[Marxism] Mounting problems for imperialists
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.
LA Times, December 22, 2004
THE CONFLICT IN IRAQ
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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