Whats really going on in IRAQ no "Happy News"

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by Dawoud, Oct 17, 2003.

  1. Dawoud
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    Top Stories - Reuters

    Iraq Bomb Kills U.S. Military Policeman, Wounds Two


    BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A bomb blast killed one U.S. military policeman and wounded two in the Baghdad area Friday morning, the U.S. military said.
    A military statement said the dead soldier was from the 220th Military Police Brigade. The latest death brings to 101 the number of U.S. soldiers killed in hostile action since Washington declared major combat in Iraq (news - web sites) over on May 1.


    Guerrillas opposed to the U.S. occupation of Iraq frequently attack U.S.-led forces with roadside bombs, land mines and rocket-propelled grenades. Iraqis seen as cooperating with the occupation also come under attack.


    Late Thursday, three U.S. military police and two Iraqi policemen died in an ambush in the Shi'ite holy city of Kerbala. Seven U.S. military police and five Iraqi police were also wounded in the rocket-propelled grenade attack on a patrol.
     
  2. jimnyc
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    Yes, this is what happens when a country that has been oppressed for so many years tries to get free. You will have uprising and a level of uneasy for awhile. There are patches of rebels that will fight to the bitter end, and thats what they will ultimately meet.

    I salute the men and women in uniform from the USA that have fought and gave their lives to defend our country and to free Iraqi citizens.

    There is PLENTY of happy news. How is Saddam doing in his quest to terrorize his people as of late? How are those 2 scumbags Odai and Qusai doing? It makes me EXTREMELY happy to see the pictures of these 2 dead retards!
     
  3. Dawoud
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    Many Troops Dissatisfied, Iraq Poll Finds

    By Bradley Graham and Dana Milbank, Washington Post Staff Writers

    A broad survey of U.S. troops in Iraq (news - web sites) by a Pentagon (news - web sites)-funded newspaper found that half of those questioned described their unit's morale as low and their training as insufficient, and said they do not plan to reenlist.
    The survey, conducted by the Stars and Stripes newspaper, also recorded about a third of the respondents complaining that their mission lacks clear definition and characterizing the war in Iraq as of little or no value. Fully 40 percent said the jobs they were doing had little or nothing to do with their training.


    The findings, drawn from 1,935 questionnaires presented to U.S. service members throughout Iraq, conflict with statements by military commanders and Bush administration officials that portray the deployed troops as high-spirited and generally well-prepared. Though not obtained through scientific methods, the survey results suggest that a combination of difficult conditions, complex missions and prolonged tours in Iraq is wearing down a significant portion of the U.S. force and threatening to provoke a sizable exodus from military service.


    In the first of a week-long series of articles, Stars and Stripes said yesterday that it undertook the survey in August after receiving scores of letters from troops who were upset with one aspect or another of the Iraq operation. The newspaper, which receives some funding from the Defense Department but functions without editorial control by the Pentagon, prepared 17 questions and sent three teams of reporters to Iraq to conduct the survey and related interviews at nearly 50 camps.


    "We conducted a 'convenience survey,' meaning we gave it to those who happened to be available at the time rather than to a randomly selected cross section, so the results cannot necessarily be projected as representing the whole population," said David Mazzarella, the paper's editorial director here. "But we still think the findings are significant and make clear that the troops have a different idea of things than what their leaders have been saying."


    Experts in public opinion and the military concurred that the poll was not necessarily representative, but they characterized it as a useful gauge of troop sentiment. "The numbers are consistent with what I suspect is going on there," said David Segal, a military sociologist at the University of Maryland at College Park. "I am getting a sense that there is a high and increasing level of demoralization and a growing sense of being in something they don't understand and aren't sure the American people understand."


    The paper quoted Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, saying in a Sept. 9 interview for the series that "there is no morale problem." He said complaints among troops are "expected" and part of "the Army's normal posture," whether the soldiers are deployed or not.


    "We haven't had time to study the survey, but we take all indicators of morale seriously," said Bryan Whitman, a senior Pentagon spokesman. "It's the reason we've instituted several programs to address morale and welfare issues." A White House spokesman had no comment.


    Some military experts pointed to good news for the administration in the survey. Military historian Eliot Cohen, who serves on a Pentagon advisory panel, noted that the proportion that said the war was worthwhile -- 67 percent -- and the proportion of troops that said they have a clearly defined mission -- 64 percent -- are "amazingly high." He added that complaints are typical. "American troops have a God-given right and tradition of grumbling," he said.


    In the survey, 34 percent described their morale as low, compared with 27 percent who described it as high and 37 percent who said it was average; 49 percent described their unit's morale as low, while 16 percent called it high.


    In recent days, the Bush administration has launched a campaign to blame the news media for portraying the situation in Iraq in a negative light. Last week, Bush described the military spirit as high and said that life in Iraq is "a lot better than you probably think. Just ask people who have been there."


    But Stars and Stripes raised questions about what those visiting dignitaries saw in Iraq. "Many soldiers -- including several officers -- allege that VIP visits from the Pentagon and Capitol Hill are only given hand-picked troops to meet with during their tours of Iraq," the newspaper said in its interview with Sanchez. "The phrase 'Dog and Pony Show' is usually used. Some troops even go so far as to say they've been ordered not to talk to VIPs because leaders are afraid of what they might say."


    The newspaper also noted in that interview that its reporters were told that some soldiers who had complained of morale problems had faced disciplinary actions known as Article 15s, which can result in reprimand, extra duties and forfeiture of pay. Sanchez said he did not know of any such punishments, but he added that they would have been handled at a lower level.


    The paper's project recorded significant differences in the morale of various units, but overall found that Army troops tended to sound more dissatisfied than Air Force personnel and Marines, and that reservists were the most troubled.


    Uncertainty about when they are returning home was a major factor in dampening morale, according to the newspaper. The interviews were conducted at a time when some reserve and regular Army units were learning that their tours had been extended. The Pentagon has since sought to provide a clearer rotation plan and has begun granting troops two-week home leaves.


    Although Pentagon officials say they have seen no sign yet of a rise in the number of troops deciding against reenlisting, the survey suggested that such a surge may be coming soon. A total of 49 percent of those questioned said it was "very unlikely" or "not likely" that they would remain in the military after they complete their current obligations. In the past, enlistment rates tended to drop after conflicts, but many defense experts and noncommissioned officers have warned of the potential for a historically high exodus, particularly of reservists.
     
  4. jimnyc
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    Blah, Blah, Blah - same old propaganda bullshit!

    We completely destroyed the Iraqi military and are slowly but surely taking out the rebels.

    Morale is low because of the length of time these soldiers have been away from their loved ones, which will change shortly.

    And lastly:

    low morale = destroying Iraqi military and insurgents

    Doesn't compute does it?
     
  5. Dawoud
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    you censored me from your thread took my posts off
    Now you come on my thread and do what your accusing me of doing.......so turnabout is fair play
     
  6. Dawoud
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    Iraq War Swells Al Qaeda's Ranks, Report Says

    By Peter Graff

    LONDON (Reuters) - War in Iraq (news - web sites) has swollen the ranks of al Qaeda and galvanized the Islamic militant group's will, the International Institute for Strategic Studies said on Wednesday in its annual report.
    The 2003-2004 edition of the British-based think-tank's annual bible for defense analysts, The Military Balance, said Washington's assertions after the Iraq conflict that it had turned the corner in the war on terror were "over-confident."


    The report, widely considered an authoritative text on the military capabilities of states and militant groups worldwide, could prove fodder for critics of the U.S.-British invasion and of the reconstruction effort that has followed in Iraq.


    Washington must impose security in Iraq to prevent the country from "ripening into a cause celebre for radical Islamic terrorists," it concluded. "Nation-building" in Iraq was paramount and might require more troops than initially planned.


    "On the plus side, war in Iraq has denied al Qaeda a potential supplier of weapons of mass destruction and discouraged state sponsors of terrorism from continuing to support it," the report said.


    "On the minus side, war in Iraq has probably inflamed radical passions among Muslims and thus increased al Qaeda's recruiting power and morale and, at least marginally, its operating capability," it said.


    "The immediate effect of the war may have been to isolate further al Qaeda from any potential state supporters while also swelling its ranks and galvanizing its will."


    FAILED STATES


    Magnus Ranstorp, terrorism expert at Britain's St Andrew's University, told Reuters the report's findings would drive home the importance of rebuilding Iraq and other conflict zones.


    "Military planners and the law enforcement community are fully aware of the consequences of failed states," he said.


    "I think it's probably worthwhile for politicians to keep in mind our responsibility to provide sustained and long term reconstruction in war-torn countries, so they don't fly back into anarchy or become incubators of terrorism."


    Washington blames al Qaeda, led by Osama bin Laden (news - web sites), for the 2001 U.S. airliner hijack attacks which killed 3,044 people.


    A crackdown had netted some al Qaeda leaders and deprived al Qaeda of bases in Afghanistan (news - web sites). But it also "impelled an already highly decentralized and evasive international terrorist network to become even more 'virtual' and protean and, therefore, harder to identify and neutralize," the IISS report said.


    It said 18,000 veterans of al Qaeda's Afghan training camps were still probably operating worldwide "with recruitment continuing and probably increasing following the war in Iraq."


    Al Qaeda leaders, including bin Laden, are mostly still at large and continue to incite followers over the Internet and through pronouncements on Arabic-language television.


    Because of its extreme religious world view, al Qaeda "cannot be tamed or controlled through political compromise or conflict resolution," the report said.
    But Western countries need to do more to reach out to Muslim countries and their own Islamic minorities to "eliminate the root causes of terrorism," especially after the Iraq war "almost certainly further alienated Islam from the West."
    Efforts should be redoubled to resolve local conflicts, such as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, so regional radical groups such as Hamas do not fall into al Qaeda's embrace, it said.
     
  7. Dawoud
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    Gail Russell Chaddock, Christian Science Monitor

    WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 10 (CSM) - Critics on Capitol Hill are taking a hard look at several lucrative U.S. contracts to rebuild war-damaged Iraq (news - web sites)

    When Susan Collins was just a staffer in the United States Senate, she used to worry about fat government contracts being awarded in secret. Now Collins is a US Senator--and she can finally do something about it.


    Senator Collins is drawing a bead on contracts in Iraq, where the US has begun pouring in billions of dollars to repair war damage and rebuild the country. There are charges in the press that no-bid contracts are squandering taxpayer funds.


    "A tremendous amount of money will be spent on contracts to rebuild Iraq," says the soft-spoken Maine senator, a leading GOP moderate. She wants Washington to avoid even the appearance of cronyism or war profiteering in these deals. "We have an obligation to make sure that money is not being wasted," Collins says.


    Yet some key Iraq contracts already were bid secretly, or on a sole-source basis, to companies with strong ties to the Bush administration. These included a $1.39 billion contract to a subsidiary of Halliburton, an energy giant formerly chaired by Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites).


    Another $680 million contract for Iraq's power grid, water system, and airport facilities went to Bechtel Group Inc., after a secret bidding process. Together, the six companies invited to bid on the Bechtel contract contributed $3.6 million to federal election campaigns, two-thirds to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.


    "These suspect contracts with Halliburton and other companies raise questions about the awarding of contracts to friends of the administration," says Sen. Richard Durbin (D) of Illinois. "Wasn't there someone in the room who said, 'This just doesn't look right.'?"


    It's that appearance of wrongdoing that most concerns Collins. In the heat of war, there may be reasons that contracts for fighting oil fires or rebuilding water systems should move quickly - or go to industry giants, she says. Still, anything less than open competition also carries a risk: the integrity of the process, she adds.


    Such issues have been a nearly lifelong concern for Collins - one of the rare lawmakers who can do the dog work of a tough investigation herself. As staff director for the government management subcommittee from 1979 to 1987, she led an investigation that found "excessive reliance" on sole-source contracting in Washington. The committee produced a bill that required more competitive bidding, but the law left a loophole: No one needs to account to Congress when they claim one of the seven exceptions in that law, including one for national security.


    "The problem is there is no oversight to see that these exceptions are used appropriately," she says. As chairman of the committee she once worked for, Collins wants those loopholes closed. Her "sunshine rule," cosponsored with Sen. Ron Wyden (D) of Oregon, was approved by the Senate as an amendment to President Bush (news - web sites)'s $87 billion request for Iraq.


    She claims another influence in this work: Sen. Harry Truman (D) of Missouri, who was spotted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a vice-presidential prospect for his work on war profiteering during World War II. Truman, like Collins, was no grandstander. He said his aim was "heading off scandals before they started." But his conclusions were unambiguous: "The little manufacturer, the little contractor, and the little machine shop have been left entirely out in the cold. The policy seems to be to make the big man bigger and to put the little man completely out of business," Truman said in 1941.


    Historian Theodore Wilson wrote in 1975 that the Truman committee is widely viewed as "the most successful congressional investigative effort in United States history." It later evolved into the permanent subcommittee on investigation, now a panel of the Senate Government Affairs Committee that Collins chairs. "Our committee has a legacy of being aggressive in protecting the taxpayer from contracting abuses," she says.


    Many of the same Truman-like criticisms are surfacing in the congressional debate over the contracts in Iraq. In all, some $79 billion has already been allocated for war expenses in Iraq, and another $87 billion bill is working its way through Congress - a windfall for companies that can make themselves part of it.


    "We're overrelying on large umbrella contracts.... Halliburton has a monopoly on the work in oil, and Bechtel has a monopoly on the reconstruction work," says Rep. Henry Waxman (D) of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee (news - web sites). "There is no incentive to lower costs," he adds.


    No contract has riled critics as much as the first and most lucrative: to Kellogg, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton. It started as a 2001 contract for logistical support to the US military, wherever it went, and it was competitively bid. But a decision to expand that contract - from supporting troops to oil-well firefighting, repairing oil systems, and now maintaining and operating oil systems - was not.


    "Redefining the contract on a no-bid basis, that's where the Pentagon (news - web sites) went awry," says P. W. Singer, a fellow at the Brookings Institution. "All the companies have decided that one way for them to achieve a corporate advantage is to hire former government officials or to make political campaign contributions."


    Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Congress, "The Halliburton contract for oil-field restoration is currently in the process of being recompeted," and that "no new funds are planned to be awarded under the old contract."





    The impression of favoritism could be tough to blot out. Recently, a new lobby shop touted its ties to the Bush administration as an asset in helping clients get business in Iraq. New Bridge Strategies, with offices in Washington and Houston, describes itself as "a unique company that was created specifically with the aim of assisting clients to evaluate and take advantage of business opportunities in the Middle East following the conclusion of the US-led war in Iraq." Its principals include Joe Allbaugh, campaign manager for Bush presidential race in 2000.

    "This kind of thing is tawdry and will reinforce the conviction in some quarters that this is all about making bucks and paying off corporate pals," says Andrew Bacevich, director of the Center for International Relations at Boston University.
     
  8. Dawoud
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    Despite Some Progress, Iraqis Losing Faith in Occupation
    Tue Oct 14, 8:51 AM ET Add World - OneWorld.net to My Yahoo!


    Dan Murphy, Christian Science Monitor

    BAGHDAD, Oct. 14 (CSM) - Hussein al-Jubari should be the perfect illustration of President Bush (news - web sites)'s recent insistence that "Iraq (news - web sites) is making progress." Mr. Jubari sits wedged between stacks of stereos from Japan, hair dryers from China, and satellite receivers from South Korea (news - web sites) in his tiny shop across from Iraq's central bank. Business is picking up, he says. Sales of satellite receivers, illegal under Saddam Hussein (news - web sites), are particularly brisk. But he takes a dim view of Iraq under US administration.



    "Sure, it's safer than it was immediately after the invasion, when looters were everywhere,'' he says. "But it's much worse than it was immediately before the invasion. Unless they can give us security immediately, America should get out."


    Just as his visitors leave, a distant boom rattles the shutters and draws an involuntary flinch from almost everyone in the crowded street. Later, it turns out the explosion was a suicide attack that killed six bystanders at the Baghdad Hotel on Sunday, where some US officials and members of the US-appointed Governing Council live.


    If more evidence was needed that the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) grip on developments in Iraq is tentative, it was found in the tense US soldiers guarding the blast site and the chanted taunts from a small crowd of Iraqis at the scene.


    The US coalition is now fighting a two-front public relations war, against critics at home who argue the bombing campaign is evidence that more authority should be shifted to the UN, and here in Iraq, where the view from the streets is that Iraqis are losing faith.


    Whether you ask a member of Baghdad's largely Sunni commercial class or one of the generally poorer Shiite community--who were oppressed under Hussein and have the most to gain from regime change--gratitude for any improvements is usually drowned out by frustration that more hasn't been done.


    On Friday, the fiercely anti-American Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who has built a base of hundreds of thousands of supporters including his own militia, declared he was setting up a government to rival the US-appointed Governing Council.


    A clash with US troops last Thursday near his Baghdad headquarters left at least two of his supporters and two American soldiers dead, and analysts say he appears to be testing the coalition to see how much power he can take for himself.


    To many Iraqis, a restoration of what they had at the start of this year is a minimum. Instead, many remember the strength of the economy prior to the first Gulf War (news - web sites) in 1991 and the crippling economic sanctions that followed.


    US officials rightly point out that economic collapse was largely due to Hussein's decision to shift the government's limited finances to military industries in the 1990s and to rewarding those who helped keep him in power. But Hussein's regime successfully painted the problem for many Iraqis as almost entirely due to the sanctions. As a result, the CPA can't seem to get any credit for the progress it is making.


    "Iraq went from being one of the most advanced countries in the region to one of the least,'' CPA chief Paul Bremer said in a briefing at the end of last week. Hussein "cut back spending on healthcare in the 1990s by 90 percent. Child mortality in the south, where his hand was heaviest, became worse than all of Iraq's neighbors." The World Bank (news - web sites) says education spending fell from $600 a child to just $50.


    At last week's briefing, Bremer ticked off an impressive list of success: Twenty-two million Iraqi children have received vaccinations; 1,500 schools have been rehabilitated; 13,000 reconstruction projects have started around the country; and, best of all, average electricity generation is slightly higher than it was before the war.


    "There will be bumps on the road,'' Bremer said. "But I think it's important [for] those of you who are here regularly covering the story to put that in perspective, because it's a lot better than it was."


    But the question comes down to the baseline for comparison. "Bremer's comments contained a lot of false comparisons,'' says Hussein Kubba, an economist who ran a small stock brokerage before the Baghdad exchange was shut by the war.


    "If we're talking about reconstructing Iraq, we have to go back to the late 1980s, not to six months ago, when everything was a mess."


    Mr. Kubba says that while services and retail business is picking up, the real economy, of "people [who] make things,'' is stagnant. While electricity generation is important, he says the real bottleneck for growth will be Iraq's "distribution system, which is in a shambles," he says. "If there is an economic recovery, it will hit a wall, because there won't be enough power."


    Ali Fadel says any improvement in electricity to his small factory is negligible, which has left him reliant on an expensive generator he bought shortly before the war. At his family's 50-year-old Abo Ayub factory, which turns out small components for machines in everything from power plants to cars, business is pretty good, especially with so much reconstruction going on in power plants.





    But Mr. Fadel, sipping tea in the office attached to his factory, which is located in a building filled with brick arches and elegant tile-work from its early history as a British colonial courthouse, says he's filled with anxiety about the future under American rule.

    "I'm doing OK because of our work with the electricity plants, but many of my friends' businesses are idle,'' he says. "But even for me, I'm very upset. I send my two sons to school with an armed bodyguard - and the school is only 200 yards from our house."

    Fadel's business employs 24 people, who hand operate the machines that cut the metal for his components. Like most of those working in Iraq's small industry sector, he's benefited from a largely closed economy that has kept imports out.

    One dim financial future

    But the US-appointed Governing Council recently passed one of the most liberal foreign investment laws in the Arab world, and he's expecting to be driven out of business soon.

    In talking about his day, Fadel has a list of annoyances with the US presence that seem almost petty, but are frequently expressed by a middle class that feels affronted by the occupation.

    His former 10-minute drive to work now takes an hour and a half because roads have been closed to protect coalition officials; his car was once stopped and searched; as a Muslim, he says, he has a visceral reaction to the site of armed foreigners on the streets of Baghdad.

    "Saddam Hussein was a very bad man, we all believe that,'' says Fadel. "But the people who say they've come to help me, they haven't come in a friendly fashion. They've come into my house and pointed a gun at me. How can we welcome someone who does that?"
     
  9. 5stringJeff
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    So Dawoud, you worked at the largest university in the US (which I guess will remain a secret?) for 10 years. Did they ever teach you the value of formulating your own opinion about the published works of others?
     
  10. jimnyc
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    No, twit, I'm commenting directly on the articles you posted!

    You did nothing in the other thread but post article after article, all unrelated to one another.

    And you were not censored, you were asked to start a new thread.

    Do you see the difference? I doubt it.
     

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