Sunday, December 04, 2005
War News for Sunday, December 04, 2005
Bring ‘em on: Three members of
Bring ‘em on: Gunmen shot dead a Shiite Muslim candidate who was running in this month's general election. Sheik Abdul-Salam Abdul-Husseindied instantly in
Bring ‘em on: Update: The death toll in an insurgent attack in Baquba on an Iraqi army patrol reached 21, hospital sources said Sunday. Hospital sources said that 19 soldiers and two civilians died in the incident.
Bring ‘em on: Two U.S soldiers were killed and several others wounded when their convoy was attacked in a roadside bombing in a south eastern suburb of
New offensive: US and Iraqi forces undertook a new offensive on Sunday in a town where 19 Iraqi troops were killed a day earlier, as forces wrapped up their latest operations in the restive al-Anbar province.
US and Iraqi forces swept through the town of al-Adhaim, 100km north of
The operation, which lasted through to Sunday morning, resulted in the killing of two insurgents and the arrest of another 55, the military said.
Splitting the insurgency?: The Jordanian-born al-Zarqawi and his network of hard-line jihadis have long been the driving force of the insurgency, transforming it from a nationalist struggle to one fueled by religious zealotry and infused with foreign recruits. But a Time investigation, based on dozens of interviews with military and intelligence officials as well as Iraqi leaders inside and outside the insurgency, reveals that Iraqis are reclaiming the upper hand, forcing al-Zarqawi to adjust. Differences between Baathist insurgent groups and al-Qaeda are driven by discomfort with al-Zarqawi's extreme tactics and willingness among some Iraqi commanders to join the political process.
That doesn't mean the
Mercenaries: Private security contractors have been involved in scores of shootings in
Sistani: The revered Shiite religious leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani weighed into
Iranian influence: More than two years after the fall of Saddam Hussein and less than two weeks before millions of Iraqis go to the polls to elect their first permanent democratic government, the shadow of Iranian influence appears to be lengthening over parts of Iraq, particularly in the nation's Shiite-dominated south.
al-Hakim: Iraq’s most powerful politician, a secretive cleric who once led a militia based in Iran, launched the campaign Saturday of a Shiite alliance set to win the biggest number of seats in this month’s parliamentary vote.
Two years after appearing on
Although a member of parliament, al-Hakim rarely attends sessions. Still, there is little question that al-Hakim is the most influential figure within the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance, which also includes Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari.
Allawi: A crowd hurling shoes, rocks and tomatoes forced former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi to cut short a visit on Sunday to
Saddam: Attacks on lawyers and flaws in the Iraqi justice system mean the trial of Saddam Hussein on charges of crimes against humanity will never satisfy international standards, a UN rights official said on Sunday.
John Pace, human rights chief at the United Nations Assistance Mission in
An odd story: A Sunni Arab insurgent group was plotting to attack the trial of Saddam Hussein when it resumed Monday,
The statement by national security adviser Mouwaffak al-Rubaie's office said the 1920 Revolution Brigades planned to fire rockets at the court building during Monday's session. Iraqi intelligence uncovered the plot, but the statement did not say whether anyone had been arrested.
A mess: President Bush has laid out his markers for victory in
The short answer: It's a mess. But that doesn't mean the effort is doomed to failure.
There are signs of progress amid the carnage, but for every step forward, there seems at least one step back, and the future is murky. Even some of the most pessimistic analysts admit that things still could work out. And most optimists acknowledge the risk of failure.
Here's a snapshot of conditions in the three broad areas that Bush outlined in Wednesday's speech at the U.S. Naval Academy and in his accompanying 35-page "National Strategy for Victory in
This should be good: President Bush is getting set for the second speech in his series on how he intends to achieve victory in
The series kicked off last week with an address at the
Mark Engler: We hear a lot about the government largesse flowing toward Halliburton, Bechtel and a handful of other favored firms chosen to rebuild
Breaking with the
But saying it was predictable makes it no less loathsome and damaging to find that the Bush administration has treated the Iraqi press, the Iraqi people and the very idea of Iraqi democracy with even greater contempt.
If Mission Accomplished was grossly premature, a Strategy for Victory is way overdue. The president spoke at the U.S. Naval Academy, though a target audience was certainly the Iraqi people who go the polls in less than two weeks to elect a government.
Part of his message was a subliminal plea to make democracy work, so the
Bush is obviously open to leaving
By the president's own qualified accounting, 2004 was an awful year and it serves as the benchmark for the administration's schematic for optimism. The credibility chasm — not gap — on
Richard Reeves: The History News Network at
This is what those historians said -- and it should be noted that some of the criticism about deficit spending and misuse of the military came from self-identified conservatives -- about the Bush record:
He has taken the country into an unwinnable war and alienated friend and foe alike in the process;
He is bankrupting the country with a combination of aggressive military spending and reduced taxation of the rich;
He has deliberately and dangerously attacked separation of church and state;
He has repeatedly "misled," to use a kind word, the American people on affairs domestic and foreign;
He has proved to be incompetent in affairs domestic (
He has sacrificed American employment (including the toleration of pension and benefit elimination) to increase overall productivity;
He is ignorantly hostile to science and technological progress;
He has tolerated or ignored one of the republic's oldest problems, corporate cheating in supplying the military in wartime.
Quite an indictment. It is, of course, too early to evaluate a president. That, historically, takes decades, and views change over times as results and impact become more obvious. Besides, many of the historians note that however bad Bush seems, they have indeed since worse men around the White House. Some say Buchanan. Many say Vice President Dick Cheney.
Local story: Sergeant William Meeuwsen died in
Meeuwsen's funeral was held Saturday in Kingwood. Strangers lined sidewalks to pay tribute to an American hero.
"To see people that didn't even know Bill, but cared so much that he was a soldier, to see that, I broke down. Just to see people who did not even know Bill that cared so much that he was a soldier, to see that, I broke down," said Meeuwsen's friend, Garret Walvoord.
Local story: Sgt. Cari Anne Gasiewicz was killed on the road home from
She was supposed to fly from
She insisted on joining the road convoy of troops she worked with at Abu Ghraib prison. And when she was assigned as a passenger in that convoy, she again got her way, insisting on being a convoy driver.
Gasiewicz was driving in that convoy, just a few miles from a safe area, when she was killed Dec. 4 by an "improvised explosive device," apparently detonated from a cell phone.
Local story: "He was my best friend. We were really close," Matt Nyberg said.
Fighting tears, Matt Nyberg couldn't say enough about his close friend, the late Lance Corporal Andrew Patten.
"He was just a joy to be around. He was one of those guys that you were around him you didn't have to plan anything. Fun just happened," Nyberg said.
Their friendship took off in high school, and continued after Patten was deployed to
Local story: Wade and Christine Kaiser are mourning the loss of their son, Adam, a Marine who was killed in Thursday's roadside bomb attack near
"He offered his life for his country when called on for him to give it," the
Lance Cpl. Adam W. Kaiser was 19 years old when he died in Thursday's blast.
Local story: During his three years in the Iowa Army National Guard, Sgt. Greg Tull earned a reputation as a soldier who wanted to be in the thick of every mission.
That’s how Tull, 20, of Pocahontas, was remembered during his funeral Saturday at the
Tull was killed on Nov. 25 when an improvised explosive device blew up next to the Humvee he was traveling in near
Local story: Staff Sgt. Edward Karolasz was an adventurer, a fun-loving kid for whom the Army was a ticket to see the ski slopes of
He also, apparently, left his heart in
When he came back, the family couldn't help showing him off.
"When we went out, Dad always made sure he wore his dress duties and stood by his side because he was so proud," his younger sister, Donna, remembered.
The family - and hundreds of friends and strangers - offered Karolasz a tearful farewell on Saturday, two weeks after the 25-year-old was killed by a roadside bomb in northern
Local story: A roadside bomb exploded on a dusty Iraqi street, killing the first soldier from this
By all accounts, Marine Lance Cpl. David Huhn died Thursday doing what he loved, fighting for a cause he believed in. He signed up in 2004, determined to stamp out the terrorism that so infuriated him three years earlier on Sept. 11.
Huhn, 24, was among 10 Marines killed from the 1st Marine Division, based at Twentynine Palms,
Local story: When Shirley Watson packed Christmas gifts last week for her son, U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Craig Watson, she kept things simple.
"Just some socks and underwear and some puzzle books," Shirley Watson said. "They have to carry everything around."
She mailed the gifts to
Local story: A sergeant from
Sgt. Andy Stevens, 29, of
Local story: Not all the wounds received in
After a year in the Persian Gulf region, Capt. Pelkey returned to
Then came the terrifying nightmares of the death and destruction he had seen in
On Nov. 5, 2004, a week after an off-post therapist determined that he had post-traumatic stress syndrome, Capt. Pelkey shot himself in the chest and died.