Shortage of troops in Iraq a `grim warning' (Tom Lasseter, McClatchy Newspapers, July 27, 2006) The Bush administration's decision to move thousands of U.S. soldiers into Baghdad to quell sectarian warfare before it explodes into outright civil war underscores a problem that's hindered the American effort to rebuild Iraq from the beginning: There aren't enough troops to do the job. . . . Many U.S. officials in Baghdad and in Washington privately concede the point. They say they've been forced to shuffle American units from one part of the country to another for at least two years because there haven't been enough soldiers and Marines to deal simultaneously with Sunni Muslim insurgents and Shiite militias; train Iraqi forces; and secure roads, power lines, border crossings and ammunition dumps. . . . Although military planners are still finalizing the details, as many as 4,000 additional U.S. soldiers are being sent to Baghdad, including two battalions of the Army's 172nd Stryker Brigade, four or five military police companies from northern Iraq and a field artillery battalion that's standing in reserve in Kuwait. . . . "You can't do clear-and-hold with the force structure we have," the senior American military official said. "I'm almost of the view that you've got to bring more troops and they've got to stay longer, but no one wants to hear that." . . . Almost no high-ranking, active-duty U.S. officers are willing to discuss their concerns about troop levels publicly, for fear of being reprimanded or having their careers cut short. . . . There have been many examples of the implications of inadequate troop levels in Iraq [click the link above for full details] . . . Anthony Cordesman, an expert on military affairs, wrote this week that "the announcement that the U.S. is sending more troops into Baghdad is a grim warning of just how serious the situation in Iraq has become. The fact is that U.S. forces are now strained throughout the country in spite of efforts to create Iraqi military, security and police forces." . . . Cordesman continued: "Reinforcing Baghdad inevitably means weakening both U.S. and Iraqi capabilities somewhere else, and despite all of the talk that the insurgency focuses on Baghdad and four provinces, civil strife is steadily broadening in most of Iraq."
Barbaric G.I.s Forment Hate in Iraq If you click the ReadMore link, you will see a video that was posted on YouTube.com a couple months ago. It is almost beyond my ablility to comprehend how someone can be as ignorant as are the U.S. troops in Iraq. In this video you will see the Americans destroy a man's taxi for no reason other than their sadistic pleasure. This is democracy Bush-style. It is no wonder that anyone with half a brain hates the USA. These atrocities are being done in YOUR NAME . . . so what are you going to do about it?
U.S. Troops Ordered to Kill Young Iraqi Males (Associated Press, 21 July 2006) Four U.S. soldiers accused of murdering suspected insurgents during a raid in Iraq said they were under orders to "kill all military age males," according to sworn statements obtained by The Associated Press. . . . "The ROE (rule of engagement) was to kill all military age males on Objective Murray," Staff Sgt. Raymond L. Girouard told investigators, referring to the target by its code name. . . . That target, an island on a canal in the northern Salhuddin province, was believed to be an al-Qaida training camp. The soldiers said officers in their chain of command gave them the order and explained that special forces had tried before to target the island and had come under fire from insurgents. . . . Girouard, Spc. William B. Hunsaker, Pfc. Corey R. Clagett, and Spc. Juston R. Graber are charged with murder and other offenses in the shooting deaths of three of the men during the May 9 raid. . . . Girouard, Hunsaker and Clagett are also charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly threatening to kill another soldier if he told authorities what happened. . . . In sworn statements obtained this week by the AP, Girouard, Hunsaker, Clagett, and a witness, Sgt. Leonel Lemus, told Army investigators they were ordered to attack an island in northern Salahuddin province on May 9 and kill anti-Iraqi fighters with ties to al-Qaida. . . . All four soldiers charged are members of the Fort Campbell, Ky.-based 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. They have been jailed in Kuwait since their June arrests. Their first hearing is Aug. 1 near Tikrit, Iraq. . . . Officers from their unit initially cleared the soldiers of wrongdoing. Charges were filed when witnesses changed their testimony after repeated interviews with Army investigators, Bergrin said. . . . Military officials have released few details of the case. . . . Read more!
Thousands flee as Iraq violence deepens (Ahmed Rasheed and Alastair Macdonald, Reuters, 20 July 2006) Tens of thousands more Iraqis have fled their homes as sectarian violence looks ever more like civil war two months after a U.S.-backed national unity government was formed, official data showed on Thursday. . . . The U.S. military admitted violence in Baghdad was little changed by a month-long clampdown and the city morgue said it had seen 1,000 bodies so far in July, a slight increase on June. . . . A day after the United States issued a stern warning to both Shi'ite and minority Sunni leaders to match talk with action on reining in and reconciling "death squads" and "terrorists" from their respective communities, the Migration Ministry said more than 30,000 people had registered as refugees this month alone. . . . The increase took to 27,000 families -- some 162,000 people -- the number who have registered for help with the ministry in the five months since the February 22 bombing of a Shi'ite shrine at Samarra sparked a new phase of communal bloodshed. . . . Among 11 new tented camps being set up by the ministry is one in the southern city of Diwaniya, where police said some 10,000 Shi'ite refugees have arrived in recent weeks. . . . The U.S. military conceded that a massive security operation launched a month ago to stop violence tearing Baghdad apart had achieved only a "slight downtick" in bloodshed. . . . Four of the bloodiest incidents this year have taken place this month -- two al Qaeda car bombings of Shi'ite markets in Baghdad and Kufa and two gun attacks blamed on Shi'ite militias. . . . Those four alone, two of them just this week, claimed some 220 lives. But as the United Nations said this week, that is a fraction of some 100 civilians a day who are dying in violence. . . . But Iraqi politicians and diplomats increasingly question the resolve within the government and parliament to set aside partisan aims to stop a bloody break-up of the oil-rich state. . . . Read more!
Baghdad starts to collapse as its people flee a life of death (James Hider, TimesOnline, 13 July 2006) Marauding Mahdi gunmen, seeking to drive all Sunnis from the area, were fighting Sunni Mujahidin for control of a nearby strategic position. I could hear the gunfire blazing over the phone. . . . We phoned the US military trainer attached to Iraqi security forces in the area. He said there was nothing to be done: "There's always shooting at night here. It's like chasing ghosts." . . . In fact the US military generally responds only to request for support from Iraqi security forces. But as many of those forces are at best turning a blind eye to the Shia death squads, and at worst colluding with them, calling the Americans is literally the last thing they do. . . . West Baghdad is no stranger to bombings and killings, but in the past few days all restraint has vanished in an orgy of ethnic cleansing. . . . Shia gunmen are seeking to drive out the once-dominant Sunni minority and the Sunnis are forming neighbourhood posses to retaliate. Mosques are being attacked. Scores of innocent civilians have been killed, their bodies left lying in the streets. . . . Hundreds — Sunni and Shia — are abandoning their homes. My driver said all his neighbours had now fled, their abandoned houses bullet-pocked and locked up. On a nearby mosque, competing Sunni and Shiite graffiti had been scrawled on the walls. . . . A senior nurse at Yarmouk hospital on the fringes of west Baghdad's war zone said that he was close to being overwhelmed. "On Tuesday we received 35 bodies in one day, 16 from Al-Furat district alone. All of them were killed execution-style," he said. "I thought it was the end of the city. I packed my bags at once and got ready to leave because they could storm the hospital at any moment. . . . n just 24 hours before noon yesterday, as parliament convened for another emergency session, 87 bodies were brought to Baghdad city morgue, 63 of them unidentified. Since Sunday's massacre in Jihad, more than 160 people have been killed, making a total of at least 1,600 since Iraq's Government of national unity came to power six weeks ago. Another 2,500 have been wounded. . . . "The country is sliding fast towards civil war," Ali Adib, a Shia MP, told the Iraqi parliament this week. "Security has deteriorated in a serious and unprecedented way," said Saadi Barzanji, a Kurdish MP. . . . A local journalist told me bitterly this week that Iraqis find it ironic that Saddam Hussein is on trial for killing 148 people 24 years ago, while militias loyal to political parties now in government kill that many people every few days. . . . One woman said that she and her three children were fleeing Mansour, once the most stylish part of the capital. "Every day there is fighting and killing," she said as she boarded a plane for Damascus in Syria to sit out the horrors of Baghdad. . . . A neurologist, who was heading to Jordan with his wife, said that he would seek work abroad and hoped that he would never have to return. "We were so happy on April 9, 2003 when the Americans came. But I've given up. Iraq isn't ready for democracy," he said, sitting in a chair with a view of the airport runway. . . . Flights to Damascus have gone up from three a week to eight to cope with the panicked exodus. . . . Despite the huge risks of driving through the Sunni Triangle, the number of buses to Jordan has mushroomed from 2 a day to as many as 40 or 50. . . . In one of the few comprehensive surveys of how many Iraqis have fled their country since the US invasion, the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants said last month that there were 644,500 refugees in Syria and Jordan in 2005 — about 2.5 per cent of Iraq’s population. In total, 889,000 Iraqis had moved abroad, creating "the biggest new flow of refugees in the world", according to Lavinia Limon, the committee’s president. . . . And the exodus may only just be starting. . . . Read more!
U.S. troops face execution for war crimes in Iraq (The New York Times, July 9, 2006) No American serviceman has been executed since 1961. But in the past month, new cases in Iraq have led to charges against 12 American servicemen who may face the death penalty in connection with the killing of Iraqi civilians. . . . As investigators complete their work, military officials say, the total of American servicemen charged with capital crimes in the new cases could grow substantially, perhaps exceeding the 16 other Marines and soldiers charged with murdering Iraqis throughout the first three years of the war. . . . Some military officials and experts say the new crop of cases appears to arise from a confluence of two factors: An increasingly chaotic and violent war with no clear end in sight, and a newly vigilant attitude among U.S. commanders about civilian deaths. . . . At least five separate incidents involving the deaths of Iraqis are under investigation, setting off the greatest outcry against U.S. military actions since the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal. By far the best-known of the cases is the one in Haditha, where Marines are being investigated in the killings of 24 Iraqi civilians in November. No charges have been filed in that case, but some say news of the incident may have helped bring some later cases to light. . . . In April, Lt. Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the No. 2 U.S. commander in Iraq, issued an order that specified for the first time that U.S. forces must investigate any use of force against Iraqis that resulted in death, injury or property damage greater than $10,000. . . . Maj. Todd Breasseale, a spokesman for the U.S. military command, said he knew of no clear link between Chiarelli's order and the recent homicide investigations. . . . But Breasseale said Chiarelli, who took over day-to-day military operations in Iraq in January, has made clear to subordinates that he puts a priority on avoiding and scrupulously reporting civilian casualties. . . . The incidents are far from the only ones in which U.S. forces killed Iraqis. But serious criminal charges in such cases have been rare until now. . . . Read more!
Evidence of U.S. war crimes in Ramadi (Aljazeera, 7 July 2006) On Wednesday, hundreds of Iraqi Marines stormed a Ramadi hospital, one of the largest in Western Iraq, claiming it's being used as a base for Al Qaeda members in Iraq. . . . The early morning raid Wednesday on Saddam Hospital, a seven-story building with some 250 beds, is just an example of the bleak wartime conditions that have endangered the wounded, sick and elderly in this city of 400,000 people. . . . As a result of the deteriorating security situation in the city, no ambulances operate any more in Ramadi; drivers are afraid. Also experienced physicians have left the city to escape U.S. bombardment and basic medical supplies are depleted. . . . A New York Times article published earlier this week painted a damning picture of the current situation in the devastated Iraqi city of Ramadi. . . . It shed light on the daily violence and atrocities committed by the U.S. occupation forces in Iraq. . . . "The Government Center in the middle of this devastated town resembles a fortress on the wild edge of some frontier," The Times correspondent Dexter Filkins said in his article. . . . "In three years there the Marine Corps and the Army have tried nearly everything to bring this provincial capital of 400,000 under control. Nothing has worked. . . . "Now American commanders are trying something new." . . . Getting rid of Ramadi . . . "Instead of continuing to fight for the downtown or rebuild it, they are going to get rid of it, or at least a very large part of it. . . . "They say they are planning to bulldoze about three blocks in the middle of the city, part of which has already been reduced to ruins by the fighting, and convert them into a Green Zone." . . . "On a sheet of paper hung up in the Government Center, Marines wrote down suggestions for their company's T-shirt once they go home. Most are unprintable, but here is one that got a lot of laughs: 'Kilo Company: Killed more people than cancer.'" . . . Filkin' article also noted that there's a noticeable increase in U.S. casualties. . . . From the 800-member Third Battalion, Eighth Marine Regiment, eleven Marines have died since the military operation started in March. . . . U.S. commanders are trying to hide the number of wounded, Filkins added in his report. . . . Most of the crimes the occupation forces commit daily in Iraq go unreported, keeping the American public largely in the dark, unaware of the barbaric nature of the U.S. military occupation in Iraq, and the heavy price the Iraqi nation is paying almost daily. . . . On July 5, another New York Times article discussing the rape-murder case of an Iraqi family in the southern town of Mahmoudiya, made a highly significant observation: "The reaction among Iraqis has been muted," the article said. . . . "The inquiry into the possible executions of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha by Marines has also brought the same lukewarm response. More than three years into the war, many Iraqis say they are no longer surprised by abuses on the part of American troops." . . . Daily horrific crimes against Iraqi civilians have become part and parcel of the strategy of the U.S. military in Iraq. . . . But the U.S. media continues ignoring those atrocities. . . . Read more!