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Iraq
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As of 2/19/06, how would you rate the Iraq War and its aftermath?
Total failure in all respects
43%
 43%  [ 36 ]
Terrible in terms of lives lost and a set back for U.S.-Middle East relations
28%
 28%  [ 23 ]
A major setback on the WOT, but democracy in Iraq at least
1%
 1%  [ 1 ]
Difficulties were expected yet it probably had to happen
12%
 12%  [ 10 ]
Not too badly, although our intel networks must improve
2%
 2%  [ 2 ]
Think it has gone relatively well
6%
 6%  [ 5 ]
A complete success so far
2%
 2%  [ 2 ]
I don't care as long as I'm safe
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
I'm lost, where is the Mallory thread?
3%
 3%  [ 3 ]
Total Votes : 82

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sister of Iraq's New Sunni Arab VP Killed
By THOMAS WAGNER, AP Embarassed

BAGHDAD, A sister of Iraq's new Sunni Arab vice president was killed Thursday in a drive-by shooting in Baghdad, a day after the politician called for the Sunni-dominated insurgency to be crushed by force. In southern Iraq, a bomb hit an Italian military convoy Thursday morning, killing four soldiers — three Italians and a Romanian — and seriously injuring another passenger, Italy's government said. The bomb struck the convoy near an Italian military base in Nasiriyah, a heavily Shiite city 200 miles southeast of Baghdad, said local Iraqi government spokesman Haidr Radhi.
The violence came as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld were visiting Baghdad to meet with officials in the new Iraqi government. Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite hard-liner recently tapped as Iraq's prime minister, is trying to form a new national unity government aimed at stopping a wave of sectarian violence in Iraq. Al-Maliki has 30 days to assemble a Cabinet from divided Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish parties. The most contentious question will be filling key ministries that control security forces amid demands to purge them of militias blamed for the rise in sectarian bloodshed. Mayson Ahmed Bakir al-Hashimi, 60, whose brother, Tariq al-Hashimi, was appointed by parliament as vice president on Saturday, was killed by unidentified gunmen in a BMW sedan as she was leaving her home Thursday morning with her bodyguard in southwestern Baghdad, said police Capt. Jamel Hussein. The bodyguard, Saad Ali, also died in the shooting, Hussein said. It was the second recent killing in Tariq al-Hashimi's immediate family. On April 13, his brother, Mahmoud al-Hashimi, was shot while driving in a mostly Shiite area of eastern Baghdad. On Thursday, two of the vice president's brothers, one an army officer, raced to the scene to recover the body of their sister, Hussein said. She had worked on the government's audit commission and was married with two grown children. The television station Baghdad, owned by the vice president's Iraqi Islamic Party, showed home photos of Mayson al-Hashimi, wearing an orange headscarf, and footage of her bullet-riddled white SUV, while playing mournful music. It was not immediately possible to contact the vice president, but Ziyad al-Ani, a senior official in the Iraqi Islamic Party, condemned the attackers.
"What astonished us is that they targeted a woman. This shows how wicked the attackers are," al-Ani told The Associated Press. He said the killings "by the enemies of Iraq" will fail in their goal of driving al-Hashimi and his party away from the country's new government. The party is one of three major Sunni political groups in the Iraqi Accordance Front which won 44 seats in the Dec. 15 parliamentary election. On Wednesday, Tariq al-Hashimi called for Iraq's insurgency to be put down by force. Shiites had demanded that Sunni officials make such a statement as a show of their commitment to building a democratic system. Al-Hashimi also shrugged off a videotape released this week by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, during which the al-Qaida in Iraq leader tried to rally Sunnis to fight the new government and denounced Sunnis who cooperate with it as "agents" of the Americans. "I say, yes, we're agents. We're agents for Islam, for the oppressed. We have to defend the future of our people," al-Hashimi said at a news conference with President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, and his fellow vice president, Shiite Adil Abdul-Mahdi. All three Iraqi leaders met with Rice and Rumsfeld on Wednesday.
On Thursday, al-Hashimi and Abdul-Mahdi were to meet in the holy city of Najaf with Iraq's most powerful Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.
The reclusive Sistani, who lives in Najaf, 100 miles south of Baghdad, has played a big role in restraining Shiite anger in the face of Sunni insurgent attacks that have pushed Iraq toward a sectarian civil war. Top politicians often seek Sistani's advice. Thursday's drive-by shooting raised to 110 the number of Iraqi civilians or police who have been killed in insurgency- or sectarian-related violence since al-Maliki was tapped as Iraq's prime minister designate on Saturday and asked to form a new government. Insurgents have targeted prominent men and women politicians in the past. On April 17, the brother of another leading Sunni politician, Saleh al-Mutlaq, was found dead in Baghdad after he was kidnapped. Aqeela al-Hashimi, a member of the Governing Council put together by the United States before the return of sovereignty to the Iraqis, was killed by gunmen who sprayed her car with gunfire in September 2003. Her successor in the post, Salama al-Khafaji, survived several assassination attempts against her. More than 2,000 Italian troops are stationed in Nasiriyah, and 27 had been killed before Thursday's bombing. Romanian Cpl. Bogdan Hancu, 28, who died in the explosion, was the first Romanian soldier killed in combat in Iraq, Romania's government said. Romania has 860 troops in Iraq as part of the multinational force.
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Last edited by sgt.null on Fri Apr 28, 2006 1:27 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That Byline really needs to be fixed, it appears she was killed by the author. My first instinct when reading the story's title, was that name looks awfully Western to for an execution of Iraq's leadership's family.

Terrible when insurgencies and rebels resort to such tactics, but, at least if the leadership stands strong despite the pain, the enemy has been exposed and will hopefully lose any hope of moderate support (because you can't do much about the hardline support)
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sgtnull wrote:
Sister of Iraq's New Sunni Arab VP Killed By THOMAS WAGNER, AP


I can't believe he confessed in print in a major newspaper.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ahem. sorry about that, all fixed. my apologies to Mr. Wagner.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bossk wrote:
sgtnull wrote:
Sister of Iraq's New Sunni Arab VP Killed By THOMAS WAGNER, AP


I can't believe he confessed in print in a major newspaper.


Laughing
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sgtnull wrote:
ahem. sorry about that, all fixed. my apologies to Mr. Wagner.


LOL, not your fault, he's the one who titled the story. Wink
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 5:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Al-Qaida Leader: U.S. 'Broken' in Iraq
LEE KEATH, AP


CAIRO, Egypt - 100's of suicide bombings in Iraq have "broken the back" of the U.S. military, al-Qaida's No. 2 said in a video posted Sat. the latest in a series of messages from the terror network. The video by Ayman al-Zawahri, posted on an Islamic militant Web forum, came within the same week as an audiotape by al-Qaida's top leader Osama bin Laden and a video by the head of al-Qaida's branch in Iraq a volley of messages by the group's most prominent figures. Al-Zawahri, an Egyptian militant believed to be hiding in Afghanistan or Pakistan, also denounced the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq as "traitors" and called on Muslims to rise up to "confront them."
He said that U.S. and British forces in Iraq had bogged down in Iraq and "have achieved nothing but loss, disaster and misfortune." Al-Qaida in Iraq "alone has carried out 800 martyrdom operations (suicide attacks) in three years, besides the sacrifices of the other mujahedeen, and this is what has broken the back of American in Iraq," al-Zawahri said. The video by al-Zawahri was first obtained by IntelCenter, a U.S. contractor that provides counterterrorism intelligence services to the U.S. government U.S. counterterrorism officials were aware of the video and analyzing it, two officials said on condition of anonymity. One of the officials, who would not be identified in compliance with office policy, said it was part of al-Qaida's ongoing propaganda blitz to demonstrate the terror group remained relevant. Bin Laden issued an audiotape on Sunday accusing the United States and Europe of supporting a "Zionist" war on Islam in what many analysts saw as an attempt to draw support from moderate Muslims. 2 days later, the head of al-Qaida in Iraq, the Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — issued an audiotape in which he showed his face for the first time and denounced Iraq's attempts to form a new government. He called on Sunni Arabs to join the "jihad" or holy war in Iraq. It was not known what prompted the release of bin Laden's, al-Zawahri's and al-Zarqawi's messages within the space of 1 week and to what degree they were coordinated. Al-Zawahri's 16-minute video posted Saturday, entitled "A Message to the People of Pakistan," was mainly dedicated to criticism of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, accusing him of undermining his own country to help the US, Israel and India. There was no date in the video, but al-Zawahri mentioned a "recent" visit in early March by President Bush to India and Pakistan. During the visit, Bush "gave a great push to India's nuclear program while handing out orders and instructions in Pakistan," al-Zawahri said. "Every soldier and officer in the Pakistani military should know that Musharraf is throwing them into the burner of civil war in return for the bribes he is getting from the United States," al-Zawahri said "For this reason I call on every soldier and officer in the Pakistani army to disobey the orders of his commanders to kill Muslims in Pakistan or Afghanistan or otherwise he will be confronted by the mujahedeen," he said. In the video, the gray-bearded al-Zawahri sat indoors, in front of a semi-translucent white curtain with rows of lace embroidery on it. Wearing a black turban and white traditional robes, he motioned often with his right hand, while his left arm remained largely still, as it has in other recent videos. Al-Zawahri, who last appeared in a video on March 4, has been the most vocal spokesman for al-Qaida. While bin Laden was silent for nearly a year, ending his silence with an audiotape in January — al-Zawahri has frequently released messages, using videos while bin Laden only issued audiotapes. U.S. intelligence officials have said they believe the two are hiding separately. Al-Zawahri messages have closely followed bin Laden ones in the past, suggesting a degree of coordination. Al-Zarqawi's tapes, however, have often appeared more closely timed with events in Iraq.

maybe the US should go back to trying to find these people?
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PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2006 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
1,091 Dead In Baghdad Last Month

Baghdad - Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said on Wednesday that 1 091 people were killed in sectarian violence in Baghdad alone last month.

Talabani urged quick efforts to quell the raging Shi'ite-Sunni communal bloodshed.

"We are shocked and angry at the daily reports of unidentified bodies being discovered and of people killed on the basis of their identity."

The Iraqi parliamentary session ended with no mention of the country's anticipated new cabinet.

The country's parliament will reconvene on Sunday.

Talabani said the number of people killed in the violence would be "alarming if we include the number of bodies still missing across Iraq".

Talabani said the "institutional weakness", a lack of government, was "benefiting the terrorists".

After nearly five months since the December elections for the country's first full-term post-Saddam parliament, Iraq is still without a government because of wrangling between leaders over ministerial berths.

Killings are Shi'ite reprisals

Raging sectarian violence has left thousands dead across Iraq, mostly Sunni Arabs.

The killings are Shi'ite reprisals after the bombing of a Shi'ite shrine in Samarra on February 22.

A Sunni-backed insurgency in the country has left more than 35 000 civilians dead, according to some estimates, since the end of the United States-led invasion of Iraq in April 2003.

In the latest attacks, 16 people were killed across Iraq on Wednesday - including 12 in an ambush near Baquba, just north of Baghdad.

A Baquba police officer said gunmen ambushed a minibus carrying employees of the local electricity company and "sprayed it with bullets".

Twelve were killed and four others wounded.

The Baquba attack came shortly after a deadly suicide truck-bombing in a market in Tal Afar on Tuesday, which left 24 people dead.

The US military said 134 others were wounded in the attack.

Iraqi parliamentarians began a parliament session, for the fourth time since it was elected in December, on Wednesday.

Cabinet was '90%' ready

Iraqi prime minister-designate Nuri al-Maliki was expected to unveil the first permanent post-Saddam cabinet.

The session was interrupted when the speaker, Mahmud Mashhadani, stormed out of the hall after an argument with Shi'ite MP Ghofran al-Saadi.

On Tuesday, Maliki said the cabinet was "90%" ready and predicted the long-awaited cabinet would be unveiled by Wednesday.

Maliki said the candidates for the heads of the five key ministries - interior, defence, oil, finance and foreign affairs - had been finalised.

He said the two key ministries of interior and defence would be headed by independents who had no links with militias.

Meanwhile, five Iraqi Arabs accused of "terrorism" and linked to Al-Qaeda escaped from the coalition-run Fort Sussi prison on Tuesday, said Iraqi police.


--A
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PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2006 5:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Iraq: 2,500 dead, 85,000 dispossessed, in 2 months

Baghdad - Acts of violence have killed nearly 2 500 people and forced more than 85 000 to flee their homes in Iraq, the UN assistance mission in Iraq said on Tuesday in a March-April report on the human rights situation.

The fatality count was comprised by death certificates issued by the Baghdad morgue, the report said.

"The medico-legal institute in Baghdad issued 1 294 death certificates in March and 1 155 in April," the majority of which had been deaths caused by gunshot wounds, it said.

"As a result of the pervasive violence, Iraqis continue to leave their areas of residence, either voluntarily or as a result of violence or threats by insurgents, militias and other armed groups," it said.

Citing the international organisation of migration, the report stated that 14 302 families had been displaced since the February 22 destruction of a Shi'ite shrine in Samarra that precipitated a rash of sectarian killing.

Judiciary

The report further noted that the destinations of the displaced families break along sectarian lines, with Sunnis from the south heading to Anbar, Salaheddin and Diyala provinces, and Shi'ites heading from Baghdad to the southern provinces.

The report expressed dismay over the legal and judicial system in the country, noting that the security situation has diminished the power of the judiciary.

"Judicial authorities would not appear always able to exercise their power independently or effectively and enforce Iraqi laws in their relation with police forces and militias," said the report.

The report also noted that the many cases of murder, torture and abuse were investigated inadequately or not at all, adding that "such a situation may encourage further acts of violence and crime".

"The number of detainees held in the country continues to remain high," said the report, noting that multinational forces hold 15 387 detainees while the justice ministry has 7 727.

Prisons

The interior ministry has another 5 077, with defence holding 333, the report said.

The labour and social affairs ministry has 176 minors in detention, it added.

"The conditions of detention in Iraqi facilities are generally not consistent with international human rights standards.

Prisons and detention centres are overcrowded (with pre-trial detainees and convicts being mixed) and often lack food, hygiene and medical treatment," it added.

Under Iraqi law, only the justice ministry is authorised to hold detainees.


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PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2006 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

is there a war going on? because of the immigration debate we sure don't hear about it much.
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PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2006 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hadn't you heard Sgt? The war was over long ago. This is just a little insurgency. Wink

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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2006 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mission accomplished!
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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2006 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought he was saying that in regards to No Child Left Behind... Wink *disgruntled teacher*
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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2006 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think I've heard any teacher not mention NCLB and get disgruntled. Wink

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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2006 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Bush, Blair admit Iraq mistakes

Washington - US President George W Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair bluntly acknowledged the Iraq war had been marked by "mistakes" and "missteps" but insisted the world must support the new Baghdad government.

During an extraordinary White House press conference on Thursday, the political brothers-in-arms expressed distress at many aspects of the campaign which brought down Saddam Hussein but also undermined their own popularity.

Bush expressed regret for the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and some of his tough-talking comments.

Blair said the "de-Baathification" of Iraq - the clearing out of Saddam followers - had been badly handled.

'Learned from our mistakes'

There was none of the determined bravado that marked earlier press conferences after their regular meetings over the past three years.

"No question that the Iraq war has created a sense of consternation here in America," said Bush. "I mean, when you turn on your TV screens and see innocent people die day in and day out, it affects the mentality of our country.

"Not everything since liberation has turned out as the way we had expected or hoped. We've learned from our mistakes, adjusted our methods and have built on our successes," said the US president.

'Bring 'em on' was wrong

Bush said he should not have made gung-ho comments such as "bring 'em on" when referring to the insurgents in July 2003 as the attacks on US troops and Iraqi civilians mounted.

"I learned some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated manner," he declared.

Both Bush and Blair have seen their public standings collapse over the past year, in large part because of the war, but both insist they were right to order the March, 2003 invasion.

Doing the right thing

"The decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power was controversial. We did not find the weapons of mass destruction that we all believed were there, and that's raised questions about whether the sacrifice in Iraq has been worth it," Bush said.

"Despite setbacks and missteps, I strongly believe we did and are doing the right thing," he added.

Withdrawal

Bush refused to set a timetable for the withdrawal of the 135 000 US troops in Iraq, insisting "we will keep the force level there necessary to win".

With a majority of US public opinion now against the war, Bush said: "It's important for the American people to know that politics isn't going to make the decision as to the size of our force level."

The president said the world could not abandon Iraq. "Make no mistake about it: What you're seeing in Iraq could happen all over the world if we don't stand fast and achieve the objective."

Blair optimistic


Blair spoke of his optimism after a visit to Baghdad on Monday to meet the new Prime Minister Nur al-Maliki. He said he believed it would be possible for Iraqi forces to take over nearly all security duties by the end of 2007.

"I came away thinking that the challenge is still immense, but I also came away more certain than ever that we should rise to it."

Blair also acknowledged errors, but insisted there should be no regrets.

"I think it's easy to go back over mistakes that we may have made. But the biggest reason why Iraq has been difficult is the determination by our opponents to defeat us. And I don't think we should be surprised at that."


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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2006 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
"we will keep the force level there necessary to win".
When is this going to start happening?
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PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2006 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shouldn't be too long now...with these tactics, they should get all the terrorists:

Quote:
Civilian deaths 'covered up'

Washington - The fallout from the killing of Iraqi civilians by United States marines could undermine American efforts in Iraq more than the Abu Ghraib prison scandal did, said a US politician on Sunday.

The November shootings at Haditha were covered up, said Democratic representative John Murtha.

"Who covered it up, why did they cover it up, why did they wait so long?" said Murtha on the ABC's This Week. "We don't know how far it goes. It goes right up the chain of command."

A bomb rocked a military convoy on November 19, killing a US marine.

Murtha said US marines shot and killed unarmed civilians in a taxi at the scene in retaliation, and went into two homes and shot other people.

Early probe stifled

Murtha said he had received high-level reports that indicated that no one had fired on the marines or that there was any military action against the US forces after the initial explosion.

He said the deaths were not seriously investigated until March, because an early probe was stifled within days of the incident.

"I will not excuse murder, and this is what happened," said Murtha.

"This investigation should have been over two or three weeks afterwards and people should have been held responsible for it."

The US marine's Lieutenant-Colonel Scott Fazekas said the investigation was ongoing and would not comment.

Murtha is a former marine and a prominent critic of Bush administration policies in Iraq.

'This is worse than Abu Ghraib'

He repeated his view that the war in Iraq cannot be won militarily and needed political solutions - which he said were damaged by such incidents involving the US.

"This is the kind of war you have to win the hearts and minds of the people," he said. "And we're set back every time something like this happens. This is worse than Abu Ghraib."

The incident at Haditha has sparked two investigations - one into the deadly encounter itself and another non-criminal investigation into whether it was the subject of a cover-up.

The second is examining whether US marines covered up what actually occurred that day and, in doing so, lied about having killed civilians without justification.

The marine corps had initially attributed 15 civilian deaths to the car bombing and a fire-fight with insurgents, eight of whom were reported killed.

On Friday, a defence official said evidence gathered so far strongly indicated that the Haditha killings were unjustified.


Quote:
US is an expert in killing

Baghdad - Word that United States marines may have killed two dozen Iraqi civilians in "cold-blooded" revenge after an insurgent attack has shocked Americans but many Iraqis shrug it off as a fact of life.

Despite US military denials, many Iraqis believe the killing of civilians at the hands of careless or angry American soldiers is common.

Last week, US officials said charges, including murder, were possible after an investigation into the deaths of Iraqi civilians at Haditha in November. But Iraqi media and politicians are paying scant attention to details leaking out of Washington.

US commentators wonder if Haditha could have a similar effect on public attitudes as the 1968 massacre in Vietnam, but few Iraqi leaders have mentioned the incident.

"We would like an official Iraqi investigation," said an aide to Iraq's human rights minister Wejdan Mikhail.

Leaders of the Sunni minority were more critical but said the Haditha incident is part of a pattern of US behaviour.

"The American soldier has become an expert in killing," said Abdel Salam al- Qubaisy, of the Sunni Muslim Scholars Association.

'There were no warning shots'

He said the US soldiers convicted of abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib in 2003 were scapegoats for a wider problem: "This must be considered a war crime and the commanders tried."

In Baghdad, Mohammed Jawdaat, 47, offered a typical view at his store.

Like many in the city, he can recount an incident in which he saw US forces open fire on civilians: "Six months ago a car pulled out of a street towards an American convoy and a soldier just opened fire.

"The driver was shot in the head. There were no warning shots and the Americans didn't even stop."

In the Sunni city of Ramadi, lawyer Abd Mohammed Falah said: "The US forces have committed more crimes against the Iraqi people than appears in the media. The US defence secretary and his generals should be sent to court."

'They assume he is a terrorist'

The Haditha investigation is not complete and no final decisions on charges have been made.

But US politicians have been giving details. One anti-war congressman said marines killed "in cold blood".

Haditha residents have described how two families, including young children and women, were shot dead in their homes after a marine was killed by a roadside bomb on November 19.

The military initially said the bomb had killed the civilians. The emergence of a film of the bodies led to an inquiry by Time magazine, that in turn prompted the probe.

Hamdi Hassan, editor of the Adala newspaper, said civilians were often killed by US troops: "The insurgents attack the Americans and then they hide among the civilians. Then the Americans just open fire everywhere."

Imad Mohammed, who sells newspapers, said he had not seen Haditha on any front page and that it was not news: "The Americans see a Muslim go into a mosque and just assume he is a terrorist.

"They either arrest him or blow it up."


--A
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2006 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Haditha killings 'unprovoked'
31/05/2006 22:03
A preliminary military inquiry has found evidence that US marines killed two dozen Iraqi civilians in an unprovoked attack.


Quote:
Iraqi women killed 'by mistake'
A joint Iraqi-US security body says US forces have killed "by mistake" two women who were on their way to a maternity hospital


Quote:
State of emergency in Basra
Iraq's PM has declared a state of emergency in Basra amid mounting violence, officials say.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

and still we press on. what will it take for us to admit we are wrong and get the hell out of dodge?
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 4:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The thing is Sgt, getting out now will make things worse in the short run. As soon as you're out, there'll be a bloody, 3-way battle for either control of the country, or an independant state (the Kurds).

Within a year or two you'll either have another Saddam, or 2 or 3 little states filled with internal conflict.

Now on the other hand, the pragmatist in me suggests that at least they'll be occupied with themselves...

Anyway, at least the US has figured out how to prevent civilian killings. Wink

Quote:
Ethics "Refreshers" For Troops

Baghdad - US military officials announced on Thursday an ethical refresher program for all coalition forces in Iraq in the wake of the killing of a pregnant woman and furor surrounding an alleged shooting rampage by US marines.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki condemned the November 2005 incident in the western town of Haditha that resulted in the deaths of 24 civilians and called for a review of coalition forces' rules of engagement.

"We must speak with them and fix a definition of the obligations of foreign forces," he said.

"The cabinet will follow up on this matter with the multinational forces and we will issue a statement to denounce the event and reveal others like it that have happened."

In the midst of the mounting furor over the Haditha incident, two Iraqi women - one pregnant - were shot dead at a US checkpoint on Wednesday as they were being rushed to the delivery room in the central city of Samarra.

Though such incidents have occurred many times since the US-led invasion, they have come under new scrutiny in the wake of investigations into the killings in Haditha.

Bush 'troubled'

President George W Bush has described himself as "troubled" by the Haditha events and twin probes by the US military are currently underway.

The US military said that over the next month all soldiers would receive training to reinforce "core warrior values training, highlighting the importance of adhering to legal, moral and ethical standards on the battlefield".

The training will emphasise "the importance of disciplined, professional conduct in combat, Iraqi cultural expectations and the second and third order effects of actions that are contrary to professional military values".

"They do the right thing even when no one is watching," said Lieutenant-General Peter Chiarelli, the number two US general in Iraq.

"Unfortunately, there are a few individuals who sometimes choose the wrong path."

Civilians are increasingly bearing the brunt of the violence in the conflict-ridden country with the health ministry reporting 932 civilians killed in May, a 36% increase over April.


--A
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