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How many freelance militias are there in Baghdad? The answer is "23"

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NNN0LHI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 08:39 AM
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How many freelance militias are there in Baghdad? The answer is "23"

<snip>How many freelance militias are there in Baghdad?

The answer is "23" according to a "senior {US} military official" in Baghdad - so write Richard A Oppel Jr and Hosham Hussein in the New York Times; but according to US National Public Radio, the answer is "at least 23". Antonio Castaneda of the Associated Press says there are 23 "known" militias. However you figure it, that's a staggering number of militias, mainly Shi'ite, but some Sunni, for one large city.

How many civilians are dying in the Iraqi capital, because of those militias, numerous (often government-linked) death squads, the Sunni insurgency, and al-Qaeda in Iraq-style terrorism?

More than 5,100 people in July and August, according to a recently released United Nations report. The previous, still staggering but significantly lower figure of 3,391 offered for those months relied on body counts only from the city morgue. The UN report also includes deaths at the city's overtaxed hospitals. With the Bush administration bringing thousands of extra US and Iraqi soldiers into the capital in August, death tolls went down somewhat for a few weeks, but began rising again toward month's end. August figures on civilian wounded - 4,309 - rose 14% over July's figures and, by late September, suicide bombings were at their highest level since the invasion.

How many Iraqis are being tortured in Baghdad at present?

Precise numbers are obviously in short supply on this one, but large numbers of bodies are found in and around the capital every single day, a result of the roiling civil war already under way there. These bodies, as Oppel of the Times describes them, commonly display a variety of signs of torture, including "gouged-out eyeballs, wounds in the head and genitals, broken bones of legs and hands, electric and cigarette burns ... acid-induced injuries and burns caused by chemical substances, missing skin ... missing teeth and wounds caused by power drills or nails". The UN's chief anti-torture expert, Manfred Nowak, believes that torture in Iraq is now not only "totally out of hand" but "worse" than under dictator Saddam Hussein.

How many Iraqi civilians are being killed countrywide?

The UN Report offers figures on this: 1,493 dead, over and above the dead of Baghdad. However, these figures are surely undercounts. Oppel points out, for instance, that officials in al-Anbar province, the heartland of the Sunni insurgency "and one of the deadliest regions in Iraq, reported no deaths in July".

Meanwhile, in Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad, deaths not only seem to be on the rise, but higher than previously estimated. The intrepid British journalist Patrick Cockburn recently visited the province. It's not a place, he comments parenthetically, "to make a mistake in map-reading". (Enter the wrong area or neighborhood and you're dead.) Diyala, he reports, is now largely under the control of Sunni insurgents who are "close to establishing a 'Taliban republic' in the region". On casualties, he writes: "Going by the accounts of police and government officials in the province, the death toll outside Baghdad may be far higher than previously reported." The head of Diyala's provincial council (who has so far escaped two assassination attempts) told Cockburn that he believed "on average, 100 people are being killed in Diyala every week". ("Many of those who die disappear forever, thrown into the Diyala River or buried in date-palm groves and fruit orchards.")

We're talking about close to 40,000 Iraqi deaths a year. We have no way of knowing how much higher the real figure is.
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whistle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 08:45 AM
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1. Was it John Negroponte who installed the Iraqi Death Squads
...when he was ambassador in Iraq at the beginning of the occupation?

The Salvador Option
The Pentagon may put Special-Forces-led assassination or kidnapping teams in Iraq
By Michael Hirsh and John Barry

Updated: 8:59 p.m. ET Jan 14, 2005
Jan. 8 - What to do about the deepening quagmire of Iraq? The Pentagons latest approach is being called "the Salvador option"and the fact that it is being discussed at all is a measure of just how worried Donald Rumsfeld really is. "What everyone agrees is that we cant just go on as we are," one senior military officer told NEWSWEEK. "We have to find a way to take the offensive against the insurgents. Right now, we are playing defense. And we are losing." Last Novembers operation in Fallujah, most analysts agree, succeeded less in breaking "the back" of the insurgencyas Marine Gen. John Sattler optimistically declared at the timethan in spreading it out.

Now, NEWSWEEK has learned, the Pentagon is intensively debating an option that dates back to a still-secret strategy in the Reagan administrations battle against the leftist guerrilla insurgency in El Salvador in the early 1980s. Then, faced with a losing war against Salvadoran rebels, the U.S. government funded or supported "nationalist" forces that allegedly included so-called death squads directed to hunt down and kill rebel leaders and sympathizers. Eventually the insurgency was quelled, and many U.S. conservatives consider the policy to have been a successdespite the deaths of innocent civilians and the subsequent Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal. (Among the current administration officials who dealt with Central America back then is John Negroponte, who is today the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Under Reagan, he was ambassador to Honduras. There is no evidence, however, that Negroponte knew anything about the Salvadoran death squads or the Iran-Contra scandal at the time. The Iraq ambassador, in a phone call to NEWSWEEK on Jan. 10, said he was not involved in military strategy in Iraq. He called the insertion of his name into this report "utterly gratuitous.")
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populistdriven Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 09:12 AM
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2. the scary thing is, there are more than that in the US
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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 01:18 PM
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3. How Iraq is making us unsafer... by the numbers
Hard numbers from Asia Times online:
How many US troops are in Iraq today?
About 147,000, according to General John Abizaid, head of US Central Command, significantly more than were in-country just after Baghdad was taken in April 2003 when the occupation began.

How is the Pentagon keeping troop strength up in Iraq?
Four thousand troops from the 1st Brigade of the 1st Armored Division, operating near Ramadi and nearing the end of their year-long tour of duty, have just been informed that they will be held in Iraq at least six more weeks. This is not an isolated incident, according to Robert Burns of the Associated Press. Units are also being sent to Iraq ahead of schedule.

US Army policy has been to give soldiers two years at home between combat tours. This year alone, the time between tours has shrunk from 18 to 14 months. "In the case of the 3rd Infantry," writes Burns, "it appears at least one brigade will get only about 12 months because it is heading for Iraq to replace the extended brigade of the 1st Armored."


As of now, write Shanker and Gordon, "so many are deployed or only recently returned from combat duty that only two or three combat brigades - perhaps 7,000 to 10,000 troops - are fully ready to respond in case of unexpected crises, according to a senior army general".

How many active-duty US Army troops have been deployed in Iraq?
About 400,000 troops out of an active-duty force of 504,000 have already served one tour of duty in Iraq, according to Peter Spiegel of the Los Angeles Times. More than one-third of them have already been deployed twice.

How is Iraq affecting the army's equipment?
By the spring of 2005, the US Army had already "rotated 40% of its equipment through Iraq and Afghanistan". Marine Corps mid-2005 estimates were that 40% percent of its ground equipment and 20% of its air assets were being used to support current operations, according to analyst Carl Conetta. In the harsh climate of Iraq, the wear and tear on equipment have been enormous. Conetta estimates that whenever the Iraq and Afghanistan wars end, the postwar repair bill for army and marine equipment will be in the range of US$25 billion to $40 billion.
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NNN0LHI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-08-06 04:01 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Pretty good article isn't it? n/t
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