Friday, January 16, 2004

Plane lands at wrong airport

But glad to...
A dozen Democratic state legislators endorsed President Bush at a fund-raiser in Atlanta Thursday, joining maverick U.S. Sen. Zell Miller in backing the rival party's ticket.

Miller, who is not seeking re-election, introduced Bush at the $2,000-per-ticket evening event which boosted his campaign treasury by $1.3 million.

"The more I see of this man, the more I see of this leader, my respect and my support just continues to grow," Miller said to cheers, whistles and applause. "I can guarantee you I will not be the only Democrat working for his election.


When Victor Davis Hanson posts a new column at National Review Online.
As Mr. Bush has grasped, every time we have humiliated our enemies we have gained respect and won security. By the same token, on each occasion we have shown deference to a Mr. Karzai, the Iraqi interim government, and our Eastern European friends, we have helped to create security and stability.

Apart from the model of our forefathers who crushed and then lifted up the Germans and Japanese, we could find no better guide in this war than William Tecumseh Sherman and Abraham Lincoln — in that order.

The former would remind us that our enemies traffic in pride and thus first must be disabused of it through defeat and humiliation. The latter (who turned Sherman and Grant lose) would maintain that we are a forgiving sort, who prefer restored rather than beaten people as our friends.

Great read here by Oliver North taking on Paul O'Neill and Dr. Record (the Army War College professor who has recently heavily criticized the war on terror.)

Go read it all.
On page 28, Dr. Record baldly asserts, "Nonstate (sic) terrorism was notable for its absence in Saddam Hussein's Iraq." This "fact" is just plain wrong. Abu Nidal, the terrorist who tried to kill my wife and children, was found dead in Iraq -- not Libya. And Abu Abbas, the terrorist who organized the hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985 -- and who subsequently funneled millions to Hamas and Al Aksar suicide terrorists was captured in Baghdad -- not Syria or Lebanon. The hundreds of bomb jackets, detonators and explosive devices found at Salman Pak weren't intended for use in Iraq. They were "export items" -- designed for "Jihadists" willing to blow themselves up trying to kill as many "infidels" as possible.

And as for the future of Iraq? Dr. Record's discouraging assessment of where things are headed -- and his recommendation that the United States cede the mission of building security, infrastructure and democratic institutions in Iraq to a "U.N.-authorized multinational force encompassing contingents from major states that opposed the U.S. war against Iraq" defies reality. The U.N. cut and ran from Iraq after a foreign terrorist blew up a truck bomb outside their headquarters on August 19, 2003. Who would lead this U.N. contingent back to Baghdad -- the French? Does Hosni Mubarak want Egyptian troops in Iraq learning about democracy and eventually returning to Cairo with those radical ideas?

Politicians will use the O'Neill book and Dr. Record's depressing document for their own purposes. But military officers compelled to read the latter should also consider the extraordinary successes that they and their comrades in arms have enjoyed in the Global War on Terror -- and in Iraq. Those who doubt need to ask themselves how many attacks we have suffered since 9-11. That's the reality check.

After six months of study, military and civilian medical investigators are still baffled at what caused a spike in an extremely rare form of pneumonia among soldiers in Iraq.

As summer approaches -- and with it the threat of a new outbreak -- they have ruled out all known causes and are settling into intense research to try to find the cause, Col. Bruno Petruccelli, the director of epidemiology and disease surveillance at the U.S. Army Medical Corps, told United Press International Wednesday...

Military health officials believe the culprit to be acute eosinphilic pneumonia, or AEP. Worldwide it occurs in .1 person per 100,000 -- or one in a million. In Iraq, doctors saw a rate nearly 100 times that.
A recycling company found uranium oxide -- a radioactive material also known as yellowcake -- in a shipment of scrap steel it believes originally came from Iraq, the company said Thursday.

Paul de Bruin, spokesman for Rotterdam-based Jewometaal, said that the shipment was passed on last month from a Jordan metal dealer who was unaware it contained any forbidden materials.

"I've dealt with this man for 15 years and he says he's sure it came from Iraq," De Bruin said. He said Jewometaal had been asked not to reveal the name of the Jordanian exporter while the find was being investigated.

Nuclear experts say that although not highly radioactive, uranium oxide can be processed into enriched uranium usable in a nuclear weapon -- but highly advanced technology is needed.

UPDATE: For those of you who read lots of blogs, let me tell you that when I posted this one, title line and all, I had not yet visited Instapundit since he had posted this one.

Kind of freaky.
For the past four decades, Iraqi women have enjoyed some of the most modern legal protections in the Muslim world, under a civil code that prohibits marriage below the age of 18, arbitrary divorce and male favoritism in child custody and property inheritance disputes.

Saddam Hussein's dictatorship did not touch those rights. But the U.S.-backed Iraqi Governing Council has voted to wipe them out, ordering in late December that family laws shall be "canceled" and such issues placed under the jurisdiction of strict Islamic legal doctrine known as sharia.

This week, outraged Iraqi women -- from judges to cabinet ministers -- denounced the decision in street protests and at conferences, saying it would set back their legal status by centuries and could unleash emotional clashes among various Islamic strains that have differing rules for marriage, divorce and other family issues.

Fortunately this would require Mr. Bremer's approval which is unlikely.

But what happens when we leave?

From that French news reporter who was fired for telling the truth comes this example of how the French media just made stuff up rather than cover the war honestly.
When Saddam's defense of Baghdad collapsed, Hertoghe said, Le Monde explained the quick resolution by saying that "upon seeing the brutality of the Americans, Saddam's soldiers preferred not to fight in order to protect the civilian population..."
French President Jacques Chirac is considering sending a military contingent to Iraq to serve under a UN mandate once the US-led coalition has handed over sovereignty to the Iraqis in June, Le Monde newspaper said Thursday.

According to LTG Sanchez:
"Iraqi Rebels are Told to Surrender Or Die"


But reason for caution as well.
Waving banners and banging drums, the first batch of Iraqi Muslim pilgrims have begun leaving for Saudi Arabia on the first haj pilgrimage since Saddam Hussein's fall.

Hundreds of joyful pilgrims gathered in northern Baghdad amid heightened security for the journey that will first take them to Iraq's former foe, Kuwait, before heading on to Islam's holiest cities.

"The pilgrims are so happy this year, the old and the young will be able to go," said Hayder Mehdi, an Iraqi man in his 30s who was among the first to leave. Only elderly pilgrims were allowed to make the journey during more than a decade of sanctions imposed on Iraq before last year's U.S.-led war.

U.S. officials have said Iraqi border guards will be on heightened alert during the haj season to prevent militants from entering the country in the guise of returning pilgrims.

The haj, a pilgrimage to the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina that all able-bodied Muslims are required to perform at least once in their lifetime, is due to begin in early February and lasts for up to two weeks...

During the 1990s, more than 2,000 people died performing the pilgrimage, mainly from being stampeded in the huge, swarming crowds. In the haj's worst tragedy, more than 1,400 pilgrims were killed in 1990 in a stampede in an overcrowded pedestrian tunnel leading to holy sites in Mecca.


According to Bill Evers, selected by the White House to serve as senior advisor on education for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.

Read the whole will feel better for it.
It's not as scary as it looks on TV. But you do have to exercise reasonable prudence.

I traveled in Baghdad and around the country more than most civilians who worked in the Baghdad palace. Usually I traveled with guards armed with assault rifles. I personally found it a bit nerve-racking whenever I was stuck in a traffic jam.

But in five months I never saw a firefight, a bleeding wound or a dead body. I felt and heard explosions, but none were closer than several football fields away.

Watching TV coverage of Iraq is much scarier than being there.
A plane carrying the Georgian defense minister came under fire as it took off from Baghdad's airport to return to Georgia, the minister said Friday. No one was injured.

Defense Minister David Tevzadze said that American soldiers responded immediately and dispatched a helicopter after the plane came under fire after it took off Thursday evening. The shooting then stopped.

STREET BOYS: They speak no English yet I have no trouble communicating with the future generation of Iraq citizens. These are the boys of downtown Baghdad. They are poorly clothed, look malnourished yet cavort and cheer and play like all 8, 9, and 10 year olds.

I feel sorry for these youths. Some don't have mothers or fathers. All live in run down homes. I want to reach out and take them all back with me to Verona. I want them to have good schools. I wish for them to have a good meal. I'd like to take them to the GAP or the mall and buy them new clothes.

I'd like for some of them to see a doctor for the first time in their life. I wish they had dentists. I want them to go sledding in my back yard. I see the excitement in their eyes that I saw in my twin boys Brian and Matthew when they young. It's hard being reporter here.

I want to climb out of my role, my mission and be a humanitarian and put them all on a big jet to the USA. I'll admit. I cried in this street today. The tears I left behind were not only mine....but I sensed some falling from all of YOU who will see these pictures. I know you share in my feelings. We all want their lives to be as nice as ours. Hug YOUR children tonight. Feel the warmth of these boys. They are reaching out for us.

I took these pictures today. I share them and my thoughts with you. It is what the Soldiers of the 32MP unit feeling daily as they patrol and rebuild this city and nation.

-John Karcher, News 3

It took time and patience for U-S forces to capture the most wanted Iraqi in the troubled province west of Baghdad.

The commander of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division tells The Associated Press that his troops pursued Khamis Sirhan al-Muhammad relentlessly for weeks, following up on intelligence and making around a dozen raids together with Special Forces.

A tip led to his capture last Sunday...

Al-Muhammad is suspected of having had direct contact with Saddam Hussein and of directing the ambushes on U-S troops, dynamiting electric pylons and oil pipelines -- and robbing trains.

He reportedly divulged details of 20 guerrilla cells, leading to the capture of 41 insurgents and two former Iraqi generals.

And this is not the same as the Stop Loss/Stop Movement.

Click here to find out what European based units are affected.
The Pentagon is extending tours of duty in Iraq for about 1,500 soldiers, mainly helicopter and other transportation support personnel.

RAMADI, Iraq— This morning at 10 a.m., a pro-coalition demonstration occurred in downtown Ar Ramadi. It was organized to demonstrate against terrorism and show support for the unity of Iraq. The group stopped at the Government Center and the organizers took pictures with the Mayor and Chief of Police as a show of public support for their Iraqi civic leaders. At its peak, the crowd reached approximately 1,000 people.

This is day 249 of CPT Patti's all desert cammouflage wardrobe experiment.

Today's posts are brought to you by the Rapid German Study Foundation...saving you valuable study time by pointing out German phrases you do not need to learn.

Today's phrase you shouldn't bother to learn is

diese Gaststätte hat zu viele Kellnerinnen

Or, in English, "This restaurant has too many waitresses."

You will never ever need this phrase in Germany. The Europeans are renowned for spending hours over dinner in restaurants and bistros - even hours over a single cup of coffee in sidewalk cafe's.

But the truth is they don't actually WANT to spend hours is just that the usual standard for waitstaff in Germany is one waitress per every 14 square kilometers.

If you are interested in getting out of a restaurant quickly then you have no business entering a German restaurant to begin with. No one ever does dinner and a movie in is always a movie followed by dinner for this very reason.

Don't waste time...don't learn this phrase.

Oh...and Happy Birthday Scott.

Thursday, January 15, 2004


As a little kid playing little league football in the 60s the treat for us was we always went to Burger King after the games.

BK had a big ad campaign "Have it your way!"...meaning you could order your Whopper with, or without anything you wanted.

I thought it was hysterical (I'm a kid, remember) to go up to the order taker and say, with a straight face "I'll have a Whopper, hold the bun."

Turns out I was just 30 something years ahead of my time.
Burger King Corp. is joining the low-carbohydrate parade by offering bunless Whopper hamburgers and, soon, salads featuring steak, chicken and shrimp.

The bunless sandwiches, which were launched in Canada and the United States yesterday, come in plastic salad bowls with a knife and fork.

A Marine Lieutenant Colonel writes to his troops.

As you read about these achievements you are a part of, I would call your attention to two things:

1. This is good news that hasn't been fit to print or report on TV.

2. It is much easier to point out the errors a man makes when he makes the tough decisions, rarely is the positive as aggressively pursued.

Since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1, the first battalion of the new Iraqi Army has graduated and is on active duty.

Over 60,000 Iraqis now provide security to their fellow citizens.

Nearly all of Iraq's 400 courts are functioning.

The Iraqi judiciary is fully independent.

On Monday, October 6, power generation hit 4,518 megawatts; exceeding the prewar average...

All 240 hospitals and more than 1,200 clinics are open.

Doctor's salaries are at least eight times what they were under Saddam.

Pharmaceutical distribution has gone from essentially nothing to 700 tons in May to a current total of 12,000 tons.

The Coalition has helped administer over 22 million vaccinations to Iraq's children...

Uday and Qusay are dead-and no longer feeding innocent Iraqis to the zoo lions, raping the young daughters of local leaders to force cooperation, torturing Iraq's soccer players for losing games, or murdering critics.

Children aren't imprisoned or murdered when their parents disagree with the government...

It took the US over four months to clear away the twin tower debris, let alone attempt to build something else in its place. Now, take into account that almost every Democrat leader in the House and Senate has fought President Bush on every aspect of his handling of this country's war and the post-war reconstruction, and that they continue to claim on a daily basis on national TV that this conflict has been a

Taking everything into consideration, even the unfortunate loss of our brothers and sisters in this conflict, do you think anyone else in the world could have accomplished as much as the United States and the Bush administration in so short a period of time?

These are things worth writing about. Get the word out.

There is more...go read it.

Very good piece by Thomas Friedman here. Go read it all.
This may be apocryphal, but Saddam is supposed to have once remarked something like: Be careful, if you get rid of me, you will need seven presidents to rule Iraq...

If Iraq is going to be made to work as a decent, pluralistic, self-governing entity, noted the Iraq expert Amatzia Baram of the United States Institute of Peace, all the key factions there will have to accept being "reasonably unhappy." All will have to settle for their second-best dream in order to avoid their first-class nightmare: chaos or a return to tyranny...

In short, our most serious long-term enemy in Iraq may not be the Iraqi insurgents, but the Iraqi people. Can they live together reasonably unhappy at first, and then grow reasonably happy? If they can, we will be Iraq's temporary midwife, helping give birth to its democracy. If they can't, we will be Iraq's new, always unhappy, baby sitter, and the old one, Saddam Hussein, will be laughing at us all the way to the gallows.

Day after day they come, tens of thousands of Iraqi pilgrims who for years were denied the right under Saddam Hussein to travel to Mecca, thrusting their outstretched papers at officials so they can set out on the hajj.

In the past frenetic weeks, Baghdad's central passport office has been flooded with hopeful Muslims determined to fulfil one of the fundamental duties of Islam. Saddam kept them at home, allowing only a few hundred older worshippers to make the journey.

The pent-up demand is huge. Almost 200,000 Iraqis applied to make the pilgrimage this year, competing for 30,000 spaces allotted to Iraq by authorities in Mecca.

And appears it isn't all sweetness and light:

Iraqis who had hoped to make the annual pilgrimage to the Muslim holy city of Mecca this week angrily accused politicians and religious leaders Tuesday of manipulating the lottery that selected 30,000 people for the sacred trip to Saudi Arabia.

Iraqis carrying scraps of paper scribbled with their lottery numbers crowded mosques throughout Baghdad. Some beat security guards and fought one another when they didn't see their names on rosters of pilgrims. Entrepreneurs seized on the confusion, illegally selling their spots for up to $200 and turning Islam's most precious pilgrimage into just another postwar commodity.

(Empahsis added)

I guess its just a sign of how much I don't get it...but beating innocent bystanders and auctioning one's most pious religious duty to the highest bidder just strikes me as not representing ones religion very well.

Especially in the car-bomb capital of Iraq.
''If we only knew who was doing this,'' said Hussein, who was handpicked by U.S. military overseers to join the force. He said he and his comrades expected someone would try to harm them because his unit is responsible for defusing bombs discovered in cars and along roadways. Hussein escaped with cuts on his face and legs.

In conversations with store owners and customers in nearby businesses, the prevailing view was that Islamic militants were to blame. Leaflets calling for holy war have been distributed in the city, and the police say they've been warned to quit.

''We all have been warned. We know the risks,'' said Ahmed Mahmoud Ahmed, another officer.

But some townspeople offered explanations rooted in their own political views: It was the Americans shooting from helicopters; it was the Jews, it was a mortar.

Ah yes...that old familiar Arab pathology again.


Leading the way as we turn over their country to their care.
The pickup stopped at a threadbare little roadblock the local police had made of motor oil jugs and soda cans. The bomb was 150 yards up the road, the police said.

Lieutenant Khadem stepped out of the car, dressed only in street clothes, and told himself what he always does as he jogged forward: "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet."

As the American-led coalition begins turning over self-rule and security to Iraqis, some, like those in the Baghdad bomb squad, are already shouldering the burden.

"It's a war," Lieutenant Mahdi said. "It's not a war for the Americans. It's a war for us."

Lt. Col. Mustafa al-Wahab estimated that among the 30 or so calls a day the squad receives, half turn out to be roadside bombs or rockets aimed at some target. In the last nine months, the 11 ordnance experts in the squad have probably defused an average of 40 to 50 bombs per man, Colonel Wahab said.


This is a wonderful story. And yet, perhaps the greatest thing about it is that it is not unusual in any way. Americans have stepped up all over the place.

This morning I received notice that another group, the Reno/Tahoe Branch of the International Food Service Executives (IFSEA) has adopted CPT Patti's company and have been sending stuff every month.

When a local soldier sent a request for help with donations to a Baghdad orphanage, he had no idea how enthusiastically Northern Hills residents would respond.

"He was so surprised," Ernie Nauman of Spearfish said of his son, U.S. Army Captain Scott Nauman who is serving in Baghdad, Iraq. "Then again, given that it was our community that he called upon, it didn't surprise him."

What the 65 Iraqi orphans, newborn to seven-years-old, received were 523 pounds of clothing, toys and necessities collected by Northern Hills churches and individuals in September 2003.

"Almost 2,100 separate items were shipped," said the senior Nauman. "In addition, $700 was donated for shipping."

"The people at the orphanage were overwhelmed with joy," Ernie Nauman said of the delivery of the goods. "The soldiers showed up with suckers ... and 28 boxes of donated articles."

We've captured 3 out of every 4 to this point.
U.S. military officials announced Wednesday they had captured another of the top 55 fugitives from Saddam Hussein's regime, reducing the list of those at large to 13.

Khamis Sirhan al-Muhammad, suspected of involvement with ongoing insurgent attacks, was No. 54 on the U.S. list. He was taken into custody Sunday near Ramadi in an operation by special operations forces and members of the 82nd Airborne Division, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said Wednesday

This is too bad...while the bureaucratic weenies in DC are still figuring this out, some soldiers will exit the service. Many of those will never receive their medals, even though they will be authorized to

If servicemembers are saving a few spots on their ribbon bar for the Global War on Terrorism Service or Expeditionary medals, they may be waiting a while before they?re filled.

Last year, President Bush authorized the medals, but ?the criteria for the medals are still in the review process,? Department of Defense spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Jane Campbell said last week.

The two medals are similar in name but differ based on what a servicemember does in the war on terrorism. The expeditionary medal ?is for those who deploy to fight, and the service version is for those who support and defend,? Campbell wrote in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes.


These guys are working right up to the wire.

MOSUL, IRAQ (Jan. 14, 2004) – The operational tempo of the 101st Airborne Division remains high today as its soldiers prepared for redeployment and completed major reconstruction projects in Northern Iraq.

Soldiers of the 926th Engineer Battalion put a generator into operation at the Mosul beet sugar factory. This project will ensure the factory has power at all times, boosting employment in the city and also contribute to the city’s power grid during peak load times.

The Division's Surgeon section sponsored a program that provided three new ambulances to hospitals in Mosul and Qayyarah. The ambulances are 2004 model from a prominent Japanese manufacturer and cost more than $120,000.

In the small town of Filfell, north of Mosul, the division’s Fire Support Element led an effort to restore an oil storage depot to operation. The station, once used as an export station to Turkey, can hold 12,000 liters of oil and will return to its original purpose when Iraq’s oil industry infrastructure is running at full capacity.

The 101st continues to work with the citizens and leaders of Iraq to make it a safe, prosperous, and democratic nation.


The 248th day of CPT Patti's deployment.

Dedicated to helping you save time todays Rapid German Study Foundation phrase you don't need to know:

"diese Parkenräume sind sehr groß"

In English, "These parking spaces are very big."

You don't need to learn this phrase because parking spaces in Germany are exactly the width of a small Opel and seem to presume that folks enter and exit their cars via the sunroof.

Therefore, the RGSF has just saved you more time today in your German studies.

(Pretty soon I'm going to start charging for this amazing service....)

Wednesday, January 14, 2004


Just a personal observation...and perhaps indicative that I am "of a certain age".

Are you aware that covers, or remakes are doing well on the pop charts these days? Or, are you even aware that these are remakes? (Yes, Erin, I'm talking to you!)

The easiest one to spot is "Its My Life" by No Doubt. But this catchy tune made its first trip around the block in the 80s when it was a hit for the British group Talk Talk.

But how many of the pups out there know that your parents were listening to "Behind Blue Eyes" (currently covered by Limp Bizkit) 32 years ago in 1971. That makes the song older than most of the band members. Credit "The Who" for that nice ballad.

And if you've enjoyed that catchy tune out by Sheryl Crow, "The First Cut is the Deepest"...well, Sheryl has some folks to thanks as well. Rod Stewart had a hit with this song in 1976...but he borrowed the song from its author Cat Stevens (nee Stephen Demetri Georgiou in 1948, later converted to Islam adopting the name Yusuf Islam). And according to this website the song has been covered by at least 5 other performers as well.

Of course, I remember being in high school and learning that some of my favorite songs were remakes. "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" and "I Only Have Eyes For You" are two that I remember especially. just occured to me that covers - remakes if you will - are hot items today. Which somehow proves that the good stuff is timeless.


Look here.

Is this the same country where the crybabies have been whining about how the hospitals and pharmacies are broken and blaming the US military for that?

Well the yoga-meisters see it differently.
"Though the war is over, we found many residents were unable to sleep or even eat. The residents go through mood swings and depression. The majority of the men smoke heavily and a large number of women have begun smoking," said Mr Kumar.

The volunteers also found that people were taking pills indiscriminately to get to sleep or forget their worries.

"If they have a headache, they pop a valium. If they feel pain, they take steroids. There's a lot of reckless self-medication," said Mr Kumar.


Paul O'Neill says the press is out of control.

Gee...ya think?
That started what O'Neill described to NBC's "Today" show as a "red meat frenzy that's occurred when people didn't have anything except snippets."

"People are trying to make a case that I said the president was planning war in Iraq early in the administration," O'Neill said.

"Actually, there was a continuation of work that had been going on in the Clinton administration with the notion that there needed to be regime change in Iraq."

And then, there is this comment on Paul O'Neill himself...

This pattern of saying something, being surprised by the reaction, and wanting to take it back is why he got fired in the first place.


But I'm glad its happening now.
The U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq has awarded a $96 million contract to a U.S. producer of communications equipment to run and upgrade Iraq's broadcast and print media for the next 12 months.

In a separate effort, a U.S.-funded, 24-hour Arabic-language satellite television network will start broadcasting to the Middle East within weeks. Part of that effort will focus on delivering news and information programming to an Iraqi audience.

Florida-based Harris Corporation has forged a partnership with two Middle Eastern media companies to develop the network, currently known as Al-Iraqiyah. The network will upgrade and expand media outlets in place under the former regime of Saddam Hussein.

The Fresno Police Department has come up with an idea to help protect police in Iraq.

Chief Jerry Dyer asked the city council to sign off on a plan to send surplus police vests to Iraq.

The vests are still usable, but are no longer in use by the department.

The Police Officer's Association hopes to secure more vests from other agencies. They hope to ship the vests to Iraq by March.

In Iraq these days, you brake for dead animals but not live ones.

One of the strangest things about postwar Iraq is how easy it is to get in and how hard it is to find the American occupiers.

Interesting piece...worth a read.

This journalists chastises her industry for trying to dress up terrorism in the romantic clothes of "resistance".
The car bomb that killed eight people and wounded 35 others in Baghdad on New Year’s Eve wasn’t an act of insurgency, or guerrilla warfare, or resistance. It was an act of terror ­ 500 pounds of high explosives left on a main thoroughfare and aimed at whoever happened to be celebrating the first Saddam-free New Year since 1979 in a restaurant called Nabil...

(T)he Nabil attack...was directed against civilians and killed only civilians, all of them Iraqi. It was entirely random and served no military purpose...

The Baghdad bombers felt no need to explain, or to declare their identity or objective.

It was “a terrorist act by people who have no morals or ethics,” said Iraqi police chief Ahmed Qadim Ibrahim.

If Iraqis can say it, why not we journalists?

An informal survey of a number of major outlets suggested the “T” word was conspicuous by its absence in reports of the Nabil atrocity. The New York Times and the Washington Post spoke of “insurgents.” Reuters used the word “guerrillas.” The Guardian, apparently in possession of privileged information about the nationality and motivation of the bombers, attributed it to “the Iraqi resistance.” Whoops...

In the rabidly anti-American mood of the moment, this needs restating.
Iraqis seem to have had no doubt that spreading terror was the raison d’etre of the attack on New Year’s Eve. It was meant, said Hamid Alyasiry of the Baghdad Police Department, “to frighten everyone.”

But much of the media appeared to impute another motive more in tune with buzzword of the moment: “resistance”...

Although evidence is largely anecdotal, there can be no doubt that the “resistance” in Iraq is supported by only a minority of Iraqis ­ most of them Sunnis (themselves a minority), and many of those supporters of Saddam, with criminal histories and the most questionable of motives.

In an article published on the Open Democracy website, an exile, Yahya Said, who returned to Iraq late last year, said he did not meet a single Iraqi who welcomed violence “as legitimate resistance to occupation.” What he did find, he said, was quite the opposite, namely “a yearning for an end to violence.”...

Said remarked that his visit made him “revise assumptions formed under the influence of Western news coverage dedicated almost exclusively to the reporting of violence.”

Romanticizing Iraq’s “resistance” gives oxygen to those who are killing Iraqis in far larger numbers than they are Americans.

The Mongol Hordes clean up their act.
The last time Mongol troops entered Iraq was in 1258, when the grandson of Genghis Kahn sacked Baghdad in a four-day siege so bloody that legend has it the rivers ran red for days. Eight centuries later, they're back, and they want to help.

"We're on your side," Mongolian President Natsagiyn Bagabandi, a former Soviet cosmonaut, said to President Bush in Washington last April, according to a Western diplomat. "We've had problems with Iraq ourselves."

The country of the fierce Mongol hordes best known for descending from Central Asia's frigid steppes to slay every man, woman and child in any city that refused to submit, has transformed itself into an international peacekeeper. Since 1999, Mongolia has dispatched members of a former Special Forces battalion to global hot spots in the Western Sahara, Congo, Afghanistan and, as of September, Iraq.


Updated curriculum.
Haki, the longest-serving driving instructor in Baghdad, works at one of just six driving schools still operating in the city, compared with 71 before the war.

Staying in business, however, has meant incorporating new and unorthodox techniques into his teaching repertoire.

Along with the three-point turn and reversing around a corner, learners must now master such skills as driving the wrong way down a one-way street and cruising along the sidewalk to escape traffic jams and roadblocks.

There also are new matters of motoring etiquette, such as what to do when sharing road space with a 50-ton U.S. Army tank: Give plenty of clearance to avoid being shot at or getting flattened.

US soldiers have seized four relatives of the man America believes is masterminding attacks against its troops, in early morning raids today.

The raids in Samarra netted four family members, including two nephews of former Iraqi vice president Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, considered the top organiser of attacks against US forces in Iraq and the most senior Iraqi fugitive still at large.

The military said the arrest of the nephews – believed to be helping al-Douri remain in hiding – could help bring coalition forces closer to his capture. Al-Douri, a Revolutionary Command Council vice chairman and long-time Saddam confidant, is number six on the US list of 55 most wanted Iraqis.
A suspected suicide car bomb exploded at a police station in central Iraq on Wednesday, killing at least two other people and wounding 14, while U.S. troops edged closer in their hunt for Iraq's most-wanted man. A policeman in the town of Baquba, a hotbed of anti-American insurgency about 40 miles north of Baghdad, said he saw a white car race toward the police station seconds before it erupted in a powerful blast that knocked down scores of people.

"There were two civilians killed in the street and at least 14 people were injured, all of them police," said the policeman, who declined to be identified. The bomber was also killed.


Well, I even hesitate to bring this up...but we have updated information on CPT Patti's schedule.

When last we spoke of this subject we had just learned that the Stop Loss/Stop Movement (SL/SM) order was official and that it did affect CPT Patti.

At that time we believed that would delay her return from Baghdadd until probably May.

However, yesterday afternoon she sent me an which she tells me that the current plan is for her to be a part of the ADVON (Advanced Echelon) for the 501st FSB as they return home.

And what that means is that she will precede the units "main body" in order to handle the logistics required to receive all those people and all that equipment enroute from Iraq.

And that means, according to current plan, that we are sort of back where we started...believing she will be returning to Germany sometime in March.

Oh how I pray this will hold up...

Because right now I'm very, VERY happy about it.
South Korean officials say keeping SARS cases off the peninsula is attributable to more stringent prevention measures and, in part, to the supposed health benefits of kimchi, the spicy and ubiquitous national dish.

If you aren't familiar with this Korean dish, in its purest form it is somewhat fermented cabbage overly infused with spicy red pepper and a whole lot of garlic.

Eat it today...and the odor will seep from your pores until Friday...

But it IS good.
Working full-tilt, nine contractors have finished crafting 160,000 Interceptor body armor vests, and the equipment is now en route to units preparing to deploy to Iraq and a central distribution point in Kuwait, according to Army officials.

This month’s production run of the Interceptor tactical vests fulfills a promise to Congress by Army officials, who said that by January the service would have enough of the vests to outfit every soldier deployed to Iraq, according to Army spokesman Maj. Gary Tallman.

“Congress has been notified that the requirement has been met,” Tallman said Friday...

As units assigned to Iraq’s first rotation make their way home through Kuwait, they will turn in their assigned vests to a central collection point at Kuwait’s Camp Victory, Tallman said.

Those vests will be checked out and reissued to Operation Iraqi Freedom 2 personnel who are staging in Kuwait.


The 247th day of CPT Patti's foreign study in the land of the fertile crescent.

Me...I'm establishing the Rapid German Study attempt to save you time in learning German by pointing out phrases you do NOT need to learn since they are NEVER used in German.

Todays Rapid German Study Foundation phrase you don't need to bother to learn:

kostenlose Nachfüllung

which is German for "free refill"...but since there is no such thing as a free refill in Germany, you don't need to learn this phrase at all.

See how much time you just saved?

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Sick to death of "identity politics" at home, Americans find themselves dealing with a tinderbox of ethnic division in Iraq. We may be the least well-equipped nation in the world to manage the kinds of group hatreds that threaten Iraqi society today.

Because of our belief in the "melting pot" and America's own relatively successful - though halting and incomplete - history of assimilation, we don't always understand the significance of ethnicity, especially abroad.

Seems to me that failing to develop a melting pot mentality...that is, heeding the lines of ethnic hatred has a whole lot to do with the middle east being the stagnant cesspool of zero manufacturing, zero economic growth, terror petri-dish that it is today...

Update on the spy trial in Chicago.
A community newspaper publisher accused of spying on Iraqi dissidents in the United States was found guilty Monday of serving as an unregistered agent of Saddam Hussein.

The jury took less than two hours to convict Khaled Dumeisi after the week-long trial.


Welcome to the Baghdad Bob Show!
It's the all-new Baghdad Bob - he's cleaned up his act, dyed his hair and he's back on the air.

Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, the Iraqi minister of disinformation who became famous for his absurd daily reports that Iraq was winning the war, has popped up on Arab television as a commentator - as these new exclusive photos show.

The fallen regime spin-doctor was hired by Abu Dhabi TV specifically to rant about his former boss and favorite subject: Saddam Hussein.

A group of 40 men armed with AK-47 assault rifles in 10 to 15 vehicles were spotted at the pipeline by the troops who were led to the area by an Iraqi informant, said army spokesman, Master Sergeant Robert Cargie.

US troops, armed with M-16 rifles and 125mm cannons mounted on Bradley fighting vehicles, shot at the thieves, killing seven of them in a gunfight, he said. The remaining people escaped, he said.

Reverand, you went over there with an agenda...and you were utterly feckless then.

And now that 5 million Iraqis have been liberated you refuse to acknowledge that progress can be progress although yet imperfect.

Sorry, reverand...your bias is showing.

A Methodist minister who traveled to Baghdad last year to oppose going to war with Iraq has begun a hunger strike to call attention to what he says have been human rights abuses of Iraqi civilians by American troops there.

The Rev. Frederick Boyle of the Titusville United Methodist Church in Mercer County has been one of New Jersey's most active opponents of the war. In February and March, he attracted widespread attention when he spent nine days inside Iraq in advance of an anticipated bombing campaign to call attention to its potential impact on civilians.

With U.S. and other coalition forces still occupying the country 10 months later, Boyle's attention has remained on civilian victims of the war.

Iraqi civilians have been subject to searches in the middle of the night, detentions without charges, destruction of their homes and property, injury and death, Boyle said.
An international trade fair organizers hope will attract hundreds of businesses to Baghdad is being postponed for a month because of the amount of interest from the United States, the head of the Iraqi-American Chamber of Commerce said Monday.

Raad Ommar told reporters in Amman the "Destination Baghdad Expo" would now open in early April.

"Our best guess is that it will take place somewhere between April 5 and 6," Ommar said, saying the delay from an earlier planned March 1 to 4 fair was due to "the large interest from the United States."

A U.S. helicopter went down Tuesday near the town of Habaniyah, west of Baghdad, the Coalition Public Information Center (CPIC) said.

However, the noon (Central European Time) Headline News broadcast indicated the crew survived this crash, thank the Lord.

But then there is also this:

At least two explosions ripped through different parts of Baghdad on Monday, with one killing a U.S. soldier and the other apparently targeting journalists.

A U.S. soldier was killed and two others wounded by a homemade bomb that went off in central Baghdad, the 1st Armored Division said.

All three were soldiers of the division. The attack took place about 10 a.m. (3 a.m. ET) and is under investigation, according to a statement from the 1st Armored Division. No other details of the attack were released.

The flag in front of 1st Brigade HQ in Friedberg is not at half staff, indicating the 1AD casualty was not from the 1st Brigade.



This is the 246th day of CPT Patti's field trip to the "cradle of civilization".

Me...I'm here in Germany reminded once again that the German word for weather is "Wetter".

And my nomination, therefore, of the German phrase you need least in your vocabulary: "ein schöner sonniger Tag" (A beautiful, sunny day.)

Monday, January 12, 2004


In their hatchet job of the President, they failed to mention that the Clinton administration had nearly identical plans for says the American Spectator
What former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and other Bush administration blabbermouths failed to mention when leaking NSC documents and the like for the forthcoming book O'Neill worked on, is that the Clinton administration had many of the same documents prepared laying out plans for a Iraq post-invasion Iraq.

"We had the same stuff," says a former senior Clinton Administration aide who worked at the Pentagon. "It would have been irresponsible not to have such planning. We had all kinds of briefing material ready should the president have decided to move on Iraq. In fact, a lot of the material we had prepared was material that the previous Bush administration had left for us. It just isn't that big a deal. Or shouldn't be."

My home state raises some interesting challenges for the 9 dwarves.
If you're a Democrat running for president, South Carolina isn't a battlefield: It's a minefield.

First you have to somehow slip past the Confederate-flag issue. (Oops! There goes Howard Dean). Then you have to step around the flag-inspired NAACP boycott — a boycott that Senator John Edwards's campaign handled courageously by saying that "while he would honor [it], that did not mean he necessarily supported it." (Boom.)

Then you've got the problem of being a northeastern liberal with a potty mouth in the most socially conservative state east of Utah (Sorry, Senator Kerry). Or you could run on your credentials as a champion of Big Labor, and all twelve of South Carolina's unionized employees will rally to your flag. (Goodbye, Representative Gephardt.)

Unlike Iowa and New Hampshire, black voters are a major part of the South Carolina Democratic coalition, so there's real opportunity to motivate them. You just have to be careful and not use race-baiting rhetoric that will alienate the state's other major constituency: moderate, white Democrats. (Adios, Al Sharpton.)

And, finally, after years of Strom Thurmonds and Fritz Hollingses, South Carolina voters like colorful, entertaining characters. You don't want to bore them into submission. (Can I get you your coat, Senator Lieberman?)

"All-out war: How the press lied to us about Iraq"), was published by Calmann Levy, France's oldest publishing house, with impeccable timing last October...

It wasn't critical of France. It was critical of the French press.

Specifically, it was critical of the misleading and incompetent reporting that appeared not only in his own paper, but also in Le Figaro, Le Monde, Libération, and Ouest-France, the largest regional newspaper, during the first few weeks of the war in Iraq. Hertoghe's book appeared in bookstores around the country and he waited for the debate to begin.

It never started. Instead, Hertoghe told me, "I experienced collective and spontaneous silence." Other than a paragraph in a column in Le Figaro and an item in a free paper distributed to commuters, no major French newspaper has reviewed the book, or even mentioned it...

Instead, just before Christmas, Hertoghe was confronted by his editor, Bruno Frappat. He was told by Frappat that he had "committed an act of treason" and fired.

Humvees have become a regular target for roadside bombs planted by Iraqi insurgents, so who better to call on to strengthen U.S. military vehicles against future blasts than Iraqis themselves.

While driving through the Kurdish-controlled northern city of Kirkuk several months ago, Master Sgt. Dana Watson, 43, of St. Johns, Mich., came up with the idea to seek local assistance when he spotted men at a metal works shop grinding and welding pieces of steel.

"I went to these guys with the design to fit our vehicles with some kind of reinforced steel and asked if they could build a prototype," Watson, a combat engineer with the Tikrit-based 4th Infantry Division, said recently. "They said they could, and after making a bid for the project, they won the tender."

The winning company, which belongs to Kirkuk businessman Delshat Peerot Aziz, has built and installed 8mm thick steel casings in the rear compartments of 100 Humvees and other vehicles where gun-toting soldiers sit. It also fitted new doors made of the same material onto each of the vehicles.


Because apparently retired General Wesley Clark will say whatever you want to hear.
"Certainly there's a connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda," (Clark) said in 2002.

"There was no imminent threat from Iraq, nor was Iraq connected with Al Qaeda."
(January 4, 2004, Wesley Clark)

Taking lessons from Slick Willie, Wes?

Thanks Turkey...but it turns out we didn't need your fence ridin' "friendship".
Turkey lets US use base for troop change in Iraq

When service to the nation is considered "their" job...such results can be expected.
A British officer noted for a stirring eve-of-battle speech to troops preparing to fight in Iraq has resigned, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed.

Col. Tim Collins, 43, was widely praised when he told his soldiers to "wipe them out if that is what they choose. But if you are ferocious in battle, remember to be magnanimous in victory." ...

The Mail on Sunday quoted Collins' wife Caroline as saying he was disillusioned with changes in the armed forces.

"Tim is no longer convinced that the army reflects the country with the fourth largest economy in the world," she was quoted as saying. "He fears it is becoming a cottage industry.

"He's worried it is being crippled by political correctness, petty bureaucracy and the refusal of politicians who send British soldiers to war to give them enough money to do their job."

"Now you see how it feels, how we have to jump and duck when we hear explosions," Samia Abdullah, a 45-year-old Fallujah resident, told a reporter on the bus. "Day and night, we are afraid, and we are tired of it. I can no longer feel proud of the resistance. They have made these bombings our everyday life."

Such disdain for anti-American attacks is a new phenomenon in Fallujah...

"I'm against the resistance now, and I'm not afraid to say it," said Mahmoud Ali, 25, who was tending a roadside soda stand. "I can bring you a dozen friends who say the same thing. I wish the attacks would stop. It's affecting our whole stability, our whole life."

Oh...and somehow these escaped UN reporting and discovery by UN weapons inspectors over the course of a decade or so...
Danish and Icelandic troops have uncovered a cache of 36 shells buried in the Iraqi desert, and preliminary tests showed they contained a liquid blister agent, the Danish military said Saturday.

The 120mm mortar shells are thought to be left over from the eight-year war between Iraq and neighboring Iran, which ended in 1988, said U.S. Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt.

AT LEAST five people were killed yesterday when a bicycle bomb exploded in a busy Iraqi street as worshippers streamed out of a Shiite Muslim mosque after midday prayers.

And...another mosque bombing. Recall that we are the culturally insensitive "infidels" when we so much as get near a mosque. But apparently it is OK to use them as armories and long as you are Muslim yourself.

And on any given day this could be any one of us who has a husband, wife, son or daughter down range.

The sharp edge of that possibility leaves one raw after a while
The conversation fallen Auburn soldier Jesse Mizener had literally moments before his death in Iraq is still bringing comfort to his young widow, his words offering a final goodbye to his family.

“He told me that he loved me so much and couldn’t wait to come home to me,” said Auburn resident Nicole Mizener. “Then he said, ‘Nicole, you sit those babies down and you tell them that their daddy loves them.’ He said, ‘You promise me you’ll do that?’ I said, ‘Of course, I do all the time. They know.’”

The call came at 6:14 a.m. Wednesday, less than two minutes before the mortar attack that took Mizener’s life, Nicole Mizener estimated. The couple spoke regularly on the phone during the soldier’s deployment about their children — Gia, 2, Eve, 1 and Jesse Alexander Jr., less than two months old.

“It was the best conversation I’ve ever had,” Mizener said. “It was the kind of conversation where you just had an opportunity to say everything that you’ve ever wanted to say and take back anything you had said that you regretted.”

I can't say if this guy overstates the case, but it is informative to see this issue through his eyes.
One night, weary of Iraq's all-male environment, I went to the Al-Hamra Hotel, a well-known hang-out for Westerners. There, in the outdoor courtyard, I took a seat near a table where two American women were conversing. During the course of their conversation, I was startled when the pair burst out laughing at some shared comment-and I realized that, during my entire time in Iraq, I had not heard a woman laugh. Not in a free and unguarded manner, at any rate. The sound of female laughter struck me like music-a wonderful sound I'd taken for granted in the States, but which now seemed more precious, more worth defending, in Iraq and at home, than anything I'd heard before. At once, my "objectivity" vanished: I became a feminist warrior.

I don't mean to sound naïve, or possessed with the outrage of the newly-converted. Endorsing feminism for Iraq is a huge proposition. Once you link women's rights with the country's democratization, it's a short step to connecting the issue with freedom throughout the entire Middle East-and, by extension, victory in the war against terror. In this context, cultural mores take on enormous significance: no longer an exotic foreign custom, hejab now appears as fundamentalist's weapon that oppresses women and retards the spread of democracy. Even more unacceptable are "honor killings"- the tradition of murdering females who have somehow disgraced their families. (I am writing this essay in Amman, Jordan, where a 22 year-old man just received a suspended one-year prison sentence for brutally killing his sister because she persisted in leaving home without parental permission.) In short, what befalls Middle Eastern women affects the security of America.

Of course, you may want to consider this quote...

I have not left after me any chance of turmoil more injurious to men than the harm done to men because of women. -- the Prophet Mohammad

A place for the troops to catch a break.
More than 1,800 troops have cycled through since the hotel opened in mid-October.

Called Freedom Rest, it offers a sauna, outdoor swimming pool, 100-seat movie theater, weight rooms and 24-hour food service, including T-bone steaks and lobster. In the renovated marble lobby with glass chandeliers glistening overhead, uniformed attendants sweep up cigarette butts and serve cold drinks.

"It's a great escape from getting mortared," Sgt. Xochitl Barragan, 27, of Fort Worth, Tex., said as she emerged dripping from the huge pool, where air defense and engineer specialists had just finished a splash contest off the 10-meter diving board...

Back at Freedom Rest, tucked just inside Baghdad's barricaded "green zone," soldiers are required to check their combat fatigues, body armor and assault rifles at the door and change into civilian clothes or workout togs. For many, it is the first time in months to unwind, sleep in or watch endless movies.

Still, after nights of rocket and mortar attacks, some soldiers say it is hard to break old habits of scanning the hotel rooftop for snipers or momentarily panicking when they don't find their weapons by their sides at bedtime.

"Last night," said Sgt. William Schramm, 25, of Lancaster, Wis., "it was so quiet I could barely sleep."

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, refused to say if the investigation was still ongoing or what had been uncovered.

Or, restated, "speaking on the condition of anonymity, the official said nothing."

For this we have journalism schools?

This lady picked the wrong family to steal from...
A former U.S. marine captain performed a citizen's arrest Friday on a woman suspected of stealing his wife's purse.

Bron Roeder of Soquel recently returned home from the front lines in Baghdad...

Roeder didn't find the suspect at the drug store. But when he went to the grocery store next door, he spotted a woman standing in the check-out line with his wife's red leather purse.

He walked over, grabbed her wrist and told her she was going to jail.


A good piece on LTG Sanchez, the senior military officer in Iraq.

His is a true American dream it all.
Outside the American headquarters, Sanchez clambered on a tank to chat with crewmen who, like others in the American garrison at Abu Saida, have been retrained as infantrymen for patrols, firefights and other duties around the town. As he talked with the crewmen, one, Hector Quijada, 20, from the Bronx, N.Y., stepped forward and spoke in Spanish. The two men, the general and the specialist, then spoke quietly for several minutes.

Afterward, Quijada, speaking in fractured English, said that he and his family had migrated to the United States four years ago, settling in New York, where his father worked in a plastics factory. What he wanted the general to know, he said, was that he was a hero among Mexican-Americans, and among Quijada's friends in his hometown of Cancun. "I told him that the people of Mexico always talk about General Sanchez, everybody gets excited about him."

Attacks against coalition forces in Iraq have dropped 22% in the four weeks since Saddam Hussein's capture, military records show.


That is what Saddam is, say the DOD lawyers.

Me...I'm thinking there is more to this than we are seeing .

Do you suppose the lawyer types hadn't stopped to consider what his status would be during the ten months we've had forces there? Do you think it really took the DOD lawyers a month to get around to rendering an opinion once we got our hands on him?

I'm not sure why this would be happening, but I'm thinking its a bit fishy.
Iraqi authorities expressed surprise and disappointment Saturday at reports that Pentagon lawyers have determined that Saddam Hussein has been a prisoner of war since American forces captured him last month.

On Friday, a Pentagon spokesman, Maj. Michael Shavers, said the Defense Department's top civilian lawyers have determined that Saddam is a prisoner of war because of his status as former commander in chief of Iraq's military. The lawyers determined that no formal declaration of Saddam's status was needed, he said.

Some Iraqis expressed concern that prisoner of war status, which grants Saddam certain legal rights and protection under the Geneva Conventions, could prevent Iraqi courts from trying the ousted dictator for alleged crimes against the Iraqi people.

"I am surprised by this decision," said Dara Nor al-Din, a former appeals court judge and member of the Iraqi Governing Council. "We still consider Saddam a criminal and he will be tried on this basis. This new move will be discussed thoroughly in the Governing Council."

Debate away...the Iraqis can try the man however they want is their country. Us...we sort of have to do it this way.

Don't know why folks are concerned...I mean, do you really think there is a chance in hell we can't convict the guy in a fair trial???

One of six camps on the Iraq-Kuwait border where those coming and going will cross paths.
Much has changed since the battalion originally left Camp Virginia to push north into Iraq. Furnace-like winds that blew dust storms across the desert last spring have given way to winter rains that soak the sand, turning the camp into a soupy mush.

Life is fairly mundane for the troops here. Signs read, no parking, no smoking, no weapons allowed. Troops cluster among the tiny cappuccino shop and the Internet café.

International servicemembers fill many of the tent cities. It’s common to hear Spanish, Italian, Polish or Hungarian as groups of soldiers walk through the camp. Troops from Denmark, Lithuania and Bulgaria are also passing through. More foreign units are expected, Edwards said.


The arduous and mundane task of cleaning equipment...but it is a huge hurdle between the soldiers and coming home
Soaked through to the skin, Pvt. Dustin Munson, 19, of Shirley, N.Y., lit a cigarette and checked his watch. The mechanics had worked for 24 hours, with just a two-hour break, Munson said. Despite the soldiers’ best efforts, sergeants working for customs still found dirty places the soldiers overlooked.

“It sucks. They’ll reach their finger at something you didn’t see,” Munson said. “After a year in Iraq, it’s hard to get these trucks clean. But no soil will leave this country.”


But only for those whose R&R was lately.

Perhaps this is what is meant by "the last shall be first..."
The Army is now reimbursing troops for commercial plane tickets home for troops returning for two-weeks vacation from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Troops tapped for the two-week vacation away from the war zones under the Rest and Recuperation program will have to pay their own way up front, and then file the necessary reimbursement paperwork.

“Payment will be through the normal channels. They’ll submit a travel voucher through their chain of command and [the Defense Finance and Accounting System] will pay it,” said Gary Jones, a spokesman for Army Forces Central Command in Atlanta. “Just save the receipts.”

Reimbursements for fares already paid by troops are retroactive only to Dec. 19, and do not extend to the beginning of program, which started in September.


CENTCOM has numerous stories about Iraqis identifying weapons caches to US forces.

Good news...and progress.

Day 245 of CPT Patti's Arabian adventure.

Thank God she doesn't have to do 1001 Arabian nights...

Me - I took the weekend off from posting, watched movies, football...and RAIN. It has rained everyday since CPT Patti left to go back to Iraq.

No - this is not a is a meteorological fact.

Rain, rain, drizzle, rain...

And its pretty darned depressing.