[Marxism] Mounting problems for imperialists

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Dec 22 07:32:44 MST 2004

Precision of Base Attack Worries Military Experts

By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 22, 2004; Page A01

In April 2003, as the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was ending, the Pentagon 
projected in a formal planning effort that the U.S. military occupation of 
the country would end this month.

Instead, December 2004 brought one of the deadliest single incidents of the 
war for U.S. forces. More than 80 casualties were suffered yesterday by 
U.S. troops, civilian contractors and Iraqi soldiers when a U.S. base near 
the northern Iraqi city of Mosul was blasted at lunchtime.

Defense officials said 15 of those killed in the attack on a mess tent at 
the city's airport were American soldiers -- more U.S. troops than have 
been lost in nearly any other major incident in the fighting, even during 
the spring 2003 invasion. Before yesterday, the worst incidents were the 
deaths of 17 soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division in the November 2003 
collision of two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, also in Mosul, and, two 
weeks before that, the loss of 15 soldiers when a CH-47 Chinook transport 
helicopter crashed west of Baghdad. All three occurred after President 
Bush's May 2003 declaration that major combat operations in Iraq had ended.

The major difference between the latest attack and the earlier incidents is 
that it was an attack on a U.S. base, rather than on troops in transit in 
vulnerable aircraft. That difference appears to reflect both the 
persistence of the insurgency and its growing sophistication, as experts 
noted that it seemed to be based on precise intelligence. Most 
disturbingly, some officers who have served in Iraq worried that the Mosul 
attack could mark the beginning of a period of even more intense violence 
preceding the Iraqi elections scheduled for Jan. 30.

"On the strategic level, we were expecting an horrendous month leading up 
to the Iraqi elections, and that has begun," retired Army Col. Michael E. 
Hess said.

full: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A17892-2004Dec21.html


LA Times, December 22, 2004 	
U.S. Contractor Pulls Out of Reconstruction Effort in Iraq

By T. Christian Miller, Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — For the first time, a major U.S. contractor has dropped out of 
the multibillion-dollar effort to rebuild Iraq, raising new worries about 
the country's growing violence and its effect on reconstruction.

Contrack International Inc., the leader of a partnership that won one of 12 
major reconstruction contracts awarded this year, cited skyrocketing 
security costs in reaching a decision with the U.S. government last month 
to terminate work in Iraq.

"We reached a point where our costs were getting to be prohibitive," said 
Karim Camel-Toueg, president of Arlington, Va.-based Contrack, which had 
won a $325-million award to rebuild Iraq's shattered transportation system. 
"We felt we were not serving the government, and that the dollars were not 
being spent smartly."

Although a few companies and nonprofit groups have pulled out of contracts 
in Iraq because of security concerns, Contrack's is the largest to be 
canceled to date, U.S. officials said. The move has led to fears that 
Iraq's mounting violence could prompt other firms to consider pulling out, 
or discourage them from seeking work in Iraq, further crippling reconstruction.




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