Wednesday, January 21, 2004

War News for January 21, 2004 Bring ‘em on: Three US soldiers wounded by roadside bomb in Mosul. Bring ‘em on: Iraqi policeman killed in attack in Mosul. Bring ‘em on: Iraqi cabinet minister survives assassination attempt in Karbala. Bring ‘em on: Rocket attack on Rashid Hotel in Baghdad wounds one US soldier. Bring ‘em on: Attempted assassination of city councilman in Kirkuk leaves two Iraqi guards wounded. Iraqi police major killed by guards from British private security company in Kirkuk. Kurds turning against US in northern Iraq. “There are the seeds here for a savage ethnic conflict. The Arabs and Turkomans in Kirkuk are frightened. Many of the Arab settlers have been there for more than a generation and it is not clear where they would go. The last year has seen a number of small-scale but bloody clashes.” Election protests reported in Baghdad, Basra, Najaf and Karbala. Election protests reported in Samawa. Operation Lieutenant AWOL Cuts and Runs. “A shift in plans for elections follows a series of abrupt policy changes made by the coalition over the last few months, mainly forced by events on the ground, and will add to the sense of disarray in the CPA.” Iraqis want Saddam’s former US supporters put on trial. I think they're talking about you, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld. Some want to prosecute WaPo, too. “In the lead-up to this year's U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, The Washington Post's op-ed page beat the drum for war as loudly as any daily U.S. newspaper. It published editorials on a weekly basis promoting a military assault on Iraq. At the same time, it published on a daily basis the gung-ho columns of such rightwing and neoconservative luminaries as Charles Krauthammer, David Ignatius, George Will, Jim Hoagland and Michael Kelly (who was killed earlier this year [2003] while in bed with the U.S. military in Iraq).” Post-war veterans’ suicides not reported. “A soldier who served in Iraq apparently hung himself with a bedsheet last week at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, but the Pentagon did not count that death two days later when it announced "a very small increase" in the suicide rate from Operation Iraqi Freedom.” Protestors read names of soldiers killed in Bush’s War during State of the Union address. “As the nation's political leaders applauded the president in the Capitol, more than 300 people cocooned in hats, blankets and heavy jackets against the 24-degree weather joined to read the names of those killed since the invasion of Iraq began.” Yeah, but Lieutenant AWOL says Saddam was found hiding in a spider hole! Bush’s War on Terror fails to stop terrorist financing. “Many of the financial investigators are scanning bank records around the world for transactions that may look fishy, but some say that may not be the best way to fight this flank in the "war on terror". Experts say that the bulk of the terrorists' financial moves are made in cash through runners, smugglers and underground markets. Now, new questions are being asked in the US Senate Finance Committee, if the Bush administration's efforts to stem the tide of terrorist finances are actually working.” From the "Help is on the Way" Files Bush’s War is breaking the US military. “Buried within this huge rotation is one deployment that has quietly alarmed some military experts. Some 8,000 troops from the two Hawaii-based brigades of the 25th Infantry Division, the famed Tropic Lightning Division, are being sent to Iraq and Afghanistan. These troops are the cavalry for the Pacific Command -- they are the men and women who are designated to rush first into battle in case of a war in Korea.” Retention crisis in the Army Reserve and National Guard. "The head of the Army Reserve said yesterday that the 205,000-soldier force must guard against a potential crisis in its ability to retain troops, saying serious problems are being "masked" temporarily because reservists are barred from leaving the military while their units are mobilized in Iraq." A patriotic Army officer sounds off. "Lt. Gen. John M. Riggs, a decorated Vietnam veteran who is in charge of building an Army for the future, said the force of 480,000 must grow even beyond the 10,000-soldier increase that was endorsed by the Senate last year but failed to win full congressional approval...The three-star general said he came to his conclusion over the past year while studying the Pentagon's military strategy requirements, which call for assisting in homeland security, deterring potential foes, engaging in major combat and carrying out peacekeeping operations...Rumsfeld and Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army's chief of staff, have repeatedly told lawmakers that such increases are not necessary now, contending they would be costly and time-consuming. Instead, both are working on a variety of plans to reduce the stress on the Army. One would shift thousands of soldiers performing essentially civilian jobs - such as food services or accounting - and return them to military tasks. Rumsfeld and his aides have become well known within the military for dealing harshly with dissenters. Last year, he fired Army Secretary Thomas E. White, who had been at odds with him over modernizing weapons systems. When Gen. Eric Shinseki, then Army chief of staff, told a Senate hearing last February that it would take "several hundred thousand" U.S. troops to occupy Iraq, he was quickly slapped down by Rumsfeld, who called that estimate 'far from the mark.'" Emphasis added. This officer is a patriot and possesses brass balls. Casualty Reports Local story: Colorado soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Connecticut soldier injured in Iraq. State of The Union Reader Navy Wife sounds off: Dear President Bush, I chose not to listen to the SOTU last night, but read the transcript this morning. An interesting read, to say the least. It's nice to hear that you're proud of the military. And it's always nice to hear that you appreciate the sacrifice military families are making these days. And, it's good to know that you will spend the money to get the troops the resources needed to win the war. Forgive me if I don't believe you. I must see 2 or 3 Hummers driven around my town every day. But then I hear that troops in Iraq don't have the trucks they need to complete their missions. And I hear about parents scraping together $600 to purchase protective equiptment for their 21 year old Army Reservist child to protect them on their nightly rounds through the Sunni Triange. Maybe if we weren't subsidizing Cheney's pals at Halliburton, we really could give our troops whatever they need to win the war. Would it have been so hard for you to really mention last night the true price being paid by this country to defeat terrorism and win the war? We've lost 100 people in Afghanistan and over 500 in Iraq. And that's just the dead. There are thousands of wounded, both physically and mentally. We have hundreds of young men and women who went to war with 4 limbs and now have only 2 or 3. Showing your support for the troops and their families should be more than flying onto an aircraft carrier or taking a midnight ride to Baghdad. It's been almost a year since you proposed the GWOT medals for people who served in the war. Demand that the Pentagon finalize the criteria for those awards and get them to the troops today. Stop any investigation into the closing of DoD schools right now. Tell Congress to find the money for R&R trips home, so that soldiers have a completely free ride from Baghdad to Mom's house. And tell Karl Rove that the next time a flight comes into Dover Airport that you plan to be there, and that you want all of the networks to provide a cameraman to welcome those fallen countrymen and women home for the last time. Don't spend your days finding new tax cuts for millionaires. Investigating steroid use in major league sports can wait. Billions for marriage training can be spent in better places, namely Afghanistan and Iraq. Win the battles we have now: defeat the Taliban, find Osama, win the battle against the insurgents in Iraq, get rid of arbitrary deadlines in the push for Iraqi democracy and spend the time needed to get it right. Good luck. It's going to be a long, hard slog, a decades long fight. I'll be sending my husband off to the battle again in a few months and here's hoping that you'll have a real plan for success by then. Navy Wife I was busy scribbling a rant about Lieutenant AWOL's State of the Union address when I checked the Reader Comments. Navy Wife said everything I wanted to say better. So I'll just post Yankeedoodle's Short Synopsis of Lieutenant AWOL's SOTU: "I have nothing to offer but blood, fear, hate, and deficits. But my buddies get a tax cut."


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