Wednesday, September 27, 2006
WAR NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2006
"We'll let history judge all the different finger-pointing and all that business. I don't have enough time to finger-point." George W. Bush, September 26, 2006
"History. We don't know. We'll all be dead." George W. Bush, as quoted by Bob Woodward (Woodward Shares War Secrets, CBS News, 60 Minutes, April 18, 2004)
Two American troops have been killed in fighting in Anbar province on Monday. One was a soldier with the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, and the other is a Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7.
Two passers-by were wounded when the al-Ashra al-Mushara mosque in
Three gunmen died in an attack on the Sunnis' al-Kheyr mosque in Khadra, another western neighborhood of
On the eastern side of
The bodies of five people, shot in the head and bearing signs of torture, were found in different areas of
Gunmen kidnapped Abdul Kareem al-Talgani, the mayor of al-Zuhour district on the northern outskirts of
A bomb attached to a booby-trapped body exploded, wounding four policemen in the southern Doura district of Baghdad.
A roadside bomb wounded two people in al-Nahdha district in central
In the capital's Dora district, an official of the neighborhood power station and a friend were killed. The two were shot by unknown assailants while driving through the area.
Two roadside bombs exploded in quick succession in Karrada district, south-central
Nima al-Yaseen, the sister of Shi'ite MP Liqaa al-Yaseen, was shot dead on Tuesday as she headed to work in western
Police found the corpse of a man in Baiji, 180 km north of
Four terrorist suspects and four civilians were killed by American soldiers and airstrikes during a morning raid in Baquba.
A civilian was injured in Hillah when a gunman opened fire from a moving car.
In Karma, 50 miles west of
Two Iraqi soldiers were killed and three wounded when unidentified people opened fire on them in their car in an area south of
More apparent victims of death squads were found south of
A roadside bomb killed five people and wounded eight in Mahmudiya.
Four mortar rounds landed on a residential district, killing a boy and wounding five other people in Mahmudiya.
At least seven civilians died and 11 were injured when a series of explosions rocked a predominantly Shiite apartment building in Mahmudiya. The explosions gutted a series of apartments.
In clashes between gunmen and an Iraqi army patrol in the northern city of
A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol exploded in Mussayab, about 60 km (40 miles) south of
Mortar rounds landed on and around an Iraqi army checkpoint in the small town of
Suiciders: With the Islamic holy month of Ramadan under way, insurgent attacks in
"This has been a tough week," Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said. "This week's suicide attacks were at their highest level of any given week."
About half of those attacks targeted security forces,
He said around 50 percent of car bombings were suicide strikes, blaming "terrorists" and "illegal armed groups" for attacks during Ramadan, which began Saturday.
Arrests: The Iraqi army arrested 73 suspected insurgents during the last 24 hours in different parts of
More arrests: Iraqi security forces have arrested another leader of the 1920 Revolution Brigades, a group accused of numerous attacks on
The man was arrested Tuesday night in the village of al-Jazira, about 60 miles north of
Authorities have not released the insurgents' names, citing security.
Operation Sinbad: British and Iraqi forces have launched a major drive in
About 1,000 British troops and 2,300 Iraqis have begun to deploy as part of what the Army labels Operation Sinbad.
Shia militias have effectively seized control of the police in some areas.
Operation Sinbad will see small "transition teams" of Royal Military Police being inserted into police stations throughout the southern Iraqi city for 30 days at a time.
Kurd vs Arab: The fate of
There is no doubt that the Arabs are in a majority of around 55 per cent in the province, but they angrily dispute the Kurdish claim to make up a third of the 2.7 million population. When an Arab MP in parliament in
At the moment nobody wholly controls
If the Kurds have the army, the Arabs have the police. There are 16,000 policemen in the province, and 6,000 in the city. The Kurds regard them with the greatest suspicion.
More Kurd vs Arab: Kurdish militiamen seized a police station in northern
Though most of the biggest political disputes are likely to center on the oilfields in the south, in largely Shiite Muslim areas, and the northern city of Kirkuk, another oil-rich area claimed by the Kurds, the clash in Jalawla marked an early warning of what many fear could be a turbulent battle for the frontiers of a future Kurdish zone.
Federalism protests: A Sunni Arab heading a parliamentary committee that reviews new legislation resigned to protest the Shiite-sponsored federalism bill, warning it would lead to further instability and bloodshed.
The move by Dahfir al-Ani deepened a crisis in the Sunni Arab community and his Iraqi Accordance Front, the minority's largest political coalition and the group that brokered a compromise with Shiite and Kurdish groups to allow introduction of the federalism bill.
"Putting this issue under discussion at this time would open the door for political crisis that would more threaten the security situation," al-Ani said. "As for me, I will try along with my brothers who share with me the same opinion to foil the voting in favor of this bill."
Another member of the Accordance Front accused the political bloc of betraying the Sunni Arab community. "This law will lead to the division of
The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend: Are the Sunni leaders in
Resistance crosses sectarian lines: Hardline Iraqi Sunni and Shiite factions denounced calls by President Jalal Talabani for a long-term
"We condemn these irresponsible proposals," the hardline Sunni Muslim Scholars' Association said after Talabani told the Washington Post that "I think we will be in need of American forces for a long time ... 10,000 soldiers and two air bases would be enough."
While the rest of the Iraqi press was largely silent, the Scholars said that in making the comments during a visit to the US Talabani had done "nothing more than express an American demand to keep
Talabani, who is Kurdish, suggested that the bases could be located in the Kurdish autonomous region in northern
The association, however, pointed out that even with 140,000
"These statements ignore the anger of the Iraqi people against the
What Do Iraqis Want?
The swift departure of foreign troops: A strong majority of Iraqis want U.S.-led military forces to immediately withdraw from the country, saying their swift departure would make
Another new poll, scheduled to be released today by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the
The stark assessments, among the most negative attitudes toward U.S.-led forces since they invaded
"Only then will it be possible to talk about a timetable for the withdrawal of the multinational force from
To resist the occupation: The US Department of Defense has now provided another measure of the problem it faces. Its latest opinion poll carried out in
This compares with 14% in the first opinion poll the Defense Department carried out back in 2003. It is a catastrophic loss of support, and there is no sign whatever that it can be effectively reversed.
The rise in hostility to the
This, we are told, was ordered directly by the White House and the Department of Defense after the bodies of four American defence contractors were hung from a bridge in April 2004.
The ferocity of the attack by the
The situation in the country as a whole has never seriously improved since then, and Falluja itself has still not been entirely subdued.
To recover their country: Reliable surveys show that the percentage of Iraqis favoring a withdrawal timeline has risen from thirty percent in February 2004 to 76 percent in February 2005 to 87 percent earlier this year. [NYT, Mar. 19, 2006] of 70 to 82 percent, Moreover, 47 percent of all Iraqis, including 88 percent of Sunnis and 41 percent of Shiites, approved attacks on American forces in a January 2006 survey. [Knight Ridder, Jan. 30, 06, posted on www.worldpublicopinon.org] Only the pro-Western Kurdish minority want the
On September 12, 104 Iraqi parliamentarians signed a petition calling for a withdrawal timetable. There are 275 members of the
A similar scenario occurred in July 2005 when at least 82 parliamentarians signed a petition for the "speedy departure of the occupation", and denounced the Iraqi executive for failing to consult parliament as required by law.
Since this year's parliamentary election, when large numbers of Sunnis chose to vote rather than abstain, the number of anti-occupation parliamentarians inevitably grew. According to one Iraqi analyst I have interviewed, between 140 and 160 members would vote for a timetable if one was proposed. That would end the United Nations authorization of the occupation, and presumably force the withdrawal of American troops. It would be the signal the international community is looking for before engaging in a stabilization process.
A chance for a normal life: In Baghdad these days, having a child requires a vast amount of faith.
Children grow up nourished by the sounds of gunfire, tanks and Black Hawk helicopters. Parents struggle to meet the rising prices of food, clothes and housing. At the back of everyone’s mind is the fear that they may not see another day.
There are so many reasons not to have a child. Sometimes, though, the hope that things will get better beats them all.
Yasser looks at his baby girl, Rand, less than a month old, as she crawls on a blue blanket. He marvels at the way her puffy cheeks rise in a smile and how she sleeps oblivious to the danger outside. Yasser knows that her innocence will not last long. He simply cherishes this time because he knows that soon the bombs, death squads and soldiers will intrude.
What Are Iraqis Going To Get?
State-of-the-art prisons in permanent bases:
Open-ended occupation: U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Wednesday that American operations in
"Our view has been that it's for the Iraqi people to provide for their government, for the Iraqi people to provide for their own security, and our task has been to assist them during this period, the early days of their free system, so they can develop the security forces capable of providing for security in the country," he told reporters in the Albanian capital Tirana.
He said Iraqi security forces were making progress and beginning to take on additional responsibilities. But he would not estimate when the transfer of authority for security in all provinces could happen.
"One can't predict with perfect certainty the pace at which that will happen," Rumsfeld said. "We do know it is happening."
"Trying to set a specific date just isn't manageable," he said, speaking after a meeting of southeast European defense ministers.
The “Oversight Hearing”
More fruitloop lefties: Three retired military officers who served in Iraq called today for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, telling a Democratic "oversight hearing" on Capitol Hill that the Pentagon chief bungled planning for the U.S. invasion, dismissed the prospect of an insurgency and sent American troops into the fray with inadequate equipment.
The testimony by the three --two retired Army major generals and a former Marine colonel -- came a day after disclosure of a classified intelligence assessment that concluded the war in Iraq has fueled recruitment of violent Islamic extremists, helping to create a new generation of potential terrorists around the world and worsening the U.S. position.
This has been all over your local news, right?: Retired military officers on Monday 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
A second military leader, retired Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, assessed Rumsfeld as "incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically."
"Mr. Rumsfeld and his immediate team must be replaced or we will see two more years of extraordinarily bad decision-making," Eaton added at the forum, held six weeks before the Nov. 7 midterm elections, in which the war is a central issue.
Shell game: Adding to criticism of the Bush administration's prosecution of the war in
"There simply aren't enough troops there to accomplish the task," said Batiste, who has previously called for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to resign. "It's a shell game we're playing in
The Republican response: Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) is threatening to punish Democrats for using an Appropriations Committee room for an unofficial hearing on
“They better stop this,” the Mississippi Republican said. “This will be the last one or there will be retribution.”
Breaking The Army
Third tour in three years: The pressures that the conflict in Iraq is putting on the Army are apparent amid the towering pine trees of southeast Georgia, where the Third Infantry Division is preparing for the likelihood that it will go back to Iraq for a third tour.
Col. Tom James, who commands the division’s Second Brigade, acknowledged that his unit’s equipment levels had fallen so low that it now had no tanks or other armored vehicles to use in training and that his soldiers were rated as largely untrained in attack and defense.
The rest of the division, which helped lead the invasion of
But at a time when Pentagon officials are saying the Army is stretched so thin that it may be forced to go back on its pledge to limit National Guard deployment overseas, the division’s situation is symptomatic of how the shortages are playing out on the ground.
The enormous strains on equipment and personnel, because of longer-than-expected deployments, have left active Army units with little combat power in reserve. The Second Brigade, for example, has only half of the roughly 3,500 soldiers it is supposed to have. The unit trains on computer simulators, meant to recreate the experience of firing a tank’s main gun or driving in a convoy under attack.
“It’s a good tool before you get the equipment you need,” Colonel James said. But a few years ago, he said, having a combat brigade in a mechanized infantry division at such a low state of readiness would have been “unheard of.”
Other than the 17 brigades in Iraq and Afghanistan, only two or three combat brigades in the entire Army — perhaps 7,000 to 10,000 troops — are fully trained and sufficiently equipped to respond quickly to crises, said a senior Army general.
Suck it up soldier: The Army is stretched so thin by the war in
Soldiers of the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division had been expecting to return to their home base in
The Pentagon also announced that the 4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division will deploy to
The Pentagon said troop rotations could be changed even further "based upon changes in the security situation." Sectarian killings in
"The Army is coming to the end of its rope in
Building The Terrorists
Boy, this was hard to predict: The war in
In the bleak report, declassified and released Tuesday on Bush's orders, the nation's most veteran analysts conclude that despite serious damage to the leadership of al-Qaida, the threat from Islamic extremists has spread both in numbers and in geographic reach.
Bush and his top advisers have said the formerly classified assessment of global terrorism supported their arguments that the world is safer because of the war. But more than three pages of stark judgments warning about the spread of terrorism contrasted with the administration's glass-half-full declarations.
"If this trend continues, threats to
But who needs an Army – we’ve got PR!: A public relations company known for its role in a controversial U.S. military program that paid Iraqi newspapers for stories favorable to coalition forces has been awarded another multimillion dollar media contract with American forces in Iraq.
Washington-based Lincoln Group won a two-year contract to monitor a number of English and Arabic media outlets and produce public relations-type products such as talking points or speeches for
Murder: Three Marines were referred to general courts-martial yesterday on charges of premeditated murder stemming from the death of an Iraqi man last spring in the town of
Based on recommendations of investigating officers, Lt. Gen. James Mattis ordered the courts-martial of Pfc. John J. Jodka III, 20, of Encinitas; Cpl. Marshall L. Magincalda, 23, of Manteca in the Central Valley; and Lance Cpl. Jerry E. Shumate, 21, of Matlock, Wash.
Manslaughter: An Iraqi civilian said he believed he was going to die while being beaten by British soldiers in
Ahmad al-Matairi told the hearing at Bulford Camp, Wilts, that soldiers from the Queen's Lancashire Regiment took bets on who could make him fall down.
Hotel receptionist Baha Mousa, 26, was arrested during the raid and later died while in British custody.
Seven soldiers have been charged variously with treating Iraqi civilians inhumanely and manslaughter.
Drugs and guns: A newspaper in
A spokesman for the Defense Ministry said Sunday that soldiers had been investigated for the "unlawful possession" of weapons and that prosecutors would decide whether there was enough evidence to file charges. He would not comment on the report that small arms had been exchanged on the black market for drugs.
According to the Sunday Times, the soldiers transported handguns from
E.J. Dionne: What could prove to be the most important factor in the 2006 elections is overlooked because it is unseen: The Republicans cannot try to curry favor with a "silent majority" that favors the
President Bush's defenders have cast opponents of the war as weak on terrorism. Yesterday, Vice President Cheney accused Democrats of "resignation and defeatism." But the charges have not taken hold, because most Americans don't agree with the premise linking the war on terror with the war in
And blame for the failures in
Bob Geiger: With just six weeks until the 2006 midterm elections, one would never know to look at the media -- or by where the White House or Republican Congress direct their focus -- that the United States is still involved in a bloody war that has continued almost as long as our country's entire involvement in World War II. September 20 marked three years and six months since
Imagine the constant, JonBenet Ramsey-like media coverage that would occur if Al-Qaeda killed 44 Americans by bombing a Burger King in
Tonight the military has identified the two Hawaii-based troops killed in
The funeral service of a Lancashire soldier killed in
The first member of West Point's "Class of 9/11" to die in combat was buried at the military academy Tuesday, two weeks after she was killed by a bomb at the head of a convoy in Iraq. 2nd Lt. Emily Perez, 23, was leading a platoon when a roadside bomb exploded Sept. 12 south of
Sgt. 1st Class Charles J. Jones, 29, Lawrenceburg, Ky.; died Sept. 20 in a non-hostile incident; assigned to the Army National Guard's 149th Brigade Combat Team; Louisville, Ky.
Sgt. David J. Davis, 32, Mount Airy; killed Sept. 17 in Baghdad by an explosive; assigned to the Army's 4th Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team; Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
Sgt. Adam L. Knox, 21, Columbus, Ohio; killed Sept. 17 in Baghdad by small-arms fire; assigned to the Army Reserve's 346th Psychological Operations Company; Columbus, Ohio.
Petty Officer 2nd Class David S. Roddy, 32,
Another U.S. Army soldier with
On Tuesday, two days after Marine Lance Cpl. Howard S. March Jr., 20, was killed during combat operations in
Marine Sgt. Christopher Zimmerman was killed in a gunfight with Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah last Wednesday. Zimmerman, 28, was a member of a reconnaissance unit based out of