Thursday, December 21, 2006
WAR NEWS FOR THURSDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2006
"I'm not going to make predictions about what 2007 will look like in
– George W. Bush, Press Conference, December 20, 2006, discussing sacrifices he and his family will not have to make.
"The people sending our kids over there, their kids aren't over there so they don't know my pain. I wish I could give them my pain so they could know what it's like for five minutes. I'm angry because so many of our kids get killed. I appreciate our kids protecting us but it's not their fight. We've been put into place to fight someone else's battle."
– Annie Washington, interview published December 21, 2006, on the death of her daughter, Army Major Gloria Scott-Davis, killed while serving her second tour of duty in
Al Anbar Province
An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing one Soldier in a southern neighborhood of the Iraqi capital Dec. 20. The combat patrol was conducting a route clearance mission in order to free the roads of any possible dangers. As they conducted their mission, a roadside bomb exploded near one of their vehicles, killing one and wounding two other Soldiers.
An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing one Soldier southwest of the Iraqi capital Dec. 20. The dismounted combat patrol was on the way to investigate an explosion that occurred in the area when a roadside bomb detonated. As a result of the explosion, four Soldiers were wounded and one Soldier was killed.
An improvised explosive device detonated near a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol, killing one Soldier south of the Iraqi capital Dec. 20. The mounted combat patrol was escorting personnel to their forward operating base when a roadside bomb detonated. Three Soldiers were wounded and one Soldier killed in the blast.
Iraq's Olympic cycling coach was killed after gunmen kidnapped him from his home in the latest attack on one of the nation's sports figures, officials said. Family members identified the body of 48-year-old Mahoud Ahmed Fulayih at the central morgue in the capital on Monday, two days after he was abducted, said Hussein al-Amidi, the acting secretary general of Iraq's National Olympic Committee.
A suicide bomber blew up among a group of police volunteers today, killing at least 14 people and wounded 21 others, police said. The attack occurred at 7.15am at a police academy in eastern Baghdad, authorities said. The attacker was wearing a belt laden with explosives, and at least two of the dead were policemen.
Two people were killed and two others wounded when a car bomb went off at a Baghdad southwestern neighborhood on Thursday, a well-informed police source said. "An explosive-laden car detonated at the al-Amil neighborhood at about 1:00 p.m. (1000 GMT), killing two civilians and wounding two others," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
A governmental source in Baladrooz town east of Baqouba city (60 kms north of Baghdad) said that 2 civilians were killed and 8 were injured when an insurgents group from Dainiya neighborhood targeted civilians in Shakori village in the same town early morning today.
A military official in the 5th division of the Iraqi army said that a soldier was killed and 3 others were wounded when a group of more than 30 insurgents attacked early morning today a military checkpoint in Abo Al Nakhal district in Khalis city north of Baqouba city. The source confirmed that 5 insurgents were killed.
The morgue in Kut, 25 miles south of the capital, received the bodies of five victims of violence. Two were decapitated, with hands and legs bound, and the other three were pulled from the Tigris river, a morgue official said.
Many thanks to whisker for the links. -m
Women in Iraq: Almost four years into the Bush Administration's ill fated adventure in Iraq, Iraqi women are worse off than they were under the Baathist regime in a country where, for decades, the freedoms and rights enjoyed by Iraqi women were the envy of women in most other countries of the Middle East.
The invasion of
Iraqi sectarian conflict has exacerbated violence against women, making women's bodies the battlefields on which vendettas and threats are played out.
Reconciliation coalition: Delegates representing Shiite groups forming the largest bloc in
Many of the delegates traveled late Wednesday to the holy city of
The delegates were also expected to meet with radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr about joining the political process and reining in his fighters, Shiite officials said. Al-Sadr heads a militia feared by
Until the walkout, al-Sadr's faction had been an integral part of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's governing coalition. Cabinet ministers and legislators who belong to al-Sadr's movement called the boycott after al-Maliki met with President Bush in
As violence rages across
In Thursday's meeting, the group wants to assure al-Sistani that the new coalition would not break apart the Shiite bloc, said officials from several Shiite parties. Potential members of the coalition said they have been negotiating for two weeks, and now want the blessing of al-Sistani, whose word many Shiites consider binding.
In one of those provinces,
The handover of Najaf came as new Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited
Bush’s Press Conference
Yes, it’s safe to say there will be more losses: Acknowledging deepening frustration over
Bush was unusually candid at a year-end news conference about
He said "2006 was a difficult year for our troops and the Iraqi people. We began the year with optimism" but that faded as extremists fomented sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites.
"And over the course of the year they had success," the president acknowledged. "Their success hurt our efforts to help the Iraqis rebuild their country, it set back reconciliation, it kept
The Decider will decide how many troops the generals need: The debate over sending more U.S. troops to Iraq intensified yesterday as President Bush signaled that he will listen but not necessarily defer to balky military officers, while Gen. John P. Abizaid, his top Middle East commander and a leading skeptic of a so-called surge, announced his retirement.
At an end-of-the-year news conference, Bush said he agrees with generals "that there's got to be a specific mission that can be accomplished" before he decides to dispatch an additional 15,000 to 30,000 troops to the war zone. But he declined to repeat his usual formulation that he will heed his commanders on the ground when it comes to troop levels.
Bush sought to use the 52-minute session, held in the ornate Indian Treaty Room in a building adjacent to the White House, to sum up what he called "a difficult year for our troops and the Iraqi people" and reassure the American public that "we enter this new year clear-eyed about the challenges in
The tension between the White House and the Joint Chiefs of Staff over the proposed troop increase has come to dominate the administration's post-election search for a new strategy in
When will these MSM liberal propagandists get it? No defined purpose? What a slander on the Leader! Of course there’s a defined purpose – to show the Decider being decisive! Any red-blooded American soldier should be willing to give up a limb or two for that! Geez! -m
Another hundred billion dollars without the ‘surge’: The Pentagon wants the White House to seek an additional $99.7 billion to fund the wars in
The military's request, if embraced by President Bush and approved by Congress, would boost this year's budget for those wars to about $170 billion.
Military planners assembled the proposal at a time when Bush is developing new strategies for
Overall, the war in
The additional funds, if approved, would push this year's cost of the war in
Charges to be filed: After an investigation that's lasted more than a year, criminal charges will be filed today in the alleged Haditha massacre in which 24 civilians in an Iraqi town were killed.
A news conference has been scheduled for this afternoon at the large Marine base,
Military sources told ABC News that at least eight Marines will face criminal charges in connection with the alleged murder of the civilians in the Iraqi town of
The most serious charges are expected to be filed against five Marines who were on the scene of the killings, including squad leader Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich.
Support Lt. Watada!
A whole Army full of officers and only one 1st looie has the stones to stand up for the Constitution: A highly sympathetic crowd of a few hundred people gave Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada standing ovations before, during and after a speech at the Church of the Crossroads in Moiliili.
Watada acknowledged that his actions have divided the community. "That was not my intent," he said. But upon learning the facts of the war, he said he was in turmoil.
He called the war in
He quoted Nazi Germany's Hermann Goering, who said while the common people are usually not willing to go to war, "all you have to do is tell them they are being attacked."
Watada said the American people were deceived by the Bush administration, which manipulated intelligence to fit policy and regime change in
"We have been lied to, deceived and betrayed," he said. "A crime has been committed against the constitution."
Screwed By The
An apology to our readers: Yesterday I headed the day’s entry with a pair of quotes from GW Bush, one from a couple months ago about how we’re absolutely winning in
“Do I think we're a nation led by a dolt? I most certainly do, but that doesn't mean I want the press feeding my beliefs or the beliefs of others by misrepresenting what is said. I want the truth. Those on the right will cry bullshit about the headline of the Post article and they'll be correct in doing so. The press needs to learn that the "media critics" on the right are, in a way, like the Iraqi insurgents: They will use a small error to create big damage. Every time a member of the press writes an article like this one, they give the right more ammunition to chip away at their credibility. From now until doomsday, Brent Bozell will always be able to fall back on "If the press is so balanced, then why did they say Bush said we're not winning in
Read the whole thing, it’s worth the time. -m
Analysis, Opinion, Commentary
Eric Boehlert on the recent murder of AP photographer Aswan Ahmed Lutfallah: Warbloggers are obsessed with all things AP, or the "Associated (with terrorists) Press," as Malkin subtly calls it. Which brings us back to news of Lutfallah's death and the odd silence that emanated from the warblogs -- and by odd, I mean, wildly hypocritical, because the silence sprang from the fact that the circumstances of Lutfallah's murder didn't fit the warbloggers' ideological script. Namely, that Lutfallah was executed by insurgents, which completely undermined the warbloggers' theory that the AP enjoys close ties to terrorists.
According to warblogger logic, the insurgents should have made sure Lutfallah got the best film of the gun fight with police; in fact, insurgents might have even tipped him off that a battle was going to take place. That's how the drill is supposed to work. Yet insurgents in
So much for the AP and insurgents working in concert.
You can be sure that if Lutfallah had been killed by Iraqi police during the gun battle and warbloggers in any way could have portrayed him as an enemy, they would have howled about Lutfallah's death for days, smearing his name with all sorts of terrorist innuendos and demanding that the AP explain itself. But when word came that an AP journalist had been executed by Iraqi insurgents, the warbloggers knew to keep quiet.
Of course, for anybody who's paid even passing attention to events in
Will Bunch on Fox News and treasonous scumbag Oliver North: Maj. McClung was a true hero of an American free press, risking and ultimately sacrificing her life to make sure that the
Here's something else that Fox didn't cover: McClung was buried yesterday in
The truth is that Oliver North has been forgiven for many things on his life, including a central role in a scandalous assault on the U.S. Constitution and an overturned felony conviction that only slowed his march to a life of affluent comfort as a right-wing pundit. But now, Lt. Col. Oliver North has left behind a fellow Marine, in the consciousness of her country, where she belongs. And that is truly unforgivable.
Pat Murphy on history’s greatest DefSec: This is the Bush style, however, when dealing with favored incompetents screwing up the
The Rumsfeld honors, however, were a special slap at American GIs who've endured Rumsfeld's bungling.
Rumsfeld blew off GI complaints of being under-equipped as "you to go to war with the Army you've got."
He blew off generals when they complained they needed more troops. Now the consequences:
Rumsfeld tolerated—or encouraged?—abuse and torture of prisoners in
He presided over the fraud and incompetence of no-bid contractors hired to rebuild
And this "greatest" Defense secretary was so hopelessly unskilled as a planner and tactician that troop shortages were made up by sending units to
Now the military that suffered Rumsfeld is awaiting the post-New Year decision of Bush, another worthy in the field of military genius, on repairing the
Bush doesn't want to be "rushed." He gave Rumsfeld three years and nine months after the Iraq invasion, $400 billion in funds, the lives of nearly 3,000 GIs and another 25,000 wounded, apparently not time or treasure enough to get it right.
Andrew Buncombe on the delusions of our leaders: With polls showing that only a third of Americans now support the war and with Republicans still licking their wounds from the midterm election defeat, Mr Bush is under pressure to announce a new strategy for a war that has cost the lives of almost 3,000 US troops, 126 British soldiers and perhaps more than 655,000 Iraqis. He is due to announce plans early in the new year.
Since the publication of the Iraq Study Group's (ISG) report, which recommended a short-term bolstering of Iraqi forces, there has been increasing speculation Mr Bush could order an additional 30,000 troops to
Additionally, Mr Bush's critics have seized on such a plan as more evidence that the President is out of touch with both the reality in
Senator Harry Reid on the ‘surge’: Frankly, I don't believe that more troops is the answer for
1. I believe we should start redeploying troops in 4 to 6 months (The Levin-Reed Plan) and complete the withdrawal of combat forces by the first quarter of 2008. (As laid out by the Iraq Study Group)
2. The President must understand that there can only be a political solution in
3. These priorities need to be coupled with a renewed diplomatic effort and regional strategy.
I do not support an escalation of the conflict. I support finding a way to bring our troops home and would look at any plan that gave a roadmap to this goal.
It's been two weeks since the Iraq Study Group released its plan to change the course and bring our troops home. Since then, the President has been on a fact finding tour of his own administration -- apparently ignoring the facts presented by those in the military who know best. The President needs to put forth a plan as soon as possible, one that reflects the reality on the ground in
Sidney Blumenthal on The New Way Forward ™: Bush's touted but unexplained "new way forward" (his version of the ISG's "the way forward") may be the first order of battle, complete with details of units, maps and timetables, ever posted on the Web site of a think tank. "I will not be rushed," said Bush. But apparently he has already accepted the latest neoconservative program, artfully titled with catchphrases appealing to his desperation -- "Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in
The author of this plan is Frederick W. Kagan, a neoconservative at the AEI and the author of a new book, "Finding the Target: The Transformation of American Military Policy," replete with up-to-date neocon scorn of Bush as "simplistic," Donald Rumsfeld as "fatuous," and even erstwhile neocon icon Paul Wolfowitz, former deputy secretary of defense and currently president of the World Bank, as "self-serving." Among the others listed as "participants" in drawing up the plan are various marginal and obscure figures including, notably, Danielle Pletka, a former aide to Sen. Jesse Helms; Michael Rubin, an aide to the catastrophic Coalition Provisional Authority; and retired Maj. Gen. Jack Keane, the former deputy Army chief of staff.
This rump group of neocons is the battered remnant left of the phalanx that once conjured up grandiose visions of conquest and blowtorched ideological ground for Bush. Although neocons are still entrenched in the Vice President's Office and on the National Security Council, they mostly feel that their perfect ideas have been the victims of imperfect execution. Rather than accepting any responsibility for the ideas themselves, they blame Rumsfeld and Bush. Meyrav Wurmser, a research fellow at the neoconservative Hudson Institute, whose husband, David Wurmser, is a
"Choosing Victory" is a prophetic document, a bugle call for an additional 30,000 troops to fight a decisive Napoleonic battle for
Bob Burnett on why Bush can’t admit failure in
Anthony Arnove on why no option but withdrawal is valid: All of the reasons being offered for why the
It is not only the Iraqi people who oppose the occupation of their country and want to see the troops leave. A clear majority of people in the
But Bush's response to the groundswell of opposition to the war, which has led not only to his setbacks in the midterm elections but to even further erosion in his already abysmal approval ratings (with approval of his handling of the war reaching a new low of 27 percent), is to insist that the sun still revolves around the earth. "Absolutely, we're winning," Bush told reporters. "I know there's a lot of speculation that these reports in
St. Louis Post-Exchange editorial on The New Way Forward ™: Last summer, President George W. Bush and his war-planners launched "Operation Forward Together," sending 4,000 additional
Now Bush and Pentagon planners are contemplating what should be called (but probably won't be) "Operation Forward By Ourselves." At least 15,000, and possibly up to 30,000, additional
This idea is so breathtakingly bad in so many ways that it's almost unimaginable. Given an opportunity by the findings of the Iraq Study Group to begin rational disengagement in
Chris Floyd on the Bush administration’s real priorities in Iraq: …it beggars belief to imagine that Blair and Bush (or at least the latter's chief advisers) do not know that they have helped form many of the very militias they now rail against daily, and that their much-trumpeted support for Iraq's "security forces" is in fact one of the main engines driving the sectarian civil war. One can only conclude from this that Bush and Blair have decided that the sectarian war should be played to their own advantage, and pushed toward the only result that now offers even the slightest chance of "success" in their war of aggression: the triumph of a Shiite extremist faction willing to cut an acceptable deal on the all-important "oil law" and perhaps allow a continued US military presence in the country, if only a few "lily-pad" skeleton bases.
These have always been the main goals of the Bush Faction's warmongers, even before the administration took power in the 2000 judicial coup: to open Iraq's oil fields to cronies of the conquerors, and to plant a US "military footprint" in this strategic heart of the Middle East. They have hewed toward these goals with a remarkable, ruthless focus. This is one key reason why the occupation of Iraq has been such a slap-dash affair; its authors didn't really care what sort of regime sprang up in the wake of the invasion, or how it got cobbled together, as long as it played ball on oil and military bases. (A third main goal of the operation - war profiteering on an unprecedented, almost unfathomable scale - has already been accomplished.)
They would have done better to pay more attention to "side issues" like the security of the Iraqi people and the provision of essential services, of course. But the Bush-led warmongers are, after all, a collection of stunted intellects, stupified by greed and primitive ideologies. Now, facing the imminent ruin of their reckless and misbegotten enterprise, they are down to their last card: the wheelers and dealers of SCIRI.
In these past weeks following the November elections, Bush and Blair have set about trying to build a new coalition around Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is dependent for his political power on the support of hardline Shiite cleric and fierce nationalist Motqada al-Sadr and his mass "Mahdi Army," which already controls several areas of the country, including large swathes of Baghdad. Sadr, who along with his martyred family stayed in
Thus it seems increasingly clear that Bush and Blair have decided to wage all-out war on Sadr, with the help of the "surge" troops now being put together. This will be the "New Way Forward" that Bush's mouthpieces have been talking about. American soldiers will fight for SCIRI and its allies, and for any other faction that seems likely to acquiesce in some measure to the Coalition's twin war aims. The fact that this will be yet another strategic mistake of horrendous proportions will not stop the stunted intellects from giving it a try. Sadr, who commands the fanatical devotion of millions of Iraqis - millions of armed Iraqis - cannot be defeated militarily without a bloodbath that would make even the utter hell of present-day
Local Stories And Casualty Reports
Army Major Gloria Scott-Davis becomes the Heartland's first female casualty, and our twentieth service person to die in the line of duty. The Major's mother is both angry and in a state of shock. Military service is a tradition in this family; the Major's son and daughter also served. Major Gloria Scott-Davis herself had been in the army for 18 years, and had only two years to go before she retired.
Nearly 500 people attended the funeral in Aiken for a Marine corporal killed in
A 21-year-old Army specialist from
Army Staff Sgt. Robert L. Love Jr. of Livingston, Ala., was killed in Iraq on Dec. 1 when an explosive device blew up near his vehicle, was buried Wednesday in the tiny east Mississippi town of Russell. At least 75 people, including family members, friends and a military contingent, attended a memorial service for Love earlier Wednesday at
Here are the names of the journalists who have died to date in
Atwar Bahjat, Al-Arabiya, February 23, 2006, Samarra
Adnan Khairallah, Wasan Productions and Al-Arabiya, February 23, 2006, Samarra
Khaled Mahmoud al-Falahi, Wasan Productions and Al-Arabiya, February 23, 2006, Samarra
Munsuf Abdallah al-Khaldi, Baghdad TV, March 7, 2006, Baghdad
Amjad Hameed, Al-Iraqiya, March 11, 2006, Baghdad
Muhsin Khudhair, Alef Ba, March 13, 2006, Baghdad
Kamal Manahi Anbar, freelance, March 26, 2006, Baghdad
So'oud Muzahim al-Shoumari, Al-Baghdadia, April 4, 2006, Baghdad
Laith al-Dulaimi, Al-Nahrain, May 8, 2006, south of Baghdad
James Brolan, CBS, May 29, 2006, Baghdad
Paul Douglas, CBS, May 29, 2006, Baghdad
Ali Jaafar, Al-Iraqiya, May 31, 2006, Baghdad
Ibrahim Seneid, Al-Bashara, June 13, 2006, Fallujah
Adel Naji al-Mansouri, Al-Alam, July 29, 2006, Baghdad
Riyad Muhammad Ali, Talafar al-Yawm, July 30, 2006, Mosul
Mohammad Abbas Mohammad, Al-Bayinnah Al-Jadida, August 7, 2006, Baghdad
Ismail Amin Ali, freelance, August 7, 2006, Baghdad
Abdel Karim al-Rubai, Al-Sabah, September 9, 2006, Baghdad
Safa Isma'il Enad, freelance, September 13, 2006, Baghdad
Ahmed Riyadh al-Karbouli, Baghdad TV, September 18, 2006, Ramadi
Hussein Ali, Al-Shaabiya, October 12, 2006, Baghdad
Abdul-Rahim Nasrallah al-Shimari, Al-Shaabiya, October 12, 2006, Baghdad
Noufel al-Shimari, Al-Shaabiya, October 12, 2006, Baghdad
Thaker al-Shouwili, Al-Shaabiya, October 12, 2006, Baghdad
Ahmad Sha'ban, Al-Shaabiya, October 12, 2006, Baghdad
Saed Mahdi Shlash, Rayat al-Arab, October 26, 2006, Baghdad
Naqshin Hamma Rashid, Atyaf (Iraqi Media Network), October 29, 2006, Baghdad
Muhammad al-Ban, Al-Sharqiya, November 13, 2006, Mosul