Tuesday, November 15, 2005

War News for Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Bring ‘em on: Iraqi forces arrested 371 suspected terrorists on Saturday in Baquba, including the town's mayor, the deputy chairman of the city council, the deputy chief of the appeals court and several police officers.

Bring ‘em on: U.S. command said about 50 insurgents were killed in renewed fighting in Obeidi. Two U.S. Marines killed and at least seven wounded in the fighting as well. Two South African security contractors killed and three other people wounded in a car bombing near the main gate to the Green Zone in Baghdad. The victims worked for State Department security contractor DynCorp International.

Update to above story: The U.S. command said Tuesday that three U.S. Marines have died in combat while trying to clear the town of Obeidi as part of Operation Steel Curtain since Monday. At least 80 insurgents have been killed, mostly in air strikes, in the same period, the statement said.

Bring ‘em on: Seven policemen killed in Kirkuk when gunmen opened fire on a police patrol in the eastern part of the city. A roadside bomb targeted another police patrol, also in the same district, injuring four uniformed men. Four Iraqis, two of whom were police officers, killed in a car bombing near a Baghdad restaurant. Six other policemen and four civilians were wounded when a car loaded with explosives was detonated at the side of the road in the al-Mashtal district in the east of Baghdad.

Bring ‘em on: In other violence, Jassem al-Fhidawi, a professor of Arabic literature, was shot dead outside Baghdad's Mustansiriyah University, a day after another professor and his driver were also killed there. Six civilians were wounded by a roadside bomb in the capital's eastern district of Zayunah.

Bring ‘em on: Three insurgents and a policeman were killed during clashes in Mosul. A university lecturer was wounded and his driver killed in an assassination attempt by gunmen outside eastern Baghdad's Mustansiriya University (This is probably the same attack in the entry above, with some confusion over exactly who died.) U.S soldiers captured five insurgents and seized 287 82mm mortar rounds west of Iskandiriya in central Iraq on Sunday.

Bring ‘em on: At least three people killed and 12 others wounded when a roadside bomb exploded in a busy commercial street in eastern Baghdad. The blast also caused a huge fire in the market.

British withdrawal yes?: British troops could leave Iraq by the end of next year, the country's president Jalal Talabani has predicted.

But he warned an immediate withdrawal of multinational forces rather than a gradual one would be a "catastrophe" for Iraq and would lead to civil war.

"Within one year....Iraqi troops will be ready to replace British forces in the south," he said.

Or no?: Prime Minister Tony Blair has denied reports that British soldiers will start withdrawing from Iraq next May.

However, Defence Secretary John Reid has hinted the handover to Iraqi forces - followed by the gradual withdrawal of UK troops - could begin next year.

Mr Blair also said he had not expected the "ferocity" with which elements in the Middle East would try to disrupt the political process.

International suicide bombings: Top Iraqi defense officials on Sunday accused Syria of allowing foreign fighters to operate training camps on Syrian soil and sneak into Iraq to commit suicide bombings.

"We do not have the least doubt that nine out of 10 of the suicide bombers who carry out suicide bombing operations among Iraqi citizens . . . are Arabs who have crossed the border with Syria," the Iraqi national security adviser, Mowaffak Rubaie, told journalists in Cairo, the Reuters news service reported.

The charges came as Jordan blamed Iraqi suicide bombers for three blasts at hotels in Amman on Wednesday that killed 57 people. The allegations also echo complaints from U.S. military officials that Syria has done little to patrol its 376-mile border with Iraq.

Motive: An Iraqi woman who dramatically confessed on Jordanian television to her role in the deadly multiple bombings on Amman hotels last week had three brothers and a brother-in-law killed by United States forces in Iraq, officials and family sources said on Tuesday.

Saddam trial: Some 1,100 Iraqi lawyers have withdrawn from Saddam Hussein's defense team, citing insufficient protection following the slayings of two peers representing co-defendants of the ousted Iraqi leader.

However, the head of the investigative judges in Saddam's dozen cases, Raid Juhi, said Sunday the withdrawal of the defense team "will not affect the work of the court and it will continue its legal measures."

Asylum: In another setback to the Saddam Hussein case, a defense lawyer who was wounded in an ambush that killed one of his colleagues said Tuesday he had fled Iraq and was seeking asylum in the Gulf state of Qatar.

Visitors: In the last week, four top international figures have made unannounced but highly publicized visits to Baghdad. But they didn't exactly get the grand tour.

Their aircraft landed at Baghdad International Airport, a place ringed by U.S. troops. Then they took a helicopter to the heavily fortified Green Zone, which is only a 15-minute drive away by Humvee.

They did not see the slums of Sadr City, nor the mansions of Mansour, nor the old commercial district around Rashid Street. A tour through the National Museum was out of the question, as would be more traditional stops for politicians, such as orphanages or schools filled with smiling children.

With at least one car bomb and several improvised explosive devices detonating every day in Baghdad, the people of Baghdad only ever see these visitors on television, speaking to leaders they also only know from the media.

Protest: Hundreds of Sunni Arabs marched Monday through the streets of Baqouba, 55 kilometers (35 miles) northeast of Baghdad, to protest Iraqi security raids in the surrounding province last weekend. More than 300 people, mostly Sunni Arabs, were arrested, officials said.

Members of the crowd carried banners denouncing the arrests of Sunni Arabs and chanted, ``No to America, no to Britain.''

Prison raid: About 100 U.S. and Iraqi troops raided an Interior Ministry administrative and detention facility Sunday night, at least in part to check on the welfare of prisoners held inside. The ministry compound was a center for police officers affiliated with the Badr Brigade, a Shiite Muslim militia, according to an Iraqi politician who lives nearby and to the police source, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals. Falah Nakib, the politician, said police guards at the site told U.S. soldiers that there were only 40 prisoners there but that military personnel told him they found approximately four times that number.

Thank goodness the Americans are there to protect them from abuse: A day after a U.S. raid on an Iraqi Interior Ministry building revealed a large number of undocumented prisoners, some with injuries consistent with abuse, an Army general said that U.S. and Iraqi troops will carry out checks at every ministry detention facility in the capital.

Brig. Gen. Carl Horst, who commanded the troops on the Sunday night raid, said "we're going to hit every single one of them, every single one of them."

World Misleaders

Rewriting the past: President Bush escalated the bitter debate over the Iraq war on Monday, hurling back at Democratic critics the worries they once expressed that Saddam Hussein was a grave threat to the world.

"They spoke the truth then and they're speaking politics now," Bush charged.

Bush went on the attack after Democrats accused the president of manipulating and withholding some pre-war intelligence and misleading Americans about the rationale for war.

"Some Democrats who voted to authorize the use of force are now rewriting the past," Bush said. "They're playing politics with this issue and they are sending mixed signals to our troops and the enemy. That is irresponsible."

"Iraq On The Record: The Bush Administration's Public Statements On Iraq," prepared by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform -- Minority Staff Special Investigations Division, March 16, 2004.

This 36-page report goes into great detail about outright false and deceptive public statements by Bush (55 misleading statements), Vice President Dick Cheney (51), former Secretary of State Colin Powell (50), former National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice (29) and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (52) on the subject. These 237 misleading statements were made in a variety of forums (53 interviews, 40 speeches, 26 news conferences and briefings, four written statements and articles and two appearances before Congress) beginning at least a year before the war began, and their frequency peaked at key decision-making points.

Here’s the full report – warning, pdf.

And here’s a searchable database of the same information.

More lies: The defenders of the Bush Iraq policy rolled out a new talking point this morning on the Sunday talk shows. That is: the Bush administration wasn’t the only one to get the pre-war intelligence wrong — rather, this was a global failure of intelligence.

What the right wants you to believe is that because these intelligence agencies may have believed Saddam had WMD, they also believed that the intelligence rose to the necessary level of justifying military force to invade Iraq. That is entirely false. In fact, many of our friends and allies believed the opposite — that based on the intelligence they had, the threat of Iraq did not rise to the level of justifying immediate force.

Easily demonstrated lies: In his speech today, President Bush claimed that members of Congress who voted for the 2002 Iraq war resolution “had access to the same intelligence” as his administration. This is patently false.

Nevermind that much of the intelligence offered to the public and to Congress was inaccurate and misleading, or that according to the Downing Street memo and other documents, such intelligence was likely intentionally “fixed.” It is simply not true to state that Congress received the “same intelligence” as the White House:

FACT — Dissent From White House Claims on Iraq Nuclear Program Consistently Withheld from Congress

FACT — Sen. Kerrey: Bush “Has Much More Access” to Intel Than Congress

FACT — Rockefeller: PDBs, CIA Intel Withheld From Senate

FACT — War Supporter Ken Pollack: White House Engaged in “Creative Omission” of Iraq Intel

FACT — White House Had Exclusive Access to “Unique” Intel Sources

Good timing: At a time when the Bush administration is furiously parrying a new round of accusations that it exaggerated the threat from Saddam Hussein in leading the United States to war, the imagery is startling.

There on Monday was Ahmad Chalabi, who as a leader of Iraqi exiles before the war funneled what proved to be inaccurate information about Saddam's weapons programs to the United States, being whisked into meetings with Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the most influential of the hawks in the administration when it came to Iraq.

The timing of the visit by Chalabi, now a deputy prime minister of Iraq, was coincidental. But his presence at such a delicate moment was a reminder of how the debate over prewar intelligence continues to shadow President George W. Bush more than three years after he began making the case in earnest for toppling Saddam and more than two years after it became clear Iraq had no stockpiles of banned weapons.

But it’s a nice fit: Chalabi’s group, in particularly, had to do with, remember, the [intelligence claims over] mobile biological weapons laboratories and restarting the nuclear program. So he certainly has a key role in this. He is not exactly getting the full red carpet state dinner treatment here. They spirited him in to talk to the Vice President today without allowing any photos, any public coverage of it, wouldn’t even allow him to go to a stake-out afterwards. So, they are giving him some of that treatment, but they also don’t want it to be observed. You’re not going to get that photo of the handshake.

200 cross-party signatures. Heh.: MPs organising the campaign to impeach Tony Blair believe they have enough support to force a highly damaging Commons investigation into the Prime Minister’s pre-war conduct.

A renewed attempt to impeach Blair over claims he misled parliament in making his case for war against Iraq, will be made in the Commons within the next two weeks.

The impeachment process effectively stalled last year when just 23 MPs signed a Commons motion. But the scale of the government’s defeat on its anti-terror legislation last week – where 49 Labour MPs rebelled – has galvanised the momentum for proceedings to be invoked.

Organisers say they are expecting 200 cross-party signatures, including those of former government ministers, to force the Commons to set up a Privy Council investigation that would examine in detail the case for impeachment against Blair.

It’s not whether you arbitrarily detain, it’s who you arbitrarily detain: The United States has called on Syria to stop what it calls the arbitrary detention of pro-democracy and human rights activists.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made the call at a summit of foreign ministers in Bahrain aimed at promoting reform in the Arab World.

President George W Bush earlier called on Syria to "stop exporting violence and start importing democracy".

More Miserable Failure

But at least Saddam can’t nuke us now...er, or then, either, but, you know...whatever: The U.S. government is still failing to adequately protect nuclear weapons from terrorists and its handling of terrorism suspects is undermining attempts to improve America's image in the Muslim world, members of a commission that investigated the September 11 attacks said on Monday. Although President George W. Bush has called weapons proliferation the country's most serious threat and al Qaeda has sought nuclear arms for a decade, "the most striking thing to us is that the size of the problem still totally dwarfs the policy response," said commission chairman Thomas Kean.

Systematic erosion: On Veterans Day, as our nation remains at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the President and Members of Congress will call on America to support our troops and talk about how much we owe our men and women in uniform. But instead of honoring its commitment to those whose service and sacrifice have kept us free and safe, our government has launched a devastating assault on benefits for America's veterans.

Federal funding for veterans programs over the years has not even kept pace with inflation, let alone the increased demands on the Department of Veterans Affairs for health care and other earned benefits. The administration claims to have provided record increases for veterans, yet thousands of them have been denied access to VA health care. Because of budget shortfalls, VA facilities in every region of the country have exhausted reserve funds to meet critical needs. Many have stopped hiring doctors and nurses, while still others have cut back or even eliminated medical services. It is a clear indication that the men and women who have served and sacrificed for our country are not a national priority.

But inadequate funding for medical care isn't the only thing veterans are concerned about.

In recent years we have witnessed a systematic erosion of veterans benefits even while our nation is engaged in a war that is adding to the ranks of sick and disabled veterans who will need the VA for decades to come.

Torture, American Style

Meeting the organ failure standard: CIA interrogators apparently tried to cover up the death of an Iraqi "ghost detainee" who died while being interrogated at Abu Ghraib prison, a US magazine reported, after obtaining hundreds of pages of documents, including an autopsy report, about the case.

The death of secret detainee Manadel al-Jamadi was ruled a homicide in a Defense Department autopsy, Time magazine reported, adding that documents it recently obtained included photographs of his battered body, which had been kept on ice to keep it from decomposing, apparently to conceal the circumstances of his death.

The details about his death emerge as US officials continue to debate congressional legislation to ban torture of foreign detainees by US troops overseas, and efforts by the George W. Bush administration to obtain an exemption for the CIA from any future torture ban.

Learned it from the Reds: How did American interrogation tactics after 9/11 come to include abuse rising to the level of torture? Much has been said about the illegality of these tactics, but the strategic error that led to their adoption has been overlooked.

The Pentagon effectively signed off on a strategy that mimics Red Army methods. But those tactics were not only inhumane, they were ineffective. For Communist interrogators, truth was beside the point: their aim was to force compliance to the point of false confession.

The Pinochet precedent: These are early days in understanding the precise relationship between the administration's policy on detainee interrogations, the legal advice and the allegations of abuse at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and elsewhere.

There is a need for a full and independent investigation. There is an urgent need to bring into law Sen. John McCain's sensible and welcome proposal to explicitly ban abusive treatment and give effect to the United States' obligations under the torture convention.

In the meantime, the Pinochet and Altstotter cases and the torture convention should serve as a salutary reminder of the growing reach of international criminal law.

The possibility cannot be excluded that the Pinochet precedent will come back to haunt Addington, Yoo and others in the Bush administration. International law is not just for other people in other countries. Ignoring it will not be cost-free, including worries about foreign travel, as former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori learned last week when he was taken into custody in Chile.

Abu Ghraib, the gift that keeps on giving: Although Mr Cheney has not had the guts to make his case in public, the argument that torture is sometimes justified is not a negligible one. Khalid Sheik Mohammed, presumed to be in one of the CIA's “black prisons”, is thought to have information about al-Qaeda's future plans. Surely it is vital to extract that information, no matter how? Some people think there should be a system of “torture warrants” for special cases. But where exactly should the line be drawn? And are the gains really so dramatic that it is worth breaking the taboo against civilised democracies condoning torture? For instance, Mr McCain argues that torture is nearly always useless as an interrogation technique, since under it people will say anything to their tormentors.

If the pragmatic gains in terms of information yielded are dubious, the loss to America in terms of public opinion are clear and horrifically large. Abu Ghraib was a gift to the insurgency in Iraq; Guantánamo Bay and its dubious military commissions, now being examined by the Supreme Court, have acted as recruiting sergeants for al-Qaeda around the world. In the cold war, America championed the Helsinki human-rights accords. This time, the world's most magnificent democracy is struggling against vile terrorists who thought nothing of slaughtering thousands of innocent civilians—and yet the administration has somehow contrived to turn America's own human-rights record into a subject of legitimate debate.

Mr Bush would rightly point out that anti-Americanism is to blame for some of the opprobrium heaped on his country. But why encourage it so cavalierly and in such an unAmerican way? Nearly two years after Abu Ghraib, the world is still waiting for a clear statement of America's principles on the treatment of detainees. Mr McCain says he will keep on adding his amendment to different bills until Mr Bush signs one of them. Every enemy of terrorism should hope he does so soon.

John McCain: Obviously, to defeat our enemies we need intelligence, but intelligence that is reliable. We should not torture or treat inhumanely terrorists we have captured. The abuse of prisoners harms, not helps, our war effort. In my experience, abuse of prisoners often produces bad intelligence because under torture a person will say anything he thinks his captors want to hear—whether it is true or false—if he believes it will relieve his suffering. I was once physically coerced to provide my enemies with the names of the members of my flight squadron, information that had little if any value to my enemies as actionable intelligence. But I did not refuse, or repeat my insistence that I was required under the Geneva Conventions to provide my captors only with my name, rank and serial number. Instead, I gave them the names of the Green Bay Packers' offensive line, knowing that providing them false information was sufficient to suspend the abuse. It seems probable to me that the terrorists we interrogate under less than humane standards of treatment are also likely to resort to deceptive answers that are perhaps less provably false than that which I once offered.

Our commitment to basic humanitarian values affects—in part—the willingness of other nations to do the same. Mistreatment of enemy prisoners endangers our own troops who might someday be held captive. While some enemies, and Al Qaeda surely, will never be bound by the principle of reciprocity, we should have concern for those Americans captured by more traditional enemies, if not in this war then in the next. Until about 1970, North Vietnam ignored its obligations not to mistreat the Americans they held prisoner, claiming that we were engaged in an unlawful war against them and thus not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions. But when their abuses became widely known and incited unfavorable international attention, they substantially decreased their mistreatment of us. Again, Al Qaeda will never be influenced by international sensibilities or open to moral suasion. If ever the term "sociopath" applied to anyone, it applies to them. But I doubt they will be the last enemy America will fight, and we should not undermine today our defense of international prohibitions against torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners of war that we will need to rely on in the future.

This ludicrous moment: If it weren't tragic it would be a New Yorker cartoon. The president of the United States, in the final stop of his forlorn Latin America tour last week, told the world, "We do not torture." Even as he spoke, the administration's flagrant embrace of torture was as hard to escape as publicity for Anderson Cooper.

The vice president, not satisfied that the C.I.A. had already been implicated in four detainee deaths, was busy lobbying Congress to give the agency a green light to commit torture in the future. Dana Priest of The Washington Post, having first uncovered secret C.I.A. prisons two years ago, was uncovering new "black sites" in Eastern Europe, where ghost detainees are subjected to unknown interrogation methods redolent of the region's Stalinist past. Before heading south, Mr. Bush had been doing his own bit for torture by threatening to cast the first veto of his presidency if Congress didn't scrap a spending bill amendment, written by John McCain and passed 90 to 9 by the Senate, banning the "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment of prisoners.

So when you watch the president stand there with a straight face and say, "We do not torture" - a full year and a half after the first photos from Abu Ghraib - you have to wonder how we arrived at this ludicrous moment. The answer is not complicated. When people in power get away with telling bigger and bigger lies, they naturally think they can keep getting away with it. And for a long time, Mr. Bush and his cronies did. Not anymore.

Incoherent and pointless: Is Bush really against torture? He is threatening to use his first veto if the House accepts a bill that would formally outlaw "cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment" of prisoners. The legislation passed the Senate 90-9.

And Vice President Dick Cheney has been lobbying fiercely behind the scenes to carve out a specific exemption for the CIA if the legislation does move forward. Presumably the administration could then claim that the United States doesn't torture but the CIA just might, as if the agency were a mini-state itself that only happens to be in Washington, in U.S. government buildings staffed with U.S. government employees.

As you may have noticed by now, none of this makes any sense. And not only is it incoherent, it is worse than pointless. It puts the military at odds with its own proud traditions and sets up captured Americans for the same kind of treatment. The abuses have made our country a stink in the world.

And all that so as to claim a right to practices that long experience has shown to be not just usually futile but often worse than useless. Torture is rarely productive and often misleading; prisoners make up tales to stop the torment.

On parallel tracks, Congress is moving toward renewing the Patriot Act and, far from scraping the civil liberty abuses licensed in the panicky and overwrought original, is tempted to add new ones, such as placing some FBI demands for personal data beyond judicial review. And if the Supreme Court approves, the administration is poised to start cranking detainees through newly gimmicked military tribunals that look likely to be only a step up, if that, from drumhead justice.

In the name of protecting us, this administration is abandoning our historic values, cramping our personal freedoms, violating our privacy, making a mockery of justice and asserting a right for the president, as commander in chief, to ignore U.S. law if he wishes to.

Who is to protect us from our protectors?


P.M. Carpenter: Given her boss’s tumbling approval rating, the true aim of Rice’s visit was, of course, domestic politics. She wanted to counteract “criticism at home that the Bush administration lacked a plan for success in Iraq.” Less a criticism, actually, than an observation. But at any rate here’s the specific plan today: Permanent Whackamole. And “in general, she said, the American objective was to ‘redefine the mission’ toward more cooperation between military forces and the effort to rebuild the area.”

Redefine the mission? The one we had been assured was already accomplished, way back when? Or this mission, the one to build more “postwar” cooperation, the one that’s not new at all, the one that’s been regularly mismanaged since we accomplished the first mission?

Minus a minor tactical shift here and a subtle strategic move there, the only redefining taking place is in the administration’s propaganda. We are, in reality, staying the same old course.

William Rivers Pitt: The old chestnut has been hauled out in public again: if you do not support the war, if you do not support Bush, you are betraying our troops and giving aid and comfort to the enemy. It's an oldie but a goodie. It is worthwhile, in the face of this resurgent nonsense, to take a long, hard look at what "aid and comfort" really is.

George W. Bush's decision to invade and occupy Iraq - and it was his decision, as he made clear when he said it was "perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war" in his ham-fisted Veterans Day speech last week - has done more to increase the fortunes of al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden than any war critic ever could.

The invasion and occupation of Iraq has created a rallying point for extremists all across the Muslim world, and has given them a marvelous opportunity to refine their murderous craft by constructing bombs that kill American soldiers and Iraqi civilians every single day. There were no al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq before this occupation. Now, there are lots of them, and they are getting plenty of practice.

The invasion and occupation of Iraq allowed Osama "bin Dead and Alive" Laden to slip the noose set for him in Afghanistan. We had him cornered up there in the mountains near the Pakistani border, but our best troops and equipment were pulled out and sent to Iraq instead. Maybe Osama is already dead - like his friend Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who has been reported killed approximately four hundred and thirteen times, only to constantly resurface as the mastermind of a dozen bombings and attacks - and maybe not. The fact that he was never captured, tried and convicted for his crimes, the fact that he may still be out there, is a boon to those who have flocked to his banner. Aid and comfort indeed.

The decision to allow the torture of detainees in Iraq - a decision that came directly from both Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, according to former administration outsider Lawrence Wilkerson - gave the world the horrific images of Abu Ghraib. When those photographs hit the Arab street, they provided inspiration for thousands of people in Iraq and elsewhere to give their lives to the idea that killing American soldiers is a nifty and necessary thing to do. It was the best recruitment drive for al Qaeda that could have ever been conceived.

Casualty Reports

Local story: Lance Cpl. Scott Zubowski was a patriot who wanted to be a soldier since he was a child, so he joined the Marines after graduating from North Manchester High School in 2003.

Scott Zubowski’s mother, Barb Weitzel of New Castle, learned of her son’s death Saturday from Marine officials. Her first instinct was to close the door to her home, to refuse to hear the words they would say.

“I knew it would be bad,” Weitzel said.

But she had two sons serving in Iraq, and one question was burning a hole in her heart.

“I said, ‘Which one?’”

Local story: Two Fort Lewis soldiers died in Iraq on Veterans Day when their convoy was involved in a collision, according to the Pentagon.

The soldiers were identified as Cpl. Donald E. Fisher II, 21, of Avon, Mass., and Pfc. Antonio Mendezsanchez, 22, of Rincon, Puerto Rico. The collision occurred in Kirkut.

Both were assigned to the 40th Transportation Company, a unit under the 593rd Corps Support Group at Fort Lewis.

Local story: A 21-year-old Army corporal who grew up in Brockton was killed in Iraq on Friday when his convoy vehicle was involved in a collision, the Defense Department said on Monday.

Cpl. Donald E. Fisher II, one of two soldiers who died in the crash in Kirkut, Iraq, was part of a large military family, according to his father.

"We're talking about a kid who - as a kid - cried because someone stole the flag off our flagpole," Donald Fisher said of his son. "He was very committed."

Local story: A Georgia soldier from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Carson has been killed in Iraq, the Defense Department announced Monday.

Sgt. Tyrone L. Chisholm, 27, of Savannah, died Friday when a string of roadside bombs exploded near his M-1 Abrams tank in Tal Afar. He was a member of the regiment's 2nd Squadron. His death is the fifth from the regiment in the past week.

Local story: Staff Sgt. Stephen Sullivan Sutherland was killed Saturday in Iraq.

He was on patrol in a Stryker armored vehicle when it was hit by a roadside bomb.

Sutherland grew up in West Deptford and graduated from Clearview High School in 1992.

He joined the Army nine years ago.

Local story: Funeral services are set for today for the 94th Ohio service member to die in Iraq.

Captain Tyler Swisher was killed by a roadside bomb last month.

The Mariemont High School graduate was a company commander based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Local story: Leah Freeman says her husband's death in Iraq just doesn't seem real at times, but she knows, and fears, it will hit her when Army Staff Sgt. Brian Freeman is laid to rest this week. Freeman, 27, of Caledonia was one of four Colorado-based soldiers killed last week by a suicide bomber southwest of Baghdad, the military said. "Right now there are parts of it that don't seem real, but I know it's going to sink in at the funeral," she said.

Local story: Funeral services were held Monday in New Salem for an Army soldier who was killed in Iraq. Twenty-year-old Specialist Dennis Ferderer Junior died November Second when a hand grenade was thrown at his Humvee. He was serving with a Georgia-based unit. The funeral service was at Saint Pius the Fifth Catholic Church in New Salem. Ferderer once was an altar boy at the church.

Local story: They came to Punchbowl to honor Staff Sgt. Daniel Tsue, who was killed in Iraq. Some did not know him, but paid their respects to a fellow bomb disposal expert.

Honolulu police officer Ed Whitelock said a half-dozen members of the police bomb squad -- who did not know Tsue -- attended to honor a fellow technician. "We are all in the same community," Whitelock said. "We all work together for the common good."

Among Tsue's mourners were Navy, Marine, Air Force and police bomb disposal experts who attended the 20-minute burial service yesterday at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific's columbarium.

A letter: Officially, Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe, 35, of Oviedo, Fla., a member of the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, died Nov. 8 of injuries sustained when a roadside bomb detonated near his Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

In a letter printed by the Air Force Press Network, Dr. (Maj.) Mark Rasnake, the intensive care unit director at the Balad hospital where the victims were initially sent, wrote this about Al Cashe four days after the explosion:

"I met a hero last night. I did not realize it at the time, but he is the closest thing to a hero that I likely will ever meet. This is a place where the word 'hero' is tossed around day in and day out, so much so that you sometimes lose sight of its true meaning. His story reminded me of it.

"He was commanding a Bradley Fighting Vehicle that struck a roadside bomb, catching fire. The loading ramp jammed, trapping eight inside. The crew was forced to escape through a much smaller hatch in the top of the vehicle. All but one made it out. The medic was left behind, apparently unable to get out. Without concern for his own life, my hero went back into the burning vehicle to retrieve his friend.

"Six of his buddies came to us with severe burns. He came to us with burns over most of his body, the most severely injured of the group.

"The surgeons worked for hours on his wounds and we worked for hours in the intensive care unit to stabilize him for transport. In the end, damage to his lungs made him too sick to be safely transported by plane to our hospital in Germany and then on to a burn center in San Antonio.

"The ventilators we use for transport simply could not deliver the amount of oxygen he needed. If he stayed here in Iraq he would have died of his wounds. We simply cannot care for such severe burns here. Only a handful of hospitals back in the U.S. can.

"Knowing this, our air evac team loaded him into the plane for the six-hour flight to Germany. They had to deliver every breath to him during that flight by squeezing a small bag by hand. I do not know yet if he made it to Germany alive, or if he will be able to fly on to San Antonio."

Cashe did make it to San Antonio and lived for three weeks before dying Nov. 8.

More Links For Them As Wants ‘Em

EU Asked to Probe CIA Jail Allegations

The US used chemical weapons in Iraq - and then lied about it

Senate Weighs Measures Urging Bush Set Limits in Iraq

Another Set of Scare Tactics - E. J. Dionne Jr.

When presidents lie

Who Is The Enemy Now?

It's Your War Now - The nation's newspapers helped President Bush sell the war in Iraq. Now, three years and more than 2,000 lost American lives later, their editorial pages refuse to advocate a major change in direction, even with 60% of the public urging the beginning of a pullout.

Detainees Deserve Court Trials

CIA Accused of Using Airport in Mallorca

Karen Hughes' Mission 'Rude,' 'Insensitive,' 'Tactless'

Annan pays first visit to Iraq since start of war

Depleted uranium: Dirty bombs, dirty missiles, dirty bullets

Bush Rewrites History

Losing Habeas Corpus - "A More Dangerous Engine of Arbitrary Government"

Former Iraqi Detainees Allege Torture by U.S. Troops

Guantanamo inmates to lose all rights

Students rebuffing military recruiters

"Habeas Corpus Stabbed in the Back"

Right to Trial Imperiled by Senate Vote

Iraq violence: Spreading south?


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