War News for Friday, August 5, 2005
Bring 'em on: Four al-Sadr supporters killed in car bomb ambush near Daquq
Bring 'em on: One US Marine killed in fighting near Ramadi
Bring 'em on: Iraqi soldier and his family killed by insurgents near Baquba
Bring 'em on: Three US soldiers killed by roadside bomb in Baghdad
Bring 'em on: Three Iraqi soldiers killed by car bomb in Samarra
Bring 'em on: Chalabi aide assassinated in Baghdad
Bring 'em on: Four Iraqi soldiers killed in patrol ambush near Dujail
Bring 'em on: Pipeline ablaze near Beiji
No more cakewalk talk
. "Yet while Bush remains stubbornly committed to the war, sources within the Pentagon say military planners tell the President the war cannot be won and the U.S. may have to look for a Vietnam-style withdrawal that will leave Iraq vulnerable to forces even more dangerous than the previous dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. 'Our present scenarios do not provide a successful outcome,' admits a senior military planner. 'We are not adequately equipped to prevail in this conflict.' . . . Still, there has been few obvious signs of progress in U.S.-led efforts to defeat the insurgency and to improve the Iraqi army and police so they can take over security responsibilities and allow the U.S. forces to leave. And while the military tries to keep an optimistic public face the story told behind the scenes at the Pentagon is far less rosy. 'We're losing and we have no contingency plan in place to turn this conflict around,' the senior military planner said. 'At the present time, we are engaged in a no-win scenario.'"
. "The Westboro Baptist Church, based in Topeka, is not specifically targeting Harting, who died in Iraq last week. It pickets at military funerals all over the country, saying God is killing U.S. soldiers as punishment to America for allowing homosexuality. The group also has announced plans to picket at military funerals in Minnesota, Alabama and California this week. It protested in Valparaiso, Chesterton and Gary in 1998 after a gay-awareness poster was allowed in a Chesterton classroom. Army Sgt. Bob Jaso, military liaison to the Harting family, said the group tries to provoke physical confrontation with mourners."
. "Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Thursday rejected as 'nonsense' the notion that recent terrorist attacks in London were retaliation for the U.S.-led war in Iraq. 'Some people seem confused about the motivations and intentions of terrorists and about our coalition's defense of the still young democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq,' Rumsfeld said in a speech to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council. 'They seem to cling to the discredited theory that the recent attacks in London and elsewhere, for example, are really in retaliation for the war in Iraq or for the so-called occupation of Afghanistan,' he added. 'That is nonsense.'"
It's always somebody else's fault
. "John R. Bolton, the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, accused Syria and Iran of not doing enough to stop foreigners from joining the insurgency in Iraq."
On FOX News
, no less:
So Wednesday night, on Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor," none other than the host himself was jumping on Rumsfeld for his handling of the war.
One O'Reilly guest, retired Army Col. David Hunt , author of a book, "They Just Don't Get It," said: "Baghdad is still a disaster. . . . You still can't drive to the airport" and there is "rampant corruption" by "Iraqi government officials, the Iraqi contractors and some American contractors [who] are stealing money in the billions of dollars" that is "supposed to be helping the Iraqis."
Another guest, Fox News military analyst and retired Lt. Col. Bill Cowan , said, "we're having a tough time," and that people in the Pentagon and in Iraq are "expressing a lot of dismay and disappointment at the way things are going."
Then Bill O'Reilly weighed in: "But I don't have any confidence in Donald Rumsfeld at this point. Do you, Colonel Cowan? I don't think he's leveling with the American people. I think that he doesn't have enough people over there to clean up the corruption, or fight the insurgency, or provide security for the oil pipeline, which they need [for] the money. I don't have any confidence in the secretary of defense at this point."
. "At least 55 soldiers serving in Iraq with the Louisiana National Guard's 256th Brigade have been tried and convicted of criminal charges, many of them drug-related, their commanding officer said in a news conference Thursday from Baghdad." These are court-martials, not non-judicial punishment
. "Responding to rising criticism of the government's failure to provide security after a series of deadly suicide bombings and other attacks, Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari announced a new security plan Thursday. In a rare, lengthy news conference, Jafari promised to better coordinate the work of the ministries of defense and interior, to improve intelligence and protect infrastructure more effectively. 'We will not hesitate in saying this: We are in a state of war,' Jafari said. 'It is one of the most dangerous types of war, because it is not a conventional war or a war of borders.' The announcement comes as U.S. officials have begun to talk more openly about reducing the number of U.S.-led forces in the country and are pushing Iraqi troops to take over more of the job of providing security. Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, who heads the U.S. effort to train Iraqi forces, said national units would probably first control the nine southern provinces and the three Kurdish provinces, but he declined to offer a timetable during a commemoration of the deaths of Iraqi soldiers." Here's a news flash for you, Mr. Jafari: you're dealing with Bush and Rumsfeld. These guys couldn't plan a trip to the shithouse
Vets sound off
As the blood of US soldiers continues to drain into the hot sands of Iraq over the last several days with at least 27 US soldiers killed and the approval rating for his handling of the debacle in Iraq dropping to an all-time low of 38%, Mr. Bush commented from the comforts of his ranch in Crawford, Texas today, “We will stay the course, we will complete the job in Iraq.”
Just a two hour drive away in Dallas, at the Veterans for Peace National Convention in Dallas, I’m sitting with a roomful of veterans from the current quagmire.
When asked what he would say to Mr. Bush if he had the chance to speak to him, Abdul Henderson, a corporal in the Marines who served in Iraq from March until May, 2003, took a deep breath and said, “It would be two hits-me hitting him and him hitting the floor. I see this guy in the most prestigious office in the world, and this guy says ‘bring it on.’ A guy who ain’t never been shot at, never seen anyone suffering, saying ‘bring it on?’ He gets to act like a cowboy in a western movie…it’s sickening to me.”
The other vets with him nod in agreement as he speaks somberly…his anger seething.
One of them, Alex Ryabov, a corporal in an artillery unit which was in Iraq the first three months of the invasion, asked for some time to formulate his response to the same question.
“I don’t think Bush will ever realize how many millions of lives he and his lackeys have ruined on their quest for money, greed and power,” he says, “To take the patriotism of the American people for granted…the fact that people (his administration) are willing to lie and make excuses for you while you continue to kill and maim the youth of America and ruin countless families…and still manage to do so with a smile on your face.”
Taking a deep breath to steady himself he continues as if addressing Bush first-hand; “You needs to resign, take the billions of dollars you’ve made off the blood and sweat of US service members….all the suffering you’ve caused us, and put those billions of dollars into the VA to take care of the men and women you sent to be slaughtered. Yet all those billions aren’t enough to even try to compensate all the people who have been affected by this.”
These new additions to Veterans for Peace are actively living the statement of purpose of the organization, having pledged to work with others towards increasing public awareness of the costs of war, to work to restrain their government from intervening, overtly and covertly, in the internal affairs of other nations and to see justice for veterans and victims of war, among other goals.
Thanks to alert reader bob.
It matters not what Bush calls his war, rather that he has executed it so ineptly that thousands of U.S. and Iraqi lives have been sacrificed to no justifiable end.
Even if one were to suspend reality and agree that Bush was correct to invade Iraq, it is impossible to see anything but incompetence in how this war is waged.
Two-plus years into the war, the administration still deploys Marines into the desert in lightly armored vehicles designed for amphibious assaults. Fourteen Marines on Wednesday died when a huge bomb destroyed their vehicle.
Six other members of their Ohio-based Reserve unit were ambushed and killed Monday. One woman in their hometown asked, "How many lives are enough?"
President Bush should abandon his vacation and head to Brook Park, Ohio, and attend the military funerals of those Marines. He should see, and allow the public to see, the flag-draped coffins of just a few of the 1,828 service men and women killed in Iraq.
That begs the question. Two and a half years after the United States led the charge into Iraq, why are its soldiers still patrolling the country in vehicles that leave them so vulnerable to attack? Why don’t they have the equipment and support that they obviously need?
At the Pentagon and the White House, the only sound was platitudes. "Patriots, they were determined to stop the terrorists from reclaiming Iraq and from launching more attacks on our people," said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld."Our nation needed them, called on them in battle, and mourns them now in death."
This was the man who, questioned about the poorly equipped troops last December, responded, "You go to war with the army you have."
And President George W. Bush, who once taunted insurgents with the catch phrase, "Bring ’em on," noted how the people of Brook Park had "suffered mightily over the last couple of days."
"I hope they can take comfort in the fact that millions of their fellow citizens pray for them," he said.
Those prayers may or may not help. But it would have been far better to give the troops the chance to survive the attacks they face with the equipment they need.
Because now, prayers are about the best defense they have.
Local story: Virginia
Marine killed in Iraq.
Local story: Connecticut
Marine killed in Iraq.
Local story: Texas
Marine killed in Iraq.
Local story: Florida
Marine killed in Iraq.
Local story: Louisiana
Marine killed in Iraq.
Local story: Two Georgia
Guardsmen killed in Iraq.