Friday, April 08, 2005

War News for Friday, April 8, 2005 Bring `em on: Four Iraqi children killed by roadside bomb in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: CBS cameraman wounded by US troops in firefight near Mosul. Bring ‘em on: One Turkish truck driver killed, six wounded in attack near Kirkuk. Bring ‘em on: Iraqi officer assassinated near Basra. Bring ‘em on: Eleven Iraqis working for US forces killed near Muhammadiyah. Bring ‘em on: Twelve Iraqis wounded by suicide bomber in Tall Afar. Bring ‘em on: Three Iraqi soldiers killed, 20 wounded in bomb attack near Mosul. Bring ‘em on: Shi’ite shrine bombed near Latifiyah. Bring ‘em on: Four Iraqis wounded in Najaf bombing. US Marine killed in vehicle accident near Fallujah. Hostages. “Arkan Mukhlif Al-Batawi, a farmer in the neighborhood of Taji, north of Baghdad, says US troops took his mother and sister hostage after raiding the family’s home last Saturday. Al-Batawi told Reuters that the women had been arrested in an attempt by the US to pressure him and two of his brothers to surrender themselves to US troops who suspect them of insurgent attacks. Several of Al-Batawi’s neighbors corroborated his version of the raid. According to Reuters, the Army confirmed Wednesday that it has detained two Iraqi women and said it is investigating Al-Batawi’s accusations, but a military spokesperson also claimed that the women are being held as suspected insurgents, not hostages. Holding the women as hostages would be a violation of international law.” Guardsman sounds off. “Staff Sgt. Brad Rogers, who is with the 2113th Transportation Company in Paducah, Ky., complained in an e-mail to friends and co-workers in Kentucky that soldiers in his unit are driving old M915 tractor-trailers that frequently break down. Rogers called the trucks "a dinosaur" and said they are equipped with only one armored panel on each side and are not fitted with protective glass, or ballistic windows. Rogers said he decided to speak out about the dangers to his unit after a fellow soldier, Sgt. James A. Sherrill, was killed last Sunday when a bomb exploded near his military vehicle. Sherrill, 27, died when a piece of metal went through the truck window and hit him around his left temple, Rogers said.” Women in combat. “Army Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester bolted from her Humvee, took cover behind a berm along the road and began firing at the swarm of insurgents ambushing a U.S. military convoy south of Baghdad. ‘Bullets were flying everywhere,’ said Hester, 23, of Bowling Green. ‘I could hear them pinging off the truck in back of me. I could hear them hitting the ground next to me. It was pretty crazy.’ For almost a half-hour, Hester and nine other Kentucky National Guard soldiers, including another woman, Spec. Ashley Pullen, fought off 40 to 50 attackers armed with assault rifles, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. When the shooting ended, 26 insurgents lay dead and seven were wounded.” Convoy duty: “The 87th Corps Support Battalion operates a major distribution center for the 3rd Infantry Division’s Task Force Baghdad, hauling supplies to military installations and forward operating bases all over the city. And each morning, its soldiers conduct battle drills before hitting the road to prepare for what they might face outside the wire. About two months into a yearlong deployment, many troops say that while incidents have been few, they are definitely something to worry about.” Stop-loss. “On June 11, 2004, two weeks before Santiago's National Guard contract was due to expire, his platoon sergeant informed him that he was subject to the Pentagon's controversial "stop-loss" policy and would not be allowed to leave the Guard. Last October, months after his contract was supposed to have ended, the Guard ordered Santiago to report to Fort Sill, Okla., for training in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan. Santiago balked. Although he reported to Fort Sill as ordered and is there still, he's fighting the government in court….Making it all the stranger is that the Army presented him with a new contract that extended his service until 2031. Army spokesperson Hart says the date was arbitrary, meant to allow for ‘wiggle room.’ Says Santiago, looking at another 27 years in the Army over and above the eight he signed up for: ‘It's crazy.’” Maybe SGT Santiago can ask one of his daddy’s influential friends to arrange a transfer to an Alabama postal detachment. Stop-loss doesn’t apply if you’re gay. “An Army sergeant who was wounded in Iraq wants a chance to remain in the military as an openly gay soldier, a desire that's bringing him into conflict with the Pentagon's ‘don't ask, don't tell’ policy. Sgt. Robert Stout, 23, says he has not encountered trouble from fellow soldiers and would like to stay if not for the policy that permits gay men and women to serve only if they keep their sexual orientation a secret.” Hope this works out. “Since Iraq's Jan. 30 parliamentary elections, that process has accelerated much more rapidly than US commanders have previously acknowledged. Although AO Iraq is one of just two sectors under Iraqi control (the other is the area around Baghdad's Haifa Street), two senior US officers said the Iraqis' zone of responsibility would soon expand and eventually include all of Nineveh Province, including Mosul and Tall Afar, another volatile city, possibly within a year. The officers cautioned that the rough timetable for the northern province's handover could be affected by several factors, including the potency of the insurgency and the preparedness of specific units, and US commanders have declined to provide a schedule for shifting responsibility to Iraqi forces throughout the country. But the process in Mosul, where in November insurgents overpowered an 8,000-man Iraqi police force and several National Guard units, demonstrates how fast the transition is happening.” Our priceless fucking media. “An excellent idea, but when they arrived at the school, the unit was ‘surprised to find that no schoolchildren were present and that an Iraqi family was homesteading in the building,’ the report said. What's more, ‘the Iraqi police were unwilling to remove the family and no school supplies" could be issued because the children were nowhere to be found. Could there be a silver lining to this dark cloud? Yes. The media come to the rescue! ‘Fortunately,’ the Army folks said in their report, ‘the reporter elected not to cover the event, which could have made us look bad, since we didn't know what was going on with the school after we funded its construction.’ The reporter, who was not named, ‘understood what had happened and had other good coverage to use . . . rather than airing any of this event.’” Commentary Analysis: “If the Sunni Arabs inside the political process are not recognized as legitimate, the ones who are remain outside the process: the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS), under its leader Harith al-Dari, and what we have described as the Sinn Fein strand of the Sunni Arab resistance. The minority secular Sunni Arabs, inside the political process, are concerned that the AMS may be configuring itself as a religious, pro-resistance Sunni counterpower: they fear this would represent a certified Lebanonization of Iraq. But the fact is the AMS has been cleverly filling a Sunni political vacuum: it has even admitted publicly it would condemn the resistance in Islamic terms, as long as the new Iraqi government came up with a definitive timetable for a complete US military withdrawal. You can't get more popular than that in Iraq. The AMS already makes a clear distinction between "noble" guerrillas - who attack the occupying forces - and the murderers who attack Iraqi civilians. The big question now is how the Shi'ites and Kurds will deal with marginalized Sunni Arabs - paying close attention to their political grievances or clobbering them with peshmergas, Badr Brigades and Iraqi security forces. It's politics or civil war.” Casualty Reports Local story: Tennessee Guardsman killed in Iraq. Local story: Alaska Marine killed in Iraq. Local story: Filipino US Marine killed in Iraq. Local story: Kentucky Guardsman wounded in Iraq. Rant of the Day From athenae at First Draft. Go read it.


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