Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Yesterday the US military announced: "A Multi National Division-Center Soldier was killed in an improvised explosive device attack southeast of Hillah, Iraq June 16." Via MNF not doing their job and letting DoD make "announcements," it might not be noticed that the 4100 mark was reached and past. The death makes 4101 US service members who have been killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war. [Again, MNF is supposed to announce deaths. DoD is supposed to announce the names of the dead after the families have been notified. Instead of doing their job, MNF has allowed the naming of the dead to also be the first time the deaths have been announced.]

In other violence, Bushra Juhi (AP) reports that Muhieddin Abdul-Hamid, an Iraqi TV reporter/anchor, has been shot dead in Mosul. Iraq is the deadliest war for journalists. The most recent violence involving a journalist was June 3rd. Reporters Without Borders issued a press release, "Public TV cameraman badly hurt in Basra bombing," on that incident:

Odai Sabri, a cameraman employed by public television station Al-Irakiya, was seriously injured yesterday in the bombing of a musical instruments shop in the old part of Basra, 550 km south of Baghdad. He was rushed unconscious, with multiple injuries to head and body, to a hospital where he underwent an operation to remove some of the bomb fragments.
"Journalists who go out to report on the Iraqi public's everyday problems run a two-fold risk," Reporters Without Borders said. "Like any civilian, they risk being injured or killed in an exchange of shots or a bombing. But they also risk being identified as journalists and being deliberately targeted by the armed groups that have murdered dozens of media personnel. Cameramen and photographers with hard-to-conceal equipment are even more vulnerable."
Sabri, 28, was doing a report on the threats to the entertainment industry from radical Islamist groups when he was injured by the bombing of the musical instruments store. Many music conservatories, concert halls and theatres all over Iraq have had to close because of pressure from groups preaching a radical version of Islam. This was not the first time that musical instrument vendors have been bombed in Basra.
Sabri recovered consciousness about two hours after being taken to Basra's Al-Jomhouriya hospital, where doctors found many bomb fragments still lodged in his body. After managing to removed two medium-sized fragments from his head and back, they allowed him to be taken home today pending another operation to remove the remaining fragments.
Abbas Al-Fayyad, Al-Irakiya's Basra bureau chief, said Sabri would not be able to return to work for at least six months. He added that Sabri was slightly hurt a month ago during an attack on the Iraqi army unit he was accompanying.
Sabri is the seventh Iraqi journalist to be seriously injured in a bombing since the start of the year. One of the victims, a cameraman caught in a bomb blast in Baghdad in April, lost a leg.

At Baghdad Observer (McClatchy Newspapers), Leila Fadel notes on the Amara assault that "Sadr's spokesman, Salah al Obaidi, said the Mahdi Army would not resist and had spoken to Maliki's political bloc about cooperating. 'We do not want the same massacre as Basra,' he said." Meanwhile, Jalal Talabani (Iraqi president) may be receiving treatment at the Mayo Clinic in the US but an Iraqi correspondent at Inside Iraq (McClatchy Newspapers) refers to points being made in Iraq by average Iraqis that the US doesn't allow Iraqis visitations but Iran and Syria do, that, "In Iraq we see more medication coming from the alleged enemies lesser than the medication coming from the alleged friends."

The big story in the New York Times is James Risen's "Army Overseer Tells of Ouster Over KBR Stir:"

The Army official who managed the Pentagon's largest contract in Iraq says he was ousted from his job when he refused to approve paying more than $1 billion in questionable charges to KBR, the Houston-based company that has provided food, housing and other services to American troops.
The official, Charles M. Smith, was the senior civilian overseeing the multibillion-dollar contract with KBR during the first two years of the war. Speaking out for the first time, Mr. Smith said that he was forced from his job in 2004 after informing KBR officials that the Army would impose escalating financial penalties if they failed to improve their chaotic Iraqi operations.

In the latest Washington Post-ABC poll, the following question is asked: "10. All in all, considering the costs to the United States versus the benefits to the United States, do you think the war with Iraq was worth fighting, or not? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?" 34% say worth it (with varying degrees of support); 63% say not worth it. The link is to the data. Dan Balz and Jon Cohen (Washington Post) report on the poll here.

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