Wednesday, November 01, 2006
WAR NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 01, 2006
The number of US servicemen and women killed in
Update from yesterday’s post: The death toll from a suicide bombing at a wedding party rose to 23, including nine children. (Another report puts the death toll at 25. -m)
More than 40 Shiites were abducted along a notoriously dangerous highway just north of
In fresh attacks Wednesday, unknown gunmen riding in a private car shot dead police officer Izzaddin Abbas in central
A clerk with the Ministry of Industry was shot and killed in northeastern
The bodies of three people who were shot after being blindfolded and bound at the wrists were found dumped in the capital's eastern districts.
Two court officials were killed when a their jeep exploded as it crossed a bridge leading over the Tigris from a city centre district housing the defense and interior ministries and the main gate into the fortified Green Zone. Attackers had attached a timed bomb to the fuel tank, security officials said Wednesday. The explosion ripped the car apart just metres from the most secure buildings in
An explosives-laden car was detonated near a police patrol, killing five policemen and two civilians and wounding at least 10 others. The car was parked on the side of the road in central
In a separate attack, two people were killed and 10 wounded by a bomb in one of the city's biggest commercial marketplaces. The device was placed in the trunk of a taxi and caused extensive damage to nearby vehicles.
In the west of the capital, two policemen were killed when mortar shells were fired at their patrol. The source of the hostile fire is not yet known.
And early Wednesday morning, police say a bomb placed in a minibus killed three people and wounded seven others in
One police officer was killed and two others wounded by a mortar round in eastern
Separately, police recovered 10 unidentified bodies across the capital, some with gunshots to the head and showing signs of torture.
Violence in western
A car bomb targeting a police patrol killed five people, including a policeman, and wounded seven, including two policemen, in central
A bomb in a minibus killed three people and wounded seven in
A roadside bomb killed two people and wounded 10 in the Shorja district of central
Gunmen wounded Hazim al-Hemedawi, head of the little-known Iraqi National Party, after ambushing his convoy. Two of his bodyguards were also hurt.
The Iraqi army has arrested seven "terrorists" and 52 suspected insurgents in the last 24 hours in different parts of
Iraqi television announced that a university professor of history was shot dead by unknown gunmen west of the capital. The professor formerly taught at the university of al-Anbar, a province in the western part of the country.
South of Baghdad, coalition forces early Wednesday launched an airstrike on a bomb-making facility, a strike described by the
A roadside bomb exploded near the convoy of the security advisor of the Governor of Sallaheddine Province in the oil city refinery of Baiji. He was unharmed but two of his guards were wounded.
In Balad a suspected terrorist was killed and another detained on Tuesday in a coalition raid, the
The bodies of eight people were found bound and gagged in Baqouba.
An Iraqi translator with
Police found the bodies of five people, with gunshot wounds and bearing signs of torture, in and around the Sunni stronghold city of
A car bomb exploded at an Iraqi police checkpoint south of
The bodies of seven people, including that of a policeman, were found in different districts of
Gunmen killed a policewoman in the northern city of
A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol wounded two policemen in
A police officer was among three people shot dead in the northern city of
Police found the body of a man in the town of
In Samara a senior judge in a Tikrit court was kidnapped near his private residence Tuesday. Judge Saadoon Hassan al-Azawi was abducted by an armed group as he was preparing to leave for work. The incident marks the third attack on an Iraqi judge in the Salah el-din governorate.
Downriver of the capital in Suweira, where water is drawn from the
Statistics I: The number of attacks on American forces increased in October to unprecedented levels,
Statistics II: Nearly one-third of the 102
October was the fourth deadliest month of the war, and the soldiers' prolonged exposure to danger underscored national anxiety over a conflict more protracted than anyone expected, the newspaper said.
The Tribune said its analysis of U.S. Department of Defense information and interviews with family members showed all but 10 of those killed in October were enlisted - an enlisted rank is generally any rating below that of a commissioned officer - and their average age was 24. Of those who died, 58 were killed by mines and makeshift bombs, eight fell to sniper fire and 30 more died in skirmishes on missions. Another six died in accidents and non-hostile incidents.
Statistics III: The number of Iraqi civilians killed in violence may have jumped to another record high in October, data from the Iraqi government indicated on Wednesday.
Statistics issued by the Interior Ministry for Iraqis killed in political violence put civilian deaths last month at 1,289, nearly 42 a day and up 18 percent from the 1,089 seen in September, itself a record for this particular series of data.
Uppity puppet: Exploiting GOP vulnerability in the Nov. 7 elections, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki flexed his political muscle Tuesday and won
Their departure set off celebrations among civilians and armed men in
Now Bush is letting US troops answer to a foreign command?: Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki demanded the removal of American checkpoints from the streets of Baghdad on Tuesday, in what appeared to be his latest and boldest gambit in an increasingly tense struggle for more independence from his American protectors.
Mr. Maliki’s public declaration seemed at first to catch American commanders off guard. But by nightfall, American troops had abandoned all the positions in eastern and central
The language of the declaration, which implied that Mr. Maliki had the power to command American forces, seemed to overstep his authority and to be aimed at placating his Shiite constituency.
The withdrawal was greeted with jubilation in the streets of
‘Edging toward chaos’: A classified briefing prepared two weeks ago by the United States Central Command portrays
A one-page slide shown at the Oct. 18 briefing provides a rare glimpse into how the military command that oversees the war is trying to track its trajectory, particularly in terms of sectarian fighting.
The slide includes a color-coded bar chart that is used to illustrate an “Index of Civil Conflict.” It shows a sharp escalation in sectarian violence since the bombing of a Shiite shrine in
In fashioning the index, the military is weighing factors like the ineffectual Iraqi police and the dwindling influence of moderate religious and political figures, rather than more traditional military measures such as the enemy’s fighting strength and the control of territory.
The conclusions the Central Command has drawn from these trends are not encouraging, according to a copy of the slide that was obtained by The New York Times. The slide shows
US troop levels up: With the US death toll in
A Pentagon spokesman attributed the growth to overlapping unit rotations, but it came amid surging violence that so far this month has claimed the lives of 101
"Several units are transitioning out as several are transitioning in," said Lieutenant Colonel Mark Ballesteros, who said that as of Monday the number of US troops in
Though American officials would describe Mr. Hadley’s talks only in the vaguest of terms, one option widely discussed in
Those officials cautioned that no decision had been made about that option, which would amount to a third effort this year to contain the spreading violence in
Maybe they need a 700 mile fence:
"At night, it's impossible to cover all this terrain," said Army Maj. Bill Tomlin, 37, of
With allies like this who needs enemies: The signs of the militias are everywhere at the Sholeh police station.
Posters celebrating Moqtada al-Sadr, head of the Mahdi Army militia, dot the building's walls. The police chief sometimes remarks that Shiite militias should wipe out all Sunnis. Visitors to this violent neighborhood in the Iraqi capital whisper that nearly all the police officers have split loyalties.
And then one rainy night this month, the Sholeh police set up an ambush and killed Army Cpl. Kenny F. Stanton Jr., a 20-year-old budding journalist, his unit said. At the time, Stanton and other members of the unit had been trailing a group of Sholeh police escorting known Mahdi Army members.
"How can we expect ordinary Iraqis to trust the police when we don't even trust them not to kill our own men?" asked Capt. Alexander Shaw, head of the police transition team of the 372nd Military Police Battalion, a Washington-based unit charged with overseeing training of all Iraqi police in western Baghdad. "To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure we're ever going to have police here that are free of the militia influence."
(My emphasis – m)
Greg Mitchell adds to the story: USA Today revealed in a front page story on Monday that a study of several hundred American deaths in Iraq turned up at least seven cases where families were given the wrong information about how their loved ones died (most of them, it turned out, were killed by friendly fire). Now, on Tuesday, The Washington Post reveals that a
Their piercings are different than ours too: Ali Abbas decided that his upper right thigh was the best place for a tattoo because no one gets tortured there.
He'd seen hundred of bodies in the city morgue and dozens of hospitals during his 18-day search for his missing uncle. He'd seen drill marks in swollen, often unrecognizable heads, slash marks across necks, bullet holes in backs, abdomens and swollen hands. He'd seen bodies that had been thrown into the river, so swollen they'd barely looked human. But by and large, the thighs had been intact.
So that's where he decided to have his name, address and phone number tattooed, in case the day comes when someone is searching for his body.
Tattoos are considered a sin in Islam, which holds that believers shouldn't deface their bodies. And tattoo shops are difficult to find in
But at least some tattoo shops are seeing more and more Iraqis who, like Abbas, are willing to risk offending Islam to ease their families' grief in the event of their deaths. The owner of one tattoo shop in central Baghdad admitted that he'd done such tattoos, but said he didn't want to talk about it for fear that he'd be killed.
Baghdad ER: Doctors, nurses and even the Christian chaplain at the U.S. military hospital in Baghdad say they treat all patients the same, from U.S. combatants to Iraqi children, soldiers or suspected insurgents.
The only difference is the "bad guys" are blindfolded so they can't inform on Iraqis working in the hospital as translators, medical liaison officers or cleaners whose lives would be in danger if it was known they work there.
Your Tax Dollars At Work, or – What’s That Flushing Sound?
Well, if you can’t get it right with the first ten billion…: Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Tuesday endorsed a proposal to spend at least $1 billion to expand the size and accelerate the training and equipping of Iraqi security forces.
While the plan still must get final approval from the White House and the money would have to be approved by Congress, Rumsfeld's support underscores the Bush administration's effort to shift more of the burden of
…So far, the
$50,000,000,000 to transport dead and wounded? Holy cow: The U.S. Air Force is asking the Pentagon's leadership for a staggering $50 billion in emergency funding for fiscal 2007 -- an amount equal to nearly half its annual budget, defense analyst Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute said on Tuesday.
The request is expected to draw criticism on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are increasingly worried about the huge sums being sought "off budget" to fund wars, escaping the more rigorous congressional oversight of regular budgets.
Another source familiar with the Air Force plans said the extra funds would help pay to transport growing numbers of
But we don't seem to be spending much on new troops: The 3rd Infantry Division, which led the initial attack on Iraq little more than three years ago, is headed back to the combat zone for the third time.
Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, the division commander, said Tuesday that the more than 20,000 soldiers in the unit are preparing for yet another trip to
The Tribulations Of Tony Blair
Accountability is objectively pro-terrorist: MPs made angry demands for an inquiry into the
In a heated three-hour debate, Margaret Beckett, the Foreign Secretary, faced repeated calls for a full investigation to learn the lessons of the war and its aftermath.
Mrs Beckett insisted that it was not the time to hold a "backward looking" inquiry, saying it would send the wrong signal to insurgents in Iraq and the Iraqi people, and that it would undermine the armed forces.
Labour rebellion: Tony Blair came close to suffering a damaging Commons defeat last night as a dozen Labour rebels backed Scottish and Welsh Nationalists' demands for a parliamentary inquiry into the
The SNP and Plaid Cymru lost their motion for a wide-ranging investigation by only 25 votes, as rebels and opposition parties slashed the government's usual majority of 67.
The people speak: A vocal crowd brought an anti-war message yet again to
"Two million marched in protest against the war. It is important they know we have not gone away, we have not forgotten," said Alan Chick, 57, a computer programmer, whose wife Diane, a nurse, stood near by, wrapped in a peace flag.
A slight backdown: British Prime Minister Tony Blair Wednesday offered the prospect of a parliamentary inquiry into his government's handling of the Iraq war but insisted that 'this is not the right time' for a decision on such a delicate probe.
Diplomatic initiative: British Prime Minister Tony Blair dispatched his senior foreign policy adviser to Damascus to press Syria to play a role in bringing stability to Iraq amid U.S.-led coalition attempts to quash unrelenting sectarian violence, officials said Wednesday.
Blair’s Downing Street office said Nigel Sheinwald, a high-ranking foreign policy adviser and envoy, had met Syrian diplomats on Monday in the first official talks between the two nations since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of
The unannounced visit came as the
Opinion - Simon Tisdall: Tony Blair's decision to send his most senior foreign policy adviser to
By opening a direct line of communication with the Syrian leader, Mr Blair has increased the chances that western concerns about Syrian support for Hizbullah, including
The UN-brokered and policed ceasefire left many issues unresolved, despite
Desperate and despicable: Campaigning for Republicans, President Bush said Monday that "terrorists win and
"There's a big national debate in this country about the direction of this war set by President Bush, Defense Secretary (Donald) Rumsfeld and Vice President Cheney, and Democrats think we need to change that policy," said Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel (news, bio, voting record), who heads the Democratic campaign committee.
As the death toll for U.S. troops in Iraq passed 100 for the month, officials said ads criticizing Republican candidates for following the president's lead on the war would air in the campaign's final week in Connecticut, New Mexico, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Iowa and other areas they declined to name.
Another big step toward the gulag: In a stealth maneuver, President Bush has signed into law a provision which, according to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), will actually encourage the President to declare federal martial law (1). It does so by revising the Insurrection Act, a set of laws that limits the President's ability to deploy troops within the
Public Law 109-364, or the "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007" (H.R.5122) (2), which was signed by the commander in chief on October 17th, 2006, in a private Oval Office ceremony, allows the President to declare a "public emergency" and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to "suppress public disorder."
President Bush seized this unprecedented power on the very same day that he signed the equally odious Military Commissions Act of 2006. In a sense, the two laws complement one another. One allows for torture and detention abroad, while the other seeks to enforce acquiescence at home, preparing to order the military onto the streets of
Lie by Lie: The Mother Jones Iraq War Timeline (8/1/90 - 6/21/03): In this timeline, we've assembled the history of the Iraq War to create a resource we hope will help resolve open questions of the Bush era. What did our leaders know and when did they know it? And, perhaps just as important, what red flags did we miss, and how could we have missed them? This is the second installment of the timeline, with a focus on how the war was lost in the first 100 days.
Arriana Huffington: Stumping in
There you have it: pull the lever for anyone with a (D) next to their name and it's as good as handing the Stanley Cup, the Super Bowl trophy, the Masters green jacket, and the keys to
Can you think of anything more absurd than that? Other than accusing Michael J. Fox of faking his symptoms or trying to score political points by implying that Joy Behar is an al Qaeda appeaser.
Indeed, it was actually Behar who provided the most cogent response to the "Do you want
That should be the defining question of the next 7 days.
Let's just stipulate that everyone in
And please, Mr. President, don't give us the usual bromides about stable democracy or
On Monday Bush said, "The Democrat goal is to get out of
Hmm, I know what Democrats reaching their supposed goal would look like -- but can't say the same for the Republican goal.
What does it mean to win? Republicans clearly don't have an answer. That's why they are throwing the trash-the-media Hail Mary. And why the rest of us should keep demanding an answer to the question of what winning is.
Dennis Drewes: If we were truly brave, wouldn't we insist on safeguarding our rights under the Constitution over protecting our physical safety and property? And if we were truly free, wouldn't we require our government to listen to us, rather than corporate and industry lobbyists?
When we suspend habeas corpus, when alternate opinions are routinely eliminated from public debate and decisions, when our library records can be examined, in short, when we allow our liberties to be scaled back, especially by appeals to our fears and anxieties, how can we claim to be either free or brave -- at least to the extent our forebears expect of us?
Before heading into the voting booth Nov. 7, sing the anthem with all the gusto you can muster, answer the question it poses with a resounding "YES" and vote for the people and propositions that represent true freedom and real bravery!
Republican Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Warner, to name just two, have said things aren't going well.
"If I had known then what I know now about the weapons of mass destruction, which was a key reason that I voted to go in there, I would not vote to go into Iraq the way we did," Hutchison said recently.
Certainly, the case continues to mount that there was, in fact, no confirmed evidence whatsoever that weapons of mass destruction existed in
The entire argument for invading
And what do we have to show for it? More body bags filled with young Americans.
Sorry, lost the link. Damn I hate it when that happens. -m
Robert Parry: Many Americans are cynical about what they hear from politicians – and often with good reason – but perhaps no
Bush’s lies also aren’t about petty matters, such as some personal indiscretion or minor misconduct. Rather his dishonesty deals with issues of war and peace, the patriotism of his opponents, and the founding principles of the
They are the kinds of lies and distortions more befitting the leader of a totalitarian state whipping up his followers to go after some perceived enemy than the President of the world’s preeminent democracy seeking an informed debate among the citizenry.
Ray McGovern: The president did say that too many children "won't ever see their mom and dad again," and that he owes it "to them and to the families who still have loved ones in harm's way to ensure that their sacrifices are not in vain."
He owes to people like the family of Jeremy Shank. In a small town in
Really? Many patrols like the one Shank was on appear to be aimed at stopping Shia and Sunni from killing each other—stopping what the president calls "full-scale civil war." Two months ago Bush’s national security adviser Stephen Hadley told the press, "It's no longer about insurgency, but sectarian warfare." Is that what Jeremy Shank and other young men and women are paying the ultimate sacrifice—or the penultimate one of living the rest of their lives without arms or legs?
What else could be their purpose? To continue the pursuit of evidence of weapons of mass destruction or ties between
The two national elections of 2005 solidified sectarian and ethnic divisions and helped set the stage for the drive the country towards all-out civil war.
Mr al-Maliki's Shia alliance controls 130 of the 275 parliament seats, but it is divided among several factions, two of which - the largest of them headed by Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, head of the biggest faction, and that of Muqtada al-Sadr - severely constrain his room for manoeuvre. Both men control armed militias; between them they command more seats than Mr al-Maliki's faction, so any move against the militias without their would threaten the al-Maliki power base.
Meanwhile, US-backed plans to create autonomous regions with varying access to
The scheduled provincial elections next year - ahead of the possible formation of new federal regions in 2008 - will bring those struggles to a head, several officials said.
So what now? Once the 7 November elections are out of the way, Donald Rumsfeld may or may not lose his job. But not only is this President loyal to a fault; to fire the architect of his war would be seen as an admission that his entire
Last week, in short, was the week when everything changed - and nothing changed at all.
An Army sergeant who was awarded a Purple Heart last year was killed in
Memorial services are Thursday for a North Texas soldier killed in
While family, friends and fellow Marines gathered inside
Kristy McNett, center, holds her hands in prayer as the casket of her uncle, Sgt. 1st Class Tony L. Knier, is taken to a memorial service Tuesday in Wellsboro, Pa. Knier was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq.
A funeral with full military honors will be held today for a western
A Miramar Marine has been killed while serving in
A soldier from
The Canadian killed Monday in an attack south of