tagged w/ War in Iraq
John McCain appears to place a great deal of focus on aggressive military solutions to just about every scenario that is presented before him. During his speeches, McCain makes frequent mention of his war scars, and he tends to swell up whenever the topic of national defense is mentioned around him... he was raised to be a warrior... As a result, of his constant bellicose disposition, many political analysts have commented on his apparent anger during the debates...If you recall the debates, at times he looked as if he was going to explode... We should be careful not to venture into an era of Napoleon like conflicts that could lead this nation to defeat instead of victory. The severity of our times calls for an even-tempered peacemaker ...John McCain appears to place a great deal of focus on aggressive military solutions to... more
Juliet Soukup is a 21-year-old Navy Wife, her husband Michael left for Iraq in March. He was deployed a month after they were married in February and, with no family near by, Juliet has been here alone since then. She finds ways to fill her time, mostly spending her days with the other wives. Most of the women in this story are no more than twenty and many are pregnant or already have children. They are the ones who are left behind when the person they love goes to war, to take care of the children, the house, the bills, and live alone as if they were single parents for months at a time. Michael came home two weeks ago, he and Juliet are currently trying for a baby.
This is their story...Juliet Soukup is a 21-year-old Navy Wife, her husband Michael left for Iraq in March.... more
Something was being lost in interpretation. Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, a Saudi national accused of war crimes and murder for his alleged role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was speaking in Arabic. Ralph H. Kohlmann, a Marine colonel and military judge at Guantanamo Bay, was listening to a simultaneous interpretation in English.
At a recent pretrial hearing, Hawsawi, according to his military lawyer, wanted to discuss the potential responsibilities of his attorneys and the implications of representing himself before the military commission. Those in the courtroom, however, often heard head-scratching sentences such as, "In the beginning of the timing of the laws, I said there is no difficulties base."
A linguist working with Hawsawi's team later estimated that half of what the defendant said was rendered incorrectly by court interpreters and that Hawsawi didn't understand at least 25 percent of what was said in English.
As five key defendants charged in the Sept. 11 attacks -- including self-described mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed -- move toward a trial by jury, defense lawyers and human rights advocates charge that the fairness of the most significant proceeding at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is routinely undermined by incompetent interpretation.
"Regular omissions, or mistranslations of key words or phrases often led to disjointed, incomprehensible or misleading translations into both English and Arabic," Hawsawi's attorneys wrote in a draft document supporting a motion they filed asking to halt the case until qualified interpreters are hired. The lawyers asked the court to order the government to produce an Arabic transcript of each hearing -- a motion military prosecutors are resisting.
The Pentagon rejected charges that interpreters at Guantanamo Bay are not qualified, but Defense Department officials said they were instituting new controls to address attorneys' concerns. Officials said that only native speakers or native-level speakers are hired and that they are equal to interpreters used in federal court. The interpreters are subject to in-house testing by the Pentagon's contractor, based on State Department standards, as well as testing by an outside firm, officials said.
"We work hard to provide the most qualified translators to do an important mission for our nation," Joseph DellaVedova, a spokesman for the Office of Military Commissions, said in an e-mail. "Nevertheless, because of concerns expressed by counsel -- particularly regarding their ability to speak at normal pacing -- OMC is instituting an additional quality control system which will enable us to pre-screen potential interpreters to assess their skill level."
Defense lawyers and court observers said the Guantanamo interpreters do not approach the standards for interpretation in federal courts or in forums such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague. "There is no way someone who doesn't understand what's going on in court can get a fair trial," said Army Maj. Jon Jackson, military counsel to Hawsawi. "This is being done on the cheap."
Something was being lost in interpretation. Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, a Saudi national... more
Tell us why this is interestingLONDON -- Iraq's oil minister met 34 oil company representatives in London on Monday to set out the ground rules for foreign multinationals' first bite at the country's enormous energy reserves since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
Hussain al-Shahristani spoke to executives as part of Iraq's first round of bidding for new contracts since Saddam Hussein was removed from power. Journalists were barred from the talks.
At the top of the list: Royal Dutch Shell PLC, BP PLC, ExxonMobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and Total SA, all eager for a shot at helping extract some of the 115 billion barrels of oil thought to lie beneath Iraq's surface.
The process is highly sensitive. Multinationals are eager to establish themselves in a country thought to have the world's second-largest proven oil reserves, but they want to avoid fueling accusations that the war in Iraq was fought on their behalf.
And while Iraq's oil industry badly needs foreign investment, Iraqi officials don't want to be viewed bowing to Western oil interests, some of whom are still resented for the stranglehold they had on the country's industry until the 1960s.
Oil company representatives have been tightlipped about the meeting and, as late as Friday, Iraqi Embassy Counselor Ali Al-Bayati insisted he had no idea where exactly the conference was taking place. It was in the Sheraton's Park Lane Hotel.
Officials in Iraq say the conference's purpose is to help the world's energy giants prepare their bids for 20-year service contracts at Iraq's biggest oil and gas producing fields.
Those include Kirkuk and Bai Hassan in the country's north and Rumaila, Zubair, West Qurna Stage 1 and the three Missan oil fields in the south. Also on the table are the Akkas gas field in western Iraq and the Mansouria gas field to the country's east.
Iraqi officials will present the companies with tender protocol, contract terms, and legal and technical details _ including geological data and production targets.
Some industry representatives outside the conference expressed frustration over the lack of details begin given.
Iraq's Oil Ministry has hired British energy consultant Gaffney, Cline & Associates Ltd. to help present the data and the draw up the contracts.
The ministry has given the firms a six-month deadline to submit their bids. It plans to announce winners in June 2009.
Tell us why this is interestingLONDON -- Iraq's oil minister met 34 oil company... more
As Iraq's Oil Flows Freely, Profits Are Stuck in Bureaucracy
U.S., Iraqi Officials Question Terms of Draft Security Deal
Podcast: Down to the Wire for Security Deal
Gates, Rice Brief Lawmakers On Draft Accord With Iraq
Al-Qaeda in Iraq Figure Was a Swedish CitizenAs Iraq's Oil Flows Freely, Profits Are Stuck in Bureaucracy U.S., Iraqi... more
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Oct. 17 -- Four of the five main online forums that al-Qaeda's media wing uses to distribute statements by Osama bin Laden and other extremists have been disabled since mid-September, monitors of the Web sites say.
The disappearance of the forums on Sept. 10 -- and al-Qaeda's apparent inability to restore them or create alternate online venues, as it has before -- has curbed the organization's dissemination of the words and images of its fugitive leaders. On Sept. 29, a statement by the al-Fajr Media Center, a distribution network created by supporters of al-Qaeda and other Sunni extremist groups, said the forums had disappeared "for technical reasons," and it urged followers not to trust look-alike sites.
For al-Qaeda, "these sites are the equivalent of pentagon.mil, whitehouse.gov, att.com," said Evan F. Kohlmann, an expert on online al-Qaeda operations who has advised the FBI and others. With just one authorized al-Qaeda site still in business, "this has left al-Qaeda's propaganda strategy hanging by a very narrow thread."
At the same time, in an apparently unrelated flare-up of online sectarian hostility, Shiite and Sunni hackers have targeted Web sites associated with the other sect, including that of a Saudi-owned television network and of Iraq's most revered Shiite cleric.
On several occasions over the past three years, unknown hackers have shut down al-Qaeda-affiliated Web sites after they announced the imminent release of a new video message from Osama bin Laden or another extremist leader. It is often impossible to pinpoint the source of such online attacks, though some experts say the culprits could be independent activists.
A U.S. intelligence official, asked about the online attacks, declined to say whether U.S. spy agencies engage in them. American and British security forces each have joint commands overseeing online operations against extremists.
"There had been this aura of invincibility" about al-Qaeda's media operations, said Gregory D. Johnsen, a U.S.-based expert on violent Sunni groups in Yemen. "Now this has really been taken away from them."
In early September, the al-Fajr forums were drumming up anticipation of al-Qaeda's annual video marking the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. "Await Sept. 11!" one message declared.
Instead, on Sept. 10, the forums vanished.
Rapid changes in domain-registration information and in servers suggested that the sites' webmasters were working intently to bring the forums back up, according to a statement from the SITE Intelligence Group, a leading private monitor of Web sites of extremist groups.
After about 24 hours, one forum, al-Hesbah, reappeared, according to Kohlmann, a senior investigator with the NEFA Foundation in Charleston, S.C.
Al-Qaeda's Sept. 11 video eventually appeared on al-Hesbah, which means "one who holds others accountable," on Sept. 19. By then, the shine had been taken off the anniversary for al-Qaeda supporters.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Oct. 17 -- Four of the five main online forums that... more
Donald Trump thinks impeaching Bush would be "a wonderful thing." If Bill Clinton got impeach then, Bush definitely should be impeach. He also said "the United States has been stupidly managed for the last 8 years." Trump gives Bush an F- on the war.Donald Trump thinks impeaching Bush would be "a wonderful thing." If Bill... more
Alarmed by a record rate of suicide in its ranks, the Army yesterday unveiled a unique prevention tool -- an interactive video to be mandatory viewing Army-wide -- in which soldiers will play the role of an anguished infantryman and make virtual choices that lead the character to get help or, in the worst case, shoot himself in the head.
"This is you: Specialist Kyle Norton," a male narrator begins, putting soldiers in the boots of a 19-year-old Midwesterner after a bomb-clearing mission in Iraq.
The video, titled "Beyond the Front," leads the viewer through a detailed drama in which Norton is hit by relationship troubles, financial problems and scrapes with the law -- what Army research shows are major events that precipitate suicide. Norton is blindsided by an e-mail from his fiancee, who has become pregnant by another man. He is devastated further when one of his best friends is killed in an ambush.
Questions pop onto the screen at key moments, prompting the viewer to decide whether to get help -- by opening up with buddies, Norton's sergeant or a chaplain. Depending on the choices, Norton edges toward recovery or sinks deeper into suicidal thoughts. The goal is to immerse the viewer into Norton's life in a way that makes preventive lessons stick, say Army officials and the video's creators.
The video is one of several initiatives launched by the Army to try to stem the suicide rate among active-duty soldiers. That rate increased from 12.4 per 100,000 in 2003, when the Iraq war started, to 18.1 per 100,000 last year.
This year, 93 active-duty soldiers killed themselves through the end of August, the latest data show. A third of those cases are under investigation by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner's Office. In all of 2007, 115 soldiers committed suicide. Suicide attempts by soldiers have also increased since 2003.
If the trend continues, the death rate this year is likely to exceed that of a demographically similar segment of the U.S. population -- 19.5 per 100,000, Stephens said -- which has not happened since the Vietnam War
Alarmed by a record rate of suicide in its ranks, the Army yesterday unveiled a unique... more
A California congressional delegation asked President Bush on Friday to posthumously award the Medal of Honor to a Marine who was chosen to receive only the second-highest medal the Navy can bestow for valor.
The delegation, spearheaded by Rep. Duncan Hunter, sent a letter asking for a review of the case of Sgt. Rafael Peralta, who witnesses say covered a grenade with his body to save comrades on November 15, 2004, during fighting in Fallujah, Iraq. Already wounded by gunfire, he died immediately.
A copy of the letter given to The Associated Press was signed by a bipartisan group of five other representatives and Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. It urges Bush to award the nation's highest honor, the same medal he gave to Marine Cpl. Jason L. Dunham, who was killed in 2004 after covering a grenade with his helmet.
"Intentionally absorbing a grenade blast to protect one's comrades in arms has been traditionally recognized by awarding the Medal of Honor. The sacrifice of Sergeant Peralta manifests the same devotion to one's comrade's and country as that displayed by Jason Dunham," the letter said.
The bipartisan delegation formed after Peralta's mother said publicly this week that she was told her son would be awarded the Navy Cross, rather than the Medal of Honor, because the nomination was tainted by reports he was accidentally shot by a fellow Marine shortly before an insurgent lobbed the grenade.
The question of whether to award Peralta the Medal of Honor centers on whether the mortally wounded Marine, who had been shot in the head and upper body during a house-to-house search, could have intentionally reached for the grenade and covered it with his body.
After all the evidence was scrutinized, officials determined the nomination did not meet the standard necessary to support the Medal of Honor, said Capt. Beci Brenton, spokeswoman for Navy Secretary Donald Winter.
Defense Department officials have said that because there was some contradictory evidence, Gates took the extra step of asking for a review by a panel consisting of a former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, a Medal of Honor recipient, a civilian neurosurgeon who is retired from the military and two forensic pathologists who also are military retirees.
The panel recommended against the Medal of Honor, and Gates made the decision this month, officials said.
A California congressional delegation asked President Bush on Friday to posthumously... more
I filled out the vital statistics and personal information questions requested by the U.S soldiers at the press center and biometric scans were taken of my eyes, face and finger prints.
I asked the soldier processing me why so much information was needed and was it a matter of security?
He replied, "Yes. And also if we find parts of you somewhere that need to be indentified Ma’am."
"That’s reassuring," I laughed.
I filled out the vital statistics and personal information questions requested by the... more
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Satellite images taken at night show heavily Sunni Arab neighborhoods of Baghdad began emptying before a U.S. troop surge in 2007, graphic evidence of ethnic cleansing that preceded a drop in violence, according to a report published on Friday.
The images support the view of international refugee organizations and Iraq experts that a major population shift was a key factor in the decline in sectarian violence, particularly in the Iraqi capital, the epicenter of the bloodletting in which hundreds of thousands were killed.
Minority Sunni Arabs were driven out of many neighborhoods by Shi'ite militants enraged by the bombing of the Samarra mosque in February 2006. The bombing, blamed on the Sunni militant group al Qaeda, sparked a wave of sectarian violence.
"By the launch of the surge, many of the targets of conflict had either been killed or fled the country, and they turned off the lights when they left," geography professor John Agnew of the University of California Los Angeles, who led the study, said in a statement.
"Essentially, our interpretation is that violence has declined in Baghdad because of intercommunal violence that reached a climax as the surge was beginning," said Agnew, who studies ethnic conflict.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Satellite images taken at night show heavily Sunni Arab... more
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (AP) -- The mother of a Marine who witnesses say covered a grenade with his body to save comrades in Iraq plans to appeal to Congress to award her son the nation's highest military honor after learning it was denied by Defense Secretary Robert Gates because of questions about his final act.
Rosa Peralta said Thursday she made the decision after a Marine general told her that her son, Sgt. Rafael Peralta, would be awarded the Navy Cross rather than the Medal of Honor because the nomination was tainted by reports he was accidentally shot by a fellow Marine shortly before an insurgent lobbed the grenade.
"I'm going to see what can be done, because I'm not satisfied with what they want to do now," she said in Spanish.
President Bush singled out the Marine's actions in a 2005 Memorial Day speech, saying Peralta "understood that America faces dangerous enemies, and he knew the sacrifices required to defeat them."
"The president spoke of him. So how is this now possible that they do this," Rosa Peralta said.
She said she was considering rejecting the Navy Cross, the second-highest award for valor in combat that can be awarded to a Marine. Peralta will be the 24th recipient of the Navy Cross for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"I still don't know what I'm going to do," she said.
The question about whether to award Peralta the Medal of Honor centers on whether the mortally wounded Marine, who was shot in the head and upper body, could have intentionally reached for the grenade and covered it with his body.
"There was conflicting evidence in the case of Sgt. Peralta as to whether he could have performed his final acts given the nature of his injuries," said Capt. Beci Brenton, spokeswoman for Navy Secretary Donald Winter.
The initial recommendation that he receive the Medal of Honor went through reviews by the Marine Corps, U.S. Central Command, the Department of the Navy and ultimately up to Defense Secretary Gates, Brenton said.
After all the evidence was scrutinized, officials determined that it "did not meet the exact standard necessary to support the Medal of Honor," she said.
But Rosa Peralta said she was led to believe her son would get the Medal of Honor in a November 2007 telephone call from an undersecretary of the Navy, who she says told her the nomination was to be forwarded to the White House.
Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman said there was a June 2007 Navy recommendation for the Medal of Honor, but it never went to the White House because Gates didn't approve it.
He said that because there was some contradictory evidence, Gates instead took the extra step of asking five other individuals to review the case - a former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, a Medal of Honor recipient, a civilian neurosurgeon who is retired from the military and two forensic pathologists who also are military retirees.
The five were given medical reports that had not been available in thCAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (AP) -- The mother of a Marine who witnesses say covered a... more
BAGHDAD — David Petraeus, the American general who presided over Iraq's pullback from the brink of all-out civil war, relinquished his command Tuesday to Gen. Ray Odierno under a cascade of official thank-yous.
In an elaborate ceremony in a marble-lined rotunda of a former Saddam Hussein palace on the outskirts of the capital, Petraeus handed off to Odierno the responsibility for leading U.S. and coalition forces at a stage in the still-unpopular war that appears far more hopeful than when Petraeus assumed command 20 months ago.
Petraeus leaves behind a heavy dose of caution, reflected in his recommendation to President Bush that he maintain 15 combat brigades in Iraq through the end of the year instead of pulling out one or two, as many had expected.
And despite the security gains, insurgents retain the ability to carry out devastating attacks. On Monday evening, a female suicide bomber blew herself up among a group of police officers northeast of Baghdad, killing at least 22 people. Hours earlier, car bombs in the capital killed 13 people.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates presided over Tuesday's ceremony, recalling the perils faced by Petraeus at the start of his tour in February 2007.BAGHDAD — David Petraeus, the American general who presided over Iraq's... more
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates flew into Iraq on Monday to oversee a change of command of American forces.
Gen. Ray Odierno will take over command Tuesday from Gen. David Petraeus, whose 20-month term in Iraq saw a significant decline in violence with the deployment of additional U.S. troops.
U.S. forces are in "mission transition," Gates said Monday, with some troops going home and others backing up Iraqis.
"There is no question we will still be engaged, but the areas in which we are seriously engaged will continue to narrow," Gates said during his flight to Iraq.
"The challenge for Odierno is how do we work with the Iraqis to preserve the gains we've already achieved and expand on them even as the number of U.S. forces are shrinking."
Odierno is expected to set the stage for an eventual U.S. withdrawal.
Petraeus will become the new chief of U.S. Central Command, in charge of American forces in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
Gates, who is making his eighth trip to Iraq, said Petraeus played a "historic role" during his tenure.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates flew into Iraq on Monday... more
This article shows that the Europeans only care about Obama and aren't giving McCain any press. Maybe they feel they already know him. But, this goes along way to showing their perspecive on us.This article shows that the Europeans only care about Obama and aren't giving... more
U.S. soldiers have come forward to admit that they shot and killed Iraqi soldiers that were handcuffed. The soldiers say that they then dumped the bodies into a canal, to hide them. They also said that, " at that time. we thought that we were doing our country a favor".U.S. soldiers have come forward to admit that they shot and killed Iraqi soldiers that... more
Republicans, once hailed as the “party of ideas,” have become the party of stupid.
Now, I don’t mean that G.O.P. politicians are, on average, any dumber than their Democratic counterparts. And I certainly don’t mean to question the often frightening smarts of Republican political operatives.
What I mean, instead, is that know-nothingism — the insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there’s something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise — has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy. The party’s de facto slogan has become: “Real men don’t think things through.”
Remember how the Iraq war was sold. The stuff about aluminum tubes and mushroom clouds was just window dressing. The main political argument was, “They attacked us, and we’re going to strike back” — and anyone who tried to point out that Saddam and Osama weren’t the same person was an effete snob who hated America, and probably looked French.Republicans, once hailed as the “party of ideas,” have become the party of... more
Scores killed by blasts in Baghdad and Kirkuk could be a forewarning as rival elites fight for power.
More at http://therealnews.com/
Scores killed by blasts in Baghdad and Kirkuk could be a forewarning as rival elites... more