Thursday, January 31, 2008

The wounded

Reuters notes: "Two British soldiers suffered minor wounds when the British base at Basra airport was hit by multiple attacks using mortar bombs and other weapons, British military spokesman Captain Finn Aldrich said. Basra is 550 km (340 miles) south of Baghdad." AP says it's three and not two:

Rockets slammed into the British base near the southern Iraqi city of Basra on Thursday, slightly wounding three British soldiers, a spokesman said. Iraq
more stories like this
British forces turned over control of Basra and the surrounding province late last year despite concerns about increased rivalries between Shiite militias that are engaged in a violent power struggle in the oil-rich area.

On the front page of this morning's Washington Post, Dana Priest's "Soldier Suicides at Record Level: Increase Linked to Long Wars, Lack of Army Resources" appears:

Lt. Elizabeth Whiteside, a psychiatric outpatient at Walter Reed Army Medical Center who was waiting for the Army to decide whether to court-martial her for endangering another soldier and turning a gun on herself last year in Iraq, attempted to kill herself Monday evening. In so doing, the 25-year-old Army reservist joined a record number of soldiers who have committed or tried to commit suicide after serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.
"I'm very disappointed with the Army," Whiteside wrote in a note before swallowing dozens of antidepressants and other pills. "Hopefully this will help other soldiers." She was taken to the emergency room early Tuesday. Whiteside, who is now in stable physical condition, learned yesterday that the charges against her had been dismissed.
Whiteside's personal tragedy is part of an alarming phenomenon in the Army's ranks: Suicides among active-duty soldiers in 2007 reached their highest level since the Army began keeping such records in 1980, according to a draft internal study obtained by The Washington Post. Last year, 121 soldiers took their own lives, nearly 20 percent more than in 2006.
At the same time, the number of attempted suicides or self-inflicted injuries in the Army has jumped sixfold since the Iraq war began. Last year, about 2,100 soldiers injured themselves or attempted suicide, compared with about 350 in 2002, according to the U.S. Army Medical Command Suicide Prevention Action Plan.

The article was noted by 15 members. Julie notes Thomas E. Ricks' "U.S. Commanders in Iraq Favor Pause in Troop Cuts" (Washington Post):

Senior U.S. military commanders here say they want to freeze troop reductions starting this summer for at least a month, making it more likely that the next administration will inherit as many troops in Iraq as there were before President Bush announced a "surge" of forces a year ago.
Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, will probably argue for what the military calls an operational "pause" at his next round of congressional testimony, expected in early April, another senior U.S. military official here said. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and top military officers have said they would like to see continued withdrawals throughout this year, but Bush has indicated he is likely to be guided by Petraeus's views.

The pathetic PDA plays dumb with their endorsement sent out yesterday. Anyone with a brain grasps that someone telling Gordo of the New York Times he'll send in more 'as needed' is not going to end the illegal war. Anyone snarling "Tom Hayden Democrats" isn't going to do a damn thing. But 'elders' are more interested in being 'hip' than telling the truth. As Julie notes, "I thought this was a democracy. I didn't grasp that an unpopular and illegal war would be held hostage by what military commanders want." Julie especially singles out PDA in her comments and with good reason. But they're a pathetic elect-Dems organization, they aren't about ending the illegal war and the lousy endorsement they linked to was about as embarrassing as anything I've seen this year. It takes a lot of masochism to be named in an insult by a candidate and to turn around and endorse him. Remember that self-damage to a legacy is always the most harmful. They've made themselves pathetic.

In this morning's New York Times, Alissa J. Rubin's "Iraqi Troops Mass for Operation in Mosul" is worth noting:

The unsettled situation in northern Iraq continued Wednesday as Iraqi troops massed in Mosul to fight Sunni Arab extremists, and a Turkmen political group in Kirkuk threatened to resort to arms in response to the kidnapping and killing of Turkmens by extremists.
A Defense Ministry spokesman, Mohammed al-Askeri, told reporters that the goal of Iraqi military operations in Mosul was to oust Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia from the city and prevent its fighters from returning.
Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia is a predominantly Iraqi group that American intelligence says is led by foreigners.
Also in Mosul on Wednesday, gunmen assassinated Khalil Ibrahim Ahmed, an expert in Shariah law based on the Koran and a member of the city’s Muslim Scholars Association, according to a police commander, Brig. Saed Ahmed al-Jabouri. The shooting occurred outside Mr. Ahmed’s house, Brigadier Jabouri said.

That runs on A6 and that's it for Iraq from the 'paper of record' today or that paper of pathetic.
Check out Aseel Kami's "Iraq has million-woman social time-bomb" (Reuters):

Every week, letters from Iraqi widows spill across Samira al-Moussawi's desk. One wrote to ask whether she should spend what scant money she gets on her infant or on school books for her older son.
The member of parliament and head of a parliamentary women's committee is at her wits' end as to how to answer the desperate pleas from what could be as many as one to two million women.

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