Tuesday, October 24, 2006

NYT: "Troops Look for American Soldier Missing in Baghdad" (Sabrina Tavernise)

An American soldier apparently working as an interpreter went missing in Baghdad on Monday night, the American military said.
A brief military statement said that the soldier was reported missing around 7:30 p.m. and that American and Iraqi forces "immediately responded to attempt to locate the soldier."
"The search is ongoing," the statement said. The Associated Press reported that the missing soldier was working as an Army interpreter.
A military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because detailed information had not yet been cleared for release, said the soldier was last seen around 2:30 p.m. in the Green Zone, the large walled area that houses the American Embassy and the Iraqi government and Parliament buildings. However, the military received a tip from an Iraqi that the soldier might have been kidnapped outside the Green Zone, the official said, and that lead is being followed.
The disappearance is highly unusual, as American soldiers are rarely, if ever, away from their units and Humvees when outside the safety of American bases, and leaving a base alone would violate military regulations.

The above is from Sabrina Tavernise's "Troops Look for American Soldier Missing in Baghdad" in this morning's New York Times. This isn't the first US troop to be classified missing, Keith Maupin has been missing since April of 2004. And yes, the Iraq Coalition Count backed off their 2800 figure yesterday and dropped back down the 2799. Why? Ask them. The US military has announced, today, two more deaths: Two Marines assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died Monday from injuries sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province." The 2800 mark has been reached and passed. (That will bring the 86 listed by ICC to 88 for the month of October.)

Meanwhile the puppet's strings are being pulled tighter. Martha highlights this on Nouri al-Maliki and yesterday's violence from Ellen Knickmeyer's "Iraqi Prime Minister Acts to Rein In Militias" (Washington Post):

Maliki singled out turmoil in Maysan province, where the Mahdi Army militia of Moqtada al-Sadr, the powerful Shiite cleric, was accused Monday of renewing attacks on police officers in the provincial capital, Amarah. The police belong to a rival militia, the Badr Organization, formerly known as the Badr Brigade.
The accusation came after Mahdi Army fighters shot four policemen to death, leading Badr militiamen to behead the teenage brother of a Mahdi Army commander, the Associated Press reported.
Iraqi army troops allegedly failed to intervene. About 500 additional troops have been deployed to Amarah since a burst of fighting last week between the two militias killed at least 25 people. In his statement, Maliki appealed to local residents to resist being pulled into the fighting.
Since midsummer, there have been record numbers of attacks on Iraqi forces and record numbers of deaths among Iraqi civilians, with more than 2,600 civilians killed last month in Baghdad alone.
Dozens of slaying victims are collected each day from the capital's streets. On Monday, 52 bodies were found across Baghdad; three of the dead had been beheaded, police said.

On Iraqi fatalities, Marcia notes Riverbend's "The Lancet Study..." (Baghdad Burning):

The responses were typical- war supporters said the number was nonsense because, of course, who would want to admit that an action they so heartily supported led to the deaths of 600,000 people (even if they were just crazy Iraqis…)? Admitting a number like that would be the equivalent of admitting they had endorsed, say, a tsunami, or an earthquake with a magnitude of 9 on the Richter scale, or the occupation of a developing country by a ruthless superpower… oh wait- that one actually happened. Is the number really that preposterous? Thousands of Iraqis are dying every month- that is undeniable. And yes, they are dying as a direct result of the war and occupation (very few of them are actually dying of bliss, as war-supporters and Puppets would have you believe).
For American politicians and military personnel, playing dumb and talking about numbers of bodies in morgues and official statistics, etc, seems to be the latest tactic. But as any Iraqi knows, not every death is being reported. As for getting reliable numbers from the Ministry of Health or any other official Iraqi institution, that's about as probable as getting a coherent, grammatically correct sentence from George Bush- especially after the ministry was banned from giving out correct mortality numbers. So far, the only Iraqis I know pretending this number is outrageous are either out-of-touch Iraqis abroad who supported the war, or Iraqis inside of the country who are directly benefiting from the occupation ($) and likely living in the Green Zone.
The chaos and lack of proper facilities is resulting in people being buried without a trip to the morgue or the hospital. During American military attacks on cities like Samarra and Fallujah, victims were buried in their gardens or in mass graves in football fields. Or has that been forgotten already?

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