Tuesday, May 24, 2005

War News for Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Bring ‘em on: At least 15 civilians killed and at least 20 wounded, at least 8 critically, in double car bomb attack on a tribal gathering at a Sheik’s home in Tal Afar. The gathering was a celebration of the Sheik’s survival of an assassination attempt several days ago. (Note: This South African news story puts the death toll from this attack at 35 with 25 wounded.) At least two people killed and 22 injured, including 11 children, in bombing of Shiite mosque in Mahmudiya. More casualties may be trapped in the rubble.

Bring ‘em on: Six people killed, four wounded in car bombing near a junior high school for girls in Baghdad.

Bring ‘em on: At least two Iraqis killed and at least eight wounded in car bomb explosion targeting a police patrol in central Baghdad.

Bring ‘em on: At least 20 Iraqis holding key government, political or religious posts have been assassinated since the government was formed April 28. The article lists the dead.

Bring ‘em on: Three US soldiers killed in car bombing in central Baghdad. Four bodyguards critically wounded in attack on female Shiite legislator’s convoy. Two civilians killed in machine gun attack on the Tal Afar home of the Sheik whose residence was the target of the double car bombing in the first entry above. Street battles are reported raging in Tal Afar and an Iraqi Colonel stated that the city was under terrorist control.

Bring ‘em on: Bradley fighting vehicle destroyed by a bomb in Ramadi. Three US soldiers injured, none severely.

Bring ‘em on: Four US soldiers killed in bombing in Haswa. All were assigned to the 155th Brigade Combat Team, Second Marine Expeditionary Force.

Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed when gunmen shot him from a passing car. Location appears to be central Baghdad and the incident may have occurred in the aftermath of the bombing that killed three US soldiers listed above.

"Squeeze Play": Thousands of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers poured through Baghdad on Monday, detaining suspected insurgents in house-to-house searches and finding $6 million in $100 bills, the preferred currency for paying insurgent hit men and bomb-makers. (Too bad they didn’t find that 8.8 billion the CPA lost…)

At least 285 suspected insurgents had been detained since Sunday. Bystanders were also apparently caught up in the dragnet, however.

Some Iraqis said that while Operation Squeeze Play took some insurgents off the streets, it angered moderate Iraqis while giving insurgents a friendlier environment in which to carry out attacks.

Raad Mutlek, a Sunni Muslim, was sitting in a candy shop in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib neighborhood Monday. He was filling in for the shop's owner, his cousin, who was detained the day before.

"They came here and detained people randomly," Mutlek said. "The families of the innocent people who have been detained will seek revenge."

Not enough boys: The U.S. military's plan to pacify Iraq has run into trouble in a place where it urgently needs to succeed. U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad agree that Al Anbar province — the vast desert badlands stretching west from the cities of Fallouja and Ramadi to the lawless region abutting the Syrian border — remains the epicenter of the country's deadly insurgency.

Yet U.S. troops and military officials in the embattled province said in recent interviews that they have neither enough combat power nor enough Iraqi military support to mount an effective counterinsurgency against an increasingly sophisticated enemy. "You can't get all the Marines and train them on a single objective, because usually the objective is bigger than you are," said Maj. Mark Lister, a senior Marine air officer in Al Anbar province. "Basically, we've got all the toys, but not enough boys."

Just three battalions of Marines are stationed in the western part of the province, down from four a few months ago. Marine officials in western Al Anbar say that each of those battalions is smaller by one company than last year, meaning there are approximately 2,100 Marines there now, compared with about 3,600 last year.

(This article is well worth reading in its entirety. It clarifies the nature of the conflict the US is waging in this part of Iraq and gives an excellent summation of why the recent Operation Matador was a strategic failure.)

Triangle of death: They have lived side by side for generations, but the small farming communities south of Baghdad are being split apart by a vicious sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Shias that many Iraqis fear could be a step on the path to civil war.

As politicians in Baghdad struggle to bring the communities back from the brink, fresh accounts are emerging from the fertile area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers south of the capital of the latest cycle of violence.

The Shias can rightly claim to have taken the brunt of the sectarian violence, which began last year with bombing attacks in packed mosques during one of their main religious festivals. In recent weeks scores of Shia bodies have been discovered near the town of Madaen, in the so-called “Triangle of Death” south of Baghdad. Over the past six months thousands of Shias are thought to have fled the area.

Until recently the Shias did not respond to the provocation, appearing to heed their religious authorities, who said that retaliation could plunge the country into civil war and jeopardise their political victory in January’s elections.

Now Sunnis say that restraint has ended. Last week around 50 bodies of murdered Shias and Sunnis, including 15 Sunni Arabs with links to the Muslim Scholars’ Board, were dumped in Baghdad. They included the body of Sheikh Hassan al-Neimi, a Sunni cleric who had been arrested by men in police uniforms.

Kirkuk: For generations, this oil-rich city was Iraq’s melting pot, where the country’s diverse ethnic and religious groups lived in relative peace. Today, Kirkuk’s ethnic balance is precarious, threatened both by insurgents wanting to stoke civil war and by Kurds and other long-oppressed groups thirsting for justice and power in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq. "It’s a potential flash point," says Army Maj. Gen. Joseph Taluto, commander of U.S. troops in the area stretching from just north of Baghdad to Kirkuk. "But it has to get resolved by the Iraqis. What the heck can we do? We stay out of it." If Iraq’s new government can pull off a reconciliation here, this city of 850,000 could become a model for ethnic harmony in a country with a history of deep sectarian rivalries. If not, this is where Iraq’s experiment with democracy could start unraveling.

Susceptible to corruption and intimidation: According to the Pentagon, Iraqi forces -- police, army, border patrol and an independent oil-security force -- now total more than 150,000 men and women. Over the past several months, Pentagon officials have maintained that the Iraqi forces are steadily improving and growing in numbers -- and the top brass has talked up the prospect of drawing down U.S. troops in significant numbers by this summer, after handing off much of the responsibility for securing the country to the Iraqis.

But the last month's eruption of insurgent violence has underscored the weaknesses of the nascent security forces and cast into doubt Pentagon plans to bring U.S. troops home. U.S. generals themselves warned late last week that America's involvement in Iraq "could still fail."

Gen. John P. Abizaid, the top American officer in the Middle East, pointed in particular to the Iraqi police forces, who he said lack ''sophistication, chain of command, [and] cohesion of leadership," and are susceptible to corruption and intimidation. ''I don't know how much I would say time-wise they're behind, but they are behind,'' he said, according to the Associated Press.

Some outside military experts -- as well as numerous U.S. soldiers who've worked side by side with the Iraqis, and with whom I patrolled in Iraq between January and May of this year -- don't foresee handing over responsibility to the Iraqis anytime soon.

"I would not expect to see a significant draw-down [of U.S. troops] prior to 2007, absent a significant falloff in the insurgency, which is not a prospect at the moment," says John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org in Washington. "Restoring Iraq to military self-sufficiency will require at least a decade," he says. "For that reason alone, Iraq will remain an American protectorate well into the next decade."

Cat eaters: The warriors of Iraq's new army excel at wearing balaclavas, eating raw cat and driving into battle at hair-raising speeds.

The troops on the front line of the campaign to crush the country's insurgency roared into action on the fringes of the "Sunni Triangle" recently in a convoy of pick-up trucks. The vehicles' speedometers rarely dipped below 80mph.

"We go fast, they not hit us. No need to be worried. Iraqi soldiers are very brave," boasted Capt Haidar, although not brave enough himself to give anything other than his first name. "I am special forces," he said. "To finish training we must catch a wild rabbit or cat with our hands, kill it with our hands and then eat it raw. I have eaten five cats. See how strong is the Iraqi soldier."

Catching, skinning and eating small mammals are the least of the skills that the captain and the men under his command must master if, as the United States army hopes, they are to assume the main burden of the struggle against the insurgents by the end of this year.

The US military plans, slowly but inexorably, to disappear into its fortified bases, emerging only when needed to provide assistance.

Landing more and more work on the Iraqis will require intensive training and many more unlikely partnerships such as the one between Capt Haidar and his commander, a veteran of Saddam Hussein's army.

It also puts Iraq's 57,000 soldiers even more at risk from revenge attacks by insurgents and their accomplices.

Goodbye forever: Evidence of how quickly and irretrievably a country can be stripped of its cultural heritage came with the Iraq war in 2003.

The latest figures, presented to the art crime conference yesterday by John Curtis of the British Museum, suggested that half of the 40 iconic items from the Iraq National Museum in Baghdad still had not been retrieved. And of at least 15,000 items looted from its storerooms, about 8,000 have yet to be traced.

About 4,000 of the objects taken from the museum had been recovered in Iraq. But illustrating the international demand for such antiquities, Dr Curtis said around 1,000 had been confiscated in the US, 500 pieces had been impounded in France, 250 in Switzerland and 200 or so in Jordan.

Other artefacts have been retrieved from surrounding countries such as Syria, Kuwait, Iran and Turkey. None of these objects has yet been sent back to Iraq.

Other items had been destroyed or stolen from enormously important archaeological sites such as those at Nimrud and Babylon. "Some of them resemble minefields there are so many holes," Dr Curtis said.

But the schools! We never mention the schools!: Since they arrived in January, many of the 3,000 National Guard troops from Texas have been instrumental in monitoring the reconstruction of elementary and intermediate schools throughout southern Iraq.

"Every one of those kids greet us with smiles," Bentley said. "It's very rewarding to see that."

Hundreds of schoolhouses have been damaged by the war. Thousands of school children have been left with few school supplies.

The mission of helping rebuild the Iraqi school system is drawing help from relatives and friends of the troops back in Texas, where dozens of backpacks and school supplies have been collected and shipped to southern Iraq.

The troops have had to start from scratch. Dirt floors are common in many schoolhouses. Straw roofs cover several schools, providing little protection from the elements. Students are packed in classrooms with no chalkboards or desks.

But working with the Iraqi Ministry of Education and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the soldiers have helped oversee the construction of two primary schools in villages near the Tallil Air Base. One was in Alzebn and the other in Al Kenanah.

Today in Syria

Growing strains: Syria has halted military and intelligence cooperation with the United States, its ambassador to Washington said in an interview, in a sign of growing strains between the two nations over the insurgency in Iraq.

The ambassador, Imad Moustapha, said in the interview on Friday at the Syrian Embassy here that his country had, in the last 10 days, "severed all links" with the United States military and Central Intelligence Agency because of what he called unjust American allegations. The Bush administration has complained bitterly that Syria is not doing enough to halt the flow of men and money to the insurgency in Iraq.

Mr. Moustapha said he believed that the Bush administration had decided "to escalate the situation with Syria" despite steps the Syrians have taken against the insurgents in Iraq, and despite the withdrawal in recent weeks of Syrian troops from Lebanon, in response to international demands.

He said American complaints had been renewed since February, when a half-brother of Saddam Hussein, who was once the widely feared head of Iraq's two most powerful security agencies, was handed over to the Iraqi authorities after being captured in Syria along with several lieutenants. The renewal of complaints caused Syria to abandon the idea of providing further help, he said.

"We thought, why should we continue to cooperate?" he said.

A step away: U.S. sanctions against Syria are a step away from military action, a U.S. congressman said at the World Economic Forum in Jordan. "Sanctions are one step below a military confrontation, and sanctions are preferable to military confrontation, frankly," said U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays, a Republican from Connecticut, during a panel discussion.

When a Syrian lawyer complained to Shays that the U.S. uses "only the stick" with Syria, Shays responded bluntly that the U.S. has "huge problems" with Damascus.

These problems center on the accusation that Syria is aiding the insurgency in Iraq, an increasingly prominent issue after nine marines died earlier this month in an offensive along the Syrian border.

Further stoking the flames, the U.S. said last week that lieutenants of Al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi held a secret meeting in Syria last month, which Al-Qaeda denies.

US Military News

TBI: Among surviving soldiers wounded in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) appears to account for a larger proportion of casualties than it has in other recent U.S. wars. According to the Joint Theater Trauma Registry, compiled by the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, 22 percent of the wounded soldiers from these conflicts who have passed through the military's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany had injuries to the head, face, or neck. This percentage can serve as a rough estimate of the fraction who have TBI, according to Deborah L. Warden, a neurologist and psychiatrist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center who is the national director of the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC). Warden said the true proportion is probably higher, since some cases of closed brain injury are not diagnosed promptly.

In the Vietnam War, by contrast, 12 to 14 percent of all combat casualties had a brain injury, and an additional 2 to 4 percent had a brain injury plus a lethal wound to the chest or abdomen, according to Ronald Bellamy, former editor of the Textbooks of Military Medicine, published by the Office of the Surgeon General of the U.S. Army. Bellamy said that because mortality from brain injuries among U.S. combatants in Vietnam was 75 percent or greater, soldiers with brain injuries made up only a small fraction of the casualties treated in hospitals.

Kevlar body armor and helmets are one reason for the high proportion of TBIs among soldiers wounded in the current conflicts. By effectively shielding the wearer from bullets and shrapnel, the protective gear has improved overall survival rates, and Kevlar helmets have reduced the frequency of penetrating head injuries. However, the helmets cannot completely protect the face, head, and neck, nor do they prevent the kind of closed brain injuries often produced by blasts. As insurgents continue to attack U.S. troops in Iraq, most brain injuries are being caused by IEDs, and closed brain injuries outnumber penetrating ones among patients seen at Walter Reed, where more than 450 patients with TBI were treated between January 2003 and February 2005. All admitted patients who have been exposed to a blast are routinely evaluated for brain injury; 59 percent of them have been given a diagnosis of TBI, according to Warden. Of these injuries, 56 percent are considered moderate or severe, and 44 percent are mild.

Deserter: In March 2004, the Army had 318,533 soldiers deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. That same year, it also had a smaller number on its books: 2,479 deserters.

Joshua Despain was one of them.

Despain, a Kentucky native, is home now, tending bar in Campbellsville and living in the aftermath of his biggest decision.

At one time, he was just another soldier. Despain spent about a year in the Army with Fort Bragg's 82nd Airborne, part of it in Iraq.

Between October 2003 and April 2004, he was stationed at Habbaniyah Air Base, in a town that continues to be a hotbed of resistance in the perilous "Sunni Triangle." He fueled tanks and helicopters, pulled guard duty and manned a .50-caliber machine gun on convoys.

Despain didn't turn tail under fire, and his record includes several decorations. But while he was home on leave over Memorial Day weekend a year ago, and anticipating redeployment, Despain decided he wanted out.

Post-mortem custody battle: A bitter dispute between divorced parents over the final resting place for a son killed in Iraq will go to court this fall, and the outcome could set precedent for other families embroiled in post-mortem custody battles.

On Monday, Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Robert Yonts set an Oct. 3 trial date for Renee Amick, the mother of Army Staff Sgt. Jason Hendrix, who was buried last month in a plot next to his grandfather in Oklahoma. Amick, who lives in Watsonville, says her son wanted to be laid to rest in Central California, and she may have his body exhumed if she wins a civil suit to regain custody.

During the brief court hearing in Santa Cruz, Yonts maligned the military's existing next-of-kin protocol - which doesn't require soldiers to designate anyone to handle funeral arrangements if they're killed in action - as "archaic." Others have said the rule is sexist because in many cases it grants custody of remains to the elder parent, usually the father.

"The law is arbitrary in that it chooses one parent over the other but for all practical purposes it guarantees that it's the male in most cases," said David Cherry, communications director for Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., who's sponsoring legislation that would require soldiers to designate someone to handle funeral arrangements. Earlier this year, divorced parents clashed over whether to bury Lance Cpl. Nicholas H. Anderson, 19, who was killed in Iraq, in Nevada or California.

Waiting for the worst: Families of Fort Lewis-based soldiers braced for the worst yesterday as the Army confirmed that three Stryker Brigade soldiers had been killed in Mosul early Sunday.

Names and specific units of the three, who died in two separate attacks, were not released while Army casualty officers sought out their next of kin. A fourth soldier was injured, according to U.S. Central Command officials.

A reporter from The News Tribune of Tacoma who is embedded with the unit in Iraq said the Army in Mosul imposed a news blackout, shutting down e-mail sites there, so fellow soldiers could not release the identities of the dead ahead of official Pentagon notification channels.

As the wait continued, hands wrung with worry or clasped together in prayer yesterday, according to messages on the Stryker Brigade News Web site, a clearinghouse of information and support for families of the brigade, which began serving a yearlong tour of duty in Mosul last October.

Women And Combat

No front lines: In Washington, the U.S. House of Representatives is considering legislation to prohibit women in the military from serving in direct ground combat roles. The debate has put the spotlight on a controversial issue in American society, what the role of women in the U.S. military should be.

The U.S. Army and Marines have both been using women in combat support roles since the start of the Iraq war. There are nearly 20,000 women currently serving in Iraq. Facing an unpredictable insurgency, more often than not, the women have become involved in combat. Dozens have been killed and hundreds more have been wounded. Lieutenant General John Vines is the Commander of the Multi-National Corps in Iraq. He says, "There are no front lines here, so our forces have to ready to fight all the time, every single sailor, soldier, airman or marine.”

Inappropriate and inopportune: Although there's persuasive evidence that the United States has too few boots on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is renewed interest in Congress in reducing the number further by restricting the service of women in combat zones.

As of yesterday, 240 women have been wounded, and a record 33 women are among the 1,636 U.S. military fatalities in Iraq.

That's distressing to New York Republican Rep. John M. McHugh, chairman of the House Armed Services military personnel subcommittee, who recently proposed that women be barred from certain Army combat support positions.

But others in Congress and in the Pentagon, understandably and rightfully, are unhappy about an inappropriate gesture at an inopportune moment -- a time when, for example, military recruiters, due to the unpopularity of the war in Iraq, have been missing their goals by a mile.

Furious: Heather Wilson, a New Mexico Republican, is the only female military veteran in Congress, and on meeting her you might well guess at that background without being told. Third-generation Air Force and a member of the third class of female cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Wilson has the erect posture of a member of the armed services. She speaks briskly, her voice low and, on the day last week that I saw her, full of controlled fury.

It was Friday morning, a time when Wilson would ordinarily have been on her way home to her family in Albuquerque. She'd stayed behind to fight a provision, inserted in a defense authorization bill that will hit the House floor this week, to keep female service members out of combat. Seated behind a desk decorated with a bumper sticker proclaiming "We Love Jet Noise," with pictures of her children flashing on a computer screen-saver behind her, the 44-year-old Wilson took unusually direct aim at her colleagues.

"The people who are pushing this policy change intend to close positions, not open them," she said. "I think it's offensive. We've got women thousands of miles from home doing dangerous work and for the first time in history the Congress is going to pass a law restricting how the Army can assign its soldiers? But not all of its soldiers -- just women. What are they thinking?"

American Media

Instrument of war: The media, in the modern era, are indisputably an instrument of war. This is because winning modern wars is as much dependent on carrying domestic and international public opinion as it is on defeating the enemy on the battlefield. And it remains true regardless of the aspirations of many journalists to give an impartial and balanced assessment of conflict.

The experience of the US military in the post-Cold War world demonstrates that victory on the battlefield is seldom as simple as defeating the enemy by force of arms. From Somalia and Haiti through Kosovo and Afghanistan, success has been defined in political, rather than military, terms.

Today’s military commanders stand to gain more than ever before from controlling the media and shaping their output. The laws and conventions of war, however, do not adequately reflect the critical role that the media play in shaping the political outcome of conflicts. International humanitarian law requires that media members are afforded the rights of civilians; the question is whether this is sustainable when the exigencies of warfighting suggest that controlling the media is essential.

Bad PR: It was a damaging week for American public relations in the Arab world.

What started with deadly riots over allegations that US interrogators flushed the Koran ended with leaked photos of Saddam Hussein in his underwear.

To The New York Post, which first published the pictures on Friday along with its sister publication The Sun of Britain, the photographs were a chance to emphasis Mr. Hussein's crimes and indulge in public humiliation of the former strongman. The Sun and The Post say a US military source gave them the pictures.

But for the most of the Arab press the pictures are being treated as a small piece in an overall pattern of alleged American violations of prisoners' rights. And as confirmation, to many, of US contempt for Arabs and Islam.

Cowards: A Washington Post article exposing the specific details of several pre-war doubts by Bush Administration aides and anlaysts in the lead-up to war ran on page A1 in the early Saturday editions of WaPo's Sunday paper. By Sunday morning, however, the story had its headlined softened and was subsequently buried on page A26. The story, by WaPo staff writer Walter Pincus, details the doubts of the administration's own intelligence analysts concerning WMD, Munitions Plants and Saddam Hussein's Unmanned Aerial Vehicles program, all of which were widely trumpeted as justifications for going to war by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, and others within the administration during the build-up to the War on Iraq. Pincus' Page 1 item, which originally ran in Saturday afternoon editions of the Sunday paper and on the front page of the WaPo website was headlined "More Evidence of Bush Aide's Doubts on Iraq -- Analysts Questioned Most Intelligence". By Sunday, however, the article had been pushed back to page 26 with the softer headline, "Prewar Findings Worried Analysts".


The splendid Mr. Galloway: George Galloway plans to go on the attack once more over a US Senate Committee's accusation that he took oil money from Saddam Hussein.

The MP for Bethnal Green and Bow is now demanding to see the original Iraqi government documents on which the Committee based its allegations, after claiming he was handed nothing but a sheaf of US transcripts. He hopes to demolish the case against him by proving that the originals are forgeries.

Mr Galloway won many admirers on the American Left for his spirited performance before the US senators last week. He accused the committee chairman, veteran lawyer Senator Norm Coleman, of blackening his name without bothering to contact him to ask for his version of events, saying: "You are remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice."

A good idea, now follow through: Senior American congressmen are considering sending a delegation to London to investigate Britain’s role in preparations for the war in Iraq.

By sending investigators to London, Conyers hopes to stir the US media into re-examining a story largely ignored in America since Bush’s re-election victory in November.

“I deplore the fact that our media have been so reticent on the question of whether there was a secret planning of a war for which neither the Congress nor the American people had given permission,” Conyers said.

“We have The Sunday Times to thank for this very important activity. It reminds me of Watergate, which started off as a tiny little incident reported in The Washington Post. I think that the interest of many citizens is picking up.”


Opinion: President Bush said the other day that the world should see his administration's handling of the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison as a model of transparency and accountability. He said those responsible were being systematically punished, regardless of rank. It made for a nice Oval Office photo-op on a Friday morning. Unfortunately, none of it is true.

The administration has provided nothing remotely like a full and honest accounting of the extent of the abuses at American prison camps in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. It has withheld internal reports and stonewalled external inquiries, while clinging to the fiction that the abuse was confined to isolated acts, like the sadistic behavior of one night crew in one cellblock at Abu Ghraib. The administration has prevented any serious investigation of policy makers at the White House, the Justice Department and the Pentagon by orchestrating official probes so that none could come even close to the central question of how the prison policies were formulated and how they led to the abuses.

Comment: Many Americans who are shocked by the war in Iraq take comfort in viewing it as a mistake, an aberration or a special case rather than as part of a larger strategy. I have to say that nothing in the official documents and policy statements of this administration supports this view. On the contrary, the National Defense Strategy begins "America is a nation at war" and describes the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and against terrorism as components of a long-term offensive global war. The purpose of this war is alluded to only in terms of mystifications like "freedom, democracy and economic opportunity," and analysis of root causes or actual goals is scrupulously avoided. There is no mention of the conflict between U.S. interests and the aspirations of other peoples that lies at the heart of the U.S. foreign policy crisis, nor of its economic or historical roots in past U.S. policy. And, even though one could easily mistake a map of U.S. military deployments and declared "threats" for a map of the world's oil fields, the words "oil" and "petroleum" do not appear in these documents.

The gamble this administration has taken in Iraq pales by comparison to the long-term one that they are taking by staking the future of our country on the illegitimate exercise of military power to secure the Earth's dwindling resources in the 21st century. This policy requires not just waging and winning serial wars of aggression, but somehow doing so without triggering escalating disruptions in the supply and distribution of the commodities we are fighting over. This war-weary world is only too familiar with this type of international behavior and the United States has previously led efforts to establish a "permanent structure of peace," as President Roosevelt called it, based on international treaties and institutions, collective security and a fundamental commitment to peace.

The current illegitimate policy is intertwined with our government's huge investment in military power and its rejection of alternatives to the use of that power as the final arbiter of international problems. When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail, and I would add that you and your hammer become a real danger to everyone, including yourself.


Local story: Renton, WA, soldier who suffered traumatic brain injury in a roadside bombing in Fallujah a year ago has recovered sufficiently to receive his Purple Heart.

Casualty Reports

Local story: Omro, WI, Marine killed in Iraq.

Local story: Massillon, OH, soldier killed in Mosul.

Local story: Jackson Township, OH, Marine killed in Iraq.

Local story: Three graduates of Hamilton High School, Hamilton, OH, who were killed in Iraq will be remembered at a ceremony at the High School.

Many thanks to alert reader go long into the day who provided many of today's links.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?