Sunday, October 08, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR SUNDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2006 Thaier Aziz cries over the bodies of his 6 year old niece and the girl's mother Rahima Kadim, covered by blanket on the left, in Baqouba hospital, 60 kilometers (35 miles) northeast of Baghdad, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2006. Drive-by shooters opened fire Sunday on a minibus carrying a Shiite family, killing the woman, her six-year old daughter, the van's driver and injuring the woman's husband and his brother. (AP Photo/Adem Hadei) This is yet another of those incidents that is only mentioned in a photo caption -- C MOSUL, Iraq – A Task Force Lightning Soldier assigned to 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, based out of Fort Lewis, Washington, was killed Saturday, Oct. 7, by an improvised explosive device detonation. BAGHDAD – A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier died at approximately 1:15 p.m. Oct. 7 when terrorists [sic] attacked his patrol with small-arms fire northwest of Baghdad. Tikrit, Iraq – A Multi-National Division-North Soldier assigned to the 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg, N.C., died Friday, Oct. 6, as a result of enemy action while conducting operations near the city of Bayji. As we continue to acknowledge U.S. military fatalities here, we must not forget that the number of wounded is much greater, and that many lives - of combatants and their loved ones alike - are devastated by injuries. See the piece below by Ann Scott Tyson -- C Baghdad Consecutive explosions in Victory Square kill 20, including four policemen. KUNA also reports: A roadside bomb exploded near a police patrol, killing one civilian and wounding nine people, including four policemen, in Tyran Square in central Baghdad, police said. Reuters also reports: Gunmen kill Abdul Hadi Muhiey, Imam of a Shiite Husseiniyah (mosque) in the Adil district as he was leaving the Husseiniyah after a prayer," Captain Ahmed Abdullah, from Baghdad police told Xinhua. Unknown gunmen killed an employee of the local TV channel al-Sharqia in western Baghdad on Sunday, a well-informed police source told Xinhua. Baquba Gunmen killed four people, police said Haditha Gunmen killed five people. Kirkuk Iraqi forces impose 24-hour curfew, undertake security sweep, arrest 150, complete 10 mile trench around southern and western edge of city. (Note: This AP story does not address what are likely ethnic overtones of this action. Target of crackdown is Sunni Arab militants. Not stated whether army units involved are largely Kurdish, but that is a reasonable hypothesis. I would like to have better info on this. -- C) AFP reports curfew has been lifted. Iskandariya Mortar rounds on Saturday killed a man and wounded two others. Iskandariya is 40 km south of Baghdad. Jurf al-Sakhar Gunmen attacked a police patrol on Saturday while it was trying to retrieve a dumped body. One policeman wounded. The town is 80 km south of Baghdad. Samarra Gunmen killed a policeman and his 8-year-old son on Saturday. Mussayib Mortars hit a residential neighbourhood, killing one person and wounding two. Ishaqi Gunmen killed a farmer. Ishaqi is 100 km north of Baghdad. Baiji Gunmen killed a university student on Saturday Tikrit Four people were killed and one wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near their car. Khaldiya Police found three bodies blindfolded with signs of torture and bullet wounds. Khaldiya is 80 km west of Baghdad. Rabia A roadside bomb killed chief of police Colonel Yahya Hamid. Rabia is a small town near the Syrian border. Diwaniya U.S. military says U.S. and Iraqi troops kill 30 militants in street battles. City is under indefinite curfew. An Abrams tank is "severely damaged," but military is mum on any U.S. or civilian casualties. Hospital source say four civilians wounded. Mehdi army denies involvement, also denies U.S. claims of fatalities among militants. AFP reports hospital sources say 7 civilians injured, one critically. COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS The ratio of U.S. injured to killed is much greater in this war than in the past. This is not really news, but it's important to be reminded of it. Excerpt:
Ann Scott Tyson, Washington Post. Sunday, October 8, 2006 -- The number of U.S troops wounded in Iraq has surged to its highest level in nearly two years as Americans fight block-by-block in Baghdad to try to check a spiral of sectarian violence that U.S. commanders warn could lead to civil war. Last month, 776 U.S. troops were wounded in action in Iraq, the highest number since the military assault to retake the insurgent-held city of Fallujah in November 2004, according to Defense Department data. It was the fourth-highest monthly total since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The sharp increase in American wounded -- with nearly 300 more in the first week of October -- is a grim measure of the degree to which the U.S. military has been thrust into the lead of the effort to stave off full-scale civil war in Iraq, military officials and experts say. Beyond Baghdad, Marines battling Sunni insurgents in Iraq's violent western province of Anbar last month also suffered their highest number of wounded in action since late 2004. More than 20,000 U.S. troops have been wounded in combat and 2,700 killed in the Iraq war. While much media reporting has focused on the number of dead, military experts say the number of wounded is a more accurate gauge of the fierceness of fighting because advances in armor and medical care allow many service members to survive who would have perished in past wars. The ratio of wounded to killed among U.S. forces in Iraq is about 8 to 1, compared with 3 to 1 in Vietnam. "These days, wounded are a much better measure of the intensity of the operations than killed," said Anthony Cordesman, a military expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
Read in Full BBC analyst Jon Leyne sees motive of Rice's visit to Middle East as 100% ulterior. One more straw in the wind regarding administration plans for Iran. Excerpt:
By Jon Leyne, BBC News, Amman -- Why did Condoleezza Rice come to Israel and the West Bank earlier this week? By all accounts, the US secretary of state had no fresh ideas to offer to revive what used to be called the Middle East peace process. Both the Palestinian and Israeli sides have governments too weak to handle any major initiative. Aides on all sides played down the prospects of any progress. It seems they were right. So why come at all? Many Arab and Israeli commentators have found the same answer: Iran. As the columnist Saul Singer wrote in the Jerusalem Post on Friday: "Every time the White House decides to confront a rogue regime, the state department decides it's time to build a coalition." Another writer, Abdallah Iskandar, put it this way in Al Hayat newspaper on Monday: "Condoleezza Rice arrives in the region today. Her announced aim is to revive the Middle East peace process and stiffen the Arab position against Iran. "In other words, the US administration is linking the Middle Eastern conflict to the Iranian file." Indeed state department counsellor Philip Zelikow seemed to give the game away in an address to a Washington think tank on 15 September. "For the Arab moderates and for the Europeans, some sense of progress and momentum on the Arab-Israeli dispute is just a sine qua non for their ability to co-operate actively with the United States on a lot of other things that we care about." No mention of Iran, but the implication is clear. Give US friends cover, at least by appearing engaged on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. But it is an approach that causes consternation on both sides of the Arab-Israeli dispute. For the Israelis, they worry that they may be forced to make concessions to the Palestinians, to support this wider anti-Iran coalition. For Arabs, the concern is that it is all for show. There is a need, as Philip Zelikow put it, for a "sense of progress" in the Arab-Israeli dispute, in order to reassure US Arab allies. A sense of progress, but no actual, real progress. If Iran was the real reason behind this visit, there is another implication. If the US wants to pursue the diplomatic route in the dispute with Iran, Arab support is not exactly critical. The only Arab country on the Security Council is Qatar, hardly a crucial vote to be lobbied for. No, the logic of this line of reasoning is that military action against Iran is now being very seriously considered in Washington.
Read in Full In spite of the Foley scandal and other recent headlines, polling data show Iraq is still top issue for the upcoming election. Not good news for Republicans. Gulf News says Kurds are close to making a separate peace with Sunni Arab militants. (Not clear what groups this encompasses. Since this article also emphasizes that Maliki is not in a position to make peace with these groups, it is not clear what this means for the future of a unified Iraq, assuming there is any truth to the story. Since any meaningful truce with Sunni Arab groups would require resolving the status of Kirkuk, this seems a long shot. But we'll see. -- C) Remember the Baker Commission? I didn't, but the London Times says it will recommend de facto partition, loose federation. Excerpt:
Sarah Baxter, Washington AN independent commission set up by Congress with the approval of President George W Bush may recommend carving up Iraq into three highly autonomous regions, according to well informed sources. The Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by James Baker, the former US secretary of state, is preparing to report after next month’s congressional elections amid signs that sectarian violence and attacks on coalition forces are spiralling out of control. The conflict is claiming the lives of 100 civilians a day and bombings have reached record levels. The Baker commission has grown increasingly interested in the idea of splitting the Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish regions of Iraq as the only alternative to what Baker calls “cutting and running” or “staying the course”. “The Kurds already effectively have their own area,” said a source close to the group. “The federalisation of Iraq is going to take place one way or another. The challenge for the Iraqis is how to work that through.” The commission is considered to represent a last chance for fresh thinking on Iraq, where mass kidnappings are increasing and even the police are suspected of being responsible for a growing number of atrocities. Baker, 76, an old Bush family friend who was secretary of state during the first Gulf war in 1991, said last week that he met the president frequently to discuss “policy and personnel”. His group will not advise “partition”, but is believed to favour a division of the country that will devolve power and security to the regions, leaving a skeletal national government in Baghdad in charge of foreign affairs, border protection and the distribution of oil revenue.
Read in Full LA Times reporters break down the multiple conflicts in Iraq. WHISKER'S ROUND-UP OF WOUNDED U.S. Army Pvt. Steven Smith lost both his legs after the Humvee he was in was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade in Iraq. Smith, 19, had just arrived in Iraq when he was injured in the beginning of April. Gurkha rifleman Nabin Rai. 23, who is being put forward for a bravery medal, was hit in the eye as he fired his machine-gun at insurgents who were trying to overrun his base. A bullet then smashed into his helmet, knocking him to the ground, but stayed at his post - and carried on shooting. "A bullet hit the sight of my machine-gun," said Rifleman Rai from Camp Bastion, the main British base in Helmand. "It broke up but fragments went into my right eye. " Eventually a doctor treated the wound, taking out some of the bullet fragments, but not all. I went back to my post and continued firing. The Taliban were pouring in fire towards us so I got my second weapon, which is a mini machine-gun, and fought on with that. "A bullet hit me in the helmet and knocked me down for a second but I leant over the Sangar and continued firing with the mini machine-gun." A Hamilton soldier has been injured in Afghanistan. There now confirmation that Corporal James Miller was the soldier who suffered deafness in his left ear and a possible concussion as a result of an attack on Friday. It the same attack that took the life of Private Josh Klukie of Thunder Bay, who was killed when he stepped on an buried explosive device. Sgt. Michael Boothby, 26, is a Center Point High School graduate now serving with the 172nd Striker Brigade out of Fort Wainwright near Fairbanks, Alaska. According to an aunt living in Kerrville, Boothby was serving his second tour in Iraq when he was injured on Sept. 16 by an explosion. Details of the incident were not available, and a spokesman for the U.S. Army in Fort Wainwright said she could not verify the injury or discuss any soldier’s condition without the soldier’s permission. The Rev. Annie Taylor, Boothby’s aunt, said Boothby underwent surgery at a U.S. military installation in Germany before being flown to the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. She said he has remained unconscious since the explosion, which left a piece of shrapnel in the back of his neck near the brain steam. Three soldiers from a Fergus Falls National Guard unit were injured recently in Iraq. The soldiers were in a Bradley fighting vehicle that was hit by an improvised explosive device near Fallujah last week. Sharon Casey is with the Fergus Falls Family Readiness Support Group. She says the most seriously injured was Adam Drechsel of Fargo, who suffered a fractured vertebra and finger. Spc. Gabe Rookus, a member of the 300th MP Company, is recuperating at Brooke Medical Hospital at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, near San Antonio, where he may remain for up to three months. According to The Associated Press, the incident occurred at a police station that was hit by two suicide bombers. The AP reported that at least two Iraqi police were killed, and around 26 wounded. The Rookus family heard that six Iraqi police were killed, and that two other U.S. soldiers were seriously wounded. At around 11 a.m., in Iraq, Rookus heard gunfire, grabbed his gear, and made his way to a rooftop. After an explosion rocked the building, the building collapsed and Rookus was buried beneath the rubble. Rookus' lieutenant discovered him, Sandi Rookus said. The lieutenant was injured, but was treated and released, she said. Rookus suffered second- and third-degree burns on over 30 percent of his body and his right leg has third-degree burns, which will require skin grafts, Sandi Rookus said. "Scott McDermond is the driver for Gabe," she said. "They have been together the last two years. McDermond suffered second-degree burns over 18 percent of his body. At press time, Cpl. David Warrick remains in a drug-induced coma, Sandi Rookus said. Warrick was burned on over 47 percent of his body, and suffered from inhaling fire into his esophagus and lungs. Just a day or two away from finishing his war duty on the streets of Fallujah, Iraq, Sgt. Terry Rathbun Jr. was seriously wounded Friday while on patrol there, according to his father. Rathbun, a 35-year-old whose family lives in Niantic, was in stable condition Monday in Germany with a life-threatening wound after being shot in the face, according to a Marine spokesman. Rathbun Sr. said he knows only that the bullet entered his son's right cheek and exited his neck. He plans to travel to the hospital in Maryland after his son arrives there. The family of a Marine from Lawrence County was told last week that he was hurt, but don't know the extent of his injuries. Now they want answers. 19-year-old Lance Corporal Eric Anderson was hurt in Iraq last week when his convoy was bombed. His family was told he was the only one to survive the attack and that he fired 400 rounds after being attacked. Anderson's ear drums reportedly burst in the incident causing him to lose 70 percent of his hearing in one ear and 90 percent in the other. A committee preparing a benefit for Daniel Barnes, a Little Falls-area soldier who lost his legs in Iraq, will meet at 12:45 p.m. Tuesday at the Herkimer County Office & Courts Facility’s fifth floor courtroom, 301 N. Washington St. Barnes, 29, a 1995 Little Falls High School graduate, had 52 days left on his second Iraqi tour when a rocket-launched grenade struck the Humvee in which he was traveling in. Three area soldiers, Tony Sellner of Dalton, Tyler Halvorson of Fergus Falls and Adam Drechsel of Fargo, were injured near Fallujah last Wednesday when the Bradley they were in encountered an IED. Drechsel was transferred to Germany, where he is receiving treatment for an injured finger and vertebrae in his back. He is expected to fully recover, Sharon Casey of the local military family readiness group, said. Sellner and Halvorson received some bumps and bruises and were returned to their unit. Lance Cpl. Dale Dunford II, of the U.S. Marine Corps, was wounded in action by a sniper's bullet. Dunford, 19, is expected to make a full recovery. He's recuperating from his wounds in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. "At Al Anbar, a province in western Iraq, I was called up onto a roof to help watch and provide security when a sniper shot me in the shoulder," Dunford said, Tuesday, during a telephone interview from Kaneohe Bay. "At first, I didn't know what actually happened. I fell onto the roof and thought there had been an explosion," he said. "After I was dragged away to safety, I realized I must have been shot." The bullet broke into three parts upon impact. One part exited the left side of his neck, a second part was removed later from the back of his neck, and the last piece remains where it is lodged in his neck, Dunford said. "The doctor told me the third piece needs to stay because it would do more damage to remove it," he said. Lieutenant Scott Quilty, a native of Francestown, was injured in Iraq Sunday night when an improvised explosive device was detonated while he was on a dismounted patrol with the Army platoon he led. As a result of his injuries, Quilty, 26, had his right arm amputated below the elbow and his right leg removed below the knee, according to his father, R. Scott Quilty, who said he had not been told where in Iraq the attack had occurred. A state lawmaker stationed in Iraq has been injured. The governor's office and fellow lawmakers say House member Jason Brown of Platte City has been hurt during a one-year tour in Iraq. Brown suffered from a bullet to his lung. Marine Corporal Patrick LaJuet was on foot patrol in Al Anbar Provice when he was shot by a sniper. The bullet went right thru his arm and his back. A YOUNG Bolton soldier lost a leg after a landmine exploded when he went to the aid of a badly injured colleague in Afghanistan. Seconds earlier, Andy Barlow, aged 20, from Breightmet, had been hit in the arm by shrapnel from another mine. As he turned round to pick up a water bottle, he stepped on the mine that blew off his foot. Two other soldiers lost a leg that day - September 6 - and another died. BEYOND IRAQ Tip: Independent Journalist Robert Lindsay offers a periodic news wrap-up from Afghanistan. QUOTE OF THE DAY
It is the terror and the guilt within your own heart, Mr. Bush, that you re-direct at others who simply wish for you to temper your certainty with counsel. It is the failure and the incompetence within your own memory, Mr. Bush, that leads you to demonize those who might merely quote to you the pleadings of Oliver Cromwell: "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken." It is not the Democrats whose inaction in the face of the enemy you fear, sir. It is your own — before 9/11 - (and you alone know this), perhaps afterwards. Mr. President, these new lies go to the heart of what it is that you truly wish to preserve. It is not our freedom, nor our country — your actions against the Constitution give irrefutable proof of that. You want to preserve a political party's power. And obviously you'll sell this country out, to do it.
Keith Olbermann Note: Due to scheduling issues, I have had to post relatively early today. Please do post updates in the comments. - C


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