Thursday, June 09, 2005

War News for Thursday, June 9, 2005 Bring 'em on: One US soldier killed by roadside bomb near Dour. Bring 'em on: Two US soldiers killed in mortar attack near Tikrit. Bring 'em on: One US soldier killed by roadside bomb near Baghdad. Bring 'em on: Twenty-two Iraqi soldiers kidnapped near Rawa. Bring 'em on: Two Iraqi bodyguards for Iraqi National Assemblyman assassinated in Baghdad. Bring 'em on: Three Iraqis killed by car bomb in Baquba. Bring 'em on: Nineteen Iraqis killed, 70 wounded by three car bombs near Kirkuk. Bring 'em on: Oil pipeline ablaze near Beiji. Bring 'em on: Two Iraqi government employees assassinated in Baghdad. Bring 'em on: Heavy fighting reported near Tal Afar. Bring 'em on: Six unidentified bodies discovered near Qaim. Bring 'em on: Pirates raid oil tanker off Basra. Civil war. "A militant Shiite Muslim group with close ties to Iran has gained enormous power since Iraq's January elections and now is accused of conducting a terror campaign against Iraq's Sunni Muslim minority that includes kidnappings, threats and murders. But in spite of concern among Sunni Arabs that the Badr Brigade is behind a series of brutal attacks against Sunni clerics, including cases where victims appear to have been tortured with electric drills, the group was praised by top Iraqi government officials on Wednesday. 'Today, there is a sacred mission of sweeping away the remnants of the dictatorship and defeating the terrorism, and your role with your brothers in the (Kurdish militia) is required and necessary to fulfill this sacred mission,' Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Sunni Kurd, told a meeting of Badr members. At the same gathering, Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari praised Badr for its restraint, saying 'force without integrity is evil and integrity without force is weakness.'" Thanks to Anonymous for this informative article. Negotiations? "The U.S. Embassy has held indirect talks with members of violent Iraqi insurgent groups, a U.S. official said Wednesday, edging back from a long-standing position not to negotiate with terrorists or those who have American or Iraqi blood on their hands. 'People stop shooting at us, and we — and I think the Iraqi government — are ready to engage,' said the U.S. official, who spoke to a group of Western reporters on condition of anonymity. 'People willing to condemn the use of violence, particularly against the Iraqi people, we're willing to engage.'" Mercenaries. "U.S. Marines forcibly detained a team of security guards working for an American engineering firm in Iraq after reportedly witnessing the contractors fire at U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians from an armed convoy, the military said Tuesday. After three days of detention in jail cells at a U.S. military base in Iraq, 19 employees of North Carolina-based Zapata Engineering, including 16 Americans, were released last week." Press gang. "Next thing Axel knew, the same sergeant and another recruiter showed up at the LaConner Brewing Co., the restaurant where Axel works. And before Axel, an older cousin and other co-workers knew or understood what was happening, Axel was whisked away in a car. 'They said we were going somewhere but I didn't know we were going all the way to Seattle,' Axel said. Just a few tests. And so many free opportunities, the recruiters told him. He could pursue his love of chemistry. He could serve anywhere he chose and leave any time he wanted on an 'apathy discharge' if he didn't like it. And he wouldn't have to go to Iraq if he didn't want to. At about 3:30 in the morning, Alex was awakened in the motel and fed a little something. Twelve hours later, without further sleep or food, he had taken a battery of tests and signed a lot of papers he hadn't gotten a chance to read. 'Just formalities,' he was told. 'Sign here. And here. Nothing to worry about.'" Army families. "The divorce rate among active-duty soldiers rose dramatically last year, especially among Army officers. In 2004, a total of 3,325 Army officers saw their marriages end in divorce, 6 percent of all marriages among officers, according to the Defense Manpower Data Center, the Pentagon’s statistics-gathering arm. That’s up 78 percent from 2003 statistics at 1,866 and nearly triple the rate in 2001, which saw 1,145 divorces. Among enlisted soldiers, 7,152 filed for divorce in 2004 (3.5 percent of total marriages), according to the Manpower Center. Those figures are up 28 percent from 2003 (with 5,587) and up 52 percent from 2001 (with 4,513). Divorce rates among the other services have increased only modestly or not at all in the same time period." Rummy's department. "The US defence department spent nearly £250m on combat boots, tents, tyres and medical supplies and then sold them at discount prices as "surplus to requirement" before ordering more of the same, according to a government watchdog. The wasted funds could have bought 1700 urgently needed Humvee patrol cars for troops in Iraq and ended a frontline body-armour shortage, said the report, published yesterday." Poll numbers. "The poll also reflects a broader dissatisfaction with the second Bush administration. Almost every issue on which the White House has focused in recent months - social security reform, salvaging its most extreme judicial nominations, agitating to keep the comatose Terri Schiavo alive against the wishes of her husband - has proved unpopular. If Mr Bush's ratings on the terrorism question have fallen, it is in part because he has barely mentioned the topic. The Iraq findings were the most striking, because the public has clearly rejected the line put out by President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney that the US is turning the corner and that the insurgency is in its last throes. Almost 900 Iraqis and Americans have been killed in the past six weeks. Iraq's oil pipeline to Turkey was hit by a new sabotage attack yesterday." Conservative hypocrite. "Would I encourage my grandsons to go to war? Never. But neither would I encourage them to run off to Canada to avoid military service or to desert if things got rough. There is nothing noble about cowardice, and I wouldn’t want them to have to live with that feeling for the rest of their lives." Tammy Duckworth Day. "Wednesday was dedicated Tammy Duckworth day in Illinois, an honor the Illinois major takes humbly. 'It's truly humbling because I'm just a soldier. I was just there doing my job,' said Maj. Tammy Duckworth, Illinois National Guard. Duckworth was just doing her job in Iraq. While flying a Blackhawk helicopter, she was hit with enemy fire. 'I looked at the other pilot and said, "Hey, I think we've been hit." Of course, I swore. And as soon as those words left my mouth, the RPG penetrated through the window beneath my feet and there was a big fireball,' Duckworth said. Not having any idea how severely injured she was, her mission was to land the helicopter." Commentary Opinion:
The U.S. House of Representatives killed a bill in late May to formally limit the role of women in combat zones. Under the proposal, the Pentagon would have needed permission from Congress to open new combat positions to women. The original legislation also would have closed thousands of "forward support" positions in Iraq that are now open to women. The bill's supporters don't like the notion of women anywhere near combat. They'd rather the ladies fluff pillows in the military hospitals and ride their tanks sidesaddle, far from the so-called front lines. Fortunately, military leaders leapt to women's defense — or rather, to the military's defense — and helped deep-six the legislation. "Women soldiers have performed magnificently in all types of Army formations," wrote Gen. Richard A. Cody, Army vice chief of staff, in a letter to Congress. The male president of the Association of the U.S. Army also sent a letter to Congress in support of women. So did the male president of the National Guard Association. Perhaps these men are closeted raging feminists. More likely they're motivated by a simple truth: Today's volunteer military can't survive without women who are willing to put themselves in mortal danger.
Bush and Cheney declare that the guerrillas are losing and their numbers and activities are falling. This sunny position may temporarily help prevent Bush's falling poll numbers from sinking into the gutter, but it bears no resemblance to reality. The guerrilla war is threatening the entire American project in Iraq. The northern city of Mosul, with a population of over a million, had been quiet and relatively pro-American until November 2004. After the U.S. military launched its attack on the city of Fallujah, maintaining that it was a guerrilla center, enmity toward the United States spread rapidly across Iraq, and Mosul changed radically. Some 4,000 policemen resigned in fear of their lives, and Mosul became unstable and a site of continual guerrilla attacks. Bush also misunderstands the significance of the Jan. 30 elections. Contrary to his hollow claims that the elections signaled the triumph of Iraqi unity, they were in fact a victory for sectarianism of a sort that did not exist in Iraq before the invasion. The Sunni Arabs, who largely did not vote, have only 17 members in the 275-seat parliament. They therefore are grossly underrepresented among the voting delegates on the committee charged with writing a new constitution, a situation that has contributed to the ongoing insurgency and threatens Iraq's future. The Shiites and Kurds both voted enthusiastically. The Shiite religious parties that had been close to Ayatollah Khomeini and the Iranian hard-liners swept to power in the Legislature. And a highly dangerous phase lies ahead, as the new Iraqi government must decide how much independence to grant the Kurdish north. The future of the ethnically mixed city of Kirkuk, with its vast oil reserves, is a particularly volatile subject. If Iraqi Arabs and Kurds -- whose peshmerga are the most potent Iraqi militia -- are not able to reach agreement, the possibility of major clashes, even a civil war, cannot be ruled out. And there is scant evidence to support Bush's claim that the war in Iraq is helping spread democracy in the Middle East, and no evidence whatsoever that the war is making America safer. The Egyptian elections are not going to be substantially more democratic. When democratic elections have been held, the results are hardly those that Bush and his neocon brain trust were hoping for. Elections in Lebanon, in which the militant Shiite group Hezbollah won overwhelmingly in the south, revealed the deep religious and ethnic fissures in that country. The postponed Palestinian elections are likely to increase the power of Hamas. The one-sidedly pro-Israel Bush administration has shown no willingness to deal realistically with either of those militant groups, and it has only recently and reluctantly adopted even a passive stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As a result, the single issue that most fuels anti-Americanism throughout the region remains incendiary.
Casualty Reports Local story: New York Guardsman killed in Iraq. Local story: Alabama Marine killed in Iraq. Local story: Pennsylvania Guardsman killed in Iraq. Local story: Pennsylvania Marine killed in Iraq. Local story: Illinois Guardsman killed in Iraq. Local story: California Marine dies from wounds received in Iraq. Local story: New York soldier dies in Iraq. Local story: Texas soldier added to Iraq War casualty list two years after his suicide. Local story: Arizona soldier wounded in Iraq. Local story: Alabama contractor killed in Iraq. Local story: Irish contractor wounded in Iraq.


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