Before we note anything else, ICCC reports the 3900 mark for US service members who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war has been reached. Yesterday's snapshot noted that the announcement by M-NF took the count to 3899 and it appears the 3900th came via DoD which is a good way of burying news and why DoD has been used so often in the last months for that purpose (M-NF is supposed to announce deaths, DoD then issues the names of the dead after the family has been contacted, that's how it's supposed to work).
That's the official count which does not include counting those who die from injuries received after they return from Iraq. We'll return to the topic in today's snapshot.
Four members of an American-backed neighborhood watch group in Diyala Province were killed Wednesday when a house they were raiding exploded, the police said.
The blast, north of Baquba, the provincial capital, also wounded at least four people. It was one of several attacks this month against the volunteer Awakening groups and their members, who are also known as Concerned Local Citizens.
On Tuesday, several members of an Awakening group were killed by a suicide truck bomber near a checkpoint outside the Baiji oil refinery, in northern Iraq.
The above is from Damien Cave's "4 Sunni Allies of U.S. Killed in Iraq" (New York Times) and it's exploring the topic of what happens when there is no plan, when there is no strategy and when the only thing you can do is to turn around and arm a side the way you spent all the time previously arming another side. Cave quotes a laughable statement from Philip T. Reeker, who is American with the US embassy staff, that there are hopes to channel the armed thugs into "technical colleges" at some point. There are no plans, just efforts to clamp down on opposition to the illegal war in the US. It's all so pathetic.
Personal note, a visitor who e-mailed on the topic of these armed thugs Dec. 24th had some interesting points and a reply will be going out shortly but covering your points in the early morning hours of Dec. 25th resulted in a lengthy e-mail that needs to be severely cut down. If you're still around, at some point (hopefully today), that will be edited down to a readable length and sent out. On holidays, the policy has remained that I attempt to answer anything that warrants a reply (empahsis on members that e-mail at that time). That was done after midnight on the morning of December 25th and all but one e-mail was sent out yesterday (I don't send out e-mails, I save them to draft).
Sebnem Arsu's "Turkish Jets Strike Kurdish Rebels" (New York Times) attempts to nail down what can be known about bombings by the Turkish military (the region has been restricted to the press following the PKK giving tours of their camps to various media outlets recently -- the Iraqi Kurds had, you may remember, spent a great deal of time claiming that the PKK wasn't operation out of the area so when Patrick Cockburn, the Times of London and other outlets recently began reporting on those camps, the response was to cut off access). The Turkish government yesterday stated they had bombed the region on Wednesday. From Arsu's article:
An American military spokesman, Maj. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner, said that efforts were being made to get accurate information, a difficult process. "We don't have forces there that are the arbiters of the ground truth," General Bergner said. "The military unit conducting the operation is the Turkish forces, and they are, in this case, the arbiters of ground truth."
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