Saturday, April 23, 2005

War News for Saturday, April 23, 2005 Bring ‘em on: Nine Iraqi soldiers killed, 20 wounded by roadside bomb near Abu Ghraib. Bring ‘em on: Eight Iraqis killed, 26 wounded in mosque bombing in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Four Iraqis wounded by two car bombings in Basra. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi policemen wounded by roadside bomb in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi killed, seven wounded by roadside bomb on Baghdad airport road. Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi killed by roadside bomb near Samarra. Bring ‘em on: Three Iraqi soldiers wounded by roadside bomb near Mosul. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqis killed in two bombings in Baquba. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi civilians killed in car bomb attack on US patrol in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi soldier killed, two wounded by roadside bomb near Yusufiyah. Command Responsibility. “An Army inspector general's report has cleared senior Army officers of wrongdoing in the abuse of military prisoners in Iraq and elsewhere, government officials familiar with the findings said yesterday. The only Army general officer recommended for punishment for the failures that led to abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison and other facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan is Brig. Gen. Janis L. Karpinski, who was in charge of U.S. prison facilities in Iraq as commander of the 800th Military Police Brigade in late 2003 and early 2004. Several sources said Karpinski is expected to receive an administrative reprimand for dereliction of duty.” General Peers would be so proud (not). Gen. Myers gets kicked to the curb. “In April 2003, as U.S. troops were entering Baghdad and looters roamed the streets, Gen. Peter Pace was asked in a television interview what the U.S. military could do to help democracy take root in Iraq. ‘What we can help do,’ Pace replied, ‘is provide a stable environment inside of which you can rebuild your schools, you can have your electricity turned back on, the water and humanitarian aid can continue to flow, and the people can meet publicly and decide for themselves what kind of government they want.’ That was a precise description of the Bush administration's hopes for quick results in Iraq, delivered with utter confidence by a Marine who looks as if he came from Central Casting. Two years later, stability is still elusive for the military in Iraq, but Pace's effectiveness as a communicator who sticks to the administration's message is one of the factors that led President George W. Bush to nominate him Friday to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.” Fuck up and move up. $81 billion supplemental. “The US Senate on Thursday passed an $81.3bn spending bill to keep US combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan running and to provide additional help to last December’s tsunami victims. By a vote of 99-0, the Senate passed the emergency spending bill that also funds some new domestic security measures, including hiring of additional border agents.” Bush's war, which Wolfowitz told Congress would pay for itself, has now cost over $300 billion. Will Aegis get a cut? “A controversial British firm responsible for a $293 million U.S. Army security contract in Iraq could not prove that its armed employees received proper weapons training or that it had vetted Iraqi employees to ensure they did not pose a threat, according to a government audit released yesterday. In addition to criticizing Aegis Defence Services Ltd., the audit took aim at the Army's contracting office in Iraq for poor oversight. It reported that the official who was supposed to keep watch over Aegis's contract had not been trained in either monitoring contracts or security. The office was also severely short-staffed: At the time of the audit, 41 officials were administering 6,500 contracts and task orders.” Cheneyburton update. “The Halliburton corporation, already the Iraq war's poster child for ‘waste, fraud and abuse’, has been hit with a new double whammy. A report from the US State Department accuses the company of "poor performance" in its US$1.2 billion contract to repair Iraq's vital southern oilfields. And a powerful California congressman is charging that Defense Department audits showing additional overcharges totaling $212 million were concealed from United Nations monitors by the administration of President George W Bush. The new overcharges bring to $2 billion, or 42% of the contract amounts, the grand total of questionable bills from Halliburton.” Home of the Whopper. “The Army and Air Force Exchange Service’s newest Burger King in Iraq opened in the International Zone last week. The post exchange food courtyard also has a Pizza Inn, Gyro King and coffee shop, according to an AAFES press release.” Commentary Analysis: “There is also a blind alley we must avoid turning in to. The combination of low-profile U.S. forces taking few casualties with a continuing insurgency that inflicts heavy and systematic losses on Iraqi government forces and civilians could ultimately place the United States in the worst of all possible situations in Iraq. We would then be in the position of being still perceived and resented by most Iraqis as an occupying military force, yet at the same time their anger against the U.S. would mount for not doing enough to quell the insurgency and protect the people it supposedly entered Iraq to liberate. Only by being aware of that risk will Washington be able to preclude it. In fact, the Pentagon is planning for possible significant U.S. troop reductions early next year - perhaps drawing down American forces from over 140,000 now to 105,000.” Analysis:
This new American militarism manifests itself in several different ways. It does so, first of all, in the scope, cost, and configuration of America's present-day military establishment. Through the first two centuries of US history, political leaders in Washington gauged the size and capabilities of America's armed services according to the security tasks immediately at hand. A grave and proximate threat to the nation's well-being might require a large and powerful military establishment. In the absence of such a threat, policymakers scaled down that establishment accordingly. With the passing of crisis, the army raised up for the crisis went immediately out of existence. This had been the case in 1865, in 1918, and in 1945. Since the end of the Cold War, having come to value military power for its own sake, the United States has abandoned this principle and is committed as a matter of policy to maintaining military capabilities far in excess of those of any would-be adversary or combination of adversaries. This commitment finds both a qualitative and quantitative expression, with the US military establishment dwarfing that of even America's closest ally. Thus, whereas the US Navy maintains and operates a total of 12 large attack aircraft carriers, the once-vaunted Royal Navy has none - indeed, in all the battle fleets of the world there is no ship even remotely comparable to a Nimitz-class carrier, weighing in at some 97,000 tons fully loaded, longer than three [US] football fields, cruising at a speed above 30 knots, and powered by nuclear reactors that give it an essentially infinite radius of action. Today, the US Marine Corps possesses more attack aircraft than does the entire Royal Air Force - and the United States has two other even larger "air forces", one an integral part of the navy and the other officially designated as the US Air Force. Indeed, in terms of numbers of men and women in uniform, the US Marine Corps is half again as large as the entire British army - and the Pentagon has a second, even larger "army" actually called the US Army - which in turn also operates its own "air force" of some 5,000 aircraft.
Casualty Reports Local story: Oregon soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Arizona Marine killed in Iraq. Local story: New York Marine killed in Iraq. Local story: Arizona soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: North Carolina contractor killed in Iraq. Local story: Nevada contractor killed in Iraq.


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