Monday, 2 June 2008

No combat deaths for the quiet imperialists

DESPITE a five-year commitment that has involved almost 14,000 soldiers, Australia will end its war in Iraq without a combat fatality.

In contrast, the Americans have lost more than 4000 soldiers; the British have lost almost 180. In Vietnam, about 50,000 Australians served and 520 died; in Afghanistan, where about 8000 soldiers have served, five have been killed.

This lack of fatalities in Iraq is, in part, a credit to the prowess of the military but it is primarily a result of the Government's decision to keep the soldiers away from harm. As an American official told a Washington Post journalist, Thomas Ricks, when describing the US-led coalition: "Except for the Brits, they weren't there to fight."

The most celebrated offensive Australian mission occurred before the war started, when SAS troops crossed into Iraq and - for the first time since Gallipoli - headed an invasion.

Inthe following days, for the first time since Vietnam, the Australian air force and a naval gunship were involved in bombing ground targets. On April 16, 2003, the SAS, assisted by commandos from the 4th Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment and air support from fighter jets, captured the massive Al Asad air base west of Baghdad.

But by the following month, the SAS troops had returned home. In the Gulf around Kuwait, divers from the navy's mine clearance team had finished their job of defusing sea mines and unexploded ground munitions.

In the five years that followed, the Howard government deployed more troops but reduced the intensity of their mission.

In 2005, as the Iraqi insurgency worsened, about 450 soldiers were despatched to the southern province of Al Muthanna - one of the quietest regions in the country - to protect Japanese reconstruction workers and train Iraqi forces. The following year, the troops moved to the neighbouring Dhi Qar province to assume an overwatch role for Iraqi security forces. Across Iraq, the Australians have helped to train about 33,000 soldiers and police.

One of the most dangerous tasks has been performed by a security detachment of about 110 soldiers, which will stay in Baghdad to protect the Australian embassy. In January 2005, a bomb exploded near the embassy, killing two Iraqi civilians and injuring two Australians.

Neil James, the executive director of the Australia Defence Association, said the deployment had provided valuable battle experience and had led to improvements in training and equipment, including changes to body armour and the Bushmaster armoured vehicle and the development of a pre-deployment training program.

"The pre-deployment training has probably been some of the best given to a force leaving Australia," Mr James said.

"It is often overlooked how well the Australians have done, particularly in the early days in Dhi Qar protecting the Japanese engineers … They trained the local security forces and restored confidence - that they were not needed much is more a sign of success rather than a sign of failure."

Quote: If lethal memes, death and destruction are an achievement then we don't account for all those related deaths below. The illegal and degrading war and crimes against humanity committed on Iraq for their oil resources should now be dealt with as soon as possible. Those responsible or who collaberated should be committed to face the war criminal court - to account for those who were tortured, maimed or killed in that war on Iraq unnecessarily, because of the pre-emptive strike on that sovereign nation.


Iraq oil output, exports hit post-war high

Oil production has climbed to a post-war high of more than 2.5 million barrels-per-day.

Iraq has raised oil exports to a post-war high, earning billions of dollars to fund reconstruction after Baghdad cracked down on sabotage of its strategic pipelines, Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani says he expects 2008 oil revenues to reach $70 billion if oil prices stay high and there are no output disruptions. Mr Shahristani was optimistic Iraqi forces would be able to sustain tight security at oil facilities. That could raise the confidence of [foreign] investors who have been discouraged by [resistance to; the pre-emptive strikes on Iraq by the coalition of the killing, false flag operations by them, to encourage civil war, sectarian violence, Al Qaeda and powerful Shiite militants who had a tight grip on Basra, home to Iraq's biggest oilfields.

"In May, we have exceeded for the first time 2 million barrels-per-day (bpd) as an export rate," Mr Shahristani said. Production had also climbed to a post-war high of more than 2.5 million bpd, he said. Mr Shahristani was confident Iraq could pump up to 2.9 million bpd by the end of 2008. He declined to comment on export levels for June, but senior Iraqi oil officials said last month shipments would run slightly higher because of extra Kirkuk sales from the north.

Unknown News
"News that's not known, or not known enough."

-- IN IRAQ --

and 90,000 SERIOUSLY INJURED Aug. 2003

and 1,414,723 SERIOUSLY INJURED June 2007

and 50,677 SERIOUSLY INJURED June 2007

and 861 SERIOUSLY INJURED June 2007

and 288 SERIOUSLY INJURED June 2007

and 452 SERIOUSLY INJURED June 2007


and 25,761 SERIOUSLY INJURED July 2004

and 6,273 SERIOUSLY INJURED July 2004

and 1,026 SERIOUSLY INJURED Jan. 2007

and 834 SERIOUSLY INJURED June 2007


Army chief admits morale concerns over lack of combat
Lieutenant General Leahy was responding to public criticism from two infantry officers who have written in the Australian Army Journal. The officers claim that some soldiers are sometimes ashamed to wear the Australian uniform and have been treated with "near contempt" by allies in Iraq and Afghanistan because they are involved in such low-risk missions.

Memorial Day Special…Winter Soldier on the Hill: War Vets Testify Before Congress
War veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan came to Capitol Hill this month to testify before Congress and give an eyewitness account about the horrors of war. Like the Winter Soldier hearings in March, when more than 200 service members gathered for four days in Silver Spring, Maryland to give their eyewitness accounts of the injustices occurring in Iraq and Afghanistan, “Winter Soldier on the Hill” was designed to drive home the human cost of the war and occupation—this time, to the very people in charge of doing something about it. The name, Winter Soldier, comes from a similar event in 1971, when hundreds of Vietnam veterans gathered in Detroit, and is derived from the opening line of Thomas Paine’s pamphlet, “The Crisis,” published in 1776: “These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” In a packed public hearing this month, the soldiers testified before a panel of lawmakers from the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Today we spend the hour hearing their testimony.

US dockers strike over Iraq war
Union officials say about 10,000 longshore workers who handle cargo along the west coast of the United States have stayed away from work in a one-day protest against the war in Iraq.

Thousands take part in anti-war protests
Thousands of anti-war protesters have marched in Britain and the United States to mark the fifth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq.

'Charge Howard with war crimes'
FORMER Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has called for ex-prime minister John Howard and other Western leaders to be charged with war crimes over the conflict in Iraq.

In 1998, Dick Cheney, now US vice-president but then chief executive of a major oil services company, remarked: "I cannot think of a time when we have had a region emerge as suddenly to become as strategically significant as the Caspian." But the oil and gas there is worthless until it is moved. The only route which makes both political and economic sense is through Afghanistan.

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