War News for Thursday, March 3, 2005
Bring ‘em on: Five Iraqi policemen killed, five wounded by two car bombs in central Baghdad
Bring ‘em on: Seven ING soldiers wounded in Tikrit
Bring ‘em on: One US Marine killed in fighting in Babil
Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi policemen killed in separate incidents in Mosul
Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi contractors assassinated in Baghdad
Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi contractors assassinated near Kirkuk
Bring ‘em on: Two Turkish truck drivers killed by insurgents near Tikrit
Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi killed, 14 wounded by car bomb in Baquba
Bring ‘em on: Three British civilians wounded in ambush near Basra
Bring ‘em on: Gas pipeline ablaze near Kirkuk
Iraq extends state of emergency
. “Iraq has extended its state of emergency for another 30 days, the government said today. The state of emergency, first announced nearly four months ago, will remain in place throughout the country, except in northern Kurdish-run areas, interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi’s office said in a statement. The emergency decree includes a night-time curfew and gives the government extra powers to make arrests without warrants and launch police and military operations when it deems necessary.”
. “Talks aimed at forging a coalition government faltered yesterday over Kurdish demands for more land and concerns that the dominant Shi'ite alliance seeks to establish an Islamic state, delaying the planned first meeting of Iraq's new parliament. The snag in negotiations between Shi'ite and Kurdish leaders in northern Iraq came as clashes and car bombings in Baghdad killed at least 19 Iraqi soldiers and police officers -- the latest in a wave of violence since elections on Jan. 30.”
begins troop withdrawal from Iraq on March 15.
. “Iraqi police in Tikrit, north of Baghdad, went on strike Wednesday demanding the release of a police chief captured by the US troops and guarantees from the foreign forces to respect the local police, a police officer said. Police stations and streets of Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, were devoid of police who went on strike in a protest against the capture of Brigadier Hatem al-Juboury, chief of the homicide department in Salahudin provincial headquarters, Lieutenant Colonel Muhamed Ali told Xinhua.”
. “Private security firms contracted with the Pentagon and the State Department are dipping into experienced pools of trained fighters throughout Central and South America for their new recruits. With better pay than what they can earn at home, some 1,000 Latin Americans are working in Iraq today, estimates the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA). These recruits are joined by thousands of others - from the US and Britain, as well as from Fiji, the Philippines, India and beyond. Close to 20,000 armed personnel employed by private contractors are estimated to be operating in Iraq, making up the second largest foreign armed force in the country, after the US.”
. “Worryingly, the number of military deaths has shown no sign of falling since President Bush landed on USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003 with a banner saying ‘Mission Accomplished’ and declared an end to major combat operations. A total of 107 US military personnel were killed in Iraq in January, including 31 in a still unexplained helicopter crash in the western desert near Jordan that was the single most costly incident for US forces since the invasion. Ninety per cent of all coalition deaths have come since the US command celebrated the fall of Baghdad.”
. "The Marine Corps for the second straight month in February missed its goal for signing up new recruits, the Marines said on Wednesday, in another sign of the Iraq war's effect on military recruiting." Thanks to alert reader clap your hands
Support the troops
For America's veterans, plus the thousands of soldiers now returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the investigation identified three points where cases often go wrong: the selection of a special representative called a veterans service officer, the review by a regional VA office and the filing of an appeal.
Among Knight Ridder's findings:
_Many of the VA-accredited experts who help veterans with their cases receive minimal training and are rarely tested to ensure their competence. These veterans service officers work for nonprofit organizations such as the American Legion, as well as states and counties, but their quality is uneven, and that often means the difference between a successful claim and a botched one.
_The VA's network of 57 regional offices produces wildly inconsistent results, which means that a veteran in St. Paul, Minn., for example, is likely to receive different treatment and more generous disability checks than one from Detroit.
_Veterans face lengthy delays if they appeal the VA's decisions. The average wait is nearly three years, and many veterans wait 10 years for a final ruling. In the past decade, several thousand veterans died before their cases were resolved, according to an analysis of VA data.
Bush family values
. “The fact that the Salt Pit case has remained secret for more than two years reflects how little is known about the CIA's treatment of detainees and its handling of allegations of abuse. The public airing of abuse at Abu Ghraib prompted the Pentagon to undertake and release scathing reports about conduct by military personnel, to revise rules for handling prisoners, and to prosecute soldiers accused of wrongdoing. There has been no comparable public scrutiny of the CIA, whose operations and briefings to Congress are kept classified by the administration.” Public airing of abuse at Abu Ghraib, my ass
: “The administration's refusal to remedy these abuses - or even acknowledge most of them - leaves the 2004 human rights report heavy with irony and saps its authority. Not only did the report fail to mention that the Iraqi government it criticized was appointed and controlled by the United States, but it also chastised the local security forces for the same kinds of arbitrary detentions, abusive treatment and torture that have been widespread in American military and intelligence prison camps. Indeed, some of the practices the report labeled as torture when employed by foreign governments were approved at one point for American detention centers by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.”
: “When a Special Forces platoon leader just back from Iraq matter-of-factly tells a close friend of mine, as happened last week, that he and his unit are now training their sights (literally) on Iran, we need to take that seriously. It provides us with a glimpse of reality as seen at ground level. For me, it brought to mind an unsolicited email I received from the father of a young soldier training at Fort Benning in the spring of 2002, soon after I wrote an op-ed discussing the timing of Bush's decision to make war on Iraq. The father informed me that, during the spring of 2002, his son kept writing home saying his unit was training to go into Iraq. No, said the father; you mean Afghanistan ... that's where the war is, not Iraq. In his next email, the son said, ‘No, Dad, they keep saying Iraq. I asked them and that's what they mean.’ Now, apparently, they keep saying Iran; and that appears to be what they mean. Anecdotal evidence like this is hardly conclusive. Put it together with administration rhetoric and a preponderance of other ‘dots’, though, and everything points in the direction of an air attack on Iran, possibly also involving some ground forces.” Thanks, Friendly Fire
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Marine wounded in Iraq.
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