Friday, December 24, 2004

Mosul Casualties

Mosul Wounded 3, originally uploaded by Wazdat!.

Does It Hurt Now?

"'What we think is likely, but certainly not certain, is that an individual in an Iraqi military uniform, possibly with a vest-worn explosive device, was inside the facility and detonated the facility,' General Ham said.

An impostor could have stolen a uniform or bought one on the black market. But the general suggested that the killer had exploited a hole in the enlistment screening process for Iraqi troops. Asked whether American forces have adequate intelligence about the Iraqi recruits they train, he said the vetting process 'is sound.'

'But clearly,' the general added, "we have now at least one instance where that was likely not satisfactory.'" The New York Times 12/29/2004 11:39 AM

The madness goes on and on. America traded in a sane ending to the war in Iraq for this – fiasco! It wasn’t enough that Rummy had to show how much he loved our troops by his flippant answers to that young Specialist in Kuwait, now that man’s comrades in Mosul had to be shown how little their lives are worth even when they take their ease. I’d think that the Army would make sure that the mess halls in Camp Marez were safe. The MESS HALLS! Am I to think that no place on base is safe? No barracks, no tent, no mess hall, no hospital, no latrine? No place for respite – in other words.

It seems that some insurgent penetrated camp security with a bomb vest. It could have been someone who was well known to them. Someone who had their confidence or so they speculate. It calls into question so many things. Firstly, did they do enough to assure themselves of the support of the Iraqi people, you know, the ones that they supposedly “liberated”? Secondly doesn’t it follow that if you want to assure yourself of the support of the occupied populace that you look to their security first, that you don’t give away their jobs to foreigners, and that you have enough troops to hold Iraq, not just conquer it? Here’s a “force multiplier” for you: if you come in with enough allies, if you stay on friendly terms with the populace, you won’t have to watch your back as much if they help you. Your force would be literally and virtually overwhelming! You don’t declare “major hostilities” to be over until you’ve secured the nation and sent the right political message! You can’t build the nation if you’re still fighting the war. Instead, the Three Failures Bremer, Franks and Tenet get to hide behind big fat medals while their failures are reaped by those they left behind them.

I’m reminded of a political cartoon I saw once in the Eighties, when the Soviet Union was the villain in the Middle East after invading
Afghanistan. The Soviets made many enemies there too. Two soldiers on a busy street in Kabul looking nervous as they were surrounded by peasants who all looked like Ho Chi Minh!

The analogy was that any one of those peasants could’ve been a guerilla, and the poor Soviet soldiers couldn’t tell one from the other.

And now a similar situation exists in Iraq. They know it was a suicide bomber, because the blast pattern and the pockmarks from the ball bearings indicate it was an inside job. That means that somewhere there was a weakness in the vetting process. Somehow, someone could obtain an Iraqi uniform, weapons, and maybe even the necessary papers to get into the camp so easily. What a surprise! Someone learned to be forger, someone took a bribe, someone paid the bribe, and someone had to angry enough to go into the camp and do the job! What wonders could ever cease in a society of the unemployed! Word is, it was someone who was married only a month before!

Twenty-two men were killed! This wasn’t just one or two at some checkpoint anymore. The same pell-mell thinking that went into prosecuting the war went into the occupation. Do everything on the cheap, and cheap is what you get. But then, why be surprised? Wasn’t it the neocon idea to level Iraq in order to build a “new society” there? And so the same cursory approach that went into undersupplying our men with armor and reinforcements went into training Iraqi security forces. Let’s face it, in an area where people feel resentment toward their occupiers, any security forces you create from the enemy population has to be suspect, either because they are moles who meant to infiltrate the occupier, or more likely were accessible to bribery (easily done in a place where incidentals like power still have to be rationed) or their families could be threatened. A whole lot of effort is going into staying on Square One!

And so what does this mean for the future. There is no security in Iraq! Yet Bush wants to hold an election! Where? Where in those “15 out of 19” precincts can one be held with any safety when even in a city in Kurdistan the people can’t have adequate protection for themselves?

And now a major contractor is pulling out. Contrack International, a company based in Virginia that was supposed to build roads and bridges in Iraq, had a contract worth at least $325 million. The reason for leaving? They could no longer afford their own private security. The cost for the safety of their workers became too prohibitive. That’s the price you pay for not having any allies, and Iraqi ears on the ground to take up the slack!

Now it appears that Mosul could be the new headquarters of the insurgency. And, did I hear correctly, there was still some major fighting in FALLUJAH!? It’s the Square One Circle Dance!

East Hampton Star -The Unfeeling President - By E.L. Doctorow"

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