Saturday, May 14, 2005

War News for Saturday, May 14, 2005 Bring ‘em on: Heavy fighting continues near Qaim. Bring ‘em on: Eight Iraqis killed in attack on US patrol in Mosul. Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed, eight wounded by car bomb near Beiji. Bring ‘em on: Four US Marines die from wounds received in bomb attack near Qaim. Bring ‘em on: Two US Marines wounded by roadside bomb near Qaim. Bring ‘em on: Three Iraqi policemen wounded by car bomb in Mosul. Bring ‘em on: Four Iraqis killed in car bomb attack on Iraqi police patrol in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Three Iraqi street sweepers killed, three wounded by roadside bomb in Baghdad. Twenty-five US soldiers and Marines killed in the last week. Iraqi government extends state of emergency. Qaim. “There is little information about the fate of Iraqi residents in the region, a large swath of western Iraq in the Jazira desert along the Euphrates. But an official from the Iraqi Red Crescent, the Red Cross aid affiliate, said in an interview on Friday that many families had fled amid shooting and destruction. ‘The situation is very bad there; we are sure that there are civilian victims,’ said Fardous al-Abadi, a spokeswoman for the Red Crescent. As many as 1,000 families have left the city of Qaim, she said, with most seeking refuge in Akashat, while others have traveled as far as Ramadi or have sought shelter in the desert. Iraqi residents from the area told The A.P. that the United States military was attacking with artillery rounds. ‘Most of the people have fled to the desert,’ Samran Mukhlef Abed, a tribal leader in Saadah, told the news service. ‘The Americans are all around,’ he said, ‘and medical services do not exist here. If someone is hurt, we have to take him to cities that are far away from here, and that is impossible with the situation.’" Reality TV. “’Love and War’ does not always live up to Western production standards. Most of it was filmed outdoors in Baghdad, and it sometimes has the improvised look of a student film. But improvisation is part of its charm. Often during the filming, American soldiers walked up, alarmed at the sight of all the cameras, actors and extras. Mr. Jassim often turned the camera onto the soldiers - or the helicopters - and integrated them into the episode. ‘When you put up a microphone, the helicopter pilots always think it's a rocket-propelled grenade or a gun,’ said Mr. Malakh, an elegant 60-year-old who looks, and plays, characters 15 years younger. The constant interruptions often delayed the filming, he said. But they had a side benefit. ‘In other countries getting a tank or a helicopter costs thousands of dollars,’ Mr. Malakh said. ‘Here we get it for free.’ Making the entire first season of ‘Love and War’ cost about $150,000, he said. Home front. “Home is where the news hits and the caskets come. It is where the mother of one Lima Company Marine wrote in an e-mail to another that her son had called from Iraq at 3 a.m. after the twin calamities: ‘He was crying and said 'It sucks over here' and that he was scared. (This is so out of character for him.)’ It is where another mother wrote, ‘I just heard on the news that Lima Company lost six Marines yesterday. Is this true? I can't stop crying. . . . What are they talking about? Please let me know what is happening.’ The young warriors come from Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois. They are "white-collar, blue-collar, no collar. We have college students. We have roughneck construction guys. We have business guys who have committed themselves to the Corps," said former Marine Ken Hiltz. Among them is the son of Mayor Michael B. Coleman. A patchwork of relatives, friends and colleagues has spent the week trying to reassure one another even as they have struggled to hold themselves together. Those who lost a son are seeking meaning.” Swanker of the Day: Jack Kelly. “MORE than 400 people have been killed in Iraq in the last two weeks, including at least five U.S. Marines taking part in Operation Matador in western Iraq. A reader wants to know if, in light of this upsurge in violence, I still believe, as I wrote in a column Feb. 27, that ‘the war in Iraq is all but won.’ My answer is emphatically yes. The body count is up because two offensives are under way. The insurgents have launched a suicide bombing campaign in an effort to destabilize the new Iraqi government. The Marines are clearing out the rats' nests in western Iraq to which insurgents fled after they were expelled from their stronghold in Fallujah last November.” Commentary Editorial:
Because of the slaughter and oppression Saddam Hussein visited on those who dared oppose him in his time of weakness following the 1991 Gulf War, a simple U.S. withdrawal has been deemed untenable, even unconscionable. But, with Saddam in custody and his hierarchy largely destroyed, would what might take place in the vacuum of a U.S. withdrawal be worse than what we've visited on the Iraqi people to date? It may well be time to wonder whether the U.S. military presence in Iraq is what's holding the center or what's making things fall apart. Once left to stand on its own, will any Iraqi government coddled by U.S. military force ever be considered legitimate by the majority of the Iraqi people, and the broader Arab world? Then again, having now imposed our will upon Iraq by military force, the United States may never be able to leave. Remember that liberating the Iraqi people was a kind of "Plan C" for the invasion, once the imminent threat of weapons of mass destruction and the allegations of Saddam's intimate connection with terrorists dissolved. When Americans beat the drums for war in post-9/11 shock, did they realize it was a cadence to which their grandchildren might have to march?
NPR reporter Philip Reeves followed American soldiers around Mosul. At one point, the soldiers decided to take over a civilian house for two hours as a surveillance post. A lieutenant said to the surprised family of the house, ''Listen to me. Let me make this really clear for you. We need to be in your house for two hours. Everybody in this house will stay here." When the family continue to appear to be ''baffled and unhappy," another soldier stepped in and said (with obscenities bleeped out by NPR): ''Look, check this out. You tell them this. You're not [bleep] leaving. Nobody's [bleep] leaving this house. You're not using the phone. Anybody comes, they're going to [bleep] stay here. OK? You give me a [bleep] hard time, I'll turn you [bleep] guys into the commandos, and they'll [bleep] you up." In the background, one soldier said, ''Hey don't translate that." Another soldier added, ''Yeah, don't say that." The soldier with the foul mouth said, ''That's what I tell them all the time." Again, a soldier said, ''You shouldn't say that." Bush has boasted how ''Iraqis have laid the foundations of a free society, with hundreds of independent newspapers." The reality was a bit more totalitarian. The featured soldiers handed out a newspaper full of favorable news about the US-installed government. When they saw that two young Iraqis had ripped up the newspaper, a soldier took one aside and asked, ''Why are you ripping up the paper? Why are you ripping up the paper?" A staff sergeant told NPR, ''When a guy tears up a paper in my face, it looks like he's disrespecting everything we're trying to do. Maybe he knows somebody. Or maybe he is somebody. But it's just blatant for him to tear it up in my face and then lie about it. It's blatant. He blatantly disrespected everything that we're trying to accomplish." Finally a supervising soldier, playing the benevolent occupier, told the young Iraqi, ''If you tore up the paper, that's fine. If you didn't tear up the paper, that's fine. Don't tear up the papers in the future, OK?" This is not to tear up the soldiers. They are but pawns of President Bush, who declared major combat operations over under the banner of ''Mission Accomplished" two years ago. If all that soldiers can now accomplish is curse at baffled Iraqi families and berate people in the streets for exercising what we consider the right of free speech to tear up a newspaper, then there is no mission.
Thanks to alert reader go long into the day. Casualty Reports Local story: Ohio Marine killed in Iraq. Local story: Pennsylvania soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Pennsylvania soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: New Jersey Marine killed in Iraq. Local story: Connecticut Marine dies from wounds received in Iraq. Local story: North Carolina soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Wisconsin soldier wounded in Iraq. Local story: Two Mississippi Marines wounded in Iraq.


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