Wednesday, September 28, 2005
War News for Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Bring ‘em on: One policeman killed by gunmen in northeastern
Bring ‘em on: One police major with a counterterrorism unit killed, one other police officer wounded in an attack by armed men in
Bring ‘em on: At least 10 Iraqis killed and 28 injured in a suicide bomb outside a police recruiting centre in Baquba. Bodies of three Iraqis, bound and blindfolded, found dead with gunshot wounds near Latifiya. One Iraqi civilian killed and two policemen injured in a roadside bombing directed at a police patrol in
Bring ‘em on: Local official killed by gunmen in the Hashimiya district of western Baquba. A pipeline junction on
Bring ‘em on: Four police officers and two detainees killed and eight detainees wounded when gunmen fired on a minibus bound for Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad. Police officer killed in
Bring ‘em on: Seven people killed and 37 wounded in suicide bomb attack on an army recruitment center in Tal Afar. One person killed and 14 wounded in suicide car bomb attack on a police patrol in Baquba. One US Marine dead from a “non-hostile” gunshot wound suffered Monday near Fallujah.
Bring ‘em on: Seven bodies, shot to death, handcuffed and blindfolded, found in Taji.
Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqis killed when a vehicle carrying a Jordanian diplomat came under fire in
Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed and one wounded by a roadside bomb in Safwan.
It marked the first time since an insurgency by Sunni Arabs began that a female suicide bomber had launched an attack in
Another first- at least, that they've admitted...: A car bomber penetrated the heavily fortified Green Zone in the center of the capital on Tuesday but was stopped by U.S. Marines at a checkpoint before he was able to detonate the vehicle, the military said.
CBS gets a clue: Behind the blood and chaos of the insurgents' bombs, there is an undeclared civil war already underway in
Workaday life: “I get used to mutilation: it’s like lunch and supper for us — something you get twice a day,” says Ismail Fadhil, blank-faced, stubbing out another cigarette butt. “It is usual to load up body parts, half bodies. Once, in Al-Amel, most of the victims were kids and they were in bits.”
Working 24-hour, day-on day-off shifts, Ismail, 39, drives an ambulance for Yarmouk Hospital, and is usually scrambled to emergencies alone, without even a radio. His decrepit Saddam-era ambulance, pocked with bullet holes, has not so much as a bandage: the hospital’s equipment, looted in 2003, has yet to be replaced.
“I’ve got no first-aid measures at all,” says Ismail. “It’s like driving a cab. The best I can do if I find a guy with his guts hanging out is stuff them back in and shove him into the vehicle.”
When his work is done he slops the blood out with a bucket of water. “We haven’t even got disinfectant. It is like cleaning out a garage.”
For every sick person, Ismail collects ten victims of violence. He has been shot at by insurgents, US soldiers, Iraqi police and national guards. At the scene of one suicide bomb attack last year he saw ambulance crews hit by a second bomber.
Peace, Fallujah-style: Iraqi and
They hailed the full-scale assault on the town as a success and said they had brought Tal Afar, which
But previous military operations against insurgency strongholds have not led to peace, and sectarian violence continued on Wednesday.
Such signs have been reported in other cities around the region, which includes Husayba, New Ubeydi, Karabila and Sa'dat, Col. Stephen Davis, whose forces operate in the western Al Anbar province, told CNN.
The Marines have also received reports of fliers telling residents of Sa'dat, west of Qaim, to leave the city or die, said Davis, the commander of the Marines Regimental Combat Team 2. And Marines have seen civilians leave, he added.
With the Iraqi army: Juwad's battalion has responsibility for northwest Fallujah, a sector called the Jolan. With its centuries-old souk, or marketplace, a twisting labyrinth of alleys and cluttered shops, the Jolan was infamous during 2004 as the lair of arch-terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Down the street from Juwad's makeshift fort stood the abandoned warehouse where in May 2004 Zarqawi had beheaded the easygoing Californian entrepreneur/adventurer Nicholas Berg. Zarqawi timed and videotaped the murder so that Al Jazeera television received the tape in time for its evening news.
The jundis are under no illusions about the attitudes of the Sunni residents of the Jolan. A year ago, about 5,000 Kurds, some of whom had lived in the Jolan for generations, were forced to flee for their lives when the Sunni fundamentalists temporarily ruled the city, Taliban-style. Practically all the jundis in Juwad's company are Shiites who feel unwelcome in the city.
Of the 140 jundis in Juwad's company, 10 are Kurds and the rest are Shiites from southern
Old news worth repeating: About 30,000 fighters are believed to be involved in the insurgency in
Of the estimated 3,000 foreign fighters, the largest number -- about 20 per cent -- are from
About 350 Saudis entered
Admitting the obvious: The nation’s top military officer said Tuesday that the killing last weekend of a senior leader of the al-Qaida in Iraq organization will hurt the terrorists but perhaps only in the short term.
Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked at a Pentagon news conference with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld about the killing of Abdullah Abu Azzam on Sunday.
“It will have some effect, but over time they will replace people,” Myers said.
“There are others, foreign fighters, marching to the guns on a regular basis,” who can be promoted to leadership roles, he added, although in many cases they are less experienced and qualified in planning and executing attacks.
Whack a mole: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's network of al Qaeda-linked insurgents is emerging as a self-sustaining force, despite repeated blows by
The Zarqawi network, responsible for some of the Iraqi insurgency's bloodiest attacks, has grown into a loose confederation of mainly native Iraqis trained by former Baath Party regime officers in explosives, small arms, rockets and surface-to-air missiles.
"The suggestion is that this has shifted from being a terrorist network to a guerrilla army," said Vali Nasr, a national security affairs expert at the
But intelligence officials said the death of Zarqawi himself would not mean al Qaeda's defeat in
"If he died in the cause, that's huge. That's what everybody wants. Then he's a giant figurehead and everybody can do something in his name," one intelligence official said.
"He has enough force in place to sustain operations," the official added. "Al Qaeda in
Gee, I Feel Better Already
Because this kind of thing is so worrisome: When it comes to ominous warnings about the future of
If what he envisions were to come true, U.S. troops would not be able to maintain control and would be pulled out; the Shia government, facing defeat by Sunni insurgents, would ask the Shia clerics ruling Iran for help and Iranian troops would cross the border to fight Sunnis; Kurds would pull away into an independent state and Turkey, fearing its own Kurdish guerrillas would find a safe haven, would invade Kurdistan.
Good thing we have a big strong man to protect us!: President Bush on Wednesday warned there will be an upsurge in violence in Iraq before next month's voting, but said the terrorists will fail. "Our troops are ready for them," he said.
Bring ‘em on!
And his ultracompetent administration is our first line of defense: The US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (Fincen) has shut down its QuikNews e-mail messaging system after unidentified hackers used it to broadcast disturbing images of civilian casualties in
The breach of security is a huge embarrassment for the US Treasury Department agency, which is responsible for enforcing regulations against money laundering and terrorist financing.
The mass e-mail to Fincen subscribers included photos of pools of blood and an Iraqi child in a hospital bed and contained the message: "take back your monsters (army)/you killed my father and mother/what you want???/ i know (oil) [sic]."
In a statement, Fincen sought to reassure subscribers that "Bank Secrecy Act data and all other sensitive information maintained on internal systems by Fincen are secure and were in no way, shape or form compromised by this incident."
Rule Of Law
The Germans get it: Just a few weeks ago, a highly significant judicial decision was handed down by the
Further, they meticulously demonstrated that the German government, in contrast to its public protestations, had assisted in the aggression against
The decision was made in relation to legal proceedings initiated by a German army officer who had refused to obey an order following the invasion of Iraq by the US-led coalition of forces because he feared that he would in effect be supporting the war. As a result, he was demoted from major to captain and the army filed a criminal complaint against him for insubordination. In its latest judgement, the
Freedom of the press: The conduct of
Kidnapping: A branch of the U.S. Navy secretly contracted a 33-plane fleet that included two Gulfstream jets reportedly used to fly terror suspects to countries known to practice torture, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.
At least 10
Two of the companies — Richmor Aviation Inc. and Premier Executive Transport Services Inc. — chartered luxury Gulfstreams that flew terror suspects captured in Europe to Egypt, according to U.S. and European media reports. Once there, the men told family members, they were tortured. Authorities in
While the Gulfstreams came under scrutiny in 2001, what hasn't been disclosed is the Navy's role in contracting planes involved in operations the CIA terms "rendition" and what Italian prosecutors call kidnapping.
Disgusting trade: An Islamic civil-rights group has asked Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to investigate an Internet site on which
“This disgusting trade in human misery is an insult to all those who have served in our nation’s military,” said Arsalan Iftikhar, legal director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, in a letter to Rumsfeld.
The Washington-based group brough the Web site to national attention in a statement to the media Sept. 27. Army and Pentagon officials said they are investigating.
“Obviously, it is an unacceptable practice,” said Bryan Whitman, a spokesman for Rumsfeld.
The lightning investigation: The Army is investigating complaints that soldiers posted photographs of Iraqi corpses on an Internet site in exchange for access to pornographic images on the site, officials said Tuesday.
An Army spokesman, Col. Joseph Curtin, said the Criminal Investigation Division recently began investigating the matter on behalf of Lt. Gen. John Vines, commander of the Multinational Corps in
Another Army spokesman, Paul Boyce, said later that the preliminary criminal inquiry determined, based on available evidence, that felony charges could not be pursued. But the matter, including the possibility of disciplinary action, was being handled in coordination with other military services, he said.
It’s because they’re decisive: US Army has ALREADY concluded that they won't press charges against soldiers based on the death-photos-for-porn scandal. Gee that was fast.
Fast, and rather disgusting. And rather poorly timed, the same day Lynndie
Our Helena gets around: The story of NTFU and its unusual exchange of free porn for gory war photos was first picked up by an Italian blogger named Staib, and then the Italian news agency ANSA. Blogger/journalist Helena Cobban, who pens a column for the Christian Science Monitor, asked her blog readers for an English translation of the ANSA article and quickly received many versions that clarified what the site was about.
Cobban was horrified by the gory photos, but tried to make sense of the motivation of people who posted them -- and tried hard to grasp the idea of a serious discussion of war on a porn site. She told me that taking and posting "trophy" photos of dead Iraqis was a gross show of disrespect and a violation of the Geneva Conventions. But she put the blame on the direction of military leadership.
"The important thing is for the
The Geneva Conventions include Protocol 1, added in 1977 but not ratified by the
When I contacted military public affairs people in the
"The glorification of casualties goes against our training and is strongly discouraged," said Todd Vician, a U.S. Defense Department spokesman. "It is our policy that images taken with government equipment or due to access because of a military position must be cleared before released. While I haven't seen these images, I doubt they would be cleared for release. Improper treatment of captured and those killed does not help our mission, is discouraged, investigated when known, and punished appropriately."
Capt. Chris Karns, a Centcom spokesman, told me that there are Department of Defense regulations and Geneva Conventions against mutilating and degrading dead bodies, but that he wasn't sure about regulations concerning photos of dead bodies. He noted that the Bush administration did release graphic photos of the dead bodies of Uday and Qusay Hussein to the media.
Good point: The American administration has failed to issue a satisfactory response to the fact that its army violates the laws of war. It has suggested successfully, according to American public opinion, that the units of military police that were photographed humiliating prisoners at Abu Ghraib were not obeying any order of the army or the intelligence services. With soldier Lynndie
The American pacifist movement has not seized on these questions. Its principal and laudable concern epitomized by the image of Cindy Sheehan, traumatized by her son’s death in
While authorizing its army to perpetrate what international law describes as "serious violations of the laws of the war," such as "torture" or "inhumane treatment" of prisoners and "war crimes" in the case of executions - the United States placed itself in a position of illegality in the service of the cause that they allege to defend: freedom, justice and democracy faced with the "the madness of Allah." But every time an Afghan or Iraqi is killed wrongly or tortured, and precisely because the
More pragmatically, the use of torture is one less chance for
Opinion: More than a third of the
August was the deadliest month for citizen soldiers. Five Pennsylvania Guardsmen died when the second-class humvee they were in was blown up. They had requested permission to use some of the 12 brand new, fully up-armored vehicles issued to a nearby active duty unit. The request was denied. The trucks stood idle when the Guardsmen died.
A total of 46 National Guard and Reserve soldiers were killed in August, more than half the 83 troop deaths. The disproportionately high -- and rising -- casualty rates of citizen soldiers are part of a trend. Pentagon statistics released at the end of 2004 showed losses sustained by Army National Guard soldiers in
Long, hazardous duty is one reason why Army National Guard and Army Reserve recruitment numbers are off by 23 percent and 20 percent, respectively. In the first half of 2005, the Seattle Army Reserve office missed its target of about 100 recruits by 75 percent.
Half the soldiers leaving active duty service have traditionally joined the Guard, but since that likely means a quick trip back to
While the Guard and Reserve are particularly hard hit, our entire country is suffering from the
It's time we add Homeland Security to the growing list of casualties of the war in
A related story: The 69 Iowa National Guard mechanics at
Opinion: A marketing campaign, launched shortly after the war began and continuing to this day, has sought to link support for the men and women serving in this country's military forces with support for even the most foolhardy and dangerous of the president's policies. There are even bumper stickers that declare: "Support President Bush and the Troops."
But this is just political gamesmanship, nothing more.
How do we know?
Because House Majority Leader Tom DeLay tells us so.
Back in 1999, after President Bill Clinton had ordered
The leading opponent of the resolution was DeLay, who dismissed the notion that opposing the war was in any way an affront to the troops. In a visceral floor statement delivered in March of that year, DeLay declared, "Bombing a sovereign nation for ill-defined reasons with vague objectives undermines the American stature in the world. The international respect and trust for
As the war progressed, DeLay condemned "(President Clinton's) war," and grumbled in April 1999, "There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our overextended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the president started this thing, and there still is no plan today."
Opinion: If you need yet another reminder why the Democrats continue to teeter on the verge of becoming a permanent minority party, I suggest you pick up the Boston Herald and watch CBS News. At the same time the situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate, with CBS reporting on the "undeclared civil war" raging between Shiites and Sunnis and the Saudi Foreign Minister telling the world that Iraq is "going toward disintegration," there was John Kerry giving a speech arguing that "progress" was being made. As the Boston Herald put it, Senator John Kerry "back-pedalled on blistering criticism of the war."
Andrew Gumbel's latest HuffPost turns a flashing red spotlight on why we need to reform our voting systems. But even the most corruption-free voting system in the world isn't going to help Democrats if they keep offering up candidates who make the kind of absurd pronouncements on Iraq Kerry did this week.
Editorial: After a day of stunningly large antiwar demonstrations that surrounded a beleaguered White House while its occupant attended to a more natural disaster, the
''We of this Congress and this administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves," observed Lincoln long ago in a written message to Congress after the gore of Antietam but just a month before the Emancipation Proclamation. ''No personal significance or insignificance can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation. We, even here, hold the power and bear the responsibility."
Indeed. The inspiring words of the past mock the poses of the present.
Earlier that day, there had been a demonstration downtown that dwarfed official expectations. In an interesting abandonment of post-9/11 paranoia, the parade permit allowed a virtual encirclement of the White House by a throng that easily exceeded 300,000 peaceful souls from around the country. I have either been in or covered every peace demonstration around here since 1967, and this one was more than reminiscent of the whoppers in the Nixon years.
The people are currently leagues beyond the politicians. The link between the ongoing war and the literal storms of the past month is in the opinion polls, with solid majorities not only of the opinion that the invasion of Iraq wasn't and isn't worth its cost but demanding that money being sent overseas be invested in reconstruction at home. The problem is that no one prominent in politics is really listening.
Opinion: As far as
Last week, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Faisal warned that
What's more, the
Cervantes: This is the truth. There is no good news from