Friday, November 03, 2006

Other Items

Investigations led by a Republican lawyer named Stuart W. Bowen Jr. in Iraq have sent American occupation officials to jail on bribery and conspiracy charges, exposed disastrously poor construction work by well-connected companies like Halliburton and Parsons, and discovered that the military did not properly track hundreds of thousands of weapons it shipped to Iraqi security forces.
And tucked away in a huge military authorization bill that President Bush signed two weeks ago is what some of Mr. Bowen's supporters believe is his reward for repeatedly embarrassing the administration: a pink slip.
The order comes in the form of an obscure provision that terminates his federal oversight agency, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, on Oct. 1, 2007. The clause was inserted by the Republican side of the House Armed Services Committee over the objections of Democratic counterparts during a closed-door conference, and it has generated surprise and some outrage among lawmakers who say they had no idea it was in the final legislation.

The above is from James Glanz' "Congress Tells Auditor in Iraq to Close Office" in this morning's New York Times because when you don't like what's being revealed, get rid of the inspector. Just like when you don't like the reality emerging, create fantasy -- and effort which Thomas Shanker and David S. Cloud detail in "Pentagon Widens Its Battle to Shape News of Iraq War:"

The Pentagon is reorganizing its public affairs operation in an attempt to influence news coverage, amid internal frustration at the tone and substance of reporting on Iraq and on Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.
The expanded office, which was first described by department officials in an informal press briefing on Monday, features a "rapid response unit" to react to news reports. It is also stepping up efforts to arrange appearances by department officials on talk radio and cable television, and to recruit "surrogates" who are not on the department's payroll to defend its policies.
A dozen new staff members have started to work behind a newly installed wall in the Pentagon’s press office.

Meanwhile, Italian troops prepare to leave Iraq. The US military announces one death and also three deaths of US troops in Iraq. And 56 corpses are discovered in Baghdad.

In the Times, Paul von Zielbauer's "Father of Missing U.S. Soldier Says Son Just Made a Mistake in Quest to Find His Calling" attempts to flesh out the story of the US soldier who has been missing since last week, Ahmed Kousay al-Taie, however, there's nothing on when he married and that is a key point since the date has changed/evolved as the story has been covered by the media. (His mother wants it noted, and von Zielbauer notes it, that he comes from a family of Shia and Sunni Iraqis. He sees no division.)

Kirk Semple's "General Plays Down Discord Between U.S. and Iraqis" addresses the ongoing tension between the puppet and the US (which will probably be addressed right after the US election) and notes this about al-Taie:

The manhunt has angered some American troops in Iraq, who have privately complained that the military should not expend any additional resources, or put any troops at further risk, to search for a soldier who had violated military rules and exposed himself to danger by leaving his post without military protection.

It should be noted that some Iraqis have doubts about the current where abouts of al-Taie and believe his disappearance is being used as an excuse for the actions that led the residents of the Sadr City section of Baghdad to protest (and led Nouri al-Maliki to lift the checkpoints during the day).

And, as noted last night, Steven D. Green has been indicted. From the AP:

Steven Green, the former Army private arrested in the March rape and slaying of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl while he was on duty south of Baghdad, was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday on 17 counts of murder, sexual assault and obstruction. Twelve charges carry the death penalty.
The 22-page indictment issued in Louisville, Ky., accuses Green, 21, of premeditated murder in the death of Abeer Kassem Hamza al-Janabi, her father, mother and 6-year-old sister in the central Iraqi town of Al-Mahmudiyah. Green is accused of raping the teen and then killing her after rounding up and killing her family with the help of other soldiers in his unit.

The e-mail address for this site is