Saturday, January 30, 2010

How many US deaths were announced Friday?

Yesterday's snapshot included:

Today the US military announced: "A United States Division-South Soldier died Jan. 28 of noncombat related injuries. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. The names of service members are announced through the U.S. Department of Defense official website [. . .] The announcements are made on the Web site no earlier than 24 hours after notification of the service member's primary next of kin. The incident is under investigation." The announcement brings to 4375 the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war. ICCC hasd't updated to 4375 this morning and still haven't now (it is AP's count). While you ponder that, wonder why a site called "Iraq Coalition Casualty Count" has never once included the Iraq Inquiry (ongoing with public hearings since November) in their linked to headlines. Seems like if Iraq's your focus and you're providing links, you should be providing links to the BBC, the Guardian, the Times of London, etc. And now to the Inquiry.

Today ICCC finally moved their count up one. But should it only be one? They do not link to the announcement above, they do link to DoD's announcement:

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Pfc. Scott G. Barnett, 24, of Concord, Calif., died Jan. 28 in Tallil, Iraq, of injuries sustained while supporting combat operations. He was assigned to the 412th Aviation Support Battalion, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, Katterbach, Germany.
For more information the media may contact the U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army public affairs office at 011-49-6221-57-8694, or via e-mail at

That's not the same incident. Either USF or DoD has the incident wrong or we're talking about two different service members. DoD states Scott Barnett died in combat and nothing about an "investigation" while yesterday's announcement. The US has an airbase in Tallil. The USF announcement is entitled "USD-S Soldier dies of non-combat related injuries, Basrah" which is Basra. Basra, like Baghdad, has an airport. Basra and Tallil are not the same location, are not anywhere near being the same location. Tallil is just outside al Nasiriyah. On the map below, I've highlighted in red where Talil is, notice the huge distance between it and Basra (map from CIA Factbook).

cia iraq map

Turning to some of today's violence, Sabah al-Bazee, Jack Kimball and Janet Lawrence (Reuters) report a Samarra suicide bombing in which the man took his own life and the lives of "at least two people" while twenty-three more were left injured and the target was a a "cafe used by policemen and members of the Sunni Muslim Sahwa". Press TV reports on the bombing and also notes a Baghdad grenade attack which claimed 1 life and left two people injured. In addition, Reuters notes 2 pilgrims left injured in a Baghdad shooting attack, a Baghdad roadside bombing which left "a justice ministry official" injured and 2 Tuz Khurmato roadside bombings which injured 3 people (two were police officers).

Last weekend US Vice President Joe Biden was in Iraq.

Biden in Iraq

CNN's Xuna Thai was among the press traveling with Biden and she reports:

When we landed in the Green Zone, a motorcade of SUVs, vans and Humvees -- all armored -- took us to where most of our work would be -- the U.S. embassy compound. During the motorcade ride, a young diplomatic security agent from the State Department gave us a few pieces of advice. He told us when to wear our flak jackets, how we should duck into the bunkers if danger came and not to leave ourselves exposed between the open buildings.
Finally, he warned that if we heard a siren go off in the middle of the night, we must find cover or run into the kitchen area of our room and lie prone to avoid injury by rockets that may come our way.

Dan Lothian (CNN) adds:

As we moved from the U.S. ambassador's house to Saddam Hussein-era marble buildings that now house the homes and offices of the Iraqi prime minister, president and other officials, security was as you might expect -- beyond extreme.
Even though this is the Green Zone, the threat level was burning red. The last time Biden visited, shelling began almost immediately. So the strategy here was to move quickly and carry your armor.
Many heavy guns were watching our backs -- well, actually Biden's back, but since we were covering him -- well, you get the point.
It was a lot of hurry up and wait. There were quick photo ops with leaders around elegantly set lunch tables, and there was praise for the efforts on both sides. Everyone followed the script.

Biden was in Iraq for several tasks and one of them was the election issue -- an extra-legal committee 'banning' candidates from running in the elections. Today AP reports that "Awakening" ("Sons Of Iraq," Sahwa) leader Ahmed Abu Risha is floating the notion of a Sunni boycott for the intended elections and he tells AP that Sunnis "will not care about the eleciton, they will ignore it, maybe, if these decisions [bannings] stand."

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends