Sunday, March 04, 2007


A boy weeps while holding a placard during a rally near Kirkuk, about 250 km (150 miles) north of Baghdad, March 4, 2007. The boy joined the protest to ask for the release of his father, who protesters said was among those arrested during a joint U.S.and Iraqi military raid two days ago. REUTERS/Slahaldeen Rasheed (IRAQ) Note: I would have featured coverage of this event in the news of the day, but I find it mentioned only in picture captions. Other photos show a decent sized crowd. -- C


Policeman killed when gunmen attack a police station in Azamiyah district. Perpetrators escaped.

AP also reports a bomb hidden in a cigarette cart exploded in central Baghdad, wounding four civilians and damaging two cars, police said.

Prominent journalist Mohan al-Zaher killed near his home in western Baghdad. Iraqi Journalists Syndicate says he was killed resisting a kidnapping. al-Zaher has written columns critical of the Iraqi government and the U.S. occupation. This DPA article also has additional information about the discovery yesterday of the body of Jamal al-Zubaidi, the managing editor of Baghdad's al-Safir (the ambassador) newspaper.

DPA also reports:

Hundreds of U.S. troops enter Sadr City, seal off streets, conduct house-to-house searches. They meet no resistance and apparently find nothing.

AP also reports that U.S. troops raided a mosque in Baghdad and captured three people they identify as "suspected insurgents." An Iraqi woman was wounded in the incident and transported to a hospital.

A car bomb targeting a police patrol killed one person and wounded four others in the southern Doura district of Baghdad, police said. Note: This is the district the U.S. shelled overnight on Thursday. Reuters also reports


A roadside bomb exploded near an Iraqi army patrol, killing four soldiers in a village near Baquba.

Roadside bomb kills three women and a child, Shiite pilgrims on their way to Karbala. However, the target appears to have been a nearby U.S. convoy. Six people wounded, not stated whether any were Americans.


British military says that coalition troops raided the local headquarters of the Iraqi interior ministry's domestic intelligence agency, and freed 37 prisoners. British say they found evidence of torture and links to bomb attacks. Iraqi police say that U.S., rather than British troops accompanied Iraqis in carrying out the raid. (If true, this would seem to be evidence that the British have already started to withdraw from active combat in the region. Note that in this case we have one faction of Iraqi forces joining the occupation in attacking another faction. -- C

Salahuddin Province

The U.S. military announced that more than 50 insurgents were detained in a three-day operation last month in Salahuddin province north of Baghdad. Three suspected insurgents were killed in the raids, the military said. (As usual, we're just expected to take their word for it that all of the detainees and all the dead are "insurgents." --C)

KUNA, discussing the same announcement, says it also states that "10 terrorists were killed after proving that they financed attacks against the coalition forces stationed in Abu Ajil." KUNA also provides details on specific locations of the activities. Tikrit

Two bodies found shot dead east of the city.


Two police killed, three injured, when gunmen open fire on a checkpoint.

A total of nine bodies were found shot dead on Saturday in different districts of the city.

Other News of the Day

Sadrist MP Falah Hassan complains about the U.S. operations in Sadr City, saying "We told (Prime Minister Nouri) al-Maliki that if there is an arrest operation against anyone, it should be done by Iraqi forces. We understood that Iraqi forces only would conduct the search and if they faced resistance, then U.S. forces could intervene, but that was not the case with today's operation." AP report suggests that continued forbearance by Sadrist movement is in doubt.

Arab League calls on UN Security Council to set a timetable for withdrawal of foreign forces from Iraq, articulates other goals for the country. (Nothing new here -- C)

CAIRO (Reuters) - The Arab League said on Sunday the United Nations Security Council should set a timetable for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Iraq. Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa listed what the Cairo-based organization believed were the key issues for easing the crisis in Iraq.

Apart from setting a timetable for U.S.-led coalition to leave, the list also includes a call for the fair distribution of wealth and the disbanding of all militias, which are demands that Arab leaders have repeated many times. "I suggest that these foundations be included in a binding U.N. Security Council resolution that all Iraqi and other parties with present roles in Iraq should respect and follow," Moussa said in a speech to a meeting of Arab foreign ministers.

The United States has rejected calls for setting a date for its troops, who make up the vast majority of multinational forces, to leave the country they invaded in 2003. Arab governments have little influence in Baghdad. The Arab League representative in Iraq resigned in January because of his frustration over the situation in the country.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Gutierres, addressing the Arab Foreign Ministers, urges the International Community to do more for Iraqi refugees. Excerpt:

Cairo, March 4, (VOI) – On Sunday, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), António Gutierres, urged the international community to shoulder its responsibilities towards Iraqi refugees and to help the countries that host them, particularly Jordan and Syria. "The mass media showed great interest in developments in Iraq but no one showed interest in the ensuing tragedy: the largest displacement in the region since 1948," Guterres said in his inaugural address of the 127th session of the Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo on Sunday.

Guterres pointed out, "millions of Iraqis decided to leave their homes to escape threats against their lives or to relocate to other areas inside the country." The UNHCR praised Jordan and Syria for having taken on the largest refugee burden. Syria hosts about one million Iraqis and Jordan 750,000, adding that these two countries have been left unassisted, which caused price hikes there as well as other problems.

"I totally understand the fears these two countries have about their own national security but after all the (Iraqi) refugees are victims of terrorism and can never be terrorists," said Guterres.

The UNHCR chief also announced that an international conference on Iraqi refugees would be held in Geneva in April, and said he had discussed with Syria and Jordan "the preparation of this conference and the way to make it a success." Between 600,000 and one million Iraqi refugees are believed to have fled to Syria, and around 750,000 are estimated to be in neighboring Jordan.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini tells state television that Iran has "received proposals" from the U.S. requesting talks about Iraqi security. Not stated whether this is in connection with the upcoming multilateral conference but that would appear to be the case.

30 to 50 Syrian companies expected to take part in Iraq Reconstruction Fair scheduled for November of this year. (I post this simply because it is instructive that the Iraq Reconstruction Fair will take place in Kuwait - C)

Deja vu Department: Maliki holds a press conference, says promised cabinet reshuffle will take place in "two weeks," offers no specifics. Note: This story says he first promised it in November, but eve that was actually just the repetition of a pledge first made last summer -- C) He discusses other issues, including the upcoming security conference and militia infiltration of the Interior Ministry, which he denies. Excerpt:

Baghdad, March 4, (VOI) – Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said on Sunday that the cabinet reshuffle he had announced in November 2006 will take place "very soon," in a couple of weeks.

Maliki, in a press conference held in Baghdad, declined to name the ministries or ministers that will be included in the shakeup. It is a message for all the ministers who have proved to be inefficient in their posts, that they will be subject to change," Maliki said.

Iraqi politicians had urged Maliki to make changes to his cabinet lineup. Several observers warned that the Maliki government might collapse if the expected reshuffle failed to bring an end to the sectarian strife that has led to remarkable acts of violence in Iraq.

Meanwhile, Maliki said the Iraqi army represents a mainstay of the country's security and stability, stressing that the former army officers attending a conference in Baghdad represent all groups from the Iraqi people and are far from sectarianism and political influences. The Baghdad security plan needs politicians, the military and the citizens," said the Iraqi premier. sked whether there were flaws or infiltrations into the Iraqi interior ministry, Maliki said "there are no flaws or infiltrations in the interior ministry but bad people, not just in the interior ministry but also elsewhere. Reports in the Arab and foreign mass media should not be relied on because they rely on opponents of the government, whose aim is to render the Baghdad security plan a failure," noted Maliki.

In-Depth Reporting, Commentary and Analysis

Hearst's Eric Rosenberg reports that funding for Sunni militants in Iraq is coming from Saudi Arabia, discusses the proxy confrontation between S.A. and Iran in Iraq. Excerpt:

During his inaugural appearance before Congress last week, the new U.S. intelligence czar made a rare public reference to one of Washington's secret dreads. Mike McConnell, the new director of national intelligence, said there are funds coming from Saudi Arabia, an ostensible U.S. ally, to help Sunni insurgents in Iraq, while Iran is supporting the Shiite militias there.

McConnell's testimony undergirds U.S. concerns that the Iraq civil war could turn into a direct Saudi-Iranian confrontation, with American military forces caught between warring combatants for Islam's two dominant strains. Separately, Brian Jenkins, a military expert with Rand Corp., a national security and foreign policy research organization, said: "What we already are seeing in Iraq is an emerging proxy war between Saudi-backed Sunnis and Iranian-backed Shia."

If that proxy war cascades into a direct Iranian-Saudi military clash, it could imperil much of the world's oil supply. Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq are Nos. 1, 3 and 4, respectively, in terms of proven oil reserves.

Nawaf Obaid, then a security adviser to the Saudi government, alluded to the tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia in November when he warned in an op-ed column that a U.S. withdrawal of forces from Iraq would result in "massive Saudi intervention to stop Iranian-backed Shiite militias from butchering Iraqi Sunnis." The Saudis fired Obaid after the column was published in the Washington Post.

Tensions between the two nations are the main topic at a summit this weekend that Saudi and Iranian leaders were holding in Saudi Arabia.

NYT's Damien Cave discusses the hardening of sectarian divisions in Baghdad. Not news, exactly, but this is a detailed description of the situation. Excerpt:

BAGHDAD, March 3 — After centuries full of vibrant interaction, of marrying, sharing and selling across sects and classes, Baghdad has become a capital of corrosive and violent borderlines. Streets never crossed. Conversations never started. Doors never entered.


The goal of the new Baghdad security plan is to fix all of this — to fashion a peace that stitches the city’s cleaved neighborhoods back together. After three weeks, there are a few signs of progress. The number of bodies found daily has decreased to 20 or fewer from 35 to 50. In some areas closely patrolled by American troops, a few of the families that fled the violence are said to be returning.

But even in neighborhoods that are improving or are relatively calm, borders loom. Streets once crossed without a thought are now bullet-riddled and abandoned, the front lines of a block-by-block war among Shiite militias, Sunni insurgents, competing criminal gangs and Iraqi and American troops.

Some Americans who have seen both Bosnia and Iraq say Baghdad has come to resemble Sarajevo as it began to unravel in the 1990s, latticed with boundaries that are never openly indicated but are passed on in fearful whispers among neighbors who have suffered horrific losses. Like jagged wounds, the boundaries mark histories of brutal violence. And for Iraqis, they underscore a vital question at the heart of the new plan: can scarred neighborhoods ever heal?

Blogger Wissam calls the Baghdad Security Plan the "Baghdad Chaos Plan. His English is sometimes hard to understand but I think you'll get the idea.

Iraqi government call it (BAGHDAD SECURITY PLAN) and we call it (BAGHDAD CHAOS PLAN) every single member in the security system taking money from the people to be released like for example I have paid in one day 30,000 Iraqi dinars to the traffic police and the peace keeping forces to be forgiven for the mistake that I did, my mistake was that I was driving my car in the street to go to my work in the time that I not suppose to be driving I mean the government have silly law obligate me to drive three days a week in the street in Baghdad because the numbers of the car as you know the (odds and even ) numbers my car was odd and I was driving in the even day so can you imagine he took 15,000 Iraqi dinars to him self instead giving me the 30,000 Iraqi dinars penalty recede from the government and the keeping peace forces guy did the same thing at the time that it is non of his responsibility….

Can you imagine that you are driving very happy and suddenly an Iraqi army soldier taking a guy from his car because he was wanted to the American and the Iraqi Government because he was related to the Mahdi Militia I was very happy when sow [saw that I was feeling that there is some good will be happen in our future suddenly again the keeping peace forces show up again and they pulled there weapons to the soldiers head and they asked him to release the guy the Iraqi army in coincidence were driving by the same area and they sow that scene they got mad and they start shooting at each others and the funny thing that they didn't mentioned about it on TV so we still have the big hope in Baghdad chaos plan to bring more chaos for us till Almaliky give Baghdad to mahdi militia successfully without any contradiction from the American side..

Thanks for your time

Blogger Sahar discusses the economic desperation in the capital. (And props once more to McClatchy for giving its Iraqi employees the opportunity to address us directly -- C).

Yesterday I went to the bank. Wow! I thought. So many people! Iraqis are not “bank oriented” people, if they have any excess; they tend to keep it at home. Previous experiences have taught us not to trust banks; they have been known to hold on to your money when you need it in a jiffy!

But looking at the numbers inside that bank, I thought, “I have been out of touch; bad girl.” I go in, only to find people pushing and shoving one another; fighting, shouting and cursing each other. “This is not normal,” I said to myself. I try to reach the employee with whom I have business, but my efforts are to no avail. One human current pushes me this way and another pulls me that. A proper riot!

I began to have serious misgivings.

“What is this all about?” I asked a lady who was trying, in vain, to keep from being crushed between two men, to my right, “Have you got any idea?” “Where do you come from? Don’t you know that the government is giving people relief? At last we are remembered!”

“Really!! That’s excellent!!” It was my good fortune to be at the bank this day! Although half suffocated, I felt elated at being “remembered”. “How much?” “10 000 Dinars!” (Equivalent to $7.75, purchasing power: 50 eggs).

….. Numbness.. …..

Fighting ….. Rioting ….. Flayed nerves and hot tempers flying ….. for 10 000 Dinars. Where do I come from? How many thousands have been decommissioned? How many thousands were in Saddam’s army, police and intelligence agencies? Thousands of others – professionals - dismissed from their government jobs on pretext of debathhification? Yet more thousands displaced; and more still terrorized into a futile stay-at-home existence??

Riots in the bank for ID 10 000, $ 7.75. And for $100; what would they be prepared to do? For $500? For $1000??

How many will cross that line? It’s not easy to see your family starve for principles. Mercenaries on Iranian payroll. Mercenaries on American payroll. Mercenaries on ANY payroll.

Hear! Hear! An army for a pittance. Gather yea all, who have an interest to participate in this charade. Stakes are high! All of Iraq is the stage.

Whisker's round-up of the wounded

It's long, but I'm going to post the whole thing today, in the context of the recent revelations about the way some of these people have been treated by the national leaders who want people to believe that opponents of the war don't "support the troops.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Dustin E. Kirby, a Navy corpsman whose efforts to save a wounded Marine in Iraq in October and his own wounding by a sniper on Christmas. Kirby was struck by a bullet in the left side of the face while near a bunker on the roof of Outpost Omar, a Marine position in Karma, a city in Anbar province. The bullet, which he said was an armor-piercing 7.62 mm round fired from a Dragunov-style sniper rifle at a range of 400 to 600 yards, passed through his head and exited at the side of his mouth. In traveling this path, it did not strike his brain, spinal column or major veins or arteries, he said. Kirby's therapy and treatment are less extensive. The bullet tore away seven teeth, the right side of his lower jaw, several patches of nerve and a section of his tongue. It also shattered part of his lower skull, near the roof of his mouth. Surgeons have rebuilt his face with bone and skin from one of his legs, he said, and secured the damaged tissues with 14 metal plates.

Twenty-two-year-old Daniel Houghton was transferred to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. He'd been recovering at a hospital in Germany since his Chinook Helicopter crashed in Afghanistan September 18th. His family from North Carolina was able to see him for the first time Sunday night and say he still remains in serious condition with multiple injuries. Houghton is a pararescuer with the 38th Rescue Squadron stationed at Moody Air Force Base. Eight troops were killed in that same crash.

Lance Cpl. Colin Smith, a machine gunner in the vehicle's turret who was shot through the skull by a sniper in Karma in late October. The bullet that struck Smith, the same type that struck Kirby, destroyed the top regions of both frontal lobes of Smith's brain. But since being medically stabilized and beginning a range of therapies, he has begun to walk with assistance and a four-pronged cane, to smile and to mimic sounds and repeat words he hears, his father said. Because of damage to areas of the brain that control speech, Bob Smith said, it was not clear how fully Colin Smith would recover his ability to converse. Similarly, he has extremely limited movement on the right side of his body. It is too soon to predict how much range of motion and strength will return.

A U.S. Marine from Bellefonte who was seriously wounded in Iraq is "still fighting" for life at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., where his family and fellow Marines are keeping vigil, his father said. Marine Cpl. David Emery Jr.'s, legs and left arm were shattered on Feb. 7 in a suicide bomb attack in Iraq's Anbar province. Emery, 21, nicknamed "D.J.," also suffered a severe abdominal wound, including a severed artery that caused his kidneys to shut down, his family said. He is on a ventilator and is also suffering from pneumonia. "Right now he's maintaining his own blood pressure," David Emery. "They took him off the medication for that. So that's a positive sign. He's still on a ventilator, and they're still doing dialysis every day. And every day they are cleaning his wounds. "They haven't even started working on his fractures yet," the elder Emery said. "We take it a day at a time. Every day he holds on, there's some improvement. It means he's not getting worse." David Emery Jr. has not regained consciousness since he was wounded in the bombing.

Since he has been home from the hospital, the simple task of taking a shower has been a sort of awkward minuet for Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Edwards, a victim of burns in Iraq. It involves hopping to the bathroom door of their Cibolo home, rising and sitting in a wheelchair and, depending on how much verve either of them possesses, a cradle lift to get him seated beneath the water. After the shower, reverse the steps and repeat. the injuries came in Sunni Arab territory in April 2005, when, as he puts it, he "was blown up" in a security patrol. The fuel from his fighting vehicle left third-degree burns on about 80 percent of his body. He has since undergone some 30 surgeries, battling constant pain, his care supervised at Brooke Army Medical Center.

Ben Lunak, 22, a Marine corporal, was wounded in on Feb. 25, 2006 when the Humvee in which he was riding drove over a roadside bomb. He had been stationed near Ramadi, west of Baghdad. He lost part of a leg and has had multiple surgeries. His right leg had to be amputated below the knee. A year later, Lunak is home in Grand Forks, working at Northern Plains Grain Inspection and recovering from injuries. He gets around on one natural leg and his pick of two prosthetic legs, plus one more on the way.

Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Bain, 35, of Newberry, who, on April 8, 2004, suffered severe injuries as a result of enemy rocket-powered grenades. Bain, after spending extensive time at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and undergoing surgery to both his arms and back over the last three years. Bain, after spending extensive time at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and undergoing surgery to both his arms and back over the last three years

On Friday, Angela Shepherd was the recipient of the phone call that no parent of military personnel stationed in Iraq wants to receive. Her 23-year-old son, Cory Shepherd, had been gunned down by a sniper while completing work for the day on a military bunker. reserve corporal with the U.S. Marine Engineer Support Battalion, had “taken a hit to the legs.” She was told to go home to await further word. A single bullet had passed through both of her son’s legs as he stood on top of the bunker his unit had been building, but it had not damaged bones or major blood vessels.

A relative of Specialist Johnny D. Jones of Derby says he is in serious condition after being flown to Walter Reed Hospital. Jones was the driver of the vehicle that Sgt. Dave Berry was riding in when an I.E.D. was detonated. Berry was killed and two other Kansas Guardsman, Peter Richert and Jerrod Hays, were seriously injured. All of the men serve in the 1st Battalion, 161st Field Artillery, Kansas Army National Guard. Families of the victims have told KAKE that other soldiers were injured, but neither the Department of Defense nor the Kansas National Guard are commenting on injuries, or the circumstances surrounding the attack.

Staff Sergeants Jerrod Hays, 38, was flown to a hospital in Germany where he underwent surgery Friday.Hays suffered injuries to his face, eye and left hand. His wife, Nancy Hays, said he took a good blow to the back from the impact. He is expected to survive

Last year, Sgt. Shurvon Phillip was on patrol when his Humvee hit a roadside bomb. The Marine took the brunt of the explosion. Phillip, a member of the Brook Park-based 3rd Battalion 25th Marines, is now confined to a wheelchair, trapped in a body he cannot control. Phillip understands everything going on around him. To respond favorably, he flares his nostrils or blinks his eyes. He keeps his face deadpan to show that he's thinking about something or to respond unfavorably

A Hillsboro man wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq last week was still recuperating Monday from his injuries in a military hospital in Germany. Peter Richert, a specialist with the National Guard, was traveling with 12 other soldiers either Wednesday or Thursday when the bomb exploded in the vicinity of their vehicle. According to Roger Sinclair, a National Guard recruiter who lives in Hillsboro and has been in contact with officers in Richert's battalion since the attack, one soldier was killed by the blast and 12 others, including Richert, were wounded to varying degrees. As of Monday night, the extent of Richert's injuries were not fully known by his parents, Ed and Phyllis Richert of Hillsboro, even though they have been in contact with their son since the incident. "What I do know is that one leg was amputated," said Phyllis Richert. "I don't know exactly what point along the leg. We were told, verbally, below the knee, but the paperwork says above the knee." She added that Peter apparently sustained other injuries as well, but doctors were most concerned about the leg.

23-year-old Sgt. Casey Helms of Bismarck, Missouri came home last weekend, after being seriously injured earlier this month. Casey Helms has an obvious limp and scars on his face and body, and while he's very matter of fact about what happened to him - he's also counting his blessings, because he's home again in one piece. "There's shrapnel down my right leg and stomach and colon. I have a collapsed lung, fractured cheek bone and shrapnel in my left eye," Helms says. It all sounds pretty frightening, but it's the wounds you can't see like the memories of the suicide bomber walking towards him - that bother Sgt. Helms the most. "He was about 12 feet from me, and killed three others near me when he blew up.

Last July, a Green Bay soldier serving in Iraq was seriously injured in a roadside bomb attack. Jeff Vorpahl's recovery continues. He wears the scars from a blast Vorpahl says he never saw coming. He was the driver of a Humvee near the Iraq-Kuwait border when the bomb exploded. The explosion left Vorpahl with massive head injuries, loss of hearing, and a broken jaw. "The major limitations right now are my back and neck problems, and my jaw, it was all broken up in here, but other than that I've been pretty lucky."

Army Sgt. Mark R. Ecker II has begun the long process of healing, and his family says he's determined to rise above his tragedy. The 21-year-old East Longmeadow man lost both his feet last week after stepping on an explosive in Ramadi, Iraq, where he was leading a platoon through the streets and buildings of the city on a hunt for insurgents.

Staff sergeant John Grissom, 28, suffered a severely perforated ear drum in the right ear and a head injury in November. The humvee in which he was riding on while on patrol in Iraq ran over approximately 60 pounds of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, linked to propane tanks. Grissom said after he got out from under the damaged vehicle, he soon realized he couldn’t hear anything.

Lance Cpl. Lukas Bell has been recovering after getting shot through both legs while serving in Iraq.

Shot by a sniper. A local soldier, Sgt. Matthew Keil, is seriously injured while fighting in Iraq. was shot in the shoulder by a sniper. The church's reverend says the shooting left the 25-year-old paralyzed

Lance Corporal Derrick Sharpe, 19, was critically injured in an explosion September 23rd in Iraq. He was given only a 30 percent chance to live. His right leg was amputated. Sharpe will be home for a month before returning to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington for rehabilitation.---His right leg had to be amputated. Scars mar much of his body. One of his kidneys doesn’t function. He has flashbacks that prompt him to reach for his rifle

Sgt. Paul Statzer has been getting medical care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Near Fallujah, a roadside bomb took away half his head and face. Statzer nearly died from his injuries. At Walter Reed, he underwent extensive reconstructive surgery – first on his skull, then his face. Last, he received a prosthetic eye. Now that he’s home, he won’t be going back to work. He’s on full disability, dealing with seizures and blood pressure problems.

Captain Larry Robinson M.D. was injured Thursday in Iraq when a humvee he was riding in hit an improvised explosive device. Robinson is a medic in the 82nd Airborne Division of the Army where he was serving as a family physician in Iraq. his injuries were not life threatening. His skull was fractured, and four bones in his face were broken, Emily said. Larry Robinson was cleared for travel to Germany and eventually the United States, where he will receive restorative surgery

A Teenage soldier has survived against the odds after being ripped apart by mortar bombs while serving in Iraq. Jamie Cooper, 18, from Kingswood, had to be brought back from the brink of death during a frantic evacuation flight and was told he would never walk again after losing the use of a leg. Then while in hospital in the UK he caught the superbug MRSA - twice. Jamie's dramatic story began in the early hours of November 26 last year when he was serving in Iraq with the Royal Green Jackets regiment. Jamie was testing radio equipment prior to the regiment going out on a routine patrol. It was then that the camp outside the city's Shatt al Arab Hotel came under attack and Jamie was hit by two mortar bombs which ripped a hole through his stomach. Jamie said: "We were getting mortared every night but this was the first time it hit the camp. The first bomb took out my hands and right arm. "I tried to crawl to cover but the second one landed and took out my left bum cheek and the nerves in my leg. Shrapnel went through my pelvis to my stomach. His dad Phillip said: "The military people lost him on the plane on the way back, but managed to revive him. They did not think he would survive." "Doctors have said it will take another 18 months to a year for a recovery although his leg will always be damaged and of no use to him.

Chief Warrant Officer Patrick Scrogin, 24, was seriously injured Thursday as a U.S. Army helicopter he was in made a “hard landing” in northern Iraq Thursday. According to Scrogin's brother Bill, Moberly, Patrick and his co-pilot were aboard an OH-58 Kiowa when the helicopter's computer failed. Scrogin's injuries are extensive. The two pilots were first taken to an American military hospital in Kirkuk, about 180 miles north of Baghdad. Currently he is in Landstuhl, Germany and Scrogin said he will probably be moved to Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, D.C., by Tuesday. “So far,” said Scrogin, “he has lost his left leg below the knee and three fingers on his left hand. He has a crushed pelvis, five fractured vertebra in his upper back and fractured facial bones.”

Quote of the Day

Why are we trying to divide up the peoples of the Middle East? Why are we trying to chop them up, make them different, remind them - constantly, insidiously, viciously, cruelly - of their divisions, of their suspicions, of their capacity for mutual hatred? Is this just our casual racism? Or is there something darker in our Western souls?

Robert Fisk


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