Saturday, August 23, 2003


Some perspective on 5 months into this effort.
To anyone old enough to remember World War II, this is all a painful reminder of how much our country — or at least the press — has declined since those days. Although this was a deeply divided country before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, that wake-up call woke everybody up.

Organizations that had been striving to keep us out of the war suddenly disbanded. They didn't stay in business to carp.

Where were we five months after Pearl Harbor, compared with where we are today in Iraq? We entered World War II — or, rather, the war came to us — on December 7, 1941. Five months later, on May 7, 1942, where were we?

We had no real victories in all that time. On May 6, 1942, we suffered a devastating defeat with the surrender of U.S. forces in the Philippines. This was followed by the infamous Bataan death march, in which many American and other prisoners of war lost their lives, either to the inhuman conditions or by being brutally executed by the Japanese when they fell from exhaustion...

Through all the years-long, uphill struggle of World War II, you seldom heard the phrase "war-weary" soldiers that has already become common in some media quarters during the five months of the Iraq war.

No one demanded that President Franklin Roosevelt tell them how long World War II was going to last or how much money it would cost, or what his "exit strategy" was. It would have been considered not only unpatriotic, but absolutely childish, to do so. Wars are not choreographed.
While battles are waged in the political, social and military arenas in regard to Iraq, the spiritual camp has taken up arms too.

At Concord Baptist Church, members have used prayer and the postmark as their means of defense.

What these Christian soldiers defend are the souls and morale of the Missouri National Guard 235th Engineer unit, currently serving with the 4th Infantry Division in northern Iraq.

Since May, more than 50 members of the Ike Skelton-based unit have been adopted by Sunday School classes, families and individuals, ranging in age from 5 to 81.

The soldiers receive boxes of goodies, letters and e-mails. But the church members believe the greatest gift they can offer the soldiers is prayer for their safety and spiritual growth...

The soldiers were excited to be adopted, Marsh relayed from her husband.

"At first the packages were all the rave ... But it's the letters now that are the more cherished."

The first-grade Sunday School class sent their soldier 17 questions in their letter.

The soldier responded, "It is kind of nice to know that there are people out there besides family who care about you at home."

Marine Capt. Sean Dunn spent almost a month cajoling courthouse officials in Kut for a detailed inventory of what they needed. He expected a laundry list, squabbles over financing and groans from his superior officers when he presented what he was sure would be a tome.

"So after weeks of this," Dunn said, "I get one piece of paper from Chief Judge Jahwher Mahood saying, `I need a Thuraya phone, a car, a refrigerator and a TV.' And I said, `I see, so these are the needs of a court system for 1 million people and some 200 employees?"'

The preposterous, personal nature of the request underlines some of the problems coalition forces face, and not just in Wassit Province, southeast of Baghdad, where the New Orleans-headquartered 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marines is in charge.

Throughout Iraq, as the nation cracks through the totalitarian shell Saddam Hussein spent decades building, a reliable, trustworthy system of law and order is essentially being built from scratch.

There is little love lost between the British and the French, as shown in this pointed commentary by a conservative British newspaper.
...To date, two US soldiers are believed to have succumbed to the heat in Iraq, whereas over 10,000 people have succumbed to it in France.

Certainly, Iraq has its problems. Jacques Chirac, en vacances (on vacation) just up the road from me in North Hatley, Quebec, took time out of his three-week holiday to issue a statement on events in Baghdad, where 20 people died on Tuesday. But he didn't bother to interrupt his vacation to issue a statement on events in France, where so many people have died, the funeral homes are standing room only and they're having to store bodies in the freezers at the fruit and veg markets.

Now that his old pal and nuclear client has been removed from power, M Chirac is utterly irrelevant to the future of Iraq. But surely France still falls within his jurisdiction, doesn't it?...

Bernard Mazeyrie, managing director of France's largest undertakers, told the New York Times that several of the bereaved were in no hurry to bury their aged loved ones: "Some, he said, informed of the death of relatives, postponed funerals, not to interrupt the August 15 holiday weekend, and left the bodies in the refrigerated hall." Au bord de la mer? Ou au bord de ma mère? (By the sea, or by my mother?) Hmm. Tough call.

And where are the Red Cross and Oxfam and Human Rights Watch and all the other noisy humanitarians? If 10,000 Iraqis had died of dysentery on George W Bush's watch, you'd never hear the end of it. A few weeks back, with three fatal cases of cholera, the Humanitarian Lobby was already shrieking that we stood on the edge of a humanitarian catastrophe.

In Paris this spring, a government official explained to me how Europeans had created a more civilised society than America - socialised healthcare, shorter work weeks, more holidays. We've just seen where that leads: gran'ma turned away from the hospital to die in an airless apartment because junior's sur la plage (at the beach). M Chirac's somewhat tetchy suggestion that his people should rethink their attitude to the elderly was well taken. But Big Government inevitably diminishes its citizens' capacity to take responsibility, to the point where even your dead mum is just one more inconvenience the state should do something about.

Meanwhile, Maggie Pernot wrote the other day to chide me for my continued defence of the Rumsfeld Death Camps at Guantanamo. The prisoners, she complains, are "kept in tiny, chainlink outdoor cages where they were likely to be rained upon". In fact, they have sloping roofs and cool concrete floors, perfect for the climate. If they had solid walls rather than airy wire mesh, they'd be Parisian sweatboxes and everyone would be dead. By contrast, if those thousands of French pensioners had been captured by the Marines and detained by Rummy in Cuba, they'd be alive today.

Mme Pernot writes from St Julien, France. That's right: she's surrounded by an actual humanitarian scandal on all sides but she'd rather obsess about an entirely fictional one. Heat getting to you, Madame? Or just the unusual odour from the flat next door?

Yesterday was perfect for just about any late-summer activity before the start of school a swim, ice cream, whatever. But Michaela Byrne was instead inside U.S. Rep. Marty Meehan's office.

Byrne and about 20 other children from around the area were putting together homemade cards to be delivered by Meehan to Massachusetts-based troops when Meehan visits Iraq next week...

Meehan will deliver the cards on Monday, when he is greeted by troops from Massachusetts and other states when he arrives in Iraq. He is going with a group of 11 congressmen, most of whom are part of the House Government Reform Committee.

The kids were cranking out a couple of cards of each, and they will be passed out by Meehan. Andrew Cook, the 10-year-old son of Meehan spokesman Patrick Cook, was helping out yesterday.

Cook had drawn one card with an eagle on it, and another with Uncle Sam telling troops, "Thank you soldiers, you are great patriots." Like Byrne, Cook admitted he didn't know much about the situation in Iraq, but he was thankful the troops are there.

"I think they're really nice to go over there," Cook said.

The Army overcame enormous logistics obstacles in the successful march to Baghdad last spring, but sustaining the force has become a problem, a senior Army general said.

Gen. Paul J. Kern, chief of the Army Materiel Command, cited as an example the Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, which he said have sustained so much wear and tear in Iraq that the Army is months short of replacements for the steel tracks on which they travel.

Kern said the Army also is in short supply of replacement tracks for Abrams tanks, Paladin howitzers and other vehicles. Similarly, the Army has had trouble supplying tires for Humvee utility vehicles and generators for electrical power, Kern said in an interview at the Pentagon.

Kern said these shortfalls are being addressed and have not created a major combat readiness problem. He said they reflect the difficulty of maintaining a high pace of operations in Iraq at the same time the Army remains active in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world.

"We haven't closed down Afghanistan, we've still got people operating in the Balkans, and I've got my eye on Korea," he said. "So we can't take all the resources of the U.S. Army and send them all to Iraq."

Asked whether U.S. officials had anticipated at the outset of the Iraq war that the postwar stabilization phase would last so long and require so many troops, Kern said, "Some did. Some didn't."

"It's a question of, 'Did you do enough?' The answer right now is, 'Probably not,' " he said. " 'Did you not plan for it?' We did. But again it's a question of how you spread all those resources."

Diplomats and staff at Britain's embassy in Baghdad have evacuated the building after a "credible threat" of attack.

A Foreign Office Spokesman in London on Saturday said the staff were moved from the building on Wednesday, a day after the devastating truck bombing at the United Nation's Baghdad headquarters, which killed 24 people and wounded scores more.

"The embassy staff were moved to the Coalition Provisional Authority headquarters after information of a credible threat of attack," the spokesman said.

"I have no more information about the threat...There are no immediate plans to return the staff to the embassy," he added.


1st Armor Division is buying a hotel to provide R&R to soldiers.
Some soldiers with the 1st Armored Division in Baghdad will soon have a chance to trade their heavy body armor for swim suits and their cramped and dirty quarters for soft beds and clean sheets, according to division commander Brig. Gen. Martin E. Dempsey.

The 1st AD is buying an entire hotel in eastern Baghdad that will serve as a rest and relaxation facility for the troops, Dempsey said.

Operations are set to begin Sept. 1, and “the plan is to move 400 soldiers through every 48 hours,” Dempsey, who took command of the division in July and will pin on his second star in early October, told Stripes.

“We get that [Iraq] a miserable environment," Dempsey said. “I never thought I’d be a hotel owner, but we’re going to do this, so [the troops] can be out of the fight for 48 hours and collect [their] thoughts.”

The 1st AD’s Baghdad hotel R&R program is similar to a program already established by the 101st Airborne (Air Assault), which is located in and around the Mosul area, in Northern Iraq.

The hotel, the name and location of which are not being named for security reasons, will feature rooms with soft beds, clean sheets, private bathrooms, and television sets. The facility also has its own swimming pool and other recreation facilities, Dempsey said.

Soldiers won’t be allowed to drink alcohol, he warned.

“But you will have [air conditioning], a decent bed, a chance to get some decent food, and watch movies,” he promised three different battalions of soldiers whom he visited at their different forward operating bases in Baghdad on Aug. 9.

I'm glad to see this, because it means that soldiers will begin getting some down time very soon. Although if you do the math you find it will still take 6 months for all soldiers in the 1st AD to get their 48 hour rotation. So it may be February before your soldier or mine gets two-days off.

And while I'm sure the troops will enjoy their time off, spending your R&R time in a place run by the command means no beer or other distractions that might otherwise be a part of R&R.

But, it is out of the fight. Good job.

It is amazing me just how big the impact is of one small package.
Hey Tim!

It's Amy here. Just had to share my good news with you today! After a long week of work, came home and checked the snail mail and to my surprise I got a thank you for my adopted soldier, Kashka! It really made my day! Let me share what she wrote:

Dear Amy & Dan:

God is good, he really is. The box was great thanks. I was mad at the world that day. I was ready to just give up and beg to go home. When I got in from an almost month trip the first thing I seen was the box you had sent me. I almost cried I was so happy. Everyone was joking around with me because I am a snack queen and that's what ya'll sent, so all was good.

It's really rough in our area. It really is but people like Amy & Dan makes me realize that no matter what you are going through somebody else besides your family is concern of my well being and my return home safely.You two are my angels that has open my eyes to alot of things. One is keeping the faith that we will return home one day, feeling better about what we all just had to go through and the friends (Amy & Dan) who was with us every step of the way.

Thanks for the snacks, the book and your prayers. I will send you pictures o.k.


***Is this cool or what??? I'm already starting another package for her. She has no idea how happy it makes me to know that we brightened her day! Thanks for organizing this Tim!

Take care,

Amy and Dan
August 22, 2003
Release Number: 03-08-45



AL HILLAH, Iraq – A U.S. service member on duty with the I Marine Expeditionary Force died after being shot on Aug 21 in Al Hillah by an unidentified gunman.

The service member was a passenger in a sport-utility vehicle that had been slowed by traffic congestion in a crowded area of the city.

According to initial reports, a male approached the vehicle, shot the service member, and ran into a crowded market area nearby.

The service member was taken to the Forward Resuscitation Surgical System at Camp Babylon, where he was pronounced dead.

The service member’s name is being withheld pending notification of next-of-kin.

August 22, 2003
Release Number: 03-08-46



BAGHDAD, Iraq– A 1st Armored Division soldier died, and six others were wounded in a small arms range fire. The fire broke out at a range in Baghdad’s Karadah district at 4:30 p.m. on August 21.

The injured soldiers were medically evacuated to the 21st Combat Support Hospital, the 407th Forward Support Battalion and an Air Force medical facility. One soldier was pronounced dead at approximately 4:50 p.m. as a result of burns and smoke inhalation. Nineteen other soldiers at the scene were medically checked at the Battalion Aid Station and returned to duty.

The soldier’s name is being withheld pending notification of his next of kin.

August 22, 2003
Release Number: 03-08-47



BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition soldiers are assisting with the reorganization of Iraq’s day-to-day economy by negotiating with Baghdad’s vendors to move their booths from the streets back into marketplaces and by accepting claims from Iraqis to pay for damages incurred by the actions of U.S. forces.

Soldiers from the 1st Armored Division are notifying vendors in the Ad Hamiyah district in northern Baghdad that they must move their booths from the streets back into designated market areas. The vendors moved into the streets after the fall of Saddam’s regime, making it difficult to walk or even drive through many neighborhoods. After negotiating with vendors in the Sha-ab and Al Mhadi neighborhoods to move their goods out of the streets, the 1st AD arranged for a contractor to rebuild portions of the markets.

Additionally, the 1st AD’s plans include cleaning up the garbage-laden streets once they are cleared of consumer traffic. Giving more organization to the markets will help deter crime, which is a problem in the region.

The U.S. Army is accepting claims from Iraqis for damages incurred due to the actions of U.S. forces. The U.S. Army pays claims to injured Iraqis under the Foreign Claims Act, which is a federal statute enacted by Congress. The purpose of the FCA is to develop positive relations and promote goodwill between the U.S. and Iraqis.

The FCA covers claims for real or personal property damage, personal injury and wrongful death. The FCA does not cover claims arising directly or indirectly from the combat activities of either U.S. forces or enemy forces. For a claim to be payable, U.S. troops must act negligently or wrongfully. In order to file a claim, the claimant must file the claim in writing within two years of the incident and ask for a specified amount.

The U.S. Army has appointed Foreign Claims Commissions throughout Iraq to accept and process the claims. These commissions provide claimants with the proper forms to start the process. The claims process takes an average of one month. To date, more than four thousand claims have been filed with more than half of them resulting in payment. Almost $400,000 in claims have been paid to Iraqi citizens.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 23d. The 104th day of CPT Patti's deployment.

Friday, August 22, 2003


From a regular reader of CPT Patti's website, the mother of a soldier in Baghdad, comes this remarkable tale.

It involves an amazing series of coincidences including her phoning her daughter-in-law, daughter-in-law being logged into Yahoo messenger service (which lets "buddies" know you are on line), son/husband soldier logging into Yahoo at the same time (from Baghdad) and some trickery with a digital camera, a cell phone and a house phone I just can't describe.

But, let's let her tell it.
Hi Tim,

I just wanted to share some news with you.

Yesterday was my birthday and today is Ryan's 25th birthday. For the last 2 weeks I had been expecting Ryan to call me sometime between mine and his birthday, but with the UN bombing I figured that it wouldn't happen because he
would more than likely be very busy, so my daughter-n-law and I spent a long time on the phone talking.

Her mother bought her a web cam so they could see each other over the internet through the yahoo messenger service.

Amanda was online and Ryan happened to go to the internet cafe and saw that Amanda was on line and they began to chat all the while Ryan getting to see Amanda, but Amanda not seeing Ryan.

My father had bought Ryan a cheap digital camera to take pictures with and he happened to have it with him. This camera had other features on it other than taking pictures. Ryan hooked it up to the computer and out of the blue there
he was. Amanda said when he moved the picture was blurry.

As she was telling me all this I was thinking, is he allowed to do this? will he get in trouble for this?

Her cell phone rang and I heard her say, " I'm talking to your Mom" She put the phones together and Ryan and I spoke for about 4 minutes...I tell you I cried like a baby when I heard his voice. I was already on cloud nine because I had received an email that morning and it was a picture of Ryan sitting on his cot at base camp. I haven't seen his face in
almost 14 months so hearing him along with getting the picture was the best gift ever.

I am going out to get me a web cam and see if he and I can lay eyes on each other when he get some down time off.

Tim, you need to get CPT Patti a web cam so ya'll can talk and see each other at the same time.....

Do you think this is cool with the Army?

Have a great day......

Yes, I think this is cool with the Army...but more than that, I just think it is COOL!

A few weeks ago I appealed to family and close friends to "adopt" soldiers from CPT Patti's company who were not receiving care packages in the mail.

The response was wonderful...each of our lonely soldiers was adopted by at least three different sponsors.

One of the sponsors shared a thank-you note with me that arrived from a young female soldier in Baghdad. Here is an excerpt:
"Thank you for sending me that package. You do not know how much it means to me just to get something from "the other side".

I was so excited to get a package that I cut my hand with my knife and had to go get a couple of stitches from the medics. No worries though, my trigger finger still works...

It really means a lot to me to know that I am being thought about somewhere in Germany."

Nice, isn't it?
In the euphoria of the three-week victory many of us rightly still worried that under the new restrictive protocols of postmodern warfare the age-old laws of conflict were for a time being forgotten: The ease of postbellum occupation is in proportion to the level of punishment inflicted on the enemy.

Our careful air campaign, the inability to sweep down into the Sunni triangle in the first days of the war from Turkey, and the abrupt collapse rather than the destruction of enemy forces in the field paradoxically resulted in thousands who ran away rather than were defeated. We immediately ended the fighting and began the humanitarian effort to help the helpless — even as our enemies and their jihadist friends saw that magnanimity as the removal of the stake driven through their vampirish heart.

Yet tragically whether an enemy is engaged in battle or in the street, there always remains a finite number of recalcitrant diehards who must be killed or captured. So while it was amazing that Saddam's army dissolved in April, we should always remember that many of them still must be dealt with in August and September — both to eliminate combatants and, just as importantly, to send a message to foreign terrorists that it is a deadly mistake to take on the United States military.

Read the whole thing here.

From yesterday's news conference.
Q: Mr. Secretary, according to Ahmed Chalabi, he warned the U.S. troops about the possibility of this attack against the U.N. Do you have any reports about it?

Rumsfeld: I do. It's not true. And I was handed, when I came down here, a statement by the Iraqi National Congress that apparently they have issued today, pointing out that that did not happen. And if somebody wants it, it's here.

Meanwhile, GEN Abizaid paints a bigger picture of the Iraqis who are helping to secure themselves.

Q: U.S. troops, right. And you said that it's up to the Iraqis to eventually provide their own security. However, apparently they can't do that now. What are you doing in the short term, short of adding more troops, to provide some security? Are you bringing in some policemen quickly or -- what are you doing in the short term to try to provide more security?

Abizaid: Well, thanks for that question. I think it's clear that we've got to do a lot more to bring an Iraqi face to the security establishments throughout Iraq very quickly.

Having said that, I think it's also important for people to know that there's more than 50,000 Iraqis already under arms that are working in coordination with the coalition. We've got 35,000 people, for example, in the police forces. We've got a border force that's forming. We've got Iraqi Civil Defense Corps volunteers -- over 2,300 of them -- that have come forward to form battalions to work with our divisions. We've got an awful lot of people that we've hired to defend infrastructure, somewhere close to 17,000. So --

Rumsfeld: This is in 3-1/2 months.

Abizaid: Yes, sir. Yeah.

Rumsfeld: This is the 50,000 or 60,000 Iraqis have been pulled together.

Abizaid: So it's not the lone American rifleman out there defending Iraq. We're working in conjunction with Iraqis to make the place a better place to live. That having been said, there's a hell of a lot more work that has to be done to secure Iraq in terms of building their capacity.

In a nation where everyone reads the National Enquirer...
U.S. forces did not win the war, Saddam Hussein is a CIA agent and Ariel Sharon just bought a house on the banks of the Tigris -- so say the pages of Baghdad's newspapers, where conspiracy and rumour reign supreme.

The scores of papers that have sprung up in the capital since the war ended print a breathless mix of dubious opinion and urban myth to feed the insatiable appetite of Baghdadis for fresh gossip, however unreliable.

That reflects, in part, the quality of journalism in a country that went virtually overnight from having no independent news media to having almost too much.

But it is also a measure of the chaos and ignorance the Iraqi population is living in. No one is sure what's really going on and so rumour and conspiracy theory surge in to fill the void...

Qanadeal, The Lights, recently ran a report that Israeli Jews were flocking to Baghdad in droves to buy property -- ignoring, among other things, the fact that foreigners are still banned from owning real estate in Iraq.

Perhaps hoping to top that ''scoop,'' a competing paper ran a headline saying ''Ariel Sharon buys house by Tigris'' and repeated widespread talk that a gang of agents from Mossad, the Israeli secret service, is living in a Baghdad hotel...

The gossip and rumour-mongering extend to outlandish explanations of real events.

After the truck bomb blast at the Jordanian embassy two weeks ago, local reports were full of talk that U.S. helicopters were hovering moments before the blast. Witnesses swore they saw missiles fired at the embassy compound.

Similar rumours quickly circulated after the bombing of the United Nations headquarters this week. Some eyewitnesses claimed to have seen a missile hit the building even though investigators say the explosion was caused by a truck bomb.

Now theories are already doing the rounds that U.S. forces might have attacked the U.N. headquarters because they don't share the U.N.'s vision for post-war Iraq.

Hafud Al-Shimary, a photographer in downtown Baghdad, says it is a natural development in a country where for three decades everyone was told what to think and most struggled to separate truth from fiction.

''Intellectuals and well-educated people don't believe any of this nonsense, but they are a minority,'' said Shimary, gesturing towards newspapers on his desk.
Fort Hood's III Corps, which oversaw the deployment of the 4th Infantry Division to Iraq, may be headed to Baghdad to replace the Army headquarters now leading U.S. troops there.

Several hundred soldiers would deploy to Iraq if III Corps were ordered to replace V Corps, which oversaw the invasion and now coordinates the U.S.-led peacekeeping mission.

Maj. James Woods, a III Corps spokesman, said Thursday he couldn't confirm the action until a deployment order is given, but a Pentagon official said the Army likely would turn to Fort Hood because three of the Army's four active-duty corps are committed to other missions.

"It's pretty apparent who's going to receive the deployment order," the Pentagon official said, declining to be identified.

TO THIS day, scientists have yet to figure out what chemicals exactly were used on Halabja on 16 March, 1988, in the final months of the eight-year Iran-Iraq war.

Witnesses described a morning of intense conventional bombing that drove residents into their cellars. Then, a number of planes and helicopters began flying overhead. Witnesses said they smelled apples and mustard. The next morning, corpses of women and children littered the streets.

The Kurds of northern Iraq who suffered chemical bombardment at the hands of Ali Hassan al-Majid say it wasn't enough to just hear about the capture of the man they’ve nicknamed Chemical Ali for his gassing of Kurdish villagers.

They’ll have to see him publicly paraded in chains to be totally convinced of his demise.

"It’s just like Uday and Qusay," said Ala Noori Talabani, a Kurdish resident of the northern city of Sulaymaniyah, whose relatives were killed in Saddam Hussein’s notorious campaign. "We won't believe it until we see it on television."...

Dilshad Miran, the London representative of Kurdistan Democratic Party, one of the two main Kurdish political parties, said al-Majid haunted the nightmares of ordinary Iraqis.

"His arrest is positive news for all Iraqis, particularly the Kurds, and it will have a great pyschological effect," Miran said. "It will also serve to leave Saddam Hussein very isolated."

Wonder why he is so hated? Read this.

The capture of Ali Hassan al-Majid brought early calls yesterday for the open and public trial of a man called a killer on a scale second only to Saddam himself.

In 1988 "Chemical Ali" was captured on a tape describing his plans for the Kurds to a group of senior Iraqi officials.

"I will kill them all with chemical weapons! Who is going to say anything? The international community? F*** them, the international community, and those who listen to them!

"I will not attack them with chemicals just one day, but I will continue to attack them with chemicals for 15 days."
U.S. officials suspect Saddam Hussein loyalists were behind the bombing of the U.N. Baghdad headquarters earlier this week.

A senior U.S. official told the Washington Post that was the prevailing opinion, ruling out Islamic militants as the perpetrators.

Citing intelligence gathered in Iraq, the official called the attack the latest sign of growing sophistication on the part of Saddam loyalists, who are thought to number in the thousands. After the fall of Baghdad April 9, soldiers were most often confronted by sniper attacks, he said, but a strategy has gradually and systematically evolved over the four months of the occupation.

"We believe it's homegrown," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. "They're getting much more sophisticated in their attacks." He added: "There is no indication this is an outside group at this point."


Muslim extremists from Saudi Arabia and elsewhere were probably behind the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad, a senior Iraqi official said today.

Jalal Talabani dismissed the idea that Saddam Hussein loyalists could have carried out the attack, saying they were “very weak”. And he said more attacks were likely.

“We think these activities are arranged by fundamentalist Muslims or so-called Muslim organisations like extremist Wahabis coming from Saudi Arabia,” and other countries in the region, he said.
A previously unknown group has claimed responsibility for the bomb attack on the UN compound in Baghdad that killed at least 23 people, and threatened further attacks.

"We, the Armed Vanguards of the Second Mohammed Army, claim responsibility for the bombing of the UN headquarters," said a typewritten message. "We say it proudly that we did not hesitate for one moment to kill crusader blood."

Me, I think that hauling your ass out of the 13th century might be a more worthy goal.
Terrorism is emerging as "the No. 1 security threat" in Iraq, with an al Qaeda-related group establishing operations in Baghdad and foreign fighters pouring over the border from Syria, the head of U.S. Central Command said yesterday.

"Clearly, it is emerging as the No. 1 security threat, and we are applying a lot of time, energy and resources to identify it, understand it and deal with it," Lt. Gen. John Abizaid said.

Abizaid said there has been "an increase" in operations by the group Ansar al-Islam, considered by the United States as a possible suspect in the bombings of the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad on Tuesday and the Jordanian Embassy Aug. 7.

"We think they've migrated from the north down into Baghdad, and we think that they're established there. It's not good for us when they get established in an urban area, as you can well appreciate," he said.


In spite of recent events.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he leaves the recommendation of U.S. troop strength of roughly 148,000 up Abizaid, who for the time being, said the number does not need to be changed.

The numbers, both men said, aren’t going down because of new forces coming in - and conversely, aren’t going to go up to counter the recent escalation of terrorist attacks against troops and on international “soft targets,” so named because they are not as heavily protected as U.S. bases in the country.

August 21, 2003
Release Number: 03-08-41



BAGHDAD, Iraq – A 1st Armored Division solider was killed and two were wounded by an improvised explosive device in the Karkah district of Baghdad at 11 p.m. on Aug. 20.

The soldiers were evacuated to the 47th Forward Support Battalion for treatment. One soldier was pronounced dead at 11:50 p.m.

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

August 21, 2003
Release Number: 03-08-43



BAGHDAD, Iraq-Coalition forces continued to confiscate and destroy weapons and improvised explosive devices throughout Iraq on Aug. 20.

Acting on a tip from a local source, 4th Infantry Division searched a weapons cache in the Abu Huraybish area. Confiscated weapons included 200 rounds of 7.62 ammunition, two 60 mm mortar tubes, six 60 mm mortar rounds, artillery propellant, one AK-47, one rocket-propelled grenade, one rocket-propelled grenade sight, two mortar sights, one sniper scope and four bayonets. Three individuals were detained at the site for questioning.

First Armored Division soldiers spotted an individual on a rooftop in the Baghdad area with an AK-47. A patrol sent to the building, confiscated the AK-47, nine AK-47 magazines and more than 180 rounds of 7.62 ammunition.

Meanwhile, attacks were prevented when 1st AD soldiers found two improvised explosive devices in Baghdad. Two of the IEDs consisted of four artillery rounds with attached wires leading to a concealed position behind a tree. An explosive ordnance detonation team safely defused both IEDs. Additionally, acting on information received from a local source, an EOD team safely removed an IED consisting of one grenade and one 120 mortar round from an area near a government building.

Acting on information from a local source, the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force discovered a weapons cache in the Babil Province with enough equipment to make more than 200 IEDs, The cache consisted of eight rocket-propelled grenade launchers, 300 pounds of dynamite, blasting caps and wire. Additionally in the Babil Province area, 1 MEF confiscated 50 anti-tank guided missiles, multiple cluster bombs units and rockets.

In the last 24 hours, coalition forces conducted 20 raids, 879 day patrols and 656 night patrols. The units also conducted 216 day patrols and 189 night patrols jointly with Iraqi police

August 21, 2003
Release Number: 03-08-42



MACDILL AFB, Tampa - GEN Ali Hasan al-Majid "Chemical Ali" has been captured and is in custody of Coalition Forces.

Ali Hasan al-Majid was the former Revolutionary Command Council Commander and he is listed as #5 on the U.S. Central Command "Iraqi Top 55."

Coalition forces will continue to work at apprehending former members of Saddam Hussein's regime.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 22d. The 103d day of CPT Patti's deployment.

Thursday, August 21, 2003


UN Secretary General Kofi Annan blames the US...but another UN spokesman indicates the level of security was indeed the UN's decision.

Secretary Annan may catch a boatload of flack over his comments.
Annan rejected, however, Washington's reasoning that UN officials in Baghdad had refused offers by U.S. forces in Iraq to protect the compound.

"Nobody (asks) you if you want the police to patrol your neighbourhood," he said as he returned to UN headquarters after cutting short his holiday in Europe. "They make the assessment that patrol and protection is needed, and then they start, and that's what should be done in Iraq."

UN officials say the United States, as an "occupying power," is responsible under international law for providing security. But they also admit they did not want to frighten ordinary Iraqis by having their compound heavily fortified.

"Security around our location was not as secure as you might find at the U.S. compound, and that was a decision we made so the offices were available to the people," said chief UN spokesman Fred Eckhard, in comments that appeared to confirm the UN had refused U.S. help. "We did not think at the time we were taking an unnecessary risk.

I work in the Army Community Service (ACS) office. For those among the readers who are not familiar with the ACS we offer services to soldiers and family members to help smooth out big events like moving from the US to Germany and otherwise serve as a source of information or referral to other needed services.

It also is not the least bit unusual that when folks don't know what to do about a situation, they come to us.

This morning the military police entered our office with a 60-something year old man. They didn't know where else to take him.

"Helmut" speaks very little English, but was able to get his point across.

He wants to help.

Helmut carried with him a handwritten letter and 50 Euros (about $56).

The letter - with which Helmut had received assistance from another German in translating is touching.

Excerpts from Helmut's letter are below. (I have edited the excerpts to correct the letter for grammar to make it more readable to American readers.)

Hello dear soldier,

I am unknown to you but I want to send to you a package and to wish you happiness.

I was born in Berlin in 1942 and I lived through the Russian blockade in 1948. I could see nearby the planes of the Amercan forces landing at the air base at Berlin-Tempelhof. They brought food and all manner of things to support the lives of 2 million people in Berlin for a year. Some of that was for me.

That was a long time ago, but I'll never forget that help.

The American soldiers stood in Berlin and in West Germany...stood for our freedom and for peace. And some of that was for me.

My heart is thankful to the American nation and its soldiers...

And now I have a chance to help and to say "thank you!" as you are so far from home to keep freedom and peace in another country.

I hope you are pleased with this little package - I'm happy to be give something back.

With friendly greetings,


We turned the money and letter over to a family readiness group. They will put together packages for a soldier or two in Baghdad.

But you got to share in the letter.

Senator Hutchison says we are.
"You may fly over a land forever; you may bomb it, atomize it, pulverize it and wipe it clean of life — but if you desire to defend it, protect it and keep it for civilization, you must do this on the ground, the way the Roman legions did, by putting your young men into the mud."

Those words, written nearly 40 years ago by my good friend T.R. Fehrenbach in the definitive work on the Korean War, "This Kind of War: A Study in Unpreparedness" — still ring true today. Our recent operations in Afghanistan and Iraq reinforce those very lessons. We prosecuted a very successful war, but if we are going to bring freedom and democracy to the Iraqi and Afghan people while preserving the peace elsewhere, we will need young men and women with their boots on the ground. I am increasingly concerned we don't have enough soldiers and Marines to do all the jobs that must be done...

When the first Gulf War ended, the Department of Defense cashed in a peace dividend from the end of the Cold War when it lowered the strength of the U.S. Army active forces from 750,000 to 535,000 troops. That cut was necessary, but then they cut more and in doing so, reduced the Army's active strength to 491,000 — too low for our current requirements...

In the months ahead, the Pentagon promises numerous studies to examine the impact of answering the calls worldwide. But these studies are addressing the symptoms and not the illness.

We must not balance the tempo of how and when we use Reserve units on the backs of active-duty units, and vice versa. We need more troops or fewer missions. Before we lose too many trained and qualified reservists, I hope we address the critical issue: Do we have enough Army and Marine active- duty members for the post-September 11 era of national security? My view is: We do not.

Taken from headlines around the internet news services today.
Japan May Not Send Forces to Iraq, Government Spokesman Says

Poland to Withdraw Troops from 'High-Risk Area' Near Capital

Spain under pressure to pull troops out of Iraq after blast fatality

Thailand, Japan Review Plans to Send Troops

Please pay close attention to the news reports that the "US was warned" about the bombing of the UN hotel in Baghdad.

The warning was the equivalent of me telling you "there will be an earthquake in California."

But, of course, the news outlets tend to hit you with "the USA was WARNED!", then let that just sort of hang there.

See the story.
A top member of Iraq's interim government says it had warned the United States of a possible terror attack in the Iraqi capital -- just days before yesterday's deadly truck bombing.

The bomb ripped through the Baghdad hotel that serves as a base for United Nations officials, killing at least 20 people.

Governing Council member Ahmad Chalabi (AHK'-mahd SHAH'-lah-bee) says the U-S-picked government had gotten information that a large-scale terror attack would happen in Baghdad -- and that it would be aimed at a so-called "soft target" instead of a military target. Chalabi says that information was shared with the Americans.

But in the process of researching items for CPT Patti's site I sometimes get detoured by things that interest me.

Two excerpts from two columns by Dennis Prager. Instructive and enlightening.

First column excerpt:
The second major source of modern liberalism is narcissism, the unhealthy preoccupation with oneself and one's feelings. We live in the Age of Narcissism.

As a result of unprecedented affluence and luxury, preoccupation with one's psychological state, and a hedonistic culture, much of the West, America included, has become almost entirely feelings-directed.

That is one reason "feelings" and "compassion" are two of the most often used liberal terms. "Character" is no longer a liberal word because it implies self-restraint. "Good and evil" are not liberal words either as they imply a moral standard beyond one's feelings.

In assessing what position to take on moral or social questions, the liberal asks him or herself, "How do I feel about it?" or "How do I show the most compassion?" not "What is right?" or "What is wrong?" For the liberal, right and wrong are dismissed as unknowable, and every person chooses his or her own morality.

And the second column excerpt, in which he points out that "left" and "liberal" have not always been synonymous:

As the Left has taken over liberalism, God and religion have been rejected as the source of America's moral values. In his inaugural address, President Kennedy said,

" . . . the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe -- the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God."

Such words today come from George W. Bush and conservatives, not from a single prominent liberal.


And, another author wades in on the blown divide and conquer opportunity for the terrorists.

You are way ahead of read it here two days ago.
Why was the United Nations headquarters in Iraq, of all places, bombed yesterday? Well, why did a suicide bomber blow himself up inside a crowded Jerusalem bus last night? That the first question is a mystery to many while the second is seen to be too obvious to ask illustrates both how the war against terrorism is misunderstood and how it must be fought.

The UN is not supposed to have enemies. Who could be against its humanitarian mission, or as its slain representative, Sergio Vieira de Mello, expressed its goal, ''to make sure that the interests of the Iraqi people come first?''

But all this speculation misses the point, just as it does when the United States or Israel is attacked. The objective of the terrorists is to make us think what we have done wrong, to wonder what we have done to provoke such a heinous crime. And the answer is always the same. It is not what we, the U.S., or the U.N. has done wrong, but who we are and what we have done right.

There are two simple lessons from the suicide bombings yesterday in Baghdad and Jerusalem: No one is safe and there is no turning back. Suicide terrorism is the plague of this century. It cannot be escaped, denied, or appeased. It must be defeated.

So far, the terrorists have successfully played divide and conquer. They have first succeeded in convincing the world that terrorism against Israel, while condemnable, is somehow understandable, and that it can be addressed by delivering on supposed ''root causes,'' such as the call for a Palestinian state. They have also lulled the world into thinking that only those who stand up to them, such as the U.S. and Israel, will be attacked, while those who are willing to resist the war against terrorism will be spared.

Terrorism will be beaten when these twin myths are dispelled.
BAGHDAD - A large flatbed truck packed with as much as 1,500 pounds of military munitions from Saddam Hussein's old arsenal was used to blow up U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, the FBI agent in charge of the investigation said yesterday.

Special Agent Thomas Fuentes said human remains found among the wreckage of the vehicle, a Russian-made cargo truck, indicated Tuesday's bombing was a suicide attack.

Fuentes said it was too early to tell whether the attack was carried out by guerrillas loyal to Hussein or by foreign terrorists, and he said a large amount of military munitions in Iraq were "readily available to any number of groups."


Things not to ship while the temps are so high in Baghdad.

Following a fire in a U.S. military postal facility in Baghdad, postal officials have a message: Please use common sense when shipping to the Operation Iraqi Freedom theater.

With surface temperatures climbing as high as 140 degrees, officials there want loved ones to be cognizant of everyday items that might not travel well in such extremes.

“It should be common sense,” said Army Lt. Col. Frank Smith, Deputy Commander 3rd Personnel Command, or PERSCOM, at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. “Last week it reached 126 degrees here, and that’s what happened to our two pallets at the Baghdad airport.”

Smith and Sgt. Derek Stubbs, an administrative sergeant also with the 3rd PERSCOM, spoke with Stars and Stripes via phone.

What happened was a package that contained common plastic cigarette lighters and batteries ignited, destroying 50 to 75 packages under some netting on the pallets...

Aerosol cans are another high-risk item, Stubbs said.

August 20, 2003
Release Number: 03-08-38



MACDILL AFB, FL – Taha Yasin Ramadan al-Jizrawi, number 20 on the coalition's list of most wanted government officials, is now under custody of coalition forces. The former Iraqi Vice President was captured by Kurdish forces then turned over to the 101st Airborne Division August 19.

Coalition Forces will continue to work at apprehending former members of the Saddam Hussein regime.

August 20, 2003
Release Number: 03-08-39



BAGHDAD, Iraq – One U.S. citizen working as a contracted interpreter was killed and two U.S. soldiers were wounded in a small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenade attack in Tikrit on Aug. 20.

The victims were all evacuated to the 28th Combat Support Hospital for treatment.

The interpreter died of wounds received.

The interpreter’s and the soldiers’ names are being withheld pending notification of next-of-kin.

The incident is under investigation.

August 20, 2003
Release Number: 03-08-40



BAGHDAD, Iraq – One 3rd Corps Support Command soldier was killed and another injured in a two-vehicle accident while driving south on the main supply route southeast of the town of Ad Diwaniyah.

The soldiers were driving in a supply convoy of Palletized Loading System (PLS) vehicles when they received small arms fire and struck another vehicle. Both soldiers are attached to the 3rd COSCOM operating out of Kuwait.

Security, medical and recovery assets were dispatched to the scene. One soldier died as a result of the accident. The other soldier was treated and returned to duty.

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

The incident is under investigation.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 21st. The 102d day of CPT Patti's deployment.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Budget crunch puts Sweden's military on a 9-to-5 schedule for the rest of the year.

Sweden's armed forces will operate only during office hours for the rest of the year to cut costs, military headquarters said.

(Via The Corner at National Review Online)

Headlines and extracts from today's news.
"Two Filipinos were identified as among those slain in the suicide bombing in Baghdad..."

"American killed in bombing was Arab expert on special assignment..."

"A Scottish woman was among the victims of the bomb which devastated the United Nation's base in Baghdad..."

"Canadian killed in Baghdad blast..."

"Foreign Minister Phil Goff confirmed one New Zealand Army officer had been injured in the blast. "

"World condemns Baghdad bombing..."

"Germany Condemns Attack On UN Headquarters In Baghdad"

"World leaders express resolve after attack on United Nations in Baghdad..."

''Acts as odious as this can only prompt indignation and unreserved condemnation,'' French President Jacques Chirac said in a message to Annan."

"Russia... called the attack a ''barbaric act'' that was ''aimed at undermining the already difficult process of postwar stabilization in Iraq.''

"The victims came from around the world including the United States, the Philippines, Egypt, Britain, Brazil and Canada. "

Everyone has advice now for the U.S.: bring in U.N. peacekeepers, bring in the French. They're all wrong. There are only two things we need: more Americans out back and more Iraqis out front. President Bush needs to give the U.S. administrator, Paul Bremer III, more resources to get basic services here running and Iraqis in charge as fast as we can. This is not Germany 1945. America is much more radioactive in this region. We don't have infinite time.

Which is also why we need Iraqis out front — fast. They need to be seen to be solving their own problems. They need to be manning the checkpoints because only they know who the good guys and bad guys are, and they need to be increasingly running the show so attacks on Iraq's infrastructure are seen and understood as attacks on Iraqis, not on us.

And, most important, we need them out front because the Iraqi silent majority is our only potential friend in this whole neighborhood. Everyone else wants America to fail. But we have not empowered that Iraqi silent majority enough, and it has been too timid and divided to step forward yet. "The Iraqi people are the only ones in the area who have an interest in your success," said Masrour Barzani, the security chief for the Kurdistan Democratic Party, a real friend of America's. "But you have not allowed that friendship to emerge."

It can only emerge if America gets the basics right — water, jobs and electricity — and lets Iraqis run things faster. "Let [Iraqis] take the credit; let them take the blame," Mr. Barzani said. "We need Iraqis to face their own problems and each other, and right now you're in the way."

"We can get through this, because we have you supporting us, we thank you for helping us in such a huge way, morale is so much better," one soldier wrote to Supe.

"For the life of me, I can't understand, why there isn't more attention paid to these boys, you know because there is a war going on, just ask there families," Supe said.

When Supe asks her brother if they should be there, he says 'yes' and the kids they're helping agree.

"He said 'Mia, you should see there faces when they see me coming,' he said they look at me and they say you are God sent and they begin to cry," Supe said.

Read it all here and find out how your letters and packages make a difference.

CPT Patti called me in the very early hours of the morning. She called because she needed me to pass some information along to a family member back here.

During the conversation I asked her about the UN Hotel blast yesterday.

She said that shortly after she and I finished speaking yesterday the blast occured. The blast rocked their compound and rattled the windows pretty badly.

No one at her compound was hurt. They estimate the hotel to be about a mile from their compound.

She said that as soon as it happened she went to her lookout position on the roof and saw a large, black mushroom shaped cloud rising above the city.

I've changed my mind...I think I'll write news stories for the Muslim press instead.

Because there are some things that even children won't believe.
Saddam Hussein was flown out of Baghdad by a US Air Force transport plane on April 9, an Iraqi Army officer says in a documentary film by Patrick Dillon soon to be made public, according to a website.

In the film, the Iraqi officer explains in detail how he watched as the Iraqi dictator and members of his inner circle were evacuated by USAF Hercules transports, says Bill Dash, a correspondent for Far Shores website.

Pakistani news story here.

Story here.
Although Neil Cavuto is mainly a FoxNews business commentator, he described well the world's shock today at the terrorists strikes in Jerusalem and in Baghdad. Can anyone say, Equal Opportunity Terrorism? By striking the United Nations, the terrorists just told the civilized world that they are against civilization as we know it. Cavuto's message appeared on the FoxNews website.

It's horrible enough what happened in Jerusalem on Tuesday. Yet sadly, innocents getting blown up there is an almost familiar, tragic sight on almost any day.

I want to focus on the other tragedy today.

I hope the rest of the world took a look at what happened in Baghdad on Tuesday, because some of their own died today. Good people, trying to do good things in a bad place.

The United Nations, which fought against this war, is now targeted in this war. An organization dedicated to peace is just the latest victim in this hellish testament to inhumanity.

I wonder now what the world makes of terror that knows no boundaries, preferences, governments, or politics. Terror that is indiscriminate, callous, and evil. Terror that targets those who fight it and those who try to ignore it. Today we are all awakened by it.

We're talking about evil here. We are talking about people who don't discriminate between paratroopers and peacekeepers, between those who were finished talking and those who wanted to keep talking, between those who fought a war and those who did everything in their power to avoid a war.

Terrorists don't care, my friends, because terrorists aren't our friends. They're monsters, plain and simple. They'd sooner blow off your head before they allow you to get inside theirs.

They don't care if you're American, British, Israeli, French, Spanish, or Indonesian. They don't care what you are alive. They just want you dead.

You can't reason with monsters any more than you can have a dinner discussion with Hannibal Lector. Unless, you want to end up on the plate.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 20th. The 101st day of CPT Patti's deployment.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

The U.N. special representative in Iraq died Tuesday in a bomb explosion that ripped through the organization's headquarters in Baghdad, U.N. officials in New York announced.

Sergio Vieira de Mello was among the 17 killed and 100 injured when a truck bomb exploded immediately beneath the window of his office in the Canal Hotel. He was trapped in the rubble.

The bombing continues a recent pattern of attacks on non-military targets in Iraq. Over the weekend, oil, water and electricity lines were attacked by what coalition spokesman called saboteurs. And earlier this month, a car bomb exploded outside the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad, leaving 10 people dead.

I don't know who is behind this. But I think it is fair to say that we have moved well beyond the Saddam loyalists that Secretary Rumsfeld refers to as the "dead-enders".

It seems apparent that we now have trained, organized, funded cells operating in Baghdad and other places in Iraq.

What interests me from a strategy standpoint is why attack the UN outpost? Seems to me that up until this point, in Iraq anyway, circumstances had done a fair job of isolating the USA and Britain in the minds of most of the world. The old "divide and conquer" strategy was theirs for the exploiting.

But no more.

Of course, similiar strategic flaws were made with the attacks in Bali and Jakarta. That is, unless we drop the assumption that the USA is the target, and consider for once that all non-muslim infidels are their targets...if only because they are too weak to effectively strike the US meaningfully.

Whatever the driver, perhaps - just perhaps much of the rest of the world will pull the blinders off their eyes to recognize that these miscreants will target us all.

Of course, the liberal so-called elite will attempt to blame America. But the facts don't support it.

Look at the faces of the 9/11 terrorists. Arab.

Osama bin Laden. Arab.

Saddam Hussein. Arab.

And you can take it to the bank that the bombers of the Jordanian Embassy, the Iraqi pipeline, the Baghdad water main and the UN outpost in Baghdad, as well as the bus in Jerusalem today...Arab.

The facts lead to their own conclusions.

Defense Contractor Guy writes
regarding Al Qaeda claiming responsibility for the blackout ... remember the audience - that announcement is aimed at the same folks who believe the US has x-ray specs and air conditioned uniforms.

A good point, I think. And further amplified in this piece.

Claiming credit for what appears to have been the product of a fluke equipment failure in Ohio is a sensible move for al Qaeda. The communiqué is a psyop, aimed at the United States to some extent, but more importantly, at the faithful abroad.

Al Qaeda needs to show that it is still relevant and can mount significant attacks on the Crusaders, and claiming credit for the largest power outage in U.S. history is as good a way to demonstrate puissance as any...

But suppose terrorists had managed to bring down the power grid — what were the effects? It was not a day of terror, alarm, and fear, as al Qaeda claimed. New Yorkers dealt with the outage with a degree of aplomb. Some journalists offered stranded commuters the opportunity to lose their tempers on national TV, but I didn't see anyone seriously complaining. The most critical people seemed to be politicians and newsmen seeking to render blame or push policy agendas. The contrast with the expected chaos was notable...

There were no signs of panic, drivers were taking turns at intersections, and traffic was flowing fairly smoothly. Even had the outage been the achievement of the Abu Hafs al-Misri Brigades (not to digress, but why are these platoon-sized terror subgroups always called "brigades"?), it did not result in anything like the harm they claimed in the announcement.

What it shows us is that the terrorists have failed at their most basic objective, namely to terrorize. This is not a country on a knife-edge of tension, ready to dissolve at the first disruption of daily life. If there is a lesson al Qaeda can draw from this event, it is that they will have to do something a lot more spectacular than even this massive power outage to get the country's attention. 9/11 is a hard act to follow.
WHOO HOO!!!!!!

Finally - a phone call! It has been 12 days since our last phone call - unfortunately the shelf life of a phone call is only about 7 days.

CPT Patti sounded terrific...although as she said they are having "generator issues" today so their air-conditioning is on the fritz. Bad day for that. Says she is sweltering.

She sends her thanks to those who have sent her packages...

Another note to Defense Contractor Guy...the "Gator Library" is now up and running thanks to you and your wife. We owe ya.

CPT Patti said that they continue to improve their living and working conditions. This weekend work is set to begin on an Internet Cafe, Fruit Bar, Ping-Pong, Fussball, Pool Table and Big Screen TV area. Won't be finished for a few weeks, but it is real progress.

She tells me we should be receiving a news letter written by her and her fellow commanders downrange. That will have more news of the quality of life stuff...if any of it is new, I'll let you know.

She says thanks for recently arrived packages from Dave & Deb, Pastor Paul & Sue, Dan & Amy and In-Laws Pat and Jan. Still hasn't got to those thank you cards yet.

She says to say she misses everyone, but her full days (now 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. - that is her work schedule) keep her from communicating very much.

OK - I'm good for another week now.



Excellent analysis by Victor Davis Hanson.

Read it here.
What is a base?...

I think under current practice we could better define an existing base as either a nexus for local anti-American resentment or a means of exacting political or financial concessions...

What is an ally?...

In this context, the current meaning of "ally" too often reads as a state benefiting from American friendship that in turn expresses its thanks by gratuitous expressions of hostility in times of crisis...

What is the United Nations?...

A better definition for the current body is something like the following: an international organization where Western liberal states seek to ingratiate themselves with tyrannies, theocracies, and tribes — appeasement winning accolades of justice, while principles earn slanders of racism, colonialism, and imperialism.

Claims of responsibility ring very hollow.

Is this what Al Qaeda is reduced to these days...claiming credit for stuff that just happens?

I'd say the war on teror is working.
Al Qaida's Abu Hafs Brigades has claimed responsibility for the blackout last week in the Northeast and Midwest United States. A communiqué by the Abu Hafs Brigades made reference to Operation Quick Lightning in the Land of the Tyrant of this Generation."

It was published as "the third communiqué by the "Brigades."...

The new communiqué says that in compliance with the orders of Osama bin Laden to strike at the American economy, the Brigades struck two important electricity supply targets on the East coast, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute.

The Brigades say that they cannot reveal how they did it, because they will probably have to use the same method again soon. The communiqué also claimed that the operation was meant as a present for the Iraqi people.


I'm glad they've adapted.
"Right now it's 118, and it feels comfortable," says Lt. Brian Crowley, 33, of Los Angeles. Compared with many days this summer, when troops say the temperatures they've recorded have routinely neared 130 degrees, a 10- or 12-degree drop is welcome.

History has shown that how an army battles nature can be as important as how it battles the enemy. The bitter Russian winter of 1812 helped spell the end of Napoleon's empire.

Now, in central and southern Iraq, the U.S. Army says it is winning a dangerous struggle with brutal summer heat. Training that drills soldiers on the importance of drinking lots of fluids and eating properly has kept casualties low. Of the nearly 150,000 troops in Iraq, two have died in the past month from heat-related illnesses. At least five have become seriously ill.

"Given the numbers of troops and the 120-degrees-plus temperatures, it's a relatively low number," says Maj. Bill Dixon, a physician and chief of medicine at the 28th Combat Support Hospital, a city of tents 30 miles southwest of Baghdad. "People are aware and are serious about prevention."

The Anglo-American liberation of Iraq was the most revolutionary occurrence in the Arab/Muslim world since the overthrow of the Ottoman empire.

The potential emergence of a democratic Iraq is a dagger poised at the heart of three very different kinds of neighbouring dictatorships - the Shia Iranian mullahs to the east, the secular nationalists of Syria to the north-west and the Saudi monarchy to the south-west.

So when we look for the sources of the instability in Iraq today, be it in the form of sabotage of a key oil pipeline or the continuing attacks on Allied forces, we need look no further than the surrounding states with most to lose. But they are acting out of fear, not self-confidence. They are scared to death that the Iraqi experiment will work and create an unstoppable momentum for change in their own countries.


Two British soldiers have saved the life of a newborn Iraq girl they found locked in a box full of weapons.

The prematurely-born child was barely two days old and had been abandoned by her mother.

The soldiers had cornered five terror suspects in the southern city of Basra and found the girl while searching their base.

She was not breathing when found in a 3ft-long padlocked metal box among rocket-propelled grenades, AK47s and ammunition.

But Private Damien Kenny, 18, from Wigan, and Private Jonathan Hunt, 21, from Blackpool, revived her with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
The head of Iraq's U.S.-appointed Governing Council said on Monday he expected a new constitution to be in place within six months and the council to name a cabinet at the end of next week.

"The constitution might need six months, more or less...We have started receiving draft versions of the constitution and then it will be put to the Iraqi people," council President Ibrahim Jaafari told Reuters in Abu Dhabi emirate.


One perspective on why this is a good idea.
Irrespective of whether we should seek to have Europeans, Pakistanis or Indians dying with or in lieu of Americans, irrespective of whether murderous hard-core Baathists and Sunni fundamentalists would feel less "occupied" and less murderous seeing Turks in their country, and irrespective of whether the economically stressed, anti-war countries of the European Union would actually give meaningful financial aid to Iraq, the idea of a "new coalition" to oversee the reconstruction of Iraq is entirely unwise.

It probably would encourage the worst political and cultural tendencies among Iraqis, even among those who are profoundly pro-Western. It could easily send a signal throughout the Middle East and beyond that the Bush administration doesn't have the stomach to transform Iraq, let alone the region.

In the Muslim Middle East, in the age of bin Ladenism, where the rulers and the ruled are constantly assessing American strength and purpose, multilateralism, when it is so evidently cover for a lack of patience and fortitude, is never a virtue. However long the United States stays in Iraq, the cost in American lives and dollars will likely go up, not down, the more we "internationalize" the occupation.

The men who are killing U.S. soldiers and other foreigners want to drive the United States and other Westerners out of the country. When Washington talks about the need to share the pain, what these men hear is that America wants to run.

Only a successful conclusion to the constitutional process will bless American efforts in Iraq. In the eyes of the Iraqi people, legitimacy springs from there, not from the members of the United Nations or its Security Council.

“I saw a whole different side to the war and after got to help in the rebuilding efforts,” Furman said Sunday from her parents' home in Quaker Hill.

Furman, a member of the finance corps, is accustomed to the policies and procedures related to cashing soldiers' checks and processing other pertinent financial information, but her role in Baghdad was much different.

For roughly five months she regularly toted $150,000 to $200,000 in cash inside a run-of-the-mill backpack through the streets of Baghdad. Her job was to find and meet with venders the Army was doing business with to purchase anything from ice to air conditioning units to an entire rock quarry that soldiers used to build makeshift helicopter pads.

The 38-year-old communicated often with Iraqi businessmen and shop owners, looking for goods to purchase, and worked with the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance to ensure that payments were made to Iraqi ministries so that employees, such as teachers, doctors and police, were paid.

Her most significant transaction came when she had to carry $2.5 million in cash in a footlocker from her office inside one of the Baath party's former houses to the Central Bank of Baghdad.

Furman was escorted on her outings by armed guards — she also carried an M-16 for protection — but she never carried the cash in a locked unit or safe.

“I didn't want to announce that I was carrying up to $200,000 in my backpack. It was safer,” she said.

While many soldiers think of patrolling in terms of tough foot patrols on the city’s streets, this group of combat engineers considers patrolling a blessing.

They could be spending eight hours a day staring off into the distance beneath the blazing rays of the sun, pulling guard duty -- an extremely important, but rarely well-liked, job.

Instead, the 671st, a company that builds multi-purpose bridges for the military, uses their boats to patrol the murky, yet placid waters of the Tigris, where Iraqis can be found relaxing, fishing and swimming.

The unit has been patrolling up and down the Tigris River since early May in their MK-2 boats. The boats are essentially miniature tugboats normally used for erecting bridges, said Dorris.

“We regularly take interpreters with us,” Dorris said. “We get a lot of information from people along the river.”

Soldiers from the unit have apprehended people smuggling illegal items on the river and found unexploded ordnance along the banks, he said.

“One time, we brought out the father of a drowning victim to help him search for his son,” Dorris said.

The unit has also escorted soldiers from other Army units, such as psychological operations soldiers who use the river to spread information to the Iraqi people about curfew and coalition operations.

“We like doing this a lot,” Dorris said. “It’s a lot better than guard duty.”

The soldiers have seen the result of their presence as well, he said. “Every time we’ve helped someone in a particular area of the river, whenever we go back, everyone waves.”

And a special note to my friend and college roommate, Defense Contractor Guy - you didn't know how on the money you were, did you?

Anyone wondering what else to stuff into those boxes for the troops, this story tells you what they all can use.

A soldier from the Friedberg Judge Advocate General office is on a mission to put books into the hands of soldiers deployed to Iraq.

Spc. Heather Holder, noncommissioned officer in charge of Friedberg’s Trial Defense Service, is contacting major bookseller chains and publishers for donations of books for the troops to read during their down time.

“My fiancée (Sgt. Arthur Ford, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division) is in Iraq, and all he asks for is books, books, books,” Holder said. “I looked at my receipts and realized I’ve been spending up to $200 a month on books to send to him and for him to pass out to other soldiers.”

In all, Holder estimates she has sent about 75 books since the unit deployed to Iraq in May.

Yet, the requests for books haven’t let up.

To better meet the needs of the 1st Brigade soldiers, Holder last week began contacting major book chains and publishers for donations of new books.

She has secured about 25 books from a Borders Books in Syracuse, N.Y., where Holder will be on leave beginning in September. She contacted Penguin publishers,, Borders and Barnes & Noble by e-mail last week and has yet to receive responses.

While she is on leave, she plans to contact those companies and more publishing houses by telephone or in person.

“I figure if I contact them in that way, I’ll get more timely responses,” she said.

With hopes of raising 200 or more books for the brigade, Holder said she is also accepting donations from libraries and military families.

Although she is accepting hard or soft cover books, Holder said that paperbacks are much easier for the soldiers to carry around with them.


The last time I spoke with CPT Patti I wanted to know if the dining facilities were serving hot meals.

I asked her "So, what are you eating these days?"

She said, "The packages of Ramen you send me."

Yes, she gets to the dining facility, but I guess her upbringing and heritage make the Asian noodles a taste of home for her - and a priority.

However, I haven't found any such as this story describes - the kimchee flavored ramen (ramyun).

So, if you are in my family of friends and relatives, please look around to see if you can find kimchee flavored ramyun...the brand cited here is "Shin Ramyun" but I'm sure any brand will long as the flavor is kimchee (we can get beef, shrimp, chicken and "oriental" flavored ramen at the commissary). You might need to check an Asian specialty store.

CPT Patti will love you for it.

Of course, CPT Patti loves you anyway. Its just the way she is.
You’d probably be hard pressed to get kimchee-flavored noodles on the streets of Baghdad these days.

Unless your caring mother is sending them from South Korea.

Over the last few months, Meacha Sullivan has sent several cases of the spicy hot noodles to her son, 1st Lt. Patrick Sullivan. The 26-year-old officer, who has been in the Army about three years, is stationed somewhere in Baghdad with the 596th Signal Company, his mother said.

Sullivan’s pasta pipeline started with a few packages tucked in a care package for Patrick — but the noodles caught on. Other soldiers in his unit began slurping them despite Iraq’s searing heat. The attraction may be in the meal’s simplicity: Only hot water and a few minutes waiting are required and the noodles are ready to eat.

It’s too bad there are no tumbleweeds in Germany.

There are days when tumbleweeds blowing across the empty streets of H.D. Smith Barracks would look just about right, now that everyone has gone.

Before the 1st Armored Division went off to war, this was bustling small-town America. And like every town in America, it has a barbershop. Used to be, troops would have to park at the top of the hill near the Community Bank and walk down to Salvatore Mudano’s shop on Texas Avenue. The barbershop and the beauty salon next door stayed pretty busy before the war.

Now, Mudano is Baumholder’s Maytag repairman.
August 18, 2003
Release Number: 03-08-37



BAGHDAD, Iraq – A 1st Armored Division soldier was killed by an explosive device on August 18.

The incident took place in the Karadah District at 2p.m. The soldier was medically evacuated to the 28th Combat Support Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 3:15 p.m.

The soldier’s name is being withheld pending notification of his next of kin.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 19th. The 100th day of CPT Patti's deployment.

Triple digits now. Just like the temperatures in Baghdad.

Monday, August 18, 2003


His website is here.
I was speaking with a restaurant owner today who had come in to give us some information. I was asking him about his business given the nature of things right now. He answered by saying that business is really tough, especially without electricity, but any kind of business is better than life with Saddam. He invited us over to dine whenever we get a chance.

A mother and her daughter who had both found work in the new government, invited us to spend some time at their farm on the outskirts of Baghdad, to enjoy some real home cooking and a ride on their boat on the Tigris River.

Dad after day, we continue to meet with people who for one reason or another want to come in to meet with us, to share information they have regarding things going on out in the city. Many of the people are confused about what to expect from us, hoping in many cases that their information will be worth a job or some reward in return...

At times I wonder if I will be able to remain caring, concerned, empathetic and compassionate as I continue to deal with my fair share of liars, ungrateful and needy people, takers, dependent individuals, and overall people who feel we owe them something.

I feel at times that I am in some kind of a parent child relationship trying to get them to step up to the plate, to be responsible, to take advantage of things, and to take some initiative.

But yet at all times remembering where these people have been and what kind of environment they have grown up in for the last 35 years. Oh what a toll Saddam's regime has taken on its people.

The real test is whether or not I will continue to do this with all my heart no matter what the people say or do. For the most part the people here are very appreciative of our efforts on their behalf to free them from the chains of bondage. I feel it and see it everywhere I go, kind simple people grateful for our presence.

Who am I to judge anyway, maybe I really don't know what they are thinking or feeling. All I really care about is that we are here making a difference. We, in our own little way, are here in the middle of a bad situation trying, in the only way we know how, to make things better.


One Arab speaks clearly.
Until now, Arabs have adhered to behavior based on domination and use of the power game. Each Arab country is ruled either by a tribe, family or sect, or by a group of families from a certain area. Maintaining such domination requires employing power and sometimes violence, as well as much corruption, since maintaining power demands a distribution of the spoils. Such methods weaken the state and its institutions.

This model can succeed in the short term, but fails in the long term because it is based on an old form of fanaticism and on sowing division among others and sometimes destroying them. To change the ruling methods in the Arab world, what is needed is a national model that goes beyond fanaticism and is based on sound relations between all the components of a country.

A second matter involves rights. No country must be without rights for everyone and there can be no overcoming family domination, tribalism and sectarianism without asserting the equality of all people under the law. The reality in the Arab world is different: Members of the opposition do not enjoy rights simply because they are opponents; a sect which does not rule is often deprived of its rights, while the ruler or those related or close to him are above the law.

Rights in the Arab world are given to those with whom those in power agree or to those who are part of a given sect, a tribe or family.

Yet throughout the world, rights have been developed mainly to protect the weak and those who disagree with decision-makers or the majority. Laws must be developed in Iraq, especially since the country is in the process of writing a constitution and reorganizing civil relations.

A third issue in Iraq is the future of elections. Arab countries have generally organized their affairs without elections, except when arranging polls that are a masquerade of democracy, and where candidates receive 99 percent of votes.

Holding democratic elections in Iraq in accordance with modern laws for both political parties and the media will be very important in determining Iraq’s future. But the most important thing is presenting a new model for elections in the Arab world, different from the traditional model that lacks freedom.