War: July 2003 Archives

Via Eschaton I see there is a Washington Post article that says we are now taking hostages in Iraq as part of our "tactics". I think the headline is a bit weak given the item about taking families of Iraqi officials hostage that's buried deep in the article.

U.S. Adopts Aggressive Tactics on Iraqi Fighters

Col. David Hogg, commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division, said tougher methods are being used to gather the intelligence. On Wednesday night, he said, his troops picked up the wife and daughter of an Iraqi lieutenant general. They left a note: "If you want your family released, turn yourself in." Such tactics are justified, he said, because, "It's an intelligence operation with detainees, and these people have info." They would have been released in due course, he added later.

The tactic worked. On Friday, Hogg said, the lieutenant general appeared at the front gate of the U.S. base and surrendered.

After seeing my post The men of ward 57, a friend who was a "Donut Dolly" visiting soldiers in the hospital during the Viet Nam War, and says it's time to do it again, sent me the information for people interested in volunteering here in NYC:

To register to volunteer at the Veterans hospital

423 East 23rd Street (just east of First Avenue)
Room One South (ask Security)
Frank Civitillo or his assistant
212-686-7500 x 7920
walk in Mon-Fri 8:00 am to 4:00 pm

They will interview you and arrange for a T.B. shot. There are plenty of volunteers now, during this height of feeling, but many surviving Veterans probably need whatever you offer.

Wow -- look at this headline:

Jessica Lynch Due Home After Media Hype on Heroism

PALESTINE, W.Va. (Reuters) - Jessica Lynch, the wounded Army private whose ordeal in Iraq was hyped into a media fiction of U.S. heroism, was set for an emotional homecoming on Tuesday in a rural West Virginia community bristling with flags, yellow ribbons and TV news trucks.

But when the 20-year-old supply clerk arrives by Blackhawk helicopter to the embrace of family and friends, media critics say the TV cameras will not show the return of an injured soldier so much as a reality-TV drama co-produced by U.S. government propaganda and credulous reporters.

"It no longer matters in America whether something is true or false. The population has been conditioned to accept anything: sentimental stories, lies, atomic bomb threats," said John MacArthur, the publisher of Harper's magazine.


Lynch became a national hero after media reports quoted unnamed U.S. officials as saying she fought fiercely before being captured, firing on Iraqi forces despite sustaining multiple gunshot and stab wounds.

In the end, Army investigators concluded that Lynch was injured when her Humvee crashed into another vehicle in the convoy after it was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.

Far from a scene of battlefield heroism, the Army said the convoy blundered into the ambush after getting lost and many of the unit's weapons malfunctioned during the battle.

The U.S. military also released video taken during an apparently daring rescue by American special forces who raided the Iraqi hospital where she was being treated.

Iraqi doctors at the hospital said later the U.S. rescuers had faced no resistance and the operation had been over-dramatized.

Quoting the Harper's publiser? They'll be banned from Washington! Well, they are a British company, so they sometimes act like real journalists rather than what we're getting out of our own media at this point.


Even though he will begin married life in a wheelchair after the loss of both his feet, First Lt. John Fernandez, a West Point graduate, swears he won't feel sorry for himself. Not when three men around him came home from Iraq in body bags.

While our media writes about what seems to be considered a relatively low number of (American) deaths in Iraq, Daily Kos tells us about The men of Ward 57. More than 650 seriously wounded soldiers have passed through Walter Reed Hospital since March. If we had a real media this would be in the news more.

This line really got me:

Pfc. Danny Roberts was wishing for Faulkner instead of a glossy guide about adapting to limb loss.

These people are maimed in a war that we didn't need to fight that was built on lies. Today the NY Times reports that we were conducting air raids starting in 2002 to prepare for an invasion of Iraq.

The strikes, which were conducted from mid-2002 into the first few months of 2003, were justified publicly at the time as a reaction to Iraqi violations of a no-flight zone that the United States and Britain established in southern Iraq. But Lt. Gen. T. Michael Moseley, the chief allied war commander, said the attacks also laid the foundations for the military campaign against the Baghdad government.

Indeed, one reason it was possible for the allies to begin the ground campaign to topple Mr. Hussein without preceding it with an extensive array of airstrikes was that 606 bombs had been dropped on 391 carefully selected targets under the plan, General Moseley said.

One of the things that drove the Soviets out of Afghanistan was the streams of amputees coming home despite the government and the media telling the people that the war was going well.

The Washington Post reports that the White House was so unhappy about an ABC News story about bad morale in Iraq that they pointed out to Matt Drudge that the reporter who did the story is gay and Canadian. Unless they're trying to use jingoism and homophobia to further their fascist aims, what's the point?

Some folks in the White House were apparently hopping mad when ABC News correspondent Jeffrey Kofman did a story on Tuesday's "World News Tonight" about the plummeting morale of U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq.

So angry, in fact, that the next day, a White House operative alerted cyber-gossip Matt Drudge to the fact that Kofman is not only openly gay, he's Canadian.

Yesterday Drudge told us he was unaware of the ABC story until "someone from the White House communications shop tipped me to it" along with a profile of Kofman in the gay-oriented magazine the Advocate.


White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan "is having a rough first week," Drudge said. "The White House press office is under new management and has become slightly more aggressive about contacting reporters. This story has certainly become talk radio fodder about the cultural wars-slash-liberal bias in the media."

A network insider was less sanguine about the White House tactic: "Playing hardball is one thing. But appealing to homophobia and jingoism is simply ugly."

Mr. Drudge is rather quiet about his own orientation when the subject comes up.

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