The fighting is expected to be hard.
The above is from War Pornographer Michael Gordon's "Military Strikes Insurgents' Base East of Baghdad" and that's really all you need to know. Gordo's heavy panting again. So much so that the above is from the article in the paper and he's already done an update, "Military Strikes Insurgents' Positions East of Baghdad." Damien Cave's along for both rides this morning, as Thom Shanker was yesterday which brings up the issue of why?
Judith Miller, Gordo's partner in pre-war marketing, actually had people at the Times who stated, "I will not work with her. I will not share a byline." For some reason that's not been the case with Gordo. And you really have to wonder why?
Warren Hoge can certainly share that being Miller's minder didn't help him any unless "help" constitutes his name being on United Nations' scandal pieces that blew up in both his and Miller's faces. But for some reason Gordo can still get takers.
Noted in the e-mails is John Ward Anderson and Joshua Partlow's "U.S. Forces Target Insurgent Stronghold" (Washington Post):
U.S. troops backed by helicopters and Bradley Fighting Vehicles launched a major offensive Tuesday to clear the Sunni extremist group al-Qaeda in Iraq from its new stronghold in Diyala Province north of the capital, the U.S. military said in a statement.
About 10,000 U.S. soldiers were engaged in the operation, code named Arrowhead Ripper, making it one of the largest military operations since the Iraq war began more than four years ago. The operation is focused in the area around Baqouba, a city about 25 miles northeast of Baghdad that is the capital of Diyala, a mixed Shiite-Sunni area that in recent months has become one of the most violent regions in Iraq.
While the Times offers Gordo's heavy panting and a rewrite of his heavy panting which somehow adds up to one story twice, the Post actually has coverage of Iraq. It needs to be noted that no outlet has spent as much as the Times in Iraq and that fewer outlets have less to show for it, day after damn day.
For instance, Brad notes Glenn Kessler's "Embassy Staff In Baghdad Inadequate, Rice Is Told" (Washington Post):
Ryan C. Crocker, the new U.S. ambassador to Iraq, bluntly told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a cable dated May 31 that the embassy in Baghdad -- the largest and most expensive U.S. embassy -- lacks enough well-qualified staff members and that its security rules are too restrictive for Foreign Service officers to do their jobs.
"Simply put, we cannot do the nation's most important work if we do not have the Department's best people," Crocker said in the memo.
Rachel noted Joshua Partlow and Saad Sarhan's "U.S., British Troops Battle Shiite Militiamen in East" (Washington Post):
In the early morning darkness of Monday, Shiite militiamen fired machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades at oncoming U.S. and British troops, who responded by overwhelming the attackers with gunfire and airstrikes that left at least 20 people dead, the U.S. military said.
The firefight in Maysan province came as thousands of U.S. and Iraqi troops pushed into insurgent strongholds around Baghdad as part of an intensified effort to disrupt militants before they can launch attacks in the capital. The operations are bolstered by the full forces of five new U.S. combat brigades that are now on the ground. A priority of the effort is in the rural territory south of Baghdad, near where two of the five brigades are based.
Partlow's earlier article, by the way, notes that no Iraqi troops participated in the above:
No Iraqi soldiers participated in the attack, even though Iraqi officials took responsibility for security in Maysan in April. Both U.S. and British military spokesmen said that the Iraqi government approved the mission, but a Maysan province security official, Latif al-Tamimi, said "occupation forces" conducted the raids without the knowledge of the provincial council. He called for an investigation into the attack because of what he said were civilian casualties.
And Martha highlighted this from Robin Wright's "Iraq, 'Sinking Fast,' Is Ranked No. 2 on List of Unstable States" (Washington Post):
Despite billions of dollars in foreign aid and the presence of more than 150,000 U.S. troops, Iraq has declined steadily over the past three years, according to the index. It ranked fourth last year, but its score dropped in almost all of the 12 political, economic, security and social indicators on which the index is based.
"The report tells us that Iraq is sinking fast," said Fund for Peace President Pauline Baker. "We believe it's reached the point of no return. We have recommended -- based on studies done every six months since the U.S. invasion -- that the administration face up to the reality that the only choices for Iraq are how and how violently it will break up."
Fund for Peace favors, as does Jay Garner and Joe Biden, dividing Iraq into three sections. You have to especially wonder about Fund For Peace since the religious minorities in Iraq have been under attack since day one and their subdivision plans (imposed, it should be noted), of course, creates no province for Iraqi Jews (the few now remaining), Palestinians, etc.
But let's note that the website of the Times offers the same article twice and considers that 'coverage.' There's an article that's being noted in the e-mails (I also got calls on it but everyone calling called to laugh, members of the community are ticked off). I'll try to address it in the next entry but I want to bring Ava in for a joint-entry on that (we've tackeled the bad writer before).
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