Monday, December 04, 2006


"Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties." – George W. Bush, private conversation prior to the Iraq invasion, as related by Pat Robertson, March, 2003

Bring ‘em on: Nine U.S. troops died in Iraq during the weekend, including five killed by roadside bombs, the U.S. military reported Sunday. Two soldiers were killed and two wounded Sunday when a roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle in northern Iraq. Two U.S. soldiers and a Marine died from unspecified "enemy action" in western Iraq's Anbar province Saturday, while two U.S. soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb. And two American soldiers were reported killed in Baghdad -- one slain by a roadside bomb Saturday, another killed in fighting Sunday. The latest deaths bring the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq to 2,900, including including seven civilians working for the Defense Department.


50 bodies were found in Baghdad. Thirty-five of the bodies were uncovered in Karkh, a majority Sunni district on the west bank of the Tigris, while the remaining 15 were found in Rusafa, a mainly Shiite area on the eastern side of the river yesterday. "Some of the bodies showed signs of torture," according to the police.

In northern Baghdad, American forces killed two insurgents and detained six during a raid on buildings where insurgents with ties to al-Qaida in Iraq were making car bombs, the U.S. command said. A weapons cache including artillery rounds and AK-47s also was found.

Gunmen shot Nabil al-Dulaimi, a journalist working for the local Dijla radio station, in al-Washash district in northwestern Baghdad.


Suspected militants killed three government agricultural engineers and their driver in a drive-by shooting as they headed to work Monday morning in Baqouba, northeast of Baghdad.

At least 16 people were murdered in and around the restive town of Baquba. Haditha

On Sunday, two Iraqi boys, ages 10 and 15, were slightly wounded in an attack on coalition forces during which insurgents fired a rifle grenade in Haditha, 140 miles northwest of Baghdad. The coalition forces, who suffered no casualties, detained two Iraqis believed to have been involved in the attack


An attack by gunmen killed a man and woman driving in the town of Khalis. Kirkuk

An insurgent wearing an explosive belt blew himself up next to a police station near the northern oil city of Kirkuk, killing three officers. Mahaweel

Police found a body of a man, with gunshot wounds and bearing signs of torture, in Mahaweel, a town 75 km south of Baghdad.


In the northwestern city of Mosul, a suicide car bomber attacked a U.S. military convoy and wounded five nearby Iraqi civilians. No U.S. casualties were reported.

Gunmen killed four policemen in the northern city of Mosul.

Mosul hospital received bodies of seven people.


Shiite Imam Taha Yassin, close to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, was shot dead after evening prayers near his home in the southern city of Najaf. Elsewhere 10 people were killed


Gunmen killed a policeman on Sunday in Ramadi.


Gunmen kidnapped an Imam of a Sunni mosque in the town of Yathrib, near Balad, 80 km north of Baghdad.

In country

Car bombs and other attacks killed at least 18 people across Iraq. At least 71 bodies -- apparent victims of sectarian death squads -- also were found, including 51 in Baghdad, 16 in Baqouba and four south of the capital.

The Iraqi army killed an insurgent and arrested 41 others during the last 24 hours in different parts of Iraq, the Defence Ministry said in a statement.

Helicopter crash: A Marine helicopter carrying 16 people made an emergency landing in a lake in a volatile province west of Baghdad, killing one and leaving three missing, the military said Monday. Twelve passengers survived the crash Sunday in Anbar province, according to a statement. The military said a Marine was pulled from the water but attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful, while three other service members were listed as "duty status unknown."

This story reports a claim the aircraft was shot down.

Other War News

Shattered Iraq limps into 2007.

Iraq will limp into 2007 a shattered nation after a year that saw a bloody insurgency become a brutal sectarian war that threatens to rip the country into shreds.

Iraq violence 'much worse' than recent civil wars, Annan says.

Kofi Annan points out what regular readers of this site will find obvious, but which can’t be repeated often enough to the other 2,998,000 Americans.

Conflicting accounts follow deadly U.S. airstrike in Iraq.

Report details the discrepancies between the US military and local civilian’s versions of an airstrike (reported in yesterday’s post) that killed at least 9 persons, including two women and a two to three year old child.

'Fear took over' in Baghdad raid. U.S. advisors lament Iraqi troops' conduct. America's exit strategy hangs in the balance.

Recounting of a battle in Baghdad’s Fadhil quarter and the performance of the Iraqi 9th Mechanized, said to be one of the best units in the Iraqi army.

Corruption: the 'second insurgency' costing $4bn a year. One third of rebuilding contracts under criminal investigation.

Exposes more infuriating Bush administration incompetence, this time in failing to rein in corruption that drains Iraqi resources and, in many cases, funds the insurgency.

Iraqi Army division deepens discord.

The overwhelmingly Shiite Muslim military force at the forefront of U.S. and Iraqi plans to secure one of the nation's most fractious provinces is accused of arresting hundreds of Sunni men on little or no evidence, threatening to rape a suspect's wife to coerce a confession, and intimidating its commander's critics.

Iraqi Shi'ites Lose Faith in Their Government

Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily on the political strains within the Shiite community.

Iraqi President rejects summit

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said an international conference on the violence in Iraq is not needed, The Associated Press reported. "We are an independent and a sovereign nation, and it is we who decide the fate of the nation," AP quoted Talabani as saying.

DoD News Briefing with Maj. Gen. Mixon at the Pentagon

Commander, Multinational - Division North and the 25th Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon, discusses the US military position in Iraq. Everything is hunky dory except it’s probably going to take about ten years for Iraqi security forces to be independent or to have a working government there.

Bush reaches out to Shiite leader in search for Iraq peace

Bush will meet today with Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, head of the pro-Iranian Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), at the White House.

Lawyers lodge Saddam death appeal

Lawyers for Saddam Hussein have lodged an appeal against the former Iraqi president's death sentence for crimes against humanity.

Bush aide: 'We have not failed in Iraq'

Stephen Hadley explains that we just haven’t managed to succeed.

Why Military Calls to Raise Iraq Effort Grow. Rumsfeld Exit Revives Push to Boost Troops, Money in One Last Effort to Stabilize Baghdad

As demands mount to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq, a growing number of senior military officials are arguing that the only way to salvage the situation is to add more U.S. forces and more U.S. money.

Rumsfeld’s Memo of Options for Iraq War

The text. Cervantes linked to it yesterday, this is for people who are too lazy to scroll.

U.S. rethinking Iraqi unification goal

The US is stepping up efforts to find ways to unite Iraq politically. Bush is getting more personally involved.

Aide Says Bush Plans Changes in Approach to Iraq

More Stephen Hadley, now telling us that Bush plans “significant changes” in his approach to Iraq.

Rice Admits Mistakes Were Made In Iraq, Won’t Say What They Were Until Bush Leaves Office

“And when I’m back at Stanford University, I can look back and write books about what we might have done differently.”

Bush tries to reassure Americans anxious about war

President Bush said Saturday he understands that Americans are disturbed by persistent scenes of bloodshed and turmoil nearly four years after the war began, but promised he is helping to put Iraq "on a solid path to liberty and democracy."

Blair to head to Washington as Iraq report published

Tony Blair will be with Bush when the ISG sham report is issued. His spokesman terms it a “happy coincidence”.

National Intelligence Director Says He'll Stay On

Negroponte commits to staying in position until the end of the Bush term. Great news for death squad aficionados everywhere.

Mideast allies near a state of panic. U.S. leaders' visits to the region reap only warnings and worry.

Leaders in the mideast, who actually have to live with the results of US policies there, are understandably concerned about the Bush administration's ability to manage the forces unleashed by the Iraq invasion.

US Military News

A Soldier's Story

Major Bill Edmonds, a US Army interrogator, on his year deployed in Iraq.

Rural America Suffering Higher Death Toll in Iraq, Afghanistan

Rural communities are experiencing a disproportionate amount of U.S. military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new study by the Carsey Institute.

Women take on major battlefield roles

More than 155,000 women have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002, according to the Pentagon, nearly four times the number during the Persian Gulf War. Females now account for 15 percent of the active duty force. The number of women casualties — 68 dead and more than 430 injured — represents a tiny fraction of the total. Still, by one estimate, the deaths exceed the number of military women who lost their lives in Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf War combined.

Women face emotional wounds of war

The emotional stresses of Iraq deployment on American female soldiers.

'Emotional rollercoaster' hits war hero

Female Bronze Star recipient copes with PTSD.

The Destruction Of American Freedom In The Name Of A War For Liberty

The Torment of Jose Padilla

New details emerge of the inhuman treatment of a US citizen deprived of his constitutional rights to due process for years.

On Tape: An 'Enemy' Interrogation

More on the disgustingly un-American treatment of Jose Padilla.

U.S. secretly gathers data on travelers. Privacy experts decry program.

The Automated Targeting System - another secret little step toward a police state. But remember, we’re a nation at war!

In U.S., fear and distrust of Muslims runs deep

An east coast radio host suggested that Muslims in America be identified by tattoos or arm bands and the phone lines lit up with callers supporting the idea. “At the end of the one-hour show, rich with arguments on why visual identification of "the threat in our midst" would alleviate the public's fears, Klein revealed that he had staged a hoax. "I can't believe any of you are sick enough to have agreed for one second with anything I said," he told his audience.”

Good for Klein. I hope this story gets a lot more play. What a nation of cowardly little proto-fascists we have become. -m

GSA Chief Seeks to Cut Budget For Audits. Contract Oversight Would Be Reduced

Another Bush appointee is trying to reduce oversight of a Federal agency. Money quote: "There are two kinds of terrorism in the US: the external kind; and, internally, the IGs (Inspectors General -m) have terrorized the Regional Administrators." This doesn’t have anything to do with Iraq per se but it’s so illustrative of what passes for thinking in the minds of the people who run our world today.

Commentary, Opinion, Analysis

Andrew Sullivan rips up right-wingers who are “as graceless in defeat now as they were hubristic in premature victory three years ago.”

Douglas Brinkley on why Bush will be remembered as one of the worst presidents in history even though at least one historian thinks he can still salvage his rep in the next two years. Brinkley himself thinks Bush won’t hit the very bottom of the list, justifying this belief with the following hilarious observation: “I also believe that he is an honest man and that his administration has been largely void of widespread corruption.” Douglas Brinkley is director of the Roosevelt Center at Tulane University, so if you’re thinking of sending your kids to Tulane you might want to instead look for a university that expects its teachers to, like, read the papers.

Shankar Vedantam on psychological entrapment and how Iraq is a perfect example of the phenomenon on a national scale.

The LA Times on why America should stay to build democracy in Iraq except that the Iraqis may not be civilized enough to accept this gift in which case, hey, it’s not like it’s our civil war or anything.

The Washington Post on how we don’t know what the hell we’re doing in Iraq so we probably ought to stay. My favorite line: “The best remaining option for the United States lies in a long-term effort to bolster Iraq's political administration and army so that it defends the current constitution and slowly gains the ability to take on the enemies of the United States.” Yes, I imagine that’s a real priority for the Iraqis.

Glenn Greenwald with his usual astute commentary, this time on the newly revealed US government travel data collection system.

Robert Parry on why Gates may turn out to be “a yes man who will continue the war pretty much as is.”

Diane Roberts on the phoniness of the Bush administration’s support for ‘democracy’.

John Dean on the upcoming battles between the Democratic congress and the Bush administration over the issues of, well, just about everything.

Frank Rich wonders if the Great Pretender will ever face up to the reality of the damage that he has done not only to the people of Iraq but to the good name of the United States of America.

David Swanson has a happy fantasy that hearings on the Bush administration’s crimes will lead to a national consensus in favor of impeachment.

Steve Young speculates that the leaked Hadley memo was “a notice to POTUS that if he continues to ignore the reality of his failed strategy in Iraq that the whistleblower(s) just might keep leaking to the American public that what Bush maintains as a victory or nothing policy, is far worse than nothing…”

David Kurtz makes a good point: “National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley today promised "significant changes" to U.S. Iraq policy, but the Wall Street Journal reports in tomorrow's edition that senior White House officials say that the ouster of Don Rumsfeld was "misinterpreted as a sign that a significant shift is coming." So there you have it. Significant changes but no significant shifts.”

Local Stories And Casualty Reports

An American pilot whose F-16 fighter jet went down in Iraq was listed as killed in action following DNA analysis of remains recovered at the crash site, the U.S. Air Force said Sunday. Maj. Troy L. Gilbert, 34, was supporting troops fighting in Anbar province, where many of the country's Sunni-Arab insurgent groups operate.

For the second time this year, residents of this small town gathered in the high school gym to honor one of their own. Hundreds filed into Morley Stanwood High School last May to remember Matthew Webber, a sergeant with the Army National Guard who died in April from wounds in a roadside bomb explosion in Iraq. Several hundred converged again on the same gym Sunday, this time to pay tribute to Army Spc. Bradley Shilling, 22, killed Nov. 18 by a roadside bomb in Baghdad.

A 35-year-old Fort Hood Army sergeant killed in Iraq had always loved the military life. Staff Sergeant Jeremy W. Mulhair died Thursday when an explosion hit his vehicle near Taji, Iraq.

Another area soldier has been killed while supporting “Operation Enduring Freedom” in Iraq. Cory Rystad, 20, of Red Lake Falls, Minn., was killed Saturday. He was a member of the Minnesota National Guard unit from the Crookston and Thief River Falls areas. He joined immediately after he graduated from high school in 2004.

Bryan T. McDonough, 22, of Maplewood, was a specialist in the Minnesota National Guard. McDonough's parents told KSTP TV and the Star Tribune that McDonough was killed in Fallujah on Saturday when he was hit by an improvised explosive device, and that the family was notified Sunday morning.

The Defense Department says 21-year-old Marine Lance Corporal Joshua C. Alonzo of Dumas died Wednesday while involved in combat operations in Al Anbar province west of Baghdad. The Marine Corps released no details of the incident. The Pentagon also reports 23-year-old Army Sergeant James P. Musack of Riverside, Iowa, died Tuesday of injuries from a non-combat-related incident in Samarra, Iraq. The Pentagon provided no other details.

A U.S. Marine from Austin was killed in Iraq on Saturday. He's being remembered as a hero by friends and family. Cpl. Michael Craig Ledsome was killed in combat in the Al-Anbar province. Just 24 years old, he was a husband and father and a good friend to many.

Master Sgt. Sean M. Cooley, Sgt. Terrance D. Lee, Staff Sgt. Richard Arnold and Sgt. Robert McNail were honored Sunday by their comrades as the National Guard placed a monument in their honor in front of the Lucedale National Guard armory. The four members of Company B, 150th Combat Engineer Battalion, were killed during the unit's deployment to Iraq.


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