Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Mid day follow ups

Iraq, more


"I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."
- Dick Cheney, May 2005

I guess that quote is going to make everything that follows inherently a political remark, though perhaps it would have been necessarily.

In the past four months, Iraqi insurgents have deployed weaponry capable of destroying even Up-armored Humvees.

The 14 Marines killed by an explosive device were from the same reserve Marine battalion that lost six Marines from an ambush on Monday.

BROOK PARK, Ohio (AP) — Fourteen Marines were killed in Iraq on Wednesday by a roadside bomb, members of the same Ohio-based battalion that lost six Marines two days earlier, a Marine Corps spokesman said.

The Marines were members of the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines based in this Cleveland suburb, according to Gunnery Sgt. Brad R. Lauer, public affairs chief with the unit.

The latest version of the AP story from LINK.

The follow up reaction/biography stories about those six Marines killed on Monday, also on LINK.

An Ohio soldier killed in July, actually just last week, raised some questions about the mission, LINK. (Chilling) Excerpt:

"He was questioning why we were there because he had just lost two guys in his unit a couple of weeks before, and the Iraqi people were clapping, cheering and dancing, and it hurt him," Denes said. "He felt like the mission we went over to do - we were starting to lose it."

Paul Hackett, the Marine reserve officer who served in Fallujah and narrowly lost in a Republican district, has a page addressing Iraq on his campaign website. LINK. Excerpt (almost all of it):

The White House has been painting a rosy picture and people aren’t buying it anymore. We all know the outcome is uncertain and there is no exit date. But even now, too many conservatives just want to applaud whatever the administration does. And too many liberals who opposed the war want to see the president’s Iraq policy fail.

I was against the war. It was a misuse of our military that damaged our credibility throughout the world and squandered our political capital. Still, I volunteered to serve, and I have no regrets. But now we need to face the reality of the situation there. Our country has gone to war and every American must share in that responsibility.


No matter what your position on the war, if we pull out now the entire region will spiral into chaos and present our nation and military with a far more difficult challenge than we currently face. I don’t relish the prospect of my two sons going over there in twenty years. We need to get it right, and we need to do it now.

The Iraqi people and government are grateful that we eliminated their brutal dictator. They are capable of running their own government and building a democracy. It won’t look like ours; nor should it. But in order for them to succeed, we must not withdraw our troops before the Iraqis are ready to stand on their own.

Journalist killed

In my morning post, I skipped over this story. That was a mistake. NY Times LINK. LEDE:

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 3 - An American journalist writing about the rise of fundamentalist Islam was shot dead overnight after being abducted in the southern port city of Basra, American embassy and Iraqi officials said today. The journalist's translator was also shot and is in serious condition at a Basra hospital.

Excerpt (1):

On Sunday, The New York Times printed an op-ed he had written about Basra, in which he sharply criticized the British government for allowing religious Shiite parties and clerics to take control of Basra and populate the security forces with their followers.

Excerpt (2):

Conservative Shiite parties have strengthened their hold on Basra since the January elections. They include the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, which was founded in Iran and wields enormous power in Baghdad, and the Fadilah Party, started by Ayatollah Muhammad Yacoubi, a hard-line cleric. The organization of Moktada al-Sadr, the young cleric who has led two rebellions against the Americans, also has great influence in Basra.

In his op-ed in The New York Times, Mr. Vincent wrote that "it is particularly troubling that sectarian tensions are increasing in Basra, which has long been held up as the brightest spot of the liberated Iraq."

That Op-Ed piece can be read at this NY Times LINK.

In Mr. Vincent's own words:

Basran politics (and everyday life) is increasingly coming under the control of Shiite religious groups ... Recruited from the same population of undereducated, underemployed men who swell these organizations' ranks, many of Basra's rank-and-file police officers maintain dual loyalties to mosque and state.

In May, the city's police chief told a British newspaper that half of his 7,000-man force was affiliated with religious parties. This may have been an optimistic estimate: one young Iraqi officer told me that "75 percent of the policemen I know are with Moktada al-Sadr - he is a great man." And unfortunately, the British seem unable or unwilling to do anything about it.

And in Mr. Vincent's own conclusion:

In other words, real security reform requires psychological as well as physical training. Unless the British include in their security sector reform strategy some basic lessons in democratic principles, Basra risks falling further under the sway of Islamic extremists and their Western-trained police enforcers.

The list of journalists killed in Iraq: AP/NY Times LINK.


Post a Comment

<< Home