Sunday, January 29, 2006

War News for Sunday, January 29, 2006 Bring ‘em on: Mahmoud Badawi, a former lieutenant general in Saddam Hussein's army, was killed late on Saturday when a rocket landed on his house in Tikrit. Bring ‘em on: Eleven Iraqis were killed and five wounded late on Saturday when a bomb planted just outside a sweet shop exploded in Iskandariya. Bring ‘em on: A policeman was killed and four were wounded when gunmen opened fire on a checkpoint in eastern Baquba. In a separate attack, two policemen and five civilians were wounded when gunmen fired mortar rounds then start shooting at a police patrol in the city centre. Bring ‘em on: A U.S soldier was killed on Saturday when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: The bound, gagged and shot bodies of two men in their 40s were found in southern Baghdad's Rustamiyah sewage plant, which al-Ilyan said had "become the place where families go to search for the bodies of their sons killed by the government forces or militias." Bring ‘em on: Police found the buried bodies of six laborers who had been bound, gagged and shot in the head near the southern city of Karbala. Bring ‘em on: At least seven people were killed in separate shootings across Baghdad and two policeman were killed in a shooting and a bombing in other areas. A Marine also was killed Friday in a non-hostile vehicle accident in Fallujah, the military said. Bring ‘em on: A bomb exploded in a Basra fruit market killing at least one woman and wounding three others. Eyewitnesses claimed a man stepping out of a police vehicle planted the bomb. Bring ‘em on: U.S. troops killed three suspected insurgents wearing Iraqi police uniforms Sunday in Kirkuk. Bring ‘em on: The U.S. military announced the death of an American soldier in roadside blast in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Gunmen attacked an Iraqi police patrol Sunday near the prison in Baquba, killing one policeman and wounding another. A civilian was also wounded. Bring ‘em on: A mortar round was fired toward Baquba's police headquarters but exploded in a nearby residential area, wounding two civilians and two policemen. Bring ‘em on: Three policemen were killed while two policemen and three civilians were injured in a roadside bomb explosion targeting a police patrol in downtown Fallujah. Bring ‘em on: Late Friday a bomb explosion in a jewellery market in Kut killed two women and injured three more civilians including a child. Bring ‘em on: In Kut a woman died of her wounds at hospital Saturday after U.S. troops shot her in the western part of the city late Friday. Bring ‘em on: Gunmen shot dead a prominent Iraqi academic and political analyst in his car in a Baghdad street on Saturday. Abdul Razak Al Na'as, a familiar face on Al-Jazeera and Al- Arabiya Arabic satellite television channels, had just left his offices at Baghdad University's College of Information in the center of the capital, police said. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi Army soldiers died and four were wounded when an IED exploded in Tall Afar Friday. A second IED exploded while Iraqi soldiers were evacuating the casualties from the first IED, but no one was injured in that explosion. A third explosion occurred while the soldiers were conducting a cordon and search of the area. One Iraqi civilian was killed and one was wounded in that explosion. Two Iraqi soldiers were also wounded in the explosion. Bring ‘em on: An Iraqi police officer and a soldier are among at least six people killed in attacks Saturday in Iraq. The officer was in a police patrol hit by a roadside bomb in Fallujah. The soldier was a member of the Iraqi Army's Lion Brigade and died in a firefight in Baghdad. Two mechanics and a grocery store owner are among four civilians who died in attacks elsewhere. Bring ‘em on: Gunmen killed an Iraqi employee of a U.S. military base in his house in Ishaaqi. Bring ‘em on: Two policemen were killed and three wounded when a roadside bomb struck their patrol in Falluja. Bring ‘em on: An oil tanker driver was killed and three tankers destroyed when a car bomb hit their convoy in Tuz Khurmatu, 70 km south of Kirkuk on Friday. Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi soldiers died and four were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near their patrol in Tal Afar. In a separate bombing in the same area, one civilian was killed and another wounded. Two Iraqi soldiers were also wounded in the explosion. Bring ‘em on: Four Iraqi National Guards were killed and five wounded when a car bomb exploded next to their patrol in Oweija, 10 km south of Tikrit. Bring ‘em on: Four civilians were killed when gunmen in two cars opened fire on them as they left a mosque in Ramadi. Looking dodgy in the south: Basra’s governor threatened yesterday to stop dealing with British forces unless they release several Iraqis detained this week, including policemen, suspected of links to killings and kidnappings. Gov. Mohammed Al-Waeli also called for a mass demonstration tomorrow outside the British Consulate in downtown Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city 550 km southeast of Baghdad, to demand the release of the men, who were detained Tuesday in a joint Iraqi-British operation. Tuesday’s raids came amid an upsurge of roadside bombings and other violent acts targeting British troops, Iraqi security forces and local citizens in Basra, the main base for the roughly 8,000 British forces in Iraq. Interesting read: AP Correspondent Antonio Castaneda is embedded with U.S. Marines in Ramadi, one of the most violent cities in Iraq. This is the first of his periodic blog on his experiences there. Fragile victory: The United States and Iraqi forces have won the upper hand in a key region of northern Iraq, but the American commander warned Friday that victory may be fragile. "This is a victory for the Iraqi people, it's a victory for the Iraqi security forces, but certainly it's a fragile victory. I mean, this is a brutal and determined enemy who wants to get back into the city, who wants to continue to brutalize these people," said Col. H.R. McMaster, commander of the 3d Armored Calvary Regiment, at a Pentagon teleconference Friday. The 3d ACR launched a months-long campaign last year to oust insurgents, foreign fighters and terrorists from the town and surrounding regions and re-establish civilian control. Ok, so here’s some news that sounds like we’re really making some progress rounding up the bad guys, right?: To summarize the article: Three insurgents detained…two suspected terrorists detained…another bad guy captured…four suspected bombers detained…51 suspected terrorists arrested...19 suspects taken in a raid outside Baquba…10 suspected terrorists captured in Beiji…five other insurgents taken in Beiji…and three other suspects in Beiji… And there in the same article we read this: About 420 detainees, including five women, were to be released from coalition detention facilities in Iraq today and tomorrow, officials announced. The Iraqi-led Combined Review and Release Board reviewed the detainees' cases and recommended that they be released. The board, established in August 2004, consists of members from the ministries of Human Rights, Justice and Interior, as well as officers from the multinational forces, officials noted. To date, the board has reviewed the cases of more than 26,900 detainees, recommending more than 14,100 individuals for release. Hmm. 26,900 people imprisoned as suspected insurgents. 14,100, more than half, released. Now – we wouldn’t release a real insurgent, right? So more than 50% of the people who were detained were not insurgents. Man, we must be winning some hearts and minds with that ratio. Sort of puts things in a different perspective, doesn’t it? Kidnappers and Hostage Takers Iraqi: Kidnappers holding four Christian peace activists gave U.S. and Iraqi authorities a "last chance" to release all detainees in Iraq, threatening to kill the hostages if their demands were not met in a videotape broadcast Saturday. The hostages - two Canadians, an American and a Briton - were shown on a tape broadcast by Al-Jazeera looking gaunt and standing near a white wall in what appeared to be a house. The pan-Arab station's announcer said the hostage-takers, the "Swords of Righteousness Brigades," issued a statement warning of the "last chance" for U.S. and Iraqi authorities to "release all Iraqi prisoners in return of freeing the hostages." "Otherwise, their fate will be death," the statement added, without mentioning a deadline. American: The U.S. Army has been detaining Iraqi women to help track down husbands or fathers who are suspected terrorists, according to documents released Friday and an interview with a female detainee who was released Thursday after four months in prison. A series of e-mails written by U.S. soldiers and an internal Army memo, all released Friday in response to a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union, describe two cases of women who were imprisoned because American officials wanted information about their husbands. The Iraqi woman said Friday that she and eight other female detainees in her cell had talked often among themselves. She discovered that all were being held because U.S. officials had suspected their male relatives of having ties to terrorism. In some cases, men in their families were killed during U.S. raids, the woman alleged. The woman, whose voice trembled as she told her story, said she did not want to be named because she feared that she or a member of her family would be arrested. The Evisceration Of Iraqi Society Mental trauma: The Iraq war is reaping a fierce psychological toll, exposing a mental health crisis inside Iraq, and searing hundreds of thousands of US troops with combat trauma, experts warned. Iraq's doctors and specialists, subjected to persecution under Saddam Hussein, now the target of insurgent bullets and bombs, are struggling to assess the scale of the problem, they said. Brain drain: Iraq's top professionals — doctors, lawyers, professors — and businessmen have been targeted by shadowy political groups for kidnapping and ransom, as well as killing, some of them say. So many have fled the country that Iraq is in danger of losing the core of skilled people it needs most as it is trying to build a newly independent society. "It's creating a brain drain," said Amer Hassan Fayed, assistant dean of political science at Baghdad University. "We could end up with a society without knowledge. How can such a society make progress?" Professionals and businessmen with the means to escape are going to Jordan, Syria, Egypt or, if they have visas, to Western countries. Those left behind say they feel abandoned. Poverty: The number of Iraqis living below the poverty line has increased since the fall of the regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003 to one-fifth of the population, according to figures released today. "A study conducted by the (Labour) ministry in coordination with the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations Development Program shows that 20 per cent of the population is affected by poverty," Leila Kazem, director general of the department of social affairs at the Labour Ministry said. "Some two million Iraqi families live under the poverty line, as defined by international criteria, which is fixed at one dollar per day per person." Sectarianism: As sectarian tensions rise and talk of civil war spreads, more Iraqis are moving to areas where their religious group is dominant. The trend appears strongest among the country's Shiite majority, many of whom are targeted by the Sunni-led insurgency and live in religiously mixed or predominantly Sunni neighborhoods of Baghdad and other cities. Many are forced out by threats, often conveyed in written notes left in homes. It is unclear how many people have fled their homes, but the numbers clearly are rising. Hundreds of thousands are believed to have moved to Jordan or Syria. Those who cannot afford to leave the country simply head for new, safer neighborhoods or provinces. The reconstruction fiasco: "Spectacular misuse of tens of millions of dollars." That is what The Australian says an audit by the the US Special Inspector-General for Iraq Reconstruction of the former Coalition Provisional Authority office in Hilla, Iraq, has uncovered. The newspaper says the report details bundles of money stashed in filing cabinets, a US soldier who gambled away thousands of dollars, and stacks of newly minted notes distributed without receipts. The findings come almost a year after Stuart Bowen, the Inspector-General, found that more than $9 billion of Iraq's oil revenues, which was disbursed in 2004 by the then US-led CPA, could not be accounted for. Meanwhile the Times also reports that the Inspector General's office issued a separate audit Thursday showing that the American-financed reconstruction program in Iraq will not finish scores of projects. For example, only 49 of the 136 projects designed to improve Iraq's sanitation and water facilities will be completed, and only 300 of the 415 projects to improve electricity. Hope his oil production predictions are better than his WMD ones were: Iraq aims to boost crude oil exports by about 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.5 million bpd within six weeks, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi said. "We will make it up to 1.5 million bpd within six weeks," Chalabi told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos. He said improvements in water injection in southern oil wells and the resolution of some technical problems should increase exports from the main southern oil terminal near Basra. He said he also hoped exports would restart soon through the pipeline from the Kirkuk oilfields in the north to Turkey. Insurgents blew up at least two pipelines on Wednesday, halting exports through the northern pipeline to Turkey just one week after they had resumed. Sabotage attacks have mostly paralysed the line since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Saddam trial: Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein walked out of court amid uproar within minutes of the resumption of his murder trial under a new presiding judge. He left in protest after his defence team walked out, and was followed by two more of his co-defendants. The walkouts came after the new chief judge, Raouf Abdul Rahman, had Saddam's half brother and co-defendant Barzan al-Tikriti removed from the courtroom. Wrecking The US Military How to achieve 100% recruitment, Bush style: President Bush will use his new budget to propose cutting the size of the Army Reserve to its lowest level in three decades and stripping as much as $4 billion from two fighter aircraft programs. Under the plan, the authorized troop strength of the Army Reserve would drop from 205,000 -- the current number of slots it is allowed -- to 188,000, the actual number of soldiers it had at the end of 2005. Because of recruiting and other problems, the Army Reserve has been unable to fill its ranks to its authorized level. Army leaders have said they are taking a similar approach to shrinking the National Guard. They are proposing to cut that force from its authorized level of 350,000 soldiers to 333,000, the actual number now on the rolls. Whatever you say, Don: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld on Wednesday disputed reports suggesting that the U.S. military is stretched thin and close to a snapping point from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, asserting "the force is not broken." Rumsfeld spoke a day after the Associated Press reported that an unreleased study conducted for the Pentagon said the Army is being overextended, due to the two wars, and may not be able to retain and recruit enough troops to defeat the insurgency in Iraq. Congressional Democrats released a report Wednesday that also concluded the U.S. military is under severe stress. Meanwhile, the top U.S. general in Iraq acknowledged today that American forces there are "stretched," but he said he will recommend withdrawals only based on operational needs. They must be rewarding competence: Congress has granted unusual authority for the Pentagon to spend as much as $200 million of its own budget to aid foreign militaries, a break with the traditional practice of channeling foreign military assistance through the State Department. The move, included in a little-noticed provision of the 2006 National Defense Authorization Act passed last month, marks a legislative victory for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who pushed hard for the new powers to deal with emergency situations. But it has drawn warnings from foreign policy specialists inside and outside the government, who say it could lead to growth of a separate military assistance effort not subject to the same constraints applied to foreign aid programs that are administered by the State Department. Such constraints are meant to ensure that aid recipients meet certain standards, including respect for human rights and protection of legitimate civilian authorities. This is one of the scarier stories I’ve read lately. This creates a system where the military can conduct a separate foreign policy from the State Department. I do not get a warm happy from this… I guess it’s question of priorities: A rehabilitation center for amputees and other wounded soldiers that's rising near Brooke Army Medical Center comes with a virtual-reality roller coaster, a $37 million price tag and a question: Why isn't the federal government paying for any of it? Instead, the four-story building is being paid for entirely by private donations, prompting some to ask why the government isn't meeting its obligations to those wounded in the war in Iraq — a war that has returned home amputees at twice the rate of Vietnam. Bush should try this sometime: The heavy human toll of the war in Iraq hasn't hit home to most Americans because it is "being borne by a very, very small group," said Gov. Ted Kulongoski, who has attended more than 50 funerals of slain service members. In a wide-ranging and at times emotional discussion of his thoughts about the war, Kulongoski told The Oregonian on Friday he doubts the strategy of training Iraq's military is working, and that he has deep concerns about planned cutbacks in the National Guard. But his strongest reaction came to questions about the personal impact of so many Oregonians coming home from Iraq in coffins. The governor tries to attend the funeral of every Oregon soldier killed in Iraq. Psychological damage: Zeiss said 120,000 soldiers have sought health care, and that 31 percent of them are being reviewed for possible mental health disorders, the top diagnosed being PTSD. A big difference from previous wars, she said, is that 13 percent of those soldiers are women. “We need to think not only about women veterans, but about women warriors,” she said. Many of them, she said, have dealt with sexual trauma. ??From who?? Soldiers are also living through trauma that, in previous wars, would have killed them, such as head wounds, Zeiss said. Doctors are just beginning to understand what those soldiers need. Future War Electronic warfare: Bloggers beware. As the world turns networked, the Pentagon is calculating the military opportunities that computer networks, wireless technologies and the modern media offer. From influencing public opinion through new media to designing "computer network attack" weapons, the US military is learning to fight an electronic war. Perhaps the most startling aspect of the roadmap is its acknowledgement that information put out as part of the military's psychological operations, or Psyops, is finding its way onto the computer and television screens of ordinary Americans. The only thing good about the article above is that the war on bloggers will probably be executed with the same level of competence as this: Homeland Security bureaucrats just look at pornography all day, a startling new government report suggests. The terror bureaucracy’s internal computer network logged a staggering 65 million security alerts in just 90 days, according to the study (PDF) released today by Homeland Security Department inspector general Dick Skinner. The DHS computer network is such an ineptly run mess that it's unknown how many of those 65 million porn alarms are really caused by Homeland Security employees looking at naked pictures. An expensive network of programs are used to constantly spy on all employee computers, but it all works so poorly that nobody can tell the difference between one cubicle drone looking for "oral sex" pictures or another typing the word "behavioral," Washington Technology reported today. Assassination, Our New Foreign Policy Kill ‘em all, let God sort ‘em out: Despite protests from other countries, the United States is expanding a top-secret effort to kill terrorism suspects with drone-fired missiles as it pursues an increasingly decentralized al-Qaida, U.S. officials say. The CIA's failed attempt to assassinate al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Pakistan on Jan. 13 was the latest strike in the government's "targeted killing" program, a highly classified initiative that officials say has broadened as the terrorist network splintered into smaller cells and fled its haven in Afghanistan. Little is known publicly about the targeted-killing program. The Bush administration has refused to discuss how many strikes it has made, how many people have died or how it decides whom to target. No U.S. officials were willing to speak about it on the record because the program is classified. Although it is unknown how many times the targets have been missed, several U.S. officials confirmed at least 19 occasions since Sept. 11 in which Predators successfully fired Hellfire missiles on suspected terrorist leaders overseas. The Predator strikes have killed at least four senior al-Qaida leaders, but also many civilians. Critics dispute the program's legality under U.S. and international law and say it is administered with little oversight outside the CIA. U.S. intelligence officials insist that it is one of their most tightly regulated, carefully vetted programs. Politics Why do the Democrats cower?: A new Time magazine poll finds 60 percent of U.S. citizens disapprove of President George W. Bush`s handling of the war in Iraq. The country is split on whether the United States should have invaded Iraq, with 51 percent saying no and 44 percent yes. Forty-eight percent disapprove of Bush`s handling of the war on terrorism and 47 percent approve. Maybe the Brits will show us how it’s done: Mr Blair's supporters argue at one minute that he took Britain into the Iraq War courageously committed to the wellbeing of the Iraqi people. When this fails to impress, they suggest instead that he was a restraining influence on the White House. He cannot have been both these things. It is more likely that he was neither of them and instead was simply dragged along by the sheer force of President Bush's determination to have his war. The Blair version, just like the discredited, massaged intelligence dossiers which portrayed Iraq as an imminent threat, is so questionable that it almost asks to be exploded. So far it has not been. We do not know quite enough. But the moment may be fast approaching when the Premier is forced to explain the curious sequence of events that ended with Britain committing a huge part of its Armed Forces to a war whose justification weakens by the day, and which does not seem to have been in the interests of this country. A new account of the decisive hours of politics and diplomacy, shortly before hostilities began, is expected to surface this week. Commentary Jonathan Chait: ‘Republicans have a post-9/11 view of the world and Democrats have a pre-9/11 view of the world," asserted White House senior strategist Karl Rove in a recent speech. Rove is widely seen to be signaling the main GOP theme for the 2006 elections. This is no surprise because Republicans have been saying this since roughly five minutes after the World Trade Center towers collapsed. As former White House speechwriter David Frum wrote in "The Right Man," his hagiography of George W. Bush, after Sept. 11 "there was no more domestic agenda. The domestic agenda was the same as the foreign agenda: Win the war — then we'll see." Meanwhile, conservatives have ceaselessly accused Democrats of clinging to their petty pre-9/11 concerns. The odd thing about this complaint is that it fails even the most cursory examination. Did Bush alter, much less abandon, his domestic agenda after 9/11? Hardly. He crusaded for more tax cuts, enacted a huge Medicare bill, relentlessly promoted Social Security privatization and so forth. That is odd behavior for a man who understood at the core of his soul that his country faced an existential threat. You didn't see Winston Churchill in 1940 barnstorming the country demanding tax cuts. So how exactly was Bush transformed by 9/11 in a way Democrats were not? Eugene Robinson: Bush mentioned the new tape from Osama bin Laden that surfaced the other day, calling it a reminder that we face "an enemy that wants to hit us again." That's certainly true, but the warning would carry more gravitas if Bush and his administration didn't brag so much about how thoroughly al Qaeda has been routed and decimated. Is anybody keeping track of how many "No. 3" or "No. 4" al Qaeda lieutenants U.S. forces claim to have eliminated? And Americans would be better able to measure the threat from bin Laden if Bush and the rest of his administration didn't argue -- when it gives them an edge -- that Iraq is the "central front in the war on terrorism." If Iraq is the main event, then bin Laden, huddled in some cave in northern Pakistan, must be just a sideshow, right? But of course he's not a sideshow, he's the author of the Sept. 11 attacks, so what does that make Iraq? The answer seems to depend on whether, at any given time, Bush believes that cultivating fear of bin Laden or stoking fear of a terrorist spawning ground in Iraq would better help his administration achieve its ends. The thing is, fear works. The administration successfully invoked the fear of "mushroom clouds" to win support, or at least acquiescence, for the invasion of Iraq. By the time it was clear there were no weapons of mass destruction, the fear of losing to terrorists on the "central front" had been given primacy. We stopped hearing the name bin Laden so often -- no need to bring attention to the fact that he remained at large -- until reports emerged of secret CIA prisons, torture and domestic spying. Bin Laden does remain a threat. He would hit the United States again if he could. We do expect the president to protect us. But a great wartime leader rallies his citizens by informing them and inspiring them. He certainly doesn't use threats to our national security for political gain. He doesn't just point at a map and say "Boo." Palm Beach Post: The Bush administration promised and the Iraqi people expected by now clean water, reliable electricity — for more than half a day — and a rapidly recovering oil industry to pay for clinics, schools, roads and more. Fulfilling the promise first required establishing basic security, and the failure to provide that has been the biggest problem of all. So big, according to an audit released Thursday, that Iraqis will not get hundreds of projects they were promised. Just 49 of 136 water projects will be done by 2007 as scheduled, according to the Times, and 125 electricity projects also are behind. Billions of dollars were diverted from construction to security, but incompetence — at best — also led to delays. Republicans who control Congress owe the troops and U.S. taxpayers a complete investigation and most likely a full list of firings and prosecutions. A separate report issued last week showed the shocking lack of financial controls over reconstruction and training money. Officials kept millions in cash but no records of how it was spent. One soldier who was an assistant to the Iraqi boxing team lost $20,000 gambling. Or maybe it was $60,000. Officials don't know because they don't know how much money they gave him. Meanwhile, oil industry experts said last week that Iraqi production fell 8 percent last year and is at half the pre-invasion level. The World Bank estimates that it will cost at least $8 billion — and take years — just to get production back to the starting point. Economic and military security are interlocked. Failure to provide them leaves U.S. troops more vulnerable while they stay in Iraq. If the U.S. pulls out before Iraq is stable, Iraq could become the threat the Bush administration claimed it was before invading. Both those possibilities should motivate Congress, which has given the administration such a free hand. The administration's blind supporters have a special obligation to make amends. To support the troops and all Americans — not to mention the Iraqis we claim to be helping — Congress has to find out what has gone wrong, demand changes and keep watching. To rebuild Iraq, Congress has to rebuild its stature as an equal branch of government. Paul Craig Roberts: What does it say for democracy that half of the American population is unable to draw a rational conclusion from unambiguous facts? Americans share this disability with the Bush administration. According to news reports, the Bush administration is stunned by the election victory of the radical Islamist Hamas Party, which swept the US-financed Fatah Party from office. Why is the Bush administration astonished? The Bush administration is astonished because it stupidly believes that hundreds of millions of Muslims should be grateful that the US has interfered in their internal affairs for 60 years, setting up colonies and puppet rulers to suppress their aspirations and to achieve, instead, purposes of the US government. Americans need desperately to understand that 95 percent of all Muslim terrorists in the world were created in the past three years by Bush’s invasion of Iraq. Americans need desperately to comprehend that if Bush attacks Iran and Syria, as he intends, terrorism will explode, and American civil liberties will disappear into a thirty-year war that will bankrupt the United States. The total lack of rationality and competence in the White House and the inability of half of the US population to acquire and understand information are far larger threats to Americans than terrorism. America has become a rogue nation, flying blind, guided only by ignorance and hubris. A terrible catastrophe awaits. Awards and Commendations Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester – Silver Star, the first woman to win one since WWII Staff. Sgt. Timothy F. Nein – Silver Star Staff Sgt. Shannon Kay – Silver Star Spec. Ashley J. Pullen – Bronze Star Casualty Reports Killed: Marine Lance Cpl. Brandon Christopher Dewey Marine Cpl. Carlos Arellano Roland Barvels Army Spc. Sergio Gudino Staff Sgt. Lance M. Chase Pfc. Peter D. Wagler Sgt. Clifton "Tigger" Yazzie Staff Sgt. Rickey Scott Sgt. Dennis J. Flanagan Spc. Matthew C. Frantz Staff Sgt. Brian McElroy Cpl. Carlos Arrelanopandura Pvt. Lewis T. D. Calapini Lance Cpl. Joshua A. Scott Sgt. Matthew D. Hunter Sgt. Sean H. Miles Sgt. Joshua A. Johnson Staff Sgt. Jerry M. Durbin Jr US Air Force Tech Sergeant Jason Norton NOTE TO READERS: We at Today in Iraq would like to extend our heartfelt thanks and best wishes to Friendly Fire, who has resigned as a contributor to the main page because he really needed a break from all the bad news. We wish him the best and hope he continues to contribute to the Comments when he feels up to it. Please take a moment and send him your thanks for all the hard work he put into the blog over the past year. He really made a hell of a difference in keeping this thing afloat.


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