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Monday, September 25, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR MONDAY, September 25, 2006 Photo: Children throw stones at a burning vehicle, after a roadside bomb attack, in Baqouba Sept. 24, 2006. Insurgents attacked a convoy of two vehicles of foreign contractors, seriously damaging one with a roadside bomb and wounding it's four occupants. Witnesses said the other vehicle took the injured men away from the scene. (AP Photo/ Jalal Mudhar) SECURITY INCIDENTS In Country: Police found 14 corpses, including three in western Baghdad and four in the northern oil city of Kirkuk. Baghdad: Two bombs went off outside the Assyrian Orthodox Church of St Mary in the central neighbourhood of Karrada. The attackers put a bomb under the parish priest's car. The blast, that took place at 9.30am, drew many people, including some from the parish. Immediately afterwards another bomb went off close by, injuring many people and killing a watchman of the church. Two explosive charges went off successively near a police station in central Baghdad, wounding three policemen, a well-informed police source said. "A bomb detonated inside a car around 10:00 a.m. (0600 GMT) near a police station at the 62nd neighborhood," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. Two minutes later, a second blast caused by a roadside bomb near a shop of al-Sa'eh Refreshments which is close to the police station, the source said. Three policemen were wounded in the two blasts, and several nearby cars and buildings were damaged, he added. A roadside bomb killed a policeman in the flashpoint southern Baghdad district of Dura. Najaf: Gunmen killed a translator working for U.S. forcesin Najaf, 160 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad. Diyala Prv: Six people, five of them civilians and one a policeman, were killed in a string of incidents in the province of Diyala, northeast of Baghdad. Baiji: The corpse of an Iraqi soldier who had been shot dead was found on the main road between Baiji and Haditha. Police found the decapitated head of a police lieutenant, Sameer Hazim, who was kidnapped on Sunday. Nine other severed heads were found on Saturday. Jurf Al-Sakhar: Mortar bombs and a truck bomber targeted a police station in Jurf al-Sakhar, a small town south of Baghdad. Police sources said three people were killed and 10 wounded. Balad: An Iraqi soldier died on Monday of wounds sustained from small arms fire in the town of Balad, 80 km (55 miles) north of Baghdad. Musayib: A policeman was killed when a mortar round fell near his police station in the town of Musayib. At least 15 other people were wounded in the attack. One policeman was killed and six wounded when their station in Musayyib, about 40 miles south of Baghdad came under heavy attack, police said. Six cars drove up to the building and opened fire with machine guns, then began firing mortars, police Capt. Salah al-Maamouri said. The unidentified attackers then fled when American troops arrived. Yathrib: A mortar round landed near a house on Sunday, killing a man and wounding his 10 year-old daughter in the small town of Yathrib, near Balad. Mosul: Armed men attacked the Chaldean Church of the Holy Spirit in Mosul, firing at least 80 shots on the building. "Thank God there was no Mass at the time," one member of the community told AsiaNews, "so no one was killed or injured, there was just some damage done to the eastern part of the building and a few broken windows." Jola: Arab gunmen clashed Monday with Kurdish gunmen in the North-Eastern Iraqi town of Jola, said Iraqi security sources. "Kirdish militia gunmen attacked an (Iraqi) police station, protesting over Iraqi Interior Ministry's decision to replace Jola police chief with an Arab officer," said an Iraqi police source, noting that Kurdish gunmen burned three police cars. A Kurdish officer said that the new Arab officer came to the twon with 30 gunmen to assume his responsibilities as police chief, which lead to the clash. At least four of the new police chief's aides were wounded and nine others, including two officers, were arrested. Eyewitnesses said that Kurdish forces flocked to Jola town and have been patrolling the streets. Fallujah: Gunmen burst into the house of the head of the municiple council in Falluja, killing him and his son. Ramadi: A suicide bomber drove a car into a police checkpoint in Ramadi. Seven policemen were killed and seven others injured, police and hospital officials said. >> NEWS According to AP, the number of U.S. military men killed in the unjustified wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, part of the U.S. President's so-called "war on terror" has surpassed the number of Americans killed in the devastating attacks that shook New York and Washington five years ago, killing around 3,000 people. Bush's campaign to root out terrorism has proved to be counterproductive and has resulted in at least as much death for the country that was first attacked, quite apart from the higher numbers of fighters and civilians killed, an article on The Associated Press stated on Saturday. Until yesterday, Friday, the number of U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq was 2,693 and 278 in and around Afghanistan, making the total number of those killed in President Bush's "war on terror" 2,971. 56 additional military deaths and one civilian Defense Department death in other parts of the world from Operation Enduring Freedom, (OEF) the official name used by the U.S. government for its military campaign launched in the wake of September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, were reported by the Pentagon. This makes the total number of Americans who have been killed in Bush's "anti-terror" campaign since 9/11; 3,028. Another Army brigade's tour in Iraq has been extended (See below “You Can’t Go Home, Again”) Retired military officers on Monday are expected to bluntly accused Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld of bungling the war in Iraq, saying U.S. troops were sent to fight without the best equipment and that critical facts were hidden from the public. "I believe that Secretary Rumsfeld and others in the administration did not tell the American people the truth for fear of losing support for the war in Iraq," retired Maj. Gen. John R. S. Batiste is expected to say based on remarks prepared for a forum conducted by Senate Democrats. A second military leader, retired Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, will assess Rumsfeld as "incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically ...." The chief judge in Saddam Hussein's genocide trial threw the former leader out of the courtroom in a stormy session boycotted by his defense team. "I have a request here that I don't want to be in this cage any more," Saddam said, referring to the court. He waved a yellow paper before he spoke to chief judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa. Al-Khalifa snapped back: "I'm the presiding judge. I decide about your presence here. Get him out!" He pointed to guards to take Saddam out. >> REPORTS The accounts are brutal: An Iraqi man dragged from his home, executed and made to look as if he were an insurgent. Three prisoners killed by their Army captors. A team of revenge-seeking Marines going home to home, shooting down unarmed Iraqi men, women, children. The recent flurry of accusations against U.S. servicemen has stunned military analysts and experts. Many see a critical new point in the war - though few agree whether it shows the toll of combat stress, commanders resolved to stamp out war crimes, or, as some claim, an overzealous second-guessing of the troops. But the number and gravity of the latest allegations have drawn the greatest outcry against U.S. military actions since the Abu Ghraib prison abuses. "All of a sudden there seem to be charges right and left," said Loren Thompson at the Lexington Institute, a defense think tank in Arlington, Va. "It clearly has happened in some cases. But it's hard to tell whether this is a pattern of wrongdoing on our part or just a pattern of closer supervision." U.S. soldiers trying to calm Baghdad say the sprawling Sadr City slum has once again become a haven for anti-American militants — and the source of most of the gunfire and mortars directed at them. In the last two weeks, U.S. forces have suffered several casualties from dozens of shootings, mortar attacks and roadside bombings that American troops believe originated from Sadr City. VIDEO: ON PATROL WITH IRAQI NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH - 09.19.2006 As the threat of death squads continues, Iraqi civilians have taken security into their own hands. This week Isam Rasheed takes Alive in Baghdad viewers to Adhamiya, in the middle of the night, where three men guard a civilian checkpoint in the neighborhood. They'll tell you about their work, their hopes, and fears for their families. The US and Iraqi governments might call them terrorists, they consider themselves to be doing whats necessary to keep their homes safe. link "THERE'S NOTHING WE CAN DO" The plan was simple: Iraqi troops would block escape routes while U.S. soldiers searched for weapons house-by-house. But the Iraqi troops didn't show up on time. When they finally did appear, the Iraqis ignored U.S. orders and let dozens of cars pass through checkpoints in eastern Baghdad, including an ambulance full of armed militiamen, American soldiers said in recent interviews. It wasn't an isolated incident, they added. Senior U.S. commanders have hailed the performance of Iraqi troops in the crackdown on militias and insurgents in Baghdad. But some U.S. soldiers say the Iraqis serving alongside them are among the worst they've ever seen, seeming more loyal to militias than the government. Last week, for example, Sgt. 1st Class Eric Sheehan could barely contain his frustration when he discovered that barriers and concertina wire that were supposed to bolster defensive positions had been dragged away, again, under the noses of nearby Iraqi soldiers. "(I) suggest we fire these IAs and get them out of the way," Sheehan, of Jennerstown, Pa., reported to senior officers, referring to Iraqi army troops. "There's nothing we can do," came the reply. read in full... >> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS YOU CAN'T GO HOME, AGAIN Hot off the cyber-wires from the Associated Press:
In a new sign of mounting strain from the war in Iraq, the Army has extended the combat tours of about 4,000 soldiers who would otherwise be returning home, a defense official said Monday. The 1st Brigade of 1st Armored Division, which is operating in the vicinity of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, will be kept in place for several weeks beyond their scheduled departure, the official said. . . . The 1st Brigade of the 1st Armored Division was extended in order to allow its replacement unit, from the 3rd Infantry Division, the minimum 12 months between overseas tours, the official said. The 3rd Infantry has already served two tours in Iraq, including the initial invasion of the country in March 2003. . . . The Army has a stated goal of giving active-duty soldiers two years at home between overseas combat tours, but it is unable to achieve that "dwell time," as the Army calls, because it does not have enough brigades to meet the demands of simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It would not be a problem now if the situation in Iraq had improved enough to allow the Army to reduce its presence as originally planned. Army Secretary Francis Harvey told The Associated Press last week that the amount of time between deployments has shrunk this year from 18 months to 14 months. In the case of the 3rd Infantry, it appears at least one brigade will get only about 12 months because heading for Iraq to replace the extended brigade of the 1st Armored.
And that's how you break a volunteer army, ladies and gentlemen. Godot's welcoming committee continues to get larger, and the trust placed in our government by soldiers who volunteer continues to be betrayed link JUAN COLE: SADR GOES APOCALYPTIC In a worrisome sign that Muqtada al-Sadr has gone deep into an apocalyptic sense of the end of the world [Ar.], al-Zaman reports that the young nationalist Shiite cleric maintained that the US Department of Defense has compiled an enormous file on the hidden Twelfth Imam, that is virtually complete save that it lacks his photograph. [For Shiite Muslims, the Twelfth Imam or Imam Mahdi is a little like Jesus Christ for evangelical Christians. Shiites believe that the Imam was translated by God into a supernatural realm, from which he secretly rules the world and from which he will one day return to restore the world to justice.] Al-Sadr said during his Friday prayer sermon in Kufa that "The United States has been preparing for ten years a rapid reaction force against the awaited Imam Mahdi and the US provoked the Gulf War so as to fill the region with military outposts for this purpose." He said that he had not stood against the elections held under conditions of foreign military occupation, because he wanted to see a political opposition to the Occupation develop. He said that nevertheless, conflicts between him and the Americans had continued and would continue. He added, "I want it to be a peaceful war against them. I do not want a single drop of blood to be spilled, since [Iraqi lives] are dear to me. Fight them with a popular, nonviolent, political war." read in full... IRAQ IS BUSH'S REFLECTION POND Martial law is not liberation. Baghdad has been in a state of virtual lockdown since thousands of American Occupation Forces (AOF) were deployed to the city in a futile attempt to establish security. In the last two months, the number of dead appearing at the Baghdad morgue has skyrocketed; nearly 6,600 Iraqis brutally tortured and killed in July and August alone. In terms of population, this is the equivalent of 79,200 American casualties. Simply put, it is a massacre. Still, the AOF continues to execute its bloody mission with impunity regardless of the horrific cost. Occupation is not freedom; it is servitude enforced at gunpoint. By every objective standard, life was better under Saddam Hussein. The people had reliable sources of electricity, clean water, food and medical supplies. Employment was high, crime was low, schools were open, markets were bustling and the socialist regime provided education and health services to the destitute. Iraq was a dictatorship, but it was far superior in every way to the holocaust unleashed by the American invasion. In view of the ongoing devastation of infrastructure, the callous disregard for human life, and the absolute absence of personal security; Saddam's Iraq must now seem like Nirvana. Every part of the American occupation has failed. The only project which has succeeded has been the propaganda campaign which continues to frame the conflict as "the central battle in the war on terror". This is a lie. Even high-ranking government officials have admitted that foreign fighters (terrorists) comprise a very small segment of the total resistance. The vast majority have joined the struggle to end the American occupation and restore Iraqi national sovereignty. 70% of the daily attacks in Iraq are on occupation forces. However dismal the fighting between the ethnic and religious groups may seem, it is secondary to the viciousness of the occupation. The resistance is growing in strength despite the massive casualties, despite the torture and imprisonment, despite the indiscriminate bombing of civilians and infrastructure, and despite the largest counter-insurgency operation in American history. A confidential Pentagon assessment has shown that in 2003 Sunni support for the resistance was only 14% of the population. A recent poll now shows that figure has risen to 75%. There is near unanimity among the 5 million Sunnis that killing Americans is justifiable in order to end the occupation. read in full... >> BEYOND IRAQ Afghanistan: (update) The Ministry of Defence has said that there was no evidence to support claims that a landmine blast which killed a Para corporal in Afghanistan was caused by the downdraft from an RAF helicopter. The Sun reported that the twin-rotor Chinook sent to rescue Cpl Mark Wright and his 3 Para patrol after they became stranded in a minefield earlier this month set off at least two explosions. According to the paper, Cpl Wright had specified that a smaller helicopter should be sent when he radioed for help, but his request was ignored.
Following the incident, in which five other paras were injured - three losing legs, Cpl Wright's commanding officer said he had died trying to save a comrade who had been injured in an earlier blast.
AMERICA HAS JUST LOST TWO MORE WARS For a country which takes excessive pride in flags, uniforms, and marching bands and spends more than the rest of the planet combined on its military, the record of America's forces since World War II is depressing. In dozens of quickie invasions against weak opponents, Americans indeed have prevailed, but when faced with tough and determined enemies, they have remarkably often been defeated or stalemated. The failure of America's military could be explained by the notion that failure is only what happens when you seek the wrong success. A poorly-governed people, as Americans certainly are, keeps being sent to wars in which they have no vital interest or commitment. Whatever the reason, the record is unmistakable. It includes Korea after MacArthur's insane march to the Chinese border. It includes Vietnam, where, despite the slaughter of millions, the US left in shame, abandoning desperate associates clinging to helicopter undercarriages. It includes America's smaller-scale but long and vicious war on Cuba. The US was embarrassed by failure time and again, shamefully resorted to the terror tactics it now claims to despise, and wasted immense resources supporting thousands of hangers-on. Fidel Castro outlived two generations of American presidents and over six hundred assassination plots. The record of failures includes the American military's confusing its humanitarian-assistance role in Somalia with Gary Cooper facing down the bad guys in High Noon, an error which gave it an ugly surprise and saw America turn and go home. The record includes Reagan's poorly-considered landing of Marines in Lebanon. A base blown up by resisting guerrilla forces, the Marines left with a battleship hurling sixteen-inch shells into the hills, killing who knows how many innocent civilians and having achieved nothing. read in full... CAUGHT IN THE OSAMA OBSESSION The big story this weekend was whether Osama bin Laden is dead or alive. Three facts are worth noting. First, the intense global popularity of the topic. Second, the Pakistani, Saudi and Western intelligence services could not confirm the news of his death. And third, even though the story of bin Laden's death was leaked from French intelligence sources, they initially refused to confirm or deny it. Instead, the French government was annoyed by the fact that the story was leaked and wanted to investigate this. As much as the world has remained obsessed with bin Laden, an important chapter of George W Bush's so-called "war on terror" will not be closed until the end of the leader of al-Qaeda - a man who has become a legend in the streets of Muslim countries. In their view, he dared to challenge the sole superpower and got away with it. If he is still alive, one wonders whether bin Laden is wisecracking among his cohorts, "Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated." Call it the high efficiency of al-Qaeda to keep the news of bin Laden's life or death or his whereabouts highly shrouded in confusion, or the continued incompetence of the intelligence services, and even that of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in failing to find convincing proof on the subject. read in full… QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I just want to see something done about Sadr City, Send in the Iraqi army, the U.S. Army — send everyone in. ... They're going to need it. ... Something's going to have to be done about that place." -- Staff Sgt. Brian Beem, 29, of Poughkeepsie, N.Y (See above "U.S. soldiers trying to calm Baghdad…")

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