraqi policemen killed, 40 wounded in car bomb attack near Ramadi
Bring ‘em on: Four Iraqis killed in roadside bomb ambush of US convoy near Latifiyah
Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi children killed, four wounded by tank fire near Fallujah
Bring ‘em on: Heavy fighting reported near Baquba
after US patrol ambush.
Bring ‘em on: Five US soldiers wounded by car bomb in Mosul
Bring ‘em on: Two US soldiers, one Iraqi civilian wounded in fighting in Mosul
Bring ‘em on: Six US soldiers wounded by car bomb in Baghdad
Bring ‘em on: Three Danish soldiers wounded in two patrol ambushes near Basra
Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi policemen wounded by car bomb at police station near Ishaqi
Bring ‘em on: Iraqi police break up pro-Sadr demonstration in Kufa
Bring ‘em on: Two US soldiers wounded by roadside bomb near Fallujah
Bring ‘em on: US air strikes, ground fighting continues in Fallujah
Bring ‘em on: Green Zone mortared in Baghdad
Bring ‘em on: Two Turkish truck drivers killed, two wounded in convoy ambush near Mosul
Bring ‘em on: Three Macedonian
hostages executed by insurgents in Iraq.
Bring ‘em on: Two oil pipelines ablaze near Baghdad
reports one US soldier died of a non-combat related injury near Tikrit.
orders soldiers moonlighting as civilian contractors out of Iraq.
US soldier sentenced for going AWOL
from Iraq deployment.
Lieutenant AWOL’s flu vaccine fiasco
impacts military readiness.
. “The company, which quickly grew to garner security contracts worth $100 million in little more than a year, denies the charges. It argues that the managers confused sincere attempts to document jobs done in a hurry, in a war zone, with deliberate deception and that the company provided all contracted services for the agreed-upon price. The memos and a lawsuit filed by former employees cite several specific instances, including billing the Coalition Provisional Authority $157,000 for a helicopter pad that in fact cost $95,000, and repainting forklifts abandoned by Baghdad Airways and then charging the authority thousands of dollars a month, claiming that the forklifts were leased.”
. “Intelligence officials fear that for a new generation of disaffected European Muslims, Iraq could become what Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya were for European Islamic militants in past decades: a galvanizing cause that sends idealistic young men abroad, trains them and puts them in touch with a more radical global network of terrorists. In the past, many young Europeans who fought in those wars came back to Europe to plot terrorist attacks at home. ‘We consider these people dangerous because those who go will come back once their mission is accomplished,’ the intelligence official said. ‘Then they can use the knowledge gained there in France, Europe or the United States. It's the same as those who went to Afghanistan or Chechnya.’ Hundreds of young militant Muslim men have left Europe to fight in Iraq, according to senior counterterrorism officials in four European countries. They have been recruited through mosques, Muslim centers and militant Web sites by several groups, including Ansar al-Islam, the Kurdish terrorist group once based in northern Iraq.”
. “Jay Ferriola, 31, of New York filed suit in Manhattan federal court on Friday seeking an injunction blocking the Army from enforcing an order returning him to active duty on Monday. The case names Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld and others as defendants. The suit charges that the Army's order, dated October 8, violates Ferriola's Constitutional rights against ‘involuntary servitude’ and is a breach of his contract with the military. An emergency hearing was set in the matter for Sunday.”
Voting with their feet
. “More than 800 former soldiers have failed to comply with Army orders to get back in uniform and report for duty in Iraq or Afghanistan, the Army said Friday. That is more than one-third of the total who were told to report to a mobilization station by October 17.”
: “The abuses at Abu Ghraib went even further. But they grew out of an officially sanctioned lawlessness that Bush justified by claiming a special need for information in the ‘war’ on terror. A painful irony is that, last month, Miller reported the military is getting 50 percent more high-quality tips from Iraqi prisoners since the scandal forced it to drop some coercive measures, and use incentives instead. Bush's tough policy was illegal, immoral and ineffective. And accountability stops at the staff sergeant?”
: “President Bush dislikes institutions like the United Nations and the International Criminal Court, which he believes impair American sovereignty. All his talk about coalitions is largely a sham. His touchstone is the use of unfettered military power to pursue American interests, not diplomacy or economic sanctions or the concerted pressure of like-minded allies.”
Note to Readers
I wanted to thank all who emailed me or posted their condolences in Comments over the death of my sister Marilyn. I appreciate your sympathy. Thanks.
I also want to thank matt for running this hamburger stand during my absence and thank all the readers who posted news stories in Comments.
From the Scientific Wild-Assed Guess Department
The Bush campaign reports that Lieutenant AWOL plans to spend the day relaxing at his Texas pesthole near Crawford. While I realize that Shrubby himself has the work ethic of a ham sandwich, I find it hard to believe his handlers are going to let him sit on his ass ten days before an election. So my SWAG of the day is that Operation Jive Turkey II will soon be announced.
86-43-04. Pass it on.
Friday, October 22, 2004
War News for Friday, October 22, 2004
Bring ‘em on: Allawi survives assassination attempt near Mosul
Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi soldiers, one civilian killed in Baghdad
Bring ‘em on: Seven Iraqis killed, six wounded by US air strikes and artillery fire near Fallujah
Bring ‘em on: US soldiers reported wounded in roadside bomb ambush near Baquba
Bring ‘em on: US Marines exchange rocket and small arms fire with insurgents near Fallujah
Bring ‘em on: Ten Iraqis killed, 14 wounded by two car bombs in Samarra
Bring ‘em on: Green Zone mortared in Baghdad
British troops redeployed to assist US assault on Fallujah
. “As recently as January 2004, a top Defense Department official misrepresented to Congress the view of American intelligence agencies about the relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda, according to a new report by a Senate Democrat. The report said a classified document prepared by Douglas J. Feith, the under secretary of defense for policy, not only asserted that there were ties between the Baghdad government and the terrorist network, but also did not reflect accurately the intelligence agencies' assessment - even while claiming that it did.”
spanks Lieutenant AWOL. “‘Certainly, we're creating more terrorists every day than we're killing,’ said McPeak, a former chief of staff during Desert Storm. The general said disenchanted with George W. Bush's leadership lead to his becoming an independent. ‘If we had the same ratio of peacekeepers (in Iraq) ... that NATO has in Bosnia, we'd have 500,000 soldiers,’ he said. ‘We have 140,000. It's too small to get the job done and too big to be sustained.’”
Insufficient troops for Lieutenant AWOL’s Operation Enduring Snafu
. “The U.S. military lacks sufficient troops for post-combat ‘stability and reconstruction’ operations, and should consider adding ``significant'' numbers, a review by the Pentagon's Defense Science Board found. The report lists four main options for addressing what it calls an ‘enduring shortfall’ of troops: enlarging the military, shifting combat troops to post-combat duties, turning to the United Nations or allies for assistance, or scaling back ‘the number and/or objectives of stabilization missions.’
More, better resourced insurgents
reported. “Senior American officials are beginning to assemble a new portrait of the insurgency that has continued to inflict casualties on American and Iraqi forces, showing that it has significantly more fighters and far greater financial resources than had been estimated. When foreign fighters and the network of a Jordanian militant, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, are counted with home-grown insurgents, the hard-core resistance numbers between 8,000 and 12,000 people, a tally that swells to more than 20,000 when active sympathizers or covert accomplices are included, according to the American officials. These estimates contrast sharply with earlier intelligence reports, in which the number of insurgents has varied from as few as 2,000 to a maximum of 7,000. The revised estimate is influencing the military campaign in Iraq, but has not prompted a wholesale review of the strategy, officials said
.” Emphasis added.
: “Iraq offers us the best lens through which to view the Bush presidency. He drove us into the war based on skewed (and possibly manufactured) intelligence. The war so far has claimed the lives of about 1,100 American soldiers and probably 15,000 Iraqi civilians and now, almost a year and a half after declaring "mission accomplished," Iraq remains in turmoil with no end in sight. His approach in Iraq underscores his basic distrust of the world community. I know he has cobbled together what he may consider a broad coalition of nations, but the fact remains that more than 90 percent of the troops are either American or British and the nations that have signed on are those that seem to want something from the United States. There are no Arab nations involved and there was significant opposition from much of the globe.”
: “Bush says there won't be a draft to fight the war in Iraq while he is president. Unfortunately, his credibility on Iraq is no better than his record on campaign statements. Anyone who can read now knows that the administration's claims about WMD and about Saddam Hussein's ties to 9/11 and Al-Qaida were false. The assurances that we would be welcomed as liberators and could use Iraq's oil money to finance reconstruction were patently absurd. It is public knowledge that the administration used forged documents and phony intelligence to claim Saddam was pursuing nuclear material from Niger and specialty aluminum for centrifuges. Vice President Dick Cheney continues to claim that Saddam protected Abu Nidal, supposedly proof he supported terrorists, even though Saddam had had Abu Nidal assassinated well before the U.S. invasion. To make the same point, the administration routinely claims that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was working with Sadddam even though the evidence is that Al-Zarqawi came into Iraq after the invasion. The administration's litany of misrepresentations and outright falsehoods on Iraq is so pervasive that nothing it says can be taken at face value.”
Local story: Colorado
Marine killed in Iraq.
Local story: Oregon
soldier wounded in Iraq.
Local story: Minnesota
soldier wounded in Iraq.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
War News for October 20, 2004
Bring ‘em on: Four Iraqi children
killed, twenty people including eleven US soldiers wounded in bombing in Samarra>
Bring ‘em on: Six Iraqi civilians killed and eleven US troops wounded in Samarra. (Unclear how this relates to story posted above)
Bring ‘em on*: Two Iraqi police officers and two US soldiers wounded in car bombing near Baghdad airport
Bring ‘em on*: Suicide bomber killed on Baghdad airport road. (Unclear how this relates to story posted above)
Bring ‘em on*: Three 2nd ID soldiers killed in Ramadi
Bring ‘em on and on: Family of six
killed in US air raids in Falluja. Adviser to Allawi’s political party killed in drive-by shooting in Baghdad
. 15 year old boy killed in shooting in Baquba. Two Americans and four Iraqi police wounded by car bombs in Baquba. Iraqi building contractor working for US
forces killed by gunmen in Baquba.
Bring ‘em on and on: Yesterday’s mortar attack on headquarters of Iraqi National Guard now said to result in four dead, eighty wounded. Two Iraqis killed and 10 wounded in operations in al-Dalo'eya. American contractor killed and seven others wounded, including an American soldier, in mortar attack in downtown Baghdad. Oil pipeline attacked near Beji.
Bring ‘em the fuck on: Number of US wounded in Iraq tops 8,000
Bring ‘em on: Leader of CARE International
abducted in Baghdad
Bring ‘em on: Car bomb explodes in central Baghdad
The Strategy to Secure Iraq Did Not Foresee a 2nd War
: "John Abizaid was the only one who really had his head in the postwar game," General Garner said, referring to the general who served as General Franks's deputy and eventually his successor. "The Bush administration did not. Condi Rice did not. Doug Feith didn't. You could go brief them, but you never saw any initiative come of them. You just kind of got a north and south nod. And so it ends with so many tragic things."
Baghdad's persistent police shortage to continue until summer, U.S. general says: The Iraqi capital is still far short of the numbers of Iraqi policemen needed to secure it and the force won't be up to strength in time for national elections in January, the U.S. general in charge of security in Baghdad said Tuesday. Report: Iraqi Troops Prone to Desertion
: Nearly half of one of Iraq
's new army units were spooked by a car bombing in Samarra
and deserted last month, a report released Wednesday said. <>
Shia leader cuts ties with Sadr
*: Grand Ayatollah Kazem Haeri, one of the top authorities in Shia Islam, said Mr Sadr was no longer his representative in the holy city of Najaf. A spokesman said that Mr Sadr's actions no longer reflected the ideas of the Grand Ayatollah's teachings.>
Captors in Iraq Free 2 Egyptian Engineers*: Two Egyptian mobile telephone engineers were released Wednesday by their kidnappers, who abducted them from their Baghdad office last month Sunni Muslim clerics warn of Iraq vote boycott if Fallujah invaded
*: The Committee of Muslim Scholars, an influential association of Sunni clerics, warned it would call a boycott of Iraq’s January elections if the US army launches a major assault on rebel-held Fallujah.
CARE International suspends operations in Iraq after director abducted: Care International suspended operations in Iraq on Wednesday after gunmen seized the woman who ran the humanitarian organization's work in the country. The victim's Iraqi husband appealed to the kidnappers to free her "in the name of humanity, Islam and brotherhood." Iraqi official derides U.N. election prep
: The United Nations has not sent enough election workers to help out with vital balloting in Iraq
set for January, the Iraqi foreign minister said Wednesday.
Iraqi Conflict: International Ramifications
Blair faces rebellion over troop redeployment in Iraq
: British Prime Minister Tony Blair faced a revolt on Wednesday from lawmakers who demanded a parliamentary vote on a US
request to redeploy British troops in Iraq
. It is feared that British troops will be placed under US command for the duration of the operation and that the redeployment -- which some see as helping US President George W. Bush in his race for the Nov.2 presidential elections -- will "significantly increase the risk" to British troops.>
US envoy hints opposition to be excluded from Iraq conference*: The top US envoy to the Middle East suggested that Iraqi opposition groups would not be invited to next month's international conference on the war-torn country, but host Egypt said it had not been ruled out. Department of Feeling Safer Already
: Macedonia Will Not Withdraw from Iraq
will not withdraw its 32 troops from Iraq
, despite reports that two of the Balkan country's citizens were killed by a militant group that accused them of spying for the United States
, the foreign minister said today.
Defence minister's remark sparks attack fears: Defence minister Henk Kamp has been accused of increasing the likelihood of deadly attacks on Dutch troops stationed in southern Iraq by supposedly threatening to pull the troops out if another soldier is killed.
Iraqi Conflict: Comic Relief
<>Robertson: I warned Bush on Iraq casualties
*: The founder of the U.S. Christian Coalition said Tuesday he told President George W. Bush before the invasion of Iraq that he should prepare Americans for the likelihood of casualties, but the president told him, "We're not going to have any casualties." (Alert reader Butch posted this one, and his comment with it was dead on: “When Pat Robertson has a more realistic view of the world than Bush, we're in deep shit.”)
US drops last terrorism-related designation on Iraq*: The United States dropped its last terror-related designation on Iraq, removing it from the State Department's blacklist of "state sponsors of terrorism" by formally rescinding a 14-year-old determination that carried sanctions. US Secretary of State Colin Powell acknowledged the move would have little practical effect
: Yankees are blind to blundering Bush
: Either the self-proclaimed "war president" and his men committed the worst set of blunders overseas since Vietnam, or they lied the nation into an imperial war to grab oil and boost Israel's fortunes. Republicans don't care. Amazingly, a recent CNN/USA Today poll showed 62% of Republicans still believe Iraq
was behind 9/11. This is after a flood of contrary evidence and Duelfer's report.>
Editorial: U.S. Troops' Other Struggle: Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the top commander in Iraq from mid-2003 until this summer, warned the Pentagon in a brutally frank Dec. 4, 2003, letter that a lack of spare parts was crippling his ability to fight the insurgents: "I cannot continue to support sustained combat operations with rates [of parts] this low," he said in excerpts published Monday in the Washington Post. The general declines to comment, and the Pentagon says that, almost a year later, all is well. No, it's not, particularly among National Guard and Reserve units. Opinion
: Abusive Promotions
: The Pentagon continues to hold detainees at Guantanamo Bay
in prolonged solitary confinement, under conditions that violate basic prohibitions against cruel and inhuman treatment under U.S.
and international law. At the same time, the administration has steadfastly refused to allow the International Red Cross even to visit an unknown number of detainees still held in U.S.
custody. Arguably worst of all, 232 members of the House earlier this month voted for a bill that would require the secretary of homeland security to exclude from the protection of the United Nations Convention Against Torture -- a treaty the United States
signed and ratified a decade ago -- any foreign national the government deems a terrorist suspect.
Opinion: Grumbling in the ranks: The larger share of the growing resentment for Bush seems to come from Americans who believe he has bungled his self-proclaimed mission of hunting down and killing terrorists.
Local story: Kennesaw, GA
, private contractor killed in Green Zone
Local story: Pascagoula, Miss., soldier killed in Iraq
Note: As before, asterisked posts were cribbed from the last Comments, mostly from the impressive number collected by overcaffeinated superposter Not Anonymous, but also from many other dedicated readers. Thanks to you all. If you're new to the blog, go read the Comments, because, believe me, I can't keep up with these people and there are tons of interesting and relevant posts that aren't making it here to the front page. I'm so glad that we have a vibrant community of posters here because one person can't even begin to find and collate all the stories coming out of this tragic war. It's a huge job. My respect for Yankeedoodle and the labor he has put into this blog has increased immeasurably over the past few days. Please join me in sending him and his family our best wishes and hopes for safe travels and a speedy return to us here.
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
War News for October 19, 2004
Bring ‘em on: Over 100 Iraqis killed and wounded in mortar attack on Iraqi National Guard headquarters north of Baghdad
Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqis killed, six wounded in fighting in Duluiya
Bring ‘em on*: Pipeline ablaze north of Baghdad
Negotiator: Fallujah Talks Still Suspended
: Fallujah negotiator Sheik Khaled al-Jumeili said peace talks to end the standoff in Iraq's major insurgent bastion will remain suspended as a protest against his detention by U.S. troops, who accused him of representing the militants. "The fact is that I'm negotiating on behalf of Fallujah people — civilians, kids, women — who have no power but through being represented by somebody. Since the situation has got up to this, each can go wherever they want and we don't need to talk about negotiations," he told Al-Arabiya TV.
U.S. forces free Iraqi police chief in Falluja
*: U.S. forces freed the police chief of Iraq's rebel-held city of Falluja on Tuesday, along with two other police officers, their relatives said. The police chief, Sabar al-Janabi, and his colleagues had been detained on Friday with the city's chief negotiator, Khaled al-Jumaili, who was released early on Monday.
Saudi plan for Muslim forces is rejected
: Iraqi government officials and commanders of the U.S.-led military coalition killed a proposal by Saudi Arabia for a Muslim peacekeeping force in Iraq, the White House said yesterday, citing concerns over who would be in charge.
Britain Considers Spreading Forces Throughout Iraq
: Britain is considering moving some of its troops in Iraq outside their normal area of operations in order to help bolster the American antiterrorist offensive, the British defense secretary, Geoff Hoon, said today. Speaking to the House of Commons, Mr. Hoon said that the United States had formally requested such a move on Oct. 10.
Hungary to await US election outcome to decide on Iraq troop extension
*: The government declined to comment specifically on how the outcome of the US vote on November 2 would influence Hungary's military presence in Iraq, where Budapest currently has 300 troops, mostly logistics experts.
Military says it does its best to keep up equipment
: In the western town of Qaim, a U.S. Marine complained that his unit lacked vehicles and protection — as well as troops — to replace those killed and destroyed by roadside bombings, ambushes and anti-tank mine blasts. “We need more vehicles, more armor, more bodies,” said Cpl. Cody King, 20, of Phoenix, Ariz., of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment.
Reservists Who Refused Order Tried to Persuade Superiors
: Members of the Army Reserve platoon in Iraq that disobeyed orders to deliver fuel to another base last week had tried to persuade their superiors for hours to cancel the mission, relatives of the soldiers said Monday. That defying an order had become an option for 18 members of the 343rd Quartermaster Company seemed to signal a worsening of the low morale that had plagued the unit.
Iraq war increases terrorism risk –report
*: "Overall, the risk of terrorism to Westerners and Western assets in Arab countries appeared to increase after the Iraq war began in March 2003," it concluded. "With the military invasion and occupation of Iraq, the United States demonstrated its desire to change the political status quo in the Arab world to advance American strategic and political interests," it said in Tuesday's report. “Accordingly, the Iraq invasion was always likely in the short term to enhance Jihadist recruitment and intensify al Qaeda's motivation to encourage and assist terrorist operations."
U.S. Jews turning against war — because of its impact on Israel
: “The only nation that seems to have benefited by our invasion of Iraq is Iran, which is a far greater threat to Israel than Iraq was,” said U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, (D-Nev.), a Jew and an outspoken pre-war proponent of invasion who feels President Bush deceived her.
Support Our Troops: By the thousands, soldiers 50 and older are being deployed
: Of the 160,000 men and women deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, 4,119 are 50 or older. At a time in life when most people are looking forward to retirement or eyeing Florida real estate, these soldiers are leaving behind corporate jobs and grandkids. Some even voluntarily postpone military retirement to go to war.
Special Report: Tigris Tales
*: For a few months after the fall of Saddam's regime, Iraqis became aware that they could actually live without fear. They might even have planned for their and their children's futures, something totally unimagined when war, persecution and execution were the norm. The first couple of car bombs soon shattered that initial relief; that, and when it became obvious that the long-awaited peace and prosperity promised by the Americans was not coming any time soon.
Local story: Proposal to honor Wisconsin
soldier killed in Iraq
Local story: Michigan
soldier killed in Ramadi honored
Local story: Adams County, Ohio
, soldier killed in Ramadi
Local story: Two New Hampshire
soldiers killed in Mosul and Baghdad
Local story: Pendleton
Marine killed in Al Anbar province
Local story: Utica, Michigan
soldier killed near Ramadi
Local story: Chatham County, NC
, soldier killed near Ramadi
Local story: Wisconsin
soldier killed in Al Anbar province
Local story: Oshkosh, WI
man’s son killed in Iraq
Local story: Paralyzed Wheaton, Illinois
Thanks and a tip of the black beret to compulsive megaposter Not Anonymous, who must have really sore fingers at the end of the day. All asterisked posts on the main page were taken from his or her posts in previous Comments. NA, do you ever sleep?