A Fort Lewis, Wash., soldier has been charged with murder in the death of his platoon sergeant in Iraq, although investigators do not think the killing was intentional, the Army said Tuesday. Cpl. Timothy Ayers, 21, is accused of shooting Sgt. 1st Class David A. Cooper Jr., 36, who died Sept. 5 in Baghdad. Investigators believe that Ayers discharged a pistol in "wanton disregard for human life" at Forward Operating Base Falcon.
The above is from AP in the Omaha World-Herald (it's in the sidebar, second item under "Other Developments"). Meanwhile, today the US military announced: "Two Multi-National Division-North Soldiers were killed as a result of injuries sustained from a complex attack involving an improvised explosive device and small arms fire while conducting operations in Salah ad Din province, Dec. 4." And late yesterday, they announced: "A U.S. Soldier was killed as a result of injuries sustained from a vehicle explosion during a vehicle recovery operation in Al Anbar province Dec. 3. " Reuters reports that Turkey is stating they did send the Turkish military into Iraq on Saturday and that the ongoing clashes outside of Iraq have claimed the lives of 14 PKK fighters.
Despite conventional wisdom pieces about the 'safety,' there is no safety in Iraq. The targeting of officials continues. Already this morning Reuters reports a car bombing targeting Brig. Gen Kakamen Hameed that left him and nine other people wounded in Kirkuk, a sheik shot dead in Kut, a Mosul car bombing that claimed 1 life and left seven wounded, a Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded two police officers, a Baquba car bombing that claimed 5 lives and left thirteen wounded and assorted other acts of violence.
But remember, none of that's happening because it's 'safe' now. Jordan's Al Bawaba notes:
Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Iraq. "Secretary Gates is here to see for himself the considerable progress that has made since his last visit nearly three months ago," said Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell.
Considerable progress? Well if the Pentagon says it, it must be true. Some of the realities of the visit pop up in the second paragraph:
A US defence official travelling with Gates said the secretary was set to urge the Iraqi leaders to quickly pass key legislation aimed at boosting reconciliation efforts while violence is falling. "They'll talk about the large negotiations that are going to take place next year to negotiate a bilateral strategic framework between our two countries ... going from Chapter 7 UN mission to a more normalised security relationship between our countries," the official told AFP.
Regarding a column, we're not highlighting it. I'm sure it will go up everywhere else. But I'm not interested in things on war resisters that include people who are not war resisters. One name in the column made very clear publicly, on a blog, that they weren't against the illegal war, they only wanted to be trained in something other than military journalism before being sent off to Iraq. That's a brief synopsis but that was the point and the person made it clear in statements to the press as well as in a lengthy post left on a blog. No 'weapons' were 'put down.' The issue was: They want me to go to Iraq as military police and the only thing I've been trained in is how to be a military journalist. That was the issue, the person stated it very clearly at the time and hasn't been making public statements since.
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