Friday, May 27, 2005

Note to Readers Evidently, Friendly Fire and I can't keep our schedules straight because we both prepared today's news post. It's probably my fault since Friendly and Matt have been kindly covering for me for the last week. Scroll down to read Friendly's news summary. I've eliminated redundancies from my summary. Thanks, YD War News for Friday, May 27, 2004, Extra Edition Bring 'em on: Three Iraqi policemen killed in Mosul. Bring 'em on: Five Iraqis killed, 15 wounded in bomb attack on police patrol in Baghdad. Bring 'em on: Three Iraqi civilians, two US soldiers wounded by roadside bomb in Kirkuk. Bring 'em on: US troops and insurgents clash in Fallujah. "Insurgents in Iraq attached explosives to a dog and tried to blow up a military convoy near the northern oil centre of Kirkuk." Knucklehead. "Retired Army Lt. Col. Charles Krohn got himself in trouble with his superiors as a Pentagon civilian public affairs official during the first three and one-half years of the Bush administration by telling the truth. He is still at it in private life. He says not to blame the military recruiters for the current recruiting 'scandal.' Blame the war. "Army recruiting is in a death spiral, through no fault of the Army," Krohn told me. Always defending uniformed personnel, he resents hard-pressed recruiters being attacked for offering unauthorized benefits to make quotas. In a recent e-mail sent to friends (mostly retired military), Krohn complained that the 'Army is having to compensate for a problem of national scope…' In contrast, Krohn is a lifelong Republican who actively supported George W. Bush's presidential candidacy in 2000. He specified in his e-mail that 'I'm not now blaming' President Bush or Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for the situation. 'We have a problem that transcends politics,' Krohn added." What a fucking moron. I bet this "lifelong Republican" was one of those clowns howling for Les Aspin's resignation after the Battle of Mogadishu. But a truly incompetent defense secretary "transcends politics." IOKIYAR. Rummy's Army. "Last year, Army lieutenants and captains left the service at an annual rate of 8.7% — the highest since 2001. Pentagon officials say they expect the attrition rate to improve slightly this year. Yet interviews with several dozen military officers revealed an undercurrent of discontent within the Army's young officer corps that the Pentagon's statistics do not yet capture. Young captains in the Army are looking ahead to repeated combat tours, years away from their families and a global war that their commanders tell them could last for decades. Like other college grads in their mid-20s, they are making decisions about what to do with their lives. And many officers, who until recently had planned to pursue careers in the military, are deciding that it's a future they can't sign up for. The officers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan just wrapped up a year of grueling counterinsurgency operations — a type of combat the U.S. largely avoided after its struggle in Vietnam and that many in the Pentagon believe is the new face of war. They were in Iraq during last spring's uprisings in Fallouja and Najaf, June's transfer of power to an interim Iraqi government and block-to-block fighting during the retaking of Fallouja in November. These officers have, in most cases, more counterinsurgency experience than any of their superiors. And they are the people the Army most fears losing." The good news from Iraq that the media fails to notice: "So, to summarize the good electricity news: Due to lack of maintenance, electricity production fell from 9000 MW in 1991 to 4400 MW before the war. Since then, there have been many announcements of improved generating capacity and production has fallen further to 3560 MW." Courtesy of Brad De Long. Wounded. "The number of service members wounded in Iraq has surged past 12,000, half of them injured so badly that they cannot return to duty. Many of the most critical cases end up here at the National Naval Medical Center, established in the early days of World War II. On the worst nights at the Bethesda hospital complex, ambulances and casualty buses deliver up to 100 wounded Marines and sailors from Iraq. Since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, more than 1,700 have arrived, most of them young and suffering from the devastating damage inflicted on human tissue by explosives, bullets and shrapnel. Some, like Bryan Trusty, stay only a few weeks. Others, like Eddie Ryan, stay longer. The soldiers are surrounded by attentive nurses and skilled surgeons, and by loved ones who cling to hope and share an ordeal that can be both traumatic and uplifting, their lives in turmoil and forever altered. If not for Eddie's tattoos, Angela Ryan would not have recognized her son after she and her husband flew to see him at a military hospital in Germany. His face and body were grotesquely swollen. Before he was wounded, Eddie was lean and fit, 6 feet tall and 195 pounds. He had ballooned to 250 pounds because of severe swelling and fluid accumulation caused by injuries." "A Fayette County (Pennsylvania) veteran blinded in Iraq said he is finally getting help and having to deal with the reality of his injuries. And he's looking forward to starting his new life in a new home being built for him…Ross, a former combat engineer with the 82nd Airborne Division, was wounded on May 18, 2003, while disposing of munitions near Baghdad. He was carrying a mine in a sand-filled shovel to a disposal pit when it exploded. The accident left him with no sight and a prosthetic leg. Since returning home, he's had several run-ins with the law, and said the pressure just got to him. But Ross said he still had dreams of moving out of his trailer home and into a new home and now that's becoming a reality. The Massachusetts-based group Homes For Our Troops is building a handicap-accessible home for Ross." Class warfare. "Given the deteriorating security in Iraq, it had been obvious for months that the Guard unit - E Troop, Second Squadron, 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment - would be called up. Still, the deployment was tough on the soldiers and their families. The National Guard, as many have noted, is not a cross-section of America. Since the draft was abandoned in 1973, the Guard has drawn overwhelmingly from the working class, like the Army itself. The incomes of members of E Troop cluster around the Tennessee median income, about $38,000. Few are well-to-do, the kinds of people who often joined the Guard to avoid going to Vietnam. Few are among the very poor, who often manned the front lines in that war." Watch the slide show accompanying this short article, read the comments from these Guardsmen and their families, and then ask yourself, "Where the hell are those two sperm-burping Bush brats?" Commentary Analysis:
The Northeast Intelligence Network also gave its own English translation of the Arabic statement, which is annexed below. A careful reading of the translation shows, firstly, there is no reference to Zarqawi by name. It merely talks of a "sheikh", which has been presumed to be a reference to Zarqawi. Why can't it be a reference to Osama bin Laden, who is also referred to by his followers as a sheikh. The statement, according to this translation, does not say that the sheikh is injured, so pray for him. It says should the sheikh be injured, pray for him. Why should the information section put out a statement that all Muslims should pray if their sheikh is injured? This is inexplicable unless the poster has no personal information on Zarqawi and had made his posting on the basis of the reports discussed above which speculate about the possibility of Zarqawi having been injured. Where are we after reading and analyzing all these reports and comments on them by various analysts? Nowhere. We are as much in a state of confusion as we have always been since the US-led coalition invaded and occupied Iraq. All that one knows for certain is: More than two years after the occupation, the Arab Sunni resistance to the US-led occupation shows no signs of abating. There has been an unending flow of volunteers - from Iraq as well as outside - for the resistance movement, with many of them volunteering themselves for suicide missions. Iraqis - many of them from deposed president Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party and armed forces - and Saudis, recruited by al-Qaeda, spearhead the resistance movement. The Iraqi resistance has shown remarkable coordination, even if it has been operating separately. There is a common brain behind all the anti-American operations in Iraq. The Americans project Zarqawi's as that common brain, but their evidence in this regard is far from conclusive. The Americans, with their penchant for demonization and dramatization, have made Zarqawi appear as the source of most of what has been happening in Iraq, just as, post-September 11, they had made bin Laden appear as the source of most of the anti-Western jihadi terrorism taking place in the Islamic world.
Asia Times Online has learned that the US, instead of training up a regular professional Iraqi army, will create what in effect will be armed militias, acting under US central command, to take the militias of the resistance on at their own game. Recent meetings of the so-called Higher Committee for National Forces (a grouping of Iraqi resistance bodies) and the 16th Arab National Congress held in Algiers played a pivotal role in building consensus among various Iraqi communist, Islamic, Ba'athist and nationalist groups on several issues, such as the right of Iraqis to defend themselves against foreign aggression and imperialism, and the right of Iraq to demand a political process untainted by occupation and which reflects the uninhibited will of the Iraqi people for a pluralistic and democratic Iraq. The groups also condemned the continued occupation of Iraq and the establishment of any permanent US bases in the country, the privatization of the Iraqi economy and foreign corporations' unrestricted access to Iraq's resources. On this common ground, the central command of the resistance reorganized its activities, a key to which was merging mohallah-level (street-level) Islamic groups scattered in their hundreds across Iraq to work toward a common goal - defeating the occupation. In turn, these militias would co-opt common folk into their struggle, so that, literally, the streets would be alive with resistance. Aware of this development, the US has accepted that no conventional military force can cope with such a resistance, and therefore similar mohallah-level combat forces are needed. According to Asia Times Online contacts, these US-backed militias will comprise three main segments - former Kurdish peshmerga (paramilitaries), former members of the Badr Brigade and those former members of the Ba'ath Party and the Iraqi army who were part of the Saddam regime but who have now thrown in their lot with the new Iraqi government.
In fact, Sinclair has hopped on the "tribute" bandwagon this time around, and has even changed its story about why it yanked the program last year — not unlike the way the administration changed its story about why we launched the war. In a statement posted Tuesday on its Website, Sinclair said it "applauds Nightline for paying tribute to those service men and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan by reading their names on Memorial Day." And why is it such a noble undertaking in 2005 when it was such a scandalously unpatriotic act in 2004? Well, Sinclair now says, "Unlike Nightline's reading of the names last year, which coincided with the start of the May ratings sweeps, we feel that this year's Memorial Day selection is the appropriate setting to remember those who have sacrificed their lives to keep all Americans safe and free." What? Sinclair last year blocked a tribute to those who had "sacrificed their lives" because it was "May ratings sweeps"? In other words, to protect the few pennies it might have lost in advertising dollars by yielding two hours of airtime to honor the dead? It's not only a new excuse, but a repugnant one.
Casualty Reports Local story: Michigan soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Tennessee Guasrdsman killed in Iraq. Local story: Kentucky Marine killed in Iraq. Local story: Four Iowa Guardsmen wounded in Iraq. Local story: Texas soldier wounded in Iraq. Local story: Utah airman wounded in Iraq. Local story: Florida soldier wounded in Iraq. Local story: Pennsylvania soldier wounded in Iraq.


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