Monday, May 28, 2007
War on Iraq - By the Numbers
Tom Engelhardt, Tomdispatch.com
War on Iraq: Americans are waiting for General David Petraeus to report to Congress in September on the "progress" of the President's surge strategy. But there's no reason to wait for September. Here's a look at some telltale numbers that show the horror in Iraq.
Sometimes, numbers can strip human beings of just about everything that makes us what we are. Numbers can silence pain, erase love, obliterate emotion, and blur individuality. But sometimes numbers can also tell a necessary story in ways nothing else can.
This January, President Bush announced his "surge" plan for Iraq, which he called his "new way forward." It was, when you think about it, all about numbers. Since then, 28,500 new American troops have surged into that country, mostly in and around Baghdad; and, according to the Washington Post, there has also been a hidden surge of private armed contractors -- hired guns, if you will -- who free up troops by taking over many mundane military positions from guarding convoys to guarding envoys. In the meantime, other telltale numbers in Iraq have surged as well.
Now, Americans are theoretically waiting for the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, General David Petraeus, to "report" to Congress in September on the "progress" of the President's surge strategy. But there really is no reason to wait for September. An interim report -- "Iraq by the numbers" -- can be prepared now (as it could have been prepared last month, or last year). The trajectory of horror in Iraq has long been clear; the fact that the U.S. military is a motor driving the Iraqi cataclysm has been no less clear for years now. So here is my own early version of the "September Report."
A caveat about numbers: In the bloody chaos that is Iraq, as tens of thousands die or are wounded, as millions uproot themselves or are uprooted, and as the influence of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's national government remains largely confined to the four-square mile fortified Green Zone in the Iraqi capital, numbers, even as they pour out of that hemorrhaging land, are eternally up for grabs. There is no way most of them can be accurate. They are, at best, a set of approximate notations in a nightmare that is beyond measurement.
Here, nonetheless, is an attempt to tell a little of the Iraqi story by those numbers:
Iraq is now widely considered # 1 -- when it comes to being the ideal jihadist training ground on the planet. "If Afghanistan was a Pandora's box which when opened created problems in many countries, Iraq is a much bigger box, and what's inside much more dangerous," comments Mohammed al-Masri, a researcher at Amman's Centre for Strategic Studies. CIA analysts predicted just this in a May 2005 report leaked to the press. ("A new classified assessment by the Central Intelligence Agency says Iraq may prove to be an even more effective training ground for Islamic extremists than Afghanistan was in Al Qaeda's early days, because it is serving as a real-world laboratory for urban combat.")
Iraq is # 2: It now ranks as the world's second most unstable country, ahead of war-ravaged or poverty-stricken nations like Somalia, Zimbabwe, the Congo, and North Korea, according to the 2007 Failed States Index, issued recently by the Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy magazine. (Afghanistan, the site of our other little war, ranked 8th.) Last year and the year before Iraq held 4th place on the list. Next year, it could surge to number #1.
Number of American troops in Iraq, June 2007: Approximately 156,000.
Number of American troops in Iraq, May 1, 2003, the day President Bush declared "major combat operations" in that country "ended": Approximately 130,000.
Number of Sunni insurgents in Iraq, May 2007: At least 100,000, according to Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar on his most recent visit to the country.
American military dead in the surge months, February 1-June 26, 2007: 481.
American military dead, February-June 2006: 292.
Number of contractors killed in the first three months of 2007: At least 146, a significant surge over previous years. (Contractor deaths sometimes go unreported and so these figures are likely to be incomplete.)
Number of American troops Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and other Pentagon civilian strategists were convinced would be stationed in Iraq in August 2003, four months after Baghdad fell:): 30,000-40,000, according to Washington Post reporter Tom Ricks in his bestselling book Fiasco.
Number of armed "private contractors" now in Iraq: at least 20,000-30,000, according to the Washington Post. (Jeremy Scahill, author of the bestseller Blackwater, puts the figure for all private contractors in Iraq at 126,000.)
Number of attacks on U.S. troops and allied Iraqi forces, April 2007: 4,900.
Percentage of U.S. deaths from roadside bombs (IEDs): 70.9% in May 2007; 35% in February 2007 as the surge was beginning.
Percentage of registered U.S. supply convoys (guarded by private contractors) attacked: 14.7% in 2007 (through May 10); 9.1% in 2006; 5.4% in 2005.
Percentage of Baghdad not controlled by U.S. (and Iraqi) security forces more than four months into the surge: 60%, according to the U.S. military.
Number of attacks on the Green Zone, the fortified heart of Baghdad where the new $600 million American embassy is rising and the Iraqi government largely resides: More than 80 between March and the beginning of June, 2007, according to a UN report. (These attacks, by mortar or rocket, from "pacified" Red-Zone Baghdad, are on the rise and now occur nearly daily.)
Size of U.S. embassy staff in Baghdad: More than 1,000 Americans and 4,000 third-country nationals.
Staff U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker considers appropriate to the "diplomatic" job: The ambassador recently sent "an urgent plea" to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for more personnel. "The people here are heroic," he wrote. "I need more people, and that's the thing, not that the people who are here shouldn't be here or couldn't do it." According to the Washington Post, the Baghdad embassy, previously assigned 15 political officers, now will get 11 more; the economic staff will go from 9 to 21. This may involve "direct assignments" to Baghdad in which, against precedent, State Department officers, some reputedly against the war, will simply be ordered to take up "unaccompanied posts" (too dangerous for families to go along).
U.S. air strikes in Iraq during the surge months: Air Force planes are dropping bombs at more than twice the rate of a year ago, according to the Associated Press. "Close support missions" are up 30-40%. And this surge of air power seems, from recent news reports, still to be on the rise. In the early stages of the recent surge operation against the city of Baquba in Diyala province, for instance, Michael R. Gordon of the New York Times reported that "American forces.... fired more than 20 satellite-guided rockets into western Baquba," while Apache helicopters attacked "enemy fighters." ABC News recently reported that the Air Force has brought B-1 bombers in for missions on the outskirts of Baghdad.
Number of years Gen. Petraeus, commander of the surge operation, predicts that the U.S. will have to be engaged in counterinsurgency operations in Iraq to have hopes of achieving success: 9-10 years. ("In fact, typically, I think historically, counterinsurgency operations have gone at least nine or 10 years.")
Number of years administration officials are now suggesting that 30,000-40,000 American troops might have to remain garrisoned at U.S. bases in Iraq: 54, according to the "Korea model" now being considered for that country. (American troops have garrisoned South Korea since the Korean War ended in 1953.)
Number of Iraqi police, trained by Americans, who were not on duty as of January 2007, just before the surge plan was put into operation: Approximately 32,000 out of a force of 188,000, according to the Associated Press. About one in six Iraqi policemen has been killed, wounded, deserted, or just disappeared. About 5,000 probably have deserted; and 7,000-8,000 are simply "unaccounted for." (Recall here the President's old jingle of 2005: "As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.")
Number of years before the Iraqi security forces are capable of taking charge of their country's security: "A couple of years," according to U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Dana Pittard, commander of the Iraq Assistance Group.
Amount of "reconstruction" money invested in the CIA's key asset in the new Iraq, the Iraqi National Intelligence Service: $3 billion, according to Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar.
Number of Iraqi "Kit Carson scouts" being trained in the just-captured western part of Baquba: More than 100. (There were thousands of "Kit Carsons" in the Vietnam War -- former enemy fighters employed by U.S. forces.) In fact, Vietnam-era plans, ranging from Strategic Hamlets (dubbed, in the Iraqi urban context, "gated communities") to the "oil spot" counterinsurgency strategy, have been recycled for use in Iraq, as has an American penchant for applying names from our Indian Wars to counterinsurgency situations abroad, including, for instance, dubbing an embattled supply depot near Abu Ghraib, "Fort Apache."
Number of Iraqis who have fled their country since 2003: Estimated to be between 2 million and 2.2 million, or nearly one in ten Iraqis. According to independent reporter Dahr Jamail, at least 50,000 more refugees are fleeing the country every month.
Number of Iraqi refugees who have been accepted by the United States: Fewer than 500, according to Bob Woodruff of ABC News; 701, according to Agence France Presse. (Under international and congressional pressure, the Bush administration has finally agreed to admit another 7,000 Iraqis by year's end.)
Number of Iraqis who are now internal refugees in Iraq, largely due to sectarian violence since 2003: At least 1.9 million, according to the UN. (A recent Red Crescent Society report, based on a survey taken in Iraq, indicates that internal refugees have quadrupled since January 2007, and are up eight-fold since June 2006.)
Percentage of refugees, internal and external, under 12: 55%, according to the President of the Red Crescent Society.
Percentage of Baghdadi children, 3 to 10, exposed to a major traumatic event in the last two years: 47%, according to a World Health Organization survey of 600 children. 14% of them showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. In another study of 1,090 adolescents in Mosul, that figure reached 30%.
Number of Iraqi doctors who have fled the country since 2003: An estimated 12,000 of the country's 34,000 registered doctors since 2003, according to the Iraqi Medical Association. The Association reports that another 2,000 doctors have been slain in those years.
Number of Iraqi refugees created since UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon declared a "humanitarian crisis" for Iraq in January 2007: An estimated 250,000.
Percentage of Iraqis now living on less than $1 a day, according to the UN: 54%.
Iraq's per-capita annual income: $3,600 in 1980; $860 in 2001 (after a decade of UN sanctions); $530 at the end of 2003, according to Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar, who estimates that the number may now have fallen below $400. Unemployment in Iraq is at around 60%.
Percentage of Iraqis who do not have regular access to clean water: 70%, according to the World Health Organization. (80% "lack effective sanitation.")
Rate of chronic child malnutrition: 21%, according to the World Health Organization. (Rates of child malnutrition had already nearly doubled by 2004, only 20 months after the U.S. invasion.) According to UNICEF, "about one in 10 children under five in Iraq are underweight."
Number of Iraqis detained in Baquba alone in one week in June in Operation Phantom Thunder: more than 700.
Average number of Iraqis who died violently each day in 2006: 100 -- and this is undoubtedly an underestimate, since not all deaths are reported.
Number of Iraqis who have died violently (based on the above average) since Ban Ki-Moon declared a "humanitarian crisis" for Iraq in January 2007: 15,000 -- again certainly an undercount.
Number of Iraqis who died (in what Juan Cole terms Iraq's "everyday apocalypse") during the week of June 17-23, 2007, according to the careful daily tally from media reports offered at the website Antiwar.com: 763 or an average of 109 media-reported deaths a day. (June 17: 74; June 18: 149; June 19: 169; June 20: 116; June 21: 58; June 22: 122; June 23: 75.)
Percentage of seriously wounded who don't survive in emergency rooms and intensive-care units, due to lack of drugs, equipment, and staff: Nearly 70%, according to the World Health Organization.
Number of university professors who have been killed since the invasion of 2003: More than 200, according to the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education.
The value of an Iraqi life: A maximum of $2,500 in "consolation" or "solatia" payments made by the American military to Iraqi civilians who died "as a result of U.S. and coalition forces' actions during combat," according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. These payments imply no legal responsibility for the killings. For rare "extraordinary cases" (and let's not even imagine what these might be), payments of up to $10,000 were approved last year, with the authorization of a division commander. According to Walter Pincus of the Washington Post, "[W]e are not talking big condolence payouts thus far. In 2005, the sums distributed in Iraq reached $21.5 million and -- with violence on the upswing -- dropped to $7.3 million last year, the GAO reported."
The value of an Iraqi car, destroyed by American forces: $2,500 would not be unusual, and conceivably the full value of the car, according to the same GAO report. A former Army judge advocate, who served in Iraq, has commented: "[T]he full market value may be paid for a Toyota run over by a tank in the course of a non-combat related accident, but only $2,500 may be paid for the death of a child shot in the crossfire."
Percentage of Americans who approve of the President's actions in Iraq: 23%, according to the latest post-surge Newsweek poll. The President's overall approval rating stood at 26% in this poll, just three points above those of only one president, Richard Nixon at his Watergate worst, and Bush's polling figures are threatening to head into that territory. In the latest, now two-week old NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, 10% of Americans think the "surge" has made things better in Iraq, 54% worse.
The question is: What word best describes the situation these Iraqi numbers hint at? The answer would probably be: No such word exists. "Genocide" has been beaten into the ground and doesn't apply. "Civil war," which shifts all blame to the Iraqis (withdrawing Americans from a country its troops have not yet begun to leave), doesn't faintly cover the matter.
If anything catches the carnage and mayhem that was once the nation of Iraq, it might be a comment by the head of the Arab League, Amr Mussa, in 2004. He warned: "The gates of hell are open in Iraq." At the very least, the "gates of hell" should now officially be considered miles behind us on the half-destroyed, well-mined highway of Iraqi life. Who knows what IEDs lie ahead? We are, after all, in the underworld.
See more stories tagged with: iraq, war
Tom Engelhardt, who runs the Nation Institute's Tomdispatch.com ("a regular antidote to the mainstream media"), is the co-founder of the American Empire Project and, most recently, the author of Mission Unaccomplished: Tomdispatch Interviews with American Iconoclasts and Dissenters (Nation Books), the first collection of Tomdispatch interviews.
Labels: Iraq by the Numbers
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Deaths - Memorial Day 2006 to 2007
Nearly 1,000 soldiers killed in Iraq in past year
Deaths since last Memorial Day speak to shifting strategy, rising dangers
John Gress / Reuters
Michael McConnell looks at one of more than 3,400 pairs of combat boots, one pair for every U.S. soldier killed in the Iraq war, displayed as part of the "Eyes Wide Open" anti-war exhibition in Chicago on Friday.
Flags at Arlington, boots in Chicago, crosses in California and other Memorial Day displays.
BAGHDAD - Americans have opened nearly 1,000 new graves to bury U.S. troops killed in Iraq since Memorial Day a year ago. The figure is telling — and expected to rise in coming months.
In the period from Memorial Day 2006 through Saturday, 980 soldiers and Marines died in Iraq, compared to 807 deaths in the previous year. And with the Baghdad security operation now 3½ months old, even President Bush has predicted a difficult summer for U.S. forces.
“It could be a bloody — it could be a very difficult August,” he said last week.
U.S. commander Gen. David Petraeus on Saturday acknowledged the increase in casualties as a result of the American surge in forces to regain control of Baghdad.
“We’re doing heavy fighting. This is a fight. There’s a war on out there,” he told reporters at al-Asad Airbase in western Iraq.
Michael O’Hanlon, a military analyst with the Brookings Institution and a consultant to the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, said the increased casualties were a result of the security operation.
Danger at every turn
Thousands more American soldiers are patrolling the streets and living in isolated outposts across Baghdad, leaving them more vulnerable to attack. He also said the increase in raids on extremist Shiite militiamen had brought a wave of retaliatory attacks.
“We’re out there on the streets a lot more. There are more patrols going on every day, so we’re more open to attacks,” O’Hanlon said.
Stephen Biddle, a military expert at the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of a group that spent weeks in Iraq assessing the situation for Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker, agreed that more American deaths were likely.
May among the deadliest of months
“The biggest change in their (insurgent and militia) tactics is that they’ve changed to exploit the vulnerabilities we’ve opened ourselves up to. They see a new, small American base in their neighborhood, three blocks away, and they’re going to car bomb it,” said Biddle.
“We’re going to see a spike in the short term,” said Biddle. “But the likelihood is that in six months we’ll see a drop in casualties as these areas become more secure. The problem is, what about the rest of the country?”
Click for related content
By the end of Saturday at least 100 American troops had died in the first 26 days of May, an average of 3.85 deaths a day. At that pace, 119 troops will have died by the end of the month, the most since 137 soldiers were killed in November 2004, when U.S. troops were fighting insurgents in Fallujah.
As of Saturday, May 26, 2007, at least 3,451 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes seven military civilians. At least 2,817 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military.
Labels: Deaths Memorial day 2006 to 2007
Memorial Day - 2007
MORE FROM MEMORIAL DAY
Francona: 'On behalf of a grateful nation'
Bush honors fallen U.S. soldiers
Heavy toll in Iraq since last Memorial Day
FirstPerson images: Honoring the fallen
Memories and biographies of fallen soldiers
Francona: 'On behalf of a grateful nation'
Jacobs: Memorial Day's meaning has been lost
Fallen soldier's family adopts Iraq puppy
Daily Nightly: Medal of Honor roll call
Jacobs: Honoring a legacy of selfless service
Son seeks to honor mother's military service
Memorial Day Section Front
Bush honors fallen U.S. soldiers http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18885483
Heavy toll in Iraq since last Memorial Day http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18338428
FirstPerson images: Honoring the fallen http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18599169
Memories and biographies of fallen soldier http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18862907
Francona: 'On behalf of a grateful nation' http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18843114
Jacobs: Memorial Day's meaning has been lost http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18871405
Daily Nightly: Medal of Honor roll call http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18773568
Jacobs: Honoring a legacy of selfless service http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18873842
Labels: Memorial Day - 2007
Memorial Day: Tributes to Fallen Soldiers
To view all stories, click on url and procede through pages numbered at bottom of each page.
Your tributes to fallen soldiers
MSNBC.com readers share memories of troops killed in Iraq, Afghanistan
U.S. flags are placed at each of the 220,000 graves of American servicemen and women at Arlington National Cemetery.
This Memorial Day, MSNBC.com asked readers to share photos and memories of loved ones killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These are their stories, unedited and unvarnished. To view a special photo gallery honoring these soldiers, click here.
Julio Cesar Cisneros Alvarez
Julio Cesar Cisneros Alvarez, October 27th 1982-January 6th, 2005. J.C. was a sweet, charming guy. We met through his brother at a football game and started dating soon after that. He loved to dance anything and everything. He was so full of life and extremely ambitious. He had a captivating smile. J.C. was the type of guy who would see a pretty flower on the side of the road and pick it for you. It's no wonder why i fell in love so easily. He meant a lot to his family and mine. I love him with all my heart and i am never going to forget him. I know he is in a better place now watching over me.
--Jessica Garcia, Mission, TX (submitted on April 27, 2007)
Hello, My name is Lauren Layton. I wanted to tell you about a man who i have never met but have heard so many wonderful stories about. He was my ex boyfriends Dad. His name was Daniel Anderson. He married a wonderful women(who i called my second mother) named Arleen Anderson. They both were in the Military. Zak was born at the Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas, Nevada. Where his father and mother were based. His father was a Technical Seargent and also Desert Survival Instructor. Every few months Daniel would take 55 men out in the the desert for a month and teach them how to survive. He would guard airbases in Saudi Arabia in the first Gulf War. The stories Zak's family has told me, Daniel was a very kind hearted person. He loved his family more then anything. Daniel Anderson died in the year of 1991 by suicide. When he died, his family was broken. Daniel had two wonderful children, a daughter and a son, and also a wonderful Wife. When he died Zak was only two years old. Tanya, Zak's sister, was 4. Zak grew up without that fatherly figure. He didn't know how to take it. Daniel, is watching zak up in heaven, making sure he has the most wonderful life. His father would be so proud of his son, in what he is wanting to do and is doing to make his life great. I may not know Daniel Anderson, but to me Daniel was a man I would honor for the rest of my life.
--Anonymous , Twain Harte, CA (submitted on April 26, 2007)
Sherwood R. Baker
Sherwood R. Baker Born Oct 5, 1973 KIA Operation Iraqi Freedom April 26th, 2004 What We LOVED most about him is he was a loving father and husband. And enjoyed being with his family and he always made everyone laugh. We Miss you. Love Wife Debra And Son James-Dante Baker
--Debra Baker, Wilkes-Barre, PA (submitted on May 7, 2007)
Dominic Rocky Baragona
Our son, LTC Dominic Rocky Baragona 42, was killed on May 19th 2003 in Iraq...Rocky's Humvee was crushed when a KGL truckdriver, playing road tag with Rocky's Humvee, lost control, and jack-knifed into Rocky's vehicle killing him instantly...The Army's 15-6 report found KGL negligent and totaly responsible for the accident...KGL has countless of contracts with the U.S. Army's Dept. of Defense, and is required by law to give a full report whenever an accident takes place... Senator Mike DeWine personally spoke to Kuwaiti's Ambassador and Prime Minister about this matter and we continue to be ignored...We filed a report with the Dept of Defense and they threatened to have KGL debarred from any futher contracts unless they came to the table...Not to be undone, KGL hired the former head of the DOD, a Brig. General, to represent them...He has brought everything to a halt arguing we have no jurisdiction...Meanwhile, KGL continues to do millions of dollars worth of business with the Dept. of Defense... Rocky was right in the middle of seven children...As the family grew older, he was the hub in the wheel that got the siblings together for all the major holidays..As his father, I sorrowly miss our countless political discussions and especially our talks about the war..Rocky is burried in Arlington, and because Washington is visited so often, gets plenty of visitors... Sadly missed by Mom, Dad, brothers and sisters...
--Dominic Baragona, The Villages, FL (submitted on April 28, 2007)
Today I want to honor a good friend of mine. His name was Kenny Bostic and he was only 21 when he was killed in Iraq on October 30th of 2006 . We served in the 209th MP company at Ft. Polk together. We were in the same squad. I will miss his energy and good humor. He was a caring person who would help his friends with anything. I had the honor of serving with him in Afghanistan in 2004 and when we returned he then volunteered to deploy with our sister company to Iraq. He was a great person all around and will never be forgotten.
--Anonymous , Boston, MA (submitted on May 16, 2007)
Brian J. Bradbury
Brian J. Bradbury, May 1st, 1984- June 21st, 2006 Brian was a wonderful, loving, quiet, thoughtful young man. He never forgot my birthday or anniversary. He was shy and embrassed easily. He had few friends, but knew everybody. I am so proud and honored to have spent 22 yrs with him. June 21st, he was brave, courageous and without fear, doing the task that was set before him, laying his life on the line so that others could get to safety and return fire. He is a Hero! He is my Hero, my son. Everyday I think of you and miss you. I will always remember!
--Rhonda Bradbury, Saint Joseph, MO (submitted on May 16, 2007)
Hoby Frank Bradfield Jr.
I want to tell you about my son SPC. Hoby Frank Bradfield Jr who served in the Army with the 2/3 CAV Grim Troop from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Hoby died July 9th 2005 in Tal Afar, Iraq. Hoby made the decision to join the Army on Sept. 11th 2001 just like many others did. He said to me "Mom someone has to do this and it's going to be me". He entered the Army in 2002. Hoby was on his second tour of Iraq. He had recently been married and was to become a dad. His daughter Kloe was born in Sept. of 2005. What I loved most about Hoby was his compassion for others. I passed on to my sons the same thing my mother had passed on to me, "you do for others because you can, not because you have to. Someday when you're in "need" someone will step for you or your family". He and his younger brother Jared would do yard work and shovel snow for elderly neighbors in upstate New York. He was the sounding board for his friends when they had problems and never judged them. Hoby's smile could light up a room, I called it the "Fuzzy grin". I had nicknamed him "Fuzzy" when he was a baby and even as an adult he would answer to it. When I think of him that is what I miss the most, his smile and those beautiful blue eyes and the way he would just laugh with his whole being. Hoby loved his brothers and family and would have walked through hell for them. The last sentence of every letter he wrote to me was a message to his step-dad Ken....Hoby wrote "Ken take care of mom for me". He once said that he was more like Ken than he realized and that he had taught him many things without even realizing it. Life has changed for all that knew Hoby since his death, but Hoby lives on in our heart and memories. I can still see his smiling face and those twinkling eyes. I love you Hoby and miss you. Stay safe and keep your head down.
--Dianne Sterling, Wheaton, IL (submitted on May 3, 2007)
Dean R. Bright
In Grateful Memory of my Son, Private First Class Dean R. Bright, 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, of Fort Hood, Texas ! Born October 13, 1973, killed in Taji, Iraq, October 4,2006. Dean left behind his wife, Becky, and there 2 Beautiful children, Jarrod 9 and Maddie 6. Dean join the Army in September 2005, was something he always wanted to do . He left for Iraq in March 2006. Dean was a people person, always with an smile on his face, love to make people laugh, had an Big Heart, very caring ! His sister, Sandra, was his Best Friend, didn't matter where she was or what time of the day, he always had to call her 3 or 4 times a day ! Dean has touch so many people lives, more than he well ever know. He went out of his way, even for the small little things.I got an letter from this 10 year old little girl, telling me, that Dean would stop whatever he was doing, and help her with her homework, no matter how busy he was. Dean was like that, as he look after these soliders, made sure they did not go without. I was lucky, as Dean and I had yahoo messenger, so I got to talk with Dean almost everyday ! Tell me things he needed, and what the other soliders needed, I would send packages all the time. We had alot of good times over the internet, times, where Dean needed to vent, he always told me things, that normally, a boy would not tell his Mother, but I was his Mother, but we where Best of Friends as well. In April 2006, Dean risk his life, to save a solider, while they where under attack, from a Burning Bradly. Dean was Honor Bronze Star with V-Device Medal for what he did. Dean also serve as our City Counsler, very out going in Sports, for the children, everyone knew Dean, loved Dean ! We miss Dean so much, he will always be in our Hearts Forever !! He will not be Forgotten !
--Norma Lane, Sutherlin, OR (submitted on May 18, 2007)
Ryan Montgomery Campbell
My son, Sgt Ryan Montgomery Campbell, was born November 7, 1978, in Enterprise, Alabama, the son of an Army helicopter pilot. Ryan grew up in California and Missouri, "making do" with few material possessions. He went on to graduate from college and planned to attend graduate school. He was killed in action in Iraq April 29, 2004 after being in country for 13 months. What I loved most about my son was his ability to get along with most anyone and his special affection for children, especially those who go without. He had wanted to make a difference in the lives of the children in Iraq.
--Mary Ann MacCombie, Kirksville, MO (submitted on April 30, 2007)
Marine Sgt Adam Cann, Born Jan 25, 1983 Died Jan 5, 2006. Adam was a warm and caring man who was just starting to live his life. Adam had a way of making everyone smile when he walked into the room, But all of that was taken away from us on Jan 5, 2006 when he and his K-9 partner Bruno where in Ramadi at the Police training depot, Sgt Cann and Bruno were taking care of crowd control when a man walked in and detanated himself killing Adam. Adam saved his partner and other Marines by paying the ultimate price of his life. Adam wanted to be in the middle of it to protect and serve his country. We miss you and know that you are looking down on us today.
--Trish King, Sierra Vista, AZ (submitted on May 6, 2007)
Christopher B. Cosgrove III
LCPL Christopher B. Cosgrove III August 9, 1983 - October 1, 2006 There aren't enough words to encompass the spirit of Chris. From the time he was little he wanted to be a Marine, he achieved his dream and his whole family was so proud of him. His infectious laughter would make us all laugh particularly when he was laughing at himself which he did often. He was always ready for an adventure, Chris had that power to let you know how much he loved you. I was shocked when I read a posting on his website and the person said that he knew how loved he was by Chris. This kid was so full of life. I am constantly telling people how he would say to Art “Art, let’s take golf lessons.” “No, Chris, I don’t want to play golf.” C’mon Art, we’ll have fun.” “OK Chris, let’s take golf lessons.” “Art, let’s go kayaking.” No Chris, no kayaking.” C’mon Art, we’ll have fun.” “Ok Chris, let’s go kayaking.” It was never-ending, and always Art would relent and join Chris in his mountain climbing and parasailing, golf and kayaking. He had the power to convince you that you wanted to do these things and you would be more enriched for it. There wasn't anything that Chris wouldn't do to help others, he was always right there ready to volunteer and help. Chris was two weeks away from being home when he was killed by a suicide bomber. We couldn't wait for him to get home, we had a whirlwind of celebrations planned, his welcome home party, his engagement party and in August, his wedding. Chris was a light in our lives, there isn't a day that goes by that we don't think of him and miss him. Having him in our lives was such a gift. We love you Chris, you will be forever in our hearts and forever our hero.
--Anonymous , Randolph, NJ (submitted on May 1, 2007)
Jeremy E. DePottey
My husbands name was Sgt. Jeremy E. DePottey his birthdate was Sept. 20, 1979 and he was killed in Asadabad, Afganistan due to a Humvee accident on Sept 11, 2006. He will be missed deaply by everyone that knew him. I love my husband very much. I loved the way he smiled and when he called me and I got to hear his voice. He was a wonderful husband and father of 3 kids. He will never be forgotten. He died doing what he loved and that was serving his country.
--Jackie DePottey, Mansfield, TX (submitted on May 16, 2007)
Labels: Tributes to Fallen Soldiers
Friday, May 25, 2007
Mission Accomplished ??
Bush Adminisration Pre-Warned of Risks of Iraq War
Pre-war reports say agency predicted dangers of toppling Saddam's regime
Tenet claims CIA was scapegoat for war
US Intel Warned of Iran, al-Qaida Gains
Ancestry.com puts war records online
By Lisa Myers and Robert Windrem
NBC News Investigative Unit
Updated: 9:24 p.m. CT May 24, 2007
In a move sure to raise even more questions about the decision to go to war with Iraq, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will on Friday release selected portions of pre-war intelligence in which the CIA warned the administration of the risk and consequences of a conflict in the Middle East.
Among other things, the 40-page Senate report reveals that two intelligence assessments before the war accurately predicted that toppling Saddam could lead to a dangerous period of internal violence and provide a boost to terrorists. But those warnings were seemingly ignored.
In January 2003, two months before the invasion, the intelligence community's think tank — the National Intelligence Council — issued an assessment warning that after Saddam was toppled, there was “a significant chance that domestic groups would engage in violent conflict with each other and that rogue Saddam loyalists would wage guerilla warfare either by themselves or in alliance with terrorists.”
It also warned that “many angry young recruits” would fuel the rank of Islamic extremists and "Iraqi political culture is so embued with mores (opposed) to the democratic experience … that it may resist the most rigorous and prolonged democratic tutorials."
None of those warnings were reflected in the administration's predictions about the war.
In fact, Vice President Cheney stated the day before the war, “Now, I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.”
A second assessment weeks before the invasion warned that the war also could be “exploited by terrorists and extremists outside Iraq.”
The same assessment added, “Iraqi patience with an extended U.S. presence after an overwhelming victory would be short,” and said “humanitarian conditions in many parts of Iraq would probably not understand that the Coalition wartime logistic pipeline would require time to reorient its mission to humanitarian aid.”
Both assessments were given to the White House and to congressional intelligence committees.
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Even more warningsAnd according to the Former CIA Director George Tenet’s new book, “At the Center of the Storm,” the reports to be released Friday were not the only ones out there.
One of Tenet’s clearest arguments regarding the administration's dismissal of all but the rosiest assessments of post-war Iraq comes in his description of a White House meeting in September 2002. There, a briefing book on the Iraq war was laid out for policy makers.
“Near the back of the book, Tab 'P', was a paper the CIA analysts had prepared three weeks earlier,” Tenet writes. “Dated August 13, 2002, it was titled, ‘The Perfect Storm: Planning for the Negative Consequences of Invading Iraq.’ It provided worse case scenarios:
“The United States will face negative consequences with Iraq, the region and beyond which would include:
Anarchy and the territorial breakup of Iraq;
Region-threatening instability in key Arab states;
A surge of global terrorism against US interests fueled by (militant) Islamism;
Major oil supply disruptions and severe strains in the Atlantic Alliance.”
“These should have been very sobering reports,” says Michael O’Hanlon, military analyst at the Brookings Institution. “The administration should have taken them very serious in preparing plans for a difficult post-Saddam period. And yet the administration did not do so.”
William Harlow, part of Tenet’s senior intelligence staff and co-author with Tenet on his book, added: “Although the intelligence got the WMD case in Iraq wrong, it got the dangers of a post-invasion Iraq quite right. They raised serious questions about what would face U.S. troops in a post invasion Iraq. The intelligence laid out a number of issues of concern. It’s unclear if administration officials paid any attention to those concerns.”
It is likely that Democrats and Republicans on the Hill will question how the administration could have predicted a short, easy war given these warnings and why it has taken more four years for them to surface.
Labels: Bush warned of Iraq War Risk
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Dead in Iraq
Iraqi body counts: http://www.djf.net/IBC counter for blog
US body count: http://www.antiwar.com/casualties counter for blog - can't make it work
Labels: Dead in Iraq
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