Sunday, April 01, 2007

Perspective: On This Day In Iraq -- April 1st edition

April 1, 2003: A young boy holds onto an American flag after bottled water was distributed by U.S. soldiers to a village in southern Iraq.

April 1, 2002:

Down at the ranch, Bush and Blair talk war

The fog of words surrounding Iraq should begin to clear a bit this week when Tony Blair visits America, carrying with him detailed intelligence about Saddam Hussein's efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction.

Blair will visit George Bush at his ranch in Texas, for what the British press has described as a "war summit". Blair will be bringing a dossier on the Iraqi military threat. Reprising the role he played after September 11 in gathering evidence about Osama bin Laden to build public support for military action, he will make much of the Iraqi material public.

It is this problem - Iraq's continuing and relentless efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction - that explains the Bush administration's obsession with Saddam. Thus far, Blair is the only European who seems to agree with the Bush administration on the seriousness of the threat, but even he doesn't seem sure what to do about it.

Read the rest at the Age

April 1, 2003:

U.S. investigating Iraqi civilian deaths

The U.S. military said Tuesday it was investigating the shooting deaths of at least seven Iraqi women and children by U.S. troops at a checkpoint in southern Iraq a day earlier.

Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks said U.S. forces have been in a state of heightened alert following a suicide attack Saturday that killed four Americans.

"In all cases in checkpoints and otherwise we maintain the right to self-defense," Brooks told reporters at a briefing at Camp As Sayliyah. "We've increased vigilance because of the tactics of Iraqi death squads.

"While we regret the loss of civilian lives, they remain unavoidable," he said.

A British official said the checkpoint shooting was a tragedy but doesn't compare with the deliberate killing of civilians by Iraqi forces.

"This is a tragedy that's happened as a result of the heat of war, as opposed to the callous murder and slaughter of the Iraqi people by Saddam Hussein," Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram told Sky News television.

Read the rest at USA Today

April 1, 2004:

Iraq trade fair postponed as security fears grow

BAGHDAD, April 1 (Reuters) - A high-profile U.S.-sponsored trade fair for companies rebuilding Iraq was postponed on Thursday, a day after the grisly killing and mutilation of four American contractors deepened fears of worsening security...

The Falluja violence sparked renewed concern among foreign organisations operating in Iraq.

Organisers of the Baghdad Expo, a major trade fair that had been due to start on Monday, said it was postponed -- a blow to U.S. efforts to draw investment to Iraq and project an image of a stable country conducive to doing business.

No new date was set for the event.

Read the rest at Forbes

April 1, 2005:

March the least deadly month for US in Iraq for more than a year

There were 33 US military deaths in March, reflecting a sharp reduction in the visibility of American patrols and checkpoints. The previous lowest monthly toll was 20 in February 2004. Subsequent bloody engagements, including the taking of Falluja last November, pushed up the average to more than 60 a month, but since the January election this has almost halved.

Lieutenant General Lance Smith, the deputy commander of US central command, signalled the possibility of significant troop withdrawals by the end of the year if violence stayed at present levels and insurgents did not escalate attacks or undermine improvements in the Iraqi forces.

Yesterday the total US toll since the March 2003 invasion stood at 1,530, according to figures compiled by the Associated Press. More than 11,450 US troops have been wounded.

Read the rest at the Guardian

April 1, 2006:

U.S. Troop Fatalities Hit A Low; Iraqi Deaths Soar

BAGHDAD, March 31 -- March was the least deadly month in more than two years for U.S. troops in Iraq, but a surge in killings of Iraqi troops and civilians suggests that the overall death rate in the conflict is growing, according to military data.

U.S. forces suffered 30 fatalities in the past month, less than one a day, according to data compiled by the Brookings Institution. It was the lowest total since February 2004, when 21 service members were killed. Combat-related deaths during March numbered 25, declining for the fifth consecutive month. The March numbers could still rise because the military sometimes does not report deaths until several days after they occur.

But recent weeks have also been among the most lethal of the war for Iraqi civilians, police officers and soldiers, who were killed and wounded at a rate of about 75 a day, a rate three times as high as at the start of 2004. The U.S. military's count of Iraqi civilian casualties is likely far lower than the actual total, because many attacks go unreported.

Read the rest at the Washington Post