Friday, May 13, 2005

War News for Friday, May 13, 2005 Bring 'em on: US convoy ambushed by roadside bomb in Baghdad. Bring 'em on: Six US Marines killed, 15 wounded in heavy fighting near Qaim. Bring 'em on: One US soldier killed by roadside bomb near Musayaib. Bring 'em on: One US soldier killed by roadside bomb in Baghdad. Bring 'em on: One US soldier killed, one wounded by roadside bomb near Samarra. Bring 'em on: Two Iraqi soldiers, one civilian killed by car bomb near Baquba. Bring 'em on: Iraqi troops ambushed in Baghdad. Bring 'em on: Oil pumping station at Athana bombed. Is this progress? "A suicide car bomber steered a white sedan into a street thick with traffic on Thursday and blew himself up, the most deadly in a series of bombing attacks that killed at least 21 people and wounded more than 70, officials and witnesses said. In the aftermath of the attack, an angry crowd gathered, and a policeman at the scene said the crowd turned on American troops who responded to the bombing." Maybe this is progress. "More than two years after Saddam Hussein's fall, 85 percent of Iraqis complain of frequent power outages, only 54 percent have access to clean water and nearly a quarter of Iraqi children suffer from chronic malnutrition, a U.N.-Iraqi survey revealed Thursday. 'The survey, in a nutshell, depicts a rather tragic situation of the quality of life,' said Iraq's new planning minister, Barham Saleh. Although Saleh blamed years of wars, economic mismanagement and repressive policies under Saddam, conditions worsened after the U.S. invasion in 2003, and insurgents now are doing their best to tear down the economy, averaging 70 attacks a day at the start of May. The U.S. reconstruction effort also has drawn criticism. Last week, government investigators said U.S. civilian authorities in Iraq cannot properly account for nearly $100 million promised for projects in south-central Iraq. The survey, conducted last year by the U.N. Development Program and the Planning Ministry, paints a picture of persistent misery for many Iraqis." Asshole. "At the Pentagon, Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, indicated Thursday that the insurgency could last for many more years. 'This requires patience,' he said at a news conference. 'This is a thinking and adapting adversary . . . I wouldn't look for results tomorrow. One thing we know about insurgencies, that they last from three, four years to nine years.'" Colonel Karpinski sounds off. "Colonel Janis Karpinski said General Geoffrey Miller introduced the use of human pyramids and dog leashes in the abuse of detainees and said in an interview on Thursday that abuse may still be continuing there. Karpinski, a former one-star Army Reserve general who was punished in the scandal, said she had no idea what was going on at the prison and blamed Miller for the methods that were used to humiliate detainees. Miller headed the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and was sent to Iraq to recommend improvements in intelligence gathering and detention operations there. 'I believe that General Miller gave them the ideas, gave them the instruction on what techniques to use,' she said in excerpts from an interview on the ABC News Nightline programme." Civil war. "With security experts reporting that no major road in the country was safe to travel, some Iraq specialists speculated that the Sunni insurgency was effectively encircling the capital and trying to cut it off from the north, south and west, where there are entrenched Sunni communities. East of Baghdad is a mostly unpopulated desert bordering on Iran. 'It's just political rhetoric to say we are not in a civil war. We've been in a civil war for a long time,' said Pat Lang, the former top Middle East intelligence official at the Pentagon." Recruiting crisis. "Maj. Gen. Michael D. Rochelle, in a telephone interview, said the Army would most likely start its fiscal year this October with the smallest pool of recruits ready for boot camp in at least a decade. He said that by then, only 9.9 percent of the roughly 80,000 new active-duty soldiers the Army needs next year to replenish the ranks in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere were expected to be in the pipeline. Normally, as the Army begins its recruiting year, it has a goal of having already-signed contracts with one in every three of the year's expected arrivals - a cushion that helps recruiters through the slow winter months. But this year, the Army started with one in five, and if General Rochelle's prediction is correct, next year will begin with only one in 10." Call for cannon fodder. "The Army, faced with a severe and growing shortage of recruits, began offering 15-month active-duty enlistments nationwide Thursday, the shortest tours ever. The typical enlistment lasts three or four years; the previous shortest enlistment was two years. Maj. Gen. Michael Rochelle, the head of the Army Recruiting Command, said 2006 could be even worse than this year, a continuation of 'the toughest recruiting climate ever faced by the all-volunteer Army.' Recruits in the new 15-month program could serve in 59 of the more than 150 jobs in the Army, including the combat infantry, and then serve two years in the Reserve or National Guard. They would finish their eight-year military obligation in the Guard or Reserve, volunteer programs such as AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps, or the Individual Ready Reserve, a pool of former active-duty troops who can still be called to duty but aren't affiliated with any military unit." Fifteen month active duty tours? Subtract a twelve-month combat tour in Afghanistan or Iraq, and 30 days of leave and that leaves two months for training. This sounds like a crock of shit. Female soldiers. "Dozens of soldiers interviewed across Iraq -- male and female, from lower enlisted ranks to senior officers -- voiced frustration over restrictions on women mandated in Washington that they say make no sense in the war they are fighting. All said the policy should be changed to allow, at a minimum, mixed-sex support units to be assigned to combat battalions. Many favored a far more radical step: letting qualified women join the infantry. But Congress is moving in the opposite direction. A House subcommittee, seeking to keep women out of combat, passed a measure this week that would bar women from thousands of Army positions now open to them. In Iraq, female soldiers immediately denounced the vote." But conservative chickenhawks have other opinions of female soldiers. "Republican representatives on Wednesday sought a ban on women in combat support units despite objections from the Army that the limits could confuse soldiers fighting overseas. The House Armed Services subcommittee on military personnel passed a measure along party lines as part of the 2006 defense budget. It would prohibit female soldiers from joining forward support companies, defined as any unit supporting a ground combat battalion or even located in that battalion's operating area." Are we safer yet? "Anti-American violence spread to 10 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces and into Pakistan on Thursday as four more protesters died in a third day of demonstrations and clashes with the police." Snark of the day. "Baghdad: You fly in for the human rights violations, but stay for the suicide bombings. Scotland's Air Scotland, known for its low-budget flights, wants to be the first airline to offer a flight from the United Kingdom to war-torn Iraq. The owner a British national, who, incidentally, was born in Iraq, wants to offer the flight so badly he's not even waiting for things like, oh, political stability, personal security or and end to martial law to turn up in the country. Air Scotland formally petitioned the United Kingdom's Department of Transportation to launch twice-weekly flights to Iraq's capital." Wingnuts. "An Air Force chaplain who complained that evangelical Christians were trying to "subvert the system" by winning converts among cadets at the Air Force Academy was removed from administrative duties last week, just as the Pentagon began an in-depth study of alleged religious intolerance among cadets and commanders at the school. 'They fired me,' said Capt. MeLinda Morton, a Lutheran minister who was removed as executive officer of the chaplain unit on May 4. .They said I should be angry about these outside groups who reported on the strident evangelicalism at the academy. The problem is, I agreed with those reports.'" The service academy with a record of sex scandals is also infested with religion-baiting evangelical Christians. Does anybody else see a connection? Commentary Editorial: "Like Mr. Voinovich, Mr. Hagel dismissed as 'nonsense' his fellow Republicans' argument that opposing Mr. Bolton would mean opposing U.N. reform. Unlike Mr. Voinovich, Mr. Hagel said he was supporting the Bolton nomination. We agreed strongly when he said this issue should not be partisan. But Mr. Hagel couldn't come up with much to explain his decision beyond a partisan desire to support his president. Another Republican, Norm Coleman, said bluntly that Mr. Bolton should be confirmed simply because Mr. Bush won the election. That's the weak argument that has already led to the promotion of too many administration officials whose efforts to make reality conform to the White House's policy preferences have caused untold harm to American interests. Now that the Foreign Relations Committee has forwarded the Bolton nomination to the Senate floor without any recommendation, we hope that enough Republicans care enough about America's image and national security to refuse to go down that road again." Opinion: "Incompetent journalists, criminally negligent journalists or liars who are complicit in the mass deception of the American people; there are no other ways whatsoever to describe the men and women who comprise the corporate news institutions of the United States. From the hired face you see every day on the boob tube to the journalism intern every person currently employed in the corporate media today has some soul searching to do." Casualty Reports Local story: Texas soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Louisiana soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Ohio soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Louisiana soldier dies from wounds received in Iraq.


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