Thursday, March 10, 2005

War News for Thursday, March 10, 2005 Bring ‘em on: Police chief, four Iraqi policemen assassinated in Baghdad ambush. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi policemen killed, two wounded in fighting near Mosul. Bring ‘em on: Kurdish TV worker assassinated in Kirkuk. Bring ‘em on: Second Baghdad police chief assassinated in Baghdad. Iraqi police. “The police official, a member of the force for 15 years, said widespread corruption and lax screening of job applicants had enabled insurgents to carry out numerous inside jobs. The police force had become so murky that it was difficult to determine who was wearing police uniforms, he said.” Report from Kirkuk. “American diplomats were trying to avert a political crisis in Iraq's ethnically volatile northern province of Kirkuk this week, amid Sunni and Turkoman claims of being strong-armed out of key government posts by the Kurdish majority in the newly elected provincial council. After a series of meetings between council members from the three mainly ethnic-based blocs, six Sunni Arab members are threatening to boycott the new council unless the Kurds agree to an equitable ethnic power-sharing deal.” The Sgrena Affair. “The top U.S. commander in Iraq said yesterday that he was unaware Italian agents were securing the release of a journalist from insurgents, and he announced an investigation into why U.S. soldiers fired on the Italians' car, killing an agent and wounding the reporter last week. Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr. said he would have expected to be informed that a car carrying the Italian journalist was headed for the Baghdad airport. The shooting has triggered outrage in Italy, where there is intense opposition to the country's involvement in Iraq.” The Sgrena Affair, continued. “U.S. military officials in Iraq had approved an Italian intelligence officer's mission to free a kidnapped journalist and were expecting their arrival at Baghdad's airport last Friday when U.S. soldiers opened fire on the Italians at a checkpoint, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Wednesday.” Rummy defies Congress. “The Defense Department has missed a deadline for creating a program to reimburse deployed troops, their friends and family members for the purchase of safety and protective gear, prompting complaints from the program’s chief congressional sponsor. Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said the 2005 Defense Authorization Act, signed into law by President Bush Oct. 28, included a new program under which the Pentagon could provide reimbursement of up to $1,100 for the purchase of protective, health or safety equipment for deployed troops if the government could not or would not provide it. The provision covered items purchased between Sept. 11, 2001, and July 31, 2004, either by or on behalf of service members….The Defense Department opposed Dodd’s reimbursement plan, arguing it was a bad precedent to reimburse troops for personal items. Defense officials dropped their objections only after the proposal was modified to give the Pentagon final say about what items might be covered. Defense officials said rules for reimbursement are still being discussed, and blamed the delay on an internal dispute about who should write the eligibility rules — a task now assigned to the Army — and other questions, such as whether the government should end up owning equipment for which it reimburses purchase costs.” Support the troops! “Hundreds of disabled veterans booed and jeered Republican House members on Tuesday for their budget proposal for veterans’ health care, which critics call inadequate to deal with the future needs of current troops. Following testimony before a pair of congressional committees by officials from the Disabled American Veterans, or DAV, the crowd of more than 400 wounded and disabled veterans cheered House members who criticized the president’s budget plans and heckled representatives who defended the spending. The loudest heckling was reserved for House Veterans’ Affairs chairman Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., who was criticized by Democrats on the committee and rebuked the crowd at one point by saying ‘where the river is the shallowest, it makes the most noise.’” Commentary Editorial: “Although hundreds of private and public employers of these citizen-soldiers pay the difference between the activated soldiers' military pay and the salaries they drew in civilian life, that list doesn't include the largest employer of reservists, the federal government. Considering this inequity, a bipartisan group of legislators led by Tom Lantos, the California Democrat, has proposed that Washington pay the differential for its more than 100,000 civilian employees who are part-time soldiers, if they are called up. It would also extend tax credits to the private companies that pay the differential - and provide help for soldiers called up from small businesses and for the self-employed.” Editorial: “What could be worse than being held hostage for a month by terrorists who are only too willing to kill their captives? The answer might be getting hit by ‘friendly fire’ 35 minutes after being released. That is the harrowing situation Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena found herself in Friday night.” Analysis: “The UIA simply cannot promise anything involving Kirkuk without Sunni approval. The only feasible solution to the current impasse would be a real reaching out move by the UIA, encouraging something like a grand reunion of Kirkuk Arab powerbrokers, plus the AMS, reaching a consensus, and then offering the Kurds the outline of a deal involving Kirkuk. The Shi'ites need the Sunnis more than ever to solve the first immediate crisis of Shi'ite Iraq. A breakthrough will ensure that the Sunni resistance will continue to develop its Sinn Fein alongside the IRA.” Analysis:
“In the short, dreary history of America's Iraq war, US leaders have repeatedly acted on gross misconceptions about whom they were fighting - sometimes based on faulty intelligence, but sometimes in the face of perfectly accurate intelligence. This is, in all likelihood, another instance where they believe their own distortions, and it is worthwhile attempting to understand the underlying pattern that produces this almost predictable error. ”One way to characterize this propensity to mis-analyze the resistance is to see that all the portraits thus far generated of the Iraqi resistance have been based on the assumption that it is organized into a familiar hierarchical form in which the leadership exercises strategic and day-to-day control over a pyramid-shaped organization. Such a structure is described by both military strategists and organizational sociologists as a ‘command and control’ structure. After the battle of Fallujah, US Air Force Lieutenant-General Lance Smith even used this phrase to characterize Zarqawi's operation: ‘Zarqawi ... no doubt ... is able to maintain some level of command and control over the disparate operations.’ ”This command-and-control image applies well to a large bureaucracy or a conventional army, but invariably provides a poor picture of a guerrilla army, which helps explain US military failures in Iraq. Whether or not Zarqawi maintains command and control over his forces (who are, as far as we can tell, not guerrillas) no one exercises such control over the forces that fought against the Americans in Fallujah or Sadr City and those that are currently fighting a guerrilla war in Ramadi and other Sunni cities that boycotted the recent elections. ”Guerrilla wars violate the command-and-control portrait in two important ways: local units must, by and large, supply themselves (since an occupation army would be likely to interdict any regular shipments of supplies); and they are likely to have substantial autonomy (since hit-and-melt tactics do not lend themselves well to central decision-making).”
Opinion: “A cancer infects this country, spreading like wildfire, devouring the flesh of our society and threatening to turn what was once the greatest nation on Earth into a rotting corpse of political corruption, greed and abuse of power. This cancer has a name: George W. Bush.” Casualty Report Local story: Florida soldier wounded in Iraq.


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