Sunday, July 16, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR SUNDAY, JULY 16, 2006 A crashed US military helicopter southwest of Baghdad. US hopes of bringing troops home from Iraq in significant numbers this year appear dimmer than ever with Baghdad in the throes of a new wave of sectarian violence(AFP/Jim Watson) See below, "U.S. Army Chief of Staff can't say whether U.S. is winning." Bring 'em on: A Multinational Corps – Iraq service member died at approximately 11:25 a.m. today when the vehicle he was riding in struck a roadside bomb near Sadr City, an area in northeast Baghdad. Bring 'em on: A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier died at approximately 3:55 p.m. today when he was hit by an improvised-explosive device in southern Baghdad. Bring 'em on: A 49th Military Police Brigade service member died at approximately 11:25 a.m. today when the vehicle he was riding in struck a roadside bomb near Sadr City, an area in northeast Baghdad. Note: Since CentCom put out two separate releases, I am presuming that two soldiers were killed in the incident in Sadr City at 11:25 am. We'll have to await clarification, however. Bring 'em on British soldier killed, one wounded in operation in Basra. Also, DoD identifies Sailor killed July 12 in Anbar as Petty Officer 1st Class Jerry A. Tharp, 44, of Muscatine, Iowa. He was assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 25, Rock Island, Ill. Other Security Incidents Five hostages seized from Iraqi Olympic Committee are released , fate of approximately 25 others, including Olympic Committee head Ahmed al-Hadjiya, is still unknown. 75 year old Nashat Mahir al-Salman is found blindfolded and bound, but otherwise unharmed, Baladiyat neighborhood of the capital. A driver and three guards also released. Still no information about the perpetrators or their motives. Bomb hidden in a trash bag explodes in commercial area of the Karradah district of Baghdad, killing four people and wounding 21 others, police said. AP also reports: Four people were killed and 10 wounded when two mortar rounds landed on al-Rasool village 30 km northeast of Baghdad. Reuters also reports: In Kirkuk, a security source requesting anonymity said three US soldiers were wounded in confrontations with militants, as well as two Iraqi officers. KUNA also reports: AFP provides more details on deaths and injuries of British forces. OTHER NEWS OF THE DAY Government of India is attempting to win release of five Indian truck drivers, employees of a Kuwaiti company, who have been in Iraqi police custody for 25 days. India has stopped permits for its citizens to go to Iraq or Kuwait. Satire has become obsolete department. U.S. President Bush extols Iraq as an example of what Russia can become in joint appearance with Vladimir Putin. Excerpt:
"I talked about my desire to promote institutional change in parts of the world like Iraq where there’s a free press and free religion," Bush said at the news conference, "and I told him that a lot of people in our country would hope that Russia would do the same thing." Putin, in a barbed reply, said: "We certainly would not want to have the same kind of democracy as they have in Iraq, I will tell you quite honestly." Bush’s face reddened as he tried to laugh off the remark. "Just wait," Bush replied about Iraq. Putin also said Russia would not take part "in any crusades, in any holy alliances" - a remark seemingly intended to win points with Arab allies. Bush’s national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, said he was perplexed by the comment.
Read in Full U.S. Army Chief of Staff can't say whether U.S. is winning in Iraq. Excerpt:
By Peter Spiegel, L. A. Times Staff Writer WASHINGTON — It seemed like a routine question, one that military leaders involved in prosecuting the war in Iraq must ask themselves with some regularity: Is the U.S. winning? But for Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff known for his straight-shooting bluntness, it proved a hard one to answer. During a Capitol Hill briefing for an audience mostly of congressional aides, Schoomaker paused for more than 10 seconds after he was asked the question — lips pursed and brow furrowed — before venturing: "I think I would answer that by telling you I don't think we're losing." It was a small but telling window into the thinking of the Army's top uniformed officer and one of the military's most important commanders: Despite the progress being made by the new Iraqi government and the continuing improvement of local security forces, the outcome in Iraq, in many ways, is growing more uncertain by the day. "The challenge … is becoming more complex, and it's going to continue to be," Schoomaker mused. "That's why I'll tell you I think we're closer to the beginning than we are to the end of all this."
Read in Full Note: I would like to be able to provide news about the efforts of the Iraqi government to respond to the ongoing crisis, but they seem to have vanished. COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS I hope you aren't here to talk about Palestine. Syrian academic discusses the perceptions of the Arab world by Arab-Americans. Excerpt:
Dr Bouthaina Shaaban I was getting ready to give a talk at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s conference (ADC), when a young Arab came up to me and said: “I hope you are not here to talk about Palestine!” My surprised answer was that in fact, I was there to talk about Palestine, the Golan Heights, the martyrs, the prisoners and all the tragedies that have beset Arab countries. Instead of talking about general Arab issues, like all other Arab officials, she wanted me to talk in details about my own country’s “issues”. Like many others in the audience, the young Arab woman wanted to hear about the failures and faults of Arab countries. That would help justify the crimes committed against Arabs in Iraq and Palestine, by blaming the chaos on them. By depicting Arabs as incapable of enjoying freedom and democracy, it makes more sense that other countries should have custody over their lives and their natural resources. At the ADC conference I also met many Americans who were courageously critical of Israeli crimes against Palestinian civilians, and the tragic situation in Iraq, brought about by the American occupation. Some were journalists, others active intellectuals and concerned citizens of the world. That same morning I was reading about Mahmoud Rafe’e in Lebanon who confessed to the assassination of members of the Lebanese resistance, the brothers Nidal and Mahmoud Al-Majzoub, as well as Ali Hasan Dib, known as “Abu Hasan Salameh,” Jihad Jibril, and Dib Saleh; not to mention the other failing bombing attempts he carried out. Yet, some of my audience would rather hear about democracy and human rights in the Arab world, than ponder with me the question of why crime against national resistance and liberty falls to the side lines. We have been plagued with two kinds of infiltration. The conventional one is the likes of Mahmoud Rafe’e and the Southern Lebanon Army. The other is intellectual. It is adopting the antagonistic logic of the Israeli government. Defending Arabs and Muslims has become a liability of its own. To stand clear of accusation, one has to drop Palestine, Iraq, Darfour, and the suffering of their peoples out of the conversation. Instead, focus should be on the differences between Arabs and African Arabs and between Sunni and Shia.
Read in Full Kurdish commentator is, ahh, skeptical of U.S. claims to export democracy. Excerpt:
Democrats from Hell KurdishMedia.com - By Dr Fereydun Hilmi After a long confused and boring speech Bush started patronizing the Russians, telling them they were doing well in some aspects of their democracy but not all. Putin gave him the biggest metaphoric slap on the mouth when he started his reply by saying: We certainly do not want the Kind of democracy you have brought to Iraq. The look on Bush’s face became even more stupid. Al-Jazeera which covered Bush’s speech right to the end promptly stopped the coverage when Putin pronounced his comment. The American government is going round the world like a headless chicken lashing out at any and all who try to put the true picture before the public outside the US – they wouldn’t dare touch their own media – through handouts to the “starving beggars” of Third World, financing some while threatening the others to toe the line and publish only that which conforms to the pack of lies and deception they would like people to be told. Their bombings and threat of bombings of some of the new style Arab TV which they helped finance either directly or indirectly through their Dumb-dom friends of the Arabs left only one or two still standing. However they recently managed to topple the last bastion of the opposite view by threatening the country housing it. This is akin to threatening Britain because the BBC may actually say something to annoy GWB. The similarity there ends. This democracy Hitler style and who cares if Qatar or Lebanon is threatened, after all they are no democrats by Joseph Goebbles standards. . The facts which we are well aware of point without a shadow of any doubt to a continuing spree of murder, rape and pillage by the occupation forces in Iraq and an unbearable situation for millions of men, women and children who had done Britain and the US no harm. The shortages of every type of basic services, medicine, and extremely unhealthy living conditions which the “Great” USA brought to the country directly or indirectly through the rabid dogs she released everywhere speak for themselves and do not need any TV propaganda station or mealy-mouthed “Offence Minister” to tell the Iraqis about and ultimately it is the Iraqis who will take their lives into their own hands and expel the new world-dominating fascists out of their homeland.
Read in Full Hey, we just link 'em, we don't write 'em. WHISKER'S ROUND-UP OF WOUNDED The family of a Farragut, Tennessee injured marine is still waiting for news on their son. Lance Cpl. Austin Davis was on patrol Wednesday in Iraq, when a bomb exploded a few yards away. The 22-year-old broke his left arm and part of his body was sprayed with shrapnel. Jason Kedzior of Pekin, IL is recovering from injuries after his Humvee struck a roadside bomb in Iraq. His mother, Mary Kedzior, spoke with him yesterday just a few hours after the blast. Kedzior was sitting in the gunner hatch when his truck hit the improvised bomb. His mother tells us he suffered a concussion and shrapnel wounds on his arms. 1st Lt. Bret Wellensiek is in a wheelchair and his legs are in bandages from a roadside bomb that struck his platoon May 30 south of Baghdad. He suffered a fractured left heel and a collapsed lung, among other injuries. But he still has his spirit, and he’s expected to make a full recovery. Sgt. Kevin Downs had spent about a year in a hospital in San Antonio, Texas, after being injured by a bomb last August in Iraq. He was the only survivor, said Joe Downs, Kevin’s father. He lost part of both legs and suffered second-and third-degree burns. Pvt. Christopher Williams is at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., with extensive shrapnel wounds, shattered bones and spinal injuries. Williams had been manning a gun atop a Humvee when it went over a bomb during patrol in Baghdad. Three GIs were killed in the incident, and he and another soldier were severely wounded. Since June 22, he's been operated on multiple times, starting in Baghdad where they removed his spleen. He also has had arteries transplanted from his left to right leg. After arriving at Walter Reed on June 29, doctors discovered one of his vertebrae missing and another one protruding. Jeffrey Reffner was on his second tour of duty in Iraq when a roadside bomb exploded July 5, blowing apart his left leg and burning his face, family members said Tuesday. “He lost a big chunk of his fibula, and we have to make sure it doesn’t get infected,”--Jeffrey Jr., a U.S. Army combat engineer, was on night patrol with four others when their humvee struck a bomb implanted in the ground. He was the only one seriously injured when he couldn’t escape from the vehicle in time. He sustained first- and second-degree burns to his face, hands and forearms. “His glasses just melted into his face,” his father said. His left leg suffered a double compact fracture, shattering his fibula and tibula. A 22-year-old McMinnville soldier is recovering in a Texas military hospital from burns suffered in a roadside attack on his Bradley fighting vehicle on June 23 in Iraq. Salvador Trujillo-Lopez suffered second- and third-degree burns over 40 percent of his body, according to his wife, Brittnay. Sergeant John Bennett is paralyzed from the waist-down after being shot last year while serving with the Montana Army National Guard in Iraq. Spc. Jason Kedzior has shrapnel wounds in his arm and suffered a concussion from the blast, which occurred as his convoy rolled past the bomb. Brian Radke, a Washington state native who came to Arizona in 2002 in order to become a police officer, will never be able to chase criminals or write traffic tickets after a roadside bomb in Baghdad riddled 87 percent of his body with shrapnel. He will spend as much as a year at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and has already passed nine months in recovery. 23 year old Jeffrey Reffner of Altoona, PA, a US Army combat engineer, was injured last week in Iraq when a roadside bomb exploded. Of the five soldiers in the humvee, Reffner was hurt the worst. He has second and third degree burns on his face and hands, as well as several compound fractures in his leg. Brian Saaristo, a soldier from Wright who is serving with the United States Army’s 101st Airborne Division, has been wounded while in Iraq. According to Pastor Matt Saarem of Bethany Lutheran Church of Cromwell, Saaristo lost both of his legs below the knees as the result of injuries incurred during an attack. Reportedly, a roadside bomb hit the Humvee Saaristo was travelling in. Staff Sgt. Phillip Baldwin had suffered gunshot wounds to his spine and left foot during a firefight in mid-June in Afghanistan. A member of the 10th Mountain Division was shot in his spine while loading other injured soldiers onto a helicopter. The bullet had passed through another soldier's body before it struck Baldwin, military officials told the family. Afghanistan Spanish newspaper identifies Spanish casualties in explosion in Western Afghanistan. My translation: The patrol effected by the explosion that ended the life of a soldier of the Spanish army was composed of a complete section of 33 personnel aboard 9 armored vehicles, according to the Ministry of Defense. This patrol completed a mission ordered by the Italian general in charge of the Western region of Afghanistan and another Spanish and Portuguese section also participated in the operation. All of these sectiosn were coordinated and under the command of the Spanish captain who was in the area affected by the explosion. The Defense Ministry reports that technicians are investigating the cause of the explosion. During the development of a patrol through the region of Bakua, the death of the soldier Jorge Arnaldo Hernández Seminario occurred, and another four were wounded. Alll of them belonged to the the Paracaidista brigage based in Alcalá de Henares (Madrid). According to information provided by Defense, Seminario was married, 26 years old, and a native of Piura, Perú. The injured were: First Corporal José Antonio Murías Pillado, 31 years old, born in Asturias: Corporal Rubén Sánchez López, 25 years old and born in en Getafe, Madrid; and the soldiers Carlos Iván Macías Morán, 21 years; and Javier Rubio Bellod, 22 years old and native of Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife. #1: At least 37 Taliban rebels have been killed in fighting with Afghan and US-led coalition troops in southern Afghanistan, an official said Sunday, taking the death toll to almost 100 in three days. "Twenty seven Taliban were killed during a joint Afghan and coalition operation in Sangin district of Helmand province," said Mohammad Nabi Mullahkhil, the police chief in Helmand. "Coalition forces killed 10 Taliban and drove the others out, but it is difficult to say if the remainder are still nearby," Lundy said. #2: Elsewhere in Uruzgan, Afghan and coalition soldiers repelled an attack by 20 insurgents, killing one, the U.S. military said. Same link: #3: Militants also attacked an Afghan army convoy in southern Zabul province's Shinkay district Friday, sparking a gunbattle that killed four Taliban, said local army commander Razzaq Khan. Soldiers detained one Taliban. Also same link: #4: Outside Zabul's provincial capital early Saturday, a Taliban rocket-propelled grenade attack on a convoy delivering supplies to U.S.-led coalition forces killed one bystander and wounded a truck driver, said police chief Noor Mohammed. Police responding to the attack wounded two militants and captured another. #5: The military base Canadian soldiers call home in Afghanistan has come under another rocket attack. Two rockets were fired on the Kandahar Airfield late Saturday evening, local time. No one was injured by the blasts. #6: Suicide bomber kills four civilians, wounds 23 in southeastern Afghanistan, Interior Ministry says. #7: A ROADSIDE bomb blast killed six Afghan soldiers and wounded three more in western Herat province, an Afghani army commander said. Abdul Wahab Walizada said the explosion targeted a joint Afghani-coalition patrol in Herat's Shindand district, destroying one vehicle. Six soldiers travelling in the vehicle were killed and three others wounded, he said. #8: A Canadian reconnaissance platoon ran into an ambush Saturday, coming under attack by rockets and small arms. What had started as a mission to avoid engagement with Taliban and Taliban supporters turned into a 10-minute firefight. As per orders, the platoon pulled back soon after the insurgents fire stopped. Note to Readers: We have been discussing whether we can and should add regular updates on the war in the Levant. The consensus of the editors at this stage is that we need to keep our focus on Iraq. We've been providing more limited coverage of Afghanistan because of reader demand and the lack of attention elsewhere to that crisis. Whisker has provided some extensive links to coverage of the Israel-Lebanon-Palestine war, which I have decided to post, for today only on Stayin' Alive. At this point, we just don't have the personnel to cover that crisis, and the posts here are long enough as it is. But we have discussed setting up a subsidiary site to handle overflow from this one and emerging crises that are relevant to the Iraq situation. Any ideas (and volunteer help) from commenters are welcome. - C.) Quote of the Day The case for reducing our commitment to Iraq in the interest of other and larger foreign policy purposes -- has anyone noticed the growing mess in Afghanistan? -- is built on a compelling proposition: that the administration made a huge bet on Iraq and it lost. American voters can decide to keep the gamble going, to risk more lives and money, and hope that something turns up. Or they can decide that this gamble will never deliver the winnings that those who took it on our behalf promised. By late November of this year, the United States will have been at war in Iraq for as long as we were involved in World War II. Under those circumstances, the burden of proof should not be on those who argue for changing what we're doing. It should be on those who set a failed policy in motion and keep promising, despite the evidence, that it will somehow pay off if only we "stay the course." E.J. Dionne


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