Friday, June 03, 2005

War News for Friday, June 3, 2005 Bring 'em on: Shi'ite cleric assassinated in Basra. Bring 'em on: Ten Iraqis killed, 12 wounded by car bomb near Balad. Casualties. "Violence in the course of the 18-month-long insurgency has claimed the lives of 12,000 Iraqis, Interior Minister Bayan Jabr said Thursday, giving the first official count for the largest category of victims of bombings, ambushes and other increasingly deadly attacks." Teetering. "To prevent the breakdown of Iraq's troubled transition and a potential civil war, Iraq's new government appealed to the Bush administration yesterday to take a much more assertive role, particularly on four key political and military issues, according to Iraqi and U.S. officials. In talks with Vice President Cheney yesterday and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari requested greater U.S. and coalition help in crafting a new constitution. The deadline is now less than three months away, but deliberations have been slowed as Iraq still works on the composition of a constitutional committee." "Living" in Baghdad. "So now 18 of members of the extended family are crammed into five rooms with dirty water, backed-up sewers and sporadic electricity. But the biggest hardship is feeling like prisoners of the unrelenting violence. On Baghdad television, a pool of blood and shattered car -- yet another bombing -- dominates the news. The Hassans don't dare go out at night, except Subeih, who has to. The $130 a month he earns as a night watchman supports much of the family. Three months ago a mortar killed 12 of Subeih’s co-workers. 'I was just covered in glass,' says Subeih." Fallujah. "After two devastating sieges of Fallujah in April and November of 2004, which left thousands of Iraqis dead and hundreds of thousands without homes, the aftermath of the US attempt to rid the city of resistance fighters in an effort to improve security in the country continues to plague the residents of Fallujah, and Iraq as a whole. Simmering anger grows with time among Fallujans who, after having most of their city destroyed by the US military onslaught, have seen promises of rebuilding by both the US military and Iraqi government remain mostly unfulfilled." Assistance center. "The most common request is to help find a detained person, like Lateef's husband. The center receives up to 100 requests a day, a worker at the center said, but can only help find people in American prisons. Staffers check a list of detainees they receive weekly from the American prisons. The list is in English, so the staff must translate the names, which isn't easy. Some people are listed under family names; others by their tribes. And there can be several spellings for a name. Staffers have no way of knowing if Iraqi forces are holding someone. Lateef walked into the center and up to the desk. She first had to prove that she was related to the man she was looking for. She then gave a worker her husband's name: Ali Abdul Razaq Abdul Hameed. The worker went through the list. He found nothing. Lateef, frustrated, began to cry. Perhaps an Iraqi prison is holding him, the worker said. Be patient, he told her, maybe he'll be on the list that comes in next week. None of his ideas placated Lateef, who said she wanted a better government in place so she could go to a judge, not an American, to find out why he was detained. 'I know my husband. He is not a terrorist,' she said. 'If he was a bad person, I wouldn't come here.'" Rummy's Army.
U.S. Army officers in the deserts of northwest Iraq, near the Syrian border, say they don't have enough troops to hold the ground they take from insurgents in this transit point for weapons, money and foreign fighters. From October to the end of April, there were about 400 soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division patrolling the northwest region, which covers about 10,000 square miles. "Resources are everything in combat ... there's no way 400 people can cover that much ground," said Maj. John Wilwerding, of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, which is responsible for the northwest tract that includes Tal Afar. "Because there weren't enough troops on the ground ... the (insurgency) was able to get a toehold," said Wilwerding, 37, of Chaska, Minn. During the past two months, Army commanders, trying to pacify the area, have had to move in some 4,000 Iraqi soldiers; about 2,000 more are on the way. About 3,500 troops from the 3rd ACR took control of the area this month, but officers said they were still understaffed for the mission. "There's simply not enough forces here," said a high-ranking U.S. Army officer with knowledge of the 3rd ACR. "There are not enough to do anything right; everybody's got their finger in a dike." The officer spoke on the condition of anonymity because of concern that he'd be reprimanded for questioning American military policy in Iraq. The Army has no difficulty in launching large-scale operations to catch fighters, the officer said. "But when we're done, what comes next?"
Two more NCOs charged with Abu Ghraib abuse. "The sergeants had told Army investigators in sworn statements after the abuse was made public in January 2004 that they had received permission to use dogs from Col. Thomas M. Pappas, commander of military intelligence at the prison. . But military officials ruled in May that he would not be subject to criminal charges." Commentary Analysis: "What the health of the Republic requires, in other words, may not be a new crop of leakers and whistleblowers, or a fresh young generation of Woodwards and Bernsteins -- or even a more independent, aggressive media. What it may need is a new population (or half of a population, anyway), one that hasn't been stupified or brainwashed into blind submission, that won't look upon sadistic corruption and call it patriotism, and that will refuse to trade the Bill of Rights for a plastic Jesus and a wholly false sense of security." Analysis: In the three years since 9-11, the Administration has yet to arrive at a clear definition of the enemy or the aim in the War on Terrorism; to date, American policy has combined ambitious public statements with ambiguity on critical particulars. Heretofore, the costs of pursuing such ambitious but ill-defined goals have been high but tolerable. The ongoing insurgency in Iraq, however, is increasing the costs of grand strategic ambiguity to the point where fundamental choices can no longer be deferred. There are two broad alternatives for resolving these ambiguities and creating a coherent and logically sufficient grand strategy: rollback and containment. Rollback would retain the ambitious goals implicit in today’s declaratory policy and accept the cost and near-term risk inherent in pursuing them. Containment would settle for more modest goals in exchange for lower costs and lower near-term risks. Neither alternative dominates the other on analytical grounds – both involve serious costs as well as benefits. Most important, the choice between them turns on a series of basic value judgments on the acceptability of risk, the relationship between near-term and long-term risk, and the ultimate degree of security the Nation should seek." Synopsis of this War College monograph in PDF format. Thanks, Anonymous. Note to Readers I wanted to thank Anonymous and all other alert readers who post links in Comments. YD


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