Tuesday, November 08, 2005
War News for Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Bring ‘em on: Four US soldiers killed in suicide car bombing at a checkpoint south of
Bring ‘em on: At least 36 suspected insurgents killed so far in the US-Iraqi "Steel Curtain" military offensive in western Iraq. Four Iraqi civilians killed and two injured
in a suicide car bombing near
Bring ‘em on: A lawyer for one of Saddam Hussein's co-defendants was shot dead in
Bring ‘em on: Five insurgents killed and 10 captured in Ramadi by US Marines. One civilian translator killed in the same attack that killed four
Bring ‘em on: Four Iraqi soldiers killed and a fifth critically wounded when a bomb blew up near their patrol car in the small town of Dali Abbas, north-east of Baghdad. Five decomposed bodies found in the Rustumiya area, just south of the Iraqi capital. The identity of the victims was not immediately clear. Two policemen killed and three wounded in a bombing near the town of
Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed, two US soldiers and an Iraqi translator wounded by a makeshift bomb while on patrol near Dawr on Sunday. A suicide car bomber attacked a
Chemical warfare: In soldier slang they call it Willy Pete. The technical name is white phosphorus. In theory its purpose is to illumine enemy positions in the dark. In practice, it was used as a chemical weapon in the rebel stronghold of Fallujah. And it was used not only against enemy combatants and guerrillas, but again innocent civilians. The Americans are responsible for a massacre using unconventional weapons, the identical charge for which Saddam Hussein stands accused. An investigation by RAI News 24, the all-news Italian satellite television channel, has pulled the veil from one of the most carefully concealed mysteries from the front in the entire
Another report: Powerful new evidence emerged yesterday that the
Ever since the assault, which went unreported by any Western journalists, rumours have swirled that the Americans used chemical weapons on the city.
But now new information has surfaced, including hideous photographs and videos and interviews with American soldiers who took part in the Fallujah attack, which provides graphic proof that phosphorus shells were widely deployed in the city as a weapon.
Bring ‘em in: The Pentagon on Monday notified 92,000 fresh U.S. troops to prepare for rotation to Iraq over a two-year period beginning in mid-2006, but cautioned that the number did not signal immediate plans to slash a much-higher U.S. troop level now in that country.
There are currently about 160,000 American troops in
Countless ways out: The growing number of
Since the March 2003 invasion, the
But the statistics also obscure how death here can turn on factors as capricious as luck and human frailty, on the subtle whims of a terrible moment.
Mookie: Moqtada al-Sadr, a young cleric with a mass following in
The votes of Sadr's many followers will be an important factor on Dec. 15 and he seems set to maintain an ambivalent stance toward the party likely to dominate in Shi'ite regions.
It seems likely, however, that the cleric himself will keep himself out of the political fray and not endorse the
Militias: The sun had barely risen over a small Sunni village when Shiite militiamen, some wearing black, launched a raid, ostensibly to free hostages. Interior Ministry troops joined the fight. After several hours, more than 20 people were dead.
Details about what happened Oct. 27 in Medayna, 45 miles northeast of
Mercs: Former Serbian "Red Berets" elites forces are now being employed as private security personnel in
About 30 former members of the Jedinica za Specijalne Operacije Special Operations Unit, better known as the JSO or Red Berets, have been working for private security contractors in
Vecernje Novosti daily said the men were recruited through a security agency in
In March 2003 the Serbian government disbanded the Red Berets after occupying their headquarters in Vojvodina province. The Red Berets were former President Slobodan Milosevic's Ministry of the Interior elite troops.
Sir Christopher, highly critical of Mr Blair's performance in the run-up to the war, argues the prime minister and his team were "seduced" by the proximity and glamour of US power and reluctant to negotiate conditions with George Bush for Britain's support for the war.
Last month, a judge in
That followed a June case in which an Italian judge issued arrest warrants for 22 alleged CIA operatives accused of abducting an Islamic cleric in
Both cases underscore a trend among some European judges: stepped-up use in the past three years of a legal principle known as "universal jurisdiction" — the view that governments have the right to try anyone accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed anywhere in the world.
Torture, American Style
We don’t do it: President Bush strongly defended
Bush was asked to respond to reports, first published in The Washington Post, that the
So there's no reason to make it illegal, right?: Over the past year, Vice President Cheney has waged an intense and largely unpublicized campaign to stop Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department from imposing more restrictive rules on the handling of terrorist suspects, according to defense, state, intelligence and congressional officials.
In recent months, Cheney has been the force against adding safeguards to the Defense Department's rules on treatment of military prisoners, putting him at odds with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon R. England.
Just last week, Cheney showed up at a Republican senatorial luncheon to lobby lawmakers for a CIA exemption to an amendment by Sen. John McCain that would ban torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners.
Vice-President for Torture: Senior Administration officials have led a fierce, and increasingly visible, fight to protect the C.I.A.’s classified interrogation protocol. Late last month, Cheney and Porter Goss, the C.I.A. director, had an unusual forty-five-minute private meeting on Capitol Hill with Senator McCain, who was tortured as a P.O.W. during the Vietnam War. They argued that the C.I.A. sometimes needs the “flexibility” to treat detainees in the war on terrorism in “cruel, inhuman, and degrading” ways. Cheney sought to add an exemption to McCain’s bill, permitting brutal methods when “such operations are vital to the protection of the
At what great cost: Retired Army Col. Jack Jacobs, an MSNBC analyst, joined MSNBC's Chris Jansing on Monday to discuss torture, its effectiveness and what tactics he believes are most useful.
"At the end of the day, it's very easy to distinguish between the right thing and the wrong thing to do. If you do the wrong thing, you're not going to get any positive payoff from it and it's going to be of at some great cost," Jacobs said. "We get much more information if we treat people properly."
"You need to be aggressive to get the information you want, but if you treat people inhumanely, they're just going to tell you what they think you want to hear," he said. "They'll do anything just to get the mistreatment to stop, so you get nothing from mistreatment."
The rule of law cannot coexist with torture: Ahmed Abu Ali is an American - a resident of
But Abu Ali did not come home. Instead, Saudi law enforcement authorities forcibly removed him from his classroom and imprisoned him for twenty months.
Abu Ali was interrogated by the Saudis without any of the safeguards that Americans are afforded in
Yet now, American prosecutors will be using Abu Ali's unconstitutionally-procured statements against him in an American court.
It’s all of a parcel – hidden detentions, secret trials, torture and murder, all justified by war: The Supreme Court agreed today to consider a challenge to the Bush administration's military tribunals for foreign terror suspects, a major test of the government's wartime powers.
Justices will decide whether Osama bin Laden's former driver can be tried for war crimes before military officers in
Chief Justice John Roberts, as an appeals court judge, joined a summer ruling against Salim Ahmed Hamdan. He did not participate in today's action, which put him in the difficult situation of sitting in judgment of one of his own rulings.
Who would Jesus torture?: Yesterday, the president's own United Methodist Church's Board of Church and Society, in an almost unanimous vote, protested against the "unjust war in Iraq" and appealed for return of our troops. The Board also issued a strong statement against torture, urging Congress to create an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate detention and interrogation practices at
Until now, the lukewarm mainstream churches have not been able to find their voice--a throwback to the unconscionably passive stance adopted by the Catholic and Lutheran churches that were co-opted by Hitler in the 1930s. Let us hope that other churches start paying attention to what is going on and follow the good example of the Methodists.
Otherwise, our government's view will prevail. As described by one former CIA lawyer that is "the law of the jungle. And right now we happen to be the strongest animal."
Once again, our media utterly fails us: If one needed more reason to criticize the Washington Post's decision to withhold information, at the government's request, about the CIA's network of prisons in
What should not be overlooked is the historic significance of the Washington Post's decision. "This is probably the most important newspaper capitulation since the New York Times yielded to John F. Kennedy's call for them to not run the full story of planning for the Bay of Pigs," Peter Kornbluh, National Security Archive senior analyst, told Columbia Journalism Daily. "By withholding the country names, the Post is directly enabling the rendition, secret detention, and torture of prisoners at these locations to continue. That is a ghastly responsibility."
Torture is not an American value: I have traveled this region for years and always I kept my head high as an American. There are things we do not do. There are things we stand for. Go ahead, hate us for supporting Israel or for some similar reason, but if you were Bassam -- any Bassam anywhere in the world -- you had to know that America did not abuse prisoners and most especially did not torture them. Other governments did that. Not us. The culprits at Abu Ghraib were punished.
Now, though, we are witnessing a debate in
"Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of
a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough."
War For Oil
I think this makes it official: When Colin Powell’s former chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson publicly decried the Bush administration’s bungling of
Largely overlooked were Wilkerson’s frank admissions about the importance of oil in justifying a long-term
While bemoaning the administration’s incompetence in implementing the war strategy, Wilkerson said the
This Is A Sick Joke
Antiwar is unchristian: The Internal Revenue Service has warned one of Southern California's largest and most liberal churches that it is at risk of losing its tax-exempt status because of an antiwar sermon two days before the 2004 presidential election.
Rector J. Edwin Bacon of All Saints Episcopal Church in
In his sermon, Regas, who from the pulpit opposed both the Vietnam War and 1991's Gulf War, imagined Jesus participating in a political debate with then-candidates George W. Bush and John Kerry. Regas said that "good people of profound faith" could vote for either man, and did not tell parishioners whom to support.
But he criticized the war in
Joseph L. Galloway: It was a slide down the toad hole that ended with a bump as I landed in Wonderland: The E Ring office of Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, where the great man waited to do battle.
The occasion was an invitation to a private lunch with the secretary, and I knew I was not there to receive the Defense Distinguished Service Medal or a pat on the back. My recent columns on the state of the Army and the conduct of the war in
The surprise was that four others were joining us: the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Peter Pace; the vice chief of staff of the Army, Gen. Richard Cody; the director of the Joint Staff, Lt. Gen. Walter Sharp; and acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Larry DiRita.
Good! Five to one. I had them surrounded.
Frank Rich: Pat Tillman's case is itself a replay of the fake "Rambo" escapades ascribed to Pfc. Jessica Lynch a year earlier, just when Operation Iraqi Freedom showed the first tentative signs of trouble and the Pentagon needed a feel-good distraction. As if to echo Mary Tillman, Ms. Lynch told Time magazine this year, "I was used as a symbol." But the troops aren't just used as symbols for the commander in chief's political purposes. They are also drafted to serve as photo-op props and extras, whether in an extravaganza like "Mission Accomplished" or a throwaway dog-and-pony show like the recent teleconference in which the president held a "conversation" with soldiers who sounded as spontaneous as the brainwashed G.I.'s in "The Manchurian Candidate."
As Mr. Bush's approval rating crashes into the 30's, he and the vice president are so desperate to wrap themselves in khaki that on the day of the Libby indictment, they took separate day trips to mouth the usual stay-the-course platitudes before military audiences. If this was a ploy to split the focus of cable news networks and the public, it failed. Perhaps Scooter Libby is hoping that a so-called faulty-memory defense will save him from jail, but too many other Americans are now refreshing their memories of what went down in the plotting and execution of the war in
Nick Turse: On February 15, 2003, at least 10 million people in 400 cities in 60 countries, across 5 continents saw what was about to happen plenty clearly. They saw that the coming war would be illegitimate, deadly, and destructive. They sensed that invading
If medals are being given out, perhaps this is what should never be forgotten. It was the "crazies" in the streets. It was kids in weird clothes with strange hair. It was a man holding a puppet and a woman with a homemade sign. They knew then what it took the majority of Americans years to figure out. That the war would be a disaster and that, in any case, it was wrong. Those people, braving a bitterly cold day in New York City in February 2003, had better intel, more foresight, and better judgment than the military, the intelligence agencies, and especially the President and Vice President of the United States and all their advisors.
Stephen M. Walt: For their part, Secretary Rumsfeld and other administration officials blame our problems on Baathist “dead-enders” and radical jihadis, aided and abetted by
The most scurrilous alibi, however, blames our difficulties on eroding public support at home. Grieving antiwar mother Cindy Sheehan gets pilloried by right-wing commentators such as Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, and President Bush declares that Americans who favor withdrawing “are advocating a policy that would weaken the
This argument is a clever bit of political jujitsu, because it in effect blames any future defeat on the people who have long contended that the war was unnecessary and unwise. But it is also a bogus excuse. In a democracy, a commander in chief who wants to go to war is responsible for building and maintaining public support for sending our sons and daughters into harm’s way. President Bush sold the war brilliantly before the fighting started, but his sales pitch could not survive the failure to find weapons of mass destruction, the embarrassing revelations of torture at Abu Ghraib, the bungled occupation, the mounting list of dead and wounded, and the rising economic toll. Most of all, this rationale highlights the conspicuous lack of a plausible theory of victory now. We are not losing because our troops lack public support. The war lacks support because we are losing.
Revision Thing: A history of the
Local story: A soldier from
The Department of Defense said today that 24-year-old Staff Sergeant Jason Fegler died in
Fegler was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, based at
According to Army records, Fegler was promoted to Staff Sergeant on Nov. 1.
The military says Fegler's death is under investigation as a potential friendly-fire incident.
Local story: A soldier killed in
Capt. Jeffrey P. Toczylowski, 30, a Special Forces detachment commander assigned to the 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group, fell from a helicopter during combat operations in Al Anbar province on Nov. 3, the Army said Monday.
"It was an honor to serve my country, and I wouldn't change a thing. It was just my time," Toczylowski, of
Local story: Sergeant First Class James Hayes, 48, was killed November 6th near the town of
Hayes, 48, was a member of A Battery, 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. He entered the Army in November 1984, and arrived at
He is survived by his wife and five children. Hayeswas from
Update: Army Lt. Col. Thomas A. Wren, 44, Lorton,
Army Spc. Darren D. Howe, 21, Beatrice, Neb.; died Thursday of injuries from an explosion Oct. 17 near his vehicle in Samarra; assigned to 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Ga.
Army Spc. Timothy D. Brown, 23, Cedar Springs, Mich.; killed Friday when a land mine exploded near his vehicle in Habbaniyah; assigned to the Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 125th Infantry Regiment, Saginaw, Mich.
Local story: A
Dustin Allan Yancey, 22, was driving an armored Humvee on Friday south of
Local story: A West Point graduate of the class of 1997 became the 20th alum to be killed in
Funeral services were held for Capt. Michael MacKinnon, 30, who was killed by an improvised bomb in
He is survived by his wife, Bethany, and their two children. Mrs. MacKinnon is a native of the
Local story: An Army officer from
He went on to the