Sunday, June 10, 2007

Perspective: On This Day In Iraq -- June 10th edition

June 10, 2005: An Iraqi man submits to having his Iris scanned and captured on camera for use on an official I.D. required by the U.S. for all residents of Fallujah

June 10, 2002:

Rumsfeld Disputes Iraq Weapons Claim

MANAMA, Bahrain — Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is a "world-class liar" who is trying to fool the world into thinking he has no interest in weapons of mass destruction, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told U.S. troops Monday on this island nation in the Persian Gulf.

Addressing several hundred sailors and Marines at U.S. Navy Central Command headquarters, Rumsfeld left no doubt he believes Iraq is pursuing stocks of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons in defiance of U.N. resolutions that ended the 1991 Gulf War.

In emphatic tones, the defense secretary noted a public assertion by Saddam's government that it has no weapons of mass destruction and is making no effort to acquire them.

"He's lying. It's not complicated," Rumsfeld said.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry in Baghdad issued a statement Sunday asserting the government has neither made nor possessed weapons of mass destruction in more than a decade.

"Iraq has said on many occasions that it is not concerned with entering the mass destruction weapons club. ... We left it in 1991," the official statement said. The reference was to the six-week-long Persian Gulf War.

"If you want to know a world-class liar, it's Saddam Hussein," Rumsfeld told the troops, who gathered in a courtyard, fans stirring the sticky night air.

Read the rest at Fox News

June 10, 2003:

Official: U.S. not ready for Iraq chaos

WASHINGTON — A Pentagon official conceded Tuesday that planners failed to foresee the chaos in postwar Iraq, as another U.S. soldier was killed and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld signaled that guerrilla-type attacks could continue there for months.
Joseph Collins, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for stability operations, said that despite careful planning, the Pentagon was surprised by the extent of looting and lawlessness. Postwar conditions have "been tougher and more complex" than planners predicted, he said.

Collins' description of the postwar planning was one of the most detailed so far, and his admission that planners were caught off guard by the post-Saddam disorder was among the most candid yet by the Pentagon.

He defended the planning process, which he said produced documents 18 inches thick. "We had a highly developed plan for stabilization," he said. "But no plan survives the first contact with the enemy."

Rumsfeld, traveling in Europe, offered a sobering assessment of the continued attacks against American troops: "Do I think it's going to disappear in the next month or two or three? No. Will it disappear when some two or three divisions of coalition forces arrive in the country? No."

A soldier with the 82nd Airborne Division was killed Tuesday when an arms-collection checkpoint in Baghdad was attacked with a rocket-propelled grenade. Since Baghdad fell two months ago, 44 American troops have died, 12 from hostile fire.

The unsettled situation has forced the Defense Department to extend indefinitely the stay of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, which was scheduled to come home this summer.

Maj. Gen. Buford Blount, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, said last week that senior U.S. commanders did not fully consider the potential for mayhem. "Looting wasn't taken into military consideration. I'm not sure it was on anybody's screen," Blount said.

The Pentagon has about 150,000 troops in Iraq, mostly Army soldiers. Collins predicted that it would require three to four divisions — about 60,000 to 80,000 troops — to maintain law and order long-term. Collins was optimistic that U.S. allies could provide up to three-quarters of those troops.

Read the rest at USA Today

June 10, 2004:

Iraq blow for Bush as Bremer condemns him

President George W Bush's aides were scrambling last night to soften the impact of a major blow to his re-election campaign after his former chief official in Baghdad gave a damning criticism of the administration's record and policies in Iraq.

In an attack that stunned Washington, Paul Bremer, the "proconsul" of Iraq until the handover in late June, said the administration had made two serious mistakes. It had not sent enough troops and had compounded this by not curbing the violence and lawlessness that erupted after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

"We paid a big price for not stopping it because it established an atmosphere of lawlessness," Mr Bremer said in an address in West Virginia. "We never had enough troops on the ground."

His comments were remarkable because they echoed the criticism of the administration by Senator John Kerry, Mr Bush's Democratic challenger. Sen Kerry is using every opportunity to highlight the difficulties in Iraq to mount a late surge in the presidential election race.

Mr Bremer's comments were a second blow to Mr Bush and his re-election team in as many days following the admission by the defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, that he had seen no "strong hard evidence" linking Saddam to al-Qa'eda.

The insinuation that Saddam had ties to Osama bin Laden was a key part of the Bush administration's public relations offensive in the countdown to the war last year.

Read the rest at the Telegraph

June 10, 2005:

More Americans Dying from Roadside Bombs in Iraq

CAMP ANACONDA, Iraq - Improvised explosive devices, the roadside bombs that insurgents build from castoff artillery shells and other munitions, have become the No. 1 killer of American troops in Iraq this year, despite a massive U.S. campaign to blunt their effectiveness.

American commanders have dispatched newly armored Humvees, Army engineers have begun a yearlong program to clear vegetation and debris along major transportation routes, and military technicians have equipped vehicles with devices that jam cell phones and garage-door openers, which are used to trigger the explosives.

In spite of those efforts, deaths due to IEDs rose by more than 41 percent in the first five months of this year, compared with the same period last year, and account for nearly 51 percent of the 255 U.S. combat deaths so far this year, according to statistics assembled by Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, an Internet site that assembles statistics based on official U.S. casualty reports.

That's a change from 2004, when IEDs accounted for 189 of the 720 combat deaths among U.S. troops - about 26 percent.

In the first five months of last year, 85 deaths were attributed to IEDs. In the same period this year, 120 deaths were due to roadside bombs. They were the No. 1 cause of U.S. combat deaths for each of the five full months so far this year.

IEDs have killed 10 American service members so far in June; last year, they caused only one U.S. death in the first week of June.

Pentagon officials acknowledge that insurgents are killing more American troops with bigger bombs and say soldiers headed to Iraq or Afghanistan get specific training to help them recognize and survive IEDs.

Military officers in Iraq are optimistic that the U.S. efforts to counter IEDs will work.

Read the rest at Common Dreams

June 10, 2006:

Bush Preps for Summit on Iraq Strategy

WASHINGTON -- President Bush is walking a fine line with a high-profile, two-day Camp David summit on Iraq.

The sessions Monday and Tuesday are meant to show Americans anxious about the open-ended U.S. military presence in Iraq that progress is being made. The decision to hold meetings at the compound in Maryland's Catoctin Mountains is certain to give them a stature and exposure they might not have if set at the White House.

Yet the president is laboring to avoid the jubilant predictions made after previous milestones that were overtaken by continued violence and halting reconstruction.

White House officials played down expectations of troop-cutback formulas or other dramatic announcements from the meetings. Even Bush said Camp Davis was picked more for its spotty cell-phone service and the lack of other usual West Wing distractions.

The re-evaluation of the administration's Iraq policy starts with a long day of meetings between Bush and his national security team and the military commanders in the field in Iraq, continues with a luncheon attended by outside experts and ends with dinner Monday night.

On Tuesday, the sessions conclude with a joint meeting via videoconference between Bush's Cabinet and top ministers in Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's new government.

"Together we will determine how to best deploy America's resources in Iraq and achieve our shared goal of an Iraq that can govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself," the president said Saturday in his weekly radio address.

Among the most immediate concerns is how to buttress security operations in and around Baghdad. That could involve short-term troop increases.

Read the rest at the Washington Post