DAILY WAR NEWS FOR THURSDAY, May 18, 2006
: U.S. soldiers from the 1st Armored Division kick down an Iraqi citizens' door in the Al Jazeera Desert area May 8, 2006. REUTERS/SSgt. Aaron Allmon II/Handout (See below "How to Arouse an Intense Desire to Kill You")
Bring 'em on
: Four U.S. soldiers and their Iraqi interpreter were killed on Thursday when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb northwest of Baghdad, the U.S. military said in a statement. The statement issued by the 4th Infantry Division that patrols the Iraqi capital did not give further details.
Bring 'em on
: A Sailor assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province May 17. (MNF- Iraq)
Bring 'em on
: In Abu Skher, a village south of Najaf, an AFP correspondent saw what appeared to be a sports utility vehicle typical of the kind used by US contractors burning fiercely after it was hit by a roadside bomb. US soldiers were securing the area, but the military said it could not immediately confirm the incident or provide casualty figures.
In Manathera, a town south of Najaf, two roadside bombs exploded near a U.S. military and civilian convoy, wounding some passengers.
U.S. soldiers then shot "by mistake" at an Iraqi policemen in the area, [Iraqi army Maj. Bshari] Ghazali said. "The soldiers thought he planted the bombs, so they shot at him and killed him immediately."
"Insurgents" kidnapped 15 Tae Kwon Do athletes
who were traveling through western Iraq en route to a training camp in neighboring Jordan. They were members of a private sports club that hopes to one day send athletes to the Olympics, the Associated Press reported. Police and Olympic committee officials said the athletes were snatched on the road between the restive cities of Fallujah and Ramadi in western Iraq, one of the most violent parts of the war-torn country.
"We are negotiating with the kidnappers who are demanding $100,000 in ransom" said Jamal Abdel-Karim, an official with the Olympic committee, told the AP.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS
Gunmen stopped a minibus in southwestern Baghdad and killed all eight Iraqis aboard, a group of car mechanics and their driver.
A roadside bomb exploded near a police patrol in northern Baghdad's Waziriya neighborhood, killing three police officers and five bystanders
. Another nine people were wounded.
A mortar round struck an open market in Baghdad's Dora neighborhood, killing four guards and wounding another.
Gunmen kidnapped a senior Iraqi Finance Ministry official in Baghdad.
Muhib Abdul-Razzak, director-general of the ministry's auditing department, was snatched from his home in northern Baghdad on Sunday.
Bombers destroyed a small Sunni shrine near the city of Baqouba
less than a week after similar bombings heavily damaged six Shiite shrines. No one was injured in any of the attacks.
Gunmen killed a math teacher and former senior Baath party member as he was leaving his house.
A policeman was killed and three wounded when a roadside bomb went off near a convoy of U.S. military and Iraqi police vehicles near Najaf.
A journalist working for the independent Iraqi News Network has been killed in Jisr Diyala
, south of the Iraqi capital.
Iraqi police found the bodies of two people, handcuffed, blindfolded and shot dead, in al-Malih village
, about 75 km south of Baghdad, police said.
A police chief narrowly escaped an assassination attempt when a roadside bomb hit his convoy as he was heading to work in Basra.
The blast damaged one vehicle but caused no casualties.
Gunmen killed a former football player in Iraq's national team.
Gunmen wounded a military intelligence lieutenant-colonel along with his driver.
Coalition forces killed three insurgents and wounded 10 in fighting in and around Mosul
, the U.S. command said.
In northern Kirkuk, police reported that two people had been killed in a drive-by shooting.
Police found the beheaded body of woman labor activist affiliated with the Kurdistan Democratic Party
one of two that administers the Kurdish regional government.
A member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) was killed by gunmen in central Kirkuk.
A policeman and two "insurgents" were wounded in clashes in Falluja.
Iraqis armed with bombs destroyed a Sunni Arab shrine near Baqouba
on Thursday less than a week after similar bombings heavily damaged six Shiite shrines in the area.
The attack, like the previous ones, was carried out early in the morning, resulting in no casualties.
In Thursday's strike, hidden bombs exploded inside the small Sharhabil bin Hassan shrine in Kanan, a town about 13 miles northeast of Baqouba, police said on condition of anonymity. The building was destroyed.
Last Saturday, six Shiite shrines were heavily damaged or destroyed by bombs hidden in or near them in the Baqouba area.
US and coalition forces cannot yet be withdrawn from even Iraq's most stable regions
, the US military chief said.
Testifying alongside US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, General Peter Pace was asked whether coalition forces could withdraw within the next three months from any of 14 Iraqi provinces that he had described as calm and stable.
"No, sir," Pace told members of a Senate appropriations subcommittee considering an administration request for 66.3 billion dollars in additional military funding, most of it for Iraq.
New Italian Premier restates campaign promise to withdraw nation's troops from Iraq
: "We consider the war and occupation in Iraq a grave error that hasn't solved — but has complicated — the problem of security," Prodi said. "Terrorism has found a new base and new excuses for internal and external terrorist action."
Murtha accuses US marines of killing innocent Iraqi civilians
: "Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood," John Murtha told reporters.
"There was no firefight" that led to the shootings at close range, the Vietnam war veteran said, contradicting early official accounts saying a roadside bomb had killed the Iraqis in the November 19 incident.
"There were no (roadside bombs) that killed these innocent people," he said.
On March 27, a Time
magazine report cited an Iraqi human rights group and residents of Haditha, Iraq, who said Marines barged into the home throwing grenades and shooting, killing 15 unarmed Iraqis including women and children.
Murtha said the death toll could be "twice as high".
"It's much worse than reported in Time
magazine," he said.
WMP video -- QT video of Murtha discussing the issue on MSNBC's Hardball.>> REPORTS
A health crisis may be just around the corner in the southern Missan governorate
, some 290km southeast of the capital, Baghdad, unless the government adopts urgent procedures to improve the health services available to residents, a local health official warned.
"Cases of tuberculosis, kalazar [a skin disease caused by sand flies] and chicken pox are increasing daily due to the shortage of doctors and the absence of the appropriate health care and government funds," said Dr Zamil Mohamed, director of Missan's municipal health directorate. "These numbers will increase further if the government doesn't improve services and build new hospitals, and if the shortage of modern laboratory equipment isn't addressed."
Mohamed went on to note that 1,784 cases of different acute respiratory diseases had been registered over the past three years due to bad potable water and poor sewage systems.
>> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
HOW TO AROUSE AN INTENSE DESIRE TO KILL YOU
There's nothing quite like invading somebody else's country and busting into their houses by force to arouse an intense desire to kill you in the patriotic, self-respecting civilians who live there.
But your commanders know that, don't they? Don't they?
"In the States, if police burst into your house, kicking down doors and swearing at you, you would call your lawyer and file a lawsuit," said Wood, 42, from Iowa, who did not accompany Halladay's Charlie Company, from his battalion, on Thursday's raid. "Here, there are no lawyers. Their resources are limited, so they plant IEDs (improvised explosive devices) instead."
NEWS FROM RAMADI, BLACKHOLE OF THE OCCUPATION
Today in the morning the US troops tried to get more houses to use them as snipers bases.......and many fighters appeared with their guns to stop this.
US soldiers use all the power that they can get from tanks and helicopters that attacked many houses and killed many people (most of the victims were civilians).
This time the US soldiers chose my house to use it as snipers base. At 3 am 10s of US soldiers destroyed the outer gate of my house and came in the house while my family were sleeping .....they hid in the garden for a while. I was woken up. I heard their sounds and steps. After awhile they got inside after crashing the two main doors of my house. Then I came out of my room to show myself with some English words that can help my family to avoid the harmful reaction of the American way of getting in the bedrooms.
The US soldiers shouted on me " Freeze! Turn back to the wall with raised hands now!" the US soldiers shouted on me.
I did what he asked me. Another US soldier inspected me then he said "he is clean" he said for the officer who was watching me carefully......there was three Iraqi soldiers whose cant speak English at all.......but they where speaking each to other
"OK..... can you help US to finish our job here......we need you to tell us about this house and what kind of people living here."
The officer asked me this while the other soldiers moving around me ..in fact I cant see them, it was dark but they see me by their instruments found in their helmets ....but I noticed that the officer brought our kerosene lamp to help to see my steps and to see him while he talking to me.
"Please do not hurt us we are a peaceful family and my family includes kids and women and an old man (my father) ...please let me wake them by my self to be ready for inspection.......
read in full...
A VERY GOOD MOTHER'S DAY PATROL
The Pentagon website has a day-in-the-life piece about a "presence patrol" in an Iraqi village, designed to "assure people the coalition is there," much in the same way that cats mark their territory, although they (the soldiers, not cats) seem to have spent most of their times looking for what the insurgents no doubt call "presence bombs." They're looking for anything out of the ordinary. Says another sergeant, "We have been here four months now. We know what looks out of place." Oh yeah, you're a regular T.E. Lawrence, you are. The patrol spots a stopped car and checks to see if it is really broken down. They ascertain that it is and so refrain from shooting the driver. Then they spot some fresh dirt! They get very excited! But they find out it is just some local children building a speed bump. "They need to tell us that," says Army Staff Sgt. Timothy Long. "That's a good way to get shot." Finally, after a long day of not shooting children and people whose cars broke down, they returned to base. "The soldiers often conduct dismounted patrols, but this day it was enough to let the people see them and know they are there, the soldiers explained. The team checked out a number of things, spoke with groups of people and came home safely. All in all, they declared it a very good Mother's Day patrol."
read in full...
SET YOUR PHASER TO STUN, PRIVATE
The number of confrontations at checkpoints with Iraqi drivers who won't stop has dropped by half, but wouldn't it be cool if you could zap 'em with a laser? The military is claiming this new use of laser technology is purely for "humane" reasons, but I have my doubts. These devices are less strong than lasers designed to blind people--a good thing, since that's banned by the Geneva Convention--but then, with new technology like this, who knows what'll happen:
The U.S. military is deploying a laser device in Iraq that would temporarily blind drivers who fail to heed warnings at checkpoints, in an attempt to stem shootings of innocent Iraqis.
The pilot project will equip thousands of M-4 rifles with the 10 1/2 -inch-long weapon, which projects an intense beam of green light to "dazzle" the vision of oncoming drivers. [....]
One Washington-based defense analyst said American troops and commanders should not underestimate how the laser could complicate relations with Iraqis.
"If this 'safe' high-intensity laser damages retinas, we're in for a whole new type of [angry] Iraqi civilians," said Winslow T. Wheeler, who spent three decades as a Capitol Hill staffer and is now at the Center for Defense Information.
Ah, what a gloomy Gus. Obviously the troops will be properly trained to use this brand new weapon just as safely as they use the ones they already have. I mean, their current training teaches them how to handle these checkpoints as best they can, right?
read in full...
"THERE IS A DISCONNECT"
Karl Rove explains the source of Bush's low poll numbers: "People like this president. They're just sour right now on the war." Imagine them blaming that nice Mr. Bush for something he had nothing to do with. Rove points out that Bush's likeability numbers are higher than his approval numbers, saying "There is a disconnect." I couldn't agree more, although Rove seems to think that people should approve of Bush's policies because they like him, while I think they should dislike him because of his arrogant, harmful, reckless policies.
read in full...
>> BEYOND IRAQ
Today in Afghanistan:
Fiercest violence since Taliban's 2001 ouster erupted across Afghanistan
, with coalition forces engaging in multiple firefights, two suicide car bombs and a massive rebel assault on a small village. Up to 105 people were killed. The estimates of Taliban fighters and suicide bombers killed ranged up to 87, with 15 Afghan police, an American civilian, an Afghan civilian and a Canadian soldier also killed in the multiple attacks late Wednesday and Thursday, officials said. The battles between Afghan or coalition forces and Taliban militants - which were concentrated in the south, follow months of stepped-up attacks in the region.
ONE MORE CLUE THAT THE AMERICAN EMPIRE IS WANING
There are many signs along the road that leads to the dark end of an empire. Some, like the pattern of American monetary policy and her associated incursions in the Middle East, have been up for so long they are now covered with kudzu and shotgun holes.
Others, like the extraordinarily troubled presidential elections of a troubled child of privilege and ambition, are relatively new. That this president surrounds himself with corrupt officials who whisper sweet nothings such as "How 'bout that big fish!" and "Your very word is law," as they gorge at the public trough is to be expected. But in an age where manners don't matter in this country the President's irresponsible behavior has newly offended many average Americans who are beginning to think he is obsessed, self-centered, even somewhat stupid and unpatriotic.
But empire is never just about the emperor. The enablers of empire - the big purple socialist hegemonic American state - include not just a slavish and well-paid royal military, but also corporate interests, state-funded educational institutions, and an ever-devoted media.
read in full...
IMMIGRATION PLAN IS CRONY PORK BONANZA
My, my, my, isn't this a surprise! It turns out that George W. Bush's "Secure Border Initiative" to "control illegal immigration" is actually just a great big pork trough for his cronies and benefactors in the weapons biz to cash in big-time off the suffering and poverty of dusky foreigners. Now where have we seen that before?
reports that Bush is limbering up the federal checkbook to funnel even more millions to masters of war like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman, still feasting sumptuously off the bloated corpse of conquered Iraq. These fine purveyors of contemporary "defense" (who says irony is dead?) will soon string the border with all manner of hugely expensive high-tech gizmonics designed to keep the hemisphere's most desperate and vulnerable people from crossing over to take the slave-wage, no-benefit, no-protection jobs offered to them by, well, Bush's cronies and benefactors in big business and among the wealthy elite (whom he has recently larded with more tax-cut largess). It's a neat scam, really, a win-win situation: your corporate cronies get even more loot from the public treasury - and they still get the cheap Latino labor that keeps them in clover.
read in full...
QUOTE OF THE DAY
: "We're here to guard the ice-cream trucks going north so that someone else can guard them there."-- a U.S. captain near Tikrit answering one sergeant who'd asked him "What's our mission here?" (as quoted by a reporter for the military newspaper
Stars & Stripes)