Friday, May 11, 2007

Perspective: On This Day In Iraq -- May 11th edition

May 11, 2006: A bell used to alert for casualty care hangs at Camp Taqaddum Air Base expeditionary medical facility. Taqaddum Surgical handles the duties of both a shock trauma platoon and a forward resuscitative surgical suite before more extensive care is provided at one of the Combat Army Surgical Hospitals.

May 11, 2002:

RAF joins US planes in dummy attacks

Britain and America have stepped up the covert air war over Iraq with RAF fighter and tanker aircraft supporting US Navy ground attack aircraft making practice bombing runs on Iraqi targets.

US Navy F/A-18E Super Hornets from the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, which is in the Gulf, are conducting mock strikes against airfields, towers and other military sites in Iraq. The New York Times reported US commanders as saying that the aircraft were "acquainting themselves" with targets they may be called on to attack and were being supported by RAF aircraft.

RAF Tornado F3 fighter aircraft based in Saudi Arabia are providing cover. An RAF Tristar KC-1 tanker aircraft based in Bahrain is refuelling them.

The flights are an extension of the patrols of the no-fly zones that have already been expanded in the past few months to go beyond merely responding to Iraqi anti-aircraft fire. The Super Hornet flights are designated "strike missions" rather than mere patrols of the no-fly zone.

They represent a further escalation of US and British air activity over Iraq. For the past two months US and RAF aircraft have been conducting a systematic destruction of air defence facilities across southern Iraq in preparation for a full-scale air war.

Read the rest at the Telegraph

May 11, 2003:

Bush Shakes Up Iraq Administration

BAGHDAD, May 10 -- The American diplomat serving as chief administrator of Baghdad has been reassigned by the Bush administration after less than three weeks in Iraq in what U.S. officials here said was part of a broader shake-up of the troubled Pentagon operation to rebuild the country.

Barbara K. Bodine, a former ambassador to Yemen and the highest-ranking woman in the U.S.-led interim administration in Iraq, said she intended to leave for Washington on Sunday to fill a senior post at the State Department. As Baghdad's effective postwar mayor, she had been in charge of restoring vital public services and forming a democratic local government for the capital's 5 million residents -- a job that is incomplete.

Senior U.S. officials said other top members of the reconstruction effort here, including the overall leader, Jay M. Garner, a retired Army lieutenant general, and several of his close aides would depart soon. Although Garner had said before the war he would stay in Iraq for about three months, President Bush on Tuesday appointed L. Paul Bremer III, a retired diplomat and counterterrorism expert, to be the senior civilian in charge of rebuilding the country's government and infrastructure.

"By the end of this month, you will see a very different organization," a senior U.S. official involved in the reconstruction said today.

Read the rest at the Washington Post

May 11, 2004:

Getting Out of a Quagmire

It's not clear anymore that there is a plausible way to turn the Bush administration's disastrous policy in Iraq into anything that would look remotely like success...

We are also affected by the fact that nearly every problem we face in Iraq is a problem the administration was warned about before it started the war. But an all-knowing administration felt no need to listen.

How many voices were raised suggesting the White House was being too optimistic about the way American troops might be received in the long run? Even if we were greeted as "liberators," in Cheney's famous phrase, many Iraqis who would be happy to be rid of Saddam Hussein might soon want to be rid of us as well.

Given the uncertainties, critics said that we needed a much bigger force than we were sending to restore order and prevent an insurgency from taking root. Gen. Eric Shinseki made this point before the war started. He was swatted aside and told to get off the administration's case.

Knocking over Hussein was always going to be easier than nation-building, a practice the administration was against until it started engaging in it. To pull it off, the administration might have used a little more help from allies and a little more of the legitimacy that U.N. endorsement could have conferred. The administration told those who offered this view to get off its case and go munch freedom fries with some Old Europeans.

Voters will ask now, and historians will ask later: Why did this administration take such an enormous gamble with apparently so little planning against what could go wrong?

Read the rest at the Washington Post

May 11, 2005:

Congress Approves $82 Billion for Wars: Iraq cost to pass $200 billion; Army to ask for more

The Senate gave final passage yesterday to an $82 billion emergency war-spending bill, sending President Bush a measure that will push the cost of the Iraq invasion well past $200 billion.

Even with such large, unanticipated expenditures, Army officials and congressional aides say more money will be needed as early as October. The Army Materiel Command, the Army's main logistical branch, has put Congress on notice that it will need at least two more emergency "supplemental" bills just to finance the repair and replacement of Army equipment. By 2010, war costs are likely to exceed half a trillion dollars, according to nonpartisan congressional researchers.

"We're fighting a war on supplementals, and it's a hell of a way to do business," said retired Army Lt. Gen. John M. Riggs, who until last year was working on the Army's modernization plans. "The base budget of the US Army needs to be adjusted to fight the war on terror, and I have no idea where the money is going to come from."

The final spending measure was nearly identical in cost to the $81.9 billion request Bush submitted in February. Most of the debate in Congress revolved not around the money but around unrelated immigration measures.

Read the rest at GP 360

May 11, 2006:

U.S Embassy in Iraq a Fortress City Inside a War Zone

WASHINGTON — While politicians debate the length of time American troops and their mammoth military bases will remain in Iraq, construction of a Vatican-size U.S. embassy in the heart of Baghdad signifies a permanent presence is in the cards.

Construction has been ongoing since last summer. According to State Department officials and a progress report for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in December, the new embassy will be a fortified compound sitting on 104 acres of American-owned land. Its completion is expected in June 2007 with a price tag of at least $600 million.

The compound will incorporate 21 structures including six apartment buildings with 619 units, several office buildings, a gym, swimming pool, commissary, food court and public utilities like water, sewage treatment and electricity that are separate from the rest of the city.

In short, say observers, it will be a walled city within a city — the largest embassy ever built in the world.

Read the rest at Fox News