Saturday, July 02, 2005

War News for Saturday, July 2, 2005 Bring 'em on: Twenty Iraqis killed by suicide bomber at Baghdad police station. Bring 'em on: Six US Marines wounded by vehicle mine in western Iraq. Bring 'em on: Two Iraqi policemen wounded by roadside bomb near Baghdad. Bring 'em on: Sunni cleric kidnapped by gunmen at Baghdad mosque. Bring 'em on: Sistani aide assassinated in Baghdad. Bring 'em on: Iraqi TV producer abducted and killed in Mosul. Bring 'em on: Iraqi police colonel assassinated in Mosul. Bring 'em on: Two Iraqis killed in bomb ambush of US convoy in Ramadi. Bring 'em on: One Iraqi killed by roadside bomb targeting US convoy in Baghdad. Bring 'em on: Iraqi police colonel assassinated in Al Musaib. British soldier dies from accidental discharge. Baghdad drought. "A mortar attack sparked a fire Friday that forced authorities to shut down a water plant, leaving millions of weary Baghdad residents with dry taps in 100-degree heat, Iraqi officials said. Just a day earlier, the mayor of the capital threatened to quit because of mounting infrastructure problems – including a lack of clean drinking water. The blaze at a power station north of Baghdad cut off electricity to a water plant serving northern and western parts of the capital, officials said. The fire halted all distribution from the waterworks, and project director Jassim Mohammed said repairs could take three days." Today's Baghdad weather report. Nice going, Rummy.
Chiara Dezzi-Bardeschi, the head of Unesco’s International Committee for the Safeguard of Iraq’s Cultural Heritage, said that nobody knew the extent of the thefts. Among the most damaged areas was Umm al-Aqarib, a Sumerian site near Umma. Lawlessness and poor communications also hinder a full assessment of the damage. Dr Abdul Aziz Hameed, the chairman of Iraq’s State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, said: “In Iraq we have between 10,000 and 15,000 archaeological sites that people have been interfering with without our knowledge.” He said that of 15,000 artefacts looted from the National Museum after the US invasion 3,627 pieces had been recovered inside the country, including the Warka Vase, a three-foot alabaster container from 3000BC. It was broken, but had been restored. A further 3,156 items from the museum and other looted sites were being kept safe in Jordan, America, Italy, Syria, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, Dr Hameed said. “We hope the Iranians will give more assistance to us to stop smuggling Iraqi antiquities through the Iranian border.” Some Iraqi officials believe that cash from stolen artefacts is being used to fund insurgent groups. Donny George, director of the Baghdad Museum, said: “Rich people are buying stolen material. Money is going to Iraq, and they’re buying weapons and ammunition.” (Emphasis added.)
Why does FOXNews hate the troops?
FOXNews.com has spoken to several contractors and their families who, while completely supportive of the mission at hand and the military men and women carrying it out, say they have had run-ins with a handful of military personnel in Iraq that took them by surprise. Darla Russell's husband, a former military man and current security contractor in Iraq, encountered one such incident with a Marine officer about a month ago. The officer allegedly kicked her husband and his colleagues out of their living and working area, saying, 'We don't like contractors.' “[Contractors are] all over there for one thing, and if the contractors weren't over there, a lot of the stuff they're [the military] doing wouldn't get done. In my view, they all need to stand together,” Russell said. Many military officials and contractors say their working relationship is productive and great 99 percent of the time, but they acknowledge that tensions arise in the midst of war.
Note: This is the third part of the three part FOXNews series blaming the troops for mistreating contractors. You can read part one here, and part two here. If those poor, suffering break your heart, break out the Kleenex swallow a band-aid. Paging John Bolton. "Iraq's ambassador to the UN has demanded an inquiry into what he said was the 'cold-blooded murder' of his young unarmed relative by US marines. Samir Sumaidaie said his 21-year-old cousin was shot as he helped marines who were carrying out searches at his village in the restive Anbar province. Mr Sumaidaie said the ramifications of such a 'serious crime' were enormous for both the US and Iraq." This is how to support the troops. "Love him or hate him, Garry Trudeau, the man responsible for the “Doonesbury” comic strip, is doing his part to help wounded troops and their families. Trudeau is donating all his proceeds from the sale of his newly released book 'The Long Road Home: One Step at a Time' to the Fisher House Foundation. Also, Andrews McMeel Publishing, the book’s publisher, is contributing 10 percent of its take from the book to Fisher House. Considering that the $9.95 book has been out less than a month and already has sold thousands of copies, the financial benefit for the Fisher House could be substantial. Fisher House offers family members of wounded troops temporary housing at little or no cost during their loved one’s hospitalization. With locations at 32 veterans and military hospitals throughout the United States and in Landstuhl, Germany, Fisher House is largely funded through private donations." Death gratuity increased. "The U.S. military will immediately begin paying a major increase in death benefits to survivors of troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and boost life insurance coverage for those serving in combat zones, the Pentagon said on Friday. The move, approved by Congress in May, will hike tax-free cash payments to $100,000 from a previous $12,420 for survivors of troops who die as a result of hostile action in a designated combat operation or zone, or while training for combat or performing hazardous duty. The payments, which will be made retroactive to the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, follow complaints from Congress and from military families that survivor payouts were far too low to compensate for loss of income, and pain and suffering." Commentary Opinion:
Having served as a doctor in the Army Medical Corps early in my career and as presidential physician to George H.W. Bush for four years, I might be expected to bring a skeptical and partisan perspective to allegations of torture and abuse by U.S. forces. I might even be expected to join those who, on the one hand, deny that U.S. personnel have engaged in systematic use of torture while, on the other, claiming that such abuse is justified. But I cannot do so. It's precisely because of my devotion to country, respect for our military and commitment to the ethics of the medical profession that I speak out against systematic, government-sanctioned torture and excessive abuse of prisoners during our war on terrorism. I am also deeply disturbed by the reported complicity in these abuses of military medical personnel. This extraordinary shift in policy and values is alien to my concept of modern-day America and of my government and profession. The military prides itself, as do physicians, on being professional in every sense of the word. It fosters leadership and discipline. When I served as White House physician, my entire professional staff was drawn from the military, and they were among the best and most competent people I have met, without qualification. The military ethics that I know absolutely prohibit anything resembling torture. There are several good reasons for this. Prisoners should be treated as we would expect our prisoners to be treated. Discipline and order in the military ranks depend to a large extent on compliance with the prohibition of torture -- indeed, weak or damaged psyches inclined toward torture or abuse have generally been weeded out of the military, or at the very least given less responsibility. In addition, military leaders have long been aware that torture inflicts lasting damage on both the victim and the torturer. The systematic infliction of torture engenders deep hatred and hostility that transcends generations. And it perverts the role of medical personnel from healers to instruments of abuse.
In convincing networks to carry the president's address, the White House trumpeted a new speech containing bold, new directions in Iraq. Networks should sue for false advertising. There was nothing new in the whole speech. Not one single line. It was pure recycled campaign garbage. Bush repeated the same arguments he made while running against John Kerry: The war in Iraq began on Sept. 11. The war in Iraq is but the latest battleground in the war on terror. We're fighting the terrorists over there so we don't have to fight them over here. Nonsense! It wasn't true then and it's not true today. Bush must think either we're stupid or have short memories. Or, if he repeats a lie often enough, Americans will believe it. No, we won't be fooled. Let the truth be told one more time: Bush's war in Iraq had nothing to do with Sept. 11. Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were not allies and did not work together. Nor was Iraq involved in the planning, funding or execution of the Sept. 11 attacks. That's now a matter of official record. After spending a year investigating all the allegations of a Hussein-bin Laden connection, the 9-11 Commission concluded there is "no credible evidence that Iraq and al-Qaida cooperated on attacks against the United States." Let the truth be told one more time: The war on terror began in Afghanistan, in the rightful pursuit of those who attacked us on Sept. 11. Unfortunately, it also ended there. Suddenly, we abandoned efforts to hunt down Osama bin Laden, who's still on the loose. We left huge parts of Afghanistan in the hands of hostile warlords. And instead of moving on to countries where the al-Qaida were active, we headed to Iraq, where they were not.
What is surprising about this piece is the source. Casualty Reports Local story: New York Guardsman killed in Iraq. Local story: Georgia Guardsman dies in Iraq. Local story: Minnesota Guardsman wounded in Iraq.


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