Tuesday, July 12, 2005
War News for Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Bring ‘em on: Five civilians, including one child, killed and 18 wounded in shelling in Tal Afar, unclear which side was responsible. US forces claim to have killed 14 “terrorists” in Tal Afar. It is notable that this Reuters article not only puts the word terrorists in quotes but also goes on to state that it is unclear whether the killings were related to the shelling reported above. One gets the impression that the reporters suspect the
Bring ‘em on: The AP reports that, in addition to the 14 insurgents killed as reported above, six civilians were killed and 22 wounded in the Tal Afar fighting.
Bring ‘em on: Iraqi karate association chief, apparently shot to death, found floating in
Bring ‘em on: Baghdad’s main oil refinery attacked by mortar fire causing a “huge fire” which took 150 firefighters two hours to bring under control. Four US soldiers wounded in suicide car bombing just north of
Bring ‘em on: At least seven Iraqi customs officials killed by two suicide car bombers at the Walid border crossing with
Body counts: Some 39,000 Iraqis have been killed as a direct result of combat or armed violence since the U.S.-led invasion, a figure considerably higher than previous estimates, a Swiss institute reported on Monday.
The public database Iraqi Body Count, by comparison, estimates that between 22,787 and 25,814 Iraqi civilians have died since the March 2003 invasion, based on reports from at least two media sources.
No official estimates of Iraqi casualties from the war have been issued, although military deaths from the U.S.-led coalition forces are closely tracked and now total 1,937.
The new estimate was compiled by the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International Studies and published in its latest annual small arms survey, released at a U.N. news conference.
It builds on a study published in The Lancet, a British medical journal, last October, which concluded there had been 100,000 "excess deaths" in
Iraqi News and Politics
This should keep things moving right along: Two of the 15 Sunni Arabs on a committee drafting
Not that they’d admit it or anything: Iraq's defense minister said Monday that a military agreement reached with Iran last week does not include any provision for the Iranian armed forces to help train Iraqi troops, contradicting reported assertions by his Iranian counterpart.
Defense Minister Sadoun Dulaimi said during a news conference here that the five-point memorandum of understanding that he and
Asked whether Shamkhani had misrepresented the content of the accord, Dulaimi said only that "he has the right to mention what he wants. We, as Iraqis, are not responsible for that."
Dead envoy denials: Egyptian and Iraqi officials denied yesterday that a slain Egyptian envoy had been meeting with Iraqi insurgents before his
The denials are an apparent bid to contain Cairo’s anger at Baghdad over remarks made by Iraq’s government spokesman that envoy Ihab El Sherif may have been holding talks with insurgent groups before his July 2 abduction.
The Al Qaeda in
Allawi offers an opinion:
“The problem is that the Americans have no vision and no clear policy on how to go about in
In an interview with The Sunday Times last week as he visited
Hard to know what to make of this story: Kurdish security officials said Sunday they had arrested suspects from six different terrorist groups that they believe help form wide insurgent training and support networks inside Iraq and have links with international terrorist organizations.
The officials, including senior members of the Kurdish security police and the intelligence arm of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, say the groups, most of them previously unknown to the Kurdish authorities, appear to have ties to more established jihadist organizations like Ansar al-Sunna.
That group in turn can be traced to a collection of militants who fought United States forces in the mountains near Halabja, on the Iranian border, in the weeks leading up to the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.
A petition: Radicals within
Supporters of firebrand cleric Moqtada Sadr, who led a bloody six-month uprising against the coalition last year, said they were aiming to secure one million signatures inside four days.
"We started this morning and so far we have had a good response, not only from Shiites -- Sunnis and Christians have also been coming to our office to show their support," said Ibrahim al-Jaberi, an official in Sadr's movement.
"We have also received more than 100 calls from Iraqis living abroad in support of our initiative," he said, adding that more than 400,000 people had signed the petition by midday (0800 GMT).
No Deadlines, No Timetables, No Benchmarks…No Plan
Looks like he missed this one: President Bush is facing a legal deadline to deliver what he has been most resistant to providing: a set of specific benchmarks for measuring progress toward military and political stability in
Under a little-noticed provision of the defense spending bill passed by Congress in May, Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld has until July 11 to send Capitol Hill a "comprehensive set of performance indicators and measures of stability and security" two years after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
If and when it comes in, it could do much more than the president's Tuesday night speech at
In that address, Bush once again demolished a straw man, denouncing any talk of a deadline for withdrawal of
What serious people are asking of the administration is a set of yardsticks by which the situation is
But there’s no timetable for withdrawal! Err...: Britain and the United States are privately planning to withdraw most of their forces from Iraq by early next year, according to a secret memo written by John Reid, the United Kingdom defence secretary.
Under the plans,
Reid's memo, Options for Future UK Force Posture in
Keeping The Homelands Secure
“I think most people with any sense would rather fight them overseas than they would here at home." – Donald Rumsfeld, July 7, 2005
They aren’t buying it in
They’re starting to doubt it here, too: The number of Americans who believe the war in
The proportion of respondents who said they believe the war in
Of the 489 people asked that specific question, 40 percent believed the
The other 517 poll respondents were asked whether the
Those two questions on
TIME magazine is starting to get it: Sir Ivor Roberts,
With the American election entering its final furlongs, he added, "If anyone is ready to celebrate the eventual re-election of Bush, it is al-Qaeda." The remarks, made at an off-the-record conference, were leaked in the Italian press, and Sir Ivor, facing the displeasure of his Foreign Office masters for committing the sin of candor, disowned the comments.
But now, as the soot settles in the London Underground, the words hang again in the air.
It is, of course, bad manners to point the finger at anyone but those responsible for the killings in
But as the trail of bodies that began with the first bombing of the
One key reason is that Osama bin Laden's "achievements" in standing up to the American colossus on 9/11 have inspired others to follow his lead.
Another is that American actions--above all, the invasion and occupation of
A big step backward:
When will it end? Where will it all lead?
The experts aren’t encouraged. One prominent terrorism researcher sees the prospect of “endless” war. Adds the man who tracked Osama bin Laden for the CIA, “I don’t think it’s even started yet.”
An Associated Press survey of longtime students of international terrorism finds them ever more convinced, in the aftermath of
In fact, says Michael Scheuer, the ex-CIA analyst, rather than move toward solutions, the
Now, he said, “we’re at the point where jihad is self-sustaining,” where Islamic “holy warriors” in
The cold statistics of a RAND Corp. database show the impact of the explosion of violence in
Rumsfeld vs reality: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has consistently rejected any contention that the Army is stretched too thin in fighting simultaneous wars in
Numerous critics and outside defense policy groups have warned that the fighting in
"The challenge the Army faces is profound," senior
Even as the Army was studying the report, it announced Monday that it is augmenting its troop strength in
Goal at risk: The Army National Guard, struggling more than any other part of the
In danger of missing a third straight annual recruiting goal, the Army National Guard fell 14 percent short of its June recruiting target, the Pentagon said. Three quarters through fiscal 2005, which ends Sept. 30, the Army National Guard stood 23 percent behind its year-to-date goal.
"I can tell you their goal is at risk, so we're concerned," Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon, said of the 2005 goal of 63,002 new soldiers.
The Army National Guard has missed its recruiting target in every month of the fiscal year, last achieving a monthly goal in September 2004, said Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, a Pentagon spokeswoman. It sent 4,337 new soldiers into boot camp in June, short of its goal of 5,032, the Pentagon said.
Good news for the soldiers but not for the Army: The number of Reserve and National Guard troops on domestic and overseas missions has fallen to about 138,000, down from a peak of nearly 220,000 after the invasion of
The decrease comes as welcome relief to tens of thousands of formerly part-time soldiers who, with their families, employers and communities, have been badly stressed by their long call-ups for duty in
Reserve and National Guard members from all of the armed services make up about 35 percent of the troops in
But as these returning troops settle back into their civilian lives, the Army is running perilously low on its Reserve and National Guard soldiers who largely fill certain critical support jobs, like military police and civil affairs officers and truck drivers. Marine Corps reservists are facing similar constraints.
But the damage is not just in troop strength and readiness: 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.
Today, however, it seems as though our government and the military have slipped into Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness." The widespread reports of torture and ill-treatment -- frequently based on military and government documents -- defy the claim that this abusive behavior is limited to a few noncommissioned officers at Abu Ghraib or isolated incidents at
Real Americans In The Heartland
The Iowa Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility is sponsoring the event, called Eyes Wide Open.
The boots will be on display on the
Names of U-S soldiers and Iraqis killed in the war will be read and participants will pray.
Money from the event will go directly to a
Hines is at
He suffered two fractures and tissue damage in his left leg and renal damage to both kidneys. Recently he developed pneumonia, according to the family.
Preemption and the Evolution of America’s Strategic Defense
Discussion points: Will preemption provide an overarching framework for fighting a decades-long conflict as containment did during the Cold War? If not, a new strategic doctrine, perhaps one that emphasizes nonmilitary and special forces operations, must be crafted to counter successfully the radical extremist threat. On the other hand, maintaining preemption raises its own challenges. Diplomatic initiatives will need to address the international community’s perception that the
Analysis: Days after the March 2004 Madrid commuter train bombings, Spanish voters turned against Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, an ally of President Bush, and elected Socialist opposition leader Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who was running on an anti-war platform.
Opinion: Only in this context can we understand the Bush/Cheney plan to invade
Opinion: Back in March 2004 President Bush had a great time displaying what he felt was a hilarious set of photos showing him searching the Oval Office for the weapons of mass destruction that hadn't been found in Iraq. It was a spoof he performed at the annual dinner of the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association.
The photos showed the president peering behind curtains and looking under furniture for the missing weapons. Mr. Bush offered mock captions for the photos, saying, "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere" and "Nope, no weapons over there ... maybe under here?"
If there's something funny about Mr. Bush's misbegotten war, I've yet to see it. The president deliberately led Americans traumatized by the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, into the false belief that there was a link between
Close to 600 Americans had already died in
Opinion: We know what took place. A group of people, with no regard for law, order or our way of life, came to our city and trashed it. With scant regard for human life or political consequences, employing violence as their sole instrument of persuasion, they slaughtered innocent people indiscriminately. They left us feeling unified in our pain and resolute in our convictions, effectively creating a community where one previously did not exist. With the killers probably still at large there is no civil liberty so vital that some would not surrender it in pursuit of them and no punishment too harsh that some might not sanction if we found them.
The trouble is there is nothing in the last paragraph that could not just as easily be said from Falluja as it could from
These basic humanistic precepts are the principle casualties of fundamentalism, whether it is wedded to Muhammad or the market. They were clearly absent from the minds of those who bombed
Then there's the daily terror of
Our leaders respond with revulsion and resolve, as they must, when the tragedy hits closer to home.
They walk the fine line between increasing security and causing panic, between feeling our pain and exploiting it.
Officials who need to be seen to be doing something are, on TV.
Breathless reporters, anchors and "security experts" spout scary scenarios, pontificate about the latest terrorist group about which they know nothing, and recycle such vacuous phrases as the "vertical vs. horizontal command structure" of Al Qaeda and its "metastasizing" cells.
Islam bashers renew their racist demand as to what Muslims are going to do about the horror.
But once we get past all that, and the empty editorials, what are we left with? This:
The war on terror has been a monumental failure. In fact, it has made matters worse.
Local story: Family of a 19-year-old