Wednesday, March 12, 2008



It is shocking but not surprising considering how the mainstream media has "spiked" any stories about the Iraq war.

The Pew Research Center study shows only 28 percent of those polled could correctly answer about 4,000 U.S. troops have died in the Iraq war. That is down from last August when 54 percent gave the accurate casualty figure, which was about 3,5000 dead at that time.

Exit polls of voters in presidential primaries and many national surveys have shown the economy has displaced the war in recent weeks as the public choice as the nation's top problem.Iraq was the most avidly followed news story for most of the first half of 2007, but it has not been the most closely watched story in any week since mid-October, according to a Pew survey of people's interest in the news.

The portion of news stories on the war has dropped in recent months as well, according to a study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, a nonpartisan group that evaluates news coverage.

Which begs the question. Will the mainstream media cover the gathering of hundreds of Iraq War Veterans Against the War beginning Thursday on Capital Hill in Washington?

There is one news outlet which will snub the event, and if they do cover any portion of the testimony of Iraq War veterans about atrocities they have seen it will be a snipped squeezed in between endless political coverage and more on New York Governor Elliot Spitzer's resignation over charges he was involved with prostitutes.

That news outlet is FOX NEWS which has always treated the Iraq war as a sidebar story.

While the interest in the Iraq war wanes with Americans, the death of Americans in Iraq doesn't take a holiday.

Three U.S. soldiers were killed in a rocket attack in southern Iraq on Wednesday, bringing to 12 the number of Americans who have been killed in Iraq over the past three days.

With the overall U.S. military death toll in Iraq nearing 4,000, the latest killings mark a significant rise in deadly attacks against Americans.

At least 3,987 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an AP count. The figure includes eight military civilians.

Navy Lt. Patrick Evans, a military spokesman, told The Associated Press that three soldiers were killed Wednesday in a rocket attack on Combat Outpost Adder near Nasiriyah, about 200 miles southeast of Baghdad. Two other soldiers were wounded.

The attack came a day after an American soldier died when a roadside bomb hit his patrol near Diwaniyah, 80 miles south of Baghdad.

Eight soldiers were killed in a pair of bomb attacks on Monday, the heaviest single day of U.S. casualties since September.

Three of those soldiers died in a roadside bombing in Diyala, a violent province where al-Qaida in Iraq has been active.

The five others were killed while on foot patrol in central Baghdad. A suicide bomber approached them and detonated his explosives vest. The Islamic State of Iraq, a Sunni militant group, issued a statement Wednesday claiming responsibility for the soldiers' deaths. Three Americans and an Iraqi interpreter were wounded.

AP story carried by Yahoo News:;_ylt=Am2Jn4xmTEjs7DijFy7Hi_ZX6GMA


There has been a massive increase in violence in both Iraq and Afghanistan as the following report clearly indicates.

But we lead off with the story of Army Spc. Jordan Riddle, Arlington, Texas a veteran of the Iraq war and his battle at trying to rehabilitate himself following horrendous injuries sustained when he was injured in Iraq.

Army Spc. Jordan Riddle, Arlington, Texas returned from Iraq about 40 pounds lighter and with no memory of the January explosion that almost took his life. Members of Riddle's unit were clearing houses of Sunni insurgents in Sinsil on Jan. 9 when a booby-trapped home exploded, killing six soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter, said Riddle's sister Shannon Murphy. But the explosion blew Riddle backward, and a block of concrete landed on top of him. Murphy said she was told by an another injured soldier from the unit that the block covered her brother from his chin to his lower legs."It took 20 men and two Stryker vehicles to get that thing off of him," Riddle said he will spend another six months recuperating from his injuries. The blast and concrete collapsed both his lungs, broke his right arm in several places, tore flesh from his abdomen and burned his face.



War News for Wednesday, March 12, 2008

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a U.S. Soldier in an improvised explosive device attack in near Ad Diwaniyah on Monday, March 11th. Two other soldier were wounded in the attack.

The Canadian DND is reporting the death of a soldier who was found dead in an accommodation room, at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan on Monday, March 11th. No further details are available at this time, although enemy action has been ruled out. Here's the ISAF statement

Baghdad:#1: A roadside bomb went off in the Amin neighborhood in eastern Baghdad, killed two civilians and wounded ten others, including dustmen, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. The blast, apparently, missed a U.S. patrol which has just passed the scene, the source said.

#2-4: Three more roadside bombs went off near U.S. patrols in areas of Talbiyah, Shaab and Taji in northern Baghdad, the source said. There was no word on casualties among the U.S. soldiers as the troops immediately cordoned off the areas, he said. The U.S. military has not confirmed the attack on its patrols yet.

#2: Around 10:10 am, a roadside bomb targeted an American patrol at Shaab neighborhood (north Baghdad) towards the industrial area. No casualties reported.

#3: Around 9 am, a roadside bomb targeted an American patrol near Talbia Bridge towards Shaab neighborhood (north Baghdad).No casualties reported.

#4: Around 9:15 am, a roadside bomb targeted an American patrol at Taji near Baghdad’s north gate .No casualties reported.

#5: In a separate incident, five civilians were injured when a roadside bomb exploded at about 07:30 a.m. local time (0430 GMT) in Palestine Street in eastern Baghdad, he said.

#6: Meanwhile, three civilians were wounded when three mortar rounds landed on Baghdad's northern neighborhood of the al-Shaab, the source said.

#7: Three mortars landed in Baghdad's Green Zone, but details of casualties were not available, police said.

#8: Around 10 am, an American patrol defused a roadside bomb at Saidiyah neighborhood (south Baghdad) near Imam Ali mosque.

Diyala Prv:#1: Police found one dead body at one of the orchards in Dali Abass village (east of Baquba)

.#2: Around 2:10 pm, a ten year girl was killed due to clashes took place at Bazaiz Buhrz (10 km south of Baquba) between gunmen and Iraqi army. The girl was in a farm with her aunt when a bullet killed her at once.

Bahraz:#1: The bodies of a man and his wife, who had disappeared earlier on Wednesday, were found in south of Baaquba, a security source said. “A man and his wife were found dead a few hours after being kidnapped by al-Qaeda armed group in Bazayez region in Bahraz district, south of Baaquba,” the source, who wished to be unnamed, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq

Kanan:#1: Around 1:50 pm, mortars hit Kanan village targeting Sheikh Tha’r Ghadhban’s funeral (who was killed two days ago) .Four people were injured (including a woman and a child).

#2: Police found a dead body at the way between Kanan –Balad Ruz (20 km east of Baquba).Nasiriya:#1: Update-- one coalition soldier were wounded in the attack about 50 miles from Nasiriyah, about 200 miles southeast of Baghdad.--Dr. Hadi Badr al-Riyahi, head of the Nasiriyah provincial health directorate, confirmed Wednesday that the attack on the bus traveling from Najaf to Basra killed 16 civilians and wounded 20.

Diwaniyah:#1: A U.S. Soldier was killed from injuries sustained from an improvised explosive device during a combat patrol near Ad Diwaniyah March 11. Additionally, two U.S. Soldiers were wounded in the explosion and transported to a Coalition forces medical facility for further evaluation and treatment.

Kut:#1: update from 4 killed--At least 17 people have been killed, including five children, in fire exchang between militants and Iraqi and US forces in the Shiite city of Kut, AFP reported Wednesday. "Seventeen people have been killed, including five children and a female college student. Others are young men," Mamoon Ajil, registrar at Kut's Al-Zahra hospital said.The military said Iraqi forces were patrolling the city on Tuesday when they were attacked by several "enemy fighters" . The Iraqi forces requested assistance from the US forces who provided ground and air support.

Iskandariya:#1: Gunmen opened fire randomly in Iskandiriya town, 50 km north Hilla, leaving two civilian wounded, one of them died from a sustained injury when he arrived at the hospital”, Babel source, who requested anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq-Voices of Iraq.

Musayyib:#1: gunmen opened fire on a woman standing at her house in Musayyib town, 40 north Hilla, leaving her wounded".

Basra:#1: A senior figure in Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Basra office, Saed al-Haidery, was shot dead in northern Basra, police and Sadrist officials said.

#2: Gunmen shot and killed a former official of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, 550 km (340 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

Samarra:#1: Three fuel truck drivers were killed when three roadside bombs went off near a convoy of seven fuel trucks on the main road near Samarra, 100 km (60 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. Three trucks were set ablaze.

Baiji:#1: Around 10 am, a policeman was killed by a guard of Baiji mayor based on tribal revenge .A curfew was announced in the city after this incident to control the situation.

Kirkuk:#1: A roadside bomb targeting a local council member near Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, wounded two of his bodyguards, police said.

Mosul:#1: Six fuel trucks were set ablaze and three drivers were wounded on Tuesday when a bomb attached to one of the vehicles detonated, in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

Afghanistan:#1: A suicide car bomber attacked a convoy of Canadian troops in southern Afghanistan Wednesday, killing a passing civilian and wounding one soldier. An Associated Press reporter at the scene in Kandahar said a Humvee vehicle of the convoy was burned and destroyed. NATO troops cordoned off the area, preventing journalists and police getting near the vehicles. A passing truck driver was killed in the attack, and two civilian passers-by were wounded, said police officer Nematullah Khan.

#2: In other violence, Taliban militants attacked a district administrative compound Tuesday in southern Zabul province, and the ensuing one-hour gunbattle left one Taliban dead and three wounded, said Mizan district chief Mohammad Younus Akhunzada.

#3: A telecommunications tower was set ablaze in western Afghanistan, a police official said Wednesday, the latest such attack since insurgents warned phone companies to shut down the towers at night. Five militants set fire to the generator, fuel tank and antenna of the tower Tuesday night in the Obe district of Herat province, said Raouf Ahmadi, a regional police spokesman. The tower belonged to the Areeba company.

#4: An investigation has been launched after a Canadian soldier was found dead at the main military base in Kandahar. The body of Bombardier Jeremie Ouellet was found Tuesday afternoon in sleeping quarters at the Kandahar Air Field. Ouellet, 22, was with the 1st Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, based in Shilo, Man. "The soldier's death is not related to combat, Brig.-Gen. Guy Laroche said in a briefing at the air field, 12 hours after Ouellet's body was found.

#5: Two women and two children have been killed during a NATO operation against suspected Taliban insurgents in southern Afghanistan, the alliance says.


The wounded from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has overwhelmed the resources of the Veterans Administration and many returning veterans are not getting the necessary medical services they need as part of their rehabilitation.

Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, an advocacy group based in Washington, said the VA's budget request for 2009 also does not pay adequate attention to chronic problems facing Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, such as drug and alcohol addictions.

This week, a federal judge in San Francisco held the first hearing in a class-action suit filed by two vet groups, including Sullivan's, against the VA alleging neglect in treating suicidal soldiers.

The suit seeks prompt screening and treatment of potentially suicidal veterans.144 suicides through '05 According to VA research obtained last month by The Associated Press, 144 veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan committed suicide from the start of the war in Afghanistan in 2001 through the end of 2005. Statistics from 2006 and 2007 were not yet available.

Dr. Gerald Cross, a VA official, said during this week's hearings that 120,000 vets from Iraq and Afghanistan using VA care have potential mental health problems, and that nearly 68,000 have potential post-traumatic stress disorder.*


NEW YORK The number of wounded soldiers has become a hallmark of the nearly 5-year-old Iraq war, pointing to both the use of roadside bombs as the extremists' weapon of choice and advances in battlefield medicine to save lives.

About 15 soldiers are wounded for every fatality, compared with 2.6 per death in Vietnam and 2.8 in Korea.But with those saved soldiers comes a financial price — one veterans groups and others claim the government is unwilling to pay.

Those critics also say that the tens of thousands of soldiers wounded in Iraq are part of a political numbers game, one they say undermines the system meant to care for them.

The most frequently cited figure is the 29,320 soldiers wounded in action in Iraq as of Thursday. But there have been 31,325 others treated for non-combat injuries and illness as of March 1.

"The Pentagon keeps two sets of books," said Linda Bilmes, a professor at Harvard and an expert on budgeting and public finance whose newly published book, The Three Trillion Dollar War, was co-authored with Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz."It is important to understand the full number of casualties because the U.S. government is responsible for paying disability compensation and medical care for all our troops, regardless of how they were injured," Bilmes said.$2.3 billion increase Veterans Affairs predicts it will treat 330,000 veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan in 2009 — a 14 percent increase over the 2008 estimate of 263,000 — at a cost of nearly $1.3 billion.

For the 2009 budget, the White House requested $93.7 billion for the VA, including $41.2 billion for medical care for all veterans — not just those from Iraq and Afghanistan. That's an increase of $2.3 billion over the current budget.

But critics say that is not enough for a system that has a backlog of about 400,000 pending medical claims and complaints, especially in mental health care.The VA "will not request enough resources to care for the troops — and in fact this is precisely what has happened in the past three years," said Bilmes.

Cynthia Smith, a Pentagon spokeswoman, rejected accusations that the government is trying to hide or obscure the number of wounded soldiers by placing the total in two categories on its Web pages."Both of the Web sites have equal importance. They are just counting different things," Smith said.

"Neither is more prominent than the other."James Peake, secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, said that funding for VA medical care requested for next year is "more than twice what it was seven years ago" before operations in Afghanistan started.

But Bilmes says the VA is hoping to offset some of the costs through increased fees and co-payments — putting more of the burden for health care costs back on soldiers."That is the thing that sticks in the gullet, the fact they're hoping to raise $2 or $3 billion through their fees, which is what we spend in Iraq and Afghanistan in about three days," she said. "For three days of fighting, we could not charge these vets a higher co-payment."


Most everyone knows the biggest cause of fatalities and injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan are IEDs, or Improvised Explosive Devices.

But few people REALLY know what it is like to be in the vicinity when an IED explodes.

We have a video, thanks to IAVA, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America ( who released the following video to give people a sense of what it is like when an IED explodes. The shock waves and sound can be deafening.

This is what our troops are facing in Iraq and Afghanistan on a daily basis and part of the Iraq and Afghanistan war story the media no longer covers.

See the video here:

Viewing this video is especially approrpriate because on Thursday, March 13 through March 16 hundreds of members of Iraq Veterans Against the War ( will meet with members of Congress where they will relate stories about the atrocities they saw committed by U.S. troops while they were serving in the U.S. Army or United States Marine Corps in Iraq


It took five years but the Pentagon has finally released a study showing there never was a link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda before the United States invaded and occupied Iraq in 2003.

The Pentagon study shoots down former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's statement that there was "bullet-proof evidence" that there was a connection between Saddam Hussein an al Qaeda.

Even after the United States invaded Iraq and didn't find any weapons of mass destruction, or a nuclear capability, Vice President Dick Cheney was still telling veteran audiences there was a tie between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.

But it didn't stop there.

President Bush not long ago said al Qaeda was active in Iraq before the invasion, and then Republican Presidential candidate John McCain made fun of Democratic Presidential candidate Barak Obama for saying al Qaeda was not in Iraq until the United States invaded Iraq.

Obama was right and both Bush and McCain were wrong according to the Pentagon study.

Al Qaeda didn't make their presence known in Iraq until AFTER the United States invaded and occupied Iraq five years ago.

Study finds no Saddam-al-Qaeda link

The US invaded Iraq saying it had ties to al-Qaeda and had weapons of mass destruction

An exhaustive Pentagon-backed study of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents seized after the 2003 US-led invasion has found no direct link between Saddam Hussein's government and The alleged link was one of the main reasons given by the US for going to war with Iraq and the then defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, had said there was "bulletproof" evidence of a connection.

But leaked excerpts from the report due for release on Wednesday indicate the first official acknowledgement from the US military that there was no "direct operational link" with al-Qaeda, according to the McClatchy Newspapers group.

The original reason for going to war - that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction that posed an imminent threat - has also lost credibility, with no such weapons found five years after the invasion.

Besides the hundreds of thousands of documents, the study's researchers also used thousands of hours of interrogations of former senior officials in Saddam's government now in US custody.

The study does indicate that Saddam Hussein did much to support "terrorism" in the Middle East and used it "as a routine tool of state power".

His government, the study says, had a programme for the "development, construction, certification and training for car bombs and suicide vests in 1999 and 2000".

But "the predominant targets of Iraqi state terror operations were Iraqi citizens, both inside and outside of Iraq" who were seen as Saddam's enemies, the report says.


From March 13-16th, U.S. veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan will testify to what is really happening day in and day out, on the ground in these occupations. To provide a preview, we've created this short film. The film features three members who will be testifying at Winter Soldier and includes videos and photographs of Iraq from their deployments. This video contains graphic content.

You can activate the video by clicking on it and if care to you can click on the toggle button for a full screen. Click on esc. to exit full screen.

The three Iraq war veterans tell of their experiences in Iraq. It is shocking and graphic and not for anyone with a weak stomach.

The question on this former reporter's mind is will the mainstream media pay as much attention to the testimony before Congress starting March 13 and running through March 16 of these Iraq war veterans as they have done covering the election primaries and the latest scandal involving New York Governor Elliot Spitzer.

It would be an insult to every young American serving in the United States military and their families back in the United States if the mainstream media continues their blackout of anything to do with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.