The present-day U.S. military qualifies by any measure as highly professional, much more so than its Cold War predecessor. Yet the purpose of today’s professionals is not to preserve peace but to fight unending wars in distant places. Intoxicated by a post-Cold War belief in its own omnipotence, the United States allowed itself to be drawn into a long series of armed conflicts, almost all of them yielding unintended consequences and imposing greater than anticipated costs. Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. forces have destroyed many targets and killed many people. Only rarely, however, have they succeeded in accomplishing their assigned political purposes. . . . [F]rom our present vantage point, it becomes apparent that the “Revolution of ‘89” did not initiate a new era of history. At most, the events of that year fostered various unhelpful illusions that impeded our capacity to recognize and respond to the forces of change that actually matter.

Andrew Bacevich

Sunday, May 6, 2007

News of the Day for Sunday, May 6, 2007

Demonstrators carry a banner during a protest in Kirkuk May 6, 2007. Dozens of demonstrators held a rally demanding the release of their relatives who were arrested during joint raids by the U.S. and Iraqi forces, protesters said. REUTERS/Slahaldeen Rasheed (IRAQ)

See below, Sean Naylor's report on Iraqis holding thousands of innocent people. -- C



Car bomb kills at least 35, injures 80, in a market in the Shiite Bayaa district.

A second car bomb at a bus stop near the Municipalities and Public Works Ministry in Bayaa kills four people.

Car bomb near the Ministry of Labor in Baghdad kills four. (I don't know if the Ministry of Labor is in Bayaa or if it could be confused with the Ministry of Public Works. If not, this is a separate incident -- C)

A MND-B Soldier was killed and four others were wounded when an improvised explosive device detonated in a western section of the Iraqi capital May 4.

U.S. claims killing eight militants in a raid in Sadr City, destruction of a "torture room," and a cache of weapons. (This AP story also has more detail on the Bayaa bombing.)

Baghdad police say six civilians injured in attack by U.S. warplanes on houses in Sadr City. One house and several cars said to be destroyed.

Three killed, 11 wounded by a car bomb in Mansour district.

Gunmen assassinate police captain Hatam Othman, an aide to the chief of police.

Roadside bomb attack on a police patrol in Saidiyah district kills one officer, injures 3.

Three killed, four wounded by mortar round in Shiite district of Abu Dshir.

Security forces say they arrested 37 people in the past 24 hours, 7 security forces injured in a "combat mission."


Gunbattle between Iraqi security forces and unidentified militants leaves two civilians dead.


A bomb outside a teacher's house kills three of his children, all of them under age 10.

This could be the same incident reported here by Reuters, but they identify the target as a "former Baathist" and say the children were wounded rather than killed.

Gunmen attacked a policeman and an Iraqi translator working in a U.S. military base, seriously wounding the pair. (The wording is ambiguous, but I am assuming this did not take place on the military base.)


Car bomb attack on a police station kills two officers and a civilian. A few minutes later, small arms attack on a police checkpoint kills another officer. However, Al Jazeera gives the total death toll in the Samarra attacks as 8, and adds that one of the dead at the checkpoint was Samarra's police commander, Abdul Jalil Naji.

Reuters says that a second car bomb exploded outside the city center shortly afterwards, with an unknown number of casualties; and that "tens of gunmen" attacked the Samarra directorate after the attacks.


Bombing in a commercial district kills 13, injures 13, according to a police source.

Anbar Province (unspecified location)

Two U.S. Marines killed in combat operations. No further information available.


Six unidentified bodies found by police patrols, all showing signs of torture.

Gunmen kill a "former security officer".

In the nearby town of Garma, bodies of three police officers found tortured and shot dead.


Gunmen attack U.S. patrol, 20 minute battle ensues. No word on casualties.


Gunmen attack the house of a leading member of the Iraqi Islamic Party. One attacker said killed, 11 other people wounded.


Gunmen assassinate a school principle. Armed groups have threatened to kill teachers if they keep working.

Six civilians wounded by mortar rounds.


Oil company executive killed, two people injured by a "land mine. (Not clear if this means anything different from the standard roadside bomb -- C)

Yethrib (near Balad

Gunmen kill a police colonel.


Three bodies, tortured and shot to death, retrieved from the Tigris. Note: There is a grate in the river in this town which catches bodies continually. They may have been killed anywhere to the north, most probably in Baghdad. -- C

Note: New reports of incidents have been coming in continually as I put together today's post, with Whisker's assistance. The above listing is current as of 11:00 am Eastern Time, but there are conflicting accounts of some of these incidents, and in some cases it is not clear whether accounts refer to the same incident or not. In addition, ICCC has reported the death of a Task Force Lightning soldier in a non-combat incident, but as of this writing no link is available. -- C

Other News of the Day

Sean Naylor of the Military Times reports that the U.S. military is increasingly concerned that Iraq is holding many innocent people. And see above, today's claim that they have arrested 37 people in Baghdad. According to this, we can presume that at least half of them are non-combatants, or as the article puts it, "innocent." -- C Excerpt:

BAGHDAD — U.S. officers here say they are increasingly troubled by the high number of innocent Iraqis being detained and held — in some cases for many months — by the Iraqi army.

Several officers who serve as advisers to the Iraqis said at least half the people detained by the Iraqi army in Baghdad are innocent.

And the advisers say their close association with the units doing the detaining is placing the Americans on the horns of an ethical dilemma: On one hand, they are forbidden from taking unilateral action in order to free the prisoners; on the other hand, by not freeing innocent detainees being held by their close allies, they feel complicit in what some termed "a war crime."

In at least one case, a U.S. officer received a letter of admonishment from a general officer after taking it upon himself to free 35 prisoners he knew had been wrongly detained.

All U.S. officers interviewed for this story also said that the practice of locking up people who have done nothing wrong is counterproductive, and directly contrary to the Army's new counterinsurgency field manual.

Sunni Accordance Front leader Adnan al-Dulaimi blasts the Shiite-led government, dealing a further blow to any hopes for political reconciliation. Excerpt:

The leader of parliament's largest Sunni Arab bloc complained Sunday that Sunni members of the Shiite-led government were marginalized and given no real authority, charging that an 11-week-old U.S.-backed security push in Baghdad was victimizing the city's Sunni residents.

A visibly angry Adnan al-Dulaimi, leader of the Iraqi Accordance Front, said he had nothing to fear from calls by Shiite lawmakers for lifting his parliamentary immunity to face questioning on alleged involvement in sectarian cleansing in Baghdad and inciting sectarian strife.

"I fear nothing and I will confront those who made these false charges," he told a news conference.

Al-Dulaimi, who is thought to be nearly 80, is one of the most outspoken critics of Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government. He recently has returned from neighboring Jordan where he underwent surgery for an unspecified ailment, according to his ally and fellow Sunni lawmaker Salim Abdullah.

"Our participation in this so-called national unity government is weak and marginalized and our ministers have no authority to serve Iraq or its people," he said.

He also complained that Shiite militias and death squads, both blamed for targeting Sunni Arabs in kidnappings and execution-style killings, have resumed their activity after staying out of sight in the initial stages of the joint U.S.-Iraqi security plan.

Karin Brulliard of the WaPo reports that medical care for Iraqi soldiers makes Walter Reed look good. Excerpt:

As the U.S. military prepares for an eventual handover of security duties to Iraqi forces (Hah! -- C), more of Iraq's 120,000 soldiers are advancing to the front lines of the war, and more are being wounded. But because there are no Iraqi military hospitals, thousands have been left to the mercy of overtaxed and corrupt civilian hospitals and a military compensation system paralyzed by red tape and disorganization, according to soldiers, family members, doctors and military officials. Many, feeling abandoned, turn to their families for help.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manoucheher Mottaki says he is willing to meet with Condoleeza Rice to discuss Iraq, although he suggests a substantive agenda would need to be agreed upon in advance.

House Republican leader John Boehner says Republicans want to give Bush's Iraq war policy one more Friedman Unit, but if it doesn't show signs of success by the fall they're going to want to know what Plan B is. Personally, if I were him, I'd be showing some curiosity about Plan B right now. -- C

The problem of wounded military personnel infected with drug resistant
Acinetobacter continues to frustrate military doctors. This is a wound infection that can occur in other contexts, but the organism appears to be very common in the arid soil of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the types of wounds suffered in these conflicts seem to be uniquely susceptible.

Al-Qaeda second in command Ayman al-Zawahiri objects to Democratic plan to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq.
Says al-Qaeda wants them to remain so that they can continue to be a target. (So how about it, Commander Guy - are you with us, or are you with The Terrorists?-- C) Excerpt:

l-Qaeda's second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri said a US congressional bill calling for a troop withdrawal from Iraq was proof of Washington's defeat, according to a web video posted on Saturday.

"This bill reflects American failure and frustration," Zawahiri said. "But this bill will deprive us of the opportunity to destroy the American forces which we have caught in a historic trap."

A White House spokesman declined to comment on the video, which comes four days after US President George Bush vetoed a $US124 billion ($150 billion) congressional war-spending measure that would have required a troop pullout from Iraq to begin by October 1.

"We ask Allah that they only get out after losing 200,000 to 300,000 killed, so that we give the blood spillers in Washington and Europe an unforgettable lesson to motivate them to review their entire doctrinal and moral system," Zawahiri said on the video, posted on websites used by Islamists.

Quote of the Day

Temperatures are rising above 40 degrees Celsius, with electricity supply provided for one whole hour every 72 hours!

WOW! Amazing how well the reconstruction efforts are going!

How many billions has America taken out of its pouch in the name of reconstruction in Iraq??

Where did the money go??

What are the priorities??

There is no national power supply to speak of.

There is no petrol to fuel our own tiny generators.

Why is there no petrol??

Iraq has no petrol for its own consumption?!

Don’t you find that a little hard to believe?

Did you know that the pipelines in Basra, (where Iraq’s very rich southern oil wells are located) are loading oil tankers under the protection of the Coalition forces for the benefit of – God knows who?? UNGUAGED!! (They shamelessly say the gauges aren’t working. It has been four years!)

Millions of barrels daily!!

What about us??

What about US??

When did we fall out of the equation?

Or is it that we were never in it?

We are going without sleep.

It’s too hot to sleep indoors.

Too dangerous to sleep outdoors.

My daughter and son dampen their clothes and lie down on the bare tiles of the floor.

I sit up all night with a meheffa (a hand-held fan) in my hand to stir the air about them so that they can sleep – even fitfully is good enough. Me – forget me.

Is this really the situation Mr. President aspired to?

I don’t have the stomach to speak of the darkness we live in, the cold water we bathe in …etc. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. Temperatures rise to above 55 degrees in July ….. in the shade ….

Sahar And again, you can leave a comment if you wish.