Twenty five U.S. troops have died this week in separate incidents in war-torn Iraq.
Five U.S. Marines, most in their early 20s, were killed in a roadside blast in western Iraq Thursday.
The attack came in the Anbar province where 17 Iraqis had been blindfolded and executed. Their bodies were found on Friday.U.S. officials said the Marines killed were engaged in combat operations in Haqlaniya.
The above is from The Australian Herald (Skip e-mailed to highlight it) and is entitled "Twenty five U.S. soldiers killed this week in Iraq."
From Aljazeera, we'll note "Multiple attacks kill many in Iraq:"
At least 75 people, including eight police officers and 40 fighters, have been killed in a day of unrelenting violence in Iraq.
US air strikes killed an estimated 40 anti-US fighters in western Iraq on Saturday.
Seven precision-guided missiles were fired at heavily armed fighters near al-Karabla, close to the town of Qaim, the US military said in a statement.
Earlier, 11 people were killed and 29 others injured after a car bomb exploded overnight in a street in a Shia area of Baghdad.
Police said the target of the bomb was not clear. The car, parked in the street in northwest Baghdad, exploded at about 11pm (1800 GMT) on Friday. This was considered the worst day of violence since the Iraqi authorities launched a major operation called Operation Lightning on 29 May, aimed at hunting down anti-US fighters.
From Australia's ABC, we'll note "Iraqis challenge US air strike claim:"
Iraqis inspecting the damage of US air strikes in western Iraq have accused the Americans attacking "indiscriminately", saying there were no guerrillas in the area.
The US military said on Saturday (local time) that seven precision air strikes on the outskirts of the town of Karabilah killed 40 insurgents who had been stopping vehicles at gunpoint and threatening Iraqi civilians.
[. . .]
No bodies were visible in the footage. Residents said three people had already been buried.
Hamdi al-Alusi, chief of the nearby Qaim hospital, said three civilians from houses in the nearby district of Rumana were brought in wounded after the air strikes, including a 12-year-old boy who later died.
The US military spokesman said Rumana was not targeted during or after the strikes.
"These are children's clothes," said one man, picking up a shirt from the rubble left by the strikes.
[. . .]
Last year, Marines killed around 40 Iraqis in an air attack on a house in the western desert near the Syrian border.
The US military said the house was a staging point for foreign fighters but survivors said a wedding party had been massacred.
From Aljazeera, we'll note "Bodies found in Baghdad:"
The bodies of 20 people, bound and shot in the head, have been found on a military firing range in the eastern suburbs of Baghdad.
A police source said on Sunday that the victims' identities are unclear and the bodies appeared to have been there for some time.
They were found on Friday and are now in a Baghdad mortuary, another police officer said.A leading Sunni organisation, the Association of Muslim Scholars, issued a statement on Sunday, however, saying that 30 bodies had been found at the firing range.
It said one body was identified as belonging to a Sunni Arab, but it gave no details.
In a separate find in Baghdad, three bodies were found with their hands tied to behind their backs. No further details are as yet available.
The Irish Examiner has "Iraqis ready to talk peace with rebels:"
Meanwhile, it was reported that a staff paper prepared for British prime minister Tony Blair eight months before the invasion of Iraq concluded that US military officials were not planning adequately for a post-war occupation.
The Washington Post reported that the memo read: "A post-war occupation of Iraq could lead to a protracted and costly nation-building exercise.
"As already made clear, the US military plans are virtually silent on this point. Washington could look to us to share a disproportionate share of the burden."
[. . .]
According to those minutes, known as the Downing Street Memo, British officials, who had just returned from Washington, said that the Bush administration believed war was inevitable and was determined to use intelligence about weapons of mass destruction to justify the ouster of Saddam Hussein.
Also from The Irish Examiner, "Journalist freed as rebels talk of peace:"
FREED French journalist Florence Aubenas, looking thinner but radiant after five months as a captive in Iraq, arrived home to a joyful welcome last night and told of being held in a cellar, tied, blindfolded and given little water.
President Jacques Chirac greeted Aubenas with a kiss on the cheek at an airstrip in Villacoublay, west of Paris, where her plane landed after her trip from Baghdad. Ms Aubenas' Iraqi assistant Hussein Hanoun al-Saadi, also freed, was reunited with his family in the Iraqi capital.
The 43-year-old reporter for the French newspaper, Liberation, spent the first minutes of her homecoming embracing her family, then spoke to reporters in a strong, firm voice, and in obvious good humour.
She said she had been untied recently and allowed to watch French television. She was moved to see a news ticker counting off her 140th day of captivity. "You're so happy to see that, when you're all crouched over on the ground." she said. "That's why it was so important to me to thank absolutely everybody here."
Lynda e-mails to note "British memo raised US post-Iraq war concerns: report"by Reuters which is posted at Australia's ABC:
A memo produced for British Prime Minister Tony Blair eight months before the 2003 invasion of Iraq expressed concern any occupation of that country would be "protracted and costly," The Washington Post has reported.
The briefing paper indicated top British officials viewed the US administration as inevitably invading Iraq but said "little thought" had been given to "the aftermath and how to shape it," the newspaper reported, quoting from the eight-page memo.
[. . .]
The report of the July 21 memo comes after the minutes of the subsequent Downing Street meeting were published by London's Sunday Times on May 1 and became known as the Downing Street memo.
The minutes said Britain's spy chief had concluded after a trip to Washington that "intelligence and facts were being fixed" to make the case for war in Iraq, an assertion that US officials and Mr Blair have denied.
The death toll continues to mount from a violent insurgency that has killed hundreds of US troops and Iraqi civilians.
The US, which led the invasion in March 2003, has said it will not pull out until Iraqi forces are trained to take over security for their country.
Lynda: Will the Times take another pass or send out fluffer Elisbeth [Bumiller]? They carry Reuters articles in their paper. Will they carry this?
Though a domestic news source, we'll note Walter Pincus's "Memo: U.S. Lacked Full Postwar Iraq Plan: Advisers to Blair Predicted Instability" from the Washington Post as Bobby requested in his e-mail:
A briefing paper prepared for British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top advisers eight months before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq concluded that the U.S. military was not preparing adequately for what the British memo predicted would be a "protracted and costly" postwar occupation of that country.
The eight-page memo, written in advance of a July 23, 2002, Downing Street meeting on Iraq, provides new insights into how senior British officials saw a Bush administration decision to go to war as inevitable, and realized more clearly than their American counterparts the potential for the post-invasion instability that continues to plague Iraq.
In its introduction, the memo "Iraq: Conditions for Military Action" notes that U.S. "military planning for action against Iraq is proceeding apace," but adds that "little thought" has been given to, among other things, "the aftermath and how to shape it."
The July 21 memo was produced by Blair's staff in preparation for a meeting with his national security team two days later that has become controversial on both sides of the Atlantic since last month's disclosure of official notes summarizing the session.
In those meeting minutes -- which have come to be known as the Downing Street Memo -- British officials who had just returned from Washington said Bush and his aides believed war was inevitable and were determined to use intelligence about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and his relations with terrorists to justify invasion of Iraq.
The "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy," said the memo -- an assertion attributed to the then-chief of British intelligence, and denied by U.S. officials and by Blair at a news conference with Bush last week in Washington. Democrats in Congress led by Rep. John Conyers Jr. (Mich.), however, have scheduled an unofficial hearing on the matter for Thursday.
Now, disclosure of the memo written in advance of that meeting -- and other British documents recently made public -- show that Blair's aides were not just concerned about Washington's justifications for invasion but also believed the Bush team lacked understanding of what could happen in the aftermath.
We'll also note (from the article) this paragraph:
That memo and other internal British government documents were originally obtained by Michael Smith, who writes for the London Sunday Times. Excerpts were made available to The Washington Post, and the material was confirmed as authentic by British sources who sought anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the matter.
See the New York Times might render Jane Mayer invisible (or maybe Mayer's secretly purchased The New Yorker), but the Wash Post gives credit to Michael Smith who's owned the story for over a month, partly because so many others didn't want to touch it.
Krystal e-mails to note a domestic news source as well (Associated Press). I'm tired and honestly not up to another entry so we'll note it here (it does deal with Iraq). From "Who Keeps Tabs on Contractors in Iraq?" by Deborah Hastings:
There is no centralized procedure for monitoring scores of contracting firms rebuilding Iraq with U.S. funds, according to the military. The controls that do exist have been criticized for failing to keep track of millions.
[. . .]
Last month, investigators said incompetence and "indications of fraud" was responsible for nearly $100 million in cash not being accounted for by the CPA. That amount included more than $7 million that simply vanished, according to the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, appointed in January 2004 to serve as a U.S. government watchdog for Iraqi reconstruction.
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