War News for Saturday, August 13, 2005
Bring 'em on: Four Iraqis killed, 19 wounded by explosion at mosque near Ramadi
Bring 'em on: Fiften Iraqis killed, 17 wounded in attack on US patrol near Nasaf
Bring 'em on: One Iraqi killed, 7 wounded in car bomb attack on US convoy in Baghdad
Bring 'em on: Two truck drivers missing after ambush near Ramadi
Bring 'em on: Five Iraqi soldiers wounded by roadside bomb in Baghdad
Bring 'em on: Four Iraqi civilians killed by roadside bomb, two Iraqi policemen shot in Samarra
Like Al-Basrah, it appears that the governorate has fallen into the hands of extremists in the al-Sadr trend who are bent on imposing their vision of Islamic rule on the population. The impact of this turn of events will likely weigh on the presence of Japanese forces, who are stationed in the governorate to provide humanitarian assistance through December. The Japanese government has already hinted that it would be interested in remaining in the governorate for an additional year, and media reports indicate there is an interest in bringing in private sector assistance. With al-Sadr loyalists essentially in control of the city and governorate, it is likely that the Japanese -- labeled "occupiers" by the group -- would be forced out.
The unrest in Samawah culminated last week a massive demonstration by locals outside the governor's office protesting unemployment and poor water and electricity services. Protesters threw rocks at police and police fired into the crowd, killing one and injuring dozens. The ensuing violence left several police cars burned and forced the governor to impose a curfew on the normally calm city.
The city has seen little violence since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003, but a number of incidents attributed to Sunni insurgents have occurred. Meanwhile, Shi'ite extremists loyal to cleric Muqtada al-Sadr have infiltrated the city and appear to be attempting to impose their vision of Islamic mores on the city's residents.
. "Army Brigadier-General Yves Fontaine, commander of the 1st Corps Support Command, on Friday said the number of attacks along supply routes had grown to about 30 per week, although the US casualty rate has declined because extra protective armour has been installed on supply trucks and other vehicles in the transportation fleet."
Bringing democracy to Iraq
. "Baghdad's former mayor, ousted by force this week, said on Friday the new Iraq had degenerated into a militia state ruled by the gun and not the ballot box. 'I was elected. I had dreams. Then I was removed in a coup by gunmen. This is very bad. Acts like these set a dangerous precedent for a country that wants to be democratic,' Alaa al-Tamimi told Reuters in a telephone interview. 'Elected officials are just removed by force. We live in a militia state even with American troops here. Imagine when they leave. It will be worse than Saddam Hussein's time.' Tamimi, chosen from a shortlist by city notables under the supervision of the U.S. military occupiers in 2003, said 120 gunmen took over his office on Monday. They installed Hussein al-Tahhan, a rival local official and a member of one of the main Islamist Shi'ite parties leading the government, as mayor. Tamimi said he was not present when the gunmen occupied his office. Fearful for his life, he said he was living under U.S. protection and declined to say where he was speaking from."
. "President Bush and his motorcade passed the growing camp of war protesters outside his ranch Friday without incident. As Bush passed on his way to and from a political fundraiser, law enforcement blocked two intersecting roads where the demonstrators have camped out all week. Officers required the group to stand behind yellow tape, but no one was asked to leave. The motorcade didn't stop."
. Dr. Natalie Griego already did one stint in Iraq, right when the war started in 2003. Her family was hoping she could avoid a return trip. But four weeks ago, Griego, a Lawrence resident and a major in the Colorado National Guard, received word she is being called up for a second tour of duty. 'I don’t know that being in Iraq is the hard part,' said Griego, a physician with St. Francis Health Center’s Topeka Emergency Care. 'It’s leaving my kids and my family and friends that’s hard and knowing there are people concerned about you and praying for you.' Griego will leave behind her husband, Jeff Krall, and two sons, Reece, 4, and Logan, 1, in Lawrence, on Friday."
. "The thumb-and-pinkie salute, a ubiquitous symbol of pride, heritage and greeting in Hawai'i, was banned at Camp Victory guard stations after a National Guard soldier mistakenly flashed a shaka to a senior officer instead of a salute."
. "Iraq’s political leaders, racing against time to reach consensus on the draft constitution before Monday’s deadline, have settled three out of 18 outstanding issues, said a source close to the process. 'Three points have been settled: the name of Iraq, the question of the peshmerga (or Kurdish militia) and Kirkuk,' the source said on condition of anonymity."
Local story: Two New York
Guardsmen killed in Iraq.
Local story: Colorado
Marine killed in Iraq.
Local story: Texas
soldier wounded in Iraq.
Local story: Two Pennsylvania
soldiers wounded in Iraq.
Rant of the Day
In October 1993, Master Sergeant Gary Gordon and Sergeant First Class Randy Shugart were killed during the Battle of Mogadishu trying to rescue a helicopter crew. They were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
At the White House presentation ceremony, SFC Shugart's father, Herb, launched an angry, personal attack on President Clinton, blaming him for his son's death. The vulgar diatribe lasted for several minutes, during which President Clinton endured the embittered father's wrath.
At the time, I read about this incident in a German newspaper, but today the only on-line references I could find are on right-wing websites - all of which find Herb Shugart's behavior quite praiseworthy. (I won't link to those sites, but you can find a nice example at Powerslime.)
However, the German news article I read contained something you won't find on any of the wingnut sites. The Secret Service had warned President Clinton beforehand that Herb Shugart, a Clinton-hater who had been quite vocal since his son's death, was planning to cause an unpleasant scene at the presentation ceremony. Still, President Clinton chose to personally present the posthumous Medal of Honor to Mr. Shugart for his son's valor and sacrifice.
It may be helpful to remember that President George H. W. Bush - not President Clinton - ordered US troops into Somalia shortly after he lost the 1992 election.
Yesterday, a cowardly George W. Bush sped past Cindy Sheehan - twice - inside his blast-proof Presidential limousine as he went to an invitation-only fundraiser. Bush has spent the past week hiding from this woman, whose son died in a Baghdad firefight.
Bush fears Cindy Sheehan. He fears a tongue-lashing from an angry parent.
Bush is unfit to be Commander-in-Chief.