Saturday, August 09, 2003


A Washington Post editorial on the disgraceful hypocracy of the Arab League.
DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ had never been an abiding concern of the Arab League, but this week a committee of the 22-member organization of Arab states threw down the gauntlet to American occupation authorities and the new Iraqi Governing Council. It declined to recognize the new council, on grounds that its members were appointed by foreign authorities, not elected by the Iraqi people themselves.

The council might be a positive step toward self-government, diplomats declared, but the Iraqi seat at the august international body will remain empty until Iraq has an elected government. As the league's Secretary General Amr Moussa put it in Cairo, "The council is a start, but it should pave the way for a legitimate government that can be recognized."

By this standard, the league would have 22 empty chairs.

Not a single country in the entire Arab world has a government that enjoys the sort of democratic legitimacy the league now demands of the Iraqi council. Perhaps if Iraq had a corrupt and repressive Saudi-style monarchy -- one that forbade women from driving and that sponsored charities that promoted Islamist extremism worldwide -- it might be eligible for recognition.

Or maybe the league would be mollified if a coup brought in a military dictatorship like that of member-in-good-standing Libya.

Or if the Baath Party somehow returned and installed a leader like Bashar Assad or simply brought back Saddam Hussein, whose "legitimacy" the Arab League never paused to question and whose regime it spared little effort to save. Few organizations demand less democracy as a condition of membership or serve as a bigger tent for thugs and tyrants than does the Arab League.

Of course the Governing Council is insufficiently democratic, but it was never intended to be the end point of Iraqi political reconstruction, only its beginning -- a first step along a road to Iraqi self-government. Yet even at this early stage, the council is more representative than any of those "legitimate" Arab governments for which its electoral bona fides are inadequately established -- and Iraqis can criticize their nascent government in a way few Arab regimes would tolerate.

The prospects for political reform in the region would look far brighter if more countries had regimes as pluralistic and representative as the one the Arab League now spurns.

The Arab League Responds:

[And I translate].

The Aug. 8 editorial "Comic Relief in Cairo" contained scathing and unfair criticism of the League of Arab States:

The editorial seemed to disregard the fact that the legal status of the Iraqi governing council has not been universally determined, which prohibits the Arab League from accepting the council's representation in the league. The league's position is consistent with the one adopted by the United Nations, the World Bank and other international bodies.

[Translation: We are impotent weasels, and compare ourselves readily with other impotent weasels.]

• Despite the editorial's assumption, the Arab League, like the United Nations, is not empowered to interfere in the internal affairs of member states or dictate how they are governed as long as they meet independence standards.

[Translation: We deliberately designed our organization to be a bunch of weasels so we won't ever truly have to commit to any particular stand, not even to liberate our "Arab brothers" from the likes of a loathsome, tyrannical. brutal dictator who wipes the bottom of his shoe with the Qu'ran every time he gets in a jam and pretends to be an Allah fearing Muslim.]

• Contrary to the editorial's assertion, the league's prewar position was intended to avert war, spare the Iraqis its miserable consequences and allow international legitimacy to pursue its course.

[Translation: The league's prewar position was intended to DO NOTHING - especially not to piss off Saddam Hussein in case things turned out badly...but ours was just like the other weasels' positions.]

• The Arab League is working with those concerned to resolve the complexities of Iraq's legal and political situation. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell recently asserted that he is looking forward to further talks with the league about these issues.

[Translation: The Arab league continues its pattern of meaningless dialogue while keeping vigilant to pimp something out of the United States wherever possible. The US Secretary of State's comments about "further talks" with the league is Diplomatese for "we've accomplished nothing with this group to this point...maybe next time.]

Finally, The Post's editorial, which seemed to demonize the Arabs, will play into the hands of extremists who harbor the same ill will toward the Arab world as they do toward the United States. The Post should look into the context as well as the text, and it should perhaps reach out to better understand the Arab League, its mission and its endeavors.

[Translation: The accurate portrayal of Arabs by the Post will play into the hands of extremists who harbor the same ill will toward the Arab world as they do to the US...that is to say, our own people who are fed up with the arrested social and economic development in the Arab world at the hands of autocrats and thugs who to this point manage to keep their subjects at bay by having them suck from the teat of oil rendering them all fat and lazy.]



League of Arab States

And without even realizing it, Mr. HH has published in the Washington Post the Arab's justification for the strong foreign policy of the United States.

Leadership is not a trait of committees.

Inherently, committees such as the UN and the Arab League are proponents of the lowest common denominator. They cannot do what is best, only that to which they can all agree.

Inherently committees eventually take on the characteristics of their most liberal members. All too frequently this includes the liberal concept that there is no such thing as right and wrong, simply moral relativism.

Leaders, however, while happy to have colleagues, need none. While happy to have affirmation, require none.

And when leaders look around and recognize themselves for what they are...the biggest on the block and still in possession of a profound sense of right and wrong, they act.

This week NPR has aired views from around the world about how others see America. Big surprise, turns out that much of the rest of the world does not like the fact that the US is capable of and willing to act unilaterally in our foreign policy.

Well guess what world, that which you call unilateralism, we call leadership.

We'll be happy to have you join us...but if you don't, well frankly, we don't give a damn.

That is both the price and the privelige of leadership.

The U.S. government has a message for young Arabs:


Hi is a new magazine funded by the State Department, published in Arabic, targeted at Arabs ages 18 to 35 and sold on newsstands in more than a dozen countries. It costs consumers about $2 a copy. It will cost American taxpayers about $4 million a year -- minus whatever advertising revenues it can generate.

"This is a long-term way to build a relationship with people who will be the future leaders of the Arab world," says Christopher W.S. Ross, special coordinator for public diplomacy at the State Department. "It's good to get them in a dialogue while their opinions are not fully formed on matters large and small."

The premiere issue of the glossy, full-color 72-page monthly appeared in July with a cover story on the experiences of Arab students in American colleges and shorter articles on yoga, sandboarding, singer Norah Jones, Arab American actor Tony Shalhoub and marriage counseling -- the latter story illustrated with a photo of Dr. Phil McGraw, the Oprah-spawned TV tough-love guru.

It doesn't contain a word about the American invasion of Iraq, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Afghanistan or al Qaeda. Nor will future issues. The magazine's editors and its State Department funders plan a resolutely apolitical magazine.

"This is a lifestyle magazine," says Fadel Lamen, Hi's Libyan American managing editor. "It's a new phenomenon in the Arab world to do a lifestyle magazine that doesn't touch on the political."

"Arab Music Invades the West," proclaims the cover of the second issue, now arriving on Middle Eastern newsstands. That headline touts an article on Sting, Lenny Kravitz and other Western pop stars who have collaborated with Arab musicians. The issue also features stories on Internet matchmaking, digital art and Hispanic life in the United States, plus a short item on Adam Sandler's revelation of what a lousy student he was in high school.

"There are plenty of political magazines," says Ross. "This is, in a very subtle way, a vehicle for American values. There have been people in Congress who have said, 'Why can't we explain our American values?' Well, here is one way to do that."


for breaking the law. I'm happy to see them applied.
A woman who went to Iraq to serve as a human shield during the war faces thousands of dollars in federal civil penalties. She says she'll go to prison rather than pay.

Faith Fippinger of Sarasota was told in a letter from the U.S. Department of Treasury that she broke the law by crossing the Iraqi border, violating U.S. sanctions that prohibit American citizens from "virtually all direct or indirect commercial, financial or trade transactions with Iraq."

Fippinger, 62, who learned of the March 20 letter when she returned home May 4, owes the United States at least $10,000, she was told.

"If it comes to fines or imprisonment, please be aware that I will not contribute money to the United States government to continue the build-up of its arsenal of weapons," Fippinger wrote back.

She said she has no intention of paying. "Therefore, perhaps the alternative should be considered."

The alternative could be as much as 12 years in prison.

"She was (in Iraq) in violation of U.S. sanctions," Taylor Griffin, a Treasury Department spokesman, told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. "That's what happens."


Some historical perspective.
Rebuilding Iraq and the wider Middle East will require the same 'generational commitment' that went into rebuilding Germany and Europe after World War II, says US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.

Post-war Germany had been as 'messy' as post-war Iraq, she told journalists in Dallas on Thursday.

'The historical analogy is important,' she said, pointing out that Germany eventually became the linchpin of a democratic Europe.

'If that different future is to be realised, we and our allies must make a generational commitment to helping the people of the Middle East transform their region,' Ms Rice told the annual convention of the National Association of Black Journalists.

One hundred days after the end of major combat operations in Iraq, Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer has lauded the progress towards a brighter future for the nation's people.

Most hospitals, schools and universities have reopened, and water, electricity and sewage services have been restored, Mr Downer said.

But there are almost daily killings of US soldiers and terrorists this week killed 11 people in a bomb blast outside the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad.

"The despicable terrorist bombing in Baghdad on August 7 and other security incidents need to be seen in perspective," Mr Downer said in a statement.

"Instability is now largely confined to Saddam's former powerbase - the arc to the north and west of Baghdad."

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- A team of FBI agents is being sent here to lead the investigation of the bomb attack on the Jordanian Embassy, U.S. officials said on Friday. The move appeared to underscore concerns among U.S. officials that the attack might have been the work of organized terrorists aiming to kill civilians rather than by the insurgents who have been striking at soldiers.

The decision to call in the FBI was made by Bernard Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner, who has been leading the effort to retrain Iraq's police force.

"The Iraqi investigative ability is not capable of handling an investigation of this type," Kerik said. "We need specialized assistance in the area of forensics, blast issues and explosives."

Kerik expressed skepticism about the widespread reports on Friday that the attack appeared to be the work of Ansar al-Islam, a terrorist group formerly based in northern Iraq, or al-Qaida.

"It's all a guessing game right now," he said. "Nothing is leading us in that direction."

Investigators said that the attackers had left behind important clues and that several witnesses had provided information that could be valuable in finding the bombers.

Meanwhile, this story goes a bit further.

Iraqi and U.S. investigators have enough clues to track down the culprits behind a truck bomb attack on the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad that killed 17 people and wounded scores, a senior Iraqi politician said yesterday.

Iyad Allawi, head of the security committee of Iraq's U.S.- appointed Governing Council, said those responsible for Thursday's blast could be identified within days.

"Investigations are under way to identify the perpetrators," he said. "Luckily some clues about the crime were left behind and we believe that within a few days will produce results towards identifying the attackers."
Saddam Hussein is alive and kicking in Baghdad and allowing his photograph to be taken with US troops.

But unlike his namesake -- the former Iraqi president ousted by US-led troops in April -- 31-year-old Saddam works as an ambulance man out of the capital's Al-Iskan hospital, where the dead and wounded from Thursday's car bombing at the Jordanian embassy were taken.

"Contrary to what one might think, to be called Saddam during Saddam's rule was not good," he said.

"I was even put in prison for four months in 1993 because I asked my friends to call me Ismael instead of Saddam."...

"When US soldiers see my name on my badge, they ask to have their photos taken with me. Of course, I do this with good grace," the young Saddam said.


Some 1st Brigade soldiers toss out the Army playbook and write their own.
From the perspective of a soldier faced with clearing an Iraqi house, “the minute you walk in, you’re automatically facing a security nightmare,” Norris said.

The reason for that nightmare is architecture: “The houses out here are not set up the way we expected, which was separate rooms with hallways to connect them,” Hale said.

The mock-ups the Army uses at urban terrain training sites mimic an American or European house, “which, when you enter the front door, you’ll have either a staircase or a hall,” said 1st Lt. Greg Lee from Gaithersburg, Md.

But in the Middle East, including Iraq, “you immediately enter into a main room, which may have as many as four doorways leading to other rooms,” said Lee, who was scheduled to take the scout platoon from Hale on Thursday.

Normal MOUT doctrine calls for the most senior soldier in a four-man room-clearing team to be the third man to enter the room.

The reason, Lee explained, is because “the first man in the room is the most likely to catch a bullet in the chest.”

If that person is the team leader, the soldier behind him might naturally hesitate — and almost surely die as well. But because the rooms here are such labyrinths, the scouts have decided they need an experienced leader in first, not third, Norris said.

“You are required here to exercise so much more judgment and restraint that we put a decision-maker in the room first,” Norris said.

August 8, 2003
Release Number: 03-08-16



BAGHDAD, Iraq – An 82nd Airborne Division soldier died of a gunshot wound at approximately 9:45 pm on Aug. 7 while on guard duty in the Al Mansor District of Baghdad.

The soldier was transported to a nearby medical facility for treatment and subsequently died from wounds received.

The soldier's name is being withheld pending next-of-kin notification.

The incident is under investigation.

August 8, 2003
Release Number: 03-08-17



BAGHDAD, Iraq – A 4th Infantry Division soldier died while sleeping at a base camp in the town of Kirkush on Aug. 8.

The soldier's name is being withheld pending next-of-kin notification.

The incident is under investigation.

August 9, 2003
Release Number: 03-08-18



BAGHDAD, Iraq – Weapons were confiscated and improvised explosive devices were found and detonated by Coalition forces over the last 24 hours in support of the effort to create a safer and more secure environment in Iraq.

Twenty-four rocket-propelled grenade launchers, four rocket-propelled grenade missiles, 97 rifle grenades, 110 rocket-propelled grenade boosters and 200 rounds of ammunition were confiscated in a 1st Armored Division raid, acting on a tip from a local source, in Baghdad.

In another incident, three ROLAND surface-to-air missiles were found wrapped in clear plastic by a 1st AD patrol in Baghdad. An explosive ordnance detachment removed the missiles for future disposal.

Meanwhile, 11 mortar tubes and one surface-to-air missile were seized in a 4th Infantry Division raid, acting on a tip from a local source, at a former regime loyalist mortar systems location in the Ba’qubah area. In another 4th ID raid, 13 former regime loyalists were captured and 47 AK-47s were confiscated.

Local Iraqi citizens also turned in two rocket-propelled grenade launchers and one 60 mm complete mortar system to the 4th ID in the Ba’qubah area.

Two improvised explosive devices consisting of 155-mm rounds that were primed and ready to fire in the Mosul area were disarmed without incident by soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) due to information received from a local source.

In the last 24 hours, coalition forces conducted 18 raids, 949 day patrols and 728 night patrols and conducted 175 day patrols and 158 night patrols jointly with Iraqi police.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 9th. The 90th day of CPT Patti's deployment.

Or, in other words, we are one-fourth of the way through.


Friday, August 08, 2003


Me, I'm betting with the house.
After briefing a closed session of members of Congress, Dr Kay said those who doubted whether Iraq had any weapons of mass destruction were in for a surprise. He told reporters after the meeting: “There is solid evidence being produced. We don’t intend to expose this evidence until we have full confidence it is solid proof.” He said the Iraq Survey Group was getting active co-operation from Iraqis involved in the weapons programme.

“We are, as we speak, involved in sensitive exploitation of sites that we are being led to by Iraqis,” he said.

British officials also confirmed that a substantial amount of evidence had emerged recently from interviews with Iraqi scientists of the way in which Saddam had concealed his weapons programme from UN inspectors.

Credit: The London Times, 8 August 2003
The Bush administration made a broad pledge yesterday to spread democracy and free markets to the Middle East, promising to move beyond the recent focus on Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in an ambitious but vaguely defined project to transform a troubled region.

Calling the development of freedom in the Middle East the "security challenge and the moral mission of our time," national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said the United States and its allies must make a "generational commitment" to Middle Easterners who live under oppressive and often corrupt governments.

Most of western and central Europe continued to bake under record-breaking temperatures today, and it wasn't only animals that were suffering.

The heat has been blamed for the deaths of more than 30 people, and the misery of millions. It also has slowed rail traffic in Britain, threatened to halt shipping on rivers in Germany and spawned forest fires in France and Spain.

The temperature reached 104 degrees in Paris, the highest on record. It touched 95 in London, 97 in Frankfurt, 98 in Geneva and 91 in usually cool and rainy Amsterdam.

Caused by a front from North Africa, the heat will probably persist for at least the next few days, meteorologists said, and possibly until September, although some areas reported the first signs of a slight cooling trend. However long, it will be too long for millions of Europeans who live in its embrace, for the most part without air conditioning.

Several U.S. Army soldiers in Iraq who expressed anger last month toward Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld after their tours of duty were extended have not been punished but have received warnings about respecting the chain of command, according to a senior Army officer.

"Those soldiers were not formally disciplined per se," said a senior Army officer in Washington who declined to be named. Instead, the soldiers received "a good talk" from senior noncommissioned officers who "reinforced their obligations as soldiers to respect their military and civilian chain of command," the officer added.
The top U.S. commander in Iraq said yesterday his counteroffensive will soon focus more on foreign terrorists, whom some officials believe are taking part in the killing of American soldiers.

"It's an issue that I'm paying a little bit more attention to as we continue with this effort," Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez told reporters in Baghdad. "And as the days go by, you'll continue to hear us talk and focus on foreign fighters. And we have pretty significant evidence that there are foreign fighters here."

Gen. Sanchez spoke just hours after 11 persons were killed at the Jordanian Embassy by a car bomb — a signature method used by al Qaeda and other Islamic terror groups to kill civilians.

"I think what this shows is that, in fact, we've got some terrorists that are operating here," the three-star Army general said. "It shows that we're still in a conflict zone."
A Greenwich resident will serve as director of private sector development in Iraq, in an appointment by President Bush...

He will be in charge of 200 state-owned enterprises, including mining, chemical, cement and tobacco companies. Oil production and two state-owned banks are the only industries that will not be under his supervision, he said.

Second, over the next six months, he will draft a privatization plan for the state-owned businesses.

Finally, he will manage all trade and foreign investments into Iraq.

''Basically, I need to help get Iraq's economy going in the right direction,'' Foley said.

Iraq's northern Kirkuk oil pipeline, crucial to raising Iraqi crude exports, will reopen very soon, Iraq's acting Oil Minister Thamir Ghadhban said Thursday.

"There was no problem with the line itself. The control station unfortunately was looted. We are installing one as a short-term remedy," Ghadhban told a press conference in Baghdad. "We hope to begin pumping very soon."

His comments appear to confirm Baghdad's intention of raising crude exports to help fund the post-war rebuilding program, despite doubts about the pipeline's condition.

Colonel Robert Nicholson, the U.S. army engineer responsible for a region through which the pipeline runs, told Reuters Wednesday it would be back in action in the middle of next week.

Adel al-Kazzaz the head of Northern Oil Co., which runs the Kirkuk oilfields, had said earlier Wednesday he was worried the line was not yet fit to resume operations.

Like other U.S. firms, Visa had been banned from doing business in Iraq because of international sanctions, which were lifted in May after more than a decade. But even before that, credit cards were extremely rare, making Iraq one of the biggest untapped charge markets in the world.

Although the potential seems vast, so are the challenges: Regular telephone service -- necessary for the machines that authorize purchases -- is still unavailable. Merchants are reluctant to pay Visa's fees. And Islamic leaders are counseling that usury and profits from loans are serious crimes under the Koran.

"Interest is like eating fire," said Sheik Mahmood Wisaya of the Al Gailani mosque, the biggest house of worship in Baghdad for Sunni Muslims.

Across town, the imam at the Mother of All Battles mosque, recently renamed the Mother of All Villages, eyed a shiny plastic Visa card and listened as an interpreter explained that it can be used to buy goods, which a customer pays for later -- along with a fee or interest.

"In Islam, this is not allowed," said the imam, Thaer Ibrahim Shammari, who also teaches at the Islamic College. "Every loan in which a profit is made will hurt the man who gets the loan. I don't approve of this company."

His father, Ibrahim, offered another reason why Visa may face obstacles in postwar Iraq. "I would boycott even the air if it came from the Americans," he said.

Still, Visa is bullish about its prospects, particularly in serving the thousands of U.S. officials, humanitarian aid workers, journalists and foreign business leaders who have flooded Iraq for the rebuilding effort. They will spend millions on hotels, restaurants and supplies in the coming years, and Visa is eager to pick up a chunk of the payments, which now must be settled in cash, usually Iraqi dinars or U.S. dollars.

Outside the shop, one of scores hawking everything from tumble dryers to satellite dishes on Baghdad's chaotic Karrada Street, a fresh shipment of more than 100 boxes of Chinese televisions is piled high on the cracked pavement.

Inside, Satami's dusty "showroom" is cluttered with ACs, washing machines, satellite dishes and a range of Korean decoders – one of his best-selling items.

This is the new consumer Iraq, where after three wars and 13 years of international sanctions, almost anything the average person ever wanted is suddenly available – at a price.

Every day, and especially on Fridays, Karrada Street is teeming with shoppers looking to buy the things they either couldn't get or weren't allowed to have when Saddam Hussain ruled over them, particularly satellite dishes.

"Before, everyone was afraid for the future so they didn't buy expensive things," says a salesman. "Now the future is clearer, there are less rules and people are confident, so they spend."

And this reporting offers many possible theories as to the "why" behind the action.
A powerful car bomb detonated this morning in front of the Jordanian Embassy here, propelling shrapnel across a crowded sidewalk and blowing a gaping hole in the compound's wall. Hospital officials said 11 people were killed and more than 50 wounded in the attack, the largest and deadliest in the Iraqi capital since U.S. forces captured it in April.

Three hours later, attackers set off a bomb under a U.S. Army Humvee elsewhere in Baghdad and then sprayed the vehicle with gunfire from a nearby building. Two U.S. soldiers were injured, and a fierce firefight ensued along a busy commercial street, with Americans taking cover behind electronic goods stacked on the sidewalk.

The attacks transformed two of Baghdad's most placid and prosperous neighborhoods into scenes of carnage and conflict on scales unseen here since the three-week U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein's government. The attacks appeared to demonstrate that insurgents in Iraq have graduated to more sophisticated weapons and tactics.

Although car bombs have been a favored weapon in the Middle East, they have not been used to major effect in Iraq since the U.S. troops entered the country. In addition, "soft" targets such as embassies and hotels have not been in the sights of anti-American fighters, who have largely directed their assaults at U.S. military personnel and Iraqis working with them.

Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. ground forces in Iraq, blamed the embassy bombing on "professional terrorists" and said it was the largest attack against a non-military target since Hussein's government collapsed on April 9...

Among neighbors and other Iraqis at the scene, there was rampant speculation that the attack was the work of an organized group. Some argued it was perpetrated by Hussein opponents out of anger that Jordan's leader, King Abdullah, last week granted asylum to two of Hussein's daughters, Raghad and Rana. But others insisted that it had to have been the work of pro-Hussein forces who believe the daughters were lured to Jordan with the complicity of the U.S. government.

Another theory was that the attackers were seeking to settle scores with Abdullah's government because of its decision to allow U.S. Special Operations forces to enter Iraq from Jordan during the war. Before the invasion, Jordan had been one of Iraq's closest trading partners and the recipient of highly discounted Iraqi oil.

After the blast, a mob of Iraqis stormed into the embassy and tore up a portrait of Abdullah's father, King Hussein. Some people at the scene said that was done out of anger that Jordanian Embassy guards allegedly shot at Iraqi rescuers after the explosion.

U.S. officials have been increasingly concerned about the prospect of large terrorist attacks conducted by Islamic militants who are members of or linked to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network. Although Nantz said he had not received any intelligence reports stating that the Jordanian Embassy was a possible target, Jordan has earned the ire of al Qaeda because Jordanian security services have worked closely with the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies in pursuing members of the terrorist group.

Whatever the cause, I think it is fair to mark the calendar that this day we learned of a well organized, well funded, professional terrorist organization operating in Iraq.

Not good news.
For the most part, though, the Iraqis I have met have been friendly and happy to share their stories. If they don't come right out and condemn Saddam, none have praised him.

Earlier this month, I went with a driver and a translator for a shoot with two U.S. soldiers who found more than $600 million in cash at a Baghdad palace site.

The houses where the money was found are just north of what will be the headquarters for the U.S. administered ORHA (Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance). The quiet, tree-lined streets were surrounded by canals and pools and ponds and pretty little homes.

Our translator looked around and called the place paradise. "It's like I am in a dream," she said. A print reporter from Baghdad in her mid-40s, she had never seen this part of the city. Our driver just looked around and swore profusely at Saddam Hussein.

As for the palace itself, the first time I drove up to it, the driver said he was nervous driving down the empty street guarded on both ends by the U.S. Army for fear that Saddam's troops could suddenly appear.

Once at the palace, none of the Iraqis I was with even knew that it existed. They had never seen it before or had even seen pictures of it. They had never been allowed down that street before.

In front of the many palaces and homes, common Iraqis were not allowed to stop, not even allowed to look. Doing so could land you in jail. As Ali Murad, one of our translators, told me, the most oft heard expression in Iraq was "not allowed."

Read it all.
August 7, 2003
Release Number: 03-08-12



MOSUL, Iraq- A 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) soldier died at approximately 9:30 p.m. Aug. 6 after developing a seizure while performing duties here.

The soldier was evacuated to the 21st Combat Support Hospital.

The soldier's name is being withheld pending notification of next-of-kin.

August 7, 2003
Release Number: 03-08-13



BAGHDAD, Iraq – Two 1st Armored Division soldiers were killed and one wounded in a small arms fire fight in the Al Rashid district here at approximately 11 p.m. on Aug. 6.

The soldiers were evacuated to the 407th Forward Support Battalion medical facility. One soldier died on scene, the other died later from wounds received in the incident.

An interpreter was also wounded in the incident and received treatment at the medical facility.

The soldiers’ names are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

August 7, 2003
Release Number: 03-08-14



BAGHDAD, Iraq – Weapons and information turned over to Coalition forces enabled the successful detaining of former regime loyalists and confiscation of weapons on August 6.

Iraqi police confiscated a weapons cache consisting of three rocket-propelled grenade launchers, six rocket-propelled rounds, three AK-47s with ammunition, one 60 mm mortar tube with five mortar rounds. The police turned the cache over to 4th Infantry Division troops at a base in the Ba’qubah area. An Iraqi who was afraid to turn them into Coalition forces directly for fear of arrest turned the weapons into the Iraqi Police. The Iraqi claimed the weapons belonged to former regime loyalists who no longer wished to participate in anti-Coalition activities.

1st Armored Division soldiers conducted a raid in Baghdad based on information from Iraqi citizens. Three individuals were detained and 32 fuses, six grenades and one rocket-propelled grenade were confiscated.

A former Iraqi Army general suspected as a leader of an anti-Coalition cell, along with nine other individuals were detained in a 1st AD raid on a house in Baghdad.

An Iraqi guard at a power station in Baghdad observed three individuals placing a burlap bag along the side of a road. 1st AD soldiers investigated and determined the bag contained an improvised explosive device. The IED exploded before the explosive ordnance team could detonate it.

In the last 24 hours, coalition forces conducted 18 raids, 965 day patrols and 722 night patrols. Of those, 164 day patrols and 181 night patrols were conducted with Iraqi police.

Since June 15, raids and patrols have resulted in 127 arrests for homicide, 26 for rape, 181 for robbery, 269 for aggravated assault, 43 for burglary, 292 for auto theft, 47 for kidnapping and 1,042 for weapons violations.

August 7, 2003
Release Number: 03-08-15



TIKRIT, Iraq – The lives of Iraqi living in Al Asriya have improved thanks to the efforts of the 5th Engineers of Task Force Ironhorse.

The engineers adopted the poor rural village located approximately 15 kilometers northwest of Baghdad in early July and have completed a variety of projects to enhance living conditions.

After meeting with local leaders and elders, the soldiers brought in heavy equipment to tackle the massive amounts of trash and waste strewn throughout the village. All the debris was moved into impromptu landfills and a burn pit making the Al Asriya a cleaner place and also preventing serious health risks.

After touring three rundown schools, the engineers drew up a contract to begin repairs to the water and electrical systems. Projects are also underway to modernize utilities, since raw sewage currently flows out of homes into shallow trenches lining the roads and courtyards posing a severe health risk to villagers.

The improvements will also provide employment for residents due to the hiring of local contractors to assist with projects. The town of Al Asriya, meaning “model town,” during Saddam’s regime was called Al Faris, translated as “of the family of Saddam.” Village leaders restored the original name and Task Force Ironhorse soldiers helped erect new city signs along the highway into the village.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 8th. The 89th day of CPT Patti's deployment.

According to American Forces Radio this morning today's high in Baghdad will be 120 degrees.

Thursday, August 07, 2003


Might want to start making a list now of every news outlet and politician sharpening their knives on the WMD issue. If this is true, there will be much to dish back.
Here's what I'm hearing. Take it with a grain of salt:

The Bush administration is very confident that it will be vindicated on the WMD front--because it already has the evidence. The word is that David Kay has told Congress that he has a very solid case on Iraq's bio-weapons program, with evidence wending its way through a confirmation process as we speak.

Also according to Kay's congressional briefing, he will have a good case on other weapons programs as well.

We should hear more in September, and it will vindicate those-i.e., nearly everyone--who said Iraq had active WMD programs. For what it's worth...

Thanks to National Review Online, see 5:28 p.m. on 6 August.
Arabs say no troops to Iraq

Jordan Times, Wednesday, August 6, 2003

CAIRO (AFP) — Arab foreign ministers ruled out a US request to send troops to stabilise Iraq at a meeting here Tuesday and discussed ways to end its occupation, Arab League Secretary General Amr Musa said. “There was an agreement that (sending) Arab forces cannot be considered in the current circumstances,” Musa told reporters.

“We should work to put an end to the occupation and allow the Iraqi people form a national government,” he added.

Meaning...we should sit on the sidelines and criticize the Americans but not lift a single solitary finger to help the Iraqis recover from nearly three decades of oppression and torture.

Arab brotherhood, indeed.

He is with the 101st Airborne what he says may not apply to your soldier in another division.
Just days after some historic accomplishments and difficult losses suffered by the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) while in Iraq, the division's commanding officer is offering words of encouragement and hope to families back home.

In a letter e-mailed to the Kentucky New Era Tuesday, Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus said the Army is working to ease the difficulties soldiers and their families have endured the last few months and will continue to endure with the extended deployment of Fort Campbell soldiers.

"We all recognize the hardships this will impose on families who have already been without their Screaming Eagle for over 5 months now," Petraeus said in the e-mail. "…None of us are jumping for joy at the prospect of staying here for a year."...

As living conditions slowly improve for the soldiers around Mosul, Petraeus urges the importance of continued support from the home front.

"Your support for your deployed soldier and for all the division's soldiers is very important," he said in his letter. "Nothing means more to our soldiers than the backing of their loved ones -- and others -- back home."

Lines of communications for soldiers and families is one thing with which the Army is concerned with improving, according to Petraeus. The general said each battalion will soon have a computer facility that allows access to the Internet and e-mail. He also said the number of phones available to troops will soon increase, allowing for more frequent calls to home...

Each day, over 100,000 pounds of ice is being bought from local merchants and output purchased from a large factory will increase the amount of fresh food to add variety to a steady diet of combat rations. Clothing, cots, television broadcasts and air-conditioning to provide relief from the 110-degree heat are also becoming more abundant, Petraeus said.

He also said the military is working a mid-tour leave program that would allow soldiers to fly from Mosul to Fort Campbell for 10-14 days of chargeable leave. But, he cautioned the logistics of making the program work could be difficult.

"This will not be easy -- especially as the residual air defense threat has prevented the resumption of civilian passenger flights into Iraq," he said. "And, it will be very expensive for our Army."

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- A huge explosion thought to have been a car bomb rocked the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad Thursday morning, killing at least three people.

Young Iraqi men, chanting anti-Jordanian slogans, stormed the gate of the embassy and began smashing portraits of Jordan's King Abdullah II and his late father, King Hussein.

A witness said the bomb appeared to have been in an empty minibus parked outside the walled embassy compound and was detonated remotely. Mandoh Gaahi, the witness, said the blast shook buildings and broke windows hundreds of yards away...

Tensions between the neighboring countries have been high because of Jordan's support for the U.S.-led war on Iraq.

While Jordan is a major entry point into Iraq and remains a large trading partner, many Iraqis are resentful that Jordan dropped its support for Saddam Hussein after the 1991 Gulf War, and allowed U.S. troops to use its soil as a base during the latest war.

King Abdullah II last week granted "humanitarian asylum" to two daughters of Saddam, whose husbands took refuge in Jordan but were lured back and killed by Saddam's regime in 1996.

The more I see it, the more disgusting I find it to be.

This Associated Press report leads the reader to conclude the underlying cause for the blast at the Jordanian Embassy is that Jordan allegedgly quit supporting Saddam Hussein after the first Gulf War...and allowed US troops access during this war.

So, apparently Jordan and the Husseins just don't get along...right?

So, why, then, with all the desolate sandy hot Islamic countries to choose from did just last week Saddam Hussein's daughters accept sanctuary in Jordan?

Isn't it just as likely that someone bombed the embassy because of this favor to the Hussein family as is likely the authors insinuation?

It seems to me to be just a bit convoluted here, 100 days after the war, to suggest that only now has some faction grown perturbed enough with Jordan's actions in the wake of 1991 (hello! 12 years ago!) to finally get around to bombing their embassy.

Some may think I'm nuts here...but me, I just resent that AP reporter trying to "presume me" into some conclusion when he has not established anything near fact.

More important on occasion than the ability to execute missions flawlessly can be the ability to identify and adapt to the need for change.
BAGHDAD -- The U.S. military, in a major revision of strategy, has decided to limit the scope of its raids in Iraq after receiving warnings from Iraqi leaders that they were alienating the public, the top allied commander said on Wednesday.

In its search for Baath Party operatives and other foes, the military has carried out large sweeps, some of which have rounded up hundreds of Iraqis.

But Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the commander of allied forces in Iraq, said in an interview that the military had virtually exhausted the gains from this approach and that continuing it could be counterproductive.

"It was a fact that I started to get multiple indicators that maybe our iron-fisted approach to the conduct . . . was beginning to alienate Iraqis," Sanchez said. "I started to get those sensings from multiple sources, all the way from the Governing Council down to average people."...

Sanchez said Iraqi leaders who supported the allies had indicated that they understood the goal of the U.S. raids but that some had expressed concern over their effects on the Iraqi population.

Their message, he said, has been that "when you take a father in front of his family and put a bag over his head and put him on the ground, you have had a significant adverse effect on his dignity and respect in the eyes of his family."

Sanchez said the message from the Iraqis was that, in doing this, you create more enemies than you capture.

Under the new approach, U.S. forces might withdraw from towns that are quiet and leave the policing to the Iraqis. When a raid is conducted, troops will be encouraged to carry out a "cordon and knock" procedure in which a house is surrounded and the troops seek permission to enter accompanied by an Iraqi representative, instead of breaking down the door. But troops will not shrink from attacking their foes when their locations can be pinpointed.

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 6 — As an American soldier peered out of a passing tank, a young engineering student and a retired accountant contemplated one of the more common questions on the streets of Baghdad: Did the soldier's wraparound sunglasses give him X-ray vision?

"With those glasses, he can definitely see through women's clothes," said the engineering student, Samer Hamid. "It makes me angry. We are afraid to take our families out on the street."

The retired accountant, Hekmet Tinber Hassan, smiled and said it was a baseless rumor, just like the widespread story that Saddam Hussein had been secretly working for America and was now at a C.I.A. safe house. "I do not believe Saddam is in America," Mr. Hassan said. "I heard he went to Tel Aviv."...

"I let a kid put on my sunglasses, and he was still convinced they had X-ray vision," said Sgt. Stephen Roach, a soldier from Lufkin, Tex. "He kept saying to me, `Turn it on, turn it on.' "

When they are not peering through women's clothes, the male soldiers are said to be groping underneath the clothes during searches at checkpoints, supposedly provoking some of the attacks on soldiers. (Never mind the absence of evidence for this theory.)

Other versions of the ugly-American stories have the soldiers drinking beer (or sometimes Kool-Aid laced with alcohol) inside their tanks near mosques. They have been accused in the Arab press of using pages from the Koran for toilet paper and of giving children candy packets containing pornography.

The rumors became so numerous that Al Sabah, a new daily paper run by Iraqis with financial backing from the Coalition Provisional Authority, the American-run administrative organization, printed a supplement debunking them. "It will take awhile for people to reject the conspiracy theories," said its editor, Ismael Zayer. "Under Saddam, people had to depend on rumor because they could not trust the media."

Some of the stories seem intended to encourage the fighters who have been attacking Americans. G.I.'s are said to be so demoralized that 30 percent of them have already abandoned their posts and paid $600 apiece to escape by an underground railroad to Turkey or Syria.

Others have supposedly converted to Islam and fled to marry women in Saudi Arabia. There are also rumors that Americans are hiding their casualties by dumping large numbers of soldiers' bodies each night into the Tigris River...

For all the frustration, there remains some admiration for the occupiers, as seen in a popular fashion accessory on teenagers like Zahra Thaer, 13. She was walking down a sidewalk in Baghdad wearing a new pair of wraparound sunglasses.

"These are the latest style," she said, explaining that she had been lucky to get one of the last pairs left in the store.

Did she believe the soldiers' glasses gave them X-ray vision?

"I am not so sure about their sunglasses," she said. "But I know about the helmet. Inside each helmet is a map showing the soldier the location of every house in Iraq. My friends at school told me about it."

But hot enough for us to empathize...

Well, at least it’s not as hot as Baghdad.

While it’s not 115 degrees, U.S. troops and family members in Europe are still sweltering as temperature gauges registered in the 90s and higher for the third straight day. And there’s no end in sight.

The intense heat wave that has baked much of Europe for weeks is fueling deadly forest fires, causing droughts and damaging crops.

The U.S. Air Forces in Europe Operational Weather Squadron said the recent record-breaking weather is uncommon.

August 6, 2003
Release Number: 03-08-10



BAGHDAD, Iraq – A soldier from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) was killed when he fell from the roof of a fixed site at approximately 7:30 p.m. Aug. 5 in Mosul.

The soldier was evacuated to the 21st Combat Support Hospital and was pronounced dead at approximately 8:15 p.m.

The name of the soldier is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

August 6, 2003
Release Number: 03-08-11



BAGHDAD, Iraq – Support and cooperation from Iraqi citizens is enabling Coalition forces to seize weapons and detain former regime loyalists.

Acting on a tip from a source about an extensive weapons cache stored at a former regime loyalist house in Baghdad, 1st Armored Division soldiers seized the weapons in a raid conducted on Aug. 4. Confiscated weapons and military gear included 31 protective mask canisters, 11 bayonets, 33 7.62 mm magazines, more than 550 rounds of ammunition, two protective masks, three swords, two AK-47s, two axes, and various documents. Four individuals were detained.

Based on a tip from another source of a weapons cache location, 1st AD conducted a raid in Baghdad on Aug. 5 resulting in 500 ammunition rounds, 10 loaded AK-47 magazines, and one rocket-propelled grenade being confiscated.

An Iraqi turned himself into the police in the 4th Infantry Division area of operation claiming that local former regime loyalists were forcing him to conceal weapons for them. Three AK-47s, one 60 mm mortar, five 60 mm mortar rounds, three rocket-propelled grenade launchers, six rocket-propelled grenade rounds and 250 rounds of 7.62 ammunition were turned in.

In a separate incident, an Iraqi citizen turned in a rocket-propelled grenade and an assortment of materials used to make improvised explosive devices to the 4th ID. The Iraqi citizen also provided information on a man who teaches people how to construct IEDs.

A large cache of weapons was reported by a local Iraqi to the 4th ID on Aug. 3. An inventory of the cache completed on Aug. 5 revealed more than 1,700 rounds of various ammunition, more than 900 mortar rounds, more than 37,000 anti-aircraft rounds as well as various other weapons and explosives.

In the last 24 hours, coalition forces conducted 18 raids, 965 day patrols and 722 night patrols and conducted 164 day patrols and 181 night patrols jointly with Iraqi police.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 7th. The 88th day of CPT Patti's deployment.

She called last night. See below for that update.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Lo and behold, after 10 days of silence, I finally got a call from CPT Patti tonight.

Caught me completely off guard.

They've had a tough week...some of the casualties in Baghdad - though not in her unit - were friends of her unit. It hits home pretty hard.

I was also able to get kind of a situation update from her...and there are some things to be grateful for!

Water: The standard ration for bottled water for her unit is 3 liters per day, though often soldiers can get up to double that.

Plus, the ROWPU water is plentiful. (ROWPU is Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Unit). To set the record straight I asked her how the ROWPU water tastes. She said that it is pretty good! Says it has a little chlorine taste, but if you mix in the powdered drink mix, you don't notice it at all. In fact, she says...the ROWPU water actually tastes BETTER than some of the bottled water they get...which she described as having such a high mineral content that it "tastes like dirt". She described the ROWPU water as having a "crisp" taste.

I asked her about shower facilities...and she said theirs is more than adequate. "Plenty of water, 24/7...I could shower three times a day if I wanted to".

As for food, the dining facility is now preparing two hot meals per day - breakfast and dinner. But these hot meals don't yet include salad bar, which would be her mailing address if it did. So - being our girl, when I asked her "what are you eating?" she said "the ramen noodles you send me". And just to clarify, she wants us to continue to send Ramen noodles in both styles...the cellophane wrapped noodles and the ones that come in the styrofoam cup. Apparently there is a difference beyond the packaging...hey- she is the one in the war zone...if she wants it she gets it.

Their dining facility will be replaced by a contracted facility at the end of August...we'll see what, if anything that does to improve the dining.

The super-generator is in, but it is going to take most of this month to hook up to not all the troops are sleeping in AC yet. Should be by the 1st of September though.

A contract has been let for laundry...and the Iraqis are washing and folding it at no cost to the soldiers.

Unfortunately - with all the progress on these fronts, there has been no progress on communications. There are only two phone for the entire battalion to call out on...that is at least 400 people. And the internet connections just aren't happening either.

Oh yeah, and it is HOT.

Keep praying for her - and all the soldiers down there. They need their blessings.
Baghdad - Iraq's Governing Council has decided to establish a total of 25 ministries, six more than under the previous regime of Saddam Hussen, a spokesperson for the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) said on Wednesday.

"The council proposed the creation of 25 ministries. We started to discuss it on Tuesday and we will continue today in a detailed manner," KDP's Hoshyar Zebari said.

"Nominations of ministers will take time, because we have to choose qualified persons for each post," he added...

To date, the council has yet to propose any names for new ministers.

"But the general trend is to choose experts or technocrats because the situation needs actions and not words," said Yawar.


Due to its improbability and its exceedingly negative tone (both red flags these days for me) I did not link to this Washington Times article on Saturday. But to make a point, I will now.
War casualties overflow Walter Reed hospital

By Jon Ward

Officials at Walter Reed Army Medical Center are referring some outpatients to nearby hotels because casualties from operations in Afghanistan and Iraq have overloaded the hospital's convalescence facility.

"We have an informal agreement with any number of hotels in the area. If we come to this point, they will take [patients] for us," said Walter Reed spokesman Jim Stueve. "They're very supportive and cooperative when we need that assistance."

The Army hospital and its convalescence facility, Mologne House, are at maximum occupancy capacity, with 96 percent of their outpatient beds filled with war wounded.

Walter Reed has been at maximum capacity since Operation Enduring Freedom began in Afghanistan in 2001, Mr. Stueve said, adding that the hospital's 3,900 staffers have "put in a substantial amount of overtime."

Before Enduring Freedom, the hospital's occupancy rate had held steady at 83 percent for five years.

"We haven't been average here for well over a year. We've been really busy. They've been rolling in here real regular," Mr. Stueve said.

The Mologne House is a 280-bed facility for outpatients who need continued care or rehabilitation, as well as their families.

Now for the SPIN WATCH.

Turns out, the Mologne House is not a convalesence facility. It is a hotel (or "Lodging" in Army Speak). And it books rooms, first come, first served, as they all do. See it here.

A clear case of embellishment worthy of the New York Times was the article by Jon Ward, "War casualties overflow Walter Reed hospital" (Page 1, Monday).

I have stayed in the Mologne House. This is not an outpatient facility.

The Mologne House is an on-post hotel, period.

Fort Carson officials on Tuesday warned about con artists who may be falsely informing families that their loved ones were injured overseas.

In June, two spouses of Fort Carson soldiers deployed in Iraq said they were approached by people posing as military casualty assistance officers.

Fort Carson Public Affairs Officer Richard Bridges said the con artists reportedly asked family members for the soldiers' Social Security numbers and other personal information.

"If anyone who is really in the military comes to the door, we won't be asking for I.D. - we will already know who will answer the door," Budzyna said. "And we will certainly never ask for money."

Budzyna said word of the scam originated at Fort Bliss, Texas. A family member of a soldier reported being approached by people posing as casualty assistance officers and requesting $300 to support the family's injured loved one.


A warning to the Iraqis, and their Communist handlers.
"Liberty equals responsibility," the posters read. "After the liberation, you have the right to demonstrate without fear, but with this right you have the responsibility to protest peacefully.

"Violence against citizens, Iraqi police or coalition forces will not be tolerated and will be dealt with forcibly," it added.

The posters appeared at the end of a week of daily protests outside CPA headquarters by a group calling itself the Union of the Unemployed and boosted by ultra-leftist Communist groups, demanding jobs or financial support from the occupying coalition. A handful of protests have turned deadly in Iraq since Saddam's regime collapsed April 9, while many other tense stand-offs between demonstrators and coalition troops saw violence narrowly averted.


That we went on the cheap with the best possible form of propaganda.
The postwar director of U.S.-backed Iraqi Television announced Tuesday that he has quit, saying inadequate funding made it impossible to compete with rival networks from countries such as Iran that criticize the American occupation.

In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, the director, Ahmad al-Rikaby, said that while vacationing in London on Friday he had informed the management of Iraqi Media Network that he was quitting.

''The U.S. didn't really succeed in countering the propaganda of such anti-coalition networks as al-Jazeera in Qatar,'' he said, complaining that inadequate funding, equipment and training for staff members had left the network unable to meet the need for objective news.

He said Iraqi Media Network was only able to broadcast 16 hours a day, compared with 24-hour news reports from al-Jazeera and Iran's al-Alam networks that included audio tapes believed to be from Saddam Hussein.

''If Saddam and his supporters didn't think such broadcasts were beneficial to their cause, they wouldn't use them,'' said al-Rikaby, 34. ''I have no doubt that there is a hidden message in the broadcasts by several Arabic networks inciting Iraqis to resist the push toward democracy.''

Baghdad — Crowds are still way below prewar levels at one of Baghdad's busiest fruit and vegetable markets, where many shoppers still fear lawlessness — pickpockets in the market and car thieves in streets outside.

Yet, those fears should be easing soon as Iraq's new police slowly retake the streets.

Iraqi police, clearly visible in their brand-new blue uniforms, patrol the perimeter of the market.

Unnoticed, plainclothesmen work indoors, blending with shoppers until someone shouts "Ali Baba! Ali Baba!" — the Iraqi vernacular for thief...

Iraqis have cited the security situation and a sense of general lawlessness in the streets as one of the biggest blocks on the road to a free and one-day democratic Iraq.

Thousands of Iraqi men have been recruited and trained to guard public facilities — banks, government ministries, power plants.

Thousands who worked with Saddam Hussein's fallen regime and were dismissed have come back to work, patrolling alone or with coalition forces day and night throughout the capital, capturing car thieves and smugglers of ancient Iraqi artifacts.

Thousands more have enlisted and trained to work in customs and immigration.

There are over a thousand traffic police on the beat, trying to persuade impatient Iraqis to follow the rules of the road.

And thousands of others have slipped undercover against crime syndicates and kidnapping rings.

BAGHDAD, Iraq Aug. 4 —
The U.S. military bused 400 volunteers for the new Iraqi Army north to the city of Kirkuk to begin two months basic training Monday, and American forces passed a third straight day without losing a soldier in combat.

According to the military authorities in the Iraqi capital there had not been a U.S. soldier killed in action since late Friday night.

The new Iraqi army recruits were taken to Kirkuk and on to a U.S. base under heavy guard for fear of attacks on the convoy of red and white buses by the Iraqi resistance fighters. The insurgency has killed 52 American soldiers since May 1, when U.S. President George W. Bush declared major fight was over.

The recruits sent north Monday make up about half the first batch that was to begin training under U.S. instructors this month. More than 12,000 Iraqi soldiers were scheduled to be ready for service by year's end and 40,000 by the end of 2004.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines said Tuesday that it was canceling the flights to Iraq in September, because U.S. officials had told the airline that the security situation was too unstable.

If this isn't brought under control, our soldiers will suffer the blame.
As instructed by Amjad's captors, family members last weekend took the money to a location 25 miles outside the city. There, they found an oil drum with the boy's name painted on it and dropped the money inside, al-Sayeedi said.

On Monday -- two torturous days later -- the boy was dropped off in his neighborhood at 6 a.m., and an impromptu street celebration erupted among neighbors announcing his survival.

Tuesday, American and Iraqi police officials acknowledged that the plight of the al-Sayeedi family and others has become far too common. The police have broken up four organized rings of kidnappers in the last month, freeing about 10 captive adults and children. Authorities believe many more kidnappers may be at work.

In a raid early Monday, Iraqi police found a kidnapped man and woman who had been severely beaten and tortured -- their toenails pulled out by the captors. After a brief shootout, several kidnappers were arrested and some provided information that led to the rescue of an 8-year-old boy in another location.

Bernard Kerik, chief U.S. consultant organizing the rebuilding of the Iraqi police, said families have been paying up to $30,000 in ransoms. He said many of the kidnappers rotate in from other cities to commit crimes in Baghdad. One ringleader appeared to have ties to the former regime of Saddam Hussein, but money, not politics, appears to be the motivation for the kidnappings.

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 5 — An American civilian was killed today when the mail truck he was driving was blown up by a homemade explosive north of the town of Tikrit, military officials said here today.

The employee, working for KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton, was driving in an area still regarded as a war zone by military officials and near the hometown of Saddam Hussein.

Department of Defense announced recently that it will keep U.S. troop strength in Iraq at about 145,000 for the indefinite future, and the Army announced a plan to rotate units currently stationed in Iraq after they have served about a year.

Defense had hoped to be withdrawing troops from Iraq by now, but the discovery of a large Ba'athist resistance network in June, the upsurge of violence since then and the failure of other nations to contribute as much to peacekeeping forces as the Bush administration had hoped put the kibosh on that.

Some 30 nations are helping out in Iraq, but only Britain and Poland are providing more than token assistance.

A number of Democratic notables have suggested that the Bush administration swallow its pride and go hat in hand to the United Nations. But the U.N. record of peacekeeping in Rwanda, Bosnia, Congo, Somalia and Sierra Leone does not inspire confidence that turning over responsibility for reconstructing Iraq to that body would have a happy outcome.

If we are to succeed in Iraq, Iraqis must assume responsibility for governing themselves, and for protecting themselves. The sooner that process begins, the sooner we can declare victory and come home.

The process has begun, and is in fact well under way, though successes are largely being ignored by a news media that seems determined to paint as bleak a picture as possible.

When Iraqis supplement, and eventually replace, Americans on peacekeeping and security duties, three good things happen:

• The number of U.S. troops required to provide security in Iraq declines.

• The threat to the U.S. troops still in Iraq diminishes, because they will be less vulnerable to attack.

•Unemployment in Iraq diminishes and the number of Iraqis dependent upon the United States for their livelihood increases. This has a beneficial impact upon loyalty.

The place to begin in Iraq is where the Marines have begun, by training Iraqis to be security guards at schools, hospitals, mosques and other important public buildings now mostly being protected by U.S. troops.

Did you know that under no circumstances can a male soldier, wearing any uniform of the United States Army, to include the black-tie, tuxedo equivalent Dress or Mess Blues, take shelter beneath an umbrella no matter how hard it is raining?

It is a fact.

That fact does not apply to female soldiers who are wearing anything better than the Class C uniform (BDUs or DCUs).

The exception for females (and I won't even go into the apparent sexist, double standard of the exception) is less than a decade old. Some General made the decision that it is OK for females to carry an umbrella. And the day they made that decision they, by default, reinforced the prohibition against males carrying umbrellas even when dressed to the nines.

Why? Because, simply put, no General wants to be remembered as the "umbrella General". No General wants to be the one to turn his back on over 200 years of tradition.

So, why discuss this here?

Because, whether you have realized it, we have seen the equivalent of the Umbrella General principle at work over the last several months.

We have the most professional military in the world. And one of the tenants that sets our military apart from many others is that we have codified civilian control of the military in the USA.

So, no matter how many stars a General has, he still works for a civilian, the Secretary of his service, who works for the Secretary of Defense who works for the President.

GEN Shinseki retired earlier this summer. He was the Chief of Staff of the Army. That's it...that is as high as you can go. The pinnacle of success in the United States Army.

And then a strange thing happened...nobody wanted his job.

Well, that may not be entirely correct...but this is: no General on active duty to whom the position was offered wanted the job.

I can't be absolutely certain, but my gut tells me this is unprecedented in this nation's history.

And so, we come to the question of why. Why did no active duty General take the position?

Read the article below, and we'll come back to the question.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday there is no need to increase U.S. armed forces for now even though the military is being stretched by commitments in Iraq and elsewhere.

“We’re absolutely open-minded about how many people we have in the armed services,” Rumsfeld said. “The way to get the right number,” he added, is not to rush to a change “the first time you feel the effects of a spike in activity, as we do right now with Iraq.”

He said continuing analyses of troop strength, conducted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, indicate current force levels are sufficient for engagements in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, the Sinai peninsula and South Korea.

“But I can assure you that if at some point the circumstances in the world are such that the president and the Congress and the country believe that we need to be doing so many things that that it appropriately calls for an increase in end-strength, we certainly would ask for an increase in end-strength,” Rumsfeld said.

Last week the nominee to be Army chief of staff, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, told a Senate committee the Army is likely to need more troops to meet its worldwide commitments.

“Intuitively I think we need more people,” Schoomaker had said. “I mean it’s that simple.”

Rumsfeld was replying to a question about that testimony.

He said there were steps that could be taken to improve the efficiency of current troop levels, including putting civilians in jobs now being done by as many as 380,000 people in uniform.

“That’s a pile of people,” he said. “They need to be doing military functions.”...

Earlier Tuesday, the acting Army chief of staff, Gen. John Keane, said troop commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan have stretched the Army and its size might need to be increased.

“There’s no doubt” more troops are needed, Keane told reporters. “I’ve just told you we’re short of infantry, we’re short of chemical-biological soldiers, we’re short of military police.”

But he said before military leaders can come up with a number for an increase in combat troops, they have to see what military slots can be converted to civilian slots. He also said combat support services have to be improved.

“Clearly we’re stretched and we know we’re short certain skill sets we’ve got to fix,” he said. “That’s as specific as I can get until we do the rest of the analysis.”

Keane is to retire this summer. Rumsfeld tried to persuade him to take over the chief of staff slot when Gen. Eric Shinseki retired last June, but Keane declined, officials said. Rumsfeld then picked Schoomaker, who is awaiting Senate confirmation.

So here it is. General Shinseki knew the Army is understrength and said as much in his now famous "12 division strategy with a 10 division Army" comment.

But Secretary Rumsfeld doesn't see it that way. He continues to see "efficiencies" to be gained, and his bias is blatant in his comment that "380,000 folks in uniform" need to be doing "military functions".

What does he mean? He means that he believes that civilians should be cooking for our soldiers, creating potable water for the soldiers, repairing broken vehicles, handling the mail, inspecting our food and on and on and on. He means that if a soldier isn't engaged in launching bullets at the enemy, then that soldier is not performing "military functions". (See Monday's posting: "How new efficiencies screw our soldiers.")

And he testifies this to be the case even as the Army's senior logistician proclaims that our soldiers are living in substandard conditions in Iraq because civilian contractors were a no-show on the battlefield.

Lieutenant General Mahan has it right...the only recourse for this misguided displacement of Army functions is to sue the civilians after the fact.

Doesn't do CPT Patti much good at the moment, does it?

And so - where does the Umbrella General come in?

The Generals know that General Shinseki was right.

Secretary Rumsfelds much touted "transformation of the military" has at its roots the peacetime idea that non-bullet-launching functions should be handed over to civilians. Problem is, it doesn't work. We saw that in the Civil War with the spotty attendance of the "sutlers" on the battlefield, who were fair-weather merchants at best. LTG Mahan sees it in Iraq. More importantly, your soldier and my soldier see it every day in Iraq.

So well known is Secretary Rumsfeld's intent, and so heinous is it to the well being of our soldiers (and Marines, and Airmen and Seamen and Coasties) that no active duty General who was offered the job wants his legacy to be that of ripping the support out of the Army.

And so - the umbrella issue highlights that tradition weighs heavily in the Army for even light things. But today's issue goes well beyond that. It reflects that the professional experience of upwards of 35 years of service that each of these Generals have can not reconcile what they know to be true with what Secretary Rumsfeld has in mind.

Yes, we owe much to civilian control of the military. But the civilian masters could learn much from the collective message of the Professional Soldiers who have spent their lives studying the art of war.
August 5, 2003
Release Number: 03-08-09



CAMP DOHA, Kuwait – A US soldier assigned to Coalition Forces Land Component Command died earlier today from an apparent heart attack.

The soldier complained of having chest pains while performing convoy duties between Camp Arifjan and Camp Arlington west of Camp Wolf.

The soldier was taken to the Kuwaiti Defense base and transported to the 801st CSH.

Name of the soldier is being withheld pending next of kin notification.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 6th. The 87th day of CPT Patti's deployment.

It is 114 degrees in Baghdad today. It is forecasted to readh 117 by the weekend.

Have you ever been where it is 117 degrees?

Me neither.

But depending upon which forecast one believes, it may be 99 degrees here in Giessen on Thursday.

Our empathy grows.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003


Superb opinion piece that looks at the US Forces' technical combat ability, already unsurpassed in the the world, and notes that smart bombs do little to help our forces in their current mission - rebuiding a nation.
I agree that building a new future in the Arab world is a worthy challenge for a great power, assuming it's done with the Arabs' help rather than being imposed on them. But I am increasingly worried that this administration's military version of "transformation" will subvert its political goal.

Here's the problem: The Pentagon's version of "transformation" is all about using technology to enhance the military's standoff power -- the precision-guided bombs and unmanned robots that allow America to dominate a battlefield without risking high U.S. casualties. But political transformation requires the opposite -- an intimate "stand-in" connection with the culture and people you propose to transform.

This conundrum has been evident in Iraq: U.S. military forces raced north to Baghdad, overwhelming any opposition in their path. The road from Kuwait to Baghdad provided images of the new precision and lethality of American weapons: Iraqi tanks smoldered in ruins even as the surrounding sand revetments looked almost untouched. I saw one tank that had tried to hide under a bridge but was destroyed by a missile smart enough to nail the tank but leave the bridge intact.

The Iraqis never saw what was coming at them militarily. That helped America win the war quickly and decisively. But this same disconnect -- the separation of U.S. power from the society that the administration hopes to reconstruct -- is a big part of what has been going wrong in postwar Iraq.

America remains too much of a standoff power in the new Iraq. The U.S. military lacks the language skills, the cultural familiarity, the network of political connections to make the necessary, intimate connection with that country. It needs to "stand in" now, but it doesn't have the tools to do so securely. Hunkered down against a small but pesky Iraqi resistance, it looks like an occupying army more than a transforming (or "liberating") one.

This imbalance between America's military force and its strategic needs is only likely to grow worse unless the Bush administration moves to redress it. The Pentagon is already working on the next generation of military "transformation," and from what I heard at a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) conference last week, the future will only add to America's standoff military power.

The world's only superpower is contemplating new technologies that could come out of the latest "Terminator" movie. On this future battlefield, "super-empowered" U.S. war-fighters will have body-machine interfaces that will make them all but invulnerable. They will be able to fire weapons just by thinking "fire"; they will be impervious to heat, hunger, thirst or fatigue. Remote sensors will constantly feed target data to aircraft that can fire precision weapons from a safe distance. When things get too dangerous even for the super-empowered, the Pentagon can send in smart robots and swarms of unmanned predator planes...

I hope DARPA keeps experimenting with future weapons technologies, and I applaud Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's agenda for transformation of a sometimes hidebound military. But the Bush administration needs to embrace the softer side of power, too. An America that can actually transform the Middle East will need more Arabic speakers, social scientists who understand the Islamic world, development economists, human rights activists.

Above all, a United States that's serious about transforming the Arab world will need people who care passionately about the region and its people. This is not a standoff project. Real transformation will require connection, not distance.

Read the whole thing here.
In interviews here, some Tikritis readily admit that Mr. Hussein is in the area, protected by the people upon whom he lavished wealth and privilege during his rule. The funeral Saturday of his sons, attended by dozens of family members and friends, gave ample testament to the nostalgia for his rule. Locals here said Tikritis who have cooperated with the Americans have been attacked and, in some cases, killed.

"Saddam is with us in Tikrit, and the Americans will not find him," Sheik Ismael al-Dibis, a tribal elder here, said in an interview. "They cannot find him even if they searched for a hundred years."

The Americans think they can. Despite the boasts of his supporters, the Americans say they have been deluged with information about Mr. Hussein. In addition to the 600 Iraqis detained here, the Americans have captured two men on the most-wanted list, including Abid Hamid Mahmoud al-Tikriti, who was No. 4, a ranking based in part on his closeness to Mr. Hussein.

The Americans are handing out rewards for information, but they say their biggest asset is the desire for justice by the many residents whom Mr. Hussein brutalized.

It is a familiar scene in post-Saddam Baghdad. Even by the low standards of other Middle Eastern cities, the traffic in the Iraqi capital is off the scale. Everyone ignores the traffic lights; roundabouts are driven around according to whichever route seems quickest; and the lane markings might as well not exist.

A few blocks away from where Sgt Naji is fighting his losing battle, Rashid Hamid, also a sergeant, has given up and is hiding from the punishing glare of the afternoon sun in a shelter. Next to him sits a white Suzuki motorcycle which he once used to chase traffic offenders. He doesn't bother with that any more.

"What is the point? People take no notice of us. They have no respect for us because they know we cannot take any action because there is no law and there are no courts," he said. "Before, when we could fine people, everybody kept to the law. Now they just swear at us. Insulting a traffic policeman used to get you six months in jail."

Most of all Sgt Hamid, who has been a traffic policeman for 18 years, wanted his gun back - which the US authorities in Iraq will not allow. "How will people take us seriously unless we have a gun?"

According to him some of the drivers causing mayhem on Baghdad's roads probably do not even know they are breaking the law. The directorate of traffic was looted during the conflict, and driving licences can now be bought on any street cornerfor a few dinars.

Kum & Go donated coolers, and Wal-Mart donated butter, salt, and pepper. Additional coolers and ice were donated by a number of other groups, as well as letters of support written for the troops.

As to the corn itself, it was donated by the Garst seed company.

There’s about 300 dozen, or 3,600 individual ears of corn being provided, said Lori Thomas, marketing manager for the Garst seed company.

“We picked a corn that’s super sweet. It’ll hold its sugar for a whole week. So, it should taste great when it gets to Baghdad, which will likely be on Thursday,” Thomas said.

Before getting to Baghdad, the corn will be transported by the Ruan truck until it reaches the Charleston air force base in South Carolina. Next, it will either go by air to Germany or straight to Baghdad. Quite a feat of cooperation, but most of all, a feat of caring.
Some troops living and working in Baghdad have received mail from the continental United States in as few as five days. Boxes sent through the military parcel service from Germany have arrived in Baghdad in as little as three days. Stateside mail is getting to soldiers on an average between 11 and 15 days 85 percent of the time.

Last week, the military began flying tons of mail daily to northern Iraq through the international air express company DHL. Four to six pallets of mail are picked up at the central warehouse at Baghdad International and flown to troops in Mosul about twice a day.

August 5, 2003
Release Number: 03-08-08



BAGHDAD, Iraq – In the last 24 hours, coalition forces conducted 25 raids, 885 day patrols and 709 night patrols and conducted 176 day patrols and 165 night patrols jointly with Iraqi police.

Acting on a tip from a local Iraqi that a religious man was firing his weapon at other Iraqis in a Baghdad mosque, 1st Armored Division soldiers along with Iraqi Police officers conducted a raid at the mosque. Two Iraqis were detained and two AK-47s, one rocket-propelled grenade launcher and one rifle were confiscated.

A gun battle observed between two Iraqis was defeated by a 1st AD military police patrol. The patrol gunner fired rounds at the men’s location when one of the men turned toward the patrol causing both men to flee.

An improvised explosive device consisting of a fuel can connected to batteries was discovered in Baghdad by a 1st AD patrol. An explosive ordnance detonation team defused the IED without incident.

Acting on a tip received from a local Iraqi citizen, a raid was conducted by 4th Infantry Division soldiers against individuals suspected in mortar attacks on Coalition forces in Ba’qubah resulting in significant finds. Weapons confiscated in the raid included five 60 mm mortar rounds, three AK-47s, a number of loaded AK-47 magazines, a crate of 7.62 ammunition, one mortar sight, and grenade fuses. Five individuals were detained.

A weapons cache consisting of 50 120 mm mortar rounds was discovered in the Mosul area by 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) soldiers. An EOD team was called to dispose of the cache.