Monday, October 15, 2007

Other Items

Local residents and Iraqi Army officials who arrived at the scene said that at the time he was killed, Mr. Saif Aldin was taking photographs on a Saydia street where several homes had been burned in recent fighting. There was no information about who killed him or why.
"He'd gone to do some reporting, and the next thing we knew we got a call from someone who had his cellphone," who turned out to be a police officer who had arrived on the scene, Mr. Raghavan said. "He said Salih was dead."
Originally from Tikrit, where he started as a freelance reporter for The Post, Mr. Saif Aldin moved to Baghdad and began working as a staff reporter in early 2004, said Mr. Raghavan, the bureau chief.
He also said that Mr. Saif Aldin, who was once severely beaten in Tikrit after he ignored threats to leave the city or be killed, was known for his tremendous courage in covering some of the worst areas of the city.
For security reasons, he wrote under a tribal name, Salih Dehema.

The above is from Paul von Zielbauer and Andrew E. Kramer's "Iraqi Journalist Is Shot and Killed in Baghdad" in this morning's New York Times about Salih Saif Aldid (and Raghavan is Sudarsan Raghavan). And, for the record, we're not interested in a Shi'ite and Sunni meeting that the Shia have to be transported to in US military helicopters. (It's also in the article.) The fact that they require the US military to transport them demonstrates how little the big-meetup actually means. Reuters offers a timeline on the more than 203 journalists killed in Iraq (and we say "journalists," not "journalists and media assistants").

Alexandra Zavis' "Bomb kills 10 near Baghdad shrine" (Los Angeles Times) reports on some of the violence yesterday:

Encouraged by a recent lull in violence in the capital, Karim Sami brought his wife and 18-month-old son to one of Baghdad's most revered shrines Sunday for prayers marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
After paying their respects at the shrine of Musa al Kadhim, an 8th century Shiite Muslim imam, the young family enjoyed some snacks in the courtyard before joining the throngs outside browsing for holiday outfits among the clothing stalls. "We were on our way out of the area and driving as usual when suddenly there was this big fireball on the opposite side of the road," said the day laborer, reached at home by telephone. "My wife and child started to cry."
Iraqi police said a car bomb ripped through passing vehicles, including a minibus carrying worshipers to the shrine, killing at least 10 people and injuring 18. At least two women and two children younger than 14 were among the dead, a hospital official said.
"It is very sad that the criminals responsible for such attacks would choose such a holy day and place," Sami said. "It is as if they don't want any happiness for the Iraqi people, they just want us to suffer."
The shrine in the northern Kadhimiya neighborhood has been a frequent target of Sunni militants in the city's sectarian warfare. After the blast, police closed the area to vehicular traffic until further notice.

Already today Reuters is reporting a car bombing outside of Baghdad that has claimed the lives of "six members of an anti-al Qaeda tribal police unit . . . It was the latest attack on members of the Salahuddin Awakenings Council".

And Judy notes Sig Christenson's "Felons helped Army meet recruitment goal" (San Antonio Express-News):

Recruiters signed up people who had committed such felonies as arson, burglary, aggravated assault, breaking and entering and driving while intoxicated.
The Army Recruiting Command said "moral" waivers for 1,620 felons were approved in the 2007 federal fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. That was far above the 2006 mark of 1,002.
The Army called giving waivers "the right thing to do" for those who want to serve. But a former Vietnam-era combat commander warned the service has cut a Faustian bargain it has made in the past and came to regret.
"I don't think that they should reduce their standards at all because it's not going to pay off for them," said retired Marine Lt. Gen. Bernard Trainor, who had the job of improving the quality of recruits in the Northeast after standards fell in the wake of Vietnam.
"It will be a short-term fix in making numbers, but a long-term headache in terms of performance," he predicted, "and I don't know one Army officer -- particularly those who went through the Vietnam and post-Vietnam period -- who doesn't take that same view."

Left unstated is whether the military will soon be using a new slogan: "The Few, The Proud, The Paroled."

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andrew e. kramer