As the rising body count stoked new concerns about how well the troop expansion will tamp down execution-style killings, Iraqi and American officials got a jolt late in the day when reports emerged suggesting that Turkish forces had begun a long-threatened incursion into northern Iraq to hunt Kurdish guerrillas who stage attacks inside Turkey.
The reports, attributed to Turkish military officials, said thousands of soldiers crossed the border in pursuit of members of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or P.K.K.
American and Turkish officials quickly denied the reports. Iraq’s foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, also said in a telephone interview that while a large force of Turkish troops remained massed on the border, none had crossed into Iraq.
"There hasn't been any Turkish military incursion or operation inside Iraqi territory," Mr. Zebari said Wednesday evening.
Despite the official denials, two news agencies citing sources within the Turkish military continued to report that a limited cross-border attack had taken place.
The above is from Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Khalid W. Hassan's "Bombs Hit Shiites in Baghdad; Turkish Threats Grow Acute" in this morning's New York Times. Anne Flaherty (AP) reports on Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute who has criticized the escalation (Flaherty is only aware of a recent criticism -- his criticism actually goes back to at least 2005) and is a three star general who wants to take the post all the four star generals turned down. The post?
It was called war czar, then they went with war cooridnator and now they are going with
deputy national security adviser. He testifies today and will need confirmation.
And in the continued scandal that was the Congressional supplemental, file it under "And the pork goes on," AP reports that the supplemental (which provides no money for US service members) does include benefits for American and Continental airlines -- "pension relief" --
"End-stage talks on the Iraq war spending bill added a plan to extend relief to American, Continental and other airlines by reducing the money the companies must set aside each year to fulfill their pension obligations. Supporters said similar legislation is already on the books for Northwest and Delta." The Democrats, who refused to say no to the illegal war, were more than happy to stab American workers in the back (again).
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richard a. oppel jr.