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.