Sunday, March 16, 2008


Do many people know what the ROE are? They are the "Rules of Engagement" and they are printed on a little card you carry in the breast pocket of your fatigues. And that is where it least in Iraq.

The ROE is kind of like General Orders in the military. The General Orders state you are not supposed to leave your post. Makes sense. But like the Rules of Engagement, the General Orders can get a little muddied up in the heat of battle.

You may not abandon your post until relieved, but if your position is being overrun by the enemy you sure as hell aren't going to stand there and be slaughtered. The same goes for the Rules of Engagement in a war like the Iraq war where you can't tell the good guys from the bad guys.

You are instructed not to kill innocent civilians, but sometimes an innocent civilian can turn into a deadly killer in the blink of an eye.

Forget about the ROE, or Rules of Engagement in Iraq. ROE should be changed to CYA, and I think everyone knows what CYA stands for.

Commentary by Bill Corcoran, editor of CORKSPHERE, and a former Squad Leader with the United States Army Combat Engineers and a Korean War veteran.

Iraq: 'Rules of Engagement Thrown out the Window'

By Dahr Jamail, IPS NewsPosted on March 16, 2008, Printed on March 16, 2008

Garret Reppenhagen received integral training about the Geneva Conventions and the Rules of Engagement during his deployment in Kosovo. But in Iraq, "Much of this was thrown out the window," he says.

"The men I served with are professionals," Reppenhagen told the audience at a panel of U.S. veterans speaking of their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, "They went to Iraq to defend the U.S. But we found rapidly we were killing Iraqis in horrible ways. But we had to in order to remain safe ourselves. The war is the atrocity."
The event, which has drawn international media attention, was organised by Iraq Veterans Against the War. It aims to show that their stories of wrongdoing in both countries were not isolated incidents limited to a few "bad apples", as the Pentagon claims, but were everyday occurrences.
The panel on the "Rules of Engagement" (ROE) during the first full day of the gathering, named "Winter Soldier" to honour a similar gathering 30 years ago of veterans of the Vietnam War, was held in front of a visibly moved audience of several hundred, including veterans from Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam. Winter soldiers, according to U.S. founding father Thomas Paine, are the people who stand up for the soul of their country, even in its darkest hours
Reppenhagen served in Iraq from February 2004-2005 in the city of Baquba, 40 kms northeast of Baghdad. He said his first experience in Iraq was being on a patrol that killed two Iraqi farmers as they worked in their field at night.

"I was told they were out in the fields farming because their pumps only operated with electricity, which meant they had to go out in the dark when there was electricity," he explained, "I asked the sergeant, if he knew this, why did he fire on the men. He told me because the men were out after curfew. I was never given another ROE during my time in Iraq."

Click on link above to read Dahr Jamail's full story.


One of George Bush's most insidious legacies in Iraq thus remains its most mysterious; the marriage of nationalism and spiritual ferocity, the birth of an unprecedentedly huge army of Muslims inspired by the idea of death.

The US's occupation of Iraq will see to it that the Lion of Babylon rises again .. سنـُبعـَث ُ من جَديد ، وإلى ضَـيـرِِهِـم

This is perhaps the most frightening and ghoulish legacy of George Bush's invasion of Iraq five years ago. Suicide bombers in Iraq have killed at least 13,000 men, women and children – our most conservative estimate gives a total figure of 13,132 – and wounded a minimum of 16,112 people. If we include the dead and wounded in the mass stampede at the Baghdad Tigris river bridge in the summer of 2005 – caused by fear of suicide bombers – the figures rise to 14,132 and 16,612 respectively. Again, it must be emphasised that these statistics are minimums. For 529 of the suicide bombings in Iraq, no figures for wounded are available. Where wounded have been listed in news reports as "several", we have made no addition to the figures. And the number of critically injured who later died remains unknown. Set against a possible death toll of half a million Iraqis since the March 2003 invasion, the suicide bombers' victims may appear insignificant; but the killers' ability to terrorise civilians, militiamen and Western troops and mercenaries is incalculable.

Robert Fisk

The cult of the suicide bomber

There rarely was a suicide in Iraq before 2003 ... نادراً ما سمعنا عن إنتحار عراقي قبل الإحتلال

Few players in the 'war on terror' are more chilling, or misunderstood, than suicide bombers. Yet the true scale of their grisly activities has never been properly calculated. Five years after the invasion of Iraq, Robert Fisk details the shocking extent of the most widespread campaign of self-liquidation in human history

Never before has the Arab world witnessed a phenomenon of suicide-death on this scale. During Israel's occupation of Lebanon after 1982, one Hizbollah suicide-bombing a month was considered remarkable. During the Palestinian intifadas of the 1980s and 1990s, four per month was regarded as unprecedented. But suicide bombers in Iraq have been attacking at the average rate of two every three days since the 2003 Anglo-American invasion.

And, although neither the Iraqi government nor their American mentors will admit this, scarcely 10 out of more than a thousand suicide killers have been identified. We know from their families that Palestinians, Saudis, Syrians and Algerians have been among the bombers. In a few cases, we have names. But in most attacks, the authorities in Iraq – if they can still be called "authorities" after five years of catastrophe – have no idea to whom the bloodied limbs and headless torsos of the bombers belong.

Even more profoundly disturbing is that the "cult" of the suicide bomber has seeped across national frontiers. Within a year of the Iraqi invasion, Afghan Taliban bombers were blowing themselves up alongside Western troops or bases in Helmand province and in the capital Kabul. The practice leached into Pakistan, striking down thousands of troops and civilians, killing even the principal opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto. The London Tube and bus bombings – despite the denials of Tony Blair – were obviously deeply influenced by events in Iraq.

Throughout the five years of war, suicide bombers have focused on Iraq's own American-trained security forces rather than US troops. At least 365 attacks have been staged against Iraqi police or paramilitary forces. Their targets included at least 147 police stations (1,577 deaths), 43 army and police recruitment centres (939 deaths), 91 checkpoints (with a minimum of 564 fatalities), 92 security patrols (465 deaths) and numerous other police targets (escorts, convoys accompanying government ministers, etc). One of the recruitment centres – in the centre of Baghdad – was assaulted by suicide bombers on eight separate occasions.

By contrast, suicide bombers have attacked only 24 US bases at a cost of 100 American dead and 15 Iraqis, and 43 American patrols and checkpoints, during which 116 US personnel were killed along with at least 56 civilians, 15 of whom appear to have been shot by American soldiers in response to the attacks, and another 26 of whom were children standing next to a US patrol.

Most of the Americans were killed west or north of Baghdad. Suicide attacks on the police concentrated on Baghdad and Mosul and the Sunni towns to the immediate north and south of Baghdad.

The trajectory of the suicide bombers shows a clear preference for military targets throughout the insurgency, with attacks on Americans gradually decreasing from 2006 and individual attacks on Iraqi police patrols and police recruits increasing over the past two years, especially in the 100 miles north of Baghdad. Just as the Islamist murderers of Algeria – and their military opponents – favoured the fasting month of Ramadan for their bloodiest assaults in the 1990s, so the suicide bombers of Iraq mobilise on the eve of religious festivals. There was a pronounced drop in suicide assaults during the period of sectarian liquidations after 2005, either because the bombers feared interception by the throat-cutters of tribal gangs working their way across Baghdad, or because – a grim possibility – they were themselves being used in the sectarian murder campaign.

The most politically powerful attacks occurred inside military bases – including the Green Zone in Baghdad (two in one day in October 2004) – and against the UN headquarters (in which the UN envoy Sergio de Mello was killed) and the International Red Cross offices in Baghdad in 2003. By December 2003, British officials were warning that there were more "spectacular" suicide bombings to come, and the first suicide assault on a mosque took place in January of the following year when a bomber on a bicycle blew himself up in a Shia mosque in Baquba, killing four worshippers and wounding another 39.

Scarcely a year later, another suicider attacked a second Shia mosque, killing 14 worshippers and wounding 40. In February 2004, a man blew himself up on a bus outside the Shia mosque at Khadamiyah in Baghdad, killing 17 more Shia Muslims. Only a few days earlier, a man wearing an explosives belt killed four at yet another Shia mosque in the Doura district of Baghdad. The suicide campaign against Shia places of worship continued with an attack on a Mosul mosque in March 2005, killing at least 50, two more attacks in April that killed 26, and another in May in Baghdad.

While Shia mosques were being targeted in a deliberate campaign of provocation by al-Qa'ida-type suiciders, markets and hospitals frequented by Shia Muslims were also attacked. Almost all the 600 Iraqis killed by suicide bombs in May 2005 were Shias. After the partial demolition of the Shia mosque at Samarra on 22 February 2006, the "war of the mosques" began in earnest for the suicide bombers of Iraq. A Sunni mosque was blown up, with nine dead and "dozens" of wounded, and two Shia mosques were the target of suicide bombers in the same week. In early July 2006, seven suicide killers blew themselves up in Sunni and Shia mosques, leaving a total of 51 civilians dead. During the same period, a suicide bomber launched the first attack of its kind on Shia pilgrims arriving from Iran.

To read the full version of Robert Fisk's report click on the link above.


A recent report by the Inspector General found KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton the company that Vice President Dick Cheney was CEO of at one time, has been delivering contaminated water to U.S. troops in Iraq.

On the video seen here, Senator (ND-D) Byron Dorgan talks about the Inspector General report and provides charts indicating how KBR was sending contaminated water to the U.S. military personnel in Iraq.

New Inspector General report finds that Halliburton delivered contaminated water to US bases in Iraq

Transcript:MATTHEW PALEVSKY, JOURNALIST: Senator Byron Dorgan held a press conference in the US Senate to discuss a recent report by the inspector general, a report that found that US contractors had been delivering contaminated water to US troops in Iraq. The report cited KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton.(CLIP BEGINS)March 10, 2008 BYRON DORGAN, US SENATOR (ND-D): So the Pentagon is saying, well, no, Senator Dorgan and those that are disclosing this are inaccurate. Halliburton is saying it's inaccurate; the Pentagon is saying it's inaccurate; everthing's just fine. Here's what the inspector general said.

Things aren't fine.

The water was not treated as it was supposed to have been treated. Contaminated water was provided to the troops. Some troops got sick. In some cases, this water that was twice as contaminated as raw water from the Euphrates River was flowing as non-potable water to these military bases. When we got the information from the Halliburton corporation whistleblowers, Halliburton denied it, and so too did America's military. Now we know that the inspector general says, no, no, that's exactly what was happening. Exactly what was happening is this corporation's being paid to provide good-quality, disinfected water to the troops, and the fact is they weren't doing the job.(CLIP ENDS)

While most of Senator Dorgan's complaints focused on private contractors, he also took issue with the Department of Defense.(CLIP BEGINS)DORGAN: Who's going to be standing up for American soldiers if it's not going to be the Pentagon? And who's going to be standing up for the American taxpayer's interest here? Who's going to stand up on behalf of the American taxpayer if this government doesn't? If we're paying a company to treat water and make certain that water's good quality water and they're not doing it, then there ought to be consequences. We're spending billions, tens and tens of billions of dollars on these kinds of contracts. And the question is: who's doing the oversight? Who's looking over the shoulders to find out (A) the taxpayer's being properly served and (B) someone's protecting American soldiers? In this instance, the answer is no one. No one seemed to give a damn.

DISCLAIMER:Please note that TRNN (The Real News Network) transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


We have a list of the latest names of U.S. military personnel killed or seriously wounded in Iraq as well as a list of violence that swept across Iraq on Sunday.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

War News for Sunday, March 16, 2008
is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier by small-arms fire in a southwestern neighborhood of Baghdad on Saturday, March 15th.

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting the death of a Marine who died in his sleep in Camp Lejeune, N.C on Monday, March 10th.Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Scott Bachus was wounded in an explosion in Iraq and received a concussion, and he lost much of his hearing. He returned from Iraq last March 2007. The cause of his death is speculation at this point, his family said. It could take months for test results to come in. But the explosion might well have caused an undetected injury that led to his death, his brother said.

Casualty Reports:Army Sgt. Matthew Lammers, 25, of Olathe, Kan., had both legs and his left arm blown off June 10, 2007, in south Baghdad.

Ryan Kelly, 27, of Buda. Kelly lost his right leg in July 2003 to a roadside bomb in Iraq.Army Sgt. Robert Bartlett suffered brain injuries after being hit by improvised explosives in seperate incidents. Bartlett too says he often has times where he can't remember names like he did in the past.

Marine Sgt Kevin Denton suffered brain injuries after being hit by improvised explosives in seperate incidents. Denton says he still suffers headaches from the injury which happened in 2004. He also had trouble with short term memory.

Sgt. Maj. Diane Cochran of the U.S. Army career came to an abrupt halt when the Humvee ambulance she was in met head on with a Russian land mine left over from a previous war in Afghanistan. She was the only one in the ambulance who survived the explosion that was set off by a remote device. Her neck, hands and wrist were broken and her back was broken in two places and she was unconscious until after her rescue. She also suffers the residual effects of chemicals she came in contact with at the former Russian camp where her unit was assigned. She has blind spots in her right eye and a tumor behind it.

Sgt. Norris Galatas nearly three years and 19 surgeries after a bomb in Iraq sent shrapnel tearing through his abdomen in the explosion in April 2005. “He appeared to be dead “swollen and yellow” in a medically induced coma. it took nearly three months for him to become mobile.

Security incidents:Baghdad:#1: A civilian was killed and two others were injured when a car bomb detonated near a convoy of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) in western Baghdad on Sunday, an Interior Ministry source said. "A car bomb parked on the al-Amirat Street in the upscale neighborhood of Mansour blew up in the morning near a convoy of SUVs believed to be affiliated to a foreign security firm was," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. The attack resulted in the damaging one of the convoy's vehicles and a nearby civilian car, along with the killing of a bystander and the wounding two others, the source said.

Diyala Prv:Baquba:#1: Two policemen were killed and three others wounded in clashes that erupted between police forces and fighters believed to belong to Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militias in Baaquba, an official security source said on Sunday. "The clashes, which broke out on Sunday morning in al-Huwayder village between policemen and Mahdi Army fighters, left two security personnel killed and three others wounded," Brig. Ragheb al-Umayri, the head of the joint coordination center in Baaquba, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of IraqNajaf:#1: Unidentified gunmen on Sunday kidnapped the headmaster of the al-Mustafa School in front of his house in eastern Najaf and led him to an unknown place, a local police source said.

Baiji:#1: A power cut shut down operations at Iraq's largest oil refinery on Sunday, officials at the plant said, adding it was unclear when work would resume. Officials said exports were not affected by the incident. "This morning at 8:15 work at the refinery was stopped completely because of the shutdown of electricity," said a senior official at the refinery. An engineer at the plant said it was unclear when operations would resume.

Tikrit:#1: Two Iraqi soldiers from the 14th brigade 4th Iraqi army division were kidnapped on Tikrit_ Toz Street about14 miles east of Tikrit on Saturday evening.Hawija:#1: A car bomb exploded on Sunday morning in Hawija district, 70 km southwest of the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk with no casualties reported, a police source said.

Mosul:#1: At least nine people were injured Sunday in a suicide bombing in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, police said. A suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt blew himself up near the offices of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan in Mosul, police told the Voices of Iraq VOI news agency. Two policemen and seven civilians were wounded.

Afghanistan:#1: At least 16 people have been killed in a missile strike on a building near Pakistan's northern border with Afghanistan, state television has said. The attack took place in the South Waziristan region, where tribal militants are based, Reuters news agency reported residents as saying. The Pakistani state TV report said several missiles destroyed the house of a suspected militant leader. Reuters reported the military saying seven militants were among the dead.On the home front:


Actress Angelina Jolie visited Iraq about a month ago and she sat down with CNN's Arwa Damon to talk about her concerns for the four million Iraqi refugees. Since taping this interview, Jolie has expressed in a Washington Post editorial how she feels the United States military should stay in Iraq until the mission is accomplished and how she feels "the surge" is working.

Watch the CNN interview here: