DAILY WAR NEWS FOR SUNDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2006
U.S. troops inspect the scene of a car bombing in Kirkuk, 290 kilometers (180 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2006. (AP Photo/Yahya Ahmed)
Seven More Coffins You Won't be Allowed to See
Three Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers were killed at approximately 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, when the vehicle they were riding in was struck by an improvised-explosive device south of Baghdad.
A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier died at approximately 7:50 p.m. Friday from wounds he received when the vehicle he was riding in was struck by an improvised-explosive device southwest of Baghdad.
One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died Oct. 14 from injuries sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province.
A U.S. airman was killed in action in Iraq on Saturday, the U.S. military said in a statement. The airman was killed while working with the Iraqi police around the capital, Baghdad, it said, giving no further details.
Private 1st Class Thomas J. Hewitt, 22, of Temple, Texas, died on Oct. 13 at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C., from injuries sustained during a Sept. 26 incident in Baghdad, Iraq
, during which an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. Hewitt was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.
Other Security Incidents
At least 46 Sunni Arabs killed in weekend massacre
. Killings are apparently in retaliation for slaying of 17 Shiites, whose decapitated bodies were found in an orchard on Friday. Interior Ministry says it has imposed a curfew and sent extra police to the area. According to AP, "Nevertheless, the killings raged through the night, with bullet-ridden bodies being delivered to the Balad's main hospital into Sunday morning, according to a hospital director who asked that his name not be used for fear of reprisals." Reuters' Ibon Villelabeitia offers details on the attacks
, says black-clad militiamen set up checkpoints, quotes head of hospital as saying bodies came in showing signs of torture.
Five bombings within one hour kill 12 and injure 56
. WaPo's Ellen Knickmeyer reports from Baghdad, with an anonymous Iraqi stringer providing information from Kirkuk.
- Suicide bomber attacks HQ of the Facilities Protection Service [see below, Newsweek Article], killing five, injuring ten.
- Second suicide bomber attacks police patrol, killing three, wounding seven.
- Third bomber attacks a teacher's training institute for young women, killing two students.
- Remote control mine kills a police officer.
- Second remote control mine kills a civilian, wounds eight police.
City streets are said to be deserted, shops closed. AFP differs on some details, suggests that civilians rather than police were the targets of the last two bombs
, and says that the fourth was a booby-trapped car.
Bombers targeted a convoy carrying Hala Mohammed Shakr, head of the interior ministry's financial affairs department, killing two bodyguards and five civilian bystanders, Brigadier General Abdel Karim Khalaf said.
AFP also reports:
Gunmen killed a Shi'ite family of eight after storming their house in the mostly Sunni town 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad
- The capital's Al-Kindi hospital reported receiving eight wounded civilians.
- On Ghadir Street in southeast Baghdad a bomb exploded next to a passing convoy of security contractors, setting a vehicle ablaze, killing two bystanders and wounding five, police said.
- Another bomb killed one person and wounded two in the Amil neighborhood, a confessionally mixed area of southwest Baghdad that has seen a number of attacks.
in the so-called "Triangle of Death". Police said the dead were three women, two children and three men.
Police found the bodies of four people, with gunshot wounds and signs of torture, near the city
Gunmen stormed a house and killed three women and two men.
Police officer killed by unidentfied gunmen
Police officer killed by unidentified gunment in town 25 miles south of Baghdad
Clashes between gunmen and Iraqi police on Saturday night left three policemen wounded in an area between Baghdad and Kut, 170 km (105 miles) southeast of Baghdad, police said.
Nine gunmen were also arrested. The body of a civilian was later found in the same area, police said.
A bomb also exploded Sunday morning in the old bazaar, injuring three people, police Capt. Karim al-Zaidi said
Three women and four men were killed in drive-by shootings in the predominantly Shiite village south of Baghdad on Saturday afternoon
, according to provincial police spokesman Lt. Hadi Hassan.
Two bodies partially eaten by fish were pulled out of the Tigris river downstream of the capital
OTHER NEWS OF THE DAY
Interior Ministry says it has fired 3,000 employees
accused of corruption or rights abuses. Offers no further detail.
Iran and Iraq to strengthen security and intelligence ties
AFP BAGHDAD - Iraq and Iran have formed a working group to build closer security and intelligence ties, the Iraqi government announced Sunday, despite US concerns over Teheran’s role in the country.
Iraqi National Security Advisor Muwaffaq Al Rubaie and his Iranian counterpart Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei, minister of security and intelligence, recently discussed putting into effect a prior deal to share intelligence. “The two sides agreed to form a working group to lay down suitable mechanisms to implement the agreement to strengthen security and intelligence cooperation,” said a statement issued by the Iraqi cabinet.
The United States, which maintains 142,000 troops in Iraq, has expressed concern over what it describes as Iran’s role in fuelling the deadly violence sweeping Iraq and has accused Teheran of smuggling weapons to Iraqi militias. “Two countries are particularly playing a negative role: the Iranian and Syrian regimes,” said US ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad on Thursday. “These regimes are supporting groups who are killing Iraqis. Their objective is to use Iraqis as cannon fodder in their plan to keep Iraqis divided and Iraq weak,” he said.
Rubaie declined to discuss the agreement or Iran’s role in the country, telling AFP: “I do not wish to comment on these issues.” In a July interview with CNN, however, the Iraqi national security advisor denied that Iran had a hand in the violence, but he acknowledged: “They have a political influence. They have media activity. They have even sometimes a security and intelligence activity inside Iraq.” He also denied that Iran was supplying militants with special armor-piercing explosives technology, even though US and British officers maintain that the devices can be traced specifically to Iran.
Read in Full
Zaman (Turkey) says U.S. reportedly building major airbase in Kurdistan
. Full story:
By Zaman, Istanbul Sunday, October 15, 2006
The United States is allegedly planning to construct a big military base in northern Iraq as part of its military plans for the Middle East. A news article published on the Firat News Agency website, which is known to have close connections to the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), said that U.S. officials in agreement with the regional Kurdish administration in northern Iraq have begun to construct a military airport in the Arbil region. A small model of the base will be established in Suleymaniya.
Technical material for the bases is provided by companies close to the Turkish army. Reportedly, Incirlik Base operations in Turkey will be carried out by the Erbil base. Equipment is being transported to the region by container from the Habur Border Gate. Jalal Talabani, the Kurdish- president of Iraq, had asked the United States to establish two bases in northern Iraq.
Army struggles to keep vehicles on battlefields
Published Sunday, October 15, 2006
TEXARKANA, Texas - The Army Humvees wait forlornly, lost in acres of damaged war machines with blown engines, missing hoods and scavenged parts. Grease-pencil scrawls turn windshields cracked in Iraq and Afghanistan into gripe lists. Soldiers’ complaints about breakdowns are stuck with duct tape.
All around are Humvees choked in Kuwaiti dust, trucks that succumbed to the weight of armor welded on by soldiers and broken-down Bradley fighting vehicles from Iraq, their motorized ramps held up by industrial-strength bungee cords.
With the U.S. military critically overextended in manpower and funding, this crowded repair yard is yet another sign of the strain on the Pentagon - barely enough equipment to go around on the battlefield and not enough to train units back home. A backlog of hundreds of vehicles awaits repairs in one lot alone, a testament to extraordinary wear and tear on U.S. military equipment.
"Half of it is in Iraq or Afghanistan, the other half of it is in the shop. Whatever’s not in Iraq or Afghanistan is in pretty bad shape," said Michael O’Hanlon, senior fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington.
Primarily, training is hampered by the backlog, but the margins for equipment availability have rarely been so narrow for the U.S. military. If the nation doesn’t have another war, O’Hanlon observed, "I think we’ll scrape by."
For a glimpse of the stress on equipment produced by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, look no further than East Patrol Road at the Red River Army Depot in Texarkana, a sprawling former cotton farm on the Texas border with Arkansas where contractors rush to rehab military vehicles as more arrive all the time.
As the cost of two wars pushes past $500 billion and the death toll for American troops reaches more than 3,000 in Iraq and Afghanistan, repair backlogs have meant equipment for anything other than fighting has been increasingly hard to repair in a timely manner.
Read in Full
Long delays, cost overruns mar Iraq rebuilding program
. This is not news, obviously, but the AP decided to trot out a few examples today. See story by Charles Hanley, below.
In 2004, the Army found that Halliburton Co. subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root had spent all $ 76 million allocated for running a pipeline beneath the Tigris River, but completed only 28 percent of the drilling. It had gone ahead despite expert warnings the drilling would fail. A new contractor switched to a more feasible route.
Last March, U.S. auditors found that Parsons Corp. had spent $186 million over two years, 77 percent of the budget, but had completed only six of 150 primary health-care clinics planned for Iraq. Army engineers said Parsons failed to supervise subcontractors’ work. The contract was terminated by mutual agreement
In June and July, the Army terminated Parsons’ contracts for building two prisons because of cost overruns and protracted delays. A month after the March 2006 delivery date on a prison outside the southern city of Nasariyah, the project was only 28 percent complete.
Bechtel Corp.’s work on a children’s hospital in Basra bogged down so badly that it said its September 2006 deadline would have to be moved to July 2007, and its $50 million cost might double. In July, Bechtel was dropped from the project, which was put on hold.
COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS AND IN-DEPTH REPORTING
In WaPo op-ed, Rep. Murtha accuses GOP of "baseless name calling
The Republicans are running scared. In the White House, on Capitol Hill and on the campaign trail, they're worried about losing control of Congress. And so the administration and the GOP have launched a desperate assault on Democrats and our position on the war in Iraq. Defeatists, they call us, and appeasers and -- oh so cleverly -- "Defeatocrats." Vice President Cheney has accused Democrats of "self-defeating pessimism." Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has faulted us for believing that "vicious extremists can be appeased." The White House calls Democrats the party of "cut and run."
It's all baseless name-calling, and it's all wrong. Unless, of course, being a Defeatocrat means taking a good hard look at the administration's Iraq policy and determining that it's a failure.
In that case, count me in. Because Democrats recognize that we're headed for a far greater disaster in Iraq if we don't change course -- and soon. This is not defeatism. This is realism.
Our troops who are putting their lives on the line deserve a plan that matches our military prowess with diplomatic and political skill. They deserve a clear and achievable mission and they deserve to know precisely what it will take to accomplish it. They deserve answers, not spin.
Our military has done all it can do in Iraq, and the Iraqis want their occupation to end. I support bringing our troops home at the earliest practicable date, at a rate that will keep those remaining there safe on the ground. It's time that the White House and the GOP start working with Democrats in Congress to come up with a reasonable timetable for withdrawal and for handing the Iraqi government over to the Iraqis.
Read in Full
Since the Facilities Protection Service was apparently among the targets in the Kirkuk bombings today, I thought this article from the International Edition of Newsweek back in April was timely -- C
By Scott Johnson ewsweek April 24, 2006 issue - The terrorists trying to drive Iraq toward full-scale civil war have put sacred shrines at the top of their target list. So who, then, is protecting Iraq's most revered holy sites these days? The answer might tell us something about where real power lies in Iraq—or at least how it's divvied up by rival factions competing for power and authority. With that aim in mind, Iraqi reporters for NEWSWEEK set off last week to visit some of the country's most sacred sites. They didn't get far. At the first stop on their list—the 10th-century Kadhimiya shrine in Baghdad—two reporters were detained and questioned. The armed men who held them were from an obscure security force called the Facilities Protection Services, which now apparently numbers a staggering 146,000 men.
Even as American officials trumpet 2006 as the "Year of the Police," a more problematic force with multiple agendas is emerging. The FPS, as it turns out, is a mutant security agency that has grown from a 4,000-man group of "night watchmen"—the description given to them last year by Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey, who is in charge of training all Iraqi security forces—into a large, amorphous force that seems to lack any centralized control. Not one ministry contacted by NEWSWEEK would accept overall responsibility for the FPS. The Americans don't oversee them either: "We really don't get anywhere near them," says Tim Keefe, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad.
Facility Protection cops are suspected of committing at least some of the sectarian killings that have plagued the country in recent months. "The FPS have the same uniforms, weapons and vehicles [as regular police], and they are not controlled by either the Ministry of Interior or Defense," Iraqi Interior Minister Bayan Jabr told NEWSWEEK recently. "And they are doing some bad." According to Jabr, one element of FPS guards called Battalion 16 has been "involved in sectarian killings, explosions and mortar attacks." Jabr alleged that U.S. forces recently arrested "tens" of FPS members who had slaughtered "over 100 persons" in the Baghdad neighborhood of Doura.
Jabr and others say the FPS began as a force to protect public buildings and facilities. But as time passed, individual units became beholden to the institutions they protected. New ministers would bring in their own loyalists to fill the ranks of their FPS contingents and fund them separately. The forces then grew. Yet even the commander of FPS forces under the Ministry of Interior, Gen. Jalal Mohammed Ameen, says the FPS has gotten out of control. "Killers, thieves, people who claimed to be former officers became officers," he complained to NEWSWEEK. A U.S. official involved in political and military planning in Baghdad (who did not want to be named because he has to deal with Iraqi leaders) says, "The FPS has basically become a private army for the ministers. They have no accountability."
U.S. officials tell NEWSWEEK that the Ministry of Transportation, which is run by an openly anti-American ally of Moqtada al-Sadr, employs large numbers of FPS soldiers. Thousands of them have been issued AK-47s or pistols, and they wear the sky-blue shirts and blue trousers of the Iraqi police. The thousands of police vehicles that are available to the Transportation Ministry are now also available to the FPS—and perhaps to Sadr's militia.
Read in Full
Much of Iraq still in ruin as U.S. builders leave
By CHARLES J. HANLEY. Associated Press
Close behind U.S. tanks and troops, America's big builders invaded Iraq three years ago. Now the reconstruction funds are drying up and they're pulling out, leaving completed projects and unfulfilled plans in the hands of an Iraqi government unprepared to manage either.
The Oct. 1 start of the U.S. government's 2007 fiscal year signaled an end to U.S. aid for new reconstruction in Iraq. "We're really focusing now on helping Iraqis do this themselves in the future," said Daniel Speckhard, reconstruction chief at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Many Iraqi government ministries aren't able yet to pick up where the Americans leave off, he said: "They're very bad at sustainment in terms of programs and projects."
In 2003, Congress committed almost $22 billion to a three-year program to help Iraq climb back from the devastation of war, the looting that followed and years of neglect under U.N. economic sanctions and Saddam Hussein's rule. The money, the biggest such U.S. effort since the post-World War II Marshall Plan in Europe, was invested in thousands of projects, large and small, such as rebuilt oil pipelines and upgraded power plants, schoolbooks, new ambulances and nurseries to replenish Iraq's groves of date palms.
But U.S. and Iraqi planners, engineers and construction crews faced major obstacles in a landscape wracked by anti-U.S. insurgency and Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence, in an economy bled by corruption, and in a nation abandoned by thousands of its skilled hands and shunned by much of the world.
In this dangerous climate, almost $6 billion of the U.S. reconstruction aid was diverted to training Iraqi police and troops and to other security costs, adding to what U.S. auditors now dub a "reconstruction gap." Fewer than half the electricity and oil projects planned have been completed, internal documents of the U.S. reconstruction command show. Scores of other projects were canceled, and the "gap" can be seen on the streets of Baghdad, where people spend most of their day without electricity, and spend hours in line for gasoline and other scarce fuels.
Although the Americans will complete jobs already under contract, probably into 2008, many participating in the U.S. program are disappointed Congress chose not to underwrite essential new projects.
"I always thought there would be value in having more money. (Other) donors haven't been coming in," noted Maj. Gen. William McCoy, senior U.S. Army engineer overseeing reconstruction. Of almost $14 billion pledged in 2003 by non-U.S. donors, barely $3 billion has been disbursed. From one key Iraqi's perspective, much of the reconstruction funds were misspent.
"Huge amounts of funds were wasted because of bureaucracy, corruption, incapacity and the spending of money on unimportant projects," said Ali Baban, planning minister in Iraq's five-month-old government. The auditors say, however, most projects show good workmanship and quality control.
U.S. officials point particularly to what Speckhard called a "very significant success in helping the oil sector get back on its feet" — vital to Iraq's future, since more than 90 percent of its government revenues come from oil sales. It was a struggle against sabotage, equipment breakdowns and oil smugglers, but oil production, which scraped bottom at 1.4 million barrels a day in January, is again approaching prewar levels.
The greatest problems plague the giant U.S. effort to restore Iraqi electricity.
Read in Full
The Sunday Times (UK) reviews the fallout from head of the Army General Sir Richard Dannatt's repudiation of the British mission in Iraq
. (And the top brass in the U.S., in contrast, are in disgrace and shame for their moral cowardice. -- that's my commentary for the day -- C.)
The head of the British Army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, was apparently not intending to “cause a lot of hoo-ha”, as he later described it, when he sat down to be interviewed on Tuesday evening. His plan — according to sources at the Ministry of Defence — was to put the case for Britain’s mission in Afghanistan, putting in context the leaked e-mails and video clips from soldiers in the field that have brought home the fierceness of the fighting.
Dannatt, who is chief of the general staff, wanted to explain the great efforts being made in the Afghan campaign and his belief that its objectives are commendable. The interview seemed uncontentious — a suitable way of reassuring the mothers and wives of serving soldiers that their loved ones are not risking their lives in a pointless cause. In making his case, however, Dannatt contrasted Afghanistan with the quagmire of Iraq. The more he drew the contrasts, the more he shot holes in the policies of Tony Blair and his government.
The planning for the aftermath of the Iraq invasion, he said, was “poor, probably based more on optimism than sound planning”. The British military presence in Iraq “exacerbates the security problems”. He blamed the situation in Iraq for making matters worse elsewhere, directly contradicting Blair. “I don’t say that the difficulties we are experiencing around the world are caused by our presence in Iraq, but undoubtedly our presence in Iraq exacerbates them,” he said.
To cap it all, he pointed out that British troops went to Afghanistan at the invitation of its elected government; in Iraq the “military campaign we fought in 2003 effectively kicked the door in”.
He added: “The original intention was that we put in place a liberal democracy . . . Whether that was a sensible or naive hope history will judge. I don’t think we are going to do that. I think we should aim for a lower ambition.” British troops, he concluded, should leave Iraq “soon”.
ON Thursday night, as newspaper first editions rolled off the presses, Downing Street was stunned. Blair called Des Browne, the defence secretary. In turn Browne called Dannatt, who was attending a dinner at HMS Raleigh, a Royal Navy training base in Cornwall. It was, says an army source, a forthright discussion. Dannatt was soon hurrying back to London.
In other circumstances a military officer defying his political master might have been sacked. But Blair was in no position to call all the shots. For while Downing Street was furious, the reaction among Dannatt’s own men was one of exultation. At last someone at the top had spoken out for the ordinary soldier — and there was nothing Blair could do about it.
The army internet forums were full of praise. “I think it’s bloody brilliant a CGS (Chief of the General Staff) gets up and says ‘For my lads’,” one soldier wrote.
“The General has obviously decided to stake his job on this,” another added. “At last, someone who has integrity and genuine concern for his men and his country.”
Read in Full
Mary Riddell, in the Observer, has a more leftish take
History will forgive the war on Iraq. Or so Tony Blair told the US Congress in July 2003, as the first cold shadows fell on the invasion. The Prime Minister also warned of 'many further struggles ahead'. He cannot have imagined that these would include being gunned down by the head of the British army. By calling for a pull-out from Iraq, General Sir Richard Dannatt has reversed the view of the French wartime leader, Georges Clemenceau, that 'war is too serious a matter to entrust to military men'. In Dannatt's view, it is too vital to be left to the sofa warriors of Downing Street. His men have had enough, and he has said so.
The military can barely hide their glee. The previous head, Sir Michael Jackson, was seen by soldiers as Blair's puppet. Now they have a leader who puts the army first. Dannatt may not share this jubilation. Naivety, or every general's tendency to rank himself just below God in the cosmic line management structure, led him into an unintended row.
Many war-brokers bend their constitutional roles. Blair has behaved as an unanointed commander-in-chief: Dannatt has adapted the role of General MacArthur, fired by President Truman for trying to declare war on China. Unlike MacArthur, Dannatt has become an all-purpose hero, feted not just by soldiers but by troops-out campaigners.
Be wary. The general is talking about preserving the army, not the fragile lives of Iraqi citizens. British soldiers in the south have been better able - and may still be - to help stave off social collapse than their counterparts in Baghdad. But when troops are failing to protect citizens' lives or hinder the slide towards civil war, they have to leave. That line may well have been crossed. The results of a disastrous invasion should be debated in Parliament. They should have dominated Labour party conference. How shameful that the gravest of all foreign policy issues has been left to a soldier speaking out of turn.
The promises of a better tomorrow are in ruins now. Our troops will be off shortly, possibly barring a small presence in the south. Professor Paul Rogers, of Bradford University, doubts that a British force will be in place in 12 months' time. There would be no schism. Blair would leave office first, allowing his successor to profess allegiance to George W Bush's strategy while hiving troops off to fight in Afghanistan, which is still winnable. (Quite how, when the obstacles are greater, the terrain harder, the insurgency more vicious and the track record of invaders even worse than in Iraq, neither Dannatt nor the government can explain.)
Any rift with US foreign policy would be airbrushed out, just like the Dannatt outburst. The PM wants British troops out of Iraq. The general says withdrawal must be 'soon'. What's one small word of difference between friends, ask the semanticists of Downing Street? If only the fissures in Iraq could be filled in so easily.
On Friday, the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) issued its bleakest assessment. Conflict has displaced 1.5 million people inside Iraq; a tide of refugees swells the 1.6 million living outside the country. The Lancet's estimate of 655,000 deaths since the conflict began is not only in a different stratosphere from Bush's ballpark figure of 30,000 'more or less'. It is also evidence of the asymmetry in the death roll of the war on terror.
In contrast to the attrition in Iraq, no US citizen has died in an Islamist attack on US soil since 9/11. Neo-con certainties about gun-barrel democracy have perished, naturally, and the graveyards of political theory bristle with their memorials. But, like a headless chicken, the strategy stumbles on. Dig in for victory. No British exit is likely to change that course any time soon.
Even all-out anarchy would be unlikely to dislodge the US, which would impose martial law, according to Amyas Godfrey, a strategic expert and former aide-de-camp to a British general in Iraq. No Republican administration, and possibly no Democrat one, would dare risk the ripple effect of a collapsed state.
Read in Full
JUST A FEW FROM WHISKER'S ROUND-UP OF THE WOUNDED
As usual, he's got a dozen or so, but it's been a rough day in Iraq and this is already a long post, so here are a few highlights. -- C
Lance Corporal Derrick Sharpe, 19, of Berwick, PA was injured last month in Iraq. His mother had to make the heart-wrenching choice Monday to have his leg amputated, or he wouldn't make it
. LCpl Sharpe had only been in Iraq a few weeks in September when a roadside bomb went off while he was on patrol. Now, he's in critical condition at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland. LCpl Sharpe is battling infection through much of his body.
Spc. Bradly Davis, 23, pf Pascagoula, Mississippi, received injuries to his shoulders, chest, stomach and hips during a mortar attack by insurgents in Hit, west of Baghdad
. Davis, whose duties included transporting troops to and from combat areas, had stopped with several other soldiers to repair their armored vehicle when the attack happened, his grandfather, Jason Noble, said. "They had been in an eight-hour firefight and were returning to their area, which was supposed to be a secured zone," Noble said. "They had just taken their body armor off, and within 10 seconds, the mortar rounds came in and hit them." Several other soldiers received severe injuries during the attack, Noble said.
35-year-old Staff Sgt. Russ Marek of Satellite Beach, Fl, is still in need of physical and speech therapy, but he has made remarkable progress since he was brought back to the U.S. more than a year ago after losing part of an arm and leg in a roadside bombing
. His war wounds also included brain injuries and severe burns to 20 percent of his body. Marek served as a staff sergeant in the 4th Battalion 64th Armor Regiment of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division. He was in Iraq for the initial drive against Saddam Hussein. It was on his second tour of duty that a roadside bomb hit his tank during a nighttime mission Sept. 16, 2005. The blast tore through the bottom of Marek's M1A1 Abrams tank. Two members of his tank crew were killed. Another soldier in the same convoy was killed when a second bomb exploded.
Robert Lindsay has posted a new wrap-up through Oct. 11
QUOTES OF THE DAY
British soldiers write to The Independent in response to Gen. Dannatt's remarks
Good on him. Stand by for incoming - Nigeglib
I'm overjoyed that someone in a senior position has finally had the moral fortitude to forget the spin, forget the politics and just stand up and speak the truth - Danvnuk
Right, when B'liar is put up against the wall, can I shoot him?????? - The matelot
After years and years, AT LAST someone at the top has had the b@lls to stand up and be counted. If he gets the sack, watch out for fireworks - Brandt
At last, someone who had integrity and genuine concern for his men and his country - Hansvonhealing
Bloody well said. B'liar, your legacy is secured, it's called Iraq - Carmbrai-Kid
This will destroy B'liar.. at long last - Steptoe
Crikey! - Trailfinder
This might turn out to be one of those moments when the world turns and Governments fall; I certainly hope so! - 303SMLE
Dicky Dannatt will have said this in full knowledge of the likely impact. We were lied to when it all started and we are still lied to today! The Dear Leader should resign now - Rubicon
Forget the feeble Mr Cameron and the non-existent Mr Campbell, the general is indeed the true moral voice of opposition in this country - Hereward
Allelluia! - Ethel the Aardvark