Friday, December 24, 2004

War News for Friday, December 24, 2004 Bring ‘em on: Three US Marines killed fighting in al-Anbar province. Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed, two wounded by roadside bomb in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Heavy fighting resumes in Fallujah. Bring ‘em on: Three Iraqi civilians killed in Baghdad mortar attack. Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi policeman killed, one wounded in Baghdad mortar attack. Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi policeman assassinated near Baquba. Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi killed by IED in Basra. Bring ‘em on: Insurgents attack two police stations in Baquba. Bring ‘em on: Tribal chief assassinated, ING soldier killed by roadside bomb in two incidents near Tikrit. Bring ‘em on: Oil pipeline sabotaged near Beiji. Bring ‘em on: Three ING soldiers killed by suicide bomber near Latifiyah. Bring ‘em on: Four Iraqis killed in RPG attack on fuel tanker near Mahmoudiyah. One US Marine killed in vehicle accident in al-Anbar province. Al-Anbar police chief resigns, Ramadi “effectively” under insurgent control. Mosul. “Insurgents have been able to ‘operate at will’ in Mosul, where 22 people died in a bomb attack this week, because the US forces and the Iraqi authorities have failed to tackle them, an intelligence assessment by senior US officials in northern Iraq concludes. The report, seen by the Guardian yesterday, was drafted before this week's suicide attack on the mess tent at Camp Merez.” Fallujah. “Families of US troops killed in the offensive on the Iraqi city of Fallujah are to travel to Jordan next week with 600,000 dollars worth of humanitarian aid for refugees of the attack. The November assault on Fallujah left 71 US military dead, according to the families, and the Iraqi government said more than 2,000 Iraqis were killed. ‘This delegation is a way for me to express my sympathy and support for the Iraqi people,’ said Rosa Suarez of Escondido in California.” The American media. “I was watching an American TV channel yesterday, while a discussion was on about the killings in Mosul and elsewhere in Iraq, in which several Americans were killed in recent days. I was amazed that the analysts who participated in the discussion were talking without having any knowledge about the ground realities in Iraq. Then, what’s the analysis, after all?” Hungary completes troop withdrawal from Iraq. Progress report. “Energy shortages of every stripe bedevil this country, which sits atop the world's second-largest petroleum reserves. Electricity shuts off for whole days. Prices of scarce cooking fuel have risen nine-fold. And gas lines this month reached new lengths, creating yet another venue for violence. At least two men have been killed in Baghdad over places in line or allegations of watering down the goods.” Rummy’s Army. “Members of a second National Guard unit that prepared for duty in Iraq at the Army's Fort Bliss compound have come forward with allegations that they were not adequately trained. The soldiers said in interviews, e-mails and official documents that they were sent to war earlier this year with chronic illness, broken guns and trucks with blown transmissions. The unit's M-60 machine guns reportedly were in such bad condition when the soldiers deployed in February that one sergeant -- in a section of a post-training summary sent to his commanders that was titled ‘gun maintenance’ -- wrote: ‘Perhaps we should throw stones?’ … The document in which the sergeant summarized his unit's training is known as an After-Action Review -- or AAR -- and is fairly common in the military. This one was widely disseminated among Company F soldiers, five of whom said it accurately outlined concerns shared by the entire unit. The soldiers said the document was sent to commanders at Fort Bliss and the Pentagon.” Commentary Editorial: “Thanks to a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union and other human rights groups, thousands of pages of government documents released this month have confirmed some of the painful truths about the abuse of foreign detainees by the U.S. military and the CIA -- truths the Bush administration implacably has refused to acknowledge. Since the publication of photographs of abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison in the spring the administration's whitewashers -- led by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld -- have contended that the crimes were carried out by a few low-ranking reservists, that they were limited to the night shift during a few chaotic months at Abu Ghraib in 2003, that they were unrelated to the interrogation of prisoners and that no torture occurred at the Guantanamo Bay prison where hundreds of terrorism suspects are held. The new documents establish beyond any doubt that every part of this cover story is false.” This WaPo editorial is entitled “War Crimes.” Editorial: “If Bush is determined to see U.S. military personnel is sufficiently equipped, that priority must be tied to ensuring the Jan. 30 election goes on. Rumsfeld has become a liability in that effort. He should either resign or be fired.” Analysis: “The culture of lies that Rumsfeld has developed in the Dept of Defense reflects his belief that the people should be left in the dark when it comes to matters of state. (Choreographed incidents, like the Jessica Lynch story or the toppling of Saddam’s statue in Fidros Square, fall under the psy-ops rubric) It’s not difficult to find proof that the Pentagon is intentionally lying to the public. An article by Mark Mazzetti of the LA Times states that, ‘the decision by commanders in Iraq in mid-September to combine public affairs, psychological operations and information operations into a "strategic communications" office.’ Psy-ops and information operations? In other words, the military has integrated public affairs (PA) which includes the daily briefings from Iraq, with information operations (IO).” Analysis: “While insurgents in Iraq have placed informants inside the Iraqi government, the U.S. and Iraqi militaries, coalition contractors, and international news organizations, the United States is having serious intelligence problems in Iraq, according to sources inside and outside the U.S. government. The CIA and the U.S. military were slow to start creating intelligence networks in Iraq and have had trouble developing informants because of death threats to Iraqis and their families should they get involved, the sources said.” Opinion: “When you ask these soldiers what they're fighting for, they don't give very complicated answers. Some mention Iraqis they've met and say they want to give them a chance to rebuild the country. Others talk about the ‘bad guys’ who are attacking U.S. and Iraqi troops. A few are openly skeptical about the war. Among troops in Baghdad in July, bootleg copies of Michael Moore's antiwar film, ‘Fahrenheit 9/11,’ were making the rounds. But the most common sentiment you hear, which is probably the core motivation for soldiers in every war, is that they're fighting for their buddies so they'll all get through alive.” Opinion: “Archbishop Romero was murdered on March 24, 1980, because he chose to stand with El Salvador's poor against a repressive regime. ‘Brothers, you came from our own people,’ Romero told soldiers in El Salvador's army. ‘You are killing your own brothers. . . . In the name of God, in the name of this suffering people whose cry rises to heaven more loudly each day, I implore you, I beg you, I order you: Stop the repression.’ How many among the cardinals and bishops and pastors and preachers and televangelists who now enjoy favor in high places would have the courage to do what Archbishop Romero did? In fairness, how many of the rest of us would? Isn't that a question of values?” Opinion: “We have completely lost our way with this fiasco in Iraq. The president seems almost perversely out of touch. ‘The idea of democracy taking hold in what was a place of tyranny and hatred and destruction is such a hopeful moment in the history of the world,’ he said this week. The truth, of course, is that we can't even secure the road to the Baghdad airport, or protect our own troops lining up for lunch inside a military compound. The coming elections are a slapstick version of democracy. International observers won't even go to Iraq to monitor the elections because it's too dangerous. They'll be watching, as if through binoculars, from Jordan.” Terrorism 101, from dKos. Alert reader pedro provided this link in yesterday's comments. Casualty Reports Local story: California soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Virginia Guardsman killed in Iraq. Local story: Louisiana soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: West Virginia soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Mississippi sailor killed in Iraq. Local story: Pennsylvania Guardsman killed in Iraq. Local story: Illinois Marine dies in Iraq. Local story: Six Maine Guardsmen wounded in Iraq. Local story: Oregon soldier wounded in Iraq. Local story: Oregon contractor killed in Iraq. Local story: Alabama contractor killed in Iraq. Local story: Texas contractor killed in Iraq. Local story: Two Filipino contractors wounded in Iraq.


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