Wednesday, December 29, 2004

<>War News for Wednesday, December 29, 2004 Bring ‘em on: At least 29 people killed, including seven Iraqi policemen, in bombing ambush in Baghdad. About three quarters of a ton of explosives were detonated when the house was raided by police responding to an anonymous tip. Bring ‘em on: Turkish truck driver killed near Biddiyah. Female engineer and another person working for the US Army killed near Tikrit. Bring ‘em on: In addition to many deaths reported in yesterday’s post, this article lists: One US soldier and five Iraqi interior ministry commandoes wounded in bomb attack in Samarra. ING casualties in Baquba bombing increased to six killed. Two policemen killed in Shorgat. Iraqi interpreter for the US army killed and an Iraqi businessman with him kidnapped in the same area. Three Iraqi businessmen killed in Suleyman Beg. Iraqi policeman shot and wounded in Ad Dawr. Another policeman killed in Balad. Deputy provincial governor kidnapped and shot to death in Ramadi. Bring ‘em on: Renewed fighting between insurgents and US forces in Mosul, including air strikes, after a fuel truck driven by a suicide bomber exploded near an American position, no casualties reported yet. New clashes reported in Samarra. Four policemen and ING soldiers killed in Sufiyah. ING soldier killed in Siniya, where more than 100 Guardsmen walked out after their commander was killed by a car bomb along with several Guards this month. The continuing failure of the US media: The role of the media in the siege of Falluja has been nearly as extraordinary as the battle itself. The siege began on November 8, but by Nov. 15 the military had declared “victory” and the story disappeared from all the major media. It was as if the Pentagon had simply issued an edict forbidding any further coverage of the conflict, and the press left without protest. The fact is, the siege is ongoing and the final results are far from certain. A city of 250,000 has been evacuated; as many as 20,000 American servicemen have been engaged in the operation with “the largest concentration of heavy armor in one place, since the fall of Berlin”. The military is proceeding with house-to-house searches and bombing raids are still being conducted on a regular basis. The siege of Falluja continues to be a huge story, despite the fact that the establishment media is nowhere to be found. How do we explain the sudden and complete desertion of the media from the largest operation since the fall of Baghdad? Did Rumsfeld simply tell them to pack their cameras and go home? Apples to apples: In the three-week battle for Hue, 147 Marines were killed and 857 wounded. In the twin battles for Fallujah, more than 104 soldiers and Marines have been killed and more than 1,100 wounded in a battle that will continue to take lives, like the three Marines who encountered yet another pocket of fighters last week. Hue and Fallujah provide one of the best generational comparisons of combat because both battles unfolded similarly. Without controlling for any of the advances in medical technology, medical evacuation, body armor, or military technology, U.S. losses in Fallujah almost equal those of Hue. If you factor in the improvements in medical technology alone, then the fight for Fallujah was just as costly (or maybe more so) as that for Hue, as measured by the number of mortal wounds sustained by U.S. troops. The less visible toll: The psychological toll from the war in Iraq is climbing, according to new research and experts who cite the severe stress of fighting a deadly insurgency. Though the Pentagon says mental health care, including battlefield counseling, is expanding, critics counter that military suicides and post-traumatic stress disorder cases have exposed gaps in how treatment is delivered to soldiers. "There have been improvements. We have now combat stress teams in Iraq, we have programs for soldiers when they come back," said Stephen Robinson, executive director of the National Gulf War Resource Center, a veterans advocacy group. "But it's still the military's dirty little secret that lives are shattered and often we don't do enough when the war is over and these people have to deal with the consequences of what they saw and did." The ever less grand Coalition: All the Ukrainian contingent will be withdrawn from Iraq before the end of 2005, Ukrainian Defence Minister Alexander Kuzmuk stated in the course of his working visit to the Nikolayev garrison. "We are planning to reduce our contingent by one battalion in 2005. One battalion was already withdrawn in the course of the latest rotation. Next April we shall send to Iraq a reinforced battalion instead of a brigade, and the withdrawal of the entire contingent will be completed before the end of the year,” the minister stated. "Detainees”: Over 350 foreigners are among about 10,000 detainees being held in US-run prisons in Iraq, Iraq's Human Rights Minister Bakhtiar Amin Over says. Mr Amin says 4,691 prisoners were being held in Camp Bucca near the southern port city of Umm Qasr, 3,411 in Abu Ghraib west of Baghdad and 818 in Al-Shuaiba British controlled Basra. He also says that 104 are being held in Camp Cropper, near Baghdad's airport, where Saddam and other so-called "high-value" detainees are located<>. Syria: Syria is responding with a mixture of bravado and denial to mounting accusations by the United States and Iraq that it's a staging ground for the Iraqi insurgency with key support coming from a half brother of Saddam Hussein and Baath Party leaders here. The United States succeeded in occupying Iraq, "but it has failed at everything else," Al-Sharaa said Monday. "The problem is that the United States had thought it was making progress in Iraq. But it started to see a change in the past two months and therefore the campaign against Syria comes within the framework of the pressure the occupation forces in Iraq feel." Other neighbors weigh in: Meanwhile, the Sunni-dominated governments of Iraq's Arab neighbors have expressed deep unease at elections expected to usher in the first Arab Shiite government. In an editorial Tuesday, the pro-government Egyptian daily Al Ahram echoed concerns Sunni Arab Iraqis would be disenfranchised, which it said would lead to more sectarian violence. Hossam Zeki, spokesman for the Cairo-based Arab League, has spoken of the potential for a "melting down of the Arab identity in Iraq." Jordan's King Abdullah II, in an interview earlier this month with The Washington Post, accused Shiite and Persian Iran of trying to influence the elections, saying Iranians were pouring into Iraq to vote. But Iran also has concerns. Iran's supreme leader has said the elections will be a sham meant to cement U.S. and British control of Iraq's resources. About two months too late: In a historic shift, a majority of Americans express the view that the U.S. made a mistake in going to war against Iraq, according to a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll. The poll, released on Tuesday, shows that 51% now hold this view, with 48% supporting the decision to go to war. In November those numbers were virtually reversed. In January, 63% approved of the war and 35% disapproved. Casualty Reports Local story: Plant City, FL, Marine killed in Al Anbar province. Local story: Three Virginia soldiers and one Virginia sailor killed in Mosul. Local story: Minnesota soldier recovers from wounds suffered near Abu Ghraib. Local story: Gulfport, LA, Seabee killed in Mosul. Local story: Mount Clemons, MI, Marine killed in ‘non-hostile incident’ in Al Anbar province. .


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