War News for Saturday, September 3, 2005
Bring ‘em on: Two policemen killed near Baqubah
Bring ‘em on: Three US soldiers die in Iraq attacks
Bring ‘em on: US Soldier Killed in Central Iraq
Bring ‘em on: Iraqi Policeman Dies in Roadside Bomb Attack in Mahaweel, Civilian killed and five wounded in Basra
Bring ‘em on: Seven Marines from unit based in Buffalo are wounded while on patrol in Iraq
Bring ‘em on: Girl dies in Iraq Sectarian Clash
Bring ‘em on: Gunman attack worshipers in Baghdad, Basra
Bring ‘em on: Car bomb explodes in Baghdad
, one dead.
Bring ‘em on: Roadside bomb kills 5 Iraqi soldiers north of Baghdad
Bring ‘em on: Roadside bomb kills foreign contractor in Baghdad
The Tragedy of Iraq
US confirms its troops killed Reuters journalist in Iraq.
Driver killed by US troops in Baiji.
1,000 killed in Iraq stampede.
“At least six people also died after drinking poisoned juice and food they received around the mosque. Tensions had been running high after a mortar and rocket attack two hours earlier killed at least seven people and injured at least 40 nearby.”
“Iraqis mourned on Friday and buried more of the 1,000 killed in a stampede, but while the country struggles to come to terms with the tragedy, a march aimed at reconciling Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims did not go ahead. Iraq's two main religious communities had planned a joint march in Baghdad as a show of unity and a sign the stampede could become a catalyst for improved relations between them. "When we were near the bridge, the women ahead of us were hit by chemicals... from Aadhamiya," he said late on Thursday. "Whoever told you that they helped us was a liar," he said, angrily grasping the dirt on his wife's fresh grave as he contested accounts that Sunni Arabs had rescued struggling Shi'ites from the Tigris.”
Rows and Rows of Corpses, and Voices Choked With Sobs "Zaid, where are the rest of your brothers?" he asked, without waiting for a reply. "Fakkar has died. Bring me his ID card so I can get a death certificate. Bring it soon." All around him, people streamed in and out of the hospital, many of them sobbing and screaming in grief.
(And we will see this same scene soon in the southern USA.)
Photo of Iraqi women mourning their dead.
Iraqis mourn the death of a man killed by unknown gunmen in Basra. This event has a photo, but no story.
The face of grief: a man grieves over the death of a relative, who was killed by unknown gunman in Baghdad. Again, a photo but no story.
Photo of the face of grief, Iraqi boy mourns the death of his brother from the stampede.
Picture of the bridge where almost 1,000 Iraqis perished.
Picture of the shoes left behind by pilgrims who died in the stampede.
Questions Arising About Bridge Stampede in Baghdad:
“Iraqi officials say 965 Shi'ite pilgrims were killed Wednesday in a stampede on a bridge leading to a Baghdad shrine, but other Iraqi security officials, politicians, and the U.S. military in Baghdad are questioning the facts surrounding reports of the stampede in the northwest Kadhimiya district of the capital. Accompanied by both U.S. and Iraqi army officials, VOA arrived at the Kadhimiya bridge about two o'clock Wednesday afternoon, roughly three hours after news agencies and television news stations began reporting that a deadly stampede had occurred at the site. There was no sign of blood anywhere on the bridge and not a drop of blood could be found on a row of knee-high concrete barriers, which many of the victims were said to have been crushed against. The barriers had been placed there the day before to deter suicide car bombings. Iraqi and U.S. military personnel, stationed at guard towers at a nearby base with a clear view of the bridge, report that they saw nothing out of the ordinary occurring on the bridge all morning.”
(The tragedy in Iraq is roughly equivalent to having 12,000 Americans die from one event, since Iraq is about 1/12 of the population of the USA. This is a horrific loss for the Iraqi people.)
5,000 soldiers-strong starts on biggest offensive since Fallujah “In the largest urban assault since the siege of Fallujah last November, more than 5,000 U.S. and Iraqi troops entered this northern city before dawn Friday. But the 45-minute firefight at day's end suggested that the insurgents who have controlled much of Tall Afar for almost a year would not relinquish it easily.”
Oil-for-food Scandal: “Did the U.N. agencies think they could simply keep what was not theirs because others had dipped their beaks so deeply into Iraq's oil? More importantly, would any money be returned if it had not been exposed?”
Iraq and Katrina
(Okay, I’m wondering: if the oil-for-food scandal money is required to be returned, what about all the money that went missing under Bremer? That would be 9-10 billion of Iraqi money.)
Still working on that constitution: Changed to Iraq Charter mulled to please Sunnis “As negotiators discussed possible changes, thousands of Shi'ite supporters and Sunni opponents of the document took to the streets yesterday to express their views ahead of the decisive Oct. 15 referendum.”
And yet more work on that constitution: Sunnis Hard to Include, Harder to Leave Out
“In an attempt to get Sunnis on board, Shi'ites and Kurds have agreed to central government supervision of revenue distribution. But despite these concessions, Sunni leaders say they will reject the constitution. The violence will go up and the hope among people will go down, and the extremists will be the ones who will be in control of the country," Sunni negotiator Salih al-Mutlak told the New York Times.”
Some Iraqis like it: Thousands of Shi’ites Rally in Support of the Iraqi Charter “In mostly Shiite Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, an estimated 5,000 people marched in support of the constitution, carrying banners saying it would bring ''freedom and justice.''
Rationale for War
Mystery Unfolds Over Hunt for WMD in Iraq: “Hans Blix, U.N. inspector, says Washington's "virtual reality" about Iraq eventually collided with "our old-fashioned ordinary reality." Now, drawing from findings of the Iraq Survey Group and other official investigations, from U.N., U.S., Iraqi and British documents, from Associated Press interviews and on-scene reporting, from books by Blix and others, it's possible to reconstruct much of the "ordinary reality" of this extraordinary story, one that has changed the course of history. Leaked British documents show that Prime Minister Tony Blair told Bush at his Texas ranch in April 2002 that London would support military action to oust Saddam. But the British set conditions: Washington should seek re-entry of U.N. inspectors — which Saddam was expected to refuse — and then Security Council authorization for war.”
(Personally, I will never forget Bush stating in July of 2003 that Saddam did not let UN weapons inspectors back into Iraq – and the lack of challenge on that statement from the US press.)
The latest reason given for the war on Iraq: Bush give new reason for Iraq war, Says US must prevent oil fields from falling into the hands of terrorists ''If Zarqawi and [Osama] bin Laden gain control of Iraq, they would create a new training ground for future terrorist attacks," Bush said. ''They'd seize oil fields to fund their ambitions. They could recruit more terrorists by claiming a historic victory over the United States and our coalition."
(Um, don’t look now, but the poppy fields have fallen into the hands of the terrorists in Afghanistan-that would be the terrorists that attacked the USA, not the other kind.)
One more leaving: “Bulgaria has begun preparations to withdraw its 400 troops from Iraq, the prime minister announced Friday.”
Something good, not about IRAQ: Drones to help rescuers
“BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (Reuters) -- Unmanned remote-controlled airplanes used in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars may be deployed to find people trapped in New Orleans' buildings by Hurricane Katrina's flood waters, a U.S. congressman said Friday.
(Finally, some good humanitarian use for that technology.)
See there is a connection between New Orleans and Iraq after all: Iraqi Envoy Sees Parallel in New Orleans Looting. “Bodine said she was not minimizing what was happening in New Orleans, but she recalled that, when looting took place in Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld described it as "messy stuff" that happens in a free country. "I would like to see Mr. Rumsfeld stand up and say that to the people in New Orleans," Bodine said. She cited as a disconnect the fact that about 30,000 troops are heading to a single city, in New Orleans's case, while about 140,000 U.S. service members were sent to bring security to the whole of Iraq.”
"There may have been no institutional memories in this city," Istrabadi said, referring to Washington, "but that wasn't true in Baghdad.”
(Funny that we get “zero tolerance” for the looting in New Orleans and “freedom is messy” for the looting in Baghdad, no? I guess if you are “for us or against us” depends on WHERE you do that looting!)
Another connection: Why So Few First Responders in New Orleans? They’re in Iraq! “The occupation of Iraq has rested heavily on the services of National Guard units, including those from Gulf States that have been mutilated by Hurricane Katrina. Additionally, many Guardsmen and reservists now serving in Iraq are key law enforcement and disaster response personnel whose absence is also being keenly felt in the flood-ravaged states. "With military call-ups skimming the cream of state and local 'first-responders,' communities nationwide are more vulnerable now than they were prior to 9-11," advised "Exporting Our 'First Responders,'" a feature article in our May 5, 2003 issue.”
And someone else sees a connection: New Orleans and Baghdad- two sides of the same policy “The reaction of the Bush administration to the catastrophe of its own making in the invasion of Iraq and its response to the disaster unleashed by Hurricane Katrina on the US Gulf Coast have both revealed gross incompetence and a criminal contempt for human life. Both have led to soaring death tolls and immense suffering.”
(But will the suffering of the Iraqi people make it onto prime time TV specials every night of the week? I have my doubts.)
And someone sees a connection between Baghdad and New Orleans: It Reminds Me of Baghdad in the Worst of Times ”A lone soldier stood by the side of a red civilian pick-up holding a rifle and talking to some of the stranded civilians. He would not give his name, but the patch on his shoulder indicated he was from the 101st Airborne, an elite division which has spent much of the past two years in Iraq. "Kind of reminds me of Baghdad in the worst of times," he said shaking his head.”
And here’s a connection between the 7/7 bombings in London and the Iraq war
: Video Nasty “One of the most unhelpful aspects of government's response since the London bombings is the stubborn refusal of Tony Blair, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, to acknowledge there is any connection between the attacks and the war. As Ken Clarke said on Thursday, he must be the only person left in Britain who thinks that. (Mr Clarke was speaking before the Khan video emerged.) When even the bomber himself says he was motivated by actions abroad, it is perverse for the government to continue to deny this.”
And the fighting goes on
: US Warplanes Raid Insurgents hideout in W. Iraq
“At approximately 1:00 p.m. Sept. 1, Coalition Forces conducted an air strike against an identified terrorist safe haven in the western border town of Husaybah," the military said in a statement. The US F-18 jet fighters destroyed the target with precision-guided 500-pound bombs, the statement said.”
(In a few days, I expect to see reports of the civilians killed – which was why I first put this post under The Tragedy of IRAQ listings.)