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Operation Phantom Fury--Day 31-Mop Up Continues; Operation Plymouth Rock
Various Media Outlets | 12/08/04

Posted on 12/08/2004 6:39:42 AM PST by TexKat

A US soldier shakes hands with an Iraqi boy in Baghdad's Kadesia district Wednesday Dec 8, 2004. US troops searched houses for weapons in the neighborhood Wednesday. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; War on Terror
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In this undated photograph released Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2004 by the US Army, Sgt. Angela Magnuson of Fingal, N.D., Sgt. Kristen Pagel of Fargo, N.D., and Sgt. Jessica Fisher of Jamestown, N.D., pose like characters from the 1970's television program "Charlies Angels" between missions at Forward Operations Base Warhorse, near Baqubah, Iraq. The first infantry division's Charlie company soldiers have nicknamed the three medics "Charlie's Angels". (AP Photo/US Army, Sgt. 1st Class Mark Geiss)

1 posted on 12/08/2004 6:39:42 AM PST by TexKat
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To: Lijahsbubbe; MEG33; No Blue States; Ernest_at_the_Beach; boxerblues; mystery-ak; ChadGore; ...
Fighting Rages in Iraq's Rebel-Held Ramadi

By Majid Hameed RAMADI, Iraq (Reuters) - Fighting raged between rebels controlling the western Iraq town of Ramadi and U.S. Marines Wednesday after two Iraqis were killed in clashes following a suicide car bomb attack, witnesses said.

As insurgents battled Marines in Ramadi, the death toll from clashes in the northern city of Samarra climbed to six, with four civilians and two police killed, a hospital official said.

Warplanes were heard over Ramadi, where witnesses said a U.S. armored vehicle was in flames and smoke rose from an American base that was hit by a mortar.

Fighting spread from the center of the city to the industrial zone in the east after a suicide bomber attacked a U.S. military checkpoint and clashes killed two Iraqi civilians.

There were no immediate reports of U.S. casualties.

Ramadi, 110 km (65 miles) west of Baghdad and the capital of the restive Anbar province, has been occupied by insurgents for the past six months or more. Like Falluja previously, it has become a stronghold of anti-American resistance.

A U.S.-led invasion crushed Muslim militants and insurgents in Falluja in November in a bid to break the back of the insurgency ahead of nationwide elections scheduled for Jan. 30.

The U.S. military has said it will try to drive insurgents out of all strongholds by the end of the year, meaning Ramadi could be subjected to an offensive similar to that in Falluja.

Despite the threat of a showdown with U.S. forces, insurgents remain defiant and have mounted attacks across Iraq.

A suicide car bomber attacked a U.S. convoy in the northern city of Samarra Wednesday, a local police official said.

In a separate incident, an Iraqi policeman was killed when insurgents opened fire on U.S. soldiers in the town that the Iraqi interim government said it had seized from guerrillas after a major offensive in early October.

Witnesses said American soldiers using loudspeakers told residents to stay home after clashes with guerrillas broke out.

Ramadi, not far from Falluja, is as a major security problem for U.S. forces, who have a small base in the city.

Insurgents in black masks and red and white checkered scarves took up positions along Ramadi's streets Wednesday, aiming their rocket-propelled grenades toward U.S. targets.

An official at Ramadi hospital said the two dead Iraqis were civilians. There was no immediate comment from the U.S. military on the fighting there.

At dawn Wednesday, insurgents carried out a car bomb attack on a U.S. patrol in southern Baghdad. The U.S. military said two soldiers were slightly wounded but had returned to duty. Witnesses said several Iraqis were wounded.

2 posted on 12/08/2004 6:43:48 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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An Iraqi and his son stand outside their shop in Baghdad's Kadesia district as a US soldier walks past Wednesday Dec 8, 2004. US troops searched houses for weapons in the neighborhood. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Bomb Injures 2 U.S. Soldiers in Baghdad

By SLOBODAN LEKIC, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgents detonated a roadside bomb as a U.S. convoy passed in Baghdad and gunmen tried to storm the main police station in Samarra on Wednesday as Britain's defense minister arrived in southern Iraq to meet with soldiers and officials.

The bomb wounded two U.S. soldiers, who later returned to duty, said U.S. military spokesman Maj. Jay Antonelli. Another six civilians were wounded, Iraqi hospital officials said.

In Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, police returned fire before the attackers fled, Maj. Sadoun Ahmed said. One policeman and a child were caught in the crossfire and died in the clash. Samarra has been the scene of regular clashes between U.S. forces and militants.

Police found the beheaded corpse of an Iraqi National Guardsman in the Hillah River, some 60 miles south of Baghdad, hospital official Hussein Madlol said Wednesday. It wasn't clear when he was killed.

Iraqi security forces are regularly targeted by insurgents, who regard them as collaborators with U.S.-led coalition forces.

Hospital officials also said three Iraqis were killed and one wounded in clashes around the U.S. base in Ramadi, 70 miles west of the capital.

An American soldier was slain Tuesday by small-arms fire while on patrol in Baghdad. The Pentagon's Web site on Wednesday listed the number of combat deaths as 999; it was not clear if the soldier was included.

The military also announced a Marine died in a vehicle accident in western Baghdad. The two deaths brought the number of U.S. military who have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003 to 1,278, according to an Associated Press tally.

Meanwhile, British Defense Minister Geoff Hoon was to meet with some of Britain's 9,000 soldiers based around Basra who have recently been engaged in combat operations in central Iraq in support of a U.S.-led effort to clear insurgents from a wide swath of territory south of Baghdad, spokesman Maj. David Gibb said.

Hoon also planned to discuss preparations for Iraq's Jan. 30 elections with the city's governor, Hassan al-Rashid, during his one-day visit, he said.

"His visit is sending a major political message to the Iraqi people and the regional states that a senior British politician is supporting not just the military operations in the country but also the political process and the rebuilding of Iraq as it moves toward the establishment of a new government after the Jan. 30 elections," Gibb said.

Basra, 340 miles southeast of Baghdad, lies close to Iraq's long and porous border with Iran. Hoon's visit comes at a time when top officials of the interim government have complained that the country's neighbors are not doing enough to prevent militants from infiltrating into Iraq.

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, meanwhile, got some negative feedback from disgruntled soldiers after delivering a pep talk at a base in Kuwait.

In his prepared remarks, Rumsfeld urged the troops — mostly National Guard and Reserve soldiers — to discount critics of the war in Iraq and to help "win the test of wills" with the insurgents.

But Army Spc. Thomas Wilson of the 278th Regimental Combat Team asked Rumsfeld in a question-and-answer session why vehicle armor is still in short supply, nearly three years after the war in Iraq began.

Rumsfeld replied that, "You go to war with the Army you have," not the one you might want, and that any rate the Army was pushing manufacturers of vehicle armor to produce it as fast as humanly possible."

Iraq's U.S.-installed authorities have repeatedly called on their neighbors — particularly Syria and Iran — to guard their borders more closely.

Jordan's King Abdullah II and Iraq's interim president, both Sunni Muslims, singled out Iran, accusing the Islamic republic of trying to influence the Jan. 30 elections.

Abdullah told The Washington Post in an interview published Wednesday that more than 1 million Iranians have crossed the border into Iraq, many to vote, and he said they were being encouraged by the Iranian government.

The king also reportedly accused the Iranians of paying salaries and providing welfare to unemployed Iraqis to promote pro-Iranian public sentiment.

"It is in Iran's vested interest to have an Islamic republic of Iraq ... and therefore the involvement you're getting by the Iranians is to achieve a government that is very pro-Iran," Abdullah told the newspaper.

Iraqi officials have previously suggested that Iran, which is overwhelmingly Shiite Muslim, is backing its Shiite brethren, who form a majority in Iraq.

"Unfortunately, time is proving, and the situation is proving, beyond any doubt that Iran has very obvious interference in our business," Iraqi interim President Ghazi al-Yawer, a Sunni, said in an interview with Washington Post editors and reporters.

Iran has said it has no interest in fomenting instability in Iraq and it tries to block any infiltration into Iraq by insurgents — while pleading that its porous borders are hard to police.

A series of attacks in recent days have killed more than 80 Iraqis, mostly members of the country's fledgling security forces. The attacks are of particular concern because Iraqi and American officials have insisted they will go ahead with elections despite the violence and a call for postponement by several leading Sunni Muslim groups.

Some foreign leaders have expressed doubts.

During a visit by Iraq's interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi to Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he "cannot imagine" how Iraq's elections can go forward next month amid the violence.

British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon talks to soldiers during breakfast while visiting British troops in southern Iraqi city of Basra Wednesday Dec. 8 2004. (AP Photo/Nabil Al-Jurani)

3 posted on 12/08/2004 6:53:39 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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To: TexKat
great first Picture... Rummy's Angels?

from yesterday's Dose of Presdient Bush giving Pearl Harbor commemorative Day speach at Camp Pembleton. MORE PIX HERE

4 posted on 12/08/2004 6:57:29 AM PST by DollyCali (We can never repay our veterans...NEVER. Thank you all who served our great country.)
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People walk past a poster of Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2004. al-Sistani has issued a fatwa, or religious rulling, in mid-October to encourage people to vote in Iraq's upcoming elections. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

Staggered Elections Plan Backed in Iraq

By SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD - Iraq's Interior Ministry on Wednesday threw its weight behind a reported suggestion by Prime Minister Ayad Allawi to hold next month's national elections over several days, rather than just one.

But Iraq's Independent Electoral Commission, which has final say over the scheduled Jan. 30 vote, said it was still trying to confirm Allawi's published comments and insisted no official change had been made in the way voting will be held.

Allawi made the proposal in comments published Tuesday in two European newspapers, Belgium's Le Soir and Switzerland's Le Temps. He said Iraq's upcoming vote could be held over two or three weeks across the country to allow security forces to protect polling stations effectively.

"If people have more than one day to vote, then there will be shorter lines and thus there will be less danger and less victims if something bad happens, although we have taken the necessary measures to secure the voting process," Interior Ministry spokesman Sabah Khazim said.

"It is an excellent idea and it will make it easier for the Interior Ministry regarding securing the elections," he said.

The handling of the vote has become a key issue in Iraq recently, with insurgents threatening to attack polling stations and the country's Sunni Muslim minority demanding a postponement. Some insurgent strongholds have been too dangerous for the registration process to begin.

President Bush and Iraqi leaders have said the vote will go forward on Jan. 30, as required by the country's interim constitution. The constitution does not mention the possibility of a staggered vote.

"Everyone — Shiites, Sunnis, Christians, Kurds, Turkomen — should be able to take part in the vote," the Le Soir newspaper quoted Allawi as saying. "That is why I think we can see elections spread over 15 days, or 20, with polls spread over different dates according to the provinces. It would allow for the imposition of adequate security."

Allawi made the comments during a trip to Jordan, Germany and Russia. In Moscow on Tuesday, President Vladimir Putin said during a meeting with Allawi that he couldn't see how the vote could take place Jan. 30 with Iraq under foreign occupation.

Farid Ayar, the spokesman of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, said his office hadn't been told of Allawi's idea, adding that it wouldn't be Allawi's decision anyhow.

"We are the ones who set the voting mechanism. We have no information about this suggestion," Ayar said. "We have good relations with Dr. Allawi and we think if he had such an idea he would have proposed it to us before the media."

5 posted on 12/08/2004 7:10:01 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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To: DollyCali
Gunmen Attack Samarra Police Headquarters

SAMARRA, Iraq - Gunmen attacked the police headquarters in Samarra on Wednesday, killing an Iraqi policemen and a child who was caught in the cross fire, a police official said.

Maj. Sadoun Ahmed said militants staged a morning attack on the police station in Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad.

Police returned fire before the attackers fled, leaving one policeman and a child dead, Ahmed said.

Insurgents routinely attack Iraqi security forces for aiding the U.S.-led military occupation. Samarra has been the scene of regular clashes between coalition forces and militants.

6 posted on 12/08/2004 7:22:37 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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Saddam loyalists directing insurgency from Syria: report

Iraqi insurgents are being directed to a greater degree than previously suspected by loyalists of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein living in Syria, according to a Washington Post report.

A handful of senior Iraqi Baathists are collecting money from private sources in Saudi Arabia and Europe for the Iraqi insurgents and are managing some of their operations from Syria, the newspaper quoted intelligence sources as saying.

The intelligence officials said their suspicions were based on information gathered during recent fighting in the Sunni Triangle.

They say a US military summary of operations in the Fallujah said a global positioning receiver found in a bomb factory there "contained waypoints originating in western Syria".

In separate interviews with the Washington Post, Jordan's King Abdullah II and Iraqi President Ghazi Yawar also raised concerns about Syria's role in Iraq.

"There are people in Syria who are bad guys, who are fugitives of the law and who are Saddam remnants who are trying to bring the vicious dictatorship of Saddam back," Sheikh Yawar said.

King Abdullah noted that the governments of both the United States and Iraq believe that "foreign fighters are coming across the Syrian border that have been trained in Syria".

The Syrian ambassador to the United States, Imad Moustapha, rejected the accusations as unfounded.

"There is a sinister campaign to create an atmosphere of hostility against Syria," he told the Post.

The envoy said his Government "categorically" denied that Iraqi Baathists were taking refuge in Syria.

"We don't allow this to happen," he said. "Iraqi officials were never welcome."

One defence official told the paper that the new intelligence also suggested US operations in Iraq, especially in the Green Zone in central Baghdad, have been heavily infiltrated by Iraqi insurgents.

The official said cell phone calls increased after major convoys left the Green Zone.

-AFP

7 posted on 12/08/2004 7:31:14 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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To: TexKat; All
Question: Why weren't there coordinated offensives on all terrorist held cities simultaneously with Fallujah? It would have projected a greater strength around Iraq and the Middle East, in the long run increasing our margin of victory.
8 posted on 12/08/2004 7:37:40 AM PST by olde north church ("My nostrils have a right to flair, I'm in command." Major F. Burns)
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To: All

Results mixed on Iraqi troop training - Bush

December 08 2004 at 07:50AM By Adam Entous

Camp Pendleton, California - President George Bush sought on Tuesday to boost the morale of US troops facing extended deployments in Iraq, but acknowledged mixed results so far in training Iraqi forces to replace them.

As the US combat death toll in Iraq reached 1 000 since last year's invasion with a record monthly toll in November of 136, Bush said he expected a tough road ahead.

While a recent offensive in Fallujah "dealt the enemy a severe blow," Bush said the insurgents who used the city as their stronghold would "keep on fighting" and offered a more cautious assessment of the readiness of Iraqi troops than he had in the past.

He touted a new Nato training programme

Classified CIA assessments, disclosed on Tuesday, said the situation was deteriorating and unlikely to improve any time soon.

"Some Iraqi units have performed better than others," Bush told thousands of camouflage-clad Marines flanked by giant American flags and heavily armed Humvees. "Some Iraqis have been intimidated enough by the insurgents to leave the service to their country."

But Bush said "a great many are standing firm," and the United States would continue training Iraqi security forces "so the Iraqi people can eventually take responsibility for their own security."

He touted a new Nato training programme and said efforts were underway to "develop a core of well-trained senior and mid-level Iraqi officers" to lead the new forces.

Bush did not repeat his assertions from September about nearly 100 000 "fully trained and equipped" Iraqi soldiers, police officers and other security personnel being on the job.

Citing the temporary increase in troop strength

Bush said his goal was to "help the Iraqi government build a force that no longer needs coalition support so they can defend their own nation. And then American soldiers and Marines can come home."

But Bush offered no timetables one day after Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he hoped US troops would be pulled out of Iraq in the next four years.

The White House said Bush's California visit was part of an effort to boost US troop morale. He flew more than nine hours round-trip from Washington to give a 30-minute speech at Camp Pendleton, which has had one of the highest casualty rates in Iraq of any US military base.

After his speech, Bush sat down to a lunch of pasta, rice and beef in the mess hall, and met with more than 50 families of fallen soldiers.

The Pentagon announced last week it would increase the number of American troops in Iraq to 150 000, from 138 000, to try to improve security for elections at the end of January.

The move will extend the promised year-long Iraq tours of 8 100 Army soldiers to 14 months and the seven-month tours of 2 300 Marines to nine months.

In a sign of growing tension, eight US soldiers serving in Iraq and Kuwait filed a lawsuit this week over a military policy that forces them to serve beyond their enlistment contracts.

Citing the temporary increase in troop strength, Bush said he had "a strategy in place to aid the rise of a stable democracy in Iraq, to help the Iraqi government provide security during the election period."

Bush has vowed to press ahead with January 30 elections in Iraq despite the surge in violence.

"As election day approaches, we can expect further violence from the terrorists," Bush said, adding: "Free elections will proceed as planned."

He said the elections would undercut the insurgency because "when Iraqis choose new leaders in free elections, it will destroy the myth that the terrorists are fighting a foreign occupation and make clear that what the terrorists are really fighting is the will of the Iraqi people."

(Additional reporting by Caren Bohan)

9 posted on 12/08/2004 7:43:52 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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To: olde north church
Why weren't there coordinated offensives on all terrorist held cities simultaneously with Fallujah?

There are probably multiple answers to your question olde north church. None of which I am qualified to give, but from where I am comfortably sitting I would say (1) manpower, (2) collatoral damage, (3) the pc factor, (4) the camouflaged terrorist among the Iraqi civilians.

There is still more to be fought and more to be achieved in this long hard slog.

10 posted on 12/08/2004 7:57:49 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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To: olde north church

"Question: Why weren't there coordinated offensives on all terrorist held cities simultaneously with Fallujah? It would have projected a greater strength around Iraq and the Middle East, in the long run increasing our margin of victory."

My guess would be, not enough trained in combat for a coordnated multi city assult plus the thousands of refugees all over the country. (imho)


11 posted on 12/08/2004 8:02:30 AM PST by Gucho
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South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun is lifted by an unidentified South Korean Army soldier upon his arrival at their base in Irbil, northern Iraq, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2004. Roh made a surprise visit Wednesday to northern Iraq where 3,600 South Korean troops are helping rebuild the violence-wracked country. (AP Photo/Yonhap, Kim Dong-jin)

South Korean president makes surprise visit to troops in Iraq

SEOUL (AFP) - South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun made a surprise visit to his troops in northern Iraq on his way home from a European tour, a top presidential aide said.

Lee Byung-Wan, senior presidential secretary for public relations, said the visit had been kept secret for security reasons.

"President Roh Moo-Hyun has just concluded a visit to the Zaitun (South Korean military) unit in Arbil, Iraq, on his way back home from Paris," Lee told reporters.

He said the visit was to "encourage" the troops.

South Korean media pool reports from Iraq said Roh, wearing an army jacket, had meals and chats with troops during his 120-minute stay.

"Thank you all so much. It may be a short meeting, but it is such a happy time," he was quoted as telling the soldiers at a mess hall.

"I'm so proud of you."

Yonhap news agency photos showed a smiling Roh chatting with or waving to soldiers, who applauded him.

Roh took a special flight from France, the final leg of his three-nation European tour, to Kuwait before reaching the Kurdish-controlled town of Arbil on a military plane, according to officials.

In February parliament approved the dispatch of up to 3,600 troops for relief and rehabilitation in Iraq until the end of this year.

But the dispatch was delayed for months against a background of growing anti-war protests and it was only in late September that South Korea completed the deployment of 2,800 troops in Arbil.

The mission was reportedly reinforced by another 800 troops in November.

The government has asked parliament to extend the mission by another year until December 31, 2005 and it is almost certain to agree.

Seoul sent troops to Iraq at the request of the United States. More than 30,000 American troops are stationed in South Korea as a defence against North Korea.

The South Korean contingent is the third largest among the US-led allied forces stationed in Iraq.

The Seoul government has restricted media access to the soldiers, citing security reasons following the murder of a South Korean translator by Islamic militants in Iraq in June.

South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun (C) is surrounded during a visit to the Korean troops stationed in Iraq in Arbil. Roh paid a morale-boosting visit to South Korean troops based in Iraq.(AFP/Park Kyung-Mo)

12 posted on 12/08/2004 8:12:59 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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To: All

US marines from the 2nd Batallion, 24th Marines expeditionary unit have a chat next to a topples leader Saddam Hussein's poster with a Santa hat at their forward operating base St. Michael in the central Iraqi city of Mahmudiya.(AFP/Odd Andersen)

Saddam Meeting With Lawyer Canceled

United Press International The Committee for Defending ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein said Wednesday a scheduled meeting between an Iraqi lawyer and Saddam was canceled.

"Lawyer Khalil Dailami was supposed to meet Saddam Wednesday but the meeting was postponed and no new date was fixed," spokesman Ziad Khasawneh said.

The Amman-based committee said earlier Saddam gave a group of Iraqi lawyers, including Dailami, a power of attorney to defend him through a special Iraqi court set up to try the former dictator.

Since the formation of the special court in June, Iraqi authorities have been rejecting the committee's request to meet Saddam, who is facing charges of genocide, mass killings, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Khasawneh played down the possibility of starting Saddam's trial after legislative elections are held in Iraq as tentatively scheduled by the end of January.

"We really doubt the trial will take place after the elections because this matter is in the hands of the Americans and not in the hands of the interim Iraqi government," he said.

13 posted on 12/08/2004 8:21:53 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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To: All



Troops tighten noose on Fallujah:

Wednesday, December 08, 2004:

After a brief "rest and refit," Marine Sgt. Isaac Weix's (24th Regiment, Golf Company) platoon was sent to Lutayfiyah, a town outside the beleaguered city of Fallujah, to continue its mission of clearing insurgents from the area. He describes the action and shares his insights about Iraqi attitudes and troop morale: Picking up where I left off: After a few days rest and refit, my platoon was ordered to secure a forward operating base in the town of Lutayfiyah. Before I continue, I will give you a broad sense of what is going on. The American military pulled out of many Sunni areas after the last attack on Fallujah. The military pulled out for political reasons and a wait-and-see situation developed. The areas were unable to police themselves and the insurgency cropped up. Currently, the Marines have been taking back towns, one at a time, and tightening the noose on Fallujah. It will be old news when you read this, but Fallujah will be attacked soon. The towns that I am going into is part of that noose tightening. This next town, Lutayfiyah, is so controlled by the insurgents that the Iraqi National Guard (ING) and the Iraqi Police (IP) are afraid to go there. The end state of our mission is to re-establish Iraqi civil authority to the area. After an all-night movement, we arrived at our destination. The spot was picked out previously, using satellite pictures. The largest initial threat is car bombs. We had barriers up to stop this kind of attack within the first 20 minutes. It only takes the insurgents 40 minutes, from the time of your arrival, to get a car bomb to your position. The buildings we would use were secured in 30 minutes. The town woke up to a company of Marines dug into their front yard. After the car bomb threat was minimized, we turned to our next threat -- mortars. We started filling sand bags, hardening our position. The ING and IP arrived shortly after dawn. We secured buildings for each of these units also. As the ING and IP were dismounting their vehicles, a rocket-propelled grenade exploded in a group of INGs and personnel from my platoon. One of the INGs was cut in half and died within 10 minutes. Seven others were wounded. We called in a helicopter for the fifth time since I've been here. All the injured were Iraqi. My squad leader had a small cut on his lip. For the next few days, we took mortar and rocket fire but due to our ability to create good, hardened positions, no one was injured. I came close: An RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) missed me by three feet. It is very interested going into these towns. When you first arrive, the people seem to hate you. When they realize that you are staying, they start to warm up to you and give you information about the bad guys. They live under the threat of death for even talking to the Americans. Here, where the fighting is the worst, the people deep down want the security the Marines provide. I am reassured every day that we are doing the right thing. It may seem messy on television but we are winning here and providing these people with a future that is worth the cost. I am headed back out to the field again for an undetermined amount of time. Motivation is high, morale is high. Morale went way up when we learned Bush got re-elected. I will write back when I can. Sgt. Isaac Weix, USMC
http://www.dunnconnect.com/articles/2004/12/08/news/news03.txt

14 posted on 12/08/2004 8:25:58 AM PST by Gucho
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Stay out of our polls, Iraq warns Iran as vote concerns mount

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraq's interim president accused Iran of meddling in the Iraqi election process, adding to mounting concerns about the viability of landmark vote scheduled for January 30.

Ghazi al-Yawar said Iran was coaching candidates sympathetic to Tehran and pouring "huge amounts of money" into the Iraqi election campaign in the hope of producing a loyal Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad.

The comments by the president highlighted a new cause of concern one day after Russian President Vladimir Putin bluntly remarked he could not imagine how elections could go ahead in Iraq under the "total occupation" of foreign troops.

But US President George W. Bush once again scotched any notion that the elections could be delayed, despite issuing a warning that violence was set to escalate ahead of the vote.

"The terrorists will do all they can to delay and disrupt free elections in Iraq, and they will fail," he said at a California military base. "Free elections will proceed as planned."

After a brief lull following the US-led assault to defeat insurgents in the city of Fallujah, violence has continued with the number of US military personnel killed in action since the invasion now about 1,000.

A major worry ahead of the vote is that the more unstable Sunni Muslim areas in the west of the country will not be ready to go to the polls, creating an imbalance with the relatively stable strongholds of the majority Shiites.

The comments by Yawar, himself a Sunni, made in an interview to the Washington Post and echoed by Jordan's King Abdullah II, further underlined concerns that Iran's alleged role in the vote could widen the Sunni-Shiite split.

Iran's Shiite theocratic regime has consistently denied charges of interfering in Iraq, where 60 percent of the population are Shiites.

"Unfortunately, time is proving, and the situation is proving, beyond any doubt that Iran has very obvious interference in our business -- a lot of money, a lot of intelligence activities and almost interfering daily ... especially in the southeast side of Iraq," said Yawar, who backs holding the elections on time.

The Jordanian monarch was even more explicit about Iran's aims.

"It is in Iran's vested interest to have an Islamic republic of Iraq ... and therefore the involvement you're getting by the Iranians is to achieve a government that is very pro-Iran," he told the same daily.

Two days before registration for the election closes, four Iraqi Sunni political movements have registered for the vote, although close to 70 Sunni organisations have threatened a boycott.

That these four have registered indicates that the Sunni political elite -- who have been in power since Iraq's creation -- have resigned themselves to taking part despite calls for a delay and fears of losing out to the Shiites.

Even the party headed by elder statesmen Adnan Pachachi, the leading light behind a Sunni campaign to postpone the January 30 polls for six months, has thrown its hat into the ring.

Meanwhile, British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon was visiting British forces in the southern city of Basra, just days after a battle group returned from a controversial deployment near Baghdad.

Hoon was meeting members of the Scottish Black Watch regiment whose 850-member battle group returned to base Saturday after a controversial month-long deployment which left five of their members dead.

Britain has about 8,500 troops in relatively calm southern Iraq, around Basra, compared to 138,000 US troops in the centre and north. The ministry of defence indicated that Hoon's visit would last several days.

Another high-profile visitor to Iraq Wednesday was South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun who met some of Seoul's contingent in the Kurdish northern town of Arbil for two hours before heading home.

"Thank you all so much. It may be a short meeting, but it is such a happy time," he was quoted as telling applauding soldiers at a mess hall.

Violence continued to simmer on the ground with at least one policeman killed in an attack by armed men against a police station in Samarra, north of Baghdad, and three people wounded in a bomb blast in the Iraqi capital.

Assailants in the northern city of Mosul on Tuesday targeted the country's minority Christians by setting off explosions in two churches -- one of them Chaldean, the other Armenian. There were no casualties.

Pope John Paul II condemned the bombings before pilgrims in Rome's St Peter's Square and prayed "that the dear Iraqi people can finally know a period of reconciliation and peace".

Against the background of violence and political rows over its future, one of Iraq's post-war success stories was again in the spotlight when Australia said it would host a football international against the national team on March 26.

Iraq's team inspired the country when it reached the semi-finals of the Athens Olympics and also managed to get to the quarter finals of the Asian Cup.

15 posted on 12/08/2004 8:26:03 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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People inspect damage done to the Chaldean Christian church in Mosul, Iraq, Wednesday Dec. 8, 2004. Militants bombed two churches in Mosul on Tuesday, injuring three people in a coordinated attack. (AP Photo)

A Chaldean nun walks through debris of the Chaldean church in Mosul, Iraq, Wednesday Dec. 8, 2004. Militants bombed two churches in Mosul on Tuesday, injuring three people in a coordinated attack. (AP Photo)

Chaldean Bishop Paul Faraj Rahho, far left, stands in the debris of the Chaldean church in Mosul, Iraq, Wednesday Dec. 8, 2004. Militants bombed two churches in Mosul on Tuesday, injuring three people in a coordinated attack. (AP Photo)

People stand around a crater caused by an explosive device as a US armored personel carrier drives by on Baghdad's outskirts Wednesday Dec. 8, 2004. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

People stand by two trucks damaged after a roadside bomb exploded on the Baghdad's outskirts Wednesday Dec. 8, 2004, Iraq. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

16 posted on 12/08/2004 8:36:09 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld addresses US military personnel at Camp Buehring in Kuwait before their scheduled departure for Iraqi combat-zones.(AFP/Pool/Larry Downing)

US troops confront Rumsfeld over safety in Iraq

CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait (AFP) - American troops waiting in the Kuwaiti desert to go into Iraq challenged US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld about their safety and their future in the country.

Rumsfeld went to Camp Buehring, 20 kilometers (13 miles) from the Iraq border, to face one of the toughest question-and-answer sessions with troops since the start of the Iraq campaign in March 2003.

About 1,800 of the 10,000 troops at Camp Buehring gathered to hear the US defence chief say that Iraqis will have to take over their own security to allow foreign troops to leave after the January 30 election.

But one soldier was loudly cheered as he told Rumsfeld soldiers were "digging through landfills" to find scrap metal to bolster the hundreds of US trucks and other military vehicles that pour across the frontier into Iraq each day.

"Our soldiers have been fighting in Iraq for coming up to three years, a lot of us are getting ready to move north pretty soon," said the soldier.

"Our vehicles are not armoured. We are digging up pieces of rusting scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass that has already been shot up, dropped, busted, picking the best for our vehicles to take into combat.

"We do not have proper armour on our vehicles to carry with us north."

Rumsfeld was questioned by other troops about what would happen to US troops after the January 30 election in Iraq, about missing pay and other worries over conditions.

The camp is a major staging post for US troops heading into or out of Iraq. But it has taken on greater importance as force levels are increased ahead of the election and training has been stepped up because of the mounting insurgency.

Rumsfeld was given a rousing welcome as he entered the hangar where the so-called "town hall" meeting started.

But the challenge over armour for vehicles surprised everyone present.

Rumsfeld replied that he had discussed security for US convoys on the way to the camp and that every available armoured vehicle from around the globe was being sent to Iraq.

"It is essentially a matter of physics, it is not a matter of money, it is not a matter on the part of the army of desire. It is a matter of production and capability of doing it."

Rumsfeld added: "As you know you go to war with the army you have not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time."

He said production of armoured metal has been stepped up since the Iraq conflict started.

Rumsfeld said that after a recent security alert in Washington he had looked out of his Pentagon window to see about six Humvee armoured cars outside. "They are not there any more. They are en route out here I can assure you."

No mention was made of the fact that about 1,000 troops have now been killed in combat in Iraq. But the defence secretary was pressed about the future of Iraq and the approximately 140,000 US troops there.

"The facts on the ground" will determine how fast troops from the United States and its coalition partners leave, he said.

Rumsfeld, who has previously said he wanted US troops out of Iraq before the end of the next four-year term of President George W. Bush, said the Iraqis now "have opportunities they never could have thought of under that vicious dictator" Saddam Hussein.

"The Iraqi people are going to have to grab a hold of their country and make their country work. In the last analysis you can't do that for someone else all you can do is create the environment that allows them to do that. That is what is happening."

The defence secretary, who attended the inauguration of Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday, went from the camp to a meeting with Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah and Defence Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak al-Sabah.

"Kuwait is a key coalition partner in the region. We look forward to continuing our close cooperation," Rumsfeld was quoted as saying in a statement released by the US embassy in Kuwait.

"The Kuwaiti government has taken steps to block the spread of extremism by freezing terrorist assets and detaining terrorist suspects," Rumsfeld added.

From Kuwait, Rumsfeld flew on to New Delhi for talks with the government there.

US troops listen as US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld addresses them at Camp Buehring in Kuwait before their scheduled departure for Iraqi combat-zones.(AFP/Pool/Larry Downing)

17 posted on 12/08/2004 8:45:45 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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To: TexKat; All
Militants behead Iraqi soldier:

From correspondents in Baghdad December 08, 2004:

AN Iraqi National Guard soldier was beheaded and his body dumped south of Baghdad, a hospital official said today. "Babylon police found a decapitated corpse belonging to one Iraqi National Guard soldier in Hillah River and handed it over to Hillah (Teaching) Hospital," yesterday, according to Hussein Madlol, an official at the hospital. It wasn't known when the man was slain. Hillah is located about 95km south of Baghdad. No comment was immediately available from the Iraqi National Guard, the force the US hopes will take on an increasingly greater role in maintaining security in this war-ravaged country. Iraq's security forces have been regularly targeted by insurgents, who regard them as collaborators with the US-led coalition.
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,11633799%255E1702,00.html
18 posted on 12/08/2004 8:46:05 AM PST by Gucho
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To: All
Last Update: Thursday, December 9, 2004. 0:00am (AEDT):

US, Iraq pledge funds to rebuild Fallujah:

US Navy officials say more than $A158 million has been committed by the US and Iraqi governments for reconstruction in Iraq's Al-Anbar province, which includes the battered city of Fallujah. They say over half of the money is to come from the Iraqi Government during the remainder of fiscal year 2004 and in 2005. "Money continues being added," US navy Commander Steven Stefani said. The fighting, which continues in pockets in Fallujah's south, drove most of the city's 250,000 people from their houses. Commander Stefani says an estimated one in three homes has been damaged "to the point where people should not move into them". Other Bavy officials estimate that between five and 10 per cent of Fallujah's buildings have been destroyed in the fighting, which left blocks of burned-out shop fronts and gutted homes. Estimates on the total number of buildings in the city vary greatly from around 21,000 to 50,000. Marine civil affairs units are making damage assessments throughout the city and progress has been made in restoring some key infrastructure like water and power. No date has been set yet for the return of Fallujah's residents - that decision will be made by the interim Iraqi Government. However, officers charged with reconstruction efforts say the flow of people back into the city will be tightly controlled. Officials say as the city is cleared of insurgents and unexploded ordnance, announcements will be made that heads of families will be allowed back district-by-district to inspect their homes and businesses. "We want to get certain people, particularly the heads of families, to come in and have a look and make damage claims," Commander Stefani said. "The Government wants people to come in and have a look." Addresses on food ration cards issued before the March 2003 invasion of Iraq will be used to verify each family resides in the district being opened. US navy Rear Admiral Raymond Alexander says military personnel will be in the city to hand out damage claims forms. "If their house is damaged, we're going to let them turn in a claim. Their house may be gone, do they want to rebuild or take that cheque and go somewhere else?" he said. Rear Admiral Alexander says residents will be bussed into the city to look at their homes before being returned to Fallujah's outskirts, where they will be allowed to park their cars. "People will be bussed from outside into their neighbourhoods to allow them to get back into their homes, take whatever they want, get back on the bus and take it to their cars and go back to wherever they're staying," he said. Marines stationed in the city warn that violence will likely spike as insurgents hiding among the refugees renew their fight against US and Iraqi forces. Senior military commanders acknowledge it will be impossible to screen out every insurgent trying to return to Fallujah. - AFP
http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200412/s1260935.htm
19 posted on 12/08/2004 9:00:46 AM PST by Gucho
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20 posted on 12/08/2004 9:02:20 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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To: All



30,000 Americans in Saudi Arabia warned



SPECIAL TO WORLD TRIBUNE.COM
Tuesday, December 7, 2004
ABU DHABI – The United States has alerted its 30,000 citizens in Saudi Arabia to the threat of imminent terrorist attacks.

The U.S. embassy in Riyad issued a security warning that Americans remain a target of Al Qaida and related groups. The warning said Islamic insurgents were believed to have targeted housing compounds, hotels, transportation and shopping malls frequented by Westerners.

"American citizens in Saudi Arabia are strongly urged to exercise utmost security precautions and to review the current Travel Warning for Saudi Arabia dated October 27, 2004," the consulate said on Monday.

The warning was issued hours after the U.S. consulate in Jedda was taken over by Al Qaida insurgents, Middle East Newsline reported. No Americans were killed in the three-hour siege.

The U.S. embassy urged Americans to avoid staying in Saudi hotels or housing compounds that are not properly secured. The embassy cited the need for an armed force, inspection of all vehicles and a hardened security perimeter to prevent unauthorized vehicles from approaching the facility.

"Private Americans currently in Saudi Arabia are strongly urged to depart," a State Department travel warning updated as of Tuesday said.

The warning also cited Saudi government facilities as targets of Al Qaida. The embassy has warned that Al Qaida was capable of launching attacks by numerous gunmen in an attempt to penetrate secure facilities.

In April 2004, the United States ordered the departure of non-emergency employees and all dependents of the U.S. embassy in Riyad as well as the consulates in Dhahran and Jedda. Officials said they have not been permitted to return.

On Tuesday, the United States closed all of its diplomatic facilities in Saudi Arabia. U.S. diplomatic sources said some of the facilities would be reopened later this week.

"They want us to leave Saudi Arabia," President George Bush said. "They want us to leave Iraq. They want us to grow timid and weary in the face of their willingness to kill randomly and kill innocent people."
http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/breaking_7.html


21 posted on 12/08/2004 9:05:24 AM PST by Gucho
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To: All
Japanese extend Iraq mission

Peter Alford, Tokyo correspondent
December 09, 2004

JAPAN'S cabinet will today recommit the nation's troops to the Iraq war for another 12 months.

Ministers will decide after hearing a report from Japan Defence Agency chief Yoshinori Ono. who on Monday inspected security in Samawah, where the Japanese Self-Defence Force soldiers operate.

Between 500 and 600 troops are doing civil reconstruction work, such as rebuilding schools and repairing water supplies, in one of the safer southern parts of Iraq. The SDF is restricted by Japan's constitution from engaging in combat activities abroad, except in self-defence. The troops are protected by a Dutch contingent.

But the Dutch forces are to withdraw in March, and the Japanese have not been able to get an undertaking from any other ally to replace them. It is likely Iraqi police will have to take on the responsibility.

Security concerns, the murder of a Japanese hostage by terrorists six weeks ago and growing -- though not overwhelming -- public opinion against the commitment has made today's decision more difficult for Junichiro Koizumi's Government.

But Mr Koizumi is adamant the troops should stay in Iraq -- he is understood to have given an undertaking to US President George W. Bush -- and Mr Ono made clear he would recommend this to cabinet.

"While the security situation in Samawah is still unpredictable, it has become more stable," Mr Ono said after his visit on Monday. "It is important the SDF continues with its humanitarian assistance activities."

The Liberal Democratic Party's governing partner New Komeito, although closely associated with the pacifist Buddhist lay movement Soka Gakkai, has fallen into line.

"The security situation in Samawah is stable, people in Samawah welcome the Self-Defence Force troops," New Komeito leader Takenori Kanzaki said yesterday.

The first SDF contingent was sent to Iraq for 12 months by an initially dubious Government under strong pressure from the US, Japan's key ally and security guarantor in northeast Asia.

While the Government insists the issues of Iraq and the US alliance are separate, the Samawah deployment has become part of a push by LDP hawks to create a more "normal" military function for the SDF after 60 years of operating under the constraints of Japan's post-war pacifist constitution.

The progress of that effort will become clearer tomorrow when the Koizumi cabinet approves a new National Defence Program Outline -- essentially Japan's military policy framework for the next decade.

The outline should make clear the government and defence agency priorities on such potentially controversial issues as ballistic missile defence, long-range aerial capabilities, an anti-terrorist rapid response force, defence equipment exports and overall force size and structures.

But newspaper reports suggest the LDP has shelved a proposal for a ground-to-ground strategic missile system that would allow Japan to strike at military threats to its remote islands or on nearby foreign soil -- North Korea, for instance.

The reports say New Komeito has blocked the proposal and also insisted that the embargo on military exports remain, except where it would hinder Japan-US co-operation on ballistic missile defence.

22 posted on 12/08/2004 9:08:39 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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British Prime Minister Tony Blair departs No10 Downing Street. Blair rejected a call for an independent inquiry into civilian deaths in Iraq, saying 'terrorists and insurgents' were to blame for fatalities in the run-up to elections.(AFP/Jim Watson)

UK's Blair challenged to tally Iraq war dead

Updated: 2004-12-08 14:52

British diplomats and peers joined scientists and churchmen on Wednesday to urge Prime Minister Tony Blair to publish a death toll in the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

In an unusual open letter to the premier made available to Reuters, the 44 signatories said Blair had rejected other death counts from the war -- figures span 14,000 to 100,000 -- without releasing one of his own.

Any totaling of the Iraqi war dead could embarrass Blair ahead of a general election expected in months in a country that opposed the U.S.-led war.

The group urged Blair to commission an urgent probe into the number of dead and injured and keep counting so long as British soldiers remain in Iraq alongside their American allies.

"Your government is obliged under international humanitarian law to protect the civilian population during military operations in Iraq, and you have consistently promised to do so," they wrote in the letter to be published on Wednesday.

"However, without counting the dead and injured, no one can know whether Britain and its coalition partners are meeting these obligations."

The inquiry, they added, should be independent of government, conducted according to accepted scientific methods and subjected to peer review.

Signatories included Air Marshal Sir Timothy Garden, who spent 32 years in the military; Sir Stephen Egerton, a former British ambassador to Iraq; human rights campaigner Bianca Jagger and the Lord Bishop of Coventry, Colin Bennetts.

Britain and the United States have suffered around 1,070 losses in the war so far. The Iraq-wide casualty count is not known, and a high tally could wreak political damage in Britain, where Blair is expected to win a 2005 election but with a reduced majority.

HOW MANY DEAD?

The writers, also including philosophers and lawyers, said their letter reflects "an influential and growing body of opinion that the government's failure to provide estimates of Iraqi casualties is unacceptable."

Former Foreign Office legal adviser Elizabeth Wilmshurst signed up, along with Iqbal Sacranie, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, writer Gillian Slovo and experts in public health.

The toll of the 20-month U.S.-led war is highly contentious.

In a report released in October by the Lancet medical journal, days before the U.S. election that returned President Bush to power, a group of American scientists put civilian deaths at 100,000.

But the Iraq Body Count (IBC) -- an Anglo-American research group tracking civilian deaths via numerous sources -- has come up with a much lower toll of about 14,000-16,000.

The IBC has now joined forces with Medact, a charity that says the war has crippled Iraq's medical system, to launch a new campaign challenging the government to publish casualties.

"No figures in a war zone are going to be perfect -- but that's no excuse for not trying," said John Sloboda, IBC co-founder.

Medact director Mike Rowson said: "Without information, everyone is working in the dark. The overstretched Iraqi health system should not be left to do this job alone. Britain and its coalition partners have a responsibility."

23 posted on 12/08/2004 9:17:55 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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This is their civil war

Charles Krauthammer
Tuesday December 7, 2004
The Guardian 

In 1864, 11 of the 36 states did not participate in the American presidential election. Was Lincoln's election therefore illegitimate?

In 1868, three years after the security situation had, shall we say, stabilised, three states (and not insignificant ones: Texas, Virginia and Mississippi) did not participate in the election. Was Grant's election illegitimate?

There has been much talk that if the Iraqi election is held and some Sunni Arab provinces (perhaps three of the 18) do not participate, the election will be illegitimate. Nonsense. The election should be held. It should be open to everyone. If Iraq's Sunni Arabs - barely 20% of the population - decide that they cannot abide giving up their 80 years of minority rule, which ended with 30 years of Saddam Hussein's atrocious tyranny, then tough luck. They forfeit their chance to shape and to participate in the new Iraq.

Americans are dying right now to give them that very chance. The US is making a costly last-ditch effort to midwife a new, unitary Iraq. The Falluja offensive and related actions are designed to reduce the brutal intimidation of the Sunni population by the dead-end Ba'athists and others seeking to retake the power that they enjoyed under Saddam. But when those offensives are over, the Sunnis themselves - ordinary people who, out of either fear or sympathy, have been giving refuge and support to the terrorist insurgents - will have to make a choice. Either they join the new Iraq by participating in the coming election, or they institutionalise the civil war that their side has already begun.

People keep warning about the danger of civil war. This is absurd. There already is a civil war. It is raging before our eyes. Problem is, only one side is fighting it. The other side, the Shias and the Kurds, are largely watching as their part of the fight is borne primarily by the US. Both have an interest in the outcome. The Shias constitute a majority of Iraqis and will inevitably inherit power in any democratic arrangement. The Kurds want to retain their successful autonomous zone without worrying about new depredations at the hands of the Sunni Arabs.

This is the Shias' and the Kurds' fight. Yet when police stations are ravaged by Sunni Arab insurgents in Mosul, American soldiers are rushed in to fight them. The obvious question is: why don't we unleash the fierce and well-trained Kurdish peshmerga militias against them? (Mosul is heavily Kurdish and suffered a terrible Kurdish expulsion under Saddam.)

Yes, some of the Iraqi police/national guard units fighting alongside our troops are largely Kurdish. But they, like the Shias, fight in an avowedly non-sectarian Iraqi force. Why? Because we want to maintain this idea of a unified, non-ethnic Iraq. At some point, however, we must decide whether that is possible, and how many American lives should be sacrificed in its name.

In April I wrote in these pages that, while our "goal has been to build a united, pluralistic, democratic Iraq in which the factions negotiate their differences the way we do in the west", that goal "may be, in the short run, a bridge too far... [We] should lower our ambitions and see Iraqi factionalisation as a useful tool."

For example, we (and the British) have been spearheading a new counteroffensive against Sunni guerrillas south of Baghdad. Where are the Shias? I understand Shia wariness about fighting alongside us. It is not, as conventional wisdom has it, because of some deep-seated Iraqi nationalism. In 1991 the Shias were begging the US to intervene during their uprising against Saddam. They were dying, literally, for the American army to help them. Unfortunately - and this misfortune haunts us to this day - they were betrayed. Having encouraged the Shias to rebel, we did not lift a finger as Saddam slaughtered them by the thousands.

Given that history, the Shias are today understandably wary about American steadfastness and intentions. If the Shias do go out on a limb and pick up the fight against the insurgent Sunnis, will we leave them hanging again?

Our taking on the Sunnis is a way of demonstrating good faith. As is our intention to hold the election no matter what. Everyone knows that the outcome of the election will be a historic transfer of power to the Shias (and, to some extent, to the Kurds). We must make it clear that we will be there to support that new government. But we also have to make it clear that we are not there to lead the fight indefinitely. It is their civil war.

24 posted on 12/08/2004 9:24:57 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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President Bush speaks to Marines during a visit to Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base in San Diego. (AP)

Bush issues call to sacrifice on behalf of troops deployed over holidays

By Associated Press
Wednesday, December 8, 2004

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Standing before thousands of Marines, President Bush [related, bio] asked other Americans on Tuesday to make the war their own by helping battle-weary troops and their families.

``The time of war is a time of sacrifice, especially for our military families,'' Bush said, wearing a tan military jacket with epaulets. ``I urge every American to find some way to thank our military and to help out the military family down the street.''

In October 2001, shortly after the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, Bush ordered the invasion of Afghanistan to rout the terrorist-protecting Taliban government. The military took on the additional burden of the war in Iraq starting with the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

In all that time, while traveling widely to visit military personnel and sit at the bedsides of the wounded, the president has asked little of the civilian public.

But with casualties increasing and the number of U.S. troops in Iraq slated to rise before next month's planned elections there, Bush urged civilians to do more.

Speaking on the 63rd anniversary of Pearl Harbor, Bush's call to sacrifice recalled President Roosevelt's World War II-era requests for Americans to pitch in for the war effort. Citizens responded then by planting victory gardens, purchasing war bonds, contributing metals and transforming commercial factories into weapons-makers.

Bush, who flew across the country and back in one long day to a base that has seen one of the highest casualty rates in Iraq, suggested ways Americans now can support troops - and their left-behind families - by citing the example of several already doing so. Groups have been established to welcome home the wounded, collect thank-you letters, build homes adapted to disabled vets, and raise money for military families who must forsake home and jobs to stand beside a recovering soldier, he said.

``In this season of giving, let us stand with the men and women who stand up for America, our military,'' Bush said.

The president spent the bulk of his visit to this southern California base behind closed doors.

After his speech, he joined troops in a mess hall decorated for Christmas for a lunch of beef, noodles and rice. He then went into a base gymnasium to spend over two hours face-to-face with more than 50 families of the fallen. He awarded one soldier, left unidentified by the White House, a posthumous Bronze Star.

White House spokesman Trent Duffy said there was ``a lot of emotion, a lot of hugs'' between the president and the families.

According to a Camp Pendleton spokesman, Cpl. Patrick Carroll, 269 Marines from the base have been killed in action in Iraq. A total of more than 1,270 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war, including nearly 1,000 who have died as a result of hostile action.

In his public remarks, Bush sought to console the survivors.

``Words can only go so far in capturing the grief and sense of loss for the families of those who have died,'' he said. ``But you can know this: They gave their lives for a cause that is just. And as in other generations, their sacrifice will have spared millions from the lives of tyranny and sorrow.''

Recently, more than 21,000 Camp Pendleton Marines have been serving in Iraq's al-Anbar province, including the battle to secure the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah.

Other missions have included being the first conventional forces to fight in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and rolling across Iraq's border for the march to Baghdad that toppled Saddam Hussein's regime.

Bush declared the Fallujah campaign a success, saying, ``We have dealt the enemy a severe blow.''

But he warned that troops will see more attacks and, without saying it explicitly, more losses as Iraq's Jan. 30 elections approach.

``The enemies of freedom in Iraq have been wounded, but they're not yet defeated,'' the president said. ``We can expect further violence from the terrorists. ... The terrorists will do all they can to delay and disrupt free elections in Iraq. And they will fail.''

Bush promised, as he has repeatedly over recent days, that the elections ``will proceed as planned.''

25 posted on 12/08/2004 9:35:11 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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To: TexKat
good article. I like Krauthammer. I understand he is a paraplegic. I see him on the rare occasion I see Fox News..

The zeal of youth.. is it great or not? the problem being the correct information, background knowledge & grounding of the youth with the zeal.
26 posted on 12/08/2004 9:39:35 AM PST by DollyCali (We can never repay our veterans...NEVER. Thank you all who served our great country.)
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Russia to pursue its interests in Iraq

MOSCOW - Russia has written off more debts of Iraq that other members of the Paris Club, and its interests in Iraq should be taken into account, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared at a meeting with the Prime Minister of Iraq. The Russian President remarked that Russia had written off the debts because of solidarity, however, it assumed that Russian companies' interests would be taken into account by the Iraqi leadership and the future government after the elections in Iraq, Rossiya (Russia) television reported. Earlier Putin announced that in total, Russia would write off about 90 percent of Iraq's debt.

Additionally, the Russian President commented on the forthcoming elections in Iraq, scheduled for January 30, 2005. "I see no way to organize elections in a country that is completely occupied by foreign forces but at the same time I see no way for you to independently restore the country and prevent its disintegration," Putin pointed out.

Russian Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin reported earlier that following the writing off of debts, the amount of Iraqi debt to Russia would be between $700m and $1bn. "The Iraqi debts are being verified now, and as a result, the debt will be restructured," the minister said. According to Kudrin, the repayment of Iraq's debts to Russia is to be delayed for three years.

27 posted on 12/08/2004 9:40:01 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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Dutchman to face charges over Iraqi genocide

Chemicals supplied killed 5000 Kurds

AMSTERDAM Prosecutors said yesterday they would charge a 62-year-old Dutchman as an accomplice to genocide and other war crimes for supplying Saddam Hussein's regime with lethal chemicals used in the 1988 chemical attack on the Kurdish town of Halabjah.

Wim de Bruin of the national prosecutor's office said the man, who was arrested in Amsterdam on Monday, would face charges "for violating the laws of war and involvement in genocide".

"The man is suspected of delivering thousands of tons of raw materials for chemical weapons to the former regime in Baghdad between 1984 and 1988," prosecutors said in a statement.

About 5000 civilians died in the infamous chemical attack.

The man was not named by prosecutors, but was identified by Dutch media as Frans van Anraat, a chemicals dealer.

Prosecutors said the man had been a suspect since 1989, when he was arrested in Milan, Italy, at the request of the US government.

He was later released and fled to Iraq, where he remained until 2003. After the US-led invasion in March 2003, he returned to the Netherlands via Syria.

The United Nations suspects the man was a major chemicals supplier to Saddam's regime, having made 36 separate shipments, including raw materials for nerve gas and mustard gas originating in the US and Japan.

The chemicals were shipped via Antwerp, Belgium, through Aqaba in Jordan before reaching Iraq, the prosecution statement said.

Authorities in the US, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Jordan helped in the investigation, and witnesses were interviewed in the UK, Denmark, Jordan and the Netherlands, prosecutors said.

In a 2003 interview with Dutch television programme, Netwerk, Anraat said he had shipped materials to Iraq but was innocent of wrongdoing.

"This was not my main business, this is something I did in passing," he said.

"Somewhere once back then, I got the request whether I could deliver certain products to them, which they needed.

"And because I had a very good relationship with the (Iraqi) oil ministry, and that's where the request came from, I tried to see if I could do it," he said.

"And that was successful and we did deliver some materials."

Prosecutors said Anraat "knew the destination and ultimate purpose of the materials he was shipping". Sapa-AFP

28 posted on 12/08/2004 9:49:02 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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To: TexKat; retrokitten; Kitty Mittens; snugs; duckbutt; texasflower; lysie; Jackie-O; MozartLover; ...
Just because.....


29 posted on 12/08/2004 9:55:54 AM PST by DollyCali (We can never repay our veterans...NEVER. Thank you all who served our great country.)
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To: All
The Syria Connection: Below is an image of a GPS unit found by the Marines. GPS waypoints are known locations used for reference, thus the fact that waypoints in Syria were on this unit indicates that it had probably been used in that country some time in the past. Click for larger image.


Bomb-making: Remember that Texas registered SUV found in Fallujah I talked about? Here it is. Looks like a Chevy Suburban. The terrorists were turning it into a car bomb. Click for larger image.


http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/056142.php

30 posted on 12/08/2004 9:56:20 AM PST by Gucho
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To: DollyCali

Thanks for the ping! In addition to the great photographs you posted there are some really wonderful ones on this thread. The women doing the Charlie's Angels pose is too cute, but they should be George's Angels. ;-)

And the ones of the South Korean president are wonderful also. He looks very loved by his troops.


31 posted on 12/08/2004 10:00:56 AM PST by retrokitten (Do you want to hear the horrifying truth or see me hit a few zingers??)
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To: TexKat

tex.. do you (anyone) know what kind of tank in pix 1

what is the middle one? a house? subterranian?

bottom? is that one of the Baghdad govt building we took over March 03?


32 posted on 12/08/2004 10:06:19 AM PST by DollyCali (We can never repay our veterans...NEVER. Thank you all who served our great country.)
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To: retrokitten

This has been a daily thread since the Fallujah campaign began. TexKat does a great job in posting information / pix. Others jump in with pertinent info & pictures also almost every day .

I as usual post pictures, movie information & humor. The few things I now and then trip on were already posted.. Sigh, it is tough being a blonde!!!

Hope you are well. going to inauguration?


33 posted on 12/08/2004 10:10:01 AM PST by DollyCali (We can never repay our veterans...NEVER. Thank you all who served our great country.)
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To: DollyCali
going to inauguration?

No, not this time around. I know everyone will have a blast and I will be there in spirit!

34 posted on 12/08/2004 10:11:51 AM PST by retrokitten (Do you want to hear the horrifying truth or see me hit a few zingers??)
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To: Gucho

Good find Gucho.


35 posted on 12/08/2004 10:15:13 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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Saddam Palaces Photos:
http://www.iraq.net/coppermine-thumbnails-album-6-cat-0-page-1.html
36 posted on 12/08/2004 10:42:49 AM PST by Gucho
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To: DollyCali
tex.. do you (anyone) know what kind of tank in pix 1

I don't know anything about tanks DC, but after searching for images of them, the vehicle is pix 1 looks like it could possibly be one of the stryker models.

But don't take that to the bank. LOL!!!

Here you go, knock yourself out. Military tanks 101 Army Technology.com

37 posted on 12/08/2004 10:44:27 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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To: Gucho

38 posted on 12/08/2004 10:50:10 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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Heroes, Martyrs and Unknowns in Iraq Fighting

Wed Dec 8, 2004 10:28 AM ET

By Michael Georgy

FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) - The offensive that crushed Iraq's fiercest insurgents in Falluja in November turned U.S. Marines into heroes and insurgents into celebrated martyrs.

But there has been little glory from the countless unreported battles that just push up U.S. casualty figures, like the one that killed Marine Captain Patrick Rapicault in Ramadi.

A Frenchmen who became an American citizen, Rapicault had dreamed of becoming a Marine his whole life.

"If there was anyone who was going to make it big, Rapicault was the man," said his friend, Marine Captain Robert Bodisch. "He was very determined and he was completely dedicated to the mission in Iraq. He believed in it."

After surviving several roadside bomb attacks, Rapicault's dreams were cut short by a suicide bomber who rammed a car into his routine patrol, far from the television cameras in the high-profile battle for Falluja.

"I heard the news at the mess hall," said Bodisch, a tank company commander who fought in Falluja. "I could not believe he was gone. The world will just forget him."

The 1,000th U.S. soldier was killed Tuesday in action in the war that ousted Saddam Hussein last year. Including noncombat deaths the figure is more than 1,200.

The Falluja fighting raised the monthly U.S. death toll to one of its highest levels since the start of the war. It's the type of conflict that yields many Purple Heart medals.

But most American troops have fallen in the ordinary, daily grind of clashes with insurgents, deaths that appear buried in long lists in newspapers and U.S. military Web sites.

"The Marines need to be humanized. You see the lists of the dead, but more people need to know who these people were and what they were fighting for in Iraq," said Bodisch.

"We get support back home but people need to know about people like Patrick and what he stood for."

39 posted on 12/08/2004 11:04:49 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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Oops I submitted my last post to soon. I was not finished.

Heroes, Martyrs and Unknowns in Iraq Fighting (Continued)

MARTYRDOM GLORIFIED BY INSURGENTS

Insurgents and foreign fighters don't face that problem. Death always brings recognition in Iraq or their hometowns in other Arab states.

They are celebrated as martyrs in the struggle against U.S. troops in Iraq.

Their bodies, still in fighting outfits, are wrapped in Iraqi flags. Families of martyrs offer meals and sweets to neighbors, relatives and friends in tents for up to three days.

One insurgent sniper named Ammar, who was killed in a U.S. air strike in Falluja before the offensive, was not given the whole treatment because people were afraid that gathering in large groups would arouse American suspicion.

But his name was hoisted on banners, and like other martyrs, it will go down in legendary tales about those who challenged American firepower in Iraq.

Many guerrillas go into battle hoping to be killed.

It's a concept that's alien to people like Bodisch and many other Marines who see their mission in Iraq as a war against "terrorists," not martyrs, to prevent a repeat of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

Bodisch, who saw major combat for the first time in Falluja, gained a first hand view of insurgents in the western Iraqi city 32 miles west of Baghdad.

"Now I have no doubt about what these people are all about and what they are trying to do and just how dangerous they are," he said, recalling how hard-core militants jumped in front of his 70-ton tank and fired rocket-propelled grenades.

It convinced him that the United States should be fighting in Iraq.

As he sat in a mess hall where Marines boasted of success in Falluja, he learned of another militant, the suicide bomber who killed Rapicault, a Marine he never thought would fall.

Bodisch, 32, of Austin, Texas, first met Rapicault at a school for Marine Captains. He spoke of Rapicault's strong will, even in the face of constant attacks in the guerrilla-infested town of Ramadi. Perhaps it was determination that eventually cost the 34-year-old Rapicault, of St. Augustine, Florida, his life.

"I just hope his death won't be in vain," said Bodisch.

Bodisch said he doesn't have much time to reflect on whether Rapicault will just be another name on a list. His men are still in Falluja, searching for insurgents hoping for martyrdom.

"I can't really think too much about Patrick. I can't right now," he said. "I will have to wait until I can sit down alone when I get home to really understand it all."

40 posted on 12/08/2004 11:15:23 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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To: All

Navy Surgeons in Iraq Wrangle With Trauma

9 minutes ago

NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq - Doctors with Bravo Surgical Company — known as the "Cheaters of Death" — fight their own quiet battles every day against the horrifying wounds of war.



"These injuries we never see at home," said one of the surgeons, Dr. Matthew Camuso of Los Angeles. "I mostly treated gunshot wounds and stabbing, but these injuries don't compare — you just don't have people blown up back home."


Dr. Michael Mazurek, an orthopedic surgeon and trauma specialist from Philadelphia, said he has seen "some horrific injuries" in the 90 days since coming to Iraq (news - web sites). "The tremendous force of the IED can devastate a torso," he says, referring to a roadside bomb.


As quickly as they can, the doctors of Bravo Company patch up U.S. soldiers who are often treated first at the scene of their injury by mobile doctors with backpack kits. Then, the wounded are quickly flown to military hospitals in Europe or to the United States if they are severely injured.


"What we saw as the most lifesaving factor was getting the wounded to us as soon as possible," said Dr. Kenneth Kelleher, the 58-year-old Navy captain who is company chief. "Then, it's all down to basic surgery, stop the bleeding, close holes and bowel — we basically work to save life over limb."


They work in a single-story concrete building that is deceptively austere. This Navy combat hospital houses two complete surgeries, with three operating tables, a 20-bed ward and state-of-the-art equipment, including digital X-ray, a well-stocked pharmacy and a laboratory complete with blood bank freezers.


The scene, once one of fierce urban warfare that lasted for a week in Iraq's former insurgent stronghold, is now quiet.


But during the most intense combat in the battle for Fallujah and in the mop-up military operations that followed, the hospital received about 800 patients — over 50 a day, Kelleher said. That compares with the earlier Oct. 17 record, when Kelleher's team treated 16 patients from three separate attacks in the area.


Mazurek says 10 surgeries in a single day of the battle were a personal record.


During Fallujah's urban combat, there were far fewer wounds from roadside bombs than are suffered elsewhere in Iraq, and far more gunshot wounds to arms and legs as Marines clashed house-to-house with holed-up insurgents.


By the time the chaos had ended, more than 50 Marines and eight Iraqi soldiers had been killed in the battle that U.S. military says also claimed the lives of 1,600 insurgents. Bravo Surgical also treated over 50 wounded Iraqi soldiers who fought alongside U.S. troops, as well as about 50 insurgents.


Combat hospitals, with front-line lifesaving crews such as Kelleher's, emerged from the 1991 Gulf War (news - web sites), Somalia and other Marine engagements. From their experience at the operating table, doctors learned they had to treat the wounded in those critical first minutes — what's called the "Golden Hour" — so getting them off the battlefield fast was of paramount importance.


That practice in Iraq is one reason for the 90 percent survival rate of U.S. soldiers, the highest in any war.


But this war is seeing more severe injuries and amputees than any other war, too. Mazurek, 36, says the toughest decision for him is whether a limb is salvageable.


"We are better at recovering limbs than we were 20 years ago simply because of the techniques, because we are generally better at what we do and the approach to 'mangled extremity' is different," he says. On the other hand, "a U.S. soldier has a better chance at getting the latest prosthesis, adequate rehabilitation than any other."


In other cases, there are no choices for the doctors to make.


"Unfortunately, it's the injuries on the battlefield that mostly select who is to live and who is not — those who die are mostly those who are immediately killed in action," Kelleher said.
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20041208/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_battlefield_hospital&cid=540&ncid=1480


41 posted on 12/08/2004 11:30:57 AM PST by Gucho
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In this photo released by the US Navy, Petty Officer 3rd Class Jose Ramirez, a corpsman with 1st Force Service Support Group, Bravo Surgical Company, and native of San Antonio, Texas, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Danielle T. Tutongillette, a corpsman with 1st FSSG, Bravo Surgical Co. and native of San Diego, discuss an Iraqi Intervention Force patient's status at Bravo Surgical on Camp Fallujah, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2004. (AP Photo/US Navy)

Navy Surgeons in Iraq Wrangle With Trauma

By KATARINA KRATOVAC, Associated Press Writer

NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq - Doctors with Bravo Surgical Company — known as the "Cheaters of Death" — fight their own quiet battles every day against the horrifying wounds of war.

"These injuries we never see at home," said one of the surgeons, Dr. Matthew Camuso of Los Angeles. "I mostly treated gunshot wounds and stabbing, but these injuries don't compare — you just don't have people blown up back home."

Dr. Michael Mazurek, an orthopedic surgeon and trauma specialist from Philadelphia, said he has seen "some horrific injuries" in the 90 days since coming to Iraq. "The tremendous force of the IED can devastate a torso," he says, referring to a roadside bomb.

As quickly as they can, the doctors of Bravo Company patch up U.S. soldiers who are often treated first at the scene of their injury by mobile doctors with backpack kits. Then, the wounded are quickly flown to military hospitals in Europe or to the United States if they are severely injured.

"What we saw as the most lifesaving factor was getting the wounded to us as soon as possible," said Dr. Kenneth Kelleher, the 58-year-old Navy captain who is company chief. "Then, it's all down to basic surgery, stop the bleeding, close holes and bowel — we basically work to save life over limb."

They work in a single-story concrete building that is deceptively austere. This Navy combat hospital houses two complete surgeries, with three operating tables, a 20-bed ward and state-of-the-art equipment, including digital X-ray, a well-stocked pharmacy and a laboratory complete with blood bank freezers.

The scene, once one of fierce urban warfare that lasted for a week in Iraq's former insurgent stronghold, is now quiet.

But during the most intense combat in the battle for Fallujah and in the mop-up military operations that followed, the hospital received about 800 patients — over 50 a day, Kelleher said. That compares with the earlier Oct. 17 record, when Kelleher's team treated 16 patients from three separate attacks in the area.

Mazurek says 10 surgeries in a single day of the battle were a personal record.

During Fallujah's urban combat, there were far fewer wounds from roadside bombs than are suffered elsewhere in Iraq, and far more gunshot wounds to arms and legs as Marines clashed house-to-house with holed-up insurgents.

By the time the chaos had ended, more than 50 Marines and eight Iraqi soldiers had been killed in the battle that U.S. military says also claimed the lives of 1,600 insurgents. Bravo Surgical also treated over 50 wounded Iraqi soldiers who fought alongside U.S. troops, as well as about 50 insurgents.

Combat hospitals, with front-line lifesaving crews such as Kelleher's, emerged from the 1991 Gulf War, Somalia and other Marine engagements. From their experience at the operating table, doctors learned they had to treat the wounded in those critical first minutes — what's called the "Golden Hour" — so getting them off the battlefield fast was of paramount importance.

That practice in Iraq is one reason for the 90 percent survival rate of U.S. soldiers, the highest in any war.

But this war is seeing more severe injuries and amputees than any other war, too. Mazurek, 36, says the toughest decision for him is whether a limb is salvageable.

"We are better at recovering limbs than we were 20 years ago simply because of the techniques, because we are generally better at what we do and the approach to 'mangled extremity' is different," he says. On the other hand, "a U.S. soldier has a better chance at getting the latest prosthesis, adequate rehabilitation than any other."

In other cases, there are no choices for the doctors to make.

"Unfortunately, it's the injuries on the battlefield that mostly select who is to live and who is not — those who die are mostly those who are immediately killed in action," Kelleher said.


42 posted on 12/08/2004 11:33:57 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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To: Gucho

A new FR meaning for the word (bump) Gucho. Posts #41 and #42.


43 posted on 12/08/2004 11:36:45 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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To: TexKat

"A new FR meaning for the word (bump) Gucho. Posts #41 and #42."

:) oh well


44 posted on 12/08/2004 11:49:46 AM PST by Gucho
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To: TexKat
Abdullah told The Washington Post in an interview published Wednesday that more than 1 million Iranians have crossed the border into Iraq, many to vote, and he said they were being encouraged by the Iranian government.

First I have heard of a number that large!

45 posted on 12/08/2004 11:51:20 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (A Proud member of Free Republic ~~The New Face of the Fourth Estate since 1996.)
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U.S. soldiers on the scene carry into the lobby of the Sheraton hotel an incapacitated Iraqi man who suffered heart pain when a group of Iraqi insurgents in a car attacked security personnel guarding the Palestine and Sheraton Hotel compound minutes earlier, in Baghdad, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2004. According to witnesses several attackers were wounded and captured by Iraqi security forces before the attackers could flee the scene. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

US marines stand guard at building they are stationed at in the restive city of Fallujah, 50 kms west of Baghdad.(AFP/Mehdi Fedouach)

A picture released by the US army shows Two Marines with Bravo Company, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, ascending a staircase to search the second floor of a house while conducting a cordon-and-search mission through the town of Jurf al-Sakhr, south of Baghdad.(AFP/US Army-HO)

An Iraqi man walks past posters praising the police in Baghdad. Violence continued to simmer on the ground with at least one policeman killed in an attack by armed men against a police station in Samarra, north of Baghdad, and three people wounded in a bomb blast in the Iraqi capital.(AFP/Sabah Arar)

A Palestinian Red Crescent worker pauses in agency's pharmacy in Baghdad, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2004. US forces raided Palestinian Red Crescent offices Tuesday night and arrested ten people. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

46 posted on 12/08/2004 11:54:45 AM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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To: TexKat; All
Getting the Story Out To The World. What Really Happened in Fallujah - Click on the slides for a better view and easier navigation. If you double-click a slide, it will come up at high resolution.

What Really Happened in Fallujah

47 posted on 12/08/2004 11:58:43 AM PST by Gucho
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U.S. Army Spc Thomas Wilson, left, speaks to US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, not pictured, during Rumsfeld's visit to Camp Udeira, 120 km (74 miles) north of Kuwait City, on Wednesday, Dec.8, 2004. Wilson, of the 278th Regimental Combat Team that is comprised mainly of citizen soldiers of the Tennessee Army National Guard, asked Rumsfeld why vehicle armor is still in short supply, nearly three years after the war in Iraq began. (AP Photo/Gustavo Ferrari)

Marines in Fallujah 'Get By' With Armor

By KATARINA KRATOVAC Associated Press Writer

NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) -- Marines patrolling the former insurgent stronghold of Fallujah - some in open Humvees - say they've had some close calls, but "get by well" with the vehicle and body armor they have.

"I think the armor we have for the vehicles is getting better and our body armor is OK, I have nothing against it," Sgt. Aaron D'Amico said Wednesday.

Told about complaints from disgruntled soldiers who told Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld earlier Wednesday they lacked armored vehicles and other equipment, D'Amico said: "I'd definitely opt for higher production of armor but the Marines get by well with what we have."

D'Amico, 24, of Cleveland, Ohio, said his unit, the 1st Battalion of the 8th Marine Regiment, received new, upgraded vehicle armor a year ago, with Kevlar-protected seats. D'Amico's only complaint is that the open-roof Humvee provides no protection at the back.

The armor the Marines receive is "usually leftovers from the Army, the Army usually gets the better stuff," he added.

In November, U.S. deaths in Iraq reached 135, equaling the all-time high previously reached in April. Hundreds more were wounded. At least 54 deaths occurred during the Marine-led assault on Fallujah.

D'Amico said his closest call occurred four months ago in the town of Haditha in central Iraq, when a roadside bomb blew up by the side of his vehicle.

The blast and flying shrapnel nicked the side armor of the Humvee door but injured no one inside.

D'Amico said it was not just the vehicle armor that saved them, but also the bomb-makers' lack of skill in planting the device too deep to cause serious damage.

Cpl. Adam Golden, 21, of New York, agreed the armor they have is serving them well, but said he would prefer "castled-in armor," especially armor over the Humvee's open canopy.

"Our body armor stops appropriate rounds and it works great to save lives," added Golden. "There are always places you could get hit, such as on the sides of your chest or in the armpits. I know a lot of guys who got hit there."

He believes such body armor is now being designed but has not yet reached the troops.

Cpl. Joshua Munns said it isn't easy to make the best armor.

"It has to be tested against the heaviest weapons infantry would encounter," said Munns, 21, of Redding, Calif.

"The vehicle floor Kevlar, for example is not meant to stop an explosion but prevents the vehicle floor from breaking apart on the inside," Munns added.

Asked whether he would prefer a closed Humvee with bulletproof windows, Munns said "it's a yes-and-no answer."

"An enclosed vehicle reduces your visibility and if you are not able to see an attack you might as well have no armor at all," he said. "It needs to be a fine balance between visibility and protection."

Munns said he prefers mobility over the weight of extra body armor.

The three Marines agree that the most exposed person is their gunner in the turret.

"He has to think about the bigger stuff, he is up there, more exposed than any of us," Munns noted.

On the other side of the base, Capt. Joe Winslow, 36, of Dallas, said it is not so much the armor but the tactics of the Marines that has been a lifesaver.

"It's the aggressive convoy procedures, paying attention to the basics, vigilance by the gunner and the driver," said Winslow.

Winslow said he had just seen footage of the soldiers' exchange with Rumsfeld on television and was "surprised" because the armor we have is "top notch."

"I don't know why they said what they said. I can't speak for another person," he said.

"Every time I go outside the base, I am aware that what keeps me safe is not only in the equipment I have but in the mentality of being a Marine," said Gunnery Sgt. Mike Ritchie.

48 posted on 12/08/2004 12:06:47 PM PST by TexKat (Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
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To: Gucho

Love that report!


49 posted on 12/08/2004 12:07:05 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (A Proud member of Free Republic ~~The New Face of the Fourth Estate since 1996.)
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To: All

Iraq, Jordan see threat to election from Iran:
Leaders warn against forming religious state:

WASHINGTON - The leaders of Iraq and Jordan warned yesterday that Iran is trying to influence the Iraqi elections scheduled for Jan. 30 to create an Islamic government that would dramatically shift the geopolitical balance between Shiite and Sunni Muslims in the Middle East.

Iraqi President Ghazi Yawar charged that Iran is coaching candidates and political parties sympathetic to Tehran and pouring "huge amounts of money" into the campaign to produce a Shiite-dominated government similar to Iran's.

Jordanian King Abdullah said that more than 1 million Iranians have crossed the 910-mile border into Iraq, many to vote in the election — with the encouragement of the Iranian government. "I'm sure there's a lot of people, a lot of Iranians in there that will be used as part of the polls to influence the outcome," he said in an interview.


• More news on Iraq

The king also charged that Iranians are paying salaries and providing welfare to unemployed Iraqis to build pro-Iranian public sentiment. Some Iranians, he added, have been trained by Iran's Revolutionary Guards and are members of militias that could fuel trouble in Iraq after the election.

"It is in Iran's vested interest to have an Islamic republic of Iraq ... and therefore the involvement you're getting by the Iranians is to achieve a government that is very pro-Iran," Abdullah said.

A new 'crescent'?
If pro-Iran parties or politicians dominate the new Iraqi government, he said, a new "crescent" of dominant Shiite movements or governments stretching from Iran into Iraq, Syria and Lebanon could emerge, alter the traditional balance of power between the two main Islamic sects and pose new challenges to U.S. interests and allies.

"If Iraq goes Islamic republic, then, yes, we've opened ourselves to a whole set of new problems that will not be limited to the borders of Iraq. I'm looking at the glass half-full, and let's hope that's not the case. But strategic planners around the world have got to be aware that is a possibility," Abdullah added.

Iran and Iraq have Shiite majorities. But modern Iraq, formed after World War I, has been ruled by its Sunni minority. Syria is ruled by the minority Allawites, an offshoot of Shiism. Shiites are the largest of 17 recognized sects in Lebanon, and Hezbollah is a major Shiite political party, with the only active militia.

Abdullah, a prominent Sunni leader, said the creation of a new Shiite crescent would particularly destabilize Gulf countries with Shiite populations. "Even Saudi Arabia is not immune from this. It would be a major problem. And then that would propel the possibility of a Shiite-Sunni conflict even more, as you're taking it out of the borders of Iraq," the king said.

Complicated ties
Iran has bonds with Iraq through their Shiite populations. Thousands of Iranians make pilgrimages to the holiest Shiite cities of Najaf and Karbala. Iraq's most prominent Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, is Iranian-born and speaks Arabic with a Persian accent. Yet Iran and Iraq fought a brutal eight-year war with more than a million casualties.

Iran has faced charges in the past of meddling in Iraq, but with the election approaching, Iraqi, U.S. and Arab officials have begun to make specific accusations and issue warnings about the potential impact.

"Unfortunately, time is proving, and the situation is proving, beyond any doubt that Iran has very obvious interference in our business — a lot of money, a lot of intelligence activities and almost interfering daily in business and many [provincial] governates, especially in the southeast side of Iraq," Yawar said in an interview with Washington Post editors and reporters.

The interim Iraqi president, a Sunni leader from a tribe with Sunnis and Shiites, said Iraq's first democratic government must reject pressure to inject religion into politics. "We cannot have a sectarian or religious government," he said. "We really will not accept a religious state in Iraq. We haven't seen a model that succeeded."

The question of Iraq's political orientation — secular or religious — will come to a head when Iraq begins writing a new constitution next spring. Jordan's king said he had started to raise a "red flag" about the dangers of mixing church and state.

Abdullah said the United States had communicated its concern to Iran through third parties, although he predicted a showdown. "There's going to be some sort of clash at one point or another," he said. "We hope it's just a clash of words and politics and not a clash of civilizations or peoples on the ground. We will know a bit better how it will play out after the [Iraqi] election."

In Baghdad, interim Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih warned neighboring governments that Iraq is losing patience with them for not doing more to stop the insurgency, which undermines the prospects for peaceful elections.

"There is evidence indicating that some groups in some neighboring countries are playing a direct role in the killing of the Iraqi people, and such a thing is not acceptable to us," Salih said. "We have reached a stage in which, if we do not see a real response from those countries, then we are obliged to take a decisive stance."

Violence continues to generate skepticism about whether legitimate elections can be held in two months. After talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he "cannot imagine" how elections can go forward.

Push for timely elections
But after meeting with President Bush on Monday, Yawar and Abdullah said they are committed to pressing fellow Sunnis to drop threats to boycott the elections and move quickly to register candidates.

The Jordanian monarch said sitting out the election would only hurt Sunnis. "My advice to the Sunnis in Iraq, and that I will make public, is to get engaged, get into the system and do the best that you can come January 30," he said. "If you don't and you lose out, then you only have yourselves to blame."

The Iraqi president said there is no point in delaying elections, as Sunni leaders have urged. "Extending the election date will just prolong our agony," he said. He predicted Sunnis will ultimately participate, adding that many of the same leaders agitating against the Jan. 30 date have begun preparing their own campaigns.

Yawar said he is putting together a balanced, "all-Iraqi list" of candidates that would cross sectarian lines, in apparent contrast to the Shiite-dominated candidate slate.

A civil engineer educated at George Washington University, he expressed hope that U.S. troops could begin withdrawing from Iraq by the end of 2005 if Iraqi authorities train enough of their own troops.

"When we have our security forces qualified and capable of taking the job, then we will start seeing the beginning of decreasing forces, and that's in hopefully a year's time," he said. But he would not indicate when he hoped the last U.S. soldiers would leave. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told reporters this week he expected the U.S. military to withdraw within four years.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6674031/


50 posted on 12/08/2004 12:32:04 PM PST by Gucho
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