Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Perspective: On This Day In Iraq -- May 2nd edition

May 2, 2003: U.S. Marines of 2d Battalion, 6th Marines fire a Javelin anti-armor missile at Blair Airfield, Iraq

May 2, 2002:

Despite the dangers to their own safety, Israelis strongly back Bush on Iraq

In Washington's forlorn search for allies in its war against Saddam Hussein, the support of one nation -- the people of Israel -- has been taken for granted and scarcely noted. Yet as the world debates the wisdom of a U.S. attack on Iraq, Israel's voice needs to be heard. No nation, after all, is likely to suffer the consequences of the war more than the Jewish state.

Israeli intelligence takes for granted that a cornered Hussein will seek revenge on America's ally and unleash his nonconventional arsenal on Israeli cities. Thousands of Israeli health-care workers have been vaccinated against a smallpox attack, a prelude to vaccinating the entire nation. Every Israeli home has gas mask kits for each family member, just in case.

This week, Hussein renewed his periodic promise to "wipe out" Israel. Few here treat those threats as mere bluster.

There was "an uneasiness about where things were going with Iraq" and a general discontent with the linking of Saddam Hussein's regime and those in Iran and North Korea.

For six weeks during the Gulf War, we endured nightly Iraqi missile attacks, becoming a nation of insomniacs that measured time by air raid sirens. We sat helpless in "sealed rooms" with plastic sheets covering the windows and wet towels jammed under the doors, strapping hysterical children into gas masks and placing babies into plastic-covered cribs.

Still, we were lucky. Though extensive damage made parts of Tel Aviv resemble London during the Blitz, only one Israeli was killed by a direct missile hit.

Many here called that reprieve a miracle.

This time, though, Israelis suspect that we may not be nearly as lucky as we were in 1991. This time there may be no dress rehearsal for apocalypse.

Yet ask almost any Israeli Jew -- left, right or center -- whether the U.S. should attack Hussein, and the answer is unequivocal: The evil must be uprooted.

Read the rest at the Telegraph

May 2, 2003:

U.S., Britain, Poland to divide Iraqi stabilization

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Iraq will be divided into at least three military sectors, each under the command of multinational troops, in future stabilization operations, U.S. defense officials said Friday.

The United States, Britain and Poland will each command one sector, and other sectors might be added. Also, the United Nations' role in Iraq would be limited to humanitarian operations, according to a proposal drafted by the United States and Britain.

The plan was decided Wednesday in London at the Coalition Stability Operations Conference of 16 countries, hosted by British Defense Minister Geoffrey Hoon.

Read the rest at CNN

May 2, 2004:

U.S. denies widespread abuse at prison in Iraq

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, denied reports of widespread and systematic abuse of inmates at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison Sunday.

But in an article published Sunday, The New Yorker magazine reported that an American general found evidence of "sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses" of Iraqis held at the prison west of Baghdad that was infamous under Saddam Hussein's reign.

And in an interview with The New York Times, the military police commander there said most of the problems occurred in a cell block under the control of Army intelligence officers.

Citing a report by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, New Yorker writer Seymour Hersh said the mistreatment of prisoners was done "to break down somebody before interrogation" at the direction of U.S. military intelligence. One Iraqi was killed during an interrogation, he said.

Read the rest at CNN

May 2, 2005:

Iraq sees US troop pullout next year

US and other foreign troops could start withdrawing from Iraq by the middle of next year, according to Iraq's national security adviser.

Speaking on CNN last night, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, said: "I will be very surprised if they [coalition forces] don't think very seriously of starting pulling out probably by the end of the first half of next year."

Read the rest at the Financial Times

May 2, 2006:

Huge fraud exposed in Iraq contracts

A US Congressional inspection team set up to monitor reconstruction in Iraq has published a scathing report on failures by contractors to carry out projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

In one case, the inspectors found that three years after the invasion only six of 150 health centres proposed for Iraq have been completed by a US contractor, in spite of 75 per cent of the $186 million allocated having been spent...

The US allocated $US21 billion for reconstruction, of which 67 per cent has been spent. The report says Mr Bowen's inspection team is investigating 72 cases of alleged fraud and corruption, and is pursuing leads not only in the US but in Europe and the Middle East.

Read the rest at the Age