Friday, April 27, 2007

NYT: "American Colonel Accused of 'Aiding Enemy' at Prison in Iraq" (Cave)

In this morning's New York Times, Damien Cave's tasked with sorting through the dirty laundry in "American Colonel Accused of 'Aiding Enemy' at Prison in Iraq." This is about William H. Steele who is accused of many things. (We went over it yesterday.) Cave speaks with Walter Huffman ("former Army judge advocate general and now dean of the Texas Tech University law school") who rightly notes that the accusation of fratenization with a female Iraqi does not mean have to translate as sex. Nor, it should be stressed, does it mean romantic. Stressed over the phone this morning by friends serving in Iraq is that it can be a regular greeting -- the US military is discouraged (putting it mildly) from interaction with Iraqi civilians. Cave handles that well. Calling Iraq "a Muslim country"? Ten percent of the population isn't Muslim. The American orchestrated constitution enshrines Muslim as the religion of the state so that's a judgement call. Stating that men can't speak to women in "a Muslim country" really makes it necessary that you note this is only true for most of Iraq post-invasion. (And it's still not followed in all of Iraq today -- though the continued honor killings may make it true.)

From the article:

North of Baghdad, two Iraqi women and two children were believed to have been killed in an American airstrike that killed four insurgents, according to a military statement.

Actually, four suspected 'insurgents.' Cave gets credit for going over the realities of the (false) charges against James Yee. (Going over may be too mild. He gets credit for it regardless. I'm tired and "going over" will have to do.)

Already this morning, Reuters notes, "A suicide car bomb killed and wounded dozens of people near the religiously mixed town of Tal Afar in northern Iraq on Friday, police said."

Tal Afar? Martha notes Thomas E. Ricks' "Army Officer Accuses Generals of 'Intellectual and Moral Failures'" (Washington Post):

An active-duty Army officer is publishing a blistering attack on U.S. generals, saying they have botched the war in Iraq and misled Congress about the situation there.
"America's generals have repeated the mistakes of
Vietnam in Iraq," charges Lt. Col. Paul Yingling, an Iraq veteran who is deputy commander of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. "The intellectual and moral failures . . . constitute a crisis in American generals."
Yingling's comments are especially striking because his unit's performance in securing the northwestern Iraqi city of Tall Afar was cited by President Bush in a March 2006 speech and provided the model for the new security plan underway in Baghdad.
[. . .]
The article, "General Failure," is to be published today in Armed Forces Journal and is posted at Its appearance signals the public emergence of a split inside the military between younger, mid-career officers and the top brass.

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