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Nearly two weeks after Terri Schiavo's feeding tube was disconnected, her parents endured two more legal setbacks in their fight to keep her alive when the U.S. Supreme Court and a federal appeals court refused to intervene.
A rift in the leadership of post-coup Kyrgyzstan widened on Thursday over the return home of ousted President Askar Akayev, amid warnings of fresh violence in the Central Asian state.
NATANZ, Iran -- Iran's president led reporters on an unprecedented visit to the once-secret Natanz nuclear complex yesterday, providing a glimpse into the underground uranium enrichment plant that the United States and Europe are demanding be shut down.
Dulles, VA, Mar. 31 (UPI) -- Stop the presses! As it turns out, the mismanagement of the multi-billion U.N. Oil-for-Food scam -- which was run with all the oversight of a back-alley cock fight -- reaches to the office of Mr. United Nations: His Excellency Kofi Annan.
BRUSSELS, Belgium -- European Union governments gave their endorsement Wednesday to the nominee for World Bank president, Paul Wolfowitz, after he affirmed his commitment to multilateralism and said he would make the fight against poverty his top goal as ...
A video of the three Romanian journalists kidnapped in Iraq has been broadcast on al-Jazeera television showing them with guns held to their heads and pleading for their release.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, back from a visit to Iraq, called on President Bush Tuesday to set a deadline for pulling U.S. troops out of that country and letting the Iraqis handle their own defense.
The Iraqi government's unprecedented admission that its police tortured and killed three Shi'ite Muslim militiamen while they were in custody has set off angry complaints from newly elected Shi'ite legislators who are engaged in a political battle for control of the police.
...According to sources briefed about the police investigation, Internet instant messages and e-mails have been found, that had been sent between Mr. Weise and Louis Jourdain, the 16-year-old son of the Red Lake Reservation's tribal chairman, that detail the plot.
An Idaho couple whose child was born with severe defects and later died cannot sue their doctors for a "wrongful birth," the state's top court ruled on Wednesday
Investigators of the United Nations oil-for-food program in Iraq said yesterday there wasn't enough evidence to show that Secretary General Kofi Annan knew of a contract bid by his son's Swiss employer. However, they criticized the UN chief for not properly investigating possible conflicts of interest in the matter.
The international high representative in Bosnia has sacked one of the country's three co-presidents who had stayed on in office despite being charged with corruption. Paddy Ashdown told a news conference in Sarajevo that Dragan Covic will stand down immediately.
...In addition to the United States, several European countries - Britain, the Netherlands and Norway among them - have helped underwrite programs to develop democracy and civil society in this country. The effort played a crucial role in preparing the ground for the popular uprising that swept opposition politicians to power.
Crude futures gained only slightly on Wednesday, staying above $54 a barrel after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said it has suspended talks on a second output increase.
Emergency workers are discovering the scale of destruction on the Indonesian island worst-hit by Monday's earthquake that killed about 1,000 people. The main town on Nias island, off Sumatra, has been largely ruined.
- Latest Earthquakes Surprise Seismologists...every seismologist knew that the earthquake potential of nearby faults had increased, Yale University seismologist Jeffrey Park said in a telephone interview. "But I don't think any one of us would have predicted it would have occurred in three months, at this magnitude," he said
- Scientists Puzzled No Tsunami After QuakeTsunami experts could not understand why Monday's forceful earthquake off Indonesia failed to produce massive waves similar to those generated by the Dec. 26 quake that killed at least 175,000 people in the same region.
One of three Romanian journalists abducted Monday night near their Baghdad hotel later sent a text message to her newsroom saying, "Help, this is not a joke, we've been kidnapped."
Questions multiplied Tuesday after the revelation that Red Lake Tribal Chairman Floyd Jourdain Jr.'s son is alleged to have been involved in the shooting that left 10 dead last week on the Red Lake Indian Reservation.
A longtime Boy Scouts of America official who directed a task force to protect children from sexual abuse has been charged with possession and distribution of child pornography. Douglas Sovereign Smith Jr., 61, was accused of receiving images over the Internet in February of children engaging in oral sex, intercourse, and other sexually explicit conduct. The charges were filed by federal prosecutors March 21
A U.S. Army tank company commander being court-martialed in the fatal shooting of an unarmed, wounded Iraqi was described Tuesday by defense witnesses as "a tremendous soldier" and a man who cared about the Iraqi people.
A U.S. military court convicted a 23-year-old Army mechanic of willfully disobeying orders for refusing to perform duties after a year-long tour of Iraq, an army spokesman said Monday. Lemoine, who had condemned the invasion of Iraq, was charged for repeatedly refusing to obey orders from commanders between Jan. 10 and Feb. 15 at a base in Darmstadt, south of Frankfurt.
Sgt. First Class Paul R. Smith, killed nearly two years ago defending his vastly outnumbered Army unit in a fierce battle with elite Iraqi troops for control of Baghdad's airport, will receive the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award, administration officials said Tuesday
Indonesians are struggling to assess the damage from a powerful earthquake that struck overnight, killing as many as 2,000 people and leaving hundreds homeless.
Lebanon's pro-Syrian prime minister is expected to step down this week after failing to persuade opposition figures to join a government to lead the country to May elections, political sources said on Tuesday.
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is expected to be faulted on Tuesday in a key report for ignoring a possible conflict of interest involving his son, but not accused of any personal wrongdoing. <...> Annan, himself, appeared calm. Asked if he were depressed as some news reports suggested, Annan laughed and told Reuters, "With all the activities and things we are doing and the pace I am keeping, do you think I have time for that?"
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to promoting human rights worldwide at the March 28 release of the report Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 2004 ? 2005. Rice said that freedom, democracy and human rights are ?non-negotiable,? universal principles that the international community has an obligation to protect. ?As this year's report describes in detail, we are working tirelessly to support democracy and human rights in every country where these principles are not completely fulfilled, ? she said.
- Grisly tapes reveal hasty trials, public executionsTwo gruesome videos showing cursory trials and public executions in North Korea are sparking calls among opposition South Korean lawmakers and activists for Seoul to take a stronger stand on human rights violations.
IT'S NOT YET CLEAR how the latest revolution in the former Soviet Union will end. As in Georgia and Ukraine, a rebellion was touched off in the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan last week by popular outrage over an unfair election. But the revolt succeeded so quickly -- after almost 15 years in power, President Askar Akayev was toppled in five days -- that it left even opposition leaders breathless and confused. For a time over the weekend two rival parliaments were meeting in the Kyrgyz capital and newly installed ministers, including one recently freed from prison, were issuing contradictory directives. Mr. Akayev, meanwhile, apparently had taken refuge in Russia and refused to resign. It won't be easy to sort out this political mess: Kyrgyzstan's leaders will need lots of help to do it democratically.
....King Gyanendra dismissed Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba's government on February 1, when he said in a nationally televized address that successive governments run by political parties had failed to counter the Maoist rebels.
An Iraqi scientist has told U.S. interrogators that her team destroyed Iraq's stock of anthrax in 1991 by dumping it practically at the gates of one of Saddam's main palaces, but never told U.N. inspectors for fear of angering the dictator.
- IraqiArmy Raid Nets 3 Tons of TNT, 121 Terrorism SuspectsA 3-ton cache of TNT and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition are off the streets of Iraq following an Iraqi army raid near Jurf al-Sakher on March 25, Iraqi military officials reported.
A press statement from Iraq?s Defense Ministry said 121 suspects were detained in the raid, conducted by the Iraqi army?s 8th Division, based in Karbala. Besides the TNT, Iraqi soldiers seized 624 rifles, 250,000 light ammunition rounds, 22,000 medium rounds, 193 rocket-propelled-grenade launchers, 300 RPG rockets, 27 82 mm mortar tubes, and 155 82 mm mortar rounds.
- Soldiers Kill Seven Terrorists, Seize Weapons in Iraq
U.S. soldiers have killed seven terrorists and seized weapons caches in Iraq, military officials in Baghdad reported today.
Task Force Liberty soldiers defeated a terrorist attack near Baqubah at about midnight today, killing three of the attackers. No coalition forces were injured in the attack, officials said, but they provided no further details.
- Sunni Leader Vows Support For Insurgents
(New York Times)...Robert F. Worth
For several weeks, Iraq's most powerful politicians and foreign diplomats have been streaming like anxious pilgrims to western Baghdad, to the vast blue and gold dome of the Mother of All Battles mosque, which was commissioned by Saddam Hussein. They are there to visit Sheik Harith al-Dari, a 64-year-old cleric and tribal leader who has become a leading spokesman for Iraq's disaffected Sunni Arabs.
Federal authorities in Minnesota have arrested a youth in connection with the school shootings last Monday on the Red Lake Indian reservation, raising the prospect that what seemed to be the work of a troubled loner who killed himself and nine others was actually part of a broader plot.
An Arabic-language satellite channel has broadcast a videotape that it says shows images recorded seconds before the explosion that killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February.
The 90-second tape was broadcast on the al-Arabiya news network, which said it was recorded by a nearby bank security camera.
Six years after Nato?s tanks rolled into Pristina to halt the ethnic killings in the last Balkans conflict, Kosovo is finally preparing for the Holy Grail of full independence.
KOFI ANNAN, the United Nations secretary-general, is said to be struggling with depression and considering his future. Colleagues have reported concerns about Annan ahead of an official report this week that will examine his son Kojo?s connection to the controversial Iraqi oil for food scheme.
Afghan farmers are planting fewer opium poppies this year because of a government ban and fear that their crops will be destroyed in an internationally sponsored crackdown, a U.N. report released Sunday said.
For a third straight year, the president made the 50-mile helicopter flight from his ranch in Crawford to mark Christianity's highest holiday at the largest active-duty armored post in the military and a base that has contributed thousands of troops to the U.S. force in Iraq.
An audacious bid by Iraqi prisoners to mount a mass breakout from the country's main detention centre has been thwarted after US military police found two escape tunnels.
Gruesome souvenir photos of the bullet-riddled bodies of two Iraqi detainees are expected to be key evidence in the death-penalty case against New York Marine Lt. Ilario Pantano, charged with premeditated murder.
A bomb has exploded in a mainly Christian neighborhood of Beirut the night before Easter Sunday, setting off dramatic fires and wounding several people.
The attack is the third to hit Christian areas in Beirut since March 19 and is another blow to a nation with deep political divisions after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
The country's acting president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, said Saturday he would be a candidate in the election, according to news agencies.
The announcement several days ago Albania -- a small country with limited resources -- was sending an additional 50 well-trained troops to Iraq came as a surprise to some observers. But it really should not have surprised anyone.
CAMP AS SAYLIYAH, Qatar, March 25, 2005 ? Morale is high among troops deployed to Southwest Asia in support of the global war on terror, but many feel frustrated that the American public isn?t hearing about the positive work they're doing, senior enlisted leaders from U.S. Central Command told the American Forces Press Service here today.
It's not that Sam Kimery objects to the views expressed on Fox News Channel. The creator of the "Fox Blocker" contends the network is not news at all.
Kimery says he has sold about 100 of the little silver bits of metal that screw into the back of most televisions, allowing people to filter Fox News from their sets. The Tulsa, Okla., resident also has received thousands of e-mails, both angry and complimentary, as well as a few death threats since the device debuted in August.
"Apparently the making of terroristic threats against those who don't share your views is a high art form among a certain core audience," said Kimery, 45.
Spring is here, and signs of budding flowers and grass and trees and democracy are all around...
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday set out ambitious goals for the Bush administration's push for greater democracy overseas over the next four years, including pressing for competitive presidential elections this year in Egypt and women's right to vote in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries.
The revolt in Kyrgyzstan that toppled Russia's strongest ally in Central Asia was the result of the latest in what analysts say is an astonishing and painful series of diplomatic missteps by Moscow.
About a million Taiwanese marched through the capital on Saturday, some carrying signs reading "Shame on China," to express their anger over a new Chinese law that authorizes an attack on the island if it moves toward formal independence.
Could the growing democracy movement, jump-started by events in Iraq, now be part of a feedback loop influencing events there?
Many of Iraq's predominantly Sunni Arab insurgents would lay down their arms and join the political process in exchange for guarantees of their safety and that of their co-religionists, according to a prominent Sunni politician.
Meanwhile, in case you were worried about them having fun, rest assured that those upon whom the task of spreading democracy falls most heavily are not going to be doing anything that could be remotely considered 'politically incorrect':
The soldiers knew what they considered real rest and recuperation. "Beer and babes," a crew-cropped private, just arrived at the US military's new Middle East rest and recuperation resort, shouted to hoots of approval from his buddies. They would not find much of either here. America may have instigated four-day off-duty trips for its Iraq servicemen but these breaks obey all the modern-day rules of acceptable behaviour for a soldier.
Six Sergeants and three enlisted military policewomen will be disciplined for a sex and mud-wrestling fiasco last year at a military prison in Iraq, the Army said yesterday.
Are these next stories about heroes of the past? No - they're heroes of today.
More than 37 years after Navy Lt. Cmdr. J. Forrest G. Trembley failed to return from a bombing mission over North Vietnam, his remains will come home to Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon announced yesterday.
From one former Army helicopter pilot to another, Lt. Gen. Richard Cody presented the military's second-highest award for valor on Friday to Stephen E. Lawrence in recognition of his exceptional acts of heroism during a harrowing rescue mission in Vietnam.
The opposite of hero is media hero:
The Navy announced Friday that it planned to court-martial a sailor, now a vocal member of the antiwar movement, who refused deployment to the Persian Gulf because he opposed the U.S. mission in Iraq.
Speaking of kudos for Sailors:
Several crew members of the USS San Francisco, which ran aground in January, were awarded yesterday for their actions to save shipmates and the submarine itself.
A U.S. Army paratrooper who fled to Canada to avoid serving in Iraq was denied political asylum Thursday, dealing a blow to other deserters here who argue such duty would force them to commit atrocities against civilians.
When Tokyo cast around for candidates to replace departing Dutch troops protecting the Japan Self-Defense Forces engaged in reconstruction work in southern Iraq, Australian troops were the ideal choice.
The more than 400,000 members of the National Guard and Reserve mobilized since the Sept. 11 attacks will be offered military health coverage for up to eight years after returning to civilian life, officials said Thursday.
Mayors from several North County cities gathered yesterday at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton to show support for wounded Marines and discuss their needs. Lewis said he decided to coordinate the visit after watching a television show that highlighted financial hardships suffered by the families of wounded Marines who have returned to Camp Pendleton and other bases nationwide.
CAMP HURRICANE POINT, Iraq, Patrolling the streets of the insurgent infested city here is probably the last place most people would expect to find a rock 'n' roll star. However, that's just where you'll find Lance Cpl. Josh R. Barfield, lead singer and guitarist for up-and-coming metal band Blue Collar.
In 2003, while volunteering at an orphanage for disabled children in Baghdad, National Guard Capt. Scott Southworth met Ala'a, a young Iraqi boy who could not walk because of cerebral palsy.
About two dozen Villa Park 5th graders sat awestruck as they looked up at the 6-foot-3-inch uniformed Marine visiting their classroom Wednesday morning.
But the students and the soldier--who had just returned from the Middle East--were not total strangers.
Cpl. Scott Biesterfeld, 23, got to meet the pen-pals at North Elementary School in Villa Park who wrote him while he was stationed in Al-Asad, Iraq.
In the letters, no topic was off limits. Kids wrote about everything from everyday light-hearted stories to the painful details of dealing with their parents' divorce. And Biesterfeld, a Marine Corps reservist, read every word.
The kids sat attentively with their hands clasped on their desks as Biesterfeld fielded a barrage of questions about his seven-month stint in the Middle East.
What did you miss most?
"Being able to do what you want ... hot showers ... good food," he responded in a quiet voice.
What was it like over there? "We only used Porta-Potties." This response garnered a flurry of high-pitched giggles from the pupils
A last request to salute the classroom was met by "ohs" and "ahs" before the students broke into applause.
And as Biesterfeld left the classroom, decked out in his crisp uniform, he bumped into a group of wide-eyed 1st graders.
A young boy raised his hand after being introduced to the soldier and asked, "Did your side win the war?"
Biesterfeld just smiled at the tyke and replied, "It's not over yet, but don't worry, we'll win. We'll win."
The Iraqi government said on Wednesday its forces killed 85 insurgents at a rebel training camp north of Baghdad, in what would be one of highest guerrilla death tolls in the two-year insurgency.
Two years after war dramatically changed Iraq's political landscape, the former ruling minority Sunnis are developing plans to participate in a government formed by elections they boycotted.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) led a bipartisan Senate delegation to Baghdad Tuesday and left little doubt that the Senate will soon approve an $81 billion supplemental appropriation passed by the House last week, most of which will go to pay for rebuilding Iraq's war-torn economy and countering insurgent violence
The US-led coalition failed to prepare sufficiently for a deadly insurgency that flared up in the aftermath of the Iraq invasion, an influential British parliamentary panel said.
..."In light of the state of the insurgency and the condition of the Iraqi security forces ... it seems likely that British forces will be present in Iraq in broadly similar numbers to the current deployment into 2006," the cross-party Defense Committee said in its report.
France is to put to a vote on Thursday a UN resolution referring Sudanese war crimes cases to the International Criminal Court, daring Washington to cast an embarrassing veto or accept a tribunal it opposes.
China, keen to nudge North Korea back to six-party talks on its nuclear programme, says a visit by the reclusive country's premier, Pak Pong-ju, has yielded no date for a return to the negotiating table.
Tensions between Arab leaders spilled over into the public arena on Wednesday, with a testy exchange between the Syrian and Egyptian presidents at a summit aired live on Arab television networks.
The debate was over which countries should be on a committee that will promote an Arab peace plan to Europe, the United States and other governments.
...The C-130J has so many flaws that it cannot fly its intended combat missions. It is unable to drop heavy equipment, operate well in cold weather or perform combat search-and-rescue missions. Paratroopers cannot jump out of it without risk of banging up against the fuselage. Still, the C-130J has one important fan: Congress.
Marine Corps 1st Lt. Ilario Pantano says he demoted the sergeant who is expected to be the chief witness against the officer, who is charged with murdering two Iraqi insurgents. Lt. Pantano's attorney, Charles Gittins, has labeled Sgt. Daniel L. Coburn a "disgruntled" Marine who had a motive for falsely accusing his client.
An estimated 10,000 people gathered in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek in support of President Askar Akayev on Tuesday as the south of the country slipped further under the control of opposition protesters
President Bush shakes hands with Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, left, in the Oval Office of the White House, April 30, 2004. Bush is to meet Wednesday, March 23, 2005, in Texas, with Mexican President Vicente Fox and Martin. ...
BRUSSELS, Belgium -- European Union leaders meeting in Brussels are finding themselves pulled between Beijing and Washington over arms sales to China. The leaders taking part in a two-day summit are expected ...
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Tuesday praised the performance of Latin American peacekeepers in Haiti but warned that significant planning was needed for peaceful elections to occur.
Chinese officials said Tuesday that North Korea's premier had told them the country might be willing to return to nuclear disarmament talks, despite its threat to indefinitely boycott the negotiations and its claim that it had expanded its atomic arsenal.
Shopkeepers and residents on one of Baghdad's main streets pulled out their own guns Tuesday and killed three insurgents when hooded men began shooting at passers-by, giving a rare victory to civilians increasingly frustrated by the violence bleeding Iraq.
In a bid to rid the country of foreign insurgents, the Iraqi government is using strict new residency rules to detain and expel non-Iraqi Arabs. Any Arab without the proper permit can be detained, interrogated and asked to leave the country, Interior Ministry officials said. So far the program has swept up mostly Syrians, Sudanese, Saudis and Egyptians, and about 250 people have been asked to leave.
The number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq has plummeted recently and attacks on American troops have dropped significantly, prompting U.S. military officials to wonder whether to hail the drop-off as a sign of success or brace for renewed attacks later.
- Two Years in Iraq: 3rd Infantry Division Winning Over Iraqis
Riding through the streets of Mahalla, a crowded neighborhood on Baghdad?s east side, Army Lt. Col. Jamie Gayton and his soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division?s 2nd Brigade Troops Battalion are carrying out a quiet mission ? but one Gayton believes is going a long way toward winning the peace in Iraq.
- Iraqi Troops Attack Rebel StrongholdIraqi Interior Ministry troops attacked what the U.S. military described as a training camp for insurgents Tuesday in a rural stretch of the Sunni Triangle, the latest in a recent series of engagements with large bands of guerrillas.
KABUL, Afghanistan, March 21, 2005 ? The National Military Academy of Afghanistan graduated its first class of basic training soldiers March 17.
Fort Bragg soldiers are re-enlisting in droves as the Army struggles to meets its recruiting goals.
Fort Bragg units have been at the heart of troop deployments for the war on terrorism. The 18th Airborne Corps' headquarters and several Fort Bragg-based units deployed to Iraq in the past several months for a one-year tour. The 82nd has two battalions in Baghdad and is preparing to send one of its brigades to Afghanistan in the spring for a year.
The European Union's foreign policy chief Javier Solana expressed the bloc's concern at violence in Kyrgyzstan, where protesters have clashed with police after a disputed parliamentary vote
Nicaragua must destroy more than 1,000 shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles or face the loss of $2.1 million in frozen American military aid, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Monday
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran's supreme leader said Monday he would put on military fatigues and fight to the death if his country were attacked - unlike U.S. "warmongers'' who he said cower in the rear far from the front lines.
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz closed in on the presidency of the World Bank yesterday when Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said Germany would not try to block Wolfowitz's candidacy.
Arab leaders arrived Monday in the Algerian capital for a summit meeting that will include a statement of solidarity with Syria and a rejection of any further "foreign ...
- BEIRUT JOURNAL Banner Days for the Lebanese (Ask the Flag Makers)In a cramped two-room apartment here, a group of men and women toil day and night to produce a most improbable symbol to emerge from the country's popular demonstrations: the Lebanese flag
North Korea said it had increased its nuclear arsenal in preparation for a preemptive invasion by the United States, the Yonhap news agency quoted Pyongyang's state media as saying.
United Nations peacekeepers, criticized for inaction during their 10 months in Haiti, took on soldiers from the disbanded army in clashes that left two peacekeepers and two Haitian fighters dead over two days. The showdown signals a tougher stance against armed factions ahead of fall elections and reflects a broader determination to crack down on militias that threaten civilians.
You can almost see the gleeful anticipation in the eyes of Democrats these days. After being outmaneuvered by Republicans on tax cuts and failing to reach a consensus on Iraq, they now sense a win on Social Security.
- Democrat compares Cheney to SaddamIn a conference call with reporters Monday, Sen. John Corzine, D-NJ, one of the leading opponents of the president's plan, said Cheney had "a virtual career of disdain for Social Security," and compared his appearances to sending Saddam Hussein to campaign for democracy in Iraq.
A high-school student went on a shooting rampage on an Indian reservation yesterday, killing his grandparents at their home and then seven people at his school, grinning and waving as he fired, authorities and witnesses said.
An American flag that was allegedly flying over the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and was sold Friday on eBay for $25,000 has been donated to a new Ashburn elementary school named after two local men who died in the attack.
The Bush administration blacked out almost all the information in hundreds of documents before releasing them to a conservative organization looking into President Clinton's (search)controversial pardons four years ago on his last day in office.
The only items not deleted from the material are the names of the person who wrote the document and the person it was sent to.
Thousands of protesters demanding the resignation of Kyrgyzstan's president over a flawed election rampaged through a southern city on Sunday, burning down a police station and occupying government buildings.
Thousands of opposition activists have stormed three government buildings in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh, forcing security forces to flee in the latest in a wave of protests to demand President Askar Akayev's resignation. ...
Iraq and Jordan engaged in a tit-for-tat withdrawal of ambassadors Sunday in a growing dispute over Shiite Muslim claims that Jordan is failing to block terrorists from entering Iraq, while U.S. forces killed 24 insurgents in a clash south of Baghdad
WASHINGTON ? The level of insurgency in Iraq would not be so high if the US-led coalition had been able to invade through Turkey, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Sunday. Rumsfeld told ?Fox News ...
Hundreds of thousands of rusty munitions - leftovers from the Iran-Iraq war - are scattered across the green fields and gentle hills of the two countries' common border. Long ignored, they are now being harvested by insurgents who recycle them into crude but highly deadly...
...Throughout the services there's a new emphasis on mobility, guerrilla-fighting skills, and special forces. These changes might have occurred whether President Bush ordered the toppling of Saddam Hussein or not. But the urgency created by war may be making it easier for Secretary Rumsfeld to pursue a long-sought transformation of the Pentagon
Iraq?s interim vice president expressed appreciation today for the support provided to his country through Operation Iraqi Freedom. ?We, the Iraqi people, are in our democratic infancy,? said Ibrahim al-Jaffari on the second anniversary of the operation.
Crowds of anti-war demonstrators gathered in communities scattered across the nation Sunday to protest the war in Iraq, a day after larger protests in dozens of other cities on the second anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion.
Antiwar Parent Copes With Enlistment, Then Death
The memory remains vivid in Tracy Miller's mind: She is stepping carefully over the guys sprawled out on her living room floor, doing her best not to wake them as she heads toward the door.
She gently closes the door of her Towson home and heads to the District, where the protest against the invasion of Iraq is underway. When she arrives, thousands have jammed the Mall, from the Capitol almost to the Washington Monument.
It's a fine spring Sunday in Mudville, and Mrs G is out in the garden, where I soon will be. But first, I get to fly the dawn patrol in her place today, and I'm bringing back The Mudville Nine (count 'em)!
According to the Washington Post, the UN might start punishing suicide bombers:
Secretary General Kofi Annan on Monday will propose establishing new rules for the use of military force, adopting a tough anti-terrorism treaty that would punish suicide bombers, and overhauling the United Nation's discredited human rights commission, according to a confidential draft of a report on U.N. reform.
Not sure how they'll punish the suicide bombers, but I'd expect the other tough new rules to be equally effective. Maybe they can start with this guy:
A car bomb in Doha, the capital of Qatar, demolished a theatre packed with Westerners and damaged an English speaking school leaving one person dead and up to 50 people injured last night.
Fortunately it was a non-nuclear blast.
The Iranian government has given approval for the establishment of a secret nuclear research centre to train its scientists in all aspects of atomic technology, The Telegraph can reveal.
Of course, even nuclear devastation would pale next to the destruction that will occur when Paul Wolfowitz goes to the world bank. It's one of the seven signs of the coming apocalypse, you know:
Joseph Stiglitz, the former chief economist of the World Bank and one of the world's most influential economic thinkers, has launched a savage attack on US plans to appoint Paul Wolfowitz as the World Bank's new president.
In an exclusive interview, the American Nobel laureate said: "The World Bank will once again become a hate figure. This could bring street protests and violence across the developing world." He described President Bush's determination to appoint his deputy defence secretary to the important post as "either an act of provocation or an act so insensitive as to look like provocation". Wolfowitz is widely regarded as the creator of the policy that led to the US war in Iraq.
Stiglitz, appointed Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers by President Clinton in 1995, took office as Chief Economist to the World Bank in February 1997. His term 'expired' with the Clinton administration, and he is now a university professor.
Speaking of warnings, Condi is throwing it down...
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stepped off her airplane in Seoul on Saturday evening, boarded an Army Black Hawk helicopter and immediately flew to this underground command bunker from which military commanders would direct any war against North Korea.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice suggested Sunday that European governments are irresponsible if they sell sophisticated weaponry to China that might one day be used against U.S. forces in the Pacific.
And now completing our coverage of the Wolfowitz/Rice/Rumsfeld Trio of Evil...
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld yesterday marked the second anniversary of the invasion of Iraq that has claimed the lives of more than 1,500 American soldiers by recalling that the assault on Iwo Jima 60 years ago this month killed or wounded 25,000 American GIs. "We are grateful and your country is grateful to you for your able service," Rumsfeld told troops and civilian personnel at the Pentagon and U.S. troops overseas who watched his remarks on the Pentagon television channel.
Speaking of Iraq, some Marine units are beginning to transfer:
AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq - Each night for a month, helicopters or sometimes cargo planes have brought them - Marines, jarred and jet-lagged from the two days of travel from the United States through Germany and Kuwait.
The trip always ends the same, in Iraq's western desert, on hard plywood benches under piercing fluorescent lights in a warehouse, facing the square jaw of Cpl. Lynn Caskey of Omaha and the simple greeting he has delivered to thousands of Marines in recent weeks:
"Welcome to Al Asad. Welcome to Iraq."
And like that, the contest for Anbar, one of Iraq's most restive provinces, is handed to a new crop of Marines who join a two-year-old war now on its third rotation of U.S. troops.
While stateside, Army units train:
FORT BENNING, Ga. - For stateside soldiers preparing to fight Iraqi insurgents, the Army is bringing the war to them - in "virtual" battlefields. Last month in a warehouse at this rural post, a platoon of recruits was ushered into a dark room with Jumbotron screens. Each panel lit up with the image of giant sand dunes and a Russian chopper as a squad of enemy fighters materialized in the distance firing AK-47s at the American troops lying on the cement floor.
The G.I.s, cradling M-16s outfitted with electronics and an air hose to simulate rifle kick, fought back.
Also on the virtual range, they practiced "shoot, don't shoot" scenarios at a roadblock busy with civilians when a gunman jumped out of a car along with a screaming hostage. Everyone was blown away.
Anyone for Ender's Game? And if you're approaching 40 and wishing you were young enough to get in on that action, your chance may be coming
ARLINGTON, Va. ? Battling recruiting and retention shortfalls among its part-time soldiers, the Army is launching a new experimental policy approving the acceptance of not-so-young recruits into the ranks of the Army National Guard and Reserve.
Dubbed a three-year ?test,? the new policy will bump up the maximum age for new enlistments from 34 years to 39 years, according to an Army announcement.
Last stop, Afghanistan:
KHOST, Afghanistan, March 15 - Two men sat in the governor's garden recently, in this unruly province bordering Pakistan, smiling and nodding as they chatted with him. The men are former members of the Taliban who have taken advantage of offers of amnesty in exchange for returning from exile in Pakistan.
Although many senior officials in the frontline provinces were initially skeptical last year when Mr. Karzai spoke of an amnesty for all except the Taliban senior leadership, many of them now voice support for the policy. In the absence of the federal program, some provincial and even national law enforcement officials around the country have been welcoming the former Taliban officials and fighters home if they promise to eschew violence and support the government.
No word on their feelings about Wolfowitz at the World Bank.
North Korea poses more of a nuclear threat than Iran, the head of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog has told CNN. "In Korea, it is an absolutely black hole," Mohammed ElBaradei says.
WASHINGTON -- President Bush and members of Congress yesterday pledged their support for peace in Northern Ireland and for the family of slain Irishman Robert McCartney, calling for an end to violence by the Irish Republican Army and justice for McCartney, whose murder has been blamed on the IRA.
The Pentagon has for the first time invited foreign allies into classified discussions that will shape America's military missions and combat forces for years to come, with the goal of identifying tasks that would become the responsibility of other nations and no longer the burden of the United States.
Iraq's National Assembly adjourned within about 90 minutes of opening to great fanfare Wednesday. A day later, Iraqi newspapers poked fun at what many of the new publications called a hasty retreat of the country's political leaders after they had heralded a new era of democracy.
Cpl. Nicole Anderson, avionics technician, Marine Light /Attack Helicopter Squadron 269, began making her rounds in January to family and friends with her 2-year-old son before she deployed to Iraq. As the day to depart grew near she began to pack while her son curiously looked on, wondering what was happening. <...>
When the time came for the squadron to deploy, Anderson had a choice. She was scheduled to return to her original unit and leave the Marine Corps this fall, but chose to stay with the HML/A-269 for this deployment to Iraq.
...In southern Baghdad, the hazards of life have come to this: gangs of militant Islamists are warning barbers that it is haram - forbidden - to shave men's beards or do Western-style haircuts. As many as 12 barbers have been killed, Iraqi officials say, including five in one day in late January. With little hope of police protection, most now refuse to offer the offending cuts, and have placed prominent signs in their front windows saying so.
Someone has gone to a great deal of trouble to produce a document accusing journalist and activist William Arkin of serving as a spy for Saddam Hussein.
The Army's second-ranking general said Thursday that the number of American troops in Iraq would probably decline by early 2006, largely because of post-election progress in combating insurgents and training more Iraqi troops to take over security duties.
Several Afghan officers visited here March 10 to recognize an Airman for helping establish a computer network system for the Afghan military. <...>
"It was reassuring being out with the people and seeing how nice they are," he said. "You don't hear much about Afghanistan on the news because it's going so well over there. One of the things they worry about most is that we will leave."
America's top general said yesterday that Afghanistan is secure and the United States is considering keeping long-term bases here as it repositions its military forces around the world.
Ukraine has admitted that it exported 12 cruise missiles to Iran and six to China amid mounting pressure from other countries to explain how the sales occurred.
President Bush's nomination of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz as the next president of the World Bank was met with much surprise, little enthusiasm and some outright opposition in Europe, where he is best known as a leading proponent of a conflict deeply unpopular here, the Iraq war.
...But in tapping Wolfowitz as his pick to lead the World Bank yesterday, President Bush dismissed any whiff of the controversy and explosiveness that has marked the deputy secretary's four years at the Pentagon, calling the former dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies "a man of good experience" and "a skilled diplomat."
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi backtracked yesterday, saying a commitment to begin withdrawing his country's 3,300 troops from Iraq by September was subject to change and could be postponed.
President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain said Wednesday that the military coalition in Iraq was not fraying despite comments from one of the alliance's leaders, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy, that he aimed to begin bringing home his nation's 3,000 troops by September.
U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Troy Hawkins is proud of the men he calls "my guys." The Iraqi soldiers he has been training for almost a year are in one of the first battalions to take over operational control of one of Baghdad's most dangerous neighborhoods.
...Nothing like a scientific poll is possible yet in Iraq. But as the national assembly's first brief meeting came and went, broadcast into thousands of Iraqi homes on television, a sampling of street opinion in two Iraqi cities found a widespread dismay and even anger that the elections have not yet translated into a new government.
An Army captain was found guilty Wednesday of three counts of assault on Iraqi detainees but was acquitted of pointing his weapon at a fellow soldier and conduct unbecoming an officer.
North Korea has asked the U.N. relief agency to close its operations in Pyongyang, saying it is not needed, a senior U.N. official confirmed yesterday.
The United States wants to drop Libya from its list of terrorism sponsors but ?many troubling questions remain? about an alleged Libyan plot to kill Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, a senior diplomat said. William Burns, interim undersecretary of State for political affairs, told Congress that the United States might open an embassy in Tripoli this year.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Wednesday it was a mistake for Hawaii to post a confidential report on its Web site, but the department will continue to communicate openly with state and local authorities about potential terror threats.
First there's an update to a story I posted in my Dawn Patrol regarding an interview, Washington Post's Managing Editor, Philip Bennett gave to the People's Daily recently. Seems Hugh's instincts were correct.
And as Dawn Patrol continues, you'll see more updates.
Syrian intelligence agents pulled out of large parts of Lebanon on Wednesday, a major step towards meeting United States and Lebanese opposition demands for an end to Syria's tutelage over its small neighbor.
The symbols of Syrian power began coming down in parts of Lebanon on Tuesday, as Syrian military intelligence agents emptied their offices in Beirut and Tripoli and workers took down an imposing portrait of Syria's president in the capital's seaside boulevard. Lebanese citizens quickly hoisted their national flag - red and white with a green cedar tree in the middle - near the sites
U.S. military officials said last night that they were confident that there is no public health threat at mailrooms at the Pentagon and a Fairfax County office complex because a series of tests performed yesterday all came back negative for deadly anthrax bacteria.
As Fairfax County emergency crews converged on a Department of Defense mailroom in Baileys Crossroads on Monday afternoon, county officials learned for the first time about a biohazard alert at a Pentagon mailroom -- four hours earlier
The operational commander of the U.S.-led coalition force in Afghanistan promised yesterday to protect elections. Maj. Gen. Jason Kamiya took command of the 18,000-strong force as U.S. troops based in Europe were rotating in ahead of the parliamentary vote, expected in September.
Iraq's first freely elected parliament in half a century was sworn in Wednesday after convening for the first time. The opening marked a major milestone on the road to forming the nation's first government after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
Iraqi investigators who are trying to find the kidnappers of the Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena say their work has been stymied by a lack of cooperation from the Italian intelligence services that won her release exactly a month after she was abducted on Feb. 4.
Democrats are planning a series of events across the country during the upcoming congressional recess to argue that President Bush's proposal to create private investment accounts within Social Security would undermine the program's long-term financial stability.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned yesterday that the United States would respond to China's growing military power by reinforcing its own military strength and strengthening its alliances with South Korea and Japan.
Mindful of rising oil and gasoline prices, a sharply divided Senate is about to decide whether to give oil companies access to an ecologically rich Alaska wildlife refuge that could be one of the country's biggest oil fields.
The Pentagon is working to develop a suborbital space capsule within the next five years that would be launched from the United States and could deliver conventional weapons anywhere in the world within two hours, defense officials said.
WASHINGTON ? U.S. commanders and Bush administration officials are overstating the number of Iraqi security forces on duty, providing an inaccurate picture about the training mission that is the U.S. military's exit strategy for Iraq, a government audit agency said Monday.
The Pentagon in its latest figures said 142,000 Iraqis had been trained as police and soldiers. But the Government Accountability Office said those figures include tens of thousands of Iraqi policemen who had left their jobs without explanation.
In the shadow of a former Saddam Hussein palace on the banks of the Tigris River, a platoon of Iraqi army recruits hustled, on elbows and knees, toward a mock enemy bunker.
In Baghdad, Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, in overall command of training Iraqi security forces, told reporters that 145,000 Iraqis are now trained and equipped, although he noted that these are not all equally capable in combat.
Asked how many are elite fighters, Petraeus replied, ``It certainly has got to be on the order of 50,000 or so at this point.'' He described those as being ``in the fight directly'' against the insurgents. Later, Petraeus said he preferred not to provide an estimate, saying his 50,000 figure was a ``totally off-the-cuff number.''
In Washington, defense officials told a House panel that Iraqi security forces who are trained and equipped now number 142,472
Skilled troops from Hussein army may get booted again.
Iraq's fledgling security forces would be in danger of collapse if the newly elected government follows through on promises to purge the ranks of former regime members, politicians and analysts warn.
The dismantling of Saddam Hussein's military is widely viewed as one of the gravest mistakes of the U.S.-led occupation, and in the past year, the Bush administration has worked to reverse it by helping the interim Iraqi government restore the jobs of some highly skilled troops.
Now, analysts say, the incoming government led by Shi'ite Muslims is at risk of repeating the error blamed for swelling the mostly Sunni insurgency.
...More than 95 percent of the military personnel in Iraq report using e-mail, and nearly two-thirds say they use it three or more times a week, said Dr. Ender, who also is looking at subtler issues like whether officers, troops and families chose e-mail for certain types of messages - routine news, for example - and saved more personal topics for cellphone conversations. The capacity for such real-time, interactive communication has unquestionably aided military field operations, but researchers say the emotional and psychological impact on soldiers and their families is less clear.
A West Point-trained infantry officer faces at least nine years in prison after pleading guilty Monday to multiple charges surrounding a 2004 incident in which two Iraqi civilians were forced to plunge into the Tigris River. 1st Lt. Jack Saville said he knew from training at the U.S. Military Academy that it was wrong to participate in the punishment of the two curfew violators, one of whom drowned, according to family members.
Capt. Shawn Martin was so determined to find the thugs behind a July 2003 roadside bombing in Iraq that he ordered a man to dig his own grave in 110-degree heat. What Martin did next - and during other encounters with Iraqis - was criminal, prosecutors said Monday on the opening day of what could be a three-day court-martial.
A sensor at a Department of Defense mailroom in Fairfax County, Va., signaled the presence of a suspicious biological substance Monday, forcing hundreds of workers to remain inside three buildings for almost six hours.
Debra Burlingame, whose brother piloted the plane that crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, couldn't believe it when she heard that someone was auctioning off a flag that allegedly survived the terrorist attack.
Whether you call it Bagram Air Base or Bagram airfield, the U.S. military facility in northeast Afghanistan is no longer just a glorified city of tents. Slowly, but steadily, a slew of construction projects is providing troops with better housing and improved work areas as well as a handful of new shops for eating and entertainment.
IWO JIMA, Japan ? Men once determined to kill one another met again this weekend, but this time in peace at a ceremony to pay tribute to warriors who never left this desolate island.
Pakistan has developed new illicit channels to upgrade its nuclear weapons program, despite efforts by the U.N. atomic watchdog to shut down all illegal procurement avenues, diplomats and nuclear experts said.
A judge has opened the way for the nation's most populous state to follow Massachusetts in allowing same-sex couples to tie the knot, but both sides in the debate predicted a vigorous court fight before California goes the way of its East Coast counterpart.
The special United Nations envoy on Lebanon cautioned Sunday that a commitment by President Bashar al-Assad of Syria to withdraw all troops and intelligence forces from Lebanon in the next few months was contingent on the formation of a new government by Lebanon's leaders.
As Syria prepares to withdraw some of its troops from positions in Lebanon, Iran has been fortifying Hezbollah bases and positioning itself to become the dominant force on the ground in Lebanon, senior opposition sources say.
Both Israel and the United States on Sunday rejected a report in London's Sunday Times which claimed that Israel had a plan in place to attack Iran's nuclear reactor and that the US would not block the attack if diplomatic efforts fail to contain Iran's nuclear development.
Two prominent Democrats said Sunday that the Bush administration has changed policy toward Iran by agreeing to economic incentives if Tehran gives up a potential nuclear weapons program. <...> Bush's national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, denied a change in policy even though the administration has not used economic benefits in the past to influence Iranian behavior. "These are not concessions that we are offering to Iran," Hadley said on Fox News Sunday. <...> Hadley and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice both emphasized in television interviews that the administration cares more about achieving a united front with Europe than in reaching out to Iran's theocratic regime.
Two months into her job as US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice yesterday tried to quash speculation that she has her eye on a bigger prize, vigorously insisting she has no intention of running for US president in 2008.
Taiwan has condemned a new Chinese law giving Beijing the legal right to attack Taipei if it moves toward formal independence. China's national legislature overwhelmingly approved the law on Monday, in a vote of 2,896 to zero.
Islamabad, Mar 14 (PTI) Pakistan today extended its support to China's controversial Anti-Secession law, saying it backs the One China policy and the move is part of Beijing's efforts towards reunification of Taiwan with the mainland.
Kurdish leaders converged on Baghdad for last-minute talks Monday with majority Shiites as both sides pressed to secure a deal to form a coalition government before the newly elected parliament meets for the first time later this week.
Egypt secretly supplied crucial help ? both technology and expert manpower ? to the chemical weapons program of Saddam Hussein's Iraq in the 1980s, U.S. arms investigators have found.
The Army drafted new language about a regulation barring women in combat-support units 11 days after the Army's top civilian told Congress there would be no changes.
Families of a New York Army National Guard unit are defending its actions in the checkpoint shooting of an Italian journalist, with one nervous father saying his son told him "anybody in that unit would have done the same thing."
Michael Warren, a native of Port Jefferson, L.I., is suing International Business Machines Corp. for firing him because since 9/11 he's been called up too often by the Army Reserves
The nomination of a base realignment and closure commission this week by President Bush will mark the official starting point for another round of economically painful cuts that could put as much as a quarter of the nation's military installations on the Pentagon chopping block. <...> A decade after the last closure round, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is eyeing deep cuts this year that would eliminate unneeded facilities and provide savings to help modernize America's armed forces and make them more efficient.
"We are paying money and it's going down the drain for things we don't need ? like empty buildings," said Glenn Flood, a Pentagon spokesman. "We have way too much infrastructure."
No base is theoretically safe.
"Everything is being looked at," Flood said.
The Bush administration is about to begin a process that could close dozens of military bases, uproot tens of thousands of service members and their families and put legions of federal employees out of work.
And save billions of dollars.
Ryan Kelly gave a slight smile as he approached Room 418, the office of Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi. Kelly had come to Capitol Hill this brisk February day to push for better disability benefits for U.S. troops severely wounded in Iraq. But the 24-year-old couldn't hide the excitement of just being in Washington, D.C.
Many of the severely wounded have to stay for weeks, even months, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in D.C. or at other military medical centers around the country.
Kelly came up with a plan to tide them over. For $3 a month, U.S. troops could buy group disability insurance that would yield $50,000 for those with a catastrophic injury. His plan requires no government funding, only legislative approval. The United Spinal Association's Wounded Warrior Project, which aids veterans with state and federal legislative issues, took up Kelly's cause and made him a spokesman.
The population of Afghanistan grew slightly Saturday, thanks in part to a pair of Black Hawk crews and a 25-year-old flight medic from Wiesbaden, Germany.
An army of fake war heroes has invaded America since the September 11 attacks, as the national love affair with the military has been exploited for love, money and the respect that comes from a chestful of medal ribbons.
A study of news coverage of the war in Iraq fails to support a conclusion that events were portrayed either negatively or positively most of the time.
An Exclusive Interview with the Washington Post Managing Editor Philip Bennett
Washington Post is one of the most important newspapers in the United States and even in the world. The news stories published on the Post appear on Chinese newspapers frequently. How does the newspaper view the image and role of America in the world? How does it perceive China as Chinese people march forcefully toward a market economy? How does the newspaper struggle to maintain the glory of Watergate amid strong resentment from the Bush administration? With these questions in mind, our People's Daily Washington-based correspondent Yong Tang recently conducted an exclusive interview with the newspaper's Managing Editor Philip Bennett.
American Government Image Is Falling down While the Cultural Image still up
Yong Tang: According to the opinion polls, the image of America has been becoming less and less popular in the world today since after the Iraq war. As a top leader of a major American newspaper, how do you think of this growing anti-American sentiment?
Bennett: The world image of US is so clearly linked to its foreign policy and particularly its policy toward Iraq and Middle East, say its support of Israel and its occupation of Iraq.
I was in China once shortly after the missile hit the Chinese embassy in Belgrade and of course there were demonstrations in Beijing before the US embassy and elsewhere. So I think it is easy to understand in many ways why the US image has decreased.
I don't Think US should be the Leader of the World
Yong Tang: The Bush administration always claims that it is spreading freedom and democracy to all over the world. But there is widespread suspicion over the motives of What the Bush administration is doing. Some experts say democracy is just a beautiful pretext for America to seek its own interests. So personally I think there is a kind of hypocrisy here.
Bennett: The Bush administration believes that there isn't a contradiction between defending its self-interest and promoting friendly and democratic regimes. Because they believe that promoting those kinds of governments would make the world more friendly to the US and therefore it is in the interest of America to do that.
But if you look at the different parts of the world, it would be very difficult for the Bush administration to argue that they do not apply same standards to different parts of the world. Clearly US is a great ally of Pakistan and Saudi Arbia, which are not democracies. US has a very complex relations with China, which is not a democracy either by American standard. The issues that were once on the top of that relationship, like human rights, were no longer on the top any more. If you still remember last time when US President talked about human rights in China as a major issue between the two countries, that has been a long time ago. So I think it is true there are different standards applied to different places. In that case You could call that hypocrisy or whatever labels you thought fit most appropriately. But it is clear that the US government's ideas of political development around the world is not applied equally in all places. I am just observing that as I look out how political development in different countries operates around the world.
Note: This post will grow through the day. Consider it your open post too. Comment and trackback to your heart's content. And wherever you are, enjoy your Sunday.
One comes home, another deploys: MilBlogger 'B' at Going Down Range is waiting a plane ride to... Afghanistan. Wish him a safe trip.
Anybody know of any other Afghanistan-deployed MilBloggers? (Man, I miss Hook...)
President Bush poked fun at himself at the press corps Saturday night and offered a new reason for overhauling the Social Security system. Raising the name of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Bush said, "We have to fix it or Rumsfeld may never retire."
Bush noted with a little help the presence of a number of new Cabinet members attending the Gridiron Club's 120th annual dinner.
Turning to Vice President Dick Cheney, the president said, "Dick, maybe you can point them out to me."
Some of the press skits he had watched earlier in a long evening were about steroid use in professional sports, but Bush said that in looking out at the press corps he was confident none of them were on steroids.
"Those are all natural bodies," he said.
Bush said anyone looking for a transcript of the evening's program should call Doug Wead, the longtime Bush family friend who recently made public tape recordings of private telephone conversations he had with Bush before he started running for president.
What's also funny is that the San Francisco Chronicle published the same story from the same reporter without the quotes.
Sounds like everybody had a wonderful time though.
This tragedy resonates with me because I led Marine platoons in Afghanistan and Iraq. Standing in the dark at highway checkpoints, I've often had to make split-second, life-or-death decisions. A couple stand out.
One ended well. On the night of March 30, 2003, my platoon was one of the northernmost American units spearheading the blitz to Baghdad. As darkness fell, we set up a checkpoint on a highway north of Al Hayy, in central Iraq. Other marines were attacking from the south, and our mission was to play the anvil to their hammer, to block the escape of Baathist guerrillas. The problem, we knew, was that innocent people would also flee the American onslaught.
We strung a piece of concertina wire across the highway 100 yards ahead of our position to warn drivers to stop. Three times, I exhaled in relief as approaching headlights slowed and turned around. The fourth set of headlights was higher off the ground: a tractor-trailer. I heard mashing gears as it accelerated. At 60 miles per hour, the truck sped nearly 100 feet closer to our position every second. It crashed through the wire, still picking up speed. Even if the truck wasn't a bomb, I knew it would kill my marines and destroy our vital equipment. I ordered the platoon to fire.
As an unembedded freelance journalist in Iraq, I have safely driven through scores of American roadblocks all over this country. I have also spent many hours with U.S. troops as they set up and operate these checkpoints.
At the same time, like other reporters here who don't travel with armies of their own -- and like the millions of Iraqis who either have some money or are brave enough to participate in their country's reconstruction -- I live constantly with the fear of being kidnapped. We see every day the damage done with the millions of dollars that Iraq's Baathist and Wahhabist insurgencies make from that appalling business.
So as investigators try to sort out how U.S. troops could have fired on a car carrying newly freed Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena, wounding her and killing the man who secured her release, I'm thinking about how checkpoints save lives. We don't know exactly what happened at the checkpoint on the way to the Baghdad airport. But I've seen how checkpoints work, and the American soldiers who man them are anything but trigger-happy. They know the consequences of making a mistake.
Israel?s finest soldiers had been flying for several hours before the assault helicopters reached their target ? the uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, in southern Iran.
IN A US military camp on the Kuwaiti border, Captain David Rozelle is waiting for the order to lead the soldiers under his command into Iraq for a new tour of duty.
MUQDADIYA, Iraq ? When an unmanned U.S. spy plane crashed in a farmer's onion field in central Iraq, he buried it.
Conservative commentators say Pantano, who hasn't been arrested or confined, was just a Marine doing his job in a combat zone. Fox News and The Washington Times have paid close attention to his story, it's a hot topic on Web logs, and a North Carolina congressman sent an open letter to President Bush asking him to intervene on Pantano's behalf.
Whether they are seeking immortality or just letting off steam, Web bloggers are multiplying in number and are seemingly affecting American media and political insiders, at the very least. But whether bloggers are directly influencing the broader public is questionable. According to a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, relatively few Americans are generally familiar with the phenomenon of blogging, in which individuals, ranging from famous to anonymous, post running narratives of their thoughts and observations on whatever interests them.
If there's a story out there that you feel needs seen that I missed, use this post to place a link. I'll update.
This injustice to our reservists serving in Iraq should be remedied by Congress and state legislatures before more fathers meet the fate of Bobby Sherrill, a father of two from North Carolina, who worked for Lockheed in Kuwait before being captured and held hostage by Iraq for five terrible months. The night he returned from the Persian Gulf he was arrested for failing to pay $1,425 in child support while he was a captive.
DAMASCUS, Syria - Tens of thousands of Syrians rallied in support of beleaguered President Bashar Assad yesterday, chanting pro-Syria slogans and calling on the United States to end its attack on their country.
The re-designation is bound to reverse the fortunes of a peaceful opposition uprising to shake off Syria's 29-year-old suffocating hegemony, which was sparked by the assassination of ex-Premier Hariri three weeks ago. It is also locally seen as a slap to President Bush's contention that "democracy is knocking at Lebanon's door."
Seven journalism organizations and The Associated Press are joining to promote accessible, accountable and open government. The Sunshine in Government Initiative seeks to combat what the groups see as increased government secrecy since the 2001 terrorist attacks. The coalition will lobby for legislation and seek to educate the public about First Amendment issues.
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- A former U.S. Marine who participated in capturing ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said the public version of his capture was fabricated. Ex-Sgt. Nadim Abou Rabeh, of Lebanese descent, was quoted in the Saudi daily al-Medina Wednesday as saying Saddam was actually captured Friday, Dec. 12, 2003, and not the day after, as announced by the U.S. Army.
The Pentagon is flatly denying a report claiming the U.S. military fabricated the details of how the deposed Iraqi dictator was captured, allegedly staging the "spider hole" scenario.
ROME, March 9 -- U.S. military officials in Iraq had approved an Italian intelligence officer's mission to free a kidnapped journalist and were expecting their arrival at Baghdad's airport on Friday when U.S. soldiers opened fire on the Italians at a checkpoint, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Wednesday.
SOFIA, Bulgaria ? Bulgaria is certain that U.S. forces killed one of its soldiers last week in a "friendly fire" accident, mainly because of poor communication, army and Defense Ministry officials said Wednesday. <...> Gurdev had been sprayed with automatic weapons fire after his unit shot warning rounds to halt an Iraqi vehicle in the dark.
His death happened the same day U.S. forces killed Italian security agent Nicola Calipari, who had just secured the release of journalist Giuliana Sgrena from kidnappers in Iraq. Sgrena was wounded in the shooting.
Bulgarian Army Chief of Staff Nikola Kolev took a more conciliatory tone Wednesday, saying his troops had been shown the location of U.S. units on a map, but the two sides had not established contact.
"The problem of communication was not solved," he said at a news conference.
The decapitated corpses were found inside an abandoned base of the former Iraqi army, Defense Ministry Capt. Sabah Yassin said. The bodies included 10 men, three women and two children.
WASHINGTON, March 8, 2005 ? As the second anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom approaches, efforts to help the Iraqi people transition to a constitutionally elected government by the end of 2005 are on track, insurgents are failing in their efforts to break the will of the Iraqi people, and Iraqi security forces ?are doing a magnificent job,? the U.S. general in charge of coalition forces in Iraq said here today.
He asked them what type of things they wanted and got this list
"I believe that in the fight against Islamic fundamentalism and Islamic terrorism, the political survival of Morocco and the Moroccan regime are stake," the senior government official told reporters Tuesday on condition of anonymity.
Some of the harshest Democratic critics of President Bush's Iraq policy have grudgingly admitted that it has helped spark a growing desire for democracy in the Middle East.
We all in the military services thank you very much.
Flying the web skies before you woke up this morning. Here's my