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Why do I feel like I’m in a fucking Vietnam movie? (Thursday, June 01, 2006)

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  • jim@leftopia.com
     Iraq Front News Subscribe: IraqFrontNews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com Thursday, June 01, 2006 News roundup by Jim Galasyn
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2006
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      Thursday, June 01, 2006
      Iraq Front News

      Thursday, June 01, 2006

      Bring Them Home

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      Mortar barrage kills 9 people in Baghdad
      Thu, 01 Jun 2006 17:11:37 GMT

      A mortar barrage Thursday killed nine civilians and wounded 40 in southern Baghdad, police said. The attack occurred in south Baghdad's predominantly Sunni Arab Dora district and involved seven mortar rounds landing on four houses, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein.


      Bomb kills 2 construction workers in Iraq
      Thu, 01 Jun 2006 12:58:36 GMT

      A bomb struck a group of construction workers seeking jobs in central Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least two and wounding 18 amid an increasingly random cycle of violence in Iraq.


      Bomb hits construction workers in Baghdad, killing 2 and wounding 18
      Thu, 01 Jun 2006 00:00:00 GMT

      A bomb struck a group of construction workers seeking jobs in central Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least two and wounding 18 amid an increasingly random cycle of violence in Iraq.


      Two Iraqis killed, two others injured in attack in Mosul
      Thu, 01 Jun 2006 00:00:00 GMT

      Two Iraqis were killed and two others were injured Thursday in an armed attack in the northern city of Mosul, police said.


      One Child Killed, 34 People Injured in Mortar Attack in Baghdad
      Thu, 01 Jun 2006 00:00:00 GMT

      A child was killed and 34 people were injured in a mortar attack Thursday near the southern Baghdad district of Dora, AFP reported citing police sources. The child was two-year-old.


      Two Ft. Hood Soldiers Killed in Iraq...
      Thu, 01 Jun 2006 16:37:21 GMT

      Twenty-three-year-old Army Specialist Bobby R. West of Beebe, Arkansas, died in Baghdad Tuesday when a roadside bomb exploded near a patrol he was part of.


      Gunmen kill policeman in Kerbala, Body found
      Thu, 01 Jun 2006 00:00:00 GMT

      Gunmen gunned down a policeman on Wednesday in the Shi'ite holy city of Kerbala...The police found the body of an old man who had been shot dead in Kerbala, police said.


      Body found in Baghdad, mortar round hits Green Zone
      Thu, 01 Jun 2006 00:00:00 GMT

      police found the bullet-riddled body of a man clothed in an Arab robe with his hands and legs bound...A mortar round also landed in the Green Zone, which houses the U.S. Embassy and Iraqi government offices, but no casualties were reported


      Deteriorating Security in Diyala
      Wed, 31 May 2006 04:46:00 GMT

      From reports on major violence in the ongoing Iraqi Civil War on Tuesday:'

      BAGHDAD - A car bomb killed at least 25 people and wounded 65 in the northern Baghdad district of Husa[y]niya, police said.HILLA - A suicide bomber in a car killed at least 12 people and wounded 36 near a car dealership . . .

      BAGHDAD - A bomb killed nine people and wounded 10 others in a bakery in eastern Baghdad . . .

      BAGHDAD - Two women employees of the Ministry of Interior were killed and four policemen were wounded by a rocket which landed near the ministry, police said.'The Ministry of Interior is in charge of domestic security.It was revealed that a GI had been killed on Monday, Memorial Day.From the USG Open Source Center:' Diyala Governor Warns of Deteriorating Security SituationReport by Samah al-Makhzumi: "Letter Urges Government To Deal With Deteriorating Security Situation in Ba'qubah; Diyala Governor Threatens To Declare State of Emergency and Expose Collaborating Officials"Al-ZamanWednesday, May 31, 2006 T19:22:37Z

      Diyala Governor Ra'd al-Mullah Jawad has urged the government to take precautions against the deteriorating security situation in the governorate quickly in order to avoid the situation deteriorating further, as it is getting worse day by day. Jawad has also called on the Advisory Council to suspend its work in order to attract the central government's attention to the grave danger engulfing the governorate. He confirmed that he will declare a state of emergency in the governorate based on a security plan.At a press conference attended by Al-Zaman yesterday, 28 May, Jawad confirmed that he had sent a letter to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and the parliament warning them of the dangerous security situation in the governorate and urging them to "defy the large-scale sectarian campaign that the governorate, which has become a cradle for terrorism, is currently witnessing."In his letter, Jawad confirmed: "The situation in Diyala Governorate is very difficult. We lack capabilities and authority." He urged officials, parliament members, clerics, and tribal chiefs "to shoulder responsibility and take into consideration the best interests of the governorate."Jawad explained that "uncontrolled violence is extending like a crescent from Salah al-Din Governorate towards Al-Jizani, Hibhib, Al-Hadid, and Khan Bani Sa'd Districts and then to Southern Buhriz District towards Baladruz and finally Al-Muqdadiyah District." He confirmed the discovery a few days ago of weapons caches in Al-Muqdadiyah that contained enough weapons to supply a complete army brigade.Jawad accused administrative officials of involvement in acts of violence and added: "We will speak to them frankly and if they do not stop their involvement, we will not keep silent." Jawad demanded that "the wider and larger authorities confront and expose these officials." He confirmed the displacement of 40 families and the killing of over 70 people in Ba'qubah last week alone.Jawad revealed that several officials, including Al-Wajihiyah administrator Isma'il Alwan and the director of public relations and complaints, have requested to be transferred from the governorate due to the escalation in violence.Jawad threatened that he will declare a state of emergency if the government does not take action. He attributed the delay in imposing curfew in the districts witnessing turmoil in the governorate to the final examinations.Meanwhile, Diyala Advisory Council Chairman Ibrahim Bajilan and Deputy Governor for Technical Affairs Imad Jalil escaped an assassination attempt when a roadside bomb explosion targeted their convoy on its way from Khanaqin to Ba'qubah. An official source in the governorate administration confirmed that a bodyguard was killed and six others were injured in the incident. The source confirmed that unidentified gunmen attacked the convoy after the explosion.Unidentified gunmen assassinated a peddler selling children's clothing in the middle of Ba'qubah's market. Two civilians were injured in a bomb explosion in Al-Khalis District. Yesterday morning, a police patrol discovered three heads separated from the bodies, including one of an old man, near a highway in Abd-al-Hamid Village in Had Miksir District. Gunmen broke into a house in Al-Gatun District in Ba'qubah yesterday. The tenant and his two boys were killed and his wife was injured in the attack.In related news, US forces raided a house in Al-Mafraq District in Ba'qubah and arrested five family members, including an eighty year old man, according to the district's inhabitants. They confirmed that US troops destroyed the furniture and other facilities in the house during the raid, in which US helicopters took part.(Description of Source: Baghdad Al-Zaman in Arabic -- Baghdad-based independent Iraqi daily providing coverage of Iraqi, Arab, and international issues, headed by Iraqi journalist Sa'd al-Bazzaz; Internet version available at: http://www.azzaman.com)Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.City/Source: BaghdadDIALOG Update Date: 20060531; 16:32:21 EST '


      US forces in Iraq to get ethics training
      Thu, 01 Jun 2006 13:39:44 GMT

      US forces in Iraq are to receive extra training to promote legal and ethical behaviour, the military said, amid a mounting controversy over alleged killings by US Marines last year.


      First N.E. Hospital Combat Unit Headed To Iraq
      Thu, 01 Jun 2006 00:00:00 GMT

      The U.S. Army Reserve is preparing to send its first combat hospital unit from New England to Iraq, calling on 473 doctors, nurses and support personnel from the region's hospitals and medical offices.


      Current and former Marines empathize with those in Iraq
      Thu, 01 Jun 2006 00:00:00 GMT

      Mention Haditha to current or former Marines and there's a pause, followed by the disclaimer that no judgment should be made before officials fully investigate accusations of Camp Pendleton Marines massacring Iraqi civilians there.


      I Was Stationed in Haditha
      Jun 01, 2006

      From about March - June of 2004, the Haditha dam was my home base of operations. I was there with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, attached as a Combat Videographer. Aside from a few Operations that took me away from the town, I lived in the dam.It was not optimal, but it was not as bad as this.The fact that it is now is criminal.When I first got there in March of 2004, I lived on the seventh floor of ten. The first thing that would hit me when I arrived was the horrible smell. Something was leaking sulfur gas, and it smelled like rotten eggs. People with more knowledge about the subject than me said it was good that we could smell it. That meant the parts per million was so small that it wouldn't kill us. When the gas reached lethal levels, our olfactory senses would shut down long before the gas actually suffocated us. It made me glad they still forced us to carry our gas masks around.There were showers on our floor, outside on the huge deck where we ate meals (Haditha didn't have hot chow, so it was nothing but MRE's). Most of the time they would work, so we got showers, if not hot ones. There were portable toilets there too, so we didn't have to climb any stairs to go to the bathroom, which was nice. Later, after we came back from Fallujah (the first assault in April, which Bush ordered halted when his poll numbers started to tank; we called it Operation Just Kidding) I ended up on the second floor, which had working plumbing in it. Said plumbing wasn't good enough to let us take a crap, so we had to walk down two flights of stairs to get to the head for a dump.That was another thing about Haditha Dam, the stairs. When I first got there, (seventh floor, to be clear) I had to hump all my gear from the bottom up seven flights of stairs. No matter where you wanted to go in the dam, there were usually about three flights of stairs between you and your destination. The elevators didn't work.But really, it wasn't as bad as I'm sure you're picturing. We had a roof over our heads, the lake kept us relatively cool, and it was safe. I was as comfortable there as I could be.I don't know if this is still true, but we didn't even have to worry about security around the dam. A group of soldiers from Azerbaijan (yes folks, Azerbaijan, another fine member of the coalition of the willing) took care of that. That was about the only benefit of being at Haditha. You could sleep the whole night without worrying about watch.Haditha is smack between Al Asad Air Base (one of those "not-permanent" permanent bases we're building) and Ramadi (the New Fallujah). I took many trips on the road to both of those places, and I never encountered any enemy. Hell, I actually walked through Ramadi, twice, and no one fired a shot. From what I understand, this is impossible now. That's probably true of Haditha now too.There are a few things about the degradation of living conditions in Haditha that make me insane with rage. The first, we all know there are millions of dollars missing from the books in Iraq (pure fucking graft) and while that might not be enough to complete the job of fixing the dam, put it would put a dent in it. Our Marines would at least be able to live better than they are right now.Second, Al Asad is right down the road, about forty minutes by car. Al Asad is fucking Shangri La compared to Haditha. It is an abandoned Iraqi air base the Coalition Forces moved into. There's hot chow (that you would be willing to eat, I'm talking wings, pizza, salad bar) indoor shower stations with working toilets, two man rooms with beds and A/C (we call them cans) a P/X, and any number of things. It is like a small base back here in the states. Why we can't keep Haditha running when we're building a permanent fucking establishment less than an hour away is completely beyond me. It's criminal mismanagement.And we can't abandon the dam either. It's a prime suspect for terrorism. All some nut has to do is plant one strategic bomb with enough power and the whole place comes down. Thousands would die.I'm not surprised the Haditha Slaughter happened, like the Mai Lai Massacre in the boondoggle before this. I'm not even surprised it happened where it did. I saw signs of it when I was there. We had picked up a suspect from the town, and brought him back to the damn for questioning. As the grunts were taking him down from the truck (he was blindfolded), they bent him at the waist and rammed his head into the grill of a Humvee, hard enough to draw blood. Keep in mind this is an entirely different unit of Marines than those that perpetrated the Slaughter.The interrogators were pissed. Such bullshit makes suspect cooperation almost impossible.Think anyone from Haditha is cooperating with us now?This is what a war of choice looks like, folks. We've seen it before. We should have been expecting this.Never again, Goddammit. Never again.


      Haditha Iraq - “Why do I feel like I’m in a f—— Vietnam movie?”: KR Reporter, Last August, Noted Worries That Marines Might ‘Crack’ - Editor & Publisher
      May 28, 2006

      NEW YORK New revelations suggest that U.S. marines committed atrociities in Haditha, Iraq, last November, killing at least two dozen civilians after an American was slain by a roadside bomb. Three months before that, Tom Lasseter, longtime Baghdad correspondent for Knight Ridder, filed a report from that area noting concerns that the marines there might “crack under the pressure.”Here is that Aug. 28, 2005, story, as it appeared then. Lasseter recently won a top Overseas Press Club award for his reporting from Iraq.* HIT, Iraq — The inability of U.S. forces to hold ground in Anbar province in western Iraq, and the cat and mouse chase that ensues, has put the Marines and soldiers there under intense physical and psychological pressure.The sun raises temperatures to 115 degrees most days, insurgents stage ambushes daily then melt into the civilian population and American troops in Anbar find themselves in a house of mirrors in which they don’t speak the language and can’t tell friend from foe.Most Marines and soldiers in Anbar live behind massive concrete barriers, bales of concertina wire and perimeters guarded by sniper towers and tanks.Despite their overwhelming military might, they must watch every alleyway for snipers and each patch of road for mines or bombs, which can send balls of flame through their vehicles. That happened earlier this month south of Haditha, when an explosion killed 14 Marines in an amphibious assault vehicle.Officers worry about the enemy while trying to make sure their men don’t crack under the pressure.“I tell the guys not to lose their humanity over here, because it’s easy to do,” said Marine Capt. James Haunty, 27, of Columbus, Ohio. “I tell them not to turn into Col. Kurtz.”Haunty was referring to a character in Joseph Conrad’s novella, “Heart of Darkness.” It became the basis for the Vietnam War movie “Apocalypse Now,” in which Kurtz has a mental breakdown and murders suspected Vietnamese double agents.Asked for an example of the kind of pressure that could cause Marines to crack, Haunty talked about the results of a car bomb: “I’ve picked up pieces of a friend, a Marine. I don’t ever want to see that s— again.”Sitting with his men at a morning meeting in the town of Hit, Marine Maj. Nicholas Visconti said he was up late the night before, unable to sleep in the heat, when a call came from a patrol requesting permission to shoot an Iraqi man. The man, the patrol leader said, was out past curfew and appeared to be talking on a cell phone. Visconti intervened and told the patrol leader not to shoot.Looking at his young lieutenants and sergeants, Visconti said, “If he’s a bad guy, if he’s running the (car bomb) factory, I’ll put the gun in his mouth and kill him myself … but first let’s get a f—— security check.”With a worried look, Visconti, 35, of Brookfield, Conn., continued: “There’s killing bad guys and there’s murdering civilians. Let’s do the first and not the second. Murderers we’re not, OK?”Chief Warrant Officer Mike Niezgoda nodded in agreement. The next day, a roadside bomb knocked Niezgoda unconscious and broke his arm.“It’s a lot like it was in Vietnam, when the VC’s (Viet Cong) would come out and pretend to be your friends,” said Marine Lance Cpl. Jared Vidler, 23, of Syracuse, N.Y. “You’re fighting an enemy on his home ground and you don’t know who’s who.”After a recent meeting with local tribal sheiks in Fallujah, Marine Lt. Col. Jim Haldeman walked to the back of the room and pulled a pack of cigarettes from his pocket.The gathering was supposed to be an exercise in civic empowerment but quickly degenerated into the Iraqis demanding that they get identification cards designating them as sheiks, which would bar local security forces from arresting them on the streets.“All of these guys are f—— muj,” Haldeman said, using the Arabic term for “holy warriors,” mujahedeen, which American troops frequently use to describe the insurgents.Haldeman took a deep drag from his cigarette.“I’ve never been so nervous around a group of men,” he said. Haldeman, 50, of West Kingston, R.I., later added that he was sure that a lot of the men in the crowd would have slit his throat if they’d had the opportunity.Walking down an alley in Hit a few days earlier, stepping over pools of sewage, Lance Cpl. Greg Allen had watched the Marines around him. They were picking through garbage, tugging on wires and kicking boxes, looking for bombs and mines and hoping that if they found one it wouldn’t go off.“They (insurgents) are doing a hell of a job fighting this war. They know they can’t take us head on but they can do a lot of damage with bombs,” said Allen, 19, of Syracuse, N.Y. “There’s no one out here to fight.”The men in Allen’s squad stopped at a grocery to buy water and sodas. As they walked away, several of them wondered if they’d just given money to an insurgent sympathizer.On a recent patrol through southern Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, Sgt. 1st Class Tom Coffey, 37, of Burlington, Vt., looked through the thick bulletproof windows of his Humvee. Children were peeking at him from behind a half-closed garage door.“I’d love to play soccer with them but we’d have to stage gun trucks and then we’d still end up being a large soft target,” he said.After he went back to the base to pick up some supplies, a call came: A roadside bomb had hit one of his Bradley Fighting Vehicles.A description of a vehicle possibly driven by the triggerman came over the radio. “The guy’s already gone,” Coffey said. “We’re just p—— in the wind now.”Later, he and his men walked along the Euphrates River, looking for a metal stake that an informant said marked a weapons cache. The sun burned, and palm trees and crops formed a lush green swath along the riverbank.“There’s been reports of a .50 (caliber) sniper rifle out there. Maybe they called this in just to get us out here and take a shot. A .50-cal would go straight through our (body armor) plates,” Coffey said, looking at the buildings across the river. “Why do I feel like I’m in a f—— Vietnam movie?”


      Developments in Iraq on June 1
      01 Jun 2006

      June 1 (Reuters) - The following are security and other developments in Iraq on Thursday as of 1600 GMT.The new Shi'ite-led government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has vowed to rein in insurgent and sectarian violence that has killed thousands of people since U.S.-forces invaded Iraq in 2003.Asterisk denotes new or updated item.

      *BAGHDAD - Several mortar bombs exploded on the southern edge of Baghdad, killing at least nine people and injuring 43, police sources said.

      *BAGHDAD - A ruling party official in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region accused Turkish forces on Thursday of shelling villages inside Iraq and said one shepherd was injured in Wednesday's incident.

      BAGHDAD - Two labourers were killed and 21 injured when a roadside bomb went off in the al-Tayaran square in central Baghdad, a Ministry of Interior source said.

      BAGHDAD - The bodies of four people were found in two different districts of the capital, a Ministry of Interior source said.

      KERBALA - Gunmen gunned down a policeman on Wednesday in the Shi'ite holy city of Kerbala, 110 km (68 miles) southwest of Baghdad, police said.

      KERBALA - The police found the body of an old man who had been shot dead in Kerbala, police said.


      *BAGHDAD - Iraqi police and army forces launched new Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's "iron fist" security crackdown in Basra against gangs and feuding Shi'ite factions threatening vital oil exports.

      *BAGHDAD - Al Qaeda militants have gained ground in Ramadi and the 1,500 extra U.S. troops that have arrived in Iraq to help fight them will be used to try and break their grip in the town, the U.S. military said.

      *BAGHDAD - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki condemned on Thursday as a "terrible crime" a suspected massacre of civilians by U.S. Marines in the Iraqi town of Haditha last year.

      *BAGHDAD - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said he will go to parliament on Sunday to present his candidates for interior and defence ministers as political blocs remain deadlocked.

      *BAGHDAD - A top U.S. commander ordered combat troops to be trained to abide by moral standards on the battlefield, an apparent response to allegations Marines killed civilians in Haditha.


      A look at U.S. military deaths in Iraq
      Thu, 01 Jun 2006 23:16:03 GMT

      As of Thursday, June 1, 2006, at least 2,473 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes seven military civilians. At least 1,950 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.


      About Haditha

      In January, shortly before the first published reports emerged about US marines methodically gunning down men, women and children in the Iraqi town of Haditha, The Daily Telegraph spent time at the main camp of the battalion under investigation. Rumours had spread that what happened on Nov 19 diverged from the official line that locals were killed by a roadside bomb. None of the troops wanted to talk, but even a short stay with the men of the 3rd Bn 1st Marine Division in their camp located in Haditha Dam on the town's outskirts, made clear it was a place where institutional discipline had frayed and was even approaching breakdown. Normally, American camps in Iraq are almost suburban, with their coffee shops and polite soldiers who idle away their rest hours playing computer games and discussing girls back home. Haditha was shockingly different - a feral place where the marines hardly washed; a number had abandoned the official living quarters to set up separate encampments with signs ordering outsiders to keep out; and a daily routine punctured by the emergency alarm of the dam itself with its antiquated and crumbling machinery. The dam is one of Iraq's largest hydroelectric stations. A US special operations unit had secured it during the invasion and American troops had been there ever since. Now they were spread across the dozen or so levels where Iraqi engineers once lived. The lifts were smashed, the lighting provided only a half gloom. Inside, the grinding of the dam machinery made talking difficult. The place routinely stank of rotten eggs, a by-product apparently of the grease to keep the turbines running. The day before my arrival one soldier had shot himself in the head with his M16. No one would discuss why. The washing facilities were at the top and the main lavatories at the base. With about 800 steps between them, many did not bother to use the official facilities. Instead, a number had moved into small encampments around the dam's entrances that resembled something from Lord of the Flies. Entering one, a marine was pulling apart planks of wood with his dirt-encrusted hands to feed a fire. A skull and crossbones symbol had been etched on the entrance to the shack. I was never allowed to interview a senior officer properly, unlike during every other stint with American forces. The only soldiers willing to speak at length were those from the small Azerbaijani contingent whose role was to marshal the band of Iraqi engineers who kept the machinery going into and out of the facility. The US troops liked them. "They have looser rules of engagement," one said admiringly in a rare, snatched conversation. It is not yet known where exactly the men responsible for the killing of the 24 civilians in Haditha were based. There was a handful of small, forward-operating bases in the town and surrounding area, with two dozen or so in each. If they were in these, it is highly unlikely their conditions were any better. They would certainly also have shared the recent history of the battalion. It had undergone three tours in Iraq in two and a half years. More than 30 of its members had died in the previous one, the majority when the unit led the major attack on Fallujah, then at the heart of the insurgency. Now they were in Haditha, one of the most dangerous settlements in Iraq, after only seven months away. It is a place where six marines died in three days during the previous August and where in nearby Parwana 14 died shortly afterwards in the most deadly roadside bomb attack of the war. At the dam there was one American civilian, an engineer sent out by the US government with instructions to keep the facility operational. It was a difficult task. Each time there was a power cut the turbines stopped working, the water against the dam would start to build up and everybody knew that if the local engineers could not get the generators started in time it would collapse. The American's job was not helped by the marines viewing his Iraqi workers as potential saboteurs. The troops he was quartered with terrified him, so much so that he would not let his name be quoted for fear of reprisal. He was keeping a secret dossier of breaches he said he had witnessed, or learned of. He planned to present it to the authorities when he returned to the US. "Marines are good at killing," he said. "Nothing else. They like it."


      Haditha inquiry finds false reports: WPost
      Thu, 01 Jun 2006 07:40:28 GMT

      A U.S. military inquiry into whether Marines tried to cover up the killings of Iraqi civilians in Haditha will conclude that some officers gave false reports to their superiors, who then failed to scrutinize the information, according to a newspaper report on Thursday.


      Iraq launches own probe of Haditha deaths
      Thu, 01 Jun 2006 12:56:37 GMT

      The Iraqi government decided Thursday to launch its own investigation into reports that U.S. Marines killed unarmed civilians last year, and the top U.S. general in Iraq ordered American commanders to conduct ethical training on battlefield conduct.


      Bush: Haditha probe independent of White House
      Thu, 01 Jun 2006 16:49:25 GMT

      President George W. Bush promised on Thursday that the White House would not interfere in the U.S. military's investigation of the killing of two dozen civilians in the Iraqi town of Haditha.


      Bush briefed on probe of Iraq killings
      Fri, 02 Jun 2006 01:04:13 GMT

      It took nearly a month for President Bush to be told that the military was investigating reports that Marines murdered unarmed civilians in Iraq, the White House said Thursday.


      Report: False testimony in Haditha probe
      Thu, 01 Jun 2006 01:08:18 GMT

      A U.S. military investigation into actions taken following a deadly incident in western Iraq will conclude that some officers gave false testimony to their superiors, The Washington Post reported. And a top U.S. commander in Iraq announced new core values training on moral and ethical standards for U.S. troops.


      Marine irked at inclusion in Haditha case
      Jun. 01, 2006

      SAN DIEGO - A Marine captain who was relieved of command after members of his battalion were accused of killing civilians in Haditha, Iraq, denied any role in the slayings and complained that he had become a "political casualty.""It makes my blood boil to see my name lumped in with this massacre, when I was in a different city not playing any role in this incident," Capt. James Kimber told The Associated Press.Kimber, 33, of Fountain Hills, Ariz., was one of three officers reassigned to new duties last month for what the Marines said was "a lack of confidence in their leadership abilities." None of the three officers has been charged with wrongdoing.Investigators are trying to determine whether the 24 killings Nov. 19 were criminal, and whether the Marines involved and their commanding officers tried to hide the truth.Kimber said he first learned about the shootings in February when he heard that a Time magazine reporter was asking questions about civilian deaths.Kimber said he heard nothing about a civilian massacre during city council meetings and talks with local leaders."It would have been huge, there would have been no question it would have filtered down to us," he said. "We reported no significant atmospheric change as a result of that day."Kimber said he was removed because senior commanders at California's Camp Pendleton were scrambling to defuse an explosive situation."I believe I was a political casualty as a result of the Haditha incident," Kimber said in a telephone interview.A Camp Pendleton spokesman did not immediately return a message left seeking comment.


      11th US soldier convicted over Abu Ghraib scandal
      Fri, 02 Jun 2006 01:26:10 GMT

      A US army sergeant was found guilty of using his dog to abuse an Abu Ghraib prisoner, in the 11th conviction of a scandal President George W. Bush called America's "biggest mistake" in Iraq.


      Marines to face charges in Iraqi's death
      Fri, 02 Jun 2006 00:43:37 GMT

      Military prosecutors plan to file murder, kidnapping and conspiracy charges against seven Marines and a Navy corpsman in the shooting death of an Iraqi man in April, a defense lawyer said Thursday.


      US troops focus on al Qaeda in Iraq's Ramadi
      Thu, 01 Jun 2006 16:17:24 GMT

      By Michael GeorgyBAGHDAD - Al Qaeda militants have gained ground in Ramadi and the 1,500 extra U.S. troops brought to Iraq to help fight them will be used to try to break their grip on the town, the U.S. ...


      Bush Tops List As U.S. Voters Name Worst President
      June 1, 2006

      Strong Democratic sentiment pushes President George W. Bush to the top of the list when American voters pick the worst U.S. President in the last 61 years. Bush is named by 34 percent of voters, followed by Richard Nixon at 17 percent and Bill Clinton at 16 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today. Leading the list for best President since 1945 is Ronald Reagan with 28 percent, and Clinton with 25 percent. President Bush is ranked worst by 56 percent of Democrats, 35 percent of independent voters and 7 percent of Republicans, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Best ranking for Reagan comes from 56 percent of Republicans, 7 percent of Democrats and 25 percent of independent voters. Among American voters 18 - 29 years old, Clinton leads the "best" list with 40 percent. Among young voters, 42 percent list Bush as worst. Clinton tops the "worst" list among white Protestants - 24 percent, and white evangelical Christians - 29 percent. American voters disapprove 58 - 35 percent of the job Bush is doing, compared to 58 - 36 percent in a March 2 survey. Even voters in red states, where Bush's margin was more than 5 percent in 2004, disapprove 52 - 39 percent. "Democrats just plain don't like President Bush. His father, the 41st President, was voted out of the White House after one term. Nixon quit under fire. But most Democrats think Bush 43 wins the worst-president race," said Maurice Carroll, Director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Kennedy and Truman get big Democratic votes, especially among Baby Boomers (45 - 64 years old) and seniors (over 65), but recent memory counts," Carroll said. "Democrats say Clinton's the best and Republicans say he's the worst. Republicans don't think much of Jimmy Carter either. There's no contest for the GOP favorite: It's the Gipper." "Bush's job-approval numbers remain in the cellar. But he might finally have hit bottom." ...


      Analysis: Haditha echoes earlier stains
      Thu, 01 Jun 2006 13:10:27 GMT

      Some words are synonymous with military disgrace. Abu Ghraib. My Lai. And now, perhaps Haditha — the Iraqi town where two dozen unarmed Iraqi civilians were allegedly killed by U.S. Marines.


      Iraq Launches Own Probe Of Haditha Deaths
      Thu, 01 Jun 2006 00:00:00 GMT

      The Iraqi government announced Thursday its own investigation into reports that U.S. Marines killed unarmed civilians last year, and the top U.S. general in Iraq ordered American commanders to hold ethical training on battlefield conduct.



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