Friday, August 31, 2007

US senator speaks nonsense

a plane with senators was shot at, while leaving Iraq:

Sen. James M. Inhofe says terrorists' attempt to shoot down the C-130 military transport plane carrying him and other lawmakers in Iraq demonstrated the progress of the U.S. military campaign.

"Al Qaeda's unsuccessful attempt to shoot down this C-130 aircraft was a futile effort to influence its losing fight in Iraq, and served to underscore the reality that terrorism is still a threat and that there is still work to be done," the Oklahoma Republican said. "The crew’s impeccable training and flawless performance ensured the safety of the aircraft and all personnel on board."

so, being shot at, is a sign of progress these days...

on Deltoid meanwhile Robert Chang exposed David Kane, who wrote a piece about the Lancet study on iraqi mortality. it turns out, that he doesn t know how to do the basic calculations...

David, once again, you have shown that you are eager, determined, self-confident, clueless, misguided, and incompetent. Your entire argument is built on: "I can't figure it out, so no one can; since no one can figure it out, why bother asking anyone else?" David, you're spanked. You're drubbed, whupped, and schooled. You deserve all of it. You need to read this.

One more thing: "Michael Fumento! Michelle Malkin! Tim Curtin! Shannon Love! Can you hear me? Your boy took a hell of a beating! Your boy just took one hell of a beating!"

Kanes Paper found plenty of response among right wing bloggers. will they correct this error?

Corruption is norm in Iraq

this report is devestating. please take a look at individual entries!

But according to the working draft of a secret document prepared by the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, the Maliki government has failed in one significant area: corruption. Maliki's government is "not capable of even rudimentary enforcement of anticorruption laws," the report says, and, perhaps worse, the report notes that Maliki's office has impeded investigations of fraud and crime within the government.
again i wonder, how will this look in the september report?
"some progress has been made in fighting corruption, but there s more work to be done?!?"

look at this part:

The Ministry of the Interior, which has been a stronghold of Shia militias, stands out in the report. The study's authors say that "groups within MOI function similarly to a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) in the classic sense. MOI is a 'legal enterprise' which has been co-opted by organized criminals who act through the 'legal enterprise' to commit crimes such as kidnapping, extortion, bribery, etc." This is like saying the mob is running the police department. The report notes, "currently 426 investigations are hung up awaiting responses for documents belonging to MOI which routinely are ignored." It cites an episode during which a CPI officer discovered two eyewitnesses to the October 2006 murder of Amer al-Hashima, the brother of the vice president, but the CPI investigator would not identify the eyewitnesses to the Minister of the Interior out of fear he and they would be assassinated. (It seemed that the killers were linked to the Interior Ministry.) The report adds, "CPI investigators assigned to MOI investigations have unanimously expressed their fear of being assassinated should they aggressively pursue their duties at MOI. Thus when the head of MOI intelligence recently personally visited the Commissioner of CPI…to end investigations of [an] MOI contract, there was a clear sense of concern within the agency."
or this:

Over at the Defense Ministry, the report notes, there has been a "shocking lack of concern" about the apparent theft of $850 million from the Iraqi military's procurement budget. "In some cases," the report says, "American advisors working for US [Department of Defense] have interceded to remove [Iraqi] suspects from investigations or custody." Of 455 corruption investigations at the Defense Ministry, only 15 have reached the trial stage. A mere four investigators are assigned to investigating corruption in the department. And at the Ministry of Trade, "criminal gangs" divide the spoils, with one handling grain theft, another stealing transportation assets.
no surprise, after this:

Part of the problem, according to the report, is Maliki's office: "The Prime Minister's Office has demonstrated an open hostility" to independent corruption investigations. His government has withheld resources from the CPI, the report says, and "there have been a number of identified cases where government and political pressure has been applied to change the outcome of investigations and prosecutions in favor of members of the Shia Alliance"-which includes Maliki's Dawa party.

more Iraq developments, needing Petraeus spin

looks like the the Cholera is spreading out in northern Iraq.

Lack of clean drinking water and poor sanitation has led to 5,000 people in northern Iraq contracting cholera.

The outbreak is among the most serious signs yet that Iraqi health and social services are breaking down as the number of those living in camps and poor housing increases after people flee their homes.

"The disease is spreading very fast," Dr Juan Abdallah, a senior official in Kurdistan's health ministry, told a UN agency. "It is the first outbreak of its kind here in the past few decades."

what sort of an improvement brings back such an illness? how much more improvement, before we reintroduce the pest again?

as a sideeffect, the number of refugees is rising as well:

The number of Iraqis fleeing their homes has risen from 50,000 to 60,000 a month, the UN High Commission for Refugees reported earlier this week.

IHT has a good piece about the fighting between shii factions:

Rivalries and violence between Shiite factions are threatening to overshadow progress U.S. forces have made against al-Qaida in Iraq and other extremists just weeks before the top American commander and diplomat in Iraq report to Congress.

a main problem is, that the Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq and it s Badr militias are dominating the police forces in certain areas. unfortunetely we are following this recipe to desaster in sunni areas now as well.

the article has this outstanding description on Sadr as well:

In many ways, the Sadrists are leading a social revolution," said Joost Hiltermann, Middle East director of the International Crisis Group, a respected research agency based in Brussels, Belgium.

"It is a struggle against the traditional political class and the wealthy merchants of the Shiite shrine cities who support the Council," Hiltermann said"

Thursday, August 30, 2007

casualty numbers???

some people ask questions, about the "lower casualty numbers":

* "The average number of daily attacks against civilians remained about the same over the last six months" states a draft version of the Government Accountability Office provided to the Washington Post. [Washington Post, 8/30/07 ]

* The Associated Press has reported that sectarian violence has actually doubled in 2007 [AP, 8/26/07 ]

* Iraqi government has refused to report civilian death toll numbers to the United Nations agency responsible for collecting this information since January. This means more than 8 months of civilian deaths have gone unreported by an outside observer.

* The Iraq Study Group confirmed that in the past U.S. military officials routinely underreported civilian death. [McClatchy, 12/06/06 ]

* Disparities in death tolls reported by the government and eyewitness accounts cause some to charge that the government is intentionally downplaying or trying to cover up the number of dead. [Christian Science Monitor, 8/03/07 ]

* U.S. officials have claimed that death tolls have diminished in Baghdad, but have failed to provide documentation to the media that would support this assertion. [McClatchy, 8/15/07 ]

i fear we wont get answers, though...

GAO report finds little progress in Iraq

the WaPo got aversion of the GAO report to congress, BEFORE it went via the department of defense filter.

the results are devestating:

Iraq has failed to meet all but three of 18 congressionally mandated benchmarks for political and military progress, according to a draft of a Government Accountability Office report. The document questions whether some aspects of a more positive assessment by the White House last month adequately reflected the range of views the GAO found within the administration.
"While the Baghdad security plan was intended to reduce sectarian violence, U.S. agencies differ on whether such violence has been reduced," it states. While there have been fewer attacks against U.S. forces, it notes, the number of attacks against Iraqi civilians remains unchanged. It also finds that "the capabilities of Iraqi security forces have not improved." "Overall," the report concludes, "key legislation has not been passed, violence remains high, and it is unclear whether the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion in reconstruction funds," as promised.
no surprise, to anyone who s following the news.

meanwhile shia on shia violence made 1 mio pilgrims ordered out of karbala.

and there is a cholera outbreak in northern iraq.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Iraq deathtoll higher than 2006

the AP did a count:

The findings:

Iraq is suffering about double the war-related deaths countrywide compared with last year - an average daily toll of 62 so far this year, as against 33 in 2006.

Nearly 1,000 more people have been killed in violence across Iraq in the first eight months of this year than in all of 2006. So far this year, about 14,800 people have died in war-related attacks and sectarian murders. AP reporting accounted for 13,811 deaths in 2006. The UN and other sources placed the 2006 toll far higher.
i wonder how Petraeus is going to spin this numbers in his september report..

new UNITY seems to be a photo event:

this week there seemed to be movement in iraqi political benchmarks, finally:

Iraqi Shia, Sunni and Kurdish leaders have signed a reconciliation deal, Prime Minister Nouri Maliki says.
but it looks like this was more of an photo operation:

Mr Alayan said Mr Hashemi had joined the other four leaders in announcing the latest political move in his capacity as a "vice-president and not as leader of the Front".

Even Omar Abdul Sattar, a leader of Mr Hashemi's Iraqi Islamic Party, dismissed the agreement as stage-managed.

"It was an irrelevant media production," he said.

we will see, whether Bush will manage to at least strong arm the oil law through iraqi parliament...

NIE report

sorry for my long absence, i was busy doing some renovation work.

lot s of things happened, but i have only time for a small update:

the NIE report is out:

We assess, to the extent that Coalition forces continue to conduct robust counterinsurgency operations and mentor and support the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), that Iraq's security will continue to improve modestly during the next six to 12 months but that levels of insurgent and sectarian violence will remain high and the Iraqi Government will continue to struggle to achieve national-level political reconciliation and improved governance. Broadly accepted political compromises required for sustained security, long-term political progress, and economic development are unlikely to emerge unless there is a fundamental shift in the factors driving Iraqi political and security developments.
i agree with the majority of what it says. but you still have to consider who wrote it.
most of the assessments are optimistic, so that they don t damage the administration. but they keep the report full of warnings, to safeguard themselfes against another 9/11 debacle.


in other news, the Brits are leaving Basra:

Shiite militiamen from the Mahdi Army took over the police joint command center in Basra on Sunday after British soldiers withdrew from the facility and handed control to the Iraqi police, witnesses said.
the Brits are disputing, that their base was plundered by al-Sadr again, but i wouldn t be suprised if they did.


well, with most senior officials gone at justice, the last one migfht as well turn the lights of..

Sunday, August 19, 2007

US training falling apart

some days ago, i wrote this:

15 months at war, 12 months at home. in those 12 months, you have to spend your holiday, and all training courses to further your career. and the unit needs to bring their equipment and training on a high level again. sounds impossible? it is!

well, unfortunetely i just got confirmation about how right i was:

The US Army, struggling to cope with stepped-up operations and extended deployments of its soldiers to Iraq, has shortened the duration of several of its bedrock training courses so that troops can return to fighting units on the front lines more quickly, according to senior training officials.

One training course that is considered the "first step" in educating newly minted sergeants -- the noncommissioned officers considered the backbone of Army units -- has been cut in half to 15 days. Meanwhile, an intensive program designed to prepare young officers for advanced leadership has been compressed from eight months to less than five months so that the Army can fill positions in constant demand from commanders in the Middle East.

12 month at home, about 2 of them being used up by long deserved holidays. (2 years of holidays, crowded into one..)
then all the material needs to be checked in again, and checked out for next deployment. this alone would be a task, that could keep a unit busy for 12 months. but instead most leadership will be absent during the majority of this time, training for their next job position.

How Bush will manipulate the September Report

i was awake too long again last night, reading news. i m rather troubled by latest news. i m pretty sure, that Bush has (for once!!!) a plan for Iraq. or better to say, for his own position in Washington.

as i predicted earlier, Bush will try to claim success, in the september report by Petraeus. most of this will not be based on facts, but there is only ONE decisive point among those: political progress.

Bush needs to pass a law (ahm, make iraqis do that, that is..), to claim success. he s aiming for the oil law. and i m rather sure now, that he will achieve this. there are several indicators about this plan:

1. new iraq coalition
a new coalition, made up of Shiis and Kurds. both groups favor strong regions and an oil law, favoring those who produce the oil.
this coalition will not oppose the law and has enough votes to pass it.

2. bring in some sunnis
to give some "democratic touch" to the whole affair, Bush (ahm Maliki) is trying to bring in some sunnis.
the model for this part, is the "iraq islamic party" scam on the referendum:

The IIP led a large-scale public campaign urging Iraqis (especially the Sunnis) to vote against the constitution referendum in 2005. However, two days before the referendum took place, the IIP announced its support for a "yes" vote, following a deal with the members of the Iraqi Transitional Government whereby the newly elected Iraqi National Assembly would consider amendments to the constitution in 2006. [2]

Bush does not care about opposition on the oil law, some of it even coming from the Author of it!

pushing the oil law will most likely lead to a collapse of the Anbar progress. (unless Bush manages to buy of quite a lot of local leaders, like with the IIP.)
so the timeline needs to look like this: the law needs to be accepted short before the Petraeus report and must contain some vague proposal to future amendments. (as the constitution did)

this move will be enough to cover the complete failure of the surge all over Iraq, from baghdad
to Basra neither one of these towns is in control of Coalition forces at this moment.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Petraeus Report update

some more information on the report:

a majority of americans seems to have some doubts about the report:

But according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Thursday, 53 percent of people polled said they suspect that the military assessment of the situation will try to make it sound better than it actually is. Forty-three percent said they do trust the report.
Crocker wants to put a lot of Iran into the Iraq report:

U.S. envoy says Iraq report will sound warning on Iran

pretty bizarre, while we re still counting deads in the terrible village bombing in the north. 200? 250? 400? or even over 500?
if Iran was a major concern, the "surge" should have moved troops onto the iranian border. that did not happen. instead, the troops moved into mainly sunni territory. sometimes i wished, the US ambassador to the country, could tell sunnis and shiis apart..

meanwhile warnings are leaked about a "mixed picture" in the report. bizarre.

AG Gonzales - off topic

this is the most comprehensive sum up, of what s (recently) been wrong with the US AG:

Potential misleading statements that you may wish to examine include, but are not limited to the following instances:

1. Attorney General Gonzales testified on July 24, 2007, that the “Gang of Eight,” consisting of members of Congress, told him that “despite the recommendation of the Deputy Attorney General,” who as Acting Attorney General had found a warrantless surveillance program to be without legal basis, the government should “go forward with these very important intelligence activities.” According to press accounts, at least three members of Congress who were present for the described meeting dispute the testimony that they recommended proceeding with the program over the Acting Attorney General’s objections.

2. Attorney General Gonzales testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 6, 2006, that neither former Deputy Attorney General James Comey nor other officials had concerns about the Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP) that was confirmed by the President. In a June 5, 2007, press conference, Attorney General Gonzales stated that a dispute with Mr. Comey concerned this very program, though he later retracted that statement. At his July 24 hearing, Attorney General Gonzales said that there was no dissent about the TSP, and that the disagreement concerned “other intelligence activities.” Numerous officials, including members of the “Gang of Eight” and FBI Director Robert Mueller have indicated that the disputes did concern the TSP, and that there was only one program. Attorney General Gonzales in an August 1, 2007, letter to me set out a legalistic explanation stating that the disputed activities and the TSP were separate components of a single program.

3. Attorney General Gonzales said in April 27, 2005, testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence with regard to National Security Letters (NSLs) and other information-gathering techniques that statutory civil liberties safeguards had been effective and that “[t]here has not been one verified case of civil liberties abuse.” Similarly, his responses to written questions following his April 19, 2007, Senate Judiciary Committee hearing indicated that he had not learned of problems with NSLs prior to your March 2007 report on the issue. Documents obtained in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit indicated that the Attorney General had in fact received numerous reports in 2005 and 2006 of violations in connection with NSLs and other surveillance tools. The Attorney General in his July 24 testimony suggested that his prior testimony and answers were premised on the fact that he was not aware of any “intentional” violations. The Washington Post has reported that at least one intentional violation was reported in the relevant time period.

4. In March press appearances, Attorney General Gonzales said that he had not been involved in deliberations as to which United States Attorneys should be fired. Documents and testimony obtained by the Senate Judiciary Committee showed that the Attorney General attended a November 27, 2006, meeting at which the firings were approved. In subsequent testimony, Attorney General Gonzales has taken responsibility for the firings and said that he attended this meeting, but he has maintained that he does not know who was responsible for selecting the names of U.S. Attorneys to be fired and does not remember what was said at the November 27 meeting. He has at times placed primary responsibility for which U.S. Attorneys were selected to be fired on his former Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson and former Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, each of whom denies making the determinations.

5. In his April 19, 2007, testimony, Attorney General Gonzales said, “I haven’t talked to witnesses because of the fact that I haven’t wanted to interfere with this investigation.” In May 23, 2007, testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, former White House liaison Monica Goodling testified that the Attorney General had a discussion with her that made her “uncomfortable” in which he set out his version of events regarding the process of firing U.S. Attorneys and asked for her reaction. In his July 24 testimony, Attorney General Gonzales said he had a conversation with Goodling “to console and reassure an emotionally distraught woman” and to “reassure her that as far as I knew, no one had done anything intentionally wrong here.”

I had to quote this in full, as it s pretty condensed.


on other developments, FBI Director Mueller made public the notes he took, after the "very special" visit to AG Ashcrofts hospital bed.

most of the Text is blacked out, but he obviously had long talks with Bush and Cheney about the event. and he confirmed what we know. take a look!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

the US military is NOT doing a good job in Iraq.

most americans would disagree with my topic statement, even though the truth is obvious, when looking at developments in Iraq.

but here s another important indicator:

"This is an act of ethnic cleansing, if you will, almost genocide, when you consider the fact of the target they attacked, and the fact that these Yazidis are really out in a very remote part of Ninevah province where they're, there is very little security, and really no security required up until this point," Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, the commander of U.S. forces in northern Iraq, told CNN.

Mixon said last month that he proposed reducing American troop levels in Ninevah and predicted the province would shift to Iraqi government control as early as this month. It was unclear whether that projection would hold after Tuesday's staggering death tolls.

so, the General thought that Ninevah was doing fine and that the Yazidis were safe.
weird thought, after this event:

The sect has been under fire since some members stoned a Yazidi teenager to death in April. She had converted to Islam and fled her family with a Muslim boyfriend, and police said 18-year-old Duaa Khalil Aswad was killed by relatives who disapproved of the match.

A grainy video showing gruesome scenes of the woman's killing was later posted on Iraqi Web sites. Its authenticity could not be independently verified, but recent attacks on Yazidis have been blamed on al-Qaida-linked Sunni insurgents seeking revenge.

the US military in Iraq is seriously underequipted and understaffed. it was sent into this war without a plan and with an impossible mission.

so one could forgive them their failure in providing security for the country. but the repetitions of faults like this one, are unforgivable. as is the fact, that the US military still has not spoken up against US politics!

the september report, my predictions!

for a long time now, i wanted to write about my expectations for the september report by General Petraeus. unfortunetly, most of my predictions are already becoming true:

1. the report will highlight military success.
and there even was some, much less than expected (and necessary!), though. the number of civilians killed might be slightly down. number of attacks is similar or higher than before. violence seems mostly to have been shifted, not removed.

but the real problem with this aspect is: we sent in an additional 30000 US troops. that is nearly a 25% increase! of course this would have an effect. looking at some numbers it becomes obvious, that we need at least another 60000 to get violence in Iraq to an "acceptable" level.

2. the report will claim some political progress
the US will try to force iraqis to at least attempt a vote on one of the laws. (oil, most likely)
the political process unfortunetly has become much worse lately. so this a forced law will lead to another debacle, like the constitution did.

3. the Anbar progress will take ahuge place in the report.
as i wrote before, i don t believe that forming militias is progress.

4. future action: slowly remove troops.
Bush and Co will have to face reality. a majority of americans (and of US MPs of both parties) wants troop numbers reduced. the reduction of course will not come in real action, but mostly in promises. a tiny short term reduction. a bigger reduction next year (when keeping this force level up will become difficult for the US military anyway) and prospect of a huge reduction AFTER the elections.

5. don t expect any hard numbers!
oil production? electricity delivered? numbers of attacks, violence death? the report will contain pretty little of this. and those that get in, will be carefully chosen.


the LATimes has an interesting piece on this today:

The expected recommendation would authorize U.S. commanders to withdraw troops from places that have become less violent and turn over security responsibilities to Iraqi forces.
a rather nice variant. "reduction" inside Iraq. followed by movement to bases "at the border to kuwait", perhaps? plenty of room to move!

a nice development is, that we might not even hear his recommendations:

The senior officer in Baghdad said the military was still debating whether Petraeus should make his detailed strategy recommendations to Congress in an open or closed session.
oh, and of course the General isn t writing the report. the whitehouse is.

Despite Bush's repeated statements that the report will reflect evaluations by Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, administration officials said it would actually be written by the White House, with inputs from officials throughout the government.



Tomdispatch has an enormous amount of numbers on Iraq. check it out!


i joined a debate on Billroggio today.

he made the claim that

prison population rises as almost 3,000 foreign fighters are detained.
but his source only speaks of 3000 foreign prisoners, not foreign fighters.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

bad day for Iraq

several massive car bombs killed scores in the kurdish north.

At least 175 people were killed when three suicide bombers driving fuel tankers attacked residential compounds home to the ancient minority Yazidi sect in northern Iraq on Tuesday, an Iraqi army captain said.
remember, kurdistan is supposed to be the most peaceful part of the country.

at the same time, an important bridge leading north from Baghdad was finally completly destroyed.

Meanwhile, a truck bomb exploded on a bridge north of Baghdad Tuesday, killing 10 people and cutting an important route between the capital and northern Iraq.
remember, this bridge was bombed before. the inability of the US and iraqi military to prevent secondary attacks against high profile targets (samarra mosque..) is threatening the country.

the same article mentions important hostages taken at the oil ministry:

Also on Tuesday, a deputy oil minister was kidnapped by armed men at his home in the Oil Ministry compound in eastern Baghdad, according to Oil Ministry spokesman Assem Jihad. Abdel Jabar al-Wagaa, the senior assistant to Oil Minister Hussain Shahristani, was taken with several other ministry staff members, Jihad said.

The abduction was carried out by gunmen wearing Iraqi security force uniforms who entered the compound late Tuesday afternoon in more than a dozen official vehicles, according to the spokesman.

again, iraqi security forces are incapable of providing protection for even a couple of sites!

meanwhile it looks as if the 15 months tour would stay for a while:

U.S. soldiers deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan will be facing the extended 15-month deployments until at least next June, a top Army commander said Tuesday.
15 months at war, 12 months at home. in those 12 months, you have to spend your holiday, and all training courses to further your career. and the unit needs to bring their equipment and training on a high level again. sounds impossible? it is!


have a look at this nice fact check about a claim by Obama:

As of Aug. 1, the AP count shows that while militants killed 231 civilians in attacks in 2007, Western forces killed 286. Another 20 were killed in crossfire that can't be attributed to one party.
"they hate our freedom". you bet.

Monday, August 13, 2007

military propaganda success

the recent O´Hanlon and Pollack editorial on the progress in iraq turns out to be mainly based on military propaganda. i m not suprised

But to establish their credibility as first-hand witnesses, O'Hanlon and Pollack began their Op-Ed by claiming, in the very first sentence: "VIEWED from Iraq, where we just spent eight days meeting with American and Iraqi military and civilian personnel. . . . " Yet the overwhelming majority of these "Iraqi military and civilian personnel" were ones hand-picked for them by the U.S. military

US army recruiting, part II

some more information on current recruiting trends:

waivers for criminal past are on the rise:

With less than three months left in the fiscal year, 11.6 percent of new active-duty and Army Reserve troops in 2007 have received a so-called "moral waiver," up from 7.9 percent in fiscal year 2006, according to figures from the U.S. Army Recruiting Command. In fiscal 2003 and 2004, soldiers granted waivers accounted for 4.6 percent of new recruits; in 2005, it was 6.2 percent. -International Herald Tribune
at the same time, high school diploma is more and more becoming an exception, rather than the norm:

In 2006, the number of traditional high school graduates recruited by the Army dropped to 73%, from 84% a year earlier, according to National Priorities Project, a research group that analyzes federal data. The military's goal is 90% high school graduates — a benchmark last met in 2004.
here s another interesting post on the subject, looking at some "special use" of statistics and the influence of the war on the military:

In 2005 the Army promoted 97 percent of all eligible captains to major, an increase from the prewar norm of 70-to-80 percent. A Department official told The Los Angeles Times: "Basically, if you haven't been court-martialed, you're going to be promoted to major."

Friday, August 10, 2007

US army recruiting

will this army win the war in Iraq? i have some doubts. but see for yourself:

Despite spending nearly $1 billion last year on recruiting bonuses and ads, Army leaders say an even bolder approach is needed to fill wartime ranks.Under a new proposal, men and women who enlist could pick from a "buffet" of incentives, including up to $45,000 tax-free that they accrue during their career to help buy a home or build a business.
WaPo has a huge list of new ideas. apart from massive money, here s what they do to make young (lol <42) people join:

Among the changes that have helped attract more recruits:

_ Increasing to $20,000 the bonus for troops who join by Sept. 30 and leave for boot camp within a month.

_ Raising the enlistment age to 42.

_ Allowing recruits to come in with non-offensive tattoos on their hands and neck.

_ Offering a $2,000 bonus to Army soldiers who refer a new recruit.

_ Enlisting recruits who don't meet weight standards and must trim down their first year.

_ Advertising that targets potential recruits' parents.

_ Increasing the number of recruits with general education diplomas rather than regular high school diplomas.

_ Creating a more pleasant boot camp environment.

_ Sending "gung-ho" soldiers fresh from boot camp or war zones back to their hometowns to visit old friends and schoolmates to promote the Army.

_ Increasing to more than 15 percent the number of Army and Army Reserve troops given waivers for medical and moral reasons or for positive drug and alcohol screen tests.

and they missed the quorum in June. let s see.

Friday, August 3, 2007

July WORST month. again.

i like how Juan Cole dispelled the myth about a military improvement of the situation in Iraq:

Deadliest July Yet for US Troops;
23% Rise in Iraqi Deaths in July;

t will be pretty hard to fake success under these conditions in september. wanna bet this government is gonna try it anyway???

it is NOT "we"!!!!

well, good news first. some realistic assessment of Iraq from Mr. Gates:

"I just think in some ways we probably all underestimated the depth of the mistrust and how difficult it would be for these guys to come together on legislation, which, let's face it, is not just some kind of secondary thing," Gates said aboard his plane en route to Washington.
i did NOT underestimate the problem. neither did i think that iraq had nukes before the war. and i didn t think they would give them to al-qaeda.

YOU were wrong. not "we". simple fact.