Saturday, January 15, 2005

War News for Saturday, January 15, 2005 Bring ‘em on: Fifteen ING soldiers missing after insurgent ambush near Baghdadi. Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi civilian killed, one wounded in ING ambush near Balad. Bring ‘em on: US convoy ambushed by roadside bomb in Mosul. Bring ‘em on: Two oil pipelines ablaze near Beiji. Bring ‘em on: Car bomb at Tikrit police headquarters kills six, wounds 12. Bring ‘em on: Insurgents execute four Iraqis employed by US contractor near Kut. Bring ‘em on: Election commissioner assassinated near Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Green Zone mortared, police patrol ambushed in Baghdad. Abu Ghraib. “The Army reservist accused of being the ringleader in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal was found guilty on all charges by a military jury here Friday night, a year to the day after the Pentagon began an investigation into photographs showing Iraqi detainees bound and brutalized or forced into sexually humiliating positions.” "Ringleader," my ass. No Spec. 4 has the authority or opportunity to organize a crime like Abu Ghraib unless the chain-of-command sanctioned such activity. The real ringleaders are Rummy, Abu Gonzales, and Lieutenant AWOL, and they’re hiding behind the uniforms of these soldiers. More good progress. “The U.S. will maintain about 150,000 troops in Iraq at least through June and probably longer because of slow progress in training Iraqi forces, the top U.S. commander of combat operations in Iraq said today.” Oil war. “The biggest hit was on the national treasury. Almost the entire federal budget is generated by exports of crude oil, and, according to the Brookings Institution in Washington, revenue from oil exports in November dropped by nearly $700 million, almost 36 percent, from the previous month. The number of attacks on pipelines and other oil and gas infrastructure in November reached 30, almost tripling from October.” Contractor casualties. “No organization keeps an official list of dead contractors, according to Stan Soloway of the Professional Services Council, a trade group whose members include military contractors. He said the group represents 30,000 contractors in Iraq, with the total number of contractors there two to three times that. Soloway estimated that 200 to 250 contractors had been killed in Iraq since March 2003. An unofficial tally based on news reports and maintained by the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, a private research group, puts the number at 202, including 72 Americans.” Alabama National Guard. “The turmoil in Iraq is keeping an increasing number of Alabamians from joining the Army National Guard, and it will take several years before recruitment and retention numbers will bounce back for the nation's biggest per-capita Guard, Maj. Gen. Mark Bowen said Friday.” Commentary Editorial: “The failure to ensure that all Iraqis can vote will raise fundamental questions about the legitimacy of the resulting government. There will be no ‘triumph of democracy’ in Iraq if substantial portions of the electorate cannot participate. Even worse, the disenfranchisement of a large portion of Iraqi citizens -- along ethnic lines -- is a virtual guarantee of conflict and perhaps even civil war. If that occurs, the nightmare that was long feared may be realized: Iraq's Muslim community splits, and the country's Kurds seize the opportunity to realize their long-held dream of a Kurdish state. That would invite intervention by neighboring powers -- in particular Turkey and Iran -- and the U.S. dream of a remade Middle East would at last come true, but not as expected.” Analysis: “Not only do the Iraqi interim Government and senior US officials concede that elections will be imperfect, and that security cannot be guaranteed on polling day across a quarter of the nation, but the vote itself appears to be dragging Iraq closer to civil war. Everything in the Iraqi theatre since the US occupation 20 months ago has been incremental: trends have developed slowly from the fog of continuous tensions, and so it is with the present drift towards inter-communal conflict and effective partition of the country.” Analysis: “Why can't we win? Because we charged in with false premises and bogus assumptions. Because for every insurgent we kill, two or three more join the cause. Because even our advertised victories -- like Fallujah, where we apparently had to destroy the city in order to save it, or Samarra or Ramadi -- only turned the entire Sunni population against the United States and its Iraqi allies.” An article by Joseph Galloway well worth reading. Analysis: “The credibility of Iraq's January 30 poll is so flagrantly in doubt, it is no wonder that there is pressure both from within the US administration and prominent Iraqi politicians for a postponement. The danger is that the election won't simply lack credibility, but could actually intensify Iraq's crisis by fuelling sectarian divisions. The combination of the effective truce with Sadr's Mahdi army while the US military concentrates its fire on the Sunni-based resistance, lack of Shia support for Fallujans during November's onslaught and the commitment to the elections by the governing Shia parties has strained relations to the limit. There are increasing fears among Iraqis that the US is deliberately fostering sectarian tension to divide and rule - or even open the way to the de facto partition of the country. When the New York Times's Thomas Friedman argues that ‘we have to have a proper election in Iraq so we can have a proper civil war’ and Charles Krauthammer suggests in the Washington Post that we should ‘see Iraqi factionalisation as a useful tool’, it's hardly surprising such ideas flourish.” Thanks to alert reader Cloned Poster for the link. Opinion: “The March 2003 invasion was a gross misjudgment with enormous consequences for this country and other nations. That fact alone ought to cause at least a twinge of conscience or a sense of contrition among next week's celebrants. Instead we are going to be treated to extravagant galas and a high old time in Washington, as if the wreckage in Iraq and the smashed hopes of families are media-induced distractions hardly worth the concern of the nation's politically victorious. Thursday is not a day for party-poopers or the vanquished. The folks who'll be taking over the town won the big prize, even if their big stars miscalculated and goofed up on the war. That's because in Washington, winning is all that matters.” Opinion: “We should all be relieved by Gonzales's testimony under oath that ‘torture and abuse will not be tolerated by this administration.’ Even so, after being duped once in my official capacity, I find it difficult to fully credit this assurance when, in the same testimony, Gonzales, who supervised the 2002 memorandum, also said he did not ‘have a disagreement with the conclusions then reached’ in that memo concerning torture. We were not merely briefed. Our committee was shown what seemed to be a system based on non-abusive deprivations and rewards. As detainees became more cooperative, their treatment was adjusted accordingly, with incrementally improved rewards and detention in better facilities. Unlike torture, this model was more likely to produce reliable intelligence. It seemed to make good sense.” Casualty Reports Local story: South Dakota soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Texas Marine killed in Iraq. Local story: Arizona soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Pennsylvania soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Texas Marine killed in Iraq. Local story: Two Indiana Guardsmen wounded in Iraq.


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