Friday, February 29, 2008


Since April 2003, and until February 2008, "At least 5000 cases of widowed women have been registered at Falluja Employment Center," Abdul-Fatah revealed to VOI. "Those widowed women earn no salaries, and the majority of them are experiencing extremely hard circumstances, and they are in a massive need of any kind of help." He demanded that the Iraqi government and parliament "consider treating this issue thoroughly as an outcome of wars, and to legislate laws that sponsor widowed women in Falluja and elsewhere in Iraq."


Anbar - Voices of Iraq
Thursday , 28 /02 /2008 Time 3:04:43

Falluja, Feb. 28, (VOI) – Abu Waleed had a bad rendezvous with destiny; he lost his two legs in an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) attack in Falluja, and his wife – Um Waleed, suddenly found herself responsible for providing her family’s daily requirements. She worked hard toward her education degree during afternoon classes at Falluja Education Institute, and graduated as quickly as possible to start a career as a school teacher in Falluja, that nowadays offers her a monthly salary essential for her family's life to continue.

There are other women like Um Waleed; victims of the difficult circumstances that Falluja city has experienced.

The number of women in Falluja that were widowed after 2003 is at least 5000.

These figures imply that since April 2003 until February 2008, 86 women a month (almost 3 women a day) were widowed, according to a recent survey conducted by the Employment Center in the city in coordination with Falluja’s City Council. "My husband was a taxi driver, and due to an IED explosion, he lost his two legs, and his car was totally devastated; thus we lost all our sources of living in that incident," Um Waleed told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI), adding "It was my turn to be responsible for my family's living; the situation was rigid, but I did not step aside watching. In addition to having four kids going to school, I joined afternoon classes at the Falluja Education Institute where I earned the degree that enabled me to work as a school teacher."

In a religious – tribally structured society like Falluja, the nightmare for any women is when she does not find an adult man capable of providing her with the required simple daily life necessities. "I lost two of my sons during Falluja Battle II, while unknown gunmen killed my third son," Um Ibrahim (55 years) told VOI. "After losing my three sons, I feel that I am alone in this country under very hard living circumstances, with my daughters in law, and grandsons…I knocked on the doors of social affairs governmental managements, asking for any help, even for one dinar, but I have gotten nothing."Um Ahmed, 41 years, is another Falluja woman. "During Falluja Battle II, my husband was killed by U.S. army fire on November 2004, and since then, I have not been able to find anyone to help me and my kids," Um Ahmed said to VOI. "Three years after my husband's death, neither the local authorities in Falluja, nor central government in Baghdad, offered any kind of help to my family. I received simple aid that did not cover a tangible part of my five kids' living requirements from some humanitarian organizations." She continued, "I am getting older, and my health is no longer helping me to work as before; that's why I became unable to pay my house’s rent, and currently, I am spending my life with my kids moving between our relatives' houses."From his side, Ali Ghazal, head of follow-up and coordination department at Al-Kher Charity Association in Falluja, told VOI "

After the occupation, battles and violence created a vast amount of widowed women that live in the city under very bad conditions," adding "for this reason, we formed Al-Kher Charity Association to provide any possible assistance to widowed women in Falluja. Our role does not exceed delivering and distributing aids, such as foodstuff, clothes, and others, supplied by other humanitarian organizations to widowed women in Falluja." Ghazal supplicated international organizations and associations, interested in women issues, to assist widowed women in Falluja that have no one to help them. Attorney Sabah al-Alwani, a member of Falluja’s City Council, said to VOI

"The number of widowed women that we have in Falluja these days is unprecedented, and may have negative future effects on the moral attitudes of Falluja society," explaining "in case the Iraqi government ignores this social component, some families might collapse entirely, and engendered losses will be overburdened. Falluja City Council received no aid from the Iraqi government for these widowed women, and taking care of them has become a very heavy burden on the council, but the only thing that we can do is to urge humanitarian organizations to help them, especially when considering that the majority of widowed women in Falluja are unable to work for different reasons…We demand that the Iraqi government to prepare a program to assist women in Falluja."Kawakib al-Dulaimi, a member of Falluja’s City Council, describes the role of the Iraqi authorities in assisting Falluja women and widows as absent and disabled. "Battles in Falluja city, that took place between the U.S. army and different armed groups, engendered many widowed women, but the Iraqi government did not aid them with even one dinar," al-Dulaimi said to VOI.

"Battles continue to generate widowed and orphaned women that have no other option but to face the hard line of life alone."Falluja Employment Center embraces the noble aim of attempting to sponsor women in general in the city, and particularly widowed and orphaned women. "We, at Falluja City Council, have established an employment center that is devoted to women that lost their husbands, fathers, and brothers in battles that took place in Falluja exclusively. Depending on City Councils' individual initiatives, this center succeeded in enrolling 200 of Falluja’s widowed women in dressmaking training programs," asserting "better skills will help these women to earn their living."

Adnan Abdul-Fatah, manager of the Employment Center in Falluja, said to VOI, "The number of widowed women is continuously increasing in Falluja, and we are unable to provide them with the proper assistance due to different reasons." He added, "The real problem is that social – care management is absent in Falluja city. The main role of that management is to obtain statistics and to build a detailed database regarding widowed women, or any other category of women that require assistance; a matter that negatively affects our aid efforts. We formed committees, in coordination with Falluja’s City Council, to prepare accurate statistics concerning widowed women in the city as a first step toward ensuring them their rights from the Iraqi Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.


The US troops in Iraq have shot dead a civilian who approached their patrol near the town of Miqdadiya, north of Baghdad, the military said.

One report quoting the military said it the man had a cast on his broken arm under his jacket, which troops had mistaken for an explosives vest

He had ignored instructions to stop and a warning shot, the military said.

There have been a series of bomb attacks in the Muqdadiyah area, which the US has blamed on al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Iraqi police said the man was elderly, hard of hearing and suffering from mental disabilities, although the US military could not confirm this.

"There was nothing suspicious found on him but the incident is under investigation," said military spokesman Maj Brad Leighton.

"It was a mistake... an unfortunate incident," he added.


In another major blow to the peace efforts of the United States in Iraq, thousands of members of neighborhood police units in Dyala Province, one of the most dangerous provinces in Iraq, have disbanded.

The story is developling so stay tuned to this blog because you will never read about it or hear about the serious ramifications of the walkout in the mainstream media of the United States.

Diyala Prv:#1: Thousands of members of neighborhood police units have stopped work in one of Iraq's most dangerous provinces, Iraqi and U.S. military officials said on Friday. The mainly Sunni Arab units, widely known as concerned local citizens, or "CLCs", said they had disbanded altogether which would represent a major blow to U.S. and Iraqi efforts to pacify Diyala province.

Elsewhere in Iraq and Afghanistan, there have been more U.S. military casualties:

Lance Corporal Robert Reid was on patrol in an armoured vehicle with three colleagues near their base in Basra when it came under attack and has been left blind in one eye following a roadside bomb attack in southern Iraq. The 24-year-old, of Galashiels, Selkirkshire, suffered multiple injuries in the ensuing gun battle.

A recreational dodgeball game turned serious at Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan, when an airman suffered a heart attack. Airman 1st Class James Garrett, 19, collapsed Monday during the game. Doctors at Manas found that Garrett showed signs of sudden cardiac arrest, but he was stabilized. Garrett was flown to Landstuhl Army Regional Medical Center, Germany, on Tuesday for further care.

Capt Nick Binnington, 30, suffered a horrific leg wounds from a Taliban ambush attack after it was revealed a rocket propelled grenade attack in occupied Afghanistan had left him on the emergency operating table with a shard of metal lodged in his right thigh. He was deployed in Afghanistan for six months last year as a forward air controller guiding in all allied airpower. He was injured in a Taliban ambush north east of Garesh and had to be flown back to the UK to be operated on.

Victoria Scuola-Brandt, 56, was injured during mortar attacks in Balad, Iraq. But the disabled veteran said she is constantly reliving the shelling in her mind and thinks often about her military brothers and sisters still serving in Iraq. For Scuola-Brandt the mortar attack in January 2006 remains a vivid nightmare. At the time, she was a first sergeant with the Army Reserve and was working in an area that was attacked about five times a day. "I was running for cover, and I injured my feet," she recalled. She said what affected her more was seeing a fellow first sergeant go blind. Scuola-Brandt was flown to Landstuhl, Germany, and then to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. She eventually was sent to Fort Bliss, Texas, where she received a medical discharge on Oct. 25, 2006.

Spc. Chuck Naylor, 22, was in an Afghanistan hospital, his ears still ringing from an explosion that hit his convoy of South Glens Falls, were injured when a suicide bomber destroyed a truck. It was unclear Thursday if the men were in the truck at the time. The force of the blast knocked the men to the ground, giving Naylor a concussion.

Sgt. Jeff Dorvee, 25, both of South Glens Falls, were injured when a suicide bomber destroyed a truck. It was unclear Thursday if the men were in the truck at the time. The force of the blast knocked the men to the ground. Dorvee lost hearing in his right ear. It was not known Thursday if the damage is permanent.

Violence, mayhem and chaos continues all across Iraq as the media in the United States acts as if nothing is happening in Iraq worth reporting.

War News for Friday, February 29, 2008
Around 7:40 a.m., a roadside bomb targeted a police commando’s patrol at the Meshtal intersection near New Baghdad neighborhood (east Baghdad).Two policemen were injured in that incident.2: Around 10 a.m., a bomb house exploded when the Iraqi army raided it at Abu Khamees village (10 km south of Baquba) .One Iraqi soldier was killed in that explosion.

Baquba:#1: The commander of the popular committees in Diala province survived an attempt on his life in central Baaquba district on Friday morning, an official source said. "An armed group attacked on Friday a headquarters of the popular committees in al-Tahrir neighborhood, central Baaquba, targeting commander Sabah Bashir, who survived unscathed," the source, who did not want to be named, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq

#2: An Iraqi army soldier was injured on Friday during a security operation in south of Baaquba, an official security source said. "A force from the 5th division of the Iraqi army waged a crackdown operation in Abu Khamis village in Bahraz district, south of Baaquba," the source, requested anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq (VOI). "The forces came under armed group fire attack, during which one soldier was wounded," he added.

Hawija:#1: In the morning, police found Ahmed Khalaf’s body, the Hawija council member, who was kidnapped few days ago by gunmen .Police arrested four suspected to be involved in that kidnap and murder.Kirkuk:#1: In the morning, police found a female dead body whose name is Sameea Sofi near the Zab Bridge (west of Kirkukk).

Mosul:#1: Gunmen kidnapped the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Mosul on Friday from the northern Iraqi city and killed his driver and two companions, police said. "He was kidnapped in the al-Nour district in eastern Mosul when he left a church. Gunmen opened fire on the car, killed the other three and kidnapped the archbishop," a Mosul police official said.

#2: A man and his son were killed in a roadside bomb explosion in Mosul on Friday, the official spokesman for the Ninewa operations said. "An improvised explosive device went off targeting a U.S. vehicle patrol near al-Dhubat district, eastern Mosul, killing a passing man and his 11-year-old son," Brig. Khalid Abdul Sattar told Aswat al-Iraq-Voices of Iraq

#3: Police patrols found two bodies of a prosecutor and a lawyer handcuffed and riddled with bullets in Al-Qahira district, northern Mosul." Brig. Khalid Abdul Sattar told Aswat al-Iraq-Voices of Iraq (VOI).The security official identified "the prosecutor as Abd Jassim Hanash al-Janabi and the lawyer as Hamad Sultan al-Louizi". "They were abducted by unknown gunmen near al-Maaridh area, eastern Mosul, on Friday morning", he added.

Even with all of this happening in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Bush and his mouthpiece, FOX NEWS, continue to mislead the American public with lies about how well things are going in Iraq and Afghanistan.


The war in Iraq will continue you indefinitely because the Senate pulled a bill that would have cut off funding for most combat operations in Iraq.

The Democrats knew they didn't have the votes to pass the measure so they pulled the bill.

Even had the bill passed in the Senate, President Bush had vowed to veto it.

Brief Iraq Withdrawal Hopes Fizzle

By Maya Schenwar t r u t h o u t Report

Friday 29 February 2008

A bill to cut off funding for most combat operations in Iraq collapsed in the Senate Wednesday night when leadership pulled it from the floor, seeing it could not garner enough votes for passage.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid acknowledged to reporters on Thursday afternoon the bill would not be brought to a vote. However, it did pass a cloture vote on Tuesday after a decision by Republican leadership to address the war controversy head-on, making this week's debate the longest Iraq-based discussion the Senate floor has seen since July.

Sponsored by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin), the bill marked a shift away from antiwar Democrats' previous focus on setting a deadline for troop withdrawal, according to Feingold's spokesman.

Instead, it would have restricted war spending substantially, confining it to targeted missions against al-Qaeda and affiliated groups, in addition to training Iraqi forces and protecting American personnel and facilities in Iraq. Funding cuts would have begun within 120 days - a monumental change in course for Iraq policy.

Yet, most analysts agree the purpose of the latest bill was not to end the war since sponsors knew, based on precedent, it would fail overwhelmingly in the Senate - and, if it didn't, would be vetoed automatically by President Bush. The last time Feingold proposed similar legislation, about half of Senate Democrats voted against it.

"Leadership knew it wouldn't pass, as almost all of the Republicans could be counted on to oppose it," said Jack Swetland, manager of Congressional affairs at the Center for American Progress.

He added that Feingold's three similar troop withdrawal proposals introduced over the past few months have failed.

The Feingold plan's proponents hoped to "create a vote which could be used against Republicans in the fall election," according to Voices for Creative Nonviolence co-coordinator Jeff Leys.

Click on link to read full story...


The top commander of the United States Marine Corps, General James Conway, has ordered a halt for the remaining orders of a new vest for combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan because it was found to be too heavy.

Known as the Modular Tactical Vest (MTV), Conway said Marines in the filed were complaining the vest was too heavy and cumbersome.

The Corps placed orders for 84,000 MTVs in late 2006, to replace the standard-issue Outer Tactical Vest. Of that initial order, the service has received 76,000, Johnson said.The future of those already-issued vests remains unclear.

The foul up with the vest is similar to the problems the military had when the new heavily armor-plated Humvees were found to be unsafe and could easily rollover.

A source close to the Pentagon said more field tests of the vest should have been conducted before the Marine Corps ordered 84,000 or the vests including the 70,000 that have already been delivered to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Conway puts orders of new vest on hold

By Kimberly Johnson - Staff writer Posted : Friday Feb 29, 2008 6:38:01 EST

The Corps’ top officer has halted remaining orders of the service’s new Modular Tactical Vest amid complaints the gear is too heavy and cumbersome.

Commandant Gen. James Conway “has stopped the execution for the next buy of the MTV after his personal evaluation,” said Lt. Col. T.V. Johnson, Conway’s spokesman.

During a recent visit with Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan, Conway openly questioned the suitability of the vest, distinctive with its over-the-head, slip-on design and quick-release pull cord, Johnson said in a phone interview Wednesday.

“It has some advantages. It also has some disadvantages, especially if you’re putting it on and taking it off a lot.” Conway told Marine Corps Times in December, during an interview at his Pentagon office. “It doesn’t go on or come off easy.”

Marines who have not worn it before tend to like it the first time they put it on, Conway said.
“It rides well,” he said. “The hips do absorb some of the weight. It doesn’t seem that heavy once you get it on. But it will rip your nose or your ears off if you’re not careful when you put it on or take it off.”

The MTV design was initially selected in early 2006 based on the recommendations made by a group of 100 Marines with Iraq combat experience, who tested three different vests, Johnson said. The group overwhelmingly selected the MTV at 89 percent, he said.

The Corps placed orders for 84,000 MTVs in late 2006, to replace the standard-issue Outer Tactical Vest. Of that initial order, the service has received 76,000, Johnson said.
The future of those already-issued vests remains unclear.

“I don’t foresee a recall,” Johnson said. “They are working some actions to mitigate the complaints about the vest.”

The comments coming out of the field from Marines are related more to comfort than effectiveness and levels of protection, Johnson said.

“There will be some assessments made at the very senior-officer level, and those discussions will determine the best way ahead,” he said. “Even without these criticisms, they’re already looking at what the next-generation personal protective equipment might be.”


Angelina Jolie recently went to Baghdad on a humanitarian mission for the UN. During her visit, she dined with U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq and she met with General David Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq.

Jolie wrote a piece for the Washington Post where she expresses her feelings about "the surge" and how she feels the United States should stay in Iraq to help with the refugee crisis that grips Iraq.

Jolie can be seen here in this YouTube video meeting with Gen. Petraeus and dining with U.S. troops in Baghdad.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Angelina Jolie brought her incredible star power to Iraq a few weeks ago as part of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the result was she became an instant hit with bloggers all over the world when she sat down to eat with the U.S. troops inside Camp Victory in Baghdad.

According to the Washington Post's Thusday edition, Jolie has decided the United States military should stay in Iraq for the time being.

Jolie plans to to continue her efforts to help the thousands of displaced Iraqi citizens.

Jolie has penned her own account of what her thoughts are about Iraq and the refugee crisis that grips the nation.

You can read her story here...

Angelina Jolie staying to Help in Iraq

"We have finally reached a point where humanitarian assistance, from us and others, can have an impact."

By Angelina JolieThursday, February 28, 2008; 1:15 PM

The request is familiar to American ears: "Bring them home."

But in Iraq, where I've just met with American and Iraqi leaders, the phrase carries a different meaning. It does not refer to the departure of U.S. troops, but to the return of the millions of innocent Iraqis who have been driven out of their homes and, in many cases, out of the country.

In the six months since my previous visit to Iraq with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, this humanitarian crisis has not improved. However, during the last week, the United States, UNHCR and the Iraqi government have begun to work together in new and important ways.

We still don't know exactly how many Iraqis have fled their homes, where they've all gone, or how they're managing to survive. Here is what we do know: More than 2 million people are refugees inside their own country -- without homes, jobs and, to a terrible degree, without medicine, food or clean water.

Ethnic cleansing and other acts of unspeakable violence have driven them into a vast and very dangerous no-man's land. Many of the survivors huddle in mosques, in abandoned buildings with no electricity, in tents or in one-room huts made of straw and mud.

Fifty-eight percent of these internally displaced people are younger than 12 years old.

An additional 2.5 million Iraqis have sought refuge outside Iraq, mainly in Syria and Jordan. But those host countries have reached their limits. Overwhelmed by the refugees they already have, these countries have essentially closed their borders until the international community provides support.

Click on link above to read the full story by Angelina Jolie from Iraq.


Citizens for a Legitimate Government (CLG) announced late Thursday on their web site that the United States is sending three warships into the waters in the Eastern Mediterranean as a show of strength against Syria.

Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the move should not be construed as "saber rattling" by the United States, but simply a way of showing the United States interest in the region.

US Send Warships to Eastern Med

Thursday February 28 2008
Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Navy is sending three warships to the eastern Mediterranean Sea in a show of strength during a period of tensions with Syria and political uncertainty in Lebanon.

Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters the deployment should not be viewed as threatening or in response to events in any single country in that volatile region.

``This is an area that is important to us, the eastern Med,'' he said when asked about news reports of the ship movements. ``It's a group of ships that will operate in the vicinity there for a while,'' adding that ``it isn't meant to send any stronger signals than that. But it does signal that we're engaged, we're going to be in the vicinity and that's a very, very important part of the world.''

Another military officer, speaking on condition of anonymity because full details about the ship movements are not yet public, said a Navy destroyer, the USS Cole, was headed for patrol in the eastern Mediterranean and that the USS Nassau, an amphibious warship, would be joining it shortly.

The officer said a third ship would go later, but he did not identify it.


Only recently President Bush and his public relations mouthpiece, FOX NEWS, were claiming Falluja should be considered a model of how well "the surge" has been working in Iraq.

However, now the Voices of Iraq is reporting the Falluja Awakening Council has been infiltrated by Al Qaeda in still another display of just how tenuous conditions are in Iraq.

As usual, the mainstream media in the United States has fallen silent on the latest developments out of Falluja.

Falluja Awakening Council infiltrated by al-Qaeda

Anbar - Voices of Iraq
Thursday , 28 /02 /2008 Time 6:18:34

Falluja, Feb 28, (VOI)- The Falluja Awakening Council fighters are being infiltrated by al-Qaeda elements, the chief of local police said on Wednesday.

“The Awakening Council fighters in the city of Falluja are being infiltrated by al-Qaeda elements, mainly in the city’s districts,” Brigadier Faisal al-Zawbaie told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq (VOI).“Police forces and the Awakening Council fighters came under several armed attacks during the past two months because of the security infiltrations inside the council’s fighters,” he explained.

He called on the Awakening Councils to coordinate with Iraqi security forces, mainly in providing them with accurate information on their new fighters.

The Awakening Councils are anti-Qaeda fighters working in coordination with the Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I) and the Iraqi government.Falluja, Anbar province, is 45 km west of Baghdad.


The media doesn't want to report on what is really happening in Iraq, but Dahr Jamail has been the solid voice of what is taking place in Iraq since the United States invaded and occupied Iraq in 2003.

This is just another behind-the-scenes look at an Iraqi city, Baquba, devastated by war and with no hope of anything ever returning to normal.

Why is it the mainstream media in the United States refuses to report on events like this? The answer is the mainstream media in the United States doesn't care about Iraq anymore even though there are 160,000 brave young American men and women deployed to Iraq.

Baquba Losing Life – And Hope

Inter Press Service

By Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail*BAQUBA, Feb 27 (IPS) - Life has been bad enough in Diyala province north of Baghdad after prolonged violence, unemployment and loss of all forms of normal living. What could be worse now is the loss of hope that anything will ever be better.

In Baquba, capital city of Diyala province 40km northeast of Baghdad, it's all about staying alive. Most people have abandoned all projects and activities to sit at home in safety.

"The Iraqi government achieved nothing, just death for this poor province," Hadi Obeid, a now idle trader in Baquba told IPS. "If you look for rights, you will find death."

"People of this province are dead," says resident Luay Amir, who returned to Iraq in 2004 after living 16 years in Austria. "There is no sign of life to be seen. Faces are pale and lifeless, the city is desolate."

People in the city, he said, "have no ambitions, no dreams. When they see each other, they greet one another saying, 'good to see you safe'."

The lack of electricity, clean water, security and jobs is clearly taking its toll.

"People are deprived of everything in this province, and it's a miracle that life still goes on amidst this deprivation," Abdul-Ridha Noman, an employee in the directorate-general of statistics told IPS. "People here have no goal except to move from today to tomorrow."

Noman added, "But they are afraid of tomorrow because it might only bring death or loss."
Many people have fled the violence, but also the hopelessness. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, at least 1.5 million Iraqis have fled to Syria by now. Many have gone from Diyala.

"They sold their properties to live away from terror," Abdullah Mahjob, a 51-year-old schoolteacher in Baquba told IPS. "And they spent their savings to make their children safe."

Ahead of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, people in this city had dreamed of a better future for them and their children. Now, that's a broken dream.

"Life is destroyed by the occupation and its corrupt government, and people have reached a point where nothing means anything to them any more," local dentist Mudhafer al-Janaby told IPS.

"People are concerned about electricity because they see that the children need light because of the examinations. They search for fuel for kerosene heaters in the cold winter, and for their cars," local farmer Iman Mansour told IPS.

"They are concerned how they will find medicines for the sick. They need to find work and then get to it, but there is a curfew, and the militants are everywhere. How can an individual plan for a future while surrounded by all these troubles?"

Click on link to read the full story.


Sixty percent of the officer's surveyed by Foreign Policy Magazine said the military is weaker today than it was five years ago.

In addition to the human strain, there are now widespread reports much of the equipment that has been in use in Iraq and Afghanistan for over five years is worn out and desperately in need of repair or replacement.

Senior Officers Worried About Dangerously Overstretched U.S Military

By Ali Gharib, IPS NewsPosted on February 28, 2008, Printed on February 28, 2008

WASHINGTON, Feb 19 (IPS) - The U.S. military is "severely strained" by two large-scale occupations in the Middle East, other troop deployments, and problems recruiting, according to a new survey of military officers published by Foreign Policy magazine and the centrist think-tank Center for a New American Security.

"They see a force stretched dangerously thin and a country ill-prepared for the next fight," said the report, 'The U.S. Military Index,' which polled 3,400 current and former high-level military officers.

Sixty percent of the officers surveyed said that the military is weaker now than it was five years ago, often citing the number of troops deployed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We ought to pay more attention to quality," said retired Lt. General Gregory Newbold, who retired from the Joint Chiefs of Staff in part over objections to the invasion of Iraq, at a panel during a conference to release the data.

From Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain to President George W. Bush, politicians regularly speak on the military from a position of authority. They know, they contend, that despite the two ongoing wars, the U.S is ready to deal with new threats militarily if need be.

Click on link above to read full story.


There is a myth floating around the United States that started with the Bush White House and has been promoted by the Bush White House propaganda mouthpiece, FOX NEWS, that the U.S. military brought down violence in Baghdad and Falluja with the much touted "surge," but in reality it was the warlords in both cities who got together and ran Al Qaeda out of each city.

The news looks good on the surface, but in truth Iraq is now run by militias, gangs, thugs, radical Islamists and warlords and the United States is caught in the middle of supporting all of them with money and guns.

The media in the United States is obsessed with the race for the White House, but there is a growing concern by many insiders who feel Iraq is about to explode again in sectarian violence.

The story below is a perfect example of what has been taking place in Iraq and what looms on the horizon.

Commentary by Bill Corcoran, editor of CORKSPHERE.

Iraq: The Calm Before the Conflagration

By Chris Hedges, TruthdigPosted on February 27, 2008, Printed on February 28, 2008

The United States is funding and in many cases arming the three ethnic factions in Iraq -- the Kurds, the Shiites and the Sunni Arabs.

These factions rule over partitioned patches of Iraqi territory and brutally purge rival ethnic groups from their midst. Iraq no longer exists as a unified state. It is a series of heavily armed fiefdoms run by thugs, gangs, militias, radical Islamists and warlords who are often paid wages of $300 a month by the U.S. military.

Iraq is Yugoslavia before the storm. It is a caldron of weapons, lawlessness, hate and criminality that is destined to implode. And the current U.S. policy, born of desperation and defeat, means that when Iraq goes up, the U.S. military will have to scurry like rats for cover.

The supporters of the war, from the Bush White House to Sen. John McCain, tout the surge as the magic solution. But the surge, which primarily deployed 30,000 troops in and around Baghdad, did little to thwart the sectarian violence. The decline in attacks began only when we bought off the Sunni Arabs. U.S. commanders in the bleak fall of 2006 had little choice. It was that or defeat. The steady rise in U.S. casualties, the massive car bombs that tore apart city squares in Baghdad and left hundreds dead, the brutal ethnic cleansing that was creating independent ethnic enclaves beyond our control throughout Iraq, the death squads that carried out mass executions and a central government that was as corrupt as it was impotent signaled catastrophic failure.

The United States cut a deal with its Sunni Arab enemies. It would pay the former insurgents. It would allow them to arm and form military units and give them control of their ethnic enclaves. The Sunni Arabs, in exchange, would halt attacks on U.S. troops. The Sunni Arabs agreed.

The U.S. is currently spending hundreds of millions of dollars to pay the monthly salaries of some 600,000 armed fighters in the three rival ethnic camps in Iraq. These fighters -- Shiite, Kurd and Sunni Arab -- are not only antagonistic but deeply unreliable allies. The Sunni Arab militias have replaced central government officials, including police, and taken over local administration and security in the pockets of Iraq under their control. They have no loyalty outside of their own ethnic community. Once the money runs out, or once they feel strong enough to make a thrust for power, the civil war in Iraq will accelerate with deadly speed. The tactic of money-for-peace failed in Afghanistan. The U.S. doled out funds and weapons to tribal groups in Afghanistan to buy their loyalty, but when the payments and weapons shipments ceased, the tribal groups headed back into the embrace of the Taliban.

The Sunni Arab militias are known by a variety of names: the Iraqi Security Volunteers (ISVs), neighborhood watch groups, Concerned Local Citizens, Critical Infrastructure Security. The militias call themselves "sahwas" ("sahwa" being the Arabic word for awakening). There are now 80,000 militia fighters, nearly all Sunni Arabs, paid by the United States to control their squalid patches of Iraq. They are expected to reach 100,000. The Sunni Arab militias have more fighters under arms than the Shiite Mahdi Army and are about half the size of the feeble Iraqi army. The Sunni Awakening groups, which fly a yellow satin flag, are forming a political party.

Click on link above to read the full story.


The Bush administration and their "parrot," FOX NEWS, continue to LIE to the American public about what is REALLY happening in Iraq.

Conditions in Iraq are not what the Bush administration and their mouthpiece, FOX NEWS, claim them to be. It is much worse and there are growing signs Iraq is headed back into a full-scale civil war with 160,000 young Americans caught right in the middle of the sectarian chaos.

U.S. Deaths Confirmed By The DoD:
Reported U.S. Deaths Pending DoD Confirmation:
DoD Confirmation List

Latest Coalition Fatality: Feb 25, 2008
02/27/08 DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Spc. Orlando A. Perez, 23, of Houston, died Feb. 24 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered from small arms fire during dismounted operations. He was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, Vilseck, Germany.

Post Iraq Deaths Not Confirmed By the DoD
Wasielewsk, Anthony Raymond
Cassidy, Gerald J.
Richards, Jack D.
Salerno III, Raymond A.
Smith, John "Bill"
01-Oct-2005Note: The soldiers listed above died from wounds received in Iraq, however, the DoD has not included their deaths in their official count.

02/27/08 AP: US Air Force computer expert kills his 2 young children, himself
A recently divorced airman who served with distinction in Iraq chased his ex-wife out of military housing with a pistol before killing his two young children and himself.

02/27/08 WCAX: Vermont Veteran Says Army Recruiter Misled Him
You may have heard military advertisements offering college tuition as an inducement for young people to sign up. A Vermont man who fought in Iraq now claims that a military recruiter misled him about those education benefits.

02/27/08 MCT: Another review for troubled U.S. Embassy in Baghdad
The State Department's new embassy construction chief has rejected his predecessor's certification that the $740 million new U.S. embassy in Baghdad is "substantially completed" and has instead begun a top-to-bottom review of the troubled project.

02/27/08 NPR: Poorest in Iraq Unable to Seek Refuge
Much has been written about the more than 2 million Iraqis who have sought refuge in neighboring countries. But there are an estimated 2.5 million internally displaced Iraqis who are not getting the help they need.

02/27/08 Reuter: Two gunmen killed in clashes with Iraqi soldiers in Mosul
Two gunmen were killed during clashes with Iraqi soldiers in Mosul, Nineveh security spokesman Brigadier-General Khalid Abdul-Sattar said. He said one of the gunmen was an Iraqi and the other was a Saudi national.

02/27/08 Reuters: Gunmen attack checkpoint near Lake Thar Thar
Gunmen attacked a checkpoint manned by Iraqi police and members of a U.S.-backed neighbourhood police unit, killing two and wounding three, near Lake Thar Thar, 80 km (50 miles) northwest of Baghdad, police said.

02/27/08 Reuters: 1 off-duty Iraqi soldier killed, 2 wounded near Tikrit
An off-duty Iraqi soldier was killed and two wounded when gunmen opened fire on their car near Tikrit, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

02/27/08 Reuters: Gunmen wound four off-duty policemen in Baiji
Gunmen wounded four off-duty policemen in a drive-by shooting in Baiji, 180 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

02/27/08 guardian: Video shows British hostage held in Iraq
The Arabiya satellite TV channel based in Dubai tonight aired a video of one of five Britons held in Iraq for eight months. The man, who gave his name as Peter Moore, said he missed his family very much and "just wanted to get out of here".

02/27/08 AFP: Shiite pilgrims flock to Iraq shrine city
Amid tight security, millions of Shiite pilgrims flocked Wednesday to the Iraqi shrine city of Karbala for Arbaeen, one of the holiest ceremonies in the Shiite calendar which was largely suppressed during the iron-fisted rule of Saddam Hussein.

02/27/08 AP: Bomb kills Shiite pilgrim in Iraq on holy day
Shiite pilgrims headed to a major religious gathering were again targeted by extremists today when a roadside bomb detonated near a bus in Baghdad, killing one traveler, police said.


The Bush administration and their mouthpiece, FOX NEWS, can do all the chest-thumping they want about how well things are going in Iraq, but the reality is Iraq is falling apart again.

The Sunni faction is fed up with the U.S. military and the Iraqi government, such as it is.

Many Sunni "fighters" no longer are interested in bringing stability to Iraq and are leaving their posts.

The handwriting is on the wall. Iraq is now headed for another major crisis, and caught right in the middle of the upcoming crisis are 160,000 brave young Americans who have been deployed to Iraq.

And STILL the media in the United States ignores what is happening in Iraq. This Washington Post story is the first major newspaper story about Iraq in months.

Bill Corcoran, editor of CORKSPHERE,, a blog dedicated to not letting the troops down in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sunni Forces Losing Patience With U.S.Citing Lack of Support

Frustrated Iraqi Volunteers Are Abandoning Posts

By Sudarsan Raghavan and Amit R. PaleyWashington Post Foreign ServiceThursday, February 28, 2008; A01

BAGHDAD, Feb. 28 -- U.S.-backed Sunni volunteer forces, which have played a vital role in reducing violence in Iraq, are increasingly frustrated with the American military and the Iraqi government over what they see as a lack of recognition of their growing political clout and insufficient U.S. support.

Since Feb. 8, thousands of fighters in restive Diyala province have left their posts in order to pressure the government and its American backers to replace the province's Shiite police chief.

On Wednesday, their leaders warned that they would disband completely if their demands were not met.

In Babil province, south of Baghdad, fighters have refused to man their checkpoints after U.S. soldiers killed several comrades in mid-February in circumstances that remain in dispute.

Some force leaders and ground commanders also reject a U.S.-initiated plan that they say offers too few Sunni fighters the opportunity to join Iraq's army and police, and warn that low salaries and late payments are pushing experienced members to quit.

The predominantly Sunni Awakening forces, referred to by the U.S. military as the Sons of Iraq or Concerned Local Citizens, are made up mostly of former insurgents who have turned against extremists because of their harsh tactics and interpretation of Islam.

The U.S. military pays many fighters roughly $10 a day to guard and patrol their areas.

Thousands more unpaid volunteers have joined out of tribal and regional fealties.

U.S. efforts to manage this fast-growing movement of about 80,000 armed men are still largely effective, but in some key areas the control is fraying. The tensions are the most serious since the Awakening was launched in Anbar province in late 2006, according to Iraqi officials, U.S. commanders and 20 Awakening leaders across Iraq.

Some U.S. military officials say they are growing concerned that the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq has infiltrated Awakening forces in some areas.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


The hopes and dreams of this blogger is that someday the mainstream media will again start covering what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan, but until that time comes, if ever, we will continue to bring to readers of this blog the latest information about death, mayhem, chaos and violence in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Commentary by Bill Corcoran, editor of CORKSPHERE

U.S.Casualty Reports From Iraq: More Violence in Baghdad and Across Iraq

Pfc. Jake Williams was spending his 20th birthday – Aug. 13, 2007 – on combat patrol in the Iraqi desert when a bomb blast tore through his Humvee. “I remember looking down at my (right) hand, just hanging there,” said Williams, of Sun City in Riverside County. Half a year later, minus his amputated hand, he's out of combat but still among his military buddies.

Army Spc. Saul Martinez, 23, of Bloomington, who lost both of his legs following a roadside bomb blast in Iraq last May. Shrapnel riddled Williams' body and mangled his hand. Worse, a jagged piece of metal pierced his neck. His friends had to cut a hole in his throat to let him breathe.

A roadside bomb struck a minibus carrying travelers to a Shiite religious commemoration Wednesday morning, killing one traveler and wounding two others, police said. Wednesday's attack occurred in eastern Baghdad when the bomb went off next to the minibus, according to a police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

#2: A civilian was injured on Wednesday in a roadside bomb explosion in southeastern Baghdad, the commander of the Baghdad's operations said. "An improvised explosive device, planted by unknown gunmen near Sahet Misloun in southeastern Baghdad, went off, wounding one civilian," General Qassem Atta told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

#3: A civilian was killed and two others were wounded when an IED exploded targeting a Caprice carrying fuel cans in al Ghadeer neighborhood in east Baghdad. The car exploded and was completely charred.

#4 IRAQ journalists' union chief Shihab al-Timimi died of a heart attack on Wednesday just days after being wounded in a drive-by shooting, a union official said. The 75-year-old had been rushed to a Baghdad hospital with a bullet wound to his chest after Saturday's attack on his car. Yesterday he suffered a heart attack which he could not survive, union secretary general Moaed al-Lami said.

#5: Police found two unidentified bodies in Baghdad today. One body was found in Doura neighborhood while the other body was found in Mashtal neighborhood.

Hilla:#1: Babil Police found an unidentified body in al Tihmaziyah village southwest of Hilla city on Wednesday morning, police of Hilla city said. Police said that the deceased body carried signs of torture and bullet wounds

Basra:#1: Gunmen using machine guns opened fire, killing one police officer, first lieutenant Raid Khudair, in the al Mutaiha area south of Basra city on Wednesday morning, police said.

Tikrit:#1: An off-duty Iraqi soldier was killed and two wounded when gunmen opened fire on their car near Tikrit, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.Baiji:#1: Gunmen wounded four off-duty policemen in a drive-by shooting in Baiji, 180 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

Lake Thar Thar:#1: Gunmen attacked a checkpoint manned by Iraqi police and members of a U.S.-backed neighbourhood police unit, killing two and wounding three, near Lake Thar Thar, 80 km (50 miles) northwest of Baghdad, police said.

Kirkuk:#1: "Domiz police chief, Colonel Anwar Hussein, survived an attempt on his life when a booby-trapped car targeted his convoy in al-Askari neighborhood in northern Kirkuk," the source, who requested anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq, Voices of Iraq, (VOI)."The explosion did not cause any damage or casualties," the source explained.

#2: Unknown gunmen kidnapped two workers and a trucker in the main road leading to Rashad district, near Sami al-Assi village, 30 km south-west of Kirkuk, an eyewitness told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq - (VOI) over the phone. He added, "The gunmen abducted the three individuals when their vehicle carrying construction materials passed by the road, taking them to an unknown place."

Mosul:#1: Two gunmen were killed during clashes with Iraqi soldiers in Mosul, Nineveh security spokesman Brigadier-General Khalid Abdul-Sattar said. He said one of the gunmen was an Iraqi and the other was a Saudi national.

#2: Two people were killed and one wounded when a car bomb exploded near a police patrol in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, said Brigadier-General Khalid Abdul-Sattar, the military spokesman for Nineveh province.

#3: Gunmen using machineguns opened fire killed a student in Mosul University. The incident took place in Hamdaniyah town east of Mosul city on Tuesday night.

Afghanistan:#1: A roadside bomb killed two Polish soldiers patrolling in eastern Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday, while NATO announced the seizure of $400 million in opium in the south. The explosion hit the troops in the Sharan district of Paktika province on Tuesday, said NATO's International Security Assistance Force. The Polish troops were returning from a humanitarian aid meeting in a village when their Humvee drove over a roadside mine, Maj. Dariusz Kacperczyk, spokesman for the Polish army operational command, said in Warsaw. The two soldiers killed were identified as Cpl. Szymon Slowik and Pvt. Hubert Kowalewski. One soldier was also wounded

#2: Afghanistan's interior minister survived a rocket and small arms ambush by suspected Taliban insurgents to the east of the capital Kabul on Wednesday, a ministry official said. Interior Minister Zarar Ahmad Moqbel was traveling through the Tangi Abrishim area of Laghman province when the attackers opened fire on his convoy with a single rocket, then followed up with a volley of small arms fire, the official said. The minister's guards returned fire, but there was no news of any casualties in the exchange and it was not clear if the attackers knew he was in the convoy, said the official, who declined to be named.

#3: Australia says its soldiers have fought off a number of Taliban attacks over the past few days in southern Afghanistan. The defence department says extremists used rocket propelled grenades and small arms fire to attack the troops while they were working on a construction site, building a patrol base for the Afghan National Army. The department says the immediate and aggressive response to the attacks forced the militants to retreat and abandon their weapons. No Australian troops have been injured.

#4: Norway's defence ministry said on Wednesday it would allow some of its soldiers stationed in Afghanistan to go to the south of the country where battles against the Taliban and al-Qaeda have been the toughest and Canada has been pleading for more allied help. But a group of 50 soldiers, to be sent to the war-torn state in October to help train the Afghan army, will be able to accompany Afghan troops into southern Afghanistan.

Iraqi council rejects elections law
Iraq's presidential council rejected a measure Wednesday setting up provincial elections, sending it back to parliament in the latest setback to U.S.-backed national reconciliation efforts. The three-member panel, however, approved the 2008 budget and another law that provides limited amnesty to detainees in Iraqi custody. Those laws will take effect once they are published in the Justice Ministry gazette. The three laws were approved as a package by the Iraqi parliament on Feb. 13. The step drew praise from the Bush administration, which had sought passage of a provincial powers law as one of 18 benchmarks to promote reconciliation among Iraq's Sunni and Shiite Arab communities and the large Kurdish minority.


Just when the Bush Administration and Jennifer Griffin of FOX NEWS and BRIT HUME'S "FOX NEWS SPECIAL REPORT" were boasting about how well things were going politically in Iraq, the Iraqi government rejected a measure to hold provincial elections.

The rejection is a major blow to the United States and the Bush Administration who were hoping the elections would solidfy Iraq.

Iraqi council rejects elections law

24 minutes ago

Iraq's presidential council rejected Wednesday a measure setting up provincial elections — seen as a key step to develop Iraq's nascent democracy — in the latest setback to U.S.-backed national reconciliation efforts.

The three-member panel approved the 2008 budget and another law that provides limited amnesty to detainees in Iraqi custody.

The three laws were approved as a package by the Iraqi parliament on Feb. 13. The move drew praise from the Bush administration, which had sought passage of a provincial powers law as one of 18 benchmarks to promote reconciliation among Iraq's Sunni and Shiite Arab communities and the Kurdish minority.

"No agreement has been reached in the Presidency Council to approve the provincial elections draft law and that it has been sent back to the parliament to reconsider the rejected articles," the presidential council said in a statement.

The panel is composed of President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, Shiite Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi and Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi.


As the Iraq war now is about to enter its sixth year, it should come as no surprise to anyone that many of the soldiers serving in Iraq are suffering from severe mental health problems.

It also should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed how the Bush Administration and the military have dealt with problems in the military that many of the soldiers in dire need need of mental health treatment are not getting it because military doctors are withholding treatment.

The result has been an increase in suicides and suicide attempts with active duty GIs and those released by the military.

The mistreatment of soldiers and Marines with mental health issues is just one more black mark on the military and the Bush administration who are quick to send troops to Iraq but not so quick to provide them with adequate mental health care when they return to the United States.

Military Doctors Withholding Treatment from Soldiers with Mental Health Problems

By Maggie Mahar, Health BeatPosted on February 27, 2008, Printed on February 27, 2008

Since 9/11, one Army division has spent more time in Iraq than any other group of soldiers: the 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum, New York.

Over the past 6 years and and six months, their 2nd Brigade Combat Team (BCT) has been the most deployed brigade in the army. As of this month, the brigade had completed its fourth tour of Iraq. All in all, the soldiers of BCT have spent 40 months in Iraq
At what cost? According to
a February 13 report issued by the Veterans for America's (VFA) Wounded Warrior Outreach Program, which is dedicated to strengthening the military mental health system, it is not just their bodies that have been maimed and, in some cases, destroyed.

Many of these soldiers are suffering from severe mental health problems that have led to suicide attempts as well as spousal abuse and alcoholism.

Meanwhile, the soldiers of the 2nd BCT have been given too little time off in between deployments: In one case they had only six months to mentally "re-set"; following an eight-month tour in Afghanistan -- before beginning a 12-month tour in Iraq.

Then, in April 2007, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates decided to extend Army tours in Iraq from 12 to 15 months -- shortly after the BCT had passed what it assumed was its halfway mark in Iraq.

As the VFA report points out, "Mental health experts have explained that 'shifting the goalposts' on a soldier's deployment period greatly contributes to an increase in mental health problems."

Perhaps it should not come as a surprise that, during its most recent deployment, the 2nd BCT suffered heavy casualties. "Fifty-two members of the 2nd BCT were killed in action (KIA)," the VFA reports and "270 others were listed as non-fatality casualties, while two members of the unit remain missing in action (MIA)."

Go back to link to read the full story.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


02/26/08 AP: 19-year-old Ft. Campbell soldier killed near Baghdad The mother of 19-year-old Pfc. Michael Phillips of Ardmore, Okla., says she was told Sunday afternoon that her son was killed Sunday morning...near Baghdad when the Humvee he was in was hit by a roadside bomb.

02/26/08 Reuters: Three bodies found in Baghdad, 1 in Hilla
Three bodies were found in different districts across Baghdad on Monday, police said...A body was found with gunshot wounds in central Hilla, 100 km (60 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

02/26/08 Reuters: Gunmen kill 2 neighbourhood policemen in Kirkuk
Gunmen killed two U.S.-backed neighbourhood policemen in a drive-by shooting in an attack on their checkpoint in a town south of Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

02/26/08 IRIN: Iraq's health sector under pressure
With scores of doctors killed over the past few years, an exodus of medical personnel, poor medical infrastructure and shortages of medicines, Iraq's health sector is under great pressure, a senior Health Ministry official said on 26 February.

02/26/08 Xinhua: 2 Turkish soldiers killed in operation in N Iraq
Two soldiers of the Turkish Armed Forces were killed in the latest fighting during the cross-border ground operation in northern Iraq on Tuesday, Turkish military said.

02/26/08 Xinhua: Three Iraqis killed in northern Iraq
Three people were killed in two attacks in a town in Salahudin province on Tuesday, a source from U.S. and Iraqi liaison office said. Unknown gunmen stormed a house early in the morning in the town of Tuz-Khurmato...

02/26/08 AFP: Suicide bomber kills nine on
Iraqi bus
A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a bus travelling from the northern Iraqi city of Mosul to Syria on Tuesday, killing at least nine passengers, an Iraqi army officer told AFP.

02/26/08 PANews: Iraq condemns Turkish incursion
The Iraqi government has denounced Turkish incursions targeting Kurdish and demanded an immediate withdrawal of Turkish troops from northern Iraq. Spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the military action was a violation of Iraqi sovereignty...

02/26/08 AP: Probe Sought in Marine Vehicle Delays
The Marine Corps has asked the Pentagon's inspector general to examine allegations that a nearly two-year delay in the fielding of blast-resistant vehicles led to hundreds of combat casualties in Iraq.

And still the mainstream media and FOX NEWS claim everything is just peachy in IRAQ.