War News for Wednesday, January 05, 2005
"There are some who, uh, feel like that, you know, the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is: bring 'em on. We got the force necessary to deal with the security situation." - George W. Bush, July 2, 2003, referring to attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq.
(Thanks to alert reader DJ for the corrected quote. Why the #*@!! does our simpering pathetic news media always clean up President Marblemouth’s mangled English?)
Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi civilians killed, ten wounded in bombing in Baghdad district of Amiryah
. Iraqi police colonel and his driver killed in Baqouba. Four Iraqi civilians killed and two wounded when US troops opened fire after their convoy was attacked by RPGs in Ramadi. One US soldier killed, two wounded when their patrol was attacked in Tal Afar.
Bring ‘em on: Twenty killed and unknown number wounded in car bombing of police academy
in Hillah. (Note: This article points out that 1,300 Iraqi policemen were killed in the last four months of 2004. This is approximately equal to the entire number of US deaths in the entire war. This is the only place I have seen this figure. I don’t know if it includes ING soldiers or if it is strictly police fatalities.)
Bring ‘em on: In addition to a number of casualties covered in previous posts, this article mentions:
Seven ING soldiers killed, eight wounded in suicide bombing in Dujail. Eleven ING soldiers and two civilians killed in roadside bombings in Tikrit and Samarra. Three corpses discovered near Tikrit and three near Dhuluiyah, believed to be former employees of US military. Two Iraqi policemen gunned down in Beiji.
Bring ‘em on: Senior leader in Iraqi Islamic Party kidnapped and killed in Mosul
Bring ‘em on: Turkish truck driver killed in Baquba
Bring ‘em on: Four Iraqis injured in US helicopter attack on Sidawa neighborhood of Arbil
: The number of U.S. troops wounded in Iraq since the start of the war in March 2003 has surpassed 10,000, the Pentagon said Tuesday in a delayed update of its casualty data.
Of the 10,252 total wounded, the Pentagon said 5,396 were unable to return to duty and 4,856 sustained injuries that were light enough to allow them to resume their duties. The total is normally reported each week, but the Pentagon had not updated the figures since Dec. 22, when the number of wounded stood at 9,981.
: "It was really distressing picking up dead bodies from destroyed homes, especially children. It is the most depressing situation I have ever been in since the war started," Dr Rafa'ah al-Iyssaue, director of the main hospital in Fallujah city, some 60 km west of Baghdad, told IRIN.
According to al-Iyssaue, the hospital emergency team has recovered more than 700 bodies from rubble where houses and shops once stood, adding that more than 550 were women and children. He said a very small number of men were found in these places and most were elderly.
Al-Iyssaue added these numbers were only from nine neighbourhoods of the city and that 18 others had not yet been reached, as they were waiting for help from the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS) to make it easier for them to enter.
The Grand Coalition: The United States is backing away from efforts to pressure European allies to join or remain in the American-led military force in Iraq and is instead working to coax those countries into participating in other initiatives in the region, according to senior Bush administration and European officials.
The shift comes after 15 countries, including Spain, Poland and Hungary, have either scaled back their already relatively small force levels in Iraq, announced pullouts or withdrawn their troops altogether during the past year, despite the growing strength of the insurgency.
Last month, the Netherlands became the latest coalition member to signal its departure when Dutch Defense Minister Henk Kamp reaffirmed that the 1,350 Dutch troops in Iraq would leave by the end of March.
United States Military
The pro-family administration: During his 2003 tour in Iraq, Maj. Christopher Phelps sent home a picture from Baghdad, showing him standing in front of a bombed-out building and holding a handmade sign that said, "Dad, wish you were here."
The Marine Corps is about to oblige.
Both 34-year-old Phelps and his 57-year-old father, Kendall Phelps, have orders to report to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, for training, then deploy to Iraq for a seven-month tour.
Military justice: The first of seven courts-martial of Army troops accused of abusing Iraqi civilians and detainees got under way Monday with allegations that a soldier conspired to punish a curfew violator by forcing him to jump to his death into the Tigris River.
Several eyewitnesses to the late-night events at a Tigris River dam near Samarra said two Iraqis were forced at gunpoint to leap about 12 feet into the Tigris, where one allegedly drowned. But accounts varied about who other than the commanding officer ordered the punishment and what the intent was. One soldier said they were not trying to kill the Iraqis but merely wanted to "show them a lesson not to pass curfew."
A good cause: U.S. military crews are launching more than 100 helicopter flights a day from the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln ferrying food, water and medicine to tsunami victims, a task they say is far more satisfactory than the Iraq war that seems only to destroy.
War supporters predicted Iraqis would be so happy to get rid of Saddam they would greet U.S. soldiers as conquering heroes, but instead violent Iraqi resistance has bogged down the U.S.-led effort.
"At least here we know it's for a good cause. In Iraq we don't know what the outcome is going to be," said Airman Kimberly Kolar.
Campaigning: With most of Baghdad plagued by car bombs and gunfire, few candidates are likely to be mingling with crowds in the coming weeks. Only a few months back, Sadr City in particular was the scene of raging combat between American troops and Mr. Sadr's militia, the Mahdi Army.
But now, for local residents anyway, Sadr City may be one of the few places where press-the-flesh stumping is thinkable. Its ethnic insularity protects it from troublemaking strangers, and residents have largely heeded Mr. Sadr's call, as fighting ended in the fall, to halt attacks.
UN participation: Iraq's president urged the United Nations Tuesday to look into whether the country should go ahead with its scheduled Jan. 30 election despite violence threatening to scare voters away from the polls.
Iraq's interim government and its American allies have repeatedly said that the vote would not be delayed. But Yawar said the polls would fail if a raging insurgency kept a significant number of Sunnis away from voting stations.
Security: In a bold daytime ambush, insurgents assassinated Baghdad's governor yesterday and once again highlighted the failure to secure large swaths of Iraq less than a month before national elections are supposed to be held.
The assassination raises stark questions: If the government of interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi cannot adequately protect a top official, how will it be able to secure thousands of polling sites and 40,000 workers around the country during the Jan. 30 balloting? And how can any election be carried out logistically amid such a security breakdown?
: More Iraqi interim government officials are calling for the postponement of Jan. 30 elections to ensure a higher Sunni voter turnout, a sign that a campaign of violence might be taking its toll on Iraqi resolve. The country's electoral commission, however, insists that voting take place as scheduled.
Sunni Arab clerics have called for a boycott and Iraq's largest Sunni political party announced it was pulling out of the race because of poor security that has seen insurgents kill scores of Iraqi security forces, as well as several election officials, in recent weeks.
Laying groundwork: The White House appeared to lay the groundwork Tuesday for delaying the Jan. 30 national elections in Iraq by emphasizing that any decision to change the date was up to the Iraqi Election Commission.
White House press secretary Scott McClellan, responding to calls for postponement by some Iraqi officials, said President Bush still favors the Jan. 30 timetable and has dispatched U.S. military reinforcements to bolster Iraqi security for the election.
Should the elections proceed, they now hold little prospect of producing a government that would be broadly acceptable to Iraq’s diverse ethnic groups.
Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, a secular Shiite who stands to lose in the election if religious clerics prevail, is growing increasingly anxious about the voting, scheduled for Jan. 30.
“Given any excuse, he’d bail,” a senior administration official in Washington said of Allawi.
Grave flaws: Grave security flaws were exposed in Iraq, with elections less than a month away, after the governor of the Baghdad region, known for cooperating closely with American troops, was assassinated, along with six bodyguards, as he drove to work Tuesday in yet another bloody day of insurgent attacks.
Other assaults Tuesday killed five American troops as well as eight Iraqi commandos and two civilians, bringing the death toll in the last three days to more than 70. Despite the violence, which U.S.
troops and Iraqi security forces have been helpless to prevent, American and Iraqi leaders insist the Jan. 30 vote would go forward.
Responsible Fiscal Stewardship
On the cheap
: Congress expects the White House to request as much as $100 billion this year for war and related costs in Iraq and Afghanistan, congressional officials say.
It would be the third and largest Iraq-related budget request from the White House yet, and it could push the war's costs over $200 billion - far above initial White House estimates of $50 billion-$60 billion. So far, the Iraq
war has cost about $130 billion, according to the White House's Office of Management and Budget.
Members of Congress expect a big price tag for Iraq
"I hope they ask for something big," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "Look, this is a test of wills. We need to show our enemies that we are not going to do this on the cheap."
Here’s a link to Senator Graham’s email contact form. And here is some other contact information:
Web Site: lgraham.senate.gov
Washington Office:290 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-4001
Phone: (202) 224-5972
Fax: (202) 224-3808
Drop the Senator a line or give him a call. I’m sure he’d love to hear from you.
: I’m very much frustrated with the inability of our leaders to make more than a superficial effort to understand the enemy, not because we need to sympathize with them or empathize with them, but because he’s so dangerous. We really need to take the measure of the enemy and why the enemy is fighting us.... Islamic militancy is a complex issue, but it’s not impossible for Americans to understand if they’re talked to directly and frankly. So far, we’ve gone through 12 or 15 years with not a single frank discussion with the American people.
: But the American project for democracy or whatever its real purposes were, for oil, economic expansion, Middle East fit for Israel, whatever it may have been, that project is finished. It is hopeless. It cannot succeed. The insurgency in Iraq
is so great now that American troops, however enormous their technology, cannot control it. The Iraqi so-called ministers, and I include Iyad Allawi, the so-called interim prime minister, who was of course appointed by the Americans as a former C.I.A. asset, they behave like statesmen when they tour the world or turn up in Washington
, but in Baghdad
they're not even safe inside their little Green Zone. They're not even the Mayor of Baghdad, they have less power than the town clerk. (Thanks to alert reader Cloned Poster for the link.)
: Patriots, some would argue, must march unwaveringly for the cause of liberty in Iraq.
They would have Americans accept that anything — anyone — that gets in the way must be destroyed.
It’s a strange and disturbing echo of the “America: love it or leave it” twaddle that rent this country three decades ago. Down that road lies a divisive jingoism more dangerous than any revelation of abuse.
The discord born in Vietnam
has lasted a generation. It even helped determine who would be the U.S.
president, 29 years and 9,000 miles from the fall of Saigon.
We should remember that long, painful lesson when the urge again strikes to attack the messenger, or to shout nonsense into the ether, when as a nation we’d be far better off paying heed to the message.
Local story: Council Bluffs, IA
, Marine killed near Fallujah.
Local story: Seaside, CA
, soldier killed in Mosul.
Local story: Town of Tracy, CA
, population 72,000, copes with deaths of four local servicemen in Iraq.
Local story: Santa Maria, CA
, honors Marine killed in Iraq.
Local story: Soldier based in Fort Lewis, WA
, killed in Mosul.
Local story: Two Louisiana
soldiers wounded in Baghdad bombing.
Local story: Troy, MT
, Marine killed in Fallujah.
Local story: Fort Drum, NY
, soldier killed in Baghdad.