Friday, July 14, 2006

Iraq snapshot

The Operation Happy Talk goes on.
Sean McFarland becomes the biggest doofus outside the administration by delcaring, "I think we have turned a corner her in Ramadi."  MacFarland is both an Army Col. and a Happy Talker. 
In news that's a little harder to Happy Talk, Antonio Castaneda (AP) reports that of the 1000 Sunni soldiers who made up the May 2006 graduating class  "only about 300 of them have reported for duty".
In other news from the real world, Reuters reports that the US Congressional Budget Office predicts: "The Iraq war could cost U.S. taxpayers between $202 billion and $406 billion more over the next 10 years".
These projections come at a time when, as Martha Burk has pointed out (Ms.), the US government has cut "[d]omestic-violence prevention by $35 million, Medicaid by $17 billion over five years and child care programs by 1.03 billion over five years."
In other costs paid, Reuters reports 12 corpses were discovered in Tal Afar. CBS and the AP note a corpse ("shot in the chest . . . signs of torture") discovered in Azizyah".
As noted earlier this morning, seven people were killed ("after Friday prayers") when a Sunni mosque in Baghdad was bombed.  Meanwhile Reuters reports that a mosque in Balad Ruz was hit by mortar rounds leaving at least two dead and four wounded while  a car bomber in Mosul who killed himself and five others. The AFP covers a mortar attack in Baghdad that left one person dead and nine wounded.
Shooting deaths? 
Reuters notes that two policeman were killed by a sniper in Tal Afar while a minibus near Kut was attacked "with machine gun fire" resulting in five dead ("including a wwoman and a child").  Meanwhile, the  AFP reports attacks in two cities: a car was "ambushed" in Tikrit by assailants who shot the father dead and wounded the son; and, in Mosul, two different attacks left a police officer dead as well as the bodyguard of a judge. And the Associated Press reports a drive-by in Baghdad that killed a taxi driver.
The BBC noted the death of several Iraqi soldiers (12 at that point) in Kirkuk when they were attacked with "rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns". AFX raised the number dead to 13 (citing "colonel Mahmud Abdulla").
Meanwhile, following yesterday's kidnapping attempt that left wrestling coach Mohammed Karim Abid Sahib dead, the AP reports that: "Iraq's national wrestling team [has] pulled out of a tournament in the United Arab Emirates".
In the United States, Saturday July 15th is a day of action calling for Suzanne Swift to receive an honorable discharge including a protest, "at the gates of Ft. Lewis (exit 119) beginning at 12 pm with a press converence at 3 pm" in Washington state -- while in Eugen, Oregon there will be a demonstration outside the Federal Building at noon. 
In DC (and across the globe -- over 22 countries), the fast led by CODEPINK and others continues.  As Thursday's The KPFA Evening News reported some Congressional members, including Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, Dennis Kucinich, Cynthia McKinney and Lynne Woolsey took part in a one-day fast on Thursday. Ann Wright, who ressigned from the State Department on May 19, 2003 and is taking part in the actions stated: "The only reason we fast is to force us to remember what's going on here. That innocent Iraqis are dying every day, Americans are dying every day. We need to get this war ended. So, yeah, we're going to up the ante".
Lastly, Wednesday July 19th, San Antonio, TX will be the location for a "public hearing held by the the independent Commission on the National Guard and Reserves" -- "in the Iberia Ballroom of the La Mansion Del Rio Hotel, 112 College Street, San Antonio."
There will be two panels with the first lasting from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and focused on "roles and missions to funding requirements" and the second, lasting from 2:00 pm to 4 pm, focusing on how reserves were "involuntarily mobilized after September 11, 2001".

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