Friday, April 10, 2009

5 US soldiers killed in Iraq

Today the US military announced: "Five U.S. Coalition Soldiers were killed, and one wounded from a suicide vehicle borne improvised explosive device attack earlier today in Mosul. Two Iraqi Security Forces were also killed and 20 wounded. The suicide truck bomb exploded near the Iraqi National Police headquarters in the southwest section of the city. At least two individuals suspected of being involved in the attack were detained, and the incident is under investigation. The names of the deceased are being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense." The five deaths bring the total number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4271. The illegal war Bully Boy Bush started and that Bully Boy Barack continues. They both own it, they both support it. Mohammed Abbas (Reuters) reports a Mosul truck bomber has claimed two lives (three, actually, the bomber is dead as well) and left at least seventy injured. Again, Bully Boys Bush and Barack own that.

They're not the only ones. Ruth Gledhill's "Tony Blair tells Belief radio programme he thinks about Iraq every day" (Times of London):

Tony Blair has said that he cannot "pass a single day" without reflecting on the aftermath of the war in Iraq.
The former Prime Minister, who converted to Catholicism after leaving office in 2007, told the BBC Radio 3 programme Belief that that religion was a "comfort" to him at all times. He said, however, that the decision to join the US-led invasion in 2003 was the most difficult that he faced.
He said: "I do not pass a single day in which I do not reflect on this and think of the responsibility. I think these decisions are the most difficult you ever take, and you cannot and should not take them incidentally because you believe that you have some religious conviction that's superior to anyone else," he said.

Pru has a very funny comment about the above that was going to be the title of this entry when I read her e-mail this morning; however, the 5 deaths are now the headline so I'll carry her one liner over to Third. And we'll note this from Deborah Haynes' "General Ray Odierno: we may have to ignore Iraq deadline to halt al-Qaeda terror" (Times of London):

The US commander was confident that the overall timetable for the US pullout would be met. But he added that US combat troops might have to stay beyond June 30 in Mosul and Baqubah, where al-Qaeda retains an active presence. "The two areas I am concerned with are Mosul and then Baqubah and [other] parts of Diyala province," he said. "We will conduct assessments and provide our assessments when the time is right"
He added that over the next 12 months "we won't see a large reduction in any forces in Mosul or Diyala. In fact we might see reinforcements in those areas if we continue to have issues". Another flashpoint is the ethnically divided city of Kirkuk, on the border of Iraqi Kurdistan, where Arabs and Kurds are at loggerheads. Provincial elections were delayed there because of a disagreement over ownership of the city, a row that also covers towns and villages scattered along the border.
The general agreed that there was a risk of conflict in those areas. "We can't allow politics, we can’t allow pride, we can't allow ego to cause violence to occur when you can solve a problem with dialogue."

Yesterday at the Washington Post online, Dana Priest did another of her Thursday webchats on national security and international issues, here's an excerpt:

Stafford, Va.: Dana, part of Gates' budget includes an increase in spending to support planned expansion of the Army and USMC. Do you know what the actual size of these forces would be once the plan is achieved and when that might be? Will the military have any difficulty in achieving this goal? Thanks.

Dana Priest: Sorry, I don't know the numbers answer. I don't believe they will have problems with recruiting. The economic downturn is driving more people into the military.

[. . .]

More Cheerful in Princeton: In the morning while I do my exercises, I watch C-Span's Washington Journal to get some idea of what people think outside Liberal La-La Land. Yesterday and today that had on classic neocons (Danielle Pletka and Rich Lowry) telling us that we have won in Iraq and that we can win in Afghanistan. Are they just trying to preserve their record of being wrong, or is there anything to their statements?

Dana Priest: I didn't hear the statements but generally that crowd has been, shall we say, overstating their claims for quite a while now.
I'm happy you're more cheerful in Princeton this week.

Turning to public television. NOW on PBS offers a look at coal (no, I'm not optimistic either, NOW on PBS is highly 'business' friendly):

Can America's cheapest and most plentiful energy resource be produced without burning the environment?
Americans are addicted to coal--it powers half of all our electricity, and is both plentiful and cheap. In fact, some call America the "Saudi Arabia of Coal." But are we paying too high an environmental price for all this cheap energy?
With carbon emissions caps high on the Obama Administration's agenda, coal is in the crosshairs of the energy debate. This week, NOW Senior Correspondent Maria Hinojosa travels to Wyoming to take a hard look at the coal industry there and its case that it can produce "clean coal"--coal that can be burned without releasing carbon into the atmosphere. President Obama has been outspoken in his support for "clean coal" technology, but some say the whole concept is more of a public relations campaign than an energy solution.
As part of the report, Hinojosa talks with Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal and Jeff Goodell, the author of "Big Coal," who says that carbon dioxide emissions generated from coal contribute to global warming.
Our investigation is part of a PBS-wide series on the country's infrastructure called "Blueprint America."

This week on Washington Week (begins airing tonight on most PBS stations, check local listings) Gwen sits down with NYT's David Sanger, Chicago Tribune's Christi Parson, LAT's Doyle McManus and US News & World Reports and CNN's Gloria Borger. Also, I was asked to note that Washington Week has given their site some "tweaks," so check that out. Bonnie Erbe sits down with Eleanor Holmes Norton, Ruth Conniff, Star Parker and Karen Czarnecki to discuss this week's news on To The Contrary. And turning to broadcast TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes offers:

The DEKA Arm
New technology is making it possible for amputees to pick up small, delicate objects they never thought they would master thanks to the biggest innovation in prosthetic arms since World War II. Scott Pelley reports. | Watch Video
Gun Rush
Americans are snapping up guns and ammunition at an increasingly higher rate despite the economic downturn. But as Lesley Stahl reports, the economic downturn, as well as the election of Barack Obama, may be the reason for the run on guns. | Watch Video
Steve Wynn
The casino mogul most responsible for taking Las Vegas to new heights of gaming and glitter talks to Charlie Rose about his spectacular success and the eye disease that's slowly robbing him of his ability to see the fruits of his labor. | Watch Video

Among those interviewed by Lesley Stahl for her report on guns is Senator Dianne Feinstein whose remarks will, no doubt, be news at home (the Bay Area) due to her days in municpal government when Harvey Milk was assassinated. At wowOwow, Lesley writes about the 60 Minutes segment and also offers a video preview. And as the wowOwow friend who requested that link notes, "You can join the conversation and leave your comments" at wowOwow.