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The Mehdi army is not responding to the raids with fire, but they are trying to undermine the security plan by spreading rumors about alleged crimes committed by US soldiers, specifically against the Shia. The latest of these rumors was a ridiculous one I heard yesterday from a taxi driver from Sadr city. His story, quite similar to one told by a Sadr city council member, is that US soldiers are raiding Shia homes, arresting innocent civilians, and then dumping them at night near strongholds of Sunni insurgents, blindfolded and handcuffed so that the insurgents would find them defenseless and slaughter them!The race to the tipping point is certainly on.
Of course, this is nothing new. Rarely - but all too often, American soldiers have contributed greatly to the problem by actually committing crimes.
Other times they've been victims.
On July 29,  a platoon from the 5th Battalion's Alpha Company entered a concrete block house south of Balad. A 15-year-old girl threw herself at the Americans.All done!
Tugging at their arms, crying and nearly hysterical, she told them through an interpreter that her uncle, who lived in the house, had been plotting attacks against the Americans and beat her "like a dog."
"If we didn't take her from that house, there was no doubt in my mind she would be killed," said 1st Lt. Joshua Rambo, a 26-year-old platoon leader from Bossier City, La.
The decision ignited one of the 5th Battalion's worst crises. The girl was part of the al-Rafeat tribe, one of the largest in the region. Tribal custom forbade a virgin to leave her house unescorted. "This was unthinkable, for strangers to take come and take one of our women," said the tribal leader, Eifan Muslih Mehdi. "It is a stain on our honor. Take 1,000 men, but never a woman."
Petery was faced with an explosive situation. Keeping the girl would mean certain violence, he believed. But releasing her would be tantamount to a death sentence.
Petery and Mehdi compromised. The tribal leader agreed to take custody of the girl and guarantee her safety. To remove her from Camp Paliwoda, the Americans had to pry the wailing girl's fingers from a doorjamb.
The next day, Rambo's platoon went to check on the girl. They found her not at Mehdi's house but at her grandfather's, surrounded by relatives and wearing a full-length abaya that covered all but her face.
Now in a daze, the girl walked up to the Americans and pulled back her right sleeve, revealing a burn mark that "looked like the width of a bayonet, like somebody could have heated it up and stuck it on her arm," Rambo recalled. "It was a couple inches across the inside of her forearm. She said she had been blindfolded and forced to drink something hot that made her sick. And then she was burned."
Furious that Mehdi had lied and concerned that the girl had been tortured, Petery had her escorted to a Balad hospital.
The girl then changed her story: The Americans, she told her family, had given her a mysterious pill, then assaulted her.
Petery was now convinced the girl had been lying all along. His female interpreter, Thanna Azawi, an Iraqi American from Redford, Mich., said she believed the girl had been tortured by her family and changed her story. Petery said he had no choice but to release her back to her family. He called a meeting and asked Sunni tribal leaders to dispel rumors that the Americans had kidnapped the girl. The Iraqis refused.
Iraqi security forces are reporting that Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the leader of al-Qaeda's political front organization the Islamic State of Iraq, has been captured in the northern city of Duluiya in Salahadin province
Usual caveats on first reports are frequently wrong apply.
This is War Machine:
These are the Daffodil Princesses:
I don't think War Machine has made any direct threat to the princesses yet. (In fact, according to Wikipedia, he's a good guy with an unfortunate name.) But if he does, perhaps the Daffodil Proncesses will win via sheer numbers. If not, you'll be sorry for ridiculing the heroes who stand ready to join the fray.
I'm going to link to these folks because I find them so completely out of touch with reality that they are humorous
Mar 03, 2007 19:22 Poeple are meeting at the Port of Tacoma at 9:30 tonight to disrupt the war machine.
It was decided at the meeting held today in Tacoma that people should meet at the Port of Tacoma at 9:30 tonight to disrupt the war machine.
It's not only possible but quite probabale we can delay or even stop the shipments from coming through Tacoma. All we need is a large presence. That was perhaps the most frustrating thing last year during the Port of Olympia protests: people were not there when we needed them the most. All we needed at one point was 100 people total to take non-violent direct action to stop the military convoys. We should really take advantage of the privaledge we have - if this were Iraq, we'd got shot from being even a mile away from a large US military presence.
If this were Saddams Iraq, the whole lot of you would be shot for even discussing disrupting a military convoy.
But we have another organizer discussing last years Olympia protest in different terms
Last year the military exported war and occupation through the Port of Olympia in broad daylight. The Olympia community responded with strong resistance. Fort Lewis was scared enough to avoid Olympia this year and has decided to export war through Tacoma instead, under the cover of darkness. Convoys of equipment began movement to the Tacoma after midnight early Friday morning.
So last year, fewer than 100 people went out to protest the Stryker deployment (The Seattle-Tacoma Area has 3.2 million residents) and the military is supposedly scared now.
The fact that the Port of Tacoma is larger and closer to Fort Lewis has apparently had nothing to do with the decision to deploy via the Port of Tacoma this year.
In any case, it looks like people had something better to due than protest the "War machine"
via Tacoma News Tribune
....The promenade was the beginning of the 2007 Daffodil Festival, and a sure sign that – never mind the weather – spring is near.
About 300 people attended the public debut for this year’s princesses. In coming weeks, princesses will judge a dog show, attend a pancake breakfast and wave to thousands in several parades.
"Before the United States came here, no one cared who was Sunni or Shia," Muhammad says, responding with candor to my query about his religious sect. "Everyone was Iraqi." He smile respectuflly, but his twitching facial muscles betray the bitterness in his heart and the tragedy he has endured.Well, yes.
Pardon Murdoc for his civilian middle-class whiteness, but isn't this just a bit like a Southern plantation owner saying, in 1866, that no one had cared if you were white or black in South Carolina until the Union came and messed everything up?
Fits well with an off-subject of the original post conversation Soldier's Dad and I were having in comments in a post below - so I'm stealing them:
Check my math -
27 Million Iraqis - 5 Million living in Kurdistan = 22 Million
323,000 ISF + 155,000 Coalition = 478,000
478K/22 Mil = 21.7 Security Forces/1,000 residents.
Generally accepted ratio to suppress a civil war - 20 Security Forces/1000 residents.
Once unity of forces is established...thru like a large scale exercise involving mixing all the forces into a single location with a single purpose..positive things should start happening.
Pretty hard to have a civil war if all the security forces are on the same team.
Posted by Soldier's Dad at 1819Z
You are correct. But we are - as always - at a crucial moment, the outcome hinging in critical balance. How many infiltrators does it take to destroy an Iraqi unit from within? How many to destroy the trust developing between an IA unit and the U.S. unit it is living with in a Baghdad outpost?All done!
The answer is that it depends on the leadership and men of both units.
How many suicide bombers does it take to shake the faith of a neighborhood in the capabilities of the coalition forces down the street?
How many false (or, God help us, real) atrocity charges from certain quarters does it take to turn those neighbors into suicide bombers themselves? (See recent rape claims against Shi'ia and Sunni responses for example.)
The race isn't to "victory" - the real race is to the "tipping point" beyond which victory is assured. Our tactics in this race are fairly straightforward, the enemy's are described in my questions above.
Posted by Greyhawk at 1838Z
... as soon as we get rocks from Vermont. Surely someone knows someone in Vermont who can collect two grapefruit-sized rocks and send them to this Gold Star Mother.
Okay, maybe I won't "go away," but at least I'll quit rock-blogging.
Considering the progress made thus far, it's worth remembering that up to now only one of the five American "surge" brigades has been operating in Baghdad.
That's about to change: 4th Brigade, 1st Infantry Division begins mission in Iraq
BAGHDAD – Soldiers from the Fort Riley based 4th Brigade, 1st Infantry Division completed their movement into Iraq this week. The arrival of this Brigade from Kuwait will assist Iraqi Security Forces in stemming sectarian violence and protecting its citizens.Although technically part of "the surge", the brigade is actually deploying as scheduled last year.
The brigade includes approximately 3,100 Soldiers.
Their mission will be to assist Iraqi Security Forces to clear, control and retain key areas of the capital city in order to reduce violence and to set the conditions for a transition to full Iraqi control of security in the city. This Brigade closed in country Feb.
“The brigade will play an important role in increasing the amount of pressure applied to insurgent groups conducting violent activity in Baghdad,” said Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of Multi-National Corps-Iraq. “The additional Soldiers will also allow the Iraqi’s to train their security forces to a level that will enable them to maintain security. It will allow their government to continue to mature.”
...goes to Charlie Rangell:
He called the war “morally wrong” and said “it goes even beyond the brutality of slavery and the lynchings.” At the same time, he said, Democratic leaders must be careful to carve out a consensus path.Rangell has been arguing for conscription of American men and women since the war began.
Representative Barbara Lee, Democrat of California, a co-chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a founder of the Out of Iraq Caucus, is drafting an amendment that would allow financing only to protect American troops in Iraq pending a full withdrawal under a set timetable.Ms Lee was the "lone dissenting vote in Congress against the resolution authorizing the president to use force to respond to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001." All done!
Assuming the supplemental bill is unsatisfactory to the caucus, war opponents are discussing whether to threaten to vote against it when it comes to a vote in the House floor in mid-March, unless the House leadership also permits a vote on the amendment from Ms. Lee.
Ms. Lee said her goal was to shift the discussion to a “fully funded withdrawal” from “cutting off funding.”
“There’s a distinction between cutting off funding and using the funding to begin a speedy and secure withdrawal within a specific timeframe,” she said.
Thursday's battle in the village of Amiriya, just south of Fallujah, highlights the ongoing battle between the Sunni tribes and al-Qaeda in Anbar province. At least 50 al-Qaeda were killed and 80 captured in the largest battles between al-Qaeda and Iraqi police, Army and the Anbar Salvation Council in Anbar province this year.Read it all. Bill says (via email) "The media is barely scratching the surface on what is going on in Anbar."
But the full story, according to an American military officer and an American intelligence source, is that al-Qaeda in Iraq, under the banner of the Islamic State of Iraq, assembled several hundred fighters to attack a prominent leader of the Anbar Salvation Council, the grouping of local tribes and Baathists, and former insurgents who now oppose al-Qaeda in Iraqi. The leader of the Anbar Salvation Council was to attend the funeral of one of those killed in last week's suicide bombing in Habbaniyah.
Coalition forces were setting up camp in Sadr City.
Under the agreement, the U.S. will open one of the joint security stations that are a prominent feature of the new Baghdad security plan, with American soldiers living alongside Iraqi forces in a police station just inside the impoverished neighborhood, said Rahim al-Daraji, one of Sadr City's two mayors.
While I understand the (misguided) sentiments behind it, this is wrong in about 20 different ways.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Andrew Carroll -- author and editor of War Letters and Behind the Lines while he was editing Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan & the Home Front for the National Endowment for the Arts. Mr. Carroll has done much to preserve and publish the words of those who serve and -- in addition to his Project Legacy which is promoting the preservation of letters from our military as integral parts of the country's history and fiber -- he provides our military with copies of not only his works but many others through publishers. I have become aware that Andy Carroll has a new book out this week: Grace Under Fire: Letters of Faith in Times of War -- a collection of letters from service members from the Revolutionary War to the present War on Terrorism... And I know we usually talk about rough, tough hard core stuff (and occasionally various animals) here... but appropriately for this Sunday morning, I'm talking about Faith in Time of War...
I cannot imagine that there are more heartfelt professions of Faith -- or a time of greater need of Faith -- than in time of war. In my own experience, after I cried me a river when Noah deployed, “I cried and begged God, His Mother and all the saints in Heaven to protect my son… and his new brothers.” And after my son would communicate with us, I would exuberantly "thank the Good Lord for the call and our son's continued safety.” Just hours after we heard from the Army that Noah had been wounded, I asked the blogsphere to "Please pray for my son." And the next day I told of how I busied myself the previous night and said, “Although this seems like a logical string of actions, in reality they are herky-jerky tasks strung together by time and episodes of gasping sobs and crying... and praying to God to please, please let our son be OK. I'm not really praying, I'm begging God to please spare my son. I'm bartering... I'm badgering...” Many hundreds of people left comments on that post principally with messages of prayers and Faith.
And when Noah’s friends Matt and then Jason Benford, and then Tommy, Tim, Jeff, Rich and Vince Summers were all killed within weeks of each other, I wrote about one of my many conversations with Noah while he tried to make sense of why them and not him, “I tried to gently talk with Noah about how there must be some greater Plan set in motion by God in all this -- that while he has been wounded, he is about the lone survivor of his original Bradley crew and perhaps he was spared because there is a task he has been chosen for ‑‑ even if he can not see it at this moment... He says he knows that God has both a left and a right hand and says he's pretty tired of the Left hand..."
More... and excerpts from Grace Under Fire at Some Soldier's Mom
I say we issue our wounded soldiers and their families the same benefits members of Congress get... and treat them at the same facilities... a daily reminder to our Congress of those who are TRULY important to America... a little humility never hurt any member of either house of congress...Lessons in REAL courage wouldn't hurt our elected members either...
Why don't we just issue our returning Soldiers the same Health Insurance Card and Disability benefits that a Microsoft or Boeing employee would get. No saisfaction at Walter Reed...hike out to the Mayo Clinic and flash that Platinum Health Insurance Card.