Wednesday, October 18, 2006
WAR NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2006
Bring ‘em on: Ten U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq on Tuesday, one of the bloodiest days of the war for American forces outside of major combat operations.
The toll included four soldiers killed by a single bomb in
North of Baghdad, a soldier was killed when the vehicle he was riding in was struck by an improvised-explosive device, the military said.
Three soldiers died in the
A pair of car bombs exploded in
A car bomb targeting an Iraqi army patrol in central
Police found the body of a police officer shot dead in an area between Kerbala and Hilla, 100 km south of
Gunmen shot dead a policeman as he was leaving his house in the town of
Gunmen killed a former member of Saddam Hussein's ousted Baath party in the town of
A roadside bomb killed a provincial police intelligence chief in southern
Statistics: The death toll for coalition military forces in
The combined death toll includes 2,759
Other coalition deaths include 119 British, 32 Italians, 18 Ukrainians, 17 Poles, 13 Bulgarians, and 11 Spaniards, as well as service members from
The milestone was reached after
Our man Whisker’s count hit this particular milestone on the 15th and on the whole I trust his figures more than CNN’s. But hey, who’s counting? Just because Bush’s war has killed more Coalition troops than the number of people who died on 9-11 shouldn’t be anything to get excited about. It’s not like we’re talking some crazy figure like 600,000 corpses or something . -m
Balad: Police and black-clad Shiite militiamen toting machine guns sealed off the predominantly Shiite city of
Calm largely returned to Balad by Tuesday, with Iraqi army troops forcing Shiite militia fighters out of police cars that the militiamen had commandeered for the attacks, said residents reached by telephone in the cut-off town. American troops patrolled the city and guarded one end of a
On the Duluiyah end of the bridge, angry Sunni insurgents gathered in force, clutching their PKC machine guns and rocket launchers, standing their tense watch. Abu Achmed, a fighter in the Islamic Army, a Sunni insurgent movement, held a machine gun but wished for more.
"If I had a nuclear bomb, I would wipe it out," the insurgent fighter, who refused to give his full name, said as he stared at Balad across the bridge. "I would level it."
Sectarian violence: For centuries, from the
Yet in daily life hardly anyone cared about telling Sunnis and Shiites apart. It was considered rude to ask a person's sect, and it is practically impossible to discern from their looks, speech or dress. For generations, the two sects intermarried, making it difficult to differentiate them by surnames. They attended the same schools and lived in mixed neighborhoods.
Now, in the fourth year after a U.S.-led invasion toppled Hussein, a struggle for power is unfolding between Sunnis and Shiites in the political arena and in the streets of
At checkpoints set up by police or by sectarian militias, Iraqis said in interviews, it is common to hear questions such as "What is your sect?" or "What is your tribal name?" A wrong response could prove deadly.
On July 9, in
Another sect’s problems: Christianity took root here near the dawn of the faith 2,000 years ago, making
Both Chaldean Catholics and Assyrian Christians, the country’s largest Christian sects, still pray in Aramaic, the language of Jesus.
They have long been a tiny minority amid a sea of Islamic faith. But under
But since Mr. Hussein’s ouster, their status here has become increasingly uncertain, first because many Muslim Iraqis framed the American-led invasion as a modern crusade against Islam, and second because Christians traditionally run the country’s liquor stories, anathema to many religious Muslims.
Over the past three and a half years, Christians have been subjected to a steady stream of church bombings, assassinations, kidnappings and threatening letters slipped under their doors.
Estimates of the resulting Christian exodus vary from the tens of thousands to more than 100,000, with most heading for
Is anyone but the poodle left in the Coalition of the Willing?: The Slovak government greed on Wednesday to pull its soldiers from Iraq in February, joining several other European Union nations that have withdrawn troops from the country following a government change.
He lost power in a June election and the new leftist administration of Prime Minister Robert Fico has long opposed
Reassurance: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki told President Bush on Monday that
Maliki said that calls for such a deadline, and proposals for a three-way partition of
Does anyone seriously think W will let Jim Baker tell him what to do?: The White House also suggested that it would not necessarily accept the recommendations of an independent commission reviewing
The president’s remarks to Mr. Maliki came during a 15-minute telephone conversation, Mr. Snow said. During the call, initiated by Mr. Bush, Mr. Maliki expressed concern about news reports that there would be an attempt to replace him if he was unable to assert control over
“There was a rumor that there were going to be attempts to replace him if certain things don’t happen in two months,” Mr. Snow said. “And the president said, the rumors are not true; we support you.”
Is Maliki Bush’s boy or Sadr’s?: Iraqi prime minister Nouri Maliki has ordered the release of a senior figure in the organisation headed by radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr.
The man, Sheikh Mazin Saedi, had been detained by American troops in the Iraqi capital
Some 5,000 Shia protesters marched in
The Mehdi army, a militia controlled by Mr Sadr, has been widely accused of involvement in sectarian violence.
But it said it had captured "the alleged leader of a murder and kidnapping cell" in east
More maneuvers: The Iraqi government removed the country’s two most senior police commanders from their posts on Tuesday, in the first broad move against the top leadership of
The two generals had led
The two generals, Rasheed Fleyah and Mahdi Sabeh, both Shiites, had been in their posts since the previous government, under which abuses by largely Shiite police forces began.
Mr. Maliki faces a nearly impossible task in weeding out the militias. Their influence runs deep in Iraqi society; they are present in the guard forces of Iraqi politicians, at the doors of mosques and even on college campuses.
Now this is a bit of a turnaround: The Bush administration is pressing the Iraqi government of Nouri al-Maliki to issue a “broad” and “painful” amnesty for insurgents in spite of intense opposition to the proposal from politicians both in
Amid growing anxiety in
“You need the government to move forward with a programme – it should include an amnesty in a broad fashion, a comprehensive amnesty proposal,” the senior
Notes From The Bizarro Universe
“It is difficult, no question about it, but we’ve now got over 300,000 Iraqis trained and equipped as part of their security forces. They’ve had three national elections with higher turnout than we have here in the
No shit, Sherlock: Former US secretary of state James Baker was visibly shocked when he last visited
Mr Baker is leading a review of the situation in
Citing a unnamed close friend and ally of Mr Baker's, himself a top politician, the BBC reported that Mr Baker said "there simply weren't any easy solutions".
One perk of being VP is you only smoke the very finest crack: With just 22 days before key November elections in which the unpopular war in
And, at a time when some
"Members of our military have worked diligently to make sure that more Iraqi families have police protection, and electricity, and water, and sanitation for their homes," he said.
"By your openness and your decency, by your honour and your kindness to others in thousands of interactions, you've built bonds of friendship that are very important to our two countries," said Mr Cheney.
DefSec gets good dope too: U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Tuesday the
"You've got a situation where it's not possible to lose militarily," Rumsfeld said. "It's also going to require more than military power to prevail."
But no matter how good Don and Dick’s drugs are, this guy has better: On Feb. 9, 2006, House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King (R-NY) spoke at the Merrick Jewish Center in
Meanwhile, Back In The Real World
Liquid black wet dream: Depending on how
Both independent analysts and officials within
Part Two: With 140,000 U.S. troops on the ground, the largest U.S. embassy in the world sequestered in Baghdad's fortified "Green Zone" and an economy designed by a consulting firm in McLean, Va., post-invasion Iraq was well on its way to becoming a bonanza for foreign investors.
But Big Oil had its sights set on a specific arrangement -- the lucrative production sharing agreements that lock in multinationals' control for long terms and are virtually unheard of in countries as rich in easily accessible oil as Iraq.
The occupation authorities would have to steer an ostensibly sovereign government to the outcome they desired, and they'd have to overcome any resistance that they encountered from the fiercely independent and understandably wary Iraqis along the way. Finally, they'd have to make sure that the Anglo-American firms were well-positioned to win the lion's share of the choicest contracts.
We don’t know either but we have our opinion: At his daily briefing today at the White House, Press Secretary Tony Snow fielded a barrage of questions related to the recent upsurge in
Trust us, we’re the government: In today’s edition of the daily press briefing at the White House, Press Secretary Tony Snow appeared to suggest that the CIA’s “secret prisons” could be back in business – and closed a lengthy discussion of interrogation techniques by threatening to get “snarky” before deciding “that’s not worthy of me.” The White House had acknowledged that the CIA secret prisons were emptied, under orders, when high-profile prisoners were transferred to Guantanomo, and presumably remained closed. But with the new terror interrogation law signed by the president today, Snow was asked if those prisons were still empty. He refused to answer, and hinted that perhaps the administration felt it was now free to change course, saying, “I am not at liberty to divulge any further details about what may have happened in the last two hours since the law was signed -- or hour and a half.” The second line of questioning that produced the “snarky” reference concerned how Americans could know that “torture” guidelines were being followed. Snow bristled at questions, suggesting that reporters were “impugning” CIA officers and military personnel instead of trusting them to act responsibly.
Speaking Of Torture…
But as Bush and a group of key Republican senators hailed the compromise that led to the passage of the new rules last month, the American Civil Liberties Union called it ``one of the worst civil liberties measures ever enacted in American history." Groups of defense lawyers vowed to fight the new law in court, calling it ``blatantly unconstitutional" because it denies detainees the right to challenge their detention in court.
The lawyers' vows assure that the battle over the treatment and prosecution of detainees -- which consumed Congress for much of September and sparked a brief Republican rebellion against the administration -- will continue in courtrooms in the coming years, almost certainly finding its way to the Supreme Court.
Oh, but if we’re going to torture ‘terrorists’ we better find some first: Disaffected people living in the United States may develop radical ideologies and potentially violent skills over the Internet and that could present the next major U.S. security threat, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said on Monday. "We now have a capability of someone to radicalize themselves over the Internet," Chertoff said on the sidelines of a meeting of International Association of the Chiefs of Police. "They can train themselves over the Internet. They never have to necessarily go to the training camp or speak with anybody else and that diffusion of a combination of hatred and technical skills in things like bomb-making is a dangerous combination," Chertoff said. "Those are the kind of terrorists that we may not be able to detect with spies and satellites."
How will we know they’re ‘terrorists’? Maybe if they…disagree: Yesterday Fox News host Bill O’Reilly asked President Bush whether the “anti-Bush press” is responsible for the American public turning against the war in Iraq. Bush agreed with O’Reilly, stating that he’s “disappointed that people would propagandize to that effect because the stakes are too high for that kind of illogical behavior.”
Or commit more serious provocations: There is no public evidence that Sami al-Hajj committed any crime other than journalism for a television network the Bush administration doesn’t like.
A Tale Of Two Budgets
His: With a long list of caveats, President Bush signed a bill Tuesday authorizing $532.8 billion in defense spending, including a 2.2 percent pay raise for members of the military.
The measure, for the 2007 fiscal year that began Oct. 1, authorizes $70 billion in supplemental funding to support the war on terror's operation costs, personnel expenses, equipment needs and other costs.
The White House released two pages of administration disagreements and reservations about provisions that lawmakers put in the bill.
Hers: Kawkab Sami wakes up at 5 o'clock every morning to clean her house and feed her four children breakfast before getting them off to school. As a resident of
But what does she have to complain about – at least her kids go to school: Thousands of students have been forced to stay at home due to escalating violence across the country. Attendance rates for the new school year, which started on 20 September, are a record low, according to the Ministry of Education.
Recently released statistics from the Ministry indicate that only 30 percent of
Just one in three say the war has been worth it: The generally negative attitude of likely voters nationwide was also reflected in their view toward the
Heading into the mid–term congressional elections, likely voters have consistently said the war is one of the top two issues facing the nation today.
This story makes me sad: The Dinglers’ eldest son, Joshua, was 19 and fresh out of high school when he and two other soldiers died in a Humvee accident in
“You live in denial for a long time,” says Mrs Dingler, leafing through a photograph album. “Eventually you force yourself to say, ‘The rest of the guys have come home and he’s not coming back’.”
As domestic opposition to the
Instead, they remain passionate supporters both of President George W. Bush and the cause for which they believe their son died.
“Joshua understood that if we didn’t take the fight to them, they would bring the fight to us,” says Mr Dingler, linking
What? Real Christians? Didn’t know there were any left: Weighing in on
Molly Ivins: One reason despair is not an option is because things can always get worse, and then what'll we do? I was actually trying to figure that out when I came across a remarkable article written for the The Nation magazine (known for its liberalism for 141 years) by Richard J. Whalen -- a conservative in good standing, a former Nixon staffer. Whalen has undertaken the singularly valuable task of talking to dissenting generals about the war in
I suppose one could argue, and I am sure someone will, that these are mostly retired generals. Some, like Lt. Gen. William Odom, are calling
"The only question is whether a war serves the national interest," one retired three-star told Whalen. "
Greg Mitchell: With mass killings occurring every day in
Dr. Curren Warf: Last week, the medical journal The Lancet released an epidemiological study concluding that 655,000 Iraqis died from war-related injury and disease from March 2003 to July 2006. This shockingly high figure has drawn attacks from the Bush administration and right-wing pundits.
Speaking as a medical doctor, I wish to set the record straight. The Lancet study is superb science. The study followed a strict, widely accepted methodology to arrive at its sobering conclusion. The study is being attacked not on scientific grounds, but for ideological reasons.
People may not realize that The Lancet is the world’s most prestigious medical journal. Prior to publication, the
Gareth Porter: George W. Bush continues to use the rhetorical device of linking the occupation of Iraq with the war on terrorism, warning in his most recent press conference that “the terrorists would take control of Iraq” if the U.S. withdrew its forces. But for many politicians and pundits the argument that has kept them supporting the occupation is that withdrawing too soon would make sectarian violence even worse. This argument for continued occupation is not based on the real political-military situation in
When U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad gave a speech in
It is not that the civil war won't get worse in
The Rude Pundit: A Quick and Easy Test to Determine Where You Stand on the
Let's say we line up, oh, hell, a couple hundred thousand American soldiers, fine men and women in combat uniform, officers, non-coms, grunts, and we put them on TV. Then George W. Bush walks in with a loaded glock. Now let's say that the President puts the gun to the temple of the first soldier and says, "If I shoot this Army private dead, there's a chance
Brent Budowsky: Never before in the history of our Republic have the military, the moral, the common sense and patriotic factors all told us to do one thing: stop this madness that must never be done in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Stop this madness that creates more enemies that want to kill us. Stop this madness that violates the cardinal morals of our great nation. Stop this madness that offends the commanders and clergy, that violates the most basic principles of common decency, the most basic principles of common sense, the most true ideals common to lovers of freedom and democracy everywhere.
This is different.
George Washington was right, and we must wage this fight until we win, whether it takes hours, or days, or months, or years, or decades because sooner or later we will win, because we are a better and nobler country. A better and nobler people. With a better and nobler mission that will outlast the politics, the polls and the partisans who have done so much damage to this land we love.
It is a dark, cold, day in our capital with the rain of tears from heaven pouring onto the monuments and statues that bear the names of Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln.
There will never be such monuments in the Mall, within sight of the White House, that will carry the names of Bush, or Cheney, or Rumsfeld.
There will never be walls or monuments within sight of the Oval Office, as we have that honor the heroes of the Great Generation and
We are not the first generation that faces its challenge.
We will not be the last.
But we will not be treated like the fearful generation by those who believe our legacy should be the torture generation.
We stand with
We have not yet begun to fight.
We will not stop until we win.
We will not let George Washington down.
We are the people of
Family and friends are mourning the death of an
A Rockport family is in mourning after learning their son was killed in
Army Capt. Mark C. Paine, 32, of Rancho Cucamonga, was killed Sunday in
An Army private from
The Defense Department said Tuesday that three soldiers died Saturday of injuries after a roadside bomb went off near their vehicle in
A Kern County family is in mourning after their only son was killed just days ago in the war in
Marine Lance Cpl. Jeremy Monroe, killed in
Military policeman Pfc. Michael K. Oremus, 21, of
The Department of Defense announced the death of Sgt. Jonathan Lootens, 25, and 1st Lt. Josh Deese, 25, of
Twenty-eight year-old Pfc. Keith Moore was killed in