DAILY WAR NEWS FOR THURSDAY, October 5, 2006
: An Iraqi man and his children looks at U.S. soldiers from Alfa company 1-17 battalion of the 172th Stryker brigade combat team patrolling their street, in eastern Baghdad, Monday, Oct. 2, 2006. The U.S military have been performing scout missions aimed at preparing security operations to stop sectarian violence in the capital. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic) (See below "As U.S. Forces Stand Up…")
Condoleezza Rice flew into Baghdad on Thursday for a previously unannounced visit
, Iraqi officials said. Rice has been on a tour of the Middle East, having already visited Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. She was likely to hold meetings with Iraqi government officials, including Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
A military transport plane that flew Rice and her party into Baghdad Thursday had had its landing delayed by 35 minutes by "indirect fire" — either from mortar rounds or rockets — in the airport area, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters.
Bring 'em on
: For the second time in two days, four U.S. soldiers were killed in a single incident around Baghdad, this time in what appears to have been a substantial skirmish involving mortars or rockets and gunfire to the northwest. It took the death toll in four days of the month to 15 around Baghdad and 22 in total.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS
A bomb exploded near a large crowd of labourers gathering to look for work in Baghdad wounding 30.
The explosion happened at Tayaran Square in the Bab Sharqi area where a group of men were waiting for daily work, police said.
Another bomb struck a group of laborers waiting for work at a downtown square in the capital, killing two and wounding 26.A car bomb detonated in the Hurriyah neighborhood in northeastern Baghdad, killing two people and wounding eight others.
The Iraqi police patrols found 30 bodies in different Baghdad neighborhoods during the past 24 hours
, police said on Thursday. "Our patrols found ten bodies, including one beheaded, on Thursday morning in addition to 20 others Wednesday night," a police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Gunmen opened fire at a cafe, killing five people and wounded six in the district of Zaafaraniya
on the southern outskirts of Baghdad.
Gunmen going door to door with gasoline containers burned down 22 houses in the past two days in Diyala Province.
The latest seven to be torched were in Abu Seda village, where the bodies of seven members of the same family were also found Wednesday morning.
Gunmen killed a police officer in a drive-by shooting in the town of Baquba
, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad.
A policeman was killed and another wounded by militants in central Baqba.
A child was killed and his two brothers wounded when an explosive device that was planted near where they live in central Baquba went off.
An Iraqi was shot dead by militants in the al-Moallemeen district of Baquba.
A civilian was killed in al-Tahrir district in southern Baquba.
A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol wounded two policemen in Mahmudiya
, about 30 km (20 miles) south of Baghdad.
Iraqi police found two bodies with gunshot wounds in Mahmudiya.
Several mortar rounds killed a man and wounded five of his family when they landed on their home in the town of Mahmudiya.
Several mortar rounds killed two people and wounded five others when they landed on a village near Balad Ruz
a town about 50 km (30 miles) southeast of Baquba.
Gunmen stormed a home in the southern Iraqi city of Samawa shooting dead three women and slitting the throat of a baby girl
, neighbours and hospital officials said on Thursday. Neighbours said the women were a mother and her daughter-in laws. The 18-month-old infant was the daughter of one of the in-laws.
Iraqi police patrols found four unidentified bodies including one of a woman, floating in the Tigris River at the town of Sweera
, 40 kilometers south-east of Baghdad.
Police found the bodies of five people, shot dead with signs of torture, in the small town of Ukashat
, about 500 km (310 miles) west of Baghdad.
Police said three military conscripts were killed and four others were wounded in mortar attacks in the northern city of Mosul.
Gunmen killed two people in separate incidents on Wednesday in Mosul.
A corpse was found near Kirkuk
, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. The victim was shot in the head.
Four people were killed and six wounded in clashes between insurgents and U.S. forces in Ramadi
, 110 km (68 miles) west of Baghdad.
Gunmen killed two people, including a policeman, in Falluja
, just west of Baghdad.
(update) Police Brigadier Shaaban al-Obeidi died of wounds he sustained in a roadside bombing near his convoy on Wednesday in the town of al-Baghdadi
, in Anbar province between Ramadi and Haditha.
Four people including policemen were wounded in a car bomb blast in the town of Talaafar.
An aide of the head of al-Qaida in Iraq was arrested last week
, the top U.S. military spokesman in Iraq said Wednesday.
The associate of Abu Ayyub al-Masri was captured in raids carried out Sept. 28 in Baghdad that also seized 31 other al-Qaida suspects, Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell told reporters.
He said the associate had worked as al-Masri's driver and personal assistant and had been involved in planning bombings in the capital. (...)
In early September, Iraqi officials announced the arrest of Hamed Jumaa Farid al-Saeedi, who they said was a top deputy of al-Masri. (...)
On Sunday, the Iraqi government released a captured video of al-Masri, showing him demonstrating how to build a bomb in a tanker truck. The video was the first to show the militant leader's face, although U.S. and Iraqi military officials have shown photos of him. (...)
If nothing else, Caldwell said, the video "demonstrates that al-Masri's intent is to kill and injure Iraqi civilians."
Bomb attacks in Baghdad have hit an all-time high
. U.S. military spokesman Major General William Caldwell said the number of car bombs in Baghdad, both detonated and defused, hit their highest level of the year last week and that bombs reported in general were "also at an all-time high."
The Baghdad morgue said it had received 1,440 bodies in September
, roughly 85 percent of whom were victims of violence. This was a drop on the 1,550 it reported in August and the 1,815 in July.
U.S. Central Command Air Forces officials have released the airpower summary for Oct. 5 and the space support requests for September.
In Iraq, RAF Tornado GR-4s provided close-air support to troops in contact with anti-Iraqi forces near Basrah. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles provided close-air support to troops in contact with anti-Iraqi forces near Baghdad and Balad. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons provided close-air support to troops in contact with anti-Iraqi forces near Baghdad, Ramadi, Al Fatha and Al Hawijah. Marine Corps AV-8Bs provided close-air support to troops in contact with anti-Iraqi forces near Ramadi. Marine Corps F/A-18Cs provided close-air support to troops in contact with anti-Iraqi forces near Al Mahmudiyah. In total, coalition aircraft flew 46 close-air support missions for Operation Iraqi Freedom. These missions included support to coalition troops, infrastructure protection, reconstruction activities and operations to deter and disrupt terrorist activities. Additionally, 14 Air Force, Army, RAF and Royal Australian Air Force ISR aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Iraq.
"I JUST WANT TO KILL"
Consider Darrell Anderson. I met with him in Toronto. He deserted after fighting in Iraq rather than face another deployment there.
In addition to taking shrapnel from a roadside bomb -- an injury that earned him a Purple Heart -- Darrell told me he often found himself in firefights.
Darrel described a Baghdad street battle that scarred him -- and scared him about himself.
He was in an armored vehicle. Other soldiers were riding on the outside, when it came under attack from an enemy armed with rocket-propelled grenades. One of the soldiers riding outside was hit and injured severely. Darrell told me the scene still returns to him in the nightmares he suffers every night.
"I look at him and he is bleeding everywhere. He's spitting up blood." Someone had to take his place on the outside, Darrell realized. "Me, I'm gung-ho. I go up there. There're explosions.
They tell us if you're under attack, you open fire on anybody in the streets. They say they're no longer innocent if they're there. I take my weapon and I find someone running. I point and I pull my trigger, but my weapon is still on safe."
By the time Darrell clicked it over to fire, he realized he was about to shoot a kid who was running away from the violence, a kid he was by then sure was not part of the battle.
But what was most traumatic for him were his own emotions. "I'm angry. My buddy is dying. I just want to kill." He told me he realized then he had become a different man, changed by the pathology of war and the suffering of the innocents. "When I first got there, I was disgusted with my fellow soldiers. But now I'm just the same. I will kill innocent people, because I'm not the person I was when I got there." The attack ebbed, and Darrell survived it, as did the running boy.
read in full...
>> COMMENTARY AND ANALYIS
24% OF IRAQIS WANT US TO STAY AND BE ATTACKED
Josh Narins, temporarily unable to post on his own blog, points to the findings of a Program on International Policy Attitudes poll taken in Iraq, showing that support for attacks on American forces is now 61% (92% among Sunnis), but that only 37% want those forces to withdraw within the next 6 months. Josh comments that you'd think 100% of the people who want to attack us would want us out now, but in fact 24% want us to stay and be attacked.
read in full...
IRAQI BRIGADE TAKEN "OFFLINE"
This is a pretty big deal, but I think it's intended mainly as a symbol and as a political token to the Sunnis.
With the level of militia and insurgent infiltration into the Iraqi security forces, it is no longer realistic to think about rescreening or "retraining" all the suspect units, so I think the US singled this brigade out, probably one of the worst, probably Shia, to show an example.
The thinking is probably that this will at least cut back on some of the excessive acts carried out in uniform and that it will demonstrate to the Sunnis that Maliki is doing something (anything!) about the Shia militias.
At this point, I don't think it'll make all that much difference. This is a small token action that the Sunnis will see as a crumb. It's less than 1/2 of one percent of the police.
And, to the Shia militias, what threat does the government really hold for them
In the balance of power, the militias can threaten the government far more.
VIDEO _THE MIND-BOGGLING TRUTH ABOUT IRAQ'S MONEY PIT
Nothing I could say can adequately prepare you for the mind-boggling fate of billions upon billions of Iraqi dollars under US supervision.
"American law was suspended.
Iraqi law was suspended.
And Iraq basically became a Free-Fraud Zone
In a Free-Fire Zone
you can shoot at anybody you want.
In a Free-Fraud Zone
you can steal anything you like."
* * *
"As trustees of the Iraq assets, we did a very poor job.
I think it was a failure.
After all, it was their money.
We should have spent it on the Iraqi people rather than sucking out of them and putting into the pockets of foreign businesses."
* * *
"And today, all across Iraq ordinary people are paying the price of that failure."
This is not just 'water under the bridge
' as one US official in the clip would have us believe.
Even the word 'failure
' does not adequately describe it.
This is perhaps the greatest war-time swindle in history
- a testament to just how criminal our government has become.
This administration not only dropped tens of thousands of bombs on Iraqis, they stole billions upon billions of their dollars. What makes it so remarkable is that they did it all out in the open. And, there's no end in sight.
Can you say kar-ma? What goes around comes around.
If we, as law-abiding Americans, don't bring these criminals to justice, we will end up PAYING FOR THEIR CRIMES.
Wait, what am I saying - we already ARE paying for their crimes!
While Iraqi newborns leave Iraqi hospitals in Braun cardboard boxes, Americans bleed increasingly larger chunks of their hard-earned money into the Death Star that makes this all possible.
read in full…
AS THE U.S. FORCES STAND UP, IRAQI FORCES STAND ASIDE
From the Los Angeles Times
Two months after a security crackdown began in the capital, U.S. military deaths appear to be rising, even as fatalities among Iraqi security forces have fallen, U.S. military sources and analysts said.
The U.S. military Tuesday revised to eight its count of American deaths in the capital on Monday, the highest daily toll in a month. In September, 74 U.S. troops died nationwide, about a third of them in Baghdad, according to the military.
U.S. officials and military experts caution that it is too soon to declare a definitive trend, but they said the recent increases could be attributable to U.S. troops' greater exposure to combat since redeploying in early August from heavily guarded bases to Baghdad's streets. Their mission is to stem sectarian bloodshed involving Shiite paramilitaries and Sunni Arab insurgents.
"When you're conducting operations and you've doubled the number of troops doing operations in Baghdad, there is more opportunity — as there is much more activity as they go into more neighborhoods — for attacks to occur and casualties to result," U.S. Army spokesman Lt. Col. Barry Johnson said.
. . . As American fatalities increased, the number of deaths among Iraqi security forces fell in September to 150, the lowest number since June and among the lowest tallies in 18 months, according to the Brookings Institution Iraq Index.
Military experts said the divergent trends in fatalities among U.S. and Iraqi security forces could mean that Sunni Arab insurgents are targeting Americans more effectively while Iraqi forces have grown in strength.
Yeah, I don't believe that last line, either. I think McClatchy Newspapers came up with a better explanation for declining casualties among Iraqi soldiers and police:
Efforts to halt sectarian violence in Iraq have been thwarted in part because Shiite Muslim militiamen and the politicians who support them routinely intimidate members of Iraq's nascent police force into allowing the militias to control the streets, according to a top U.S. military official, Iraqi politicians and Iraqi police officials.
. . . In many Baghdad neighborhoods, Shiite militiamen, especially members of the Mahdi Army, are the only security visible on the streets. Police feel obligated to the militiamen for their protection as well as for the safety of their homes and families in neighborhoods where the government cannot muster enough forces to stop attacks by Sunni Muslim insurgents.
A police officer who lives in eastern Baghdad said that while he doesn't like kowtowing to militias, he feels he has no choice but to do what militia members ask.
"Who will protect us if someone tries to kill us?" he asked, also speaking on condition of anonymity. "Our government is weak."
Not exactly the sound of the cavalry arriving, is it?
>> BEYOND IRAQ
Senior officials have warned British troops they face the prospect of fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan throughout the winter.
Traditionally military campaigning ceases during the fierce Afghan winters allowing forces to re-group before resuming fighting in the spring. however the southern province of Helmand, where the bulk of the British forces are based, escapes the worst of the winter weather and officials said it was possible the Taliban could continue their attacks. "I share the reservations about saying there will be a winter downturn," one senior Foreign Office official said. "Climatically in Helmand there is not snow, there are no high mountain passes. It must therefore be conceivable to see continuing operations throughout the winter. I think we have to keep an open mind." Officials also warned that a truce brokered by local tribal leaders in the Musa Qala district - where some of the heaviest fighting has taken place - remained fragile. It followed reports that the Taliban have accused the British of ignoring the terms of the agreement by keeping troops in one of the villages where they have a forward base. "It is a very fragile and precarious process," the senior official said. "The understanding that the tribal elders have made with the Taliban could breakdown at any time."
AFGHANISTAN: WHY NATO CANNOT WIN
What lies ahead is, therefore, becoming extremely difficult to predict. Even with 2,500 additional troops it is highly doubtful whether NATO can succeed in defeating the Taliban. For one thing, the Taliban enjoy grassroots support within Afghanistan. There is no denying this ground reality.
Second, the Taliban are becoming synonymous with Afghan resistance. The mindless violations of the Afghan code of honor by the coalition forces during their search-and-destroy missions and the excessive use of force during military operations leading to loss of innocent lives have provoked widespread revulsion among Afghan people.
Karzai's inability to do anything about the coalition forces' arbitrary behavior is only adding to his image of a weak leader and is deepening his overall loss of authority in the perceptions of the Afghan people, apart from strengthening the raison d'etre of the Afghan resistance.
Third, it is a matter of time, if the threshold of the Taliban resurgence goes unchecked, before the non-Pashtun groups in the eastern, northern and western regions also begin to organize themselves. There are disturbing signs pointing in this direction already. If that were to happen, NATO forces might well find themselves in the unenviable situation of getting caught in the crossfire between various warring ethnic groups.
Fourth, at a certain point it becomes unavoidable that regional powers will get drawn into the strife. The fact remains that all Afghan ethnic groups enjoy a contiguous presence across the borders in neighboring countries. There is considerable misgiving among regional powers already over Washington's hidden long-term agenda to bring Afghanistan, which has been historically a neutral country, under the NATO flag.
read in full...
MANUEL VALENZUELA: AMERICA THE TYRANNY
Instead of the world confronting the evil emblem of the swastika we must realize that it is the emblazoned red, white and blue that now represents despotic thinking and tyrannical rule. It was Old Glory that sprung up like a giant field of weeds in the aftermath of 9/11, flowing from every vehicle and every home, every business and every street, giving America the aura of jingoism and nationalism undoubtedly similar to 1930's Germany, giving it the appearance, to anyone who cared to look and think, of what Germany's streets in the 1930's certainly looked like, right before society turned into barbarism. Perhaps this orgy of fanatical and jingoistic revelry was but the first sign of things to come, the birth pangs of America the Tyranny.
Five years later, the red, white and blue still flows proudly in the minds of followers and quasi-authoritarians, with knuckle dragging proto-patriots brainwashed to stand behind it in fear and terror of concocted enemies, their blind loyalty to anybody in power, even a little man with even smaller understanding. The stars and stripes has become the new symbol of jingoism, nationalism, xenophobia and blind loyalty and faith in tyrants, just as the swastika once did, even as it stands smeared in the blood of thousands, protecting torturers, rapists, war criminals, murderers and human rights violators, even as it has been besmirched by the destruction of innocent life and that of entire societies.
Old Glory now stands for the worst abuses of human rights, representing Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and Bagram, the destruction of the Constitution and of Lady Liberty, the loss of habeas corpus and of the Geneva Convention. The red, white and blue, sadly enough, has become the symbol of what we most hate, of what we swore to never become. It has become a flag hijacked by tyrants, with the American People unconcerned and unwilling, to the point of embarrassment, to free it from its dungeon, with most too lazy or apathetic to care, most too ignorant to know. As a result, it has become, like the wretched symbol of the Nazis, a most reviled and despised emblem, an image of tyranny rising, wickedness growing and criminality evolving. Only Americans know how much more reviled and hated it will become in the coming years.
read in full...
QUOTE OF THE DAY
: "George Bush says about Rep. Mark Foley, 'I was dismayed and shocked to learn about Congressman Foley's unacceptable behavior. I was disgusted by the revelations.' In Iraq and Afghanistan, George Bush & Co. have committed the ultimate in child abuse, committing the outright murder of thousands of them and being directly responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands more. Is George Bush 'dismayed, shocked, and digusted' by that behavior? No, he's proud of it. (...) Phone sex with a 16-year-old minor, though, that's what gets George hot and bothered." -- from "Child Abuse" in Left I on the News