Thursday, March 31, 2005

War News for Thursday, March 31, 2005 Bring ‘em on: One US soldier, two Iraqi civilians killed in Mosul car bomb attack. Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed in Baghdad patrol ambush. Bring ‘em on: One US Marine killed by land mine near Qaim. Bring ‘em on: Three Romanians, one US citizen taken hostage in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Shiite pilgrims attacked by gunmen near Mahaweel. Bring ‘em on: Shiite pilgrims attacked by gunmen near Latifiyah. Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi soldier killed, 10 wounded in car bomb attack near Kirkuk. Bring ‘em on: US convoy attacked by car bomb near Abu Ghraib. Bring ‘em on: Six Iraqis killed in attack on police checkpoint near Mosul. Bring ‘em on: Seven Iraqis killed in ambush of US patrol in Mosul. Bring ‘em on: Iraqi police captain assassinated in Mosul. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi soldiers killed in car bomb attack near Samarra. Bring ‘em on: Three Shiite pilgrims killed, 19 wounded by car bomb near Tikrit. Bring ‘em on: Six Iraqi policemen wounded in car bomb ambush near Basra. Torture policy. “The Iraqi government's unprecedented admission that its police tortured and killed three Shi'ite Muslim militiamen while they were in custody has set off angry complaints from newly elected Shi'ite legislators who are engaged in a political battle for control of the police. Shi'ite leaders have beamed gruesome images of the dead men to Iraqi television sets, displaying their bruised, scarred bodies as an argument for radically reshaping the police force, which is crucial to the fight against the country's bloody insurgency.” Sunni cleric sounds off. “But in a rare interview, conducted Monday through an interpreter in his office at the mosque, Mr. Dari made clear that he would continue to view the armed resistance as legitimate until the American military offered a clear timetable for its withdrawal - a condition very unlikely to be met. ‘We ask all wise men in the American nation to advise the administration to leave this country,’ he said. ‘It would save much blood and suffering for the Iraqi and American people.’ The courting of Mr. Dari is part of a broad effort to engage the Sunni Arabs, who make up a fifth of Iraq's population and supplied its ruling class under Mr. Hussein. The Shiite and Kurdish leaders who dominate the new national assembly and are now struggling to form a governing coalition say part of the delay has been caused by negotiations over which ministries should be granted to Sunnis.” This is progress? “Malnutrition rates in children under five have almost doubled since the US-led invasion - to nearly 8% by the end of last year, it says.” Thanks to alert reader Mark. Tony Blair, you’ve been Google-bombed. (Via Bloggerheads.) Commentary Opinion: “The tension between Rumsfeld and the uniformed military has been an open secret in Washington these past four years. It was compounded by the Iraq war, but it began almost from the moment Rumsfeld took over at the Pentagon. The grumbling about his leadership partly reflected the military's resistance to change and its reluctance to challenge a brilliant but headstrong civilian leader. But in Iraq, Rumsfeld has pushed the services -- especially the Army -- near the breaking point. The military is right that the next chairman of the JCS must be someone who can push back.” The article also contains this revelation: “Critics think Myers sometimes erred in sounding too dutifully supportive, as in comments he made during an April 2004 visit to Iraq. The insurgency had exploded so violently then that there was contingency planning to evacuate the Green Zone.” (Emphasis added.) Thanks to alert reader go long into the day. Opinion: “In 1944, the GI Bill was viewed as an investment in our future -- and what an investment it proved to be. Eight million veterans tapped educational benefits, and their impact on the colleges and the nation's economy as they poured into the workforce was phenomenal. The home loan guarantees had a similar impact on the economy and society in general. It makes no sense at all that Congress votes all the money the Defense Department asks for to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but is cheap when it comes to the young men and women who wear the uniform and risk their lives for our country. It is high time for Congress to draft a new GI Bill for this new generation of war veterans who are just as deserving of our support as were their grandfathers and fathers in their day.” Sorry, vets, our Republican Congress is too busy sucking up to crazy right-wing religious loons to worry about upgrading your GI Bill benefits. Opinion: “Yet, since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the ability of the Iraqis to shape their own political destiny has been compromised by U.S. interventions. While hawking democracy, the Americans have not trusted Iraqis to choose the right leaders or to enact the right laws. Hence, their endless tinkering with the machinery of governance, their unilateral promulgation of 100 laws under the Coalition Provisional Authority, and their imposition of an ‘interim constitution’ that now constrains political life. In recent months, the American press has barely mentioned this ‘interim constitution’ or Transitional Administrative Law, signed in March 2004. Written behind closed doors by American legal experts and handpicked Iraqis, it is this document that has complicated the efforts of elected Iraqi representatives to choose a Presidency Council. The relevant provision requires that the new president and the two deputies must be chosen by two-thirds of the National Assembly.” Opinion: “When U.S. service members are accused of wrongdoing, they are investigated and, if necessary, court-martialed. That's not the case with civilians who are generally not covered by the laws of their home countries for crimes committed abroad. The Iraqi legal system could hold them to account, but in practice Baghdad won't do anything that might lead to an exodus of foreign firms. Dozens of U.S. and British soldiers have been prosecuted for misconduct in Iraq — but not a single contractor. A lack of accountability leads to occurrences such as those described by four former Custer Battles employees who claim that poorly trained Kurds on the firm's payroll killed innocent motorists. In one incident, a guard supposedly fired his AK-47 into a passenger car to clear a traffic jam. In another, an aggressive driver in a giant pickup truck allegedly pulverized a sedan with children inside. When true (the firm denies any wrongdoing), such incidents only create more insurgent recruits.” Casualty Reports Local story: Four Mississippi Guardsmen wounded in Iraq.


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