An American Apache attack helicopter was shot down on Friday just north of Baghdad and its two-member crew was killed, an American military official said.
It was the fourth American helicopter to be shot down or crash under fire in the last two weeks, a trend that American military commanders acknowledged was disturbing.
[. . .]
A man who identified himself only as Abu Ahmed, who lives near the crash site, said gunmen were hiding near a manufacturing plant in Sheik Amir village, near the town of Taji, waiting for the helicopters. Taji is a central hub for helicopter traffic around Baghdad. Americans are currently training Iraqi pilots there and the Americans have expressed concern about enemies becoming more sophisticated in shooting at the helicopters.
On Friday, just after sunrise, two American Apache helicopters flew in low, and waiting militants successfully shot down one and hit the second, Mr. Ahmed said.
The above is from Marc Santora's "2 Killed as U.S. Helicopter Is Shot Down Near Baghdad" in this morning's New York Times. Slowly, reporters go beyond "the US military said . . ." Hopefully, it's a sign of better coverage and not a fluke. (I'm not just referring to Santora.) That's it for the Times.
If you've e-mailed the public account and you're not noted today, check tomorrow morning. I will note the film that someone e-mailed on then and possibly other items. Today, right now, I'm up against Blogger/Blogspot going down in sixteen minutes.
That's my own fault because when we finally got home yesterday, I just crashed. Betty likes to use Kat and myself as her test audience before posting her latest chapter and, this morning, she just didn't feel it was coming together. It has come together (and she's posting it right now or is about to) and it was just a case of hating everything you write. (She's highly critical of her own work.) So that's where the focus was this morning and it should have been there last night but, as I said, I crashed as soon as we got back. We hadn't planned the trip, it was spur of the moment and we assumed it would be three days. Instead it ended up being Monday through Friday and we missed our scheduled flight out Friday as a result of a last minute group of students being put together. (Which is fine. They were very interested in discussing Iraq.) But between that, the freezing cold (I hate the cold) and misadventures and hijinks in traveling, it was a long week. My apologies to Betty that I wasn't able to listen last night.
Already today in Iraq, there's another mass bombing with over 90 dead. US war resister Kyle Snyder is back in Canada. A lot is going on. So let's talk about what really matters: Obama, groovy or not?
That was a joke. The title of this site is "The Common Ills," not "The Nation."
We will note Maura Reynolds' "U.S. can't prove Iran link to Iraq strife: Despite pledges to show evidence, officials have repeatedly put off presenting their case" (Los Angelse Times):
Bush administration officials acknowledged Friday that they had yet to compile evidence strong enough to back up publicly their claims that Iran is fomenting violence against U.S. troops in Iraq.
Administration officials have long complained that Iran was supplying Shiite Muslim militants with lethal explosives and other materiel used to kill U.S. military personnel. But despite several pledges to make the evidence public, the administration has twice postponed the release - most recently, a briefing by military officials scheduled for last Tuesday in Baghdad.
Susan notes this by Philip Palermo (The Mirror):
With the court martial of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada set for Feb. 5 at Fort Lewis, several Federal Way residents have organized to show their support.
A group called Federal Way Matters will sponsor a pair of movies Feb. 4 and a local rally in support of Watada on Feb. 5.
Watada will face one count of missing movement with his unit after refusing to deploy to Iraq with the Fort Lewis Stryker Brigade. He also faces two counts of conduct unbecoming of an officer for public statements he made this past year.
"He’s taking a stand and saying this (war) is amoral and illegal," said April Quint of Federal Way Matters.
The two movies planned for Sunday, Feb. 4, at the Federal Way Regional Library include a short documentary on Watada’s story. The other piece, called "The Ground Truth," presents stories of several people called to serve in Iraq.
The rally is set for 5 p.m. Monday at the intersection of South 320th Street and Pacific Highway. "There's a lot of people who just can't get down to Fort Lewis," Quint said of the army post in Pierce County.
Ehren Watada is scheduled to be court-martialed Monday for refusing to deploy to Iraq. Events are going on around the country. And this has to go up now before Blogger/Blogspt goes down.
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