Saturday, July 26, 2003

President Bush is contemplating major changes in the U.S. reconstruction of Iraq for the second time in three months, with the possible addition of one or more prominent figures to work alongside the U.S. administrator in a stepped-up effort to solicit international assistance, administration officials said yesterday.

"We're confident of long-term success," a Bush aide said. "We need to show short-term success."

As part of the effort, the White House is considering asking several major figures, including former secretary of state James A. Baker III, to take charge of specific tasks such as seeking funds from other countries or restructuring Iraq's debt. "A lot of different things are being discussed," a senior administration official said. "Nothing has happened yet."

Good. Faster is better.
An Iraqi scientist associated with Saddam Hussein's nuclear program has surrendered to U.S. authorities in Baghdad, U.S. defense officials said Friday.

The officials identified the scientist as Abdullah Abbus Khandush, and said he was cooperating with the United States but that any information he was providing would not be made public, at least in the short term.

It's hoped the scientist, who was captured Thursday, will be able to provide information about Iraq's nuclear weapons program. Disarming the regime of suspected nuclear, chemical and biological weapons was a prime reason given by the Bush administration for launching the war that toppled Saddam. To date, no such weapons have been found.

Seven years ago, a Baghdad man's pretty 17-year-old daughter vanished and was rumored to be held inside the Iraq Olympic Committee compound run by Odai. After 10 days, the frantic father asked his lawyer to inquire about the girl. The lawyer presented himself at the committee and eventually was taken before Odai.

According to the file of the lawyer's testimony, Odai "was looking at the papers I had filled out. He said, 'I was going to break both your legs so you can never come back here, but I see your left leg was wounded in the Iran-Iraq war, so I am only going to break your right leg.' "

A henchman shot the lawyer's right foot, leaving him unable to walk, and he recalled being dumped near a hospital. The girl was sent home eventually, having been raped repeatedly, and her family was told not to move. But they fled in terror to Poland, where they had relatives. Several years later, gunmen working for Odai tracked them down there and killed the girl and her father, according to the lawyer.

"This is just a sample," Adnan Jabbar Saadi said Wednesday at the Human Rights Organization of Iraq, where several weeks ago he listened to the lawyer tell his story. "Hitler was mild compared to Odai."

Read how they are celebrating in Baghdad here.
Baghdad celebrations backfire.

Saturday 26 July 2003, 6:05 PM

Stray bullets from celebratory gunfire marking the deaths of Saddam Hussein's sons Uday and Qusay has killed 31 Iraqis in Baghdad, a local newspaper reports.

Seventy-six people were also wounded, 40 of them seriously, Al-Moatamar reported, citing hospital figures.

This week’s announcement means achingly long deployments for soldiers and their spouses throughout the Army, the service providing 133,000 of the 156,000 troops for the U.S. contingent. Soldiers and spouses, though, said they were glad to at least get a schedule around which they can plan their lives.

“At least you know it’s one year. It’s not indefinite. And the conditions are getting better,” said Air Force Maj. Kirk Faryniasz, a theater airlift liaison officer working with the 1st ID in W├╝rzburg. “It could be worse. It could have been two to three years. Soldiers always step up to the plate.”...

“I was expecting a one-year deployment,” said Lt. Col. Curtis Anderson, commander of the 1st Armored Division’s 501st Support Battalion from Friedberg, Germany, who has commanded the unit since June 28. “Our orders read 365 days.”

He said that he does not believe one-year deployments will affect either Army retention or recruiting.

To the contrary, “it’s probably going to cause people to stay in,” Anderson said. “Folks feel good about being here [in Iraq], both soldiers and Iraqi people.”

Sgt. David Brown, a 31-year-old Louisville, Ky., native who is with a maintenance company that is part of the 501st Forward Support Battalion, said he’ll be pleased if his unit gets out early next spring as promised.

U.S. soldiers detained several of Saddam Hussein’s personal bodyguards in a raid Thursday in Tikrit after an informant tipped troops to their location, said Maj. Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division.

Odierno spoke Friday in a live video teleconference briefing from Tikrit to the Pentagon.

While investigators still were interviewing the detained guards Friday morning, of the 13 people taken into custody, “between five and 10 [are] believed to be Saddam Hussein’s personal security detachment,” Odierno said.

The 4th ID commander said he believes the deaths of Saddam Hussein’s sons this week has boosted significantly the number of Iraqi informants alerting U.S. forces to the whereabouts of weapons caches and key Hussein supporters...

The capture of some of Saddam’s elite bodyguards on Thursday means troops are getting close, and it’s a matter of time before Hussein himself, “or HVT No. 1, as we call him,” is caught, Odierno said.

“They are moving around quickly, they are very unsettled and are not living a very good life right now because we are constantly on their trail.”

Also Thursday night, another informant gave troops near the town of Samarra, about 70 miles northwest of Baghdad, detailed directions to a buried container, which, when unearthed, netted 10 AK-47 rifles, 34 rocket-propelled grenade launches, 150 RPG rounds, 80,000 feet of detonation cord, 45,000 sticks of dynamite, 11 improvised explosive devices (IEDs), 33 SA-7 launchers and 28 submachine guns.

And, if you will, please notice how seemingly much more forthcoming the average Iraqi seems to be with information regarding the former dictator, as well as weapons caches that exist to hurt our guys.

July 25, 2003
Release Number: 03-07-76



TIKRIT, Iraq – Soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division on July 24 seized a large weapons cache located in a house and three adjacent bunkers near Samarrah.

Weapons confiscated from the house and one of the bunkers include: 10 AK-47 rifles, 42 SKS rifles, 21 submachine guns, seven machine guns, 42 rocket-propelled grenades launchers, 152 rocket-propelled grenade rounds, 45,000 sticks of TNT and other ammunition.

The contents of the other two bunkers are currently being assessed.
SATURDAY, JULY 26th. The 76th day of CPT Patti's deployment.

Friday, July 25, 2003


Too bad, as the WAPO indicates, the Democrats and the general media fail to realize it too.
The fact that the Democrats and the media can't seem to let go of it, however, is testimony to their need (and ability) to change the subject. From what? From the moral and strategic realities of Iraq. The moral reality finally burst through the yellowcake fog with the death of the Hussein brothers, psychopathic torturers who would be running Iraq if not for the policy enunciated by President Bush in that very same State of the Union address.

That moral reality is a little hard for the left to explain, considering the fact that it parades as the guardian of human rights and all-around general decency, and rallied millions to prevent the policy that liberated Iraq from Uday and Qusay's reign of terror.

Then there are the strategic realities. Consider what has happened in the Near East since Sept. 11, 2001:

(1) In Afghanistan, the Taliban have been overthrown and a decent government has been installed.

(2) In Iraq, the Saddam Hussein regime has been overthrown, the dynasty has been destroyed and the possibility for a civilized form of governance exists for the first time in 30 years.

(3) In Iran, with dictatorships toppled to the east (Afghanistan) and the west (Iraq), popular resistance to the dictatorship of the mullahs has intensified.

(4) In Pakistan, once the sponsor and chief supporter of the Taliban, the government radically reversed course and became a leading American ally in the war on terror.

(5) In Saudi Arabia, where the presence of U.S. troops near the holy cities of Mecca and Medina deeply inflamed relations with many Muslims, the American military is leaving -- not in retreat or with apology but because it is no longer needed to protect Saudi Arabia from Hussein.

(6) Yemen, totally unhelpful to the United States after the attack on the USS Cole, has started cooperating in the war on terror.

(7) In the small, stable Gulf states, new alliances with the United States have been established.

(8) Kuwait's future is secure, the threat from Saddam Hussein having been eliminated.

(9) Jordan is secure, no longer having Iraq's tank armies and radical nationalist influence at its back.

(10) Syria has gone quiet, closing terrorist offices in Damascus and playing down its traditional anti-Americanism.

(11) Lebanon's southern frontier is quiet for the first time in years, as Hezbollah, reading the new strategic situation, has stopped cross-border attacks into Israel.

(12) Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations have been restarted, a truce has been declared and a fledgling Palestinian leadership has been established that might actually be prepared to make a real peace with Israel.

That's every country from the Khyber Pass to the Mediterranean Sea. Everywhere you look, the forces of moderation have been strengthened. This is a huge strategic advance not just for the region but for the world, because this region in its decades-long stagnation has incubated the world's most virulent anti-American, anti-Western, anti-democratic and anti-modernist fanaticism.

Please read it all. You will be glad.
But Rep. Charles B. Rangel, New York Democrat, sharply criticized the killing of Saddam's two sons.

"We have a law on the books that the United States should not be assassinating anybody," Mr. Rangel said Tuesday evening on the Fox News show "Hannity and Colmes."

Mr. Rangel, Uday Hussein was the commander of the Fedeyeen forces with whom we are still engaged.

Mr. Rangel, we walked up to the house and rang the bleedin' doorbell to offer to allow them to surrender.

Mr. Rangel, the first shots in that firefight came from those hold up inside the house.

An assassination Mr. Rangel?

Mr. Rangel, I find you to be an idiot.

So the US will prove to the Iraqis that the Hussein sons are dead, even if it doesn't play well in Berkeley.

Its a simple choice to me. We either reap the results of allowing the Iraqis to believe, or accept the continued results of allowing the Iraqis to fear.

But the left-most among us will bleat on about dignity, morality and human rights for two amoral individuals, all the while overlooking it was precisely those things denied to 25 million Iraqis by the Husseins.

Not a single Iraqi interviewed expressed anything but delight at the prospect that the loathed sons of the former dictator might be dead, signaling perhaps the first time that nearly all Iraqis and their occupiers have agreed in their reaction to events here.

But so strong are the beliefs among Iraqis that the U.S. occupying forces routinely lie to them and that the Hussein family is a fixture in Iraqi politics that the deaths of Uday and Qusay are not yet a reality in the minds of many.

"We don't believe it; it's just a rumor," said Samira Al-Khazali, 45, a customer at a beauty salon in the Adhamiya neighborhood. "We have to see it to believe it."

And please note that according to the author, our own Hollywood doesn't have a clue about the true nature of the United States soldier.
Whether the deaths of Uday and Qusay Hussein were self-inflicted or not, the military operation to capture them was immaculate. There were no American deaths, 10 minutes of warnings were given over loudspeakers, and it was the Iraqis who opened fire. So sensitive was the American approach, they even rang the bell of the house before entering...

The neat operation fits squarely with the tenor of the whole American campaign, contrary to the popular negative depiction of its armed forces: that they are spoilt, well-equipped, steroid-pumped, crudely patriotic yokels who are trigger-happy yet cowardly in their application of overwhelming force...

Another myth is that the Americans are also softies who live and fight in amazing, air-conditioned comfort. The truth is that the GIs encamped in and outside palaces and Ba'ath party mansions not only lack air-conditioning but also running water, unlike most of the population they guard.

And, unlike their British counterparts, they have no communication with their families at home. Many British troops are able to use the "e-bluey" system to email their loved ones on a frequent basis. The only times most GIs in Iraq ever get to let their spouses know they are well is if a passing journalist lets them have a couple of minutes on the Satphone...

More recently, American soldiers have been charged with the sensitive task of searching those who enter the Palace district of Baghdad. One Shi'ite mullah felt it a great dishonour to be searched. The soldier responsible, Captain Wolford, agreed to take him round the back of the building and search him in private. Once there, the mullah agreed to be searched. Captain Wolford refused then to search him - the agreement to comply was enough. The gentlemanly approach much pleased the mullah.

It is because of this kind of sensitivity that the Americans have slowly and quietly achieved the intelligence triumph that led to the discovery and killing of the sons of Saddam Hussein.

The American soldiers I met were disciplined professionals. Many of them had extensive experience of peacekeeping in Kosovo and Bosnia and had worked alongside (or even been trained by) British troops. Thoughtful, mature for their years, and astonishingly racially integrated, they bore little resemblance to the disgruntled draftees in Platoon or Apocalypse Now.

Proud yet?

Thought so.
In the interview, he provided previously undisclosed details of how Iraq's ruling family grappled with the shock of falling from power.

Saddam Hussein's own astonishment was obvious on Friday, April 11, Abu Tiba said, 48 hours after U.S. troops toppled Saddam's government and his most prominent statue in Baghdad. Saddam and his sons attended Friday prayers at the Abu Haditha mosque in Adhamiya. Word spread quickly among the worshipers, and a crowd gathered around them outside after prayers were over.

An old woman in a black abaya walked up to Saddam and berated him with a boldness that, days earlier, could have gotten any Iraqi killed.

"What have you done to us?" she demanded.

Iraq's once all-powerful leader smacked his forehead with his open palm and pleaded for understanding.

"What could I do?" he asked the woman. "I trusted my commanders. . . . They have broken the oath they took upon themselves to protect Iraq. We hope we will be back in power and everything will be fixed."...

Abu Tiba provided new details about the movements of Saddam and his sons during and just after the war. Among them:

- The initial U.S. missile attack of the war -- a March 20 strike intended to kill Saddam and his top aides in a farmland area in the south of Baghdad -- missed badly. The intended targets were nowhere near, staying in private houses scattered around the city.

- A U.S. attack on April 7, in which four tons of bombs were dropped on Mansour, a residential neighborhood, came close to killing Saddam and his sons, destroying homes and reportedly killing 14 civilians only 10 minutes after the Husseins left the area. But the incident was a sting by Saddam against one of his own officers, whom he later had executed for allegedly helping the Americans target the Iraqi leader.

Fascinating story - read the whole thing here.
Baghdad's residents confront enormous problems in this summer of liberation and discontent.

But Baghdad is not a broken city.

This is not Berlin 1945, or even Sarajevo 1995. A wounded city struggles back to life if not yet to normality -- whatever that would mean in this traumatized nation -- and begins to experience constituency politics.

Flying low in a Black Hawk helicopter at 9 o'clock one night last week, I was surprised by the thick streams of traffic flowing down many of the Iraqi capital's main boulevards. Electric lights twinkled across most of a metropolis that spreads willy-nilly into the night like Los Angeles.

Open shops, brutal daytime traffic jams and comfortable, air-conditioned villas coming onto an active rental market for foreigners are signs of an incipient municipal recovery in the slow, difficult awakening from the national 30-year nightmare.

On patrol in a dusty Baghdad back alley, Lt. Mark Grado stops to talk with the man known as the "eyes and ears" of this dense urban neighborhood.

"Ali Baba [thieves] - no," says Abbas Hassen Auda, speaking in broken English. This, it turns out, is the only good news from Mr. Auda, the mokhtar, whose job under the old regime was to snoop on everyone for several blocks around.

"Power - no good," he says.

"Water - no good."

And, by the way, men from poor families have no jobs.

"All right," says Lieutenant Grado, earnestly scribbling notes in a small pad. "We're going to report this."...

Charged with everything from electricity repair and liquor control to intelligence gathering and combat, US soldiers like Grado serving in Iraq are jacks-of-all-trades in the extreme - and will be for the foreseeable future...

Indeed, a four-hour patrol with one of Grado's nine-man infantry squads vividly illustrates how American soldiers are challenged - not just in terms of numbers, but also by the kaleidoscopic nature of their mission in Iraq.

As the soldiers move down a narrow side street, they return children's waves, admire a baby, and pose for a snapshot at the request of robed Iraqi women cloistered behind the window bars of their first-floor apartment....

..."Ninety-nine percent of the people are friendly - there's just that 1 percent that makes life miserable and we have to find out who they are," says Grado. "That's our biggest problem."

To their credit, soldiers like Grado and Capt. Mike McBride are able to find humor in the dangerous and austere lives they lead in Baghdad's streets. Recently, Captain McBride says, neighborhood councils in the areas his men patrol voiced concern over the illegal liquor stands that pop up along sidewalks each evening. As a result, soon Grado's platoon will take on a new role as the enforcers of a street-side prohibition.

For his soldiers, who often work long hours in flak jackets, helmets, and 100-degree heat, this presents a truly tragic dilemma.

"If we confiscate it [the liquor], the people will just think we're going to get drunk," he said. The solution: pour it out on the spot. "I'm going to have soldiers on their knees crying as the beer goes flowing into the Tigris," he says with a sigh.


Plus this soldier speaks 4 other languages as well.
Oliver isn’t an ordinary Army crane operator. Born in Sudan and raised in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and later the United States, she speaks seven dialects of Arabic, as well as English, French, Sudanese and Swahili.

And even though her transportation battalion went home two weeks ago, Oliver is staying in Kuwait for another year to work as a translator for civil affairs soldiers at Shuaiba Port. She also teaches Arabic to fellow servicemembers.

“Spc. Oliver is a godsend,” said one of her students, Maj. Cliff Crawford, port operations officer, from the 143rd Transportation Command.

Ali, who said he has not been paid since before the war began, hopes the process of getting the new army together won’t take too long, “maybe one month, two months.”

“They understand it’s not going to be an overnight process,” Hickman said. “But it’s a step in the right direction.”

Ali, for one, said he is planning to wait for a spot in the new army no matter how long the process takes.

“I want to serve my country, to help accomplish peace,” he said.

Asked whether he is angry at the Americans for bombing his city, Ali smiled.

“To the contrary,” he said. “They helped us get rid of a tyrant.”

The Fort Stewart, Ga.-based 3rd ID has been the focus of intense media attention since last week, when soldiers from the division told a television reporter that they were tired, unhappy with the mission and angry with their leaders.

The incident was quickly followed by additional comments to various media outlets from other soldiers and spouses of deployed troops.

Capt. James Brownlee, spokesman for the 3rd ID’s 2nd Brigade in Fallujah, a restive city about 30 miles west of Baghdad, said Wednesday that none of the soldiers who made negative remarks to the press has been punished.

“Nothing has happened to any of them,” he said.

However, the original incident, in which several 2nd Brigade soldiers voiced unusually candid opinions to an ABC News reporter, is under a “15-6” investigation, Brownlee said.

July 24, 2003
Release Number: 03-07-75



BAGHDAD, Iraq – Iraqi women are being trained by Coalition forces for the Facility Protection Service as one of the many ways they are helping Iraqis with law enforcement. They are also working with the Iraqi court system and refurbishing a detention center.

In a two-day training session, the first 14 Iraqi women completed FPS training July 22 in Baghdad. The training, which included instruction in hand-to-hand combat, weapons familiarization, professional conduct and personal interaction, was led by five female 1st Armored Division soldiers. It also included classes on how to conduct searches of people and vehicles.

The 14 women are part of a force of more than 4,500 Iraqis who have volunteered to become Facilities Protection Service guards. The women will link up with different U.S. military task forces around Baghdad to guard critical sites like schools, hospitals and power plants.

The 3rd Infantry Division staff judge advocate on July 19 presented Al Fallujah judges and lawyers with certificates welcoming them to the Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield Bar Association. The Fallujah courts were the first to open in Iraq after the war.

Third ID soldiers began cooperation with members of the Fallujah judicial system immediately upon their arrival six weeks ago. This cooperation has already led to the conviction of a number of looters and weapons violators.

In Mosul, the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) has recently completed repairs at the detention center located in the Al Najar neighborhood. The soldiers worked with Iraqi contractors to fix locks, windows and doors at the jail. They also repaired holes in the jail’s outer wall, fixed barbed wire and repaired the generator. The detention center will hold up to 150 people.

Perhaps you've noticed over the last 3 weeks or so that we've tried to get beyond the negative, screaming headlines, and get to the real stories of progress and humanity.

Lord knows if we are dependent upon the Associated Press, CNN, USA Today and Reuters, well, just about all we'd ever hear are headlines saying "Two US Soldiers Killed in Mosul".

Yes, that is a part of the story, and we cover that here with the CENTCOM news releases. But its only part of the story.

It would be like CNN covering the day in the life of one guy. "40,000 whiskers sacrificed in the sink today" the headlines would scream.

But the bigger story would be "Clean shaven man gets job, turns his life around". That story you won't find on CNN or USA Today.

So - I'm asking you to please take a look at the entry titled "MORE STORIES NOT FOUND IN USA TODAY" below. Read the story passed along by proud parents of a marine.

I'm looking for more of that.

Doesn't have to be your soldier...might be that of a neighbor, a relative of someone from church.

I have a feeling you will know the stories when you see them. The story we want puts a face on our soldiers, much like you can picture the Marines spinning the merry-go-round for the Iraqi kids.

Send your stories to cptpattiinbaghdad AT yahoo DOT com. (Obviously, you will use the @ sign and a period in lieu of "DOT".)


FRIDAY, JULY 25th. The 75th day of CPT Patti's deployment.

Thursday, July 24, 2003


From an email by a proud parent of a Marine.
My favorite story is about an amusement park that the coalition forces refurbished for the kids in the region. Like children anywhere, the kids were eager to try the rides, so the PTB decided to put one Marine in each car with the kids.

My son told me that he had his M-16 locked and loaded between his legs and then about a dozen little kids climbed in the car. No problem, short ride? Not quite. The ride started and the operators couldn't shut it off. 20 minutes later, the wheel was still going around and around and around.

Moving on to the merry-go round, my son was ordered to ride guard on a horse. They filled up the carousel with eager kids . . . and couldn't get the ride started. Rather than disappoint the kids, the Marines hooked up chains to the ride and ran around in circles pulling the merry-go-round. The kids were delighted and the Marines, wearing full body armor in 130 degree heat, got quite a workout.

Every package I send has, at my son's request, candy for the kids. He plays soccer with them and teases them like he would his own brother and sister. In the process, he's building some very positive relationships.

The kids love the Marines. And most of their parents do too. The mainstream press seems to focus on negativity. There is much positive progress.

(via Instapundit)

Are ya' pointing fingers toward the past or facing down the future?
Opponents of American foreign policy in Iraq are attempting to focus the entire debate on one small and extremely unimportant event. They're trying to claim that the inclusion of one specific sentence in this year's State of the Union address is the total political issue, and since that sentence appears to have been based on faulty intelligence, they are trying to claim that this somehow shakes the entire foundation of the case for war.

In fact, the real reason we went into Iraq was precisely to "nation build": to create a secularized, liberated, cosmopolitan society in a core Arab nation. To create a place where Arabs were free and safe and unafraid and happy and successful and not ruled by corrupt monarchs or brutal dictators. This would demonstrate to the other people in the Arab and Muslim worlds that they can succeed, but only if they abandon those political, cultural and religious chains that are holding them back.

We are not doing this out of altruism. We are not trying to give them a liberalized Western democracy because we're evangelistic liberal democrats (with both liberal and democrat taking historical meanings). We are bringing reform to Iraq out of narrow self-interest. We have to foster reform in the Arab/Muslim world because it's the only real way in the long run to make them stop trying to kill us...

The memory of 9/11 runs deep. I'm becoming convinced that few in Europe truly understand just what that really meant to us, the anger and the hatred it raised. It's not the kind of thing we get over. We're not going to forget it.

We haven't forgotten Pearl Harbor, either. That doesn't mean we consider Japan an enemy, but it does mean that we did what we needed to in order to make sure Japan would never do anything like that to us again. When we truly decide to solve a problem, we try to solve it permanently.

And we're not going to forget 9/11. On some level or another, it's going to be a major political issue here for the next few decades, until we're convinced that the danger is gone. Arab extremism is no longer something that happens a long ways away and that we can ignore, so we aren't going to. It is their problem, but 9/11 made it ours. Now we'll solve it...

We're not fundamentally cruel, and if we can we'd like to solve this for everyone's benefit. Japan is a better place now than it was before World War II. So is Germany. I hope that the Arab and Islamic nations will be better, too.

But the one thing we're not going to do is to surrender. We'll try to solve this as humanely as we can, but solve it we must, and I believe that this nation will do whatever it needs to in order to remove the danger facing it. If an American city gets nuked by a terrorist, things are going to get extremely ugly. So even America-haters in Europe had better hope that this works, because the alternative is much worse. (Which is a really good reason why they'd also better stop trying to make it fail.)

Right now the Democrats are running around like chickens with their heads cut off, in thrall to their extreme wing, and trying to peddle a message full of recriminations. But they'll soon realize that their message of hatred, panic and shame isn't selling to the majority of voters here, and they'll either fade into political insignificance for the next 20 years, or (far more likely) the idiots will get marginalized and more-practical voices will emerge. Within a year, the argument will no longer be about whether we should have gone in. It will be about what we should do next.

The Democrats won't have any influence until they actually look toward the future and start talking about what they think we actually should do. Bitching about what actually happened will get them headlines, but it isn't ultimately going to get them enough votes to win. And I think that they know it...

No, we're not going to give up on this. The degree of our commitment may change up or down; there will be debate and argument. But one way or another, we're going to stick with this. Ultimately, we have no choice.

The author, Steven Den Beste, keeps a blog of his views of the world here. And while his posts are typically long, they are also always thoughtful and enlightening.
...A few poetic lines from the sand have found their way home to Kentucky from one of her sons Capt. Jay Padgett of Frankfort, a National Guard chaplain serving 7,000 miles away at a desert outpost in Kuwait .

Since he was called to active duty in late February, Padgett has performed three weddings, baptized 18 soldiers, conducted scores of devotionals and worship services, counseled, briefed and notified many troops on a myriad of matters, taught a course on Iraq and the Bible and still found time to compose a poem which two of his friends passed along to me: "I Do Not Like This Dust and Sand; An Ode to Camp Virginia, Kuwait, with apologies to Dr. Seuss. "

I do not like this dust and sand
I do not like it on my hands
I do not like dust in my head
I do not like it in my bed
I do not like sand in my hair
I hate it in my underwear
I do not like this dust and sand
I used to like the color tan
I do not like dust on my clothes
I despise it up my nose
I do not like sand in my face
Invading all my private space
I do not like dust in my mouth
I do not like it north or south
I do not like sand east or west
Nowhere is where I like it best
I do not like dust in my ear
It's hard to reach, I cannot hear
When it gets in my drink and food
It affects my attitude
I like it not with ham and eggs
I do not like sand on my legs
I like it not in socks and boots
Nor on my veggies, meats and fruits
This dust and sand floats everywhere
It dances in the desert air
I like a dust storm even less
Because it leaves a gritty mess
I want to leave this sand and dust
But until then in God I trust.

Thanks to co-worker Deb for the tip.

More progress. Oil contracts...but the French are not among them.

Two major oil companies have each agreed to buy 10 million barrels of Iraqi oil under the first long-term contracts to be offered by Iraq since the end of the war.

BP PLC and Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Cos. each expects to ship 2 million barrels of Basra Light crude per month, starting in August and ending in December, the companies announced. They will load the oil on tankers at Iraq's Persian Gulf export terminal of Mina al-Bakr.

Oil production in southern Iraq has increased substantially in recent weeks thanks to improved security at oil fields, pipelines and other facilities there.

The so-called term contracts for selling fixed quantities of oil over a longer period is a significant step forward for Iraq and its postwar reconstruction. The offers indicate the Oil Ministry is confident that looting and sabotage at Iraqi oil facilities will not prevent it from honoring export contracts lasting five months.

And now that they mention many weeks has it been since you heard of a pipeline being sabotaged in Iraq.

As predicted here.

And a good move. Because anyone whose first reaction to the photos is that of disgust and not relief, well, they already understand these two maniacs are dead.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said the United States will release photographs of the bodies of Saddam Hussein's slain sons to prove they are dead.

Despite Runsfeld's statement, Army officials are fearful of being seen as flaunting the killings of Qusay and Uday Hussein, who were slain Tuesday by U.S. soldiers in northern Iraq.

Rumsfeld told reporters Wednesday in Washington the pictures will be released soon, but he did not specify when.

But others maintain that despite the almost daily reports of attacks on U.S. forces, the good being done in Iraq outweighed the bad -- even before the reports of the demise of Qusay and Uday.

"We have made progress, steady progress, in restoring hope in a nation beaten down by decades of tyranny," President Bush said Wednesday. He said 19 nations were providing more than 13,000 troops "to help stabilize Iraq" and that additional help "will soon arrive."

A new Iraq governing council made its first debut at the United Nations this week. City councils are being created, as is an initial economic agenda for the country.

Coalition forces have cleared land mines from the vital southern port of Um Qasr (search ) and opened it for business.

Oil fields are up and running. Bank robberies aren't plaguing the country. Hospitals now have much-needed medicine, and more than half of the Iraqi schools are open again. Water is running in many parts of the country and more than half of Baghdad has electricity.

A Michigan telecommunications company has established three centers in Baghdad, Iraq, where Iraqis can make affordable telephone calls and send uncensored e-mail to the rest of the world.

VoEx Inc. plans to have 20 such communications centers up and running in the greater Baghdad area within two months, Executive Vice President Michael Vorce said Wednesday. The company's long-range plans include setting up cell phone and wireless networking systems in Iraq.

"The response has been excellent," Vorce said. "We've had a lot of positive feedback. We've been flooded with e-mails and phone calls from Iraqis and Arabic-speaking people from around the world, thanking us."

There are those who believe the collapse of the despotic Iron Curtain was facilitated by the free distribution of news via the Interfax news agency.

Progress indeed.
Metro Denver is playing a large role in helping Baghdad form a new city government, NEWS4 reports.

Joe Rice, who resigned from his position as Glendale, Colo., mayor while serving with the army in Iraq, has been charged with establishing the structure for a new Baghdad city council.

Baghdad's new city government has been modeled after the Denver Regional Council of Governments. (The Denver Regional Council of Governments is a voluntary association of 50 county and municipal governments in the Denver metro area working together to address regional issues.)

Rice was given the task of creating the city council from scratch.

"I was very lucky to be able to reach back to Denver and the people I knew in the municipal government back there and ask them for advice on how to structure the council," Rice said.

The Denver Regional Council's Director Bill Vidal sent advice on how to structure a representative government for Baghdad's 5 million people representing 30 distinct neighborhoods.
Another of the most wanted Iraqi officials has been arrested by coalition forces.

He was the commander of Saddam Hussein's Special Republican Guard and a cousin of the deposed Iraqi dictator.

The top U.S. commander in Iraq says the military leader (Barzan Abd al-Ghafur Sulayman Majid al-Tikriti) was number 11 on the coalition's list of the 55 most wanted Iraqis...

At a briefing today in Baghdad, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez simply said, "Oh, by the way, we picked up number 11 this morning."
Batelco has set up the first roaming mobile phone network in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad alongside Kuwaiti owned MTC Vodafone.

The GSM system will allow Iraqis as well as aid workers and foreign investors to communicate "freely and easily".

Batelco phones will also be distributed free of charge to police, fire and ambulance crews with an eye towards helping reduce crime and improve security in the capital.


LTG Sanchez was the one who confirmed U&Q Husseins' deaths on TV earlier this week
McCaffrey said Sanchez's character of "maturity, fairness and care for his soldiers" stems from his rough upbringing in Rio Grande, Texas. Sanchez was raised by a single mother in a one-room house with no plumbing. His mother strongly believed education would propel her children out of poverty and she educated herself while working full-time.

Joe Galloway, a friend of Sanchez's who rode with him for a time during the Gulf War, said Sanchez was heavily influenced by his older half-brother Domingo, who served in the army while Sanchez was growing up.

"He would come home on the eve of Christmas telling stories about going around the world, and made Rick want to be a military man," Galloway said. When an ROTC officer visited Sanchez's junior high school, Sanchez was hooked. A military officer who ran the ROTC program later granted Sanchez a four-year scholarship to a Kingsville College, now part of Texas A&M University.

Read the entire story here.

Hello, I must be going.
With more than 60 percent of the Army's active-duty combat force deployed in Iraq, Army planners were forced to abandon six-month tours for most overseas deployments in favor of year-long assignments to sustain a force of that size.

The last time the Army used year-long deployments was Vietnam, except for one peacekeeping rotation in the Balkans in 1995.

But defense officials said the year-long tours at least will give soldiers and their families predictability in terms of how long they will be away from home.

The lack of such predictability recently became a contentious issue for soldiers in the 3rd Infantry Division, who fought their way into Baghdad in April. They were led to believe they would soon be going home, only to have their tours repeatedly extended without a specified end date.

But let's take a look at the rest of the story from the perspective of soldiers and family members.

The mission of the US Army, quite simply is "To fight and win our nations wars."

To do that mission requires that our Army constantly train the skills needed to do just that.

For the year that any US Army units are on Peacekeeping missions in Iraq they are not training to fight and win our nation's wars.

So guess what that means. Upon return from Iraq soldiers and family members can expect that soldiers will pack off to the National Training Center (NTC) or Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) in the USA or to the Combat Maneuver Training Center (CMTC) here in Germany.

In a normal year CPT Patti's unit can expect to spend at least 5 months at the CMTC. More if the leadership determines the unit to be rusty in warfighting skills (which are NOT the same as peacekeeping skills) or if the unit is likely to deploy within the foreseeable future.

So - even though the rotation plan says X Unit rotates "home"...even when the soldier is "home", the soldier may be on a 3 month rotation at a training center.

Read the list of projects ongoing by our guys. And note how many Iraqis are now off the streets by being back in school or having jobs.

More than 80 percent of Iraq’s university students have returned to class.

-- In Sulaymaniah, soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) completed the training of 327 Iraqi border guards at a Kurdish Peshmerga compound. Volunteers received training in conducting customs and security duties at border crossings with Iran. Border guards will begin on-the-job training under the supervision of soldiers in the 101st.

-- In Mosul, the 101st AAD hired nearly 4,000 Iraqis to help with key security and reconstruction programs in northern Iraq.

Firing weapons at events such as weddings and funerals is a common practice in Iraq. But not on the scale of Tuesday night.

“They’re all allowed one weapon, and there are 5 million people in this city,” said Staff Sgt. Dale Hall, standing guard over the complex that includes the Palestine and Sheraton hotels.

“[The gunfire] just exploded all over the city. It had to be a reaction to [Lt.] Gen. [Ricardo] Sanchez’s announcement.”...

The sudden eruption of gunfire started a little after 10 p.m. and was startling in its intensity.

Sgt. Christopher Woodruff and others from the 1st Battalion, 37th Armored Regiment ran out of their compound in downtown Baghdad after hastily putting on their gear.

“At first, we thought it was some sort of attack going on,” he said Wednesday morning. “It sounded like it was inside the compound. That’s how loud it was.

“Then word came down the radio that it was just celebratory.”

Well, at least now we know.
Army officials announced Wednesday deployment cycles for the next two years for the Army in contingencies around the world, focusing on when troops are coming in and out of Iraq.

All deployments to Iraq, except for the 82nd Airborne, will be for a minimum of one year.

The plan includes the following rotations:

The two remaining brigades of the 3rd Infantry Division will return home in September and be replaced by soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division, the only soldiers to see a six-month rotation instead of a year in Iraq for the foreseeable future.

The 1st Marine Expeditionary Force will be replaced by a Polish division in the September-October time frame.

The 4th Infantry Division will be replaced in March or April by the 1st Infantry Division with an attached special brigade from the National Guard.

The 1st Armored Division will be replaced between February and April with the 1st Cavalry Division with attached Guard special brigade.

The 2nd Light Armored Cavalry Regiment will be replaced with a brigade from the 1st Cavalry Division in March or April.

The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment will be replaced in March or April by the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, the Stryker’s first deployment. The 3rd ACR and Stryker Brigade will have an overlap of duties.

The 101st Airborne Division will redeploy in February and March, after a year in the region, to be replaced with coalition divisions yet to be named.

The Army’s rotational plan also outlines schedules for current worldwide missions, which will keep rotations to Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and the Sinai at six months in duration.


Including those I couldn't access yesterday.
July 23, 2003
Release Number: 03-07-70



MOSUL, Iraq– One 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) soldier was killed and seven 101st AD soldiers wounded when an improvised explosive device struck two military vehicles traveling on Highway 1 outside of Mosul July 23 at approximately 6 a.m.

The soldiers were evacuated to the 21st Combat Support Hospital for treatment.

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

July 23, 2003
Release Number: 03-07-71



AR RAMADI, Iraq – One 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment soldier was killed, and a soldier and a contractor were wounded when their convoy was attacked by an improvised explosive device on Highway 1 in Ar Ramadi July 23 at approximately 7:45 a.m.

The soldiers and contractor were evacuated to Life Support Area Dogwood at approximately 8:30 a.m. for treatment.

The names of the soldiers and the civilian are being withheld pending next-of-kin notification.

July 23, 2003
Release Number: 03-07-72



MACDILL AFB, FL – U.S. Forces captured in Baghdad at approximately 1 a.m., July 23, a former regime loyalist who is listed as number 11 on U.S. Central Command’s Top 55 most wanted list. Barzan Abd Al-Ghafur Sulayman Majid Al-Tikrit was the former regime’s Special Republican Guard Commander.

July 23, 2003
Release Number: 03-07-73



MOSUL, Iraq – Coalition forces during the past week set up telephone lines, removed solid waste and sewage from city streets and established a youth soccer program in the northern region of Iraq near the city of Mosul.

Signal teams from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) identified areas where telephone lines had been cut or damaged and are working to repair connections throughout Nineveh province. Due to looting as well as outdated and neglected telephone equipment only 15 percent of the households in Mosul have working telephones and people in the outlying countryside have no service at all.

However, on July 19 due to the efforts of the 101st AAD the area’s telephone system has processed more than 37,000 calls.

Coalition forces are focusing on the removal of solid waste and sewage from the streets of Mosul. Several waste collection points have been built for citizens to dispose of their garbage. Also, Coalition forces have established a sewage disposal center and are working to clear sewage lines in order to stop the flooding of waste in the streets.

Soldiers from the 101st AAD along with the Mosul Olympic Committee have established a youth soccer program for youth males ages 8 to 18. More than 120 teams made up of players from both sides of the Tigris River are in the league, which started July 19. The 103-game season is scheduled to last until the beginning of the school year in September and is a feeder program for the Iraqi Olympic soccer team.

Also in Mosul, Coalition forces are continuing to encourage citizens to turn in assault weapons without being arrested. Coalition forces have established an incentive for communities to work together in improving the security of their neighborhoods by funding a community service project that turns in the largest quantity of weapons to their muhktars (tribal leaders).

July 24, 2003
Release Number: 03-07-74



MOSUL, Iraq – Three 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) soldiers were killed when their convoy was ambushed by small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades, while traveling to Qayarrah West outside of Mosul, at approximately 2:30 a.m. July 24.

The ambush site was secured and the soldiers were evacuated to a nearby medical facility. The unit found two RPG’s and an AK-47 at the site.

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

THURSDAY JULY 24th. The 74th day of CPT Patti's deployment.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003


Earlier in the day I wondered aloud what the GIs in Baghdad were thinking when all the celebratory gunfire went off in Baghdad at the news of the demise of U and Q Hussein.

One Marine has this to say.
What a glorious night.

Rumor of the day's events began reverberating here after dinner.

We had the same maddening, "no confirmation" here the rest of the world had for the couple hours between 8-10 PM local.

Then, suddenly, about 9 PM, it sounds like the early days of American troops pouring in here, i.e. real-live combat: gunfire everywhere, tracer rounds visible, even illumination (a.k.a. fireworks). The people of Baghdad weren't awaiting confirmation. It was nonstop celebratory fire. The war's critics warned constantly about the uprising of the "Arab street." Well, here it was: celebrating the end of 2/3 of the triumvirate.

The gunfire was so intense that they suspended shuttle service to our housing for an hour and called everyone in living out behind the palace in trailers. Iraqis are known for firing weaponry into the air and having indifference to where it lands ("If God wills" is their fatalistic phrase.). It was an inconvenience no one seemed to mind.

But you really need to read the whole thing here.

(via Instapundit)
U.N. Security Council members yesterday embraced a delegation from Iraq's new Governing Council, a step toward international legitimacy, but did not name it the successor to Saddam Hussein's government.

The three-member delegation from the Governing Council made its debut at the United Nations yesterday, nine days after the U.S. administrator of Iraq appointed the council's 25 members.

Council spokesman Adnan Pachachi, a foreign minister before Saddam took power, pledged his country would never return to totalitarianism.


Establishing that detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba - for all its bad press, may actually be our most brilliant move in getting folks to talk.
The path to the top targets on the U.S. government's list of most-wanted Iraqi fugitives — such as former President Saddam Hussein's sons, who were killed Tuesday in an Army raid in the northern city of Mosul — has come through the lower-ranking Baath Party operatives who were protecting them, according to U.S. military officials.

For more than two months, U.S. forces had been trying in vain to zero in on the location of Saddam and his sons, Odai and Qusai.

Then, two weeks ago, U.S. military commanders switched the emphasis of their major operations by carrying out raids and gathering intelligence from captured lower-level members of Saddam's Baath Party who were attacking U.S. forces with sniper fire, mortar shells, rocket-propelled grenades and mines...

"In the past two weeks, we have been getting the midlevel leadership in a way that is effective," Abizaid later told reporters in Baghdad.

An unexpected benefit of that crackdown was the flood of information that captured Baathists provided about their organization and contacts.

Some gave details about their financing and their means of communication, officials said. Others identified members of their networks. Some described the routes and contacts that fugitive leaders were using.

Threats to ship the recalcitrant captives to the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay on the eastern end of Cuba were especially helpful in encouraging them to talk, officials said.

"You get a tip, you pull a couple of guys in, they start to talk," a Central Command official said. Then, based on that information, he continued, "you do a raid, you confiscate some documents, you start building the tree" of contacts and "you start doing signals intercepts, and then you're into the network."

Read it all here.

And it is a year, dammit.
U.S. Army leaders are preparing to announce as early as Wednesday a plan to start relieving exhausted troops in Iraq with thousands of soldiers from U.S.-based units and an additional 10,000 National Guardsmen who will be called to active duty.

The deployments will be part of a detailed, two-year plan to make certain that units in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries where the United States has peacekeeping forces are rotated home after one year.

Military informants told Knight Ridder that Acting Army Chief of Staff Gen. John Keane will designate both active-duty and Army National Guard units to be placed on the list to deploy to Iraq. The informants spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The plan will require the call-up of two specially trained "enhanced brigades" of the Army National Guard for one-year tours in Iraq, in addition to three active-duty brigades also destined for Iraq as replacements. The 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas, will play a key part in Keane's rotation and assignment plans.

The three active-duty brigades likely to be tapped for Iraq duty this year are a brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., a new experimental Stryker armored vehicle-equipped brigade of the 2nd Division based at Fort Lewis, Wash., and a brigade of the 1st Armored Division based at Fort Riley, Kan...

The scramble to find replacement units for Iraq duty is stark evidence of how thin the 480,000-strong American Army is stretched.

Of its 33 active-duty brigades, 21 are deployed overseas: 16 in Iraq, two in Afghanistan, two in South Korea and one in Bosnia. All but three of the rest either are preparing for one of those missions, recovering and retraining after one of those missions, or held in reserve.

An American Soldier Too - credit Lew Stamp/ Akron Beacon Journal
Photo credit Lew Stamp/Akron Beacon Journal.

This is how a war hero comes home: transformed forever, to a place that never again will be the same for her.

"I've read thousands of stories that said when I was captured, I said, `I'm an American soldier too.' Those stories were right," Lynch said Tuesday afternoon in her first public statement since her capture March 23 by Iraqi forces and subsequent rescue by U.S. troops — an ordeal that made her an icon of the war.

"Those were my words. I am an American soldier too."...

Signs throughout Wirt County welcomed Lynch. "Prayers for the Lynch family," read the sign at Merrill Chapel, a little cinderblock church on a wooded hillside near Slate, where the only sound was the wind as it played in the trees and rustled the faded American flags on the graves of long-dead war veterans in the church cemetery.

Yellow ribbons, some bleached white by the sun, had been tied around or fastened on almost everything in the county that would stand still long enough.

This is a ruggedly beautiful part of the world, with lush, green mountains trimmed in Queen Anne's lace, panoramic valleys and a succession of blind curves to quicken the pulse and take the breath away. Around each was another reminder of Pfc. Lynch...

Whether this little town can once again stir the imagination of Pfc. Lynch remains to be seen. Tuesday afternoon, under hot, sunny skies filled with buzzing news and state police helicopters, the courthouse clock chimed an hourly countdown to her return and the beginning of a future she almost didn't have.

Then the smallest person at the dais shifted forward in her wheelchair, leaned toward the microphone and said: "Hi. Thank you for being here.

"It's great to be home."

And it is great to have you home.

Since the inception of the All Volunteer Army certain politicians and sociologists have had much to say about the inadvertant creation of a "military class" in our nation. That the military will draw from the poor, the disadvantaged, the minorities, those without prospects. Much the same groups from which the police, the fire department and the para-rescue teams draw from.

In fact it is speculated that these groups allow the privileged to never serve a day in uniform.

And as we see that effect in Congress - where fewer and fewer members have ever served, and juxtapose that with PFC Lynch's raises questions in my mind.

With regard to those of privelige who never serve:

Will a 79 year old woman ever sweep the sidewalk for them?

Will anyone ever paint on the side of a barn, "Thank you God for saving "them"?

Indeed, will anyone ever call them a hero?


God bless our soldiers.


BAGHDAD, Iraq — U.S. troops killed two of the most feared and powerful figures of Saddam Hussein's regime — his sons Odai and Qusai — during a fierce six-hour gun battle Tuesday in the northern city of Mosul, the top U.S. commander in Iraq said.

Four U.S. troops were wounded in the fight.

The deaths of the two brothers marked an important military and morale-boosting breakthrough for U.S. troops, who for weeks have been killed in daily attacks and who sometimes appeared to be on the brink of losing control in the country they and British forces conquered three months ago...

After the gunbattle, U.S. troops searched the villa and found four men dead, Sanchez said.

"We have since confirmed that Odai and Qusai were among the dead," Sanchez said. The bodies of the other two men had not yet been identified, though there was some speculation that one was Odai's bodyguard and the other was Qusai's teenage son.

Sanchez said the raid came after a local informant tipped U.S. soldiers to the brothers' hiding place.

"It was a walk-in last night who came in and gave us the information," Sanchez said. He promised a detailed briefing on the raid Wednesday afternoon...

Sanchez said the identities of Odai and Qusai were established through "multiple sources," but added that "the bodies were in such a condition where you could identify them."

Based on my time in the Army I'd say it is probable that the average Everyman in Baghdad heard this news before the average US Soldier. So I wonder what the GIs thought when all of a sudden an unusual amount of gunfire was heard in and around Baghdad...

Meanwhile, here is some of what led to LTG Sanchez confirming on TV that we killed these two:

A U.S. official told CNN that Abid Hamid Mahmud al-Tikriti, Saddam's personal secretary, who was captured last month, helped identify the bodies.

In addition, this official said, other visual evidence helped identify the remains, including wounds on Uday's body from previous assassination attempts.

I fully expect we will hear any number of naysayers doubting aloud that we actually killed them. And I'm going to be interested to find out what serves as a standard of proof in Iraq.

I have no idea if the average Iraqi can spell DNA. So while that standard is good enough for you and me, it may be lost on Mohammed the soda vendor.

And so, will it mean publishing photos of the corpses? Well, if that is the standard of proof in Iraq, then, yes, it just might. And make no mistake about it...we MUST prove to the Iraqis that these two thugs are dead. Iraq cannot move forward if still shackled to the fears of yesterday.

And so - be prepared. We may need to see some gruesome photos. And when we do, there will be voices crying loud and long that we are brutes, that we have no respect for the sensibilities of Muslims, that we desecrate the dead and that we violate the Geneva Convention.

Prepare for it, because it will happen.

But then ignore it, because it is all apologistic claptrap. War isn't pretty. Nor is doing what it takes to win.

But win we must.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 23d. The 73d day of CPT Patti's deployment.

The day after we showed the world the Husseins are not invulnerable.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003


And while the internet stories still say "were believed to have been killed", NPR news at 2:00 EDT reported that the deaths have been confirmed.
MOSUL, Iraq (AP) - Saddam Hussein's sons Odai and Qusai were believed to have been killed Tuesday in a firefight with U.S. forces at the home of a cousin, a senior U.S. official said. Two other Iraqis also were killed. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said investigators were "awaiting positive DNA testing" to confirm the identities.

The battle took place in this northern city, where residents told an Associated Press Television News cameraman that American soldiers had come to the house looking for Saddam's elder sons.

Members of the 101st Airborne Division had surrounded the house when the fighting broke out. The stone, columned building was left charred and smoldering, its high facade riddled with gaping holes from bullets and heavy weaponry. Kiowa helicopters roamed the sky. Some Iraqi civilians in Mosul appeared to have been caught in the crossfire. It was not known how many people were injured, but several were taken to a hospital.

Go, you Screamin' Eagles.

Folks, if our methods and intelligence are good enough to find these two, well, its only a matter of time before we get the Butcher of Baghdad himself.

It is not that these critics are wrong, which they are. It is that they know they are wrong. The former State Department official — Greg Thielmann — and I spoke about his charges that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld committed fraud both in his 1998 commission report on ballistic missile threats to the United States and more recently about the nature of the threat from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

I noted to him that not once did the administration say the Iraqi threat was imminent. The president said repeatedly that if the threat became imminent, it would essentially be too late — National Security adviser Condoleezza Rice said the "smoking gun" of an Iraqi nuclear weapon might well be a mushroom cloud over New York. Mr. Thielmann told me that Miss Rice’s comments "were the worst kind of warmongering" but admitted that the administration had never claimed an attack was imminent. At his press conference, he repeated the charge anyway.

He also admitted the United Nations prior to 1998 had indeed found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that were not now accounted for — proving that it is the critics of the administration who are guilty of a "faith-based" assumption that Saddam would not use such weapons during whatever period inspections might have continued, or once inspections were ended.

He also repeatedly claimed that the 1998 Rumsfeld report made irresponsible predictions that rogue states would develop long-range missiles in five years from the date of the report. When I read him a quote from one of the Democratic members of the commission, Dr. Richard Garwin, that the commission report made no such predictions about the future deployment dates of long-range missiles, Mr. Thielmann again conceded the point, only to again argue in public the exact opposite...

In the one area where the administration relied on British intelligence that was not backed up by separate U.S. intelligence sources — the belief that Niger was approached in an Iraqi attempt to purchase uranium — I asked Mr. Thielmann what members of Congress were persuaded by that piece of information, whose support for the Iraqi war resolulion would have been reversed should the administration never have made such a claim.

Of course, Mr. Thielmann could not name a single member of Congress whose support was based on the uranium claim.

Indeed - for the Congress had voted and given the President the authorization to deal with Iraq in September of 02, four months before the State of the Union Speech.

So their complaints of the "16 words" seems a bit specious in that light, do they not?
Article by Peter Huessy, Washington Times, 22 July, "Faith-based Arms Control", but for some reason I can't link to it.
The U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority said on Tuesday it had created the Trade Bank of Iraq and asked international banks for proposals to help establish it.

The CPA said in a statement the bank would provide financial and related services to help the import and export of goods and services to and from Iraq...

"Existing Iraqi banks are presently ill-equipped to support import-export trading activities. They lack sufficient expertise and international links," the CPA statement said.

"Existing financial institutions within Iraq are fully engaged in re-establishing basic banking services and have limited capacity for specialised trade services."

It said the bank, which would also help facilitate "the transition from state-owned enterprises to greater privatisation", would have an authorised capital of $100 million.


Well, it isn't quite what you think.
In the Saddam era dozens of unidentified men thronged the Al Rasheed's lobby. All belonged to the country's feared Mukhabarat internal intelligence service.

The stories recounted by journalists are legendary. One told how, shortly after asking guests whether they needed ice for their drinks, a waiter bearing an ice bucket knocked at the door. Fast work considering he had not yet called room service.


What do you make of it when it IS where it ISN'T supposed to be?
A mobile phone roaming service was mysteriously available in Baghdad on Tuesday, bringing cellular service -- banned in Saddam Hussein's secret state -- to ordinary people in the Iraqi capital for the first time...

"MTC-Vodafone wishes you a pleasant stay in Kuwait," a text message sent to roamers in Baghdad said. Other cellphone users reported they had briefly had service on a Bahraini network, Batelco. That went off the air later.

An MTC-Vodafone service representative reached via a mobile phone using his own company's network from Baghdad told Reuters he was not aware of roaming services being offered there yet.

"That's great...But they didn't tell us," he said.

The dangers of guarding "fixed points", and what GEN Abizaid plans to do about it.
BAGHDAD -- A bomb, tossed at mid-day from a passing car, exploded in the dirt outside a branch of the al-Rasheed Bank last Wednesday, killing a young Iraqi boy and shattering the leg of a U.S. soldier on guard duty at the bank.

The wounded soldier, Spec. Adam Zaremba, comes from a unit of soldiers trained to fire howitzers. But for several weeks they have been essentially bank security guards, like many U.S. troops who are standing guard outside hundreds of hospitals, power plants, shopping malls and other civilian sites across Iraq.

Manning a .50-caliber machine gun atop an armored personnel carrier still pock-marked from the bombing, Pfc. Thomas Poorbaugh kept an eye on passing traffic and summed up the job: "We're sitting ducks here, pretty much," he said.

Of the 39 U.S. soldiers killed in attacks in Iraq since May 1, at least seven were on guard duty at "fixed sites," and at least three more were directing traffic or manning check-points. Military commanders and soldiers on the ground say that those duties have been unavoidable given the looting and insecurity of post-war Iraq.

But now top U.S. commanders, including Army Gen. John P. Abizaid, chief of the U.S. Central Command, want to give those jobs back to Iraqis, freeing U.S. soldiers for different operations and getting them off a duty that has left them especially exposed and vulnerable...

Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, said this week that more than 8,700 Iraqis already have been trained and are working in a new Facilities Protective Services, which is providing guards for key civilian sites.

Glad to hear that. Now, lets train 8,700 more, ASAP.

After seeing it first hand...has some insight into how we should view the so-called reports that you hear/see in the popular media.
The plans for a fourth night out accompanying Hawk troop were canceled at the last minute due to a lack of seats in the Humvees. I was disappointed because it was my last night in Baghdad, but I was also somewhat relieved because it gave me time to finish putting this and other stories together before heading for home.

Later that night as I sat typing, the Iraqis were kind enough to bring their attacks to my doorstep. Almost at exactly midnight three dull but distinct bursts interrupted the quiet of the brigade compound. The muffled explosions were followed by the equally distinct sound of 50 caliber machine gun fire. Within seconds half dressed soldiers slinging M-16 scrambled around the compound. The culprits fled into the night having missed their target.

None of what happened on any of the four nights was reported at the time by the media, in part because no soldiers were hurt or killed and because the small numbers of journalists in Baghdad were probably safely tucked away in downtown hotels.

The events of the four nights were routine for Army soldiers in Baghdad. The events paint a better, more accurate picture of what life and possibly death can be like for soldiers in Iraq.

I was fortunate to have that opportunity to spend time with those soldiers and I was fortunate to be able to write about their lives and work. Hopefully, the folks back home have a better understanding of what they are enduring when they see the brief media summaries of the latest hostile action against soldiers just doing their jobs.

Do yourself a favor and read it all here.

I've linked to everything I've found by this reporter. Sorry it is over.

Former prisoner, released as Saddam bails, shoots soldiers and sells kidneys for cash.
After more than a week of investigation, a tip came in from a young man who claimed his uncle, Gubashi, had been drinking and started bragging about the shooting. The tip came shortly after Ambassador L. Paul Bremer announced reward money would be offered to informants whose tips led to the capture of anybody who killed or tried to kill coalition troops.

The young man gave Army investigators his uncle's name and detailed how Gubashi had agreed to kill an American for cash as part of a contracted assassination for the Fedayeen who provided Gubashi with the weapon.

From the time Sherman's soldiers learned of Gubashi, he looked like a good suspect. He had spent most of his adult life in an Iraqi prison, for murder, until he was released in January when Saddam Hussein emptied Iraq's prisons by pardoning all criminals.

While the reward money helped motivate the young man to tip off authorities, he later told investigators he hated Gubashi because he had frequently beat him when a child and when his father had died Gubashi had forced his mother into another marriage with a man the informant didn't like. The nephew gave soldiers the location of the house in a small town about 20 miles north of Baghdad where Gubashi had been since shortly after the shooting...

...Upon their return, relatives were quick to share news they had seen Gubashi. They said he had already spent all the money he received for shooting Pecotte. Short of cash and on the run, Gubashi had turned to Iraq's organ black market, agreeing to sell one of his kidneys at a Baghdad hospital for $30,000. The money, a huge amount in Iraq, would have enabled Gubashi to flee the country or hole up somewhere for years.

A half dozen soldiers quickly went to the hospital identified by relatives. When they got there hospital administrators initially denied Gubashi was one of their patients. But when an Army interpreter found Gubashi's name on an admissions roster and the kidney recipient turned up at the hospital, the soldiers knew they were on a hot trail.

They waited only about 15 minutes when Gubashi showed up to see a doctor and a trio of soldiers grabbed him up without incident. It turned out the soldiers had beaten Gubashi to the hospital. As they were leaving with their prisoner, one of the soldiers was stopped by a doctor who had a question. If it was not too much trouble, the doctor inquired, after Gubashi was executed, could the hospital please have both his kidneys?

It is a good, if gruesome story. Read it all here.

Free speech has always been a sensitive issue in the military, where divulging secrets may put lives at risk or excessive complaining might undermine discipline in a unit. There are few regulations restricting the First Amendment rights of servicemembers.

Article 88 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and other directives do forbid officers and enlisted soldiers from speaking contemptuously of a specific group of officials, though the last time a military court prosecuted someone for violating it was in 1965.

And what does the Uniform Code of Military Justice say on this topic?

“Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”

Note that only commissioned officers can be charged with this offense.
July 21, 2003
Release Number: 03-07-63



Kandahar Province, Afghanistan – Special Operations Forces killed approximately 22-24 enemy soldiers when an unknown element attacked a coalition convoy in the vicinity of the fire base at Spin Boldak Saturday.

The coalition forces drove through the kill zone, requested close air support and engaged the enemy forces, killing approximately five enemy and pursuing the remaining forces into the surrounding hills.

AH-64 Apaches provided the air support, making several passes on the hill, killing approximately 17-19 more enemy.

There were no coalition casualties.

July 21, 2003
Release Number: 03-07-64



Please note: This relates to the entry of 21 July entitled "Oh Oh", involving the death of a 1AD soldier and his interpreter. - T

BAGHDAD, Iraq – One 1st Armored Division soldier was killed and three others wounded at approximately 10:30 a.m. July 21 when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device and was subsequently engaged with small arms fire in the As Sulaykh district of Baghdad.

An Iraqi interpreter working with Coalition soldiers was also killed in the incident.

The three wounded soldiers were taken to a nearby medical facility.

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

July 22, 2003
Release Number: 03-07-65



AR RAMADI, Iraq – One 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment soldier was killed and one was wounded when their vehicle convoy was hit with a rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire in an ambush at approximately 9 a.m. July 22 on the road between Balad and Ar Ramadi.

The soldiers were evacuated to 28th Combat Support Hospital.

Names of the deceased and wounded soldiers are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

July 22, 2003
Release Number: 03-07-66



BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition forces and Iraqis have teamed up on a variety of initiatives in areas from higher education to security to improve the quality of life for the people of Iraq.

More than 80 percent of Iraq’s university students have returned to class thanks to the efforts of Coalition commanders who have been working with university administrators to let students know the schools are open and ready to accept enrollments.

Also, during the last 48 hours Coalition and Iraqi doctors in Baghdad teamed up to save a young girl’s foot. Doctors from the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment’s Forward Surgical Team worked with two Iraqi doctors at Al Wasity hospital to repair the foot of an eight-year-old girl who severely injured her foot in a motor vehicle accident.

The team effort came about because the Coalition forward surgical team had the staff, location and equipment necessary to assist in performing the surgery to save the girl’s foot. Although the team’s primary mission is to treat U.S. soldiers injured in the line of duty, they also give medical care to Iraqi civilians when the needs are beyond the ability of local hospitals.

In Sulaymaniah, soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) completed the training of 327 Iraqi border guards. The training took place at a Kurdish Peshmerga compound.

During the four-day program volunteers from the area received training in conducting customs and security duties at border crossings with Iran. Now that classroom training is complete the border guards will begin on-the-job training under the supervision of soldiers in the 101st AAD.

In Mosul, the 101st AAD has hired nearly 4,000 Iraqis to help with key security and reconstruction programs in northern Iraq. The recent hiring helps restore order and repair infrastructure and also provides jobs for former government employees and former military personnel.

In addition, the injection of money into the local economies helps stimulate commerce and improves the overall quality of life in the region. The money used to pay the workers came from seized Iraqi funds and discretionary funds provided by the Coalition’s unit commanders.

TUESDAY, JULY 22d. The 72d day of CPT Patti's deployment.

I'm a bit late today...I spoiled a perfectly good morning by going to the golf course.

Monday, July 21, 2003


It includes how large the Army should be. But that answer comes only after a host of other questions have been answered.

You can bet the Pentagon planners are pulling all nighters on this one.
Mr. Rumsfeld has been telling Congress in recent days that before the Pentagon takes the major step of asking for money to enlarge the military, he hopes to cut back on less urgent foreign assignments, to move people in uniform out of administrative tasks and back into combat units and to change the balance of assignments between active-duty forces and those in the National Guard and Reserves.

A senior adviser to the defense secretary said that while it was easy enough to identify how many Army or Marine Corps troops the Pentagon needed for the global campaign against terror and for extended tours of duty on the ground in Iraq, Mr. Rumsfeld made no final decisions over the weekend. He waits for a larger blueprint from the military that would make new troop rotations more predictable.

"We are not fighting in a knife fight here — we're looking out long term," said one Pentagon official involved full time in planning force rotations for Iraq.

But the military is struggling with what another Pentagon planning official called "the tyranny of fixed numbers," which is especially critical for the Army.

Of the Army's 33 active-duty combat brigades, only three are described as free now for a new mission: the Stryker Brigade Combat Team at Fort Lewis, Wash., built around a new, lightly armored vehicle called Stryker; a brigade of the First Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kan.; and a brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division that returned to Fort Bragg, N.C., from Afghanistan six months ago.

Twenty-one brigades are now assigned overseas — 16 of them in Iraq. Of those not abroad, most are already earmarked as replacement forces for other missions, like the one in Afghanistan, are rebuilding their ranks or are on emergency standby in case of a crisis with North Korea.

Officials said the National Guard and Reserves, which as of Wednesday had 201,099 members on active duty, would probably have to shoulder some of the burden of any additional missions as well.

The Marine Corps could also be asked to share long-term peacekeeping duties, which traditionally have fallen to the Army.

Read it all here (free registration required)
"I don't have the words to explain that stuff. For me, the war in Iraq was very personal, removing Saddam was very personal," Kerik said during a brief break in his hectic workday.

"My coming here was because this whole war started with the first battleground where the World Trade Center once stood. I lost 22 men and one woman there. They died defending the freedom of the United States, along with 430 other public servants in New York City and 2,400 civilians. "

The night Kerik first arrived in Iraq provided a rude awakening to the reality of life in Baghdad.

He was assigned a basic trailer home inside the palace grounds without water and electrical power. All night he had to swat "big-ass mosquitoes."

Seven weeks later, Kerik is proud of the progress he and his small group have made...

As he goes about his work, Kerik is angry with those critics, at home and elsewhere, who hammer on about the slow rate of progress in the new Iraq.

"You know what frustrates me most?" he asks.

"It's the guys who criticize the president of the United States when they're just sitting on a golf course or in the chambers of Congress or the Senate. They have no clue of what reality is here.

"I tell 'em, 'Walk in my shoes, walk in the shoes of the GIs that are standing at these checkpoints 12 hours a day, day in, day out. Walk through the markets and shops downtown, look at the smiles and listen to the clapping.'

"We had an Iraqi police unit go out the night before last and take out an enormous amount of weapons, 15 or 16 RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades], a bunch of AK-47s. When they took these guys outta there, the whole block was clapping and yelling support. Now that's what we're doing here."

Amen, brother.