[Marxism] Fw: [107disc] Rumsfeld/Myer: "sh*t happens"
acpollack2 at juno.com
acpollack2 at juno.com
Wed Dec 22 17:21:57 MST 2004
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That's their line about yesterday's Mosul attack. Says Rumsfeld:
"Someone who is attacking can attack at any place, at any time, using any technique. And it is an enormous challenge to provide force protection, something that our forces worry about, work on, constantly. They have to be right 100 percent of the time. An attacker only has to be right occasionally."
The obvious subtext: get used to dying, grunts.
And from Myer:
"it's not a viable strategy to ask everyone to separate."
Subtext: don't expect any serious force protection measures from us.
But Myers is right about one thing, when he says "We have no front lines. The front line can be the dining hall, it can be the road outside the base, it can be the police station or the governor's office or the mayor's office down in Mosul. That's their territory. They operate all over that. They can wear, and they do wear, clothes like every other Iraqi. It's a much different thing, and the mindset has to be much different."
That's why the occupation will inevitably lose. The question is whether we can force them to leave before more GIs die. And hopefully the cavalier statements of Rummy and Myers will spur on the kind of mutinous acts that will be key to hastening that day.
Myers Says Suicide Bomber Likely Behind Mosul Attack
Blast in Dining Hall Killed 22
By William Branigin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 22, 2004; 6:12 PM
The massive explosion that devastated a U.S. military mess hall in northern Iraq yesterday, killing 22 people, was apparently caused by a suicide bomber who infiltrated the American base, the U.S. military's top general said today.
"At this point it looks like it was an improvised explosive device worn by an attacker," Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Pentagon news conference. He said more would be known shortly when investigators conclude their inquiry into the cause of the explosion in a huge tented dining hall at the U.S. base in Mosul.
"I assure you that everything possible is being done to get to the bottom of what happened and to take the appropriate steps so we can prevent potential future attacks of this nature," Myers said.
The attack on the mess hall at Forward Operating Base Marez, which came at noon local time yesterday as U.S. soldiers were about to eat lunch, was initially thought to have been carried out with a rocket or mortars. But officials at the base said yesterday there was only one explosion and that a bomb inside the facility had not been ruled out.
A radical Islamic group that claimed responsibility for the attack, the Army of Ansar al-Sunna, said in a statement posted on the Internet that it had carried out a "martyrdom operation," a term usually used to describe a suicide bombing.
Military officials in Baghdad issued a statement later saying that evidence at the scene suggested that the damage was caused by an improvised explosive device likely worn by a suicide bomber and there was no physical evidence of a rocket, mortar or other indirect fire weapon.
"We will determine exactly what happened at FOB Marez and continue to work to ensure the safety and security of our people and our operating bases," Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the U.S. commander in Iraq, said in the statement.
According to an updated casualty count issued by the U.S. military in Iraq today, the 22 dead included 14 U.S. service members, four American civilians, three Iraqi National Guard members and "one unidentified non-U.S. person." In addition, 69 people were wounded in the attack, 44 of them members of the U.S. military, the latest statement on the attack said.
Of the wounded, seven are U.S. contractors, five are Defense Department civilians, two are Iraqi civilians, 10 are contractors of other nationalities and one is of unknown nationality and occupation, the statement said. It said 25 of the wounded were treated and returned to duty the same day.
At the Pentagon news conference, Myers and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld declined to specify the evidence that has led to the preliminary conclusion that the attack was a suicide bombing.
Myers indicated that investigators had reached their assessment from clues in the wreckage of the dining all. "If it was a rocket, you'd find remnants of the rocket," he said. "If it were an improvised explosive device, I'm sure you'd find remnants."
He said it remains to be determined whether the unidentified non-American listed among the dead was, in fact, the bomber.
In response to questions about security at the base, Rumsfeld said, "Someone who is attacking can attack at any place, at any time, using any technique. And it is an enormous challenge to provide force protection, something that our forces worry about, work on, constantly. They have to be right 100 percent of the time. An attacker only has to be right occasionally."
Rumsfeld told reporters, "We must do what it takes in Iraq. We cannot allow those who chop off people's heads to take control of a country from which they could plot and organize and indoctrinate people against everything that they don't espouse."
Asked whether it was unwise to put hundreds of service members in a tent in an area beset by insurgency, Myers refused to criticize U.S. commanders in Mosul, saying that "these are calls that combatant commanders make." He said any notion that the top commander in Mosul, Brig. Gen. Carter F. Ham, was not worried about force protection is "ludicrous."
"We have had a suicide bomber apparently strap something to his body . . . and go into a dining hall," Myers said. "We know how difficult this is to prevent people bent on suicide. . . ." He said there were many congregations of soldiers similar to that in the Marez dining hall and that "it's not a viable strategy to ask everyone to separate."
Myers said, "This attack, of course, is the responsibility of insurgents, the same insurgents who attacked on 9/11, the same type of insurgents whose attacked in Beirut, the same type insurgents who . . . attacked the Cole and Khobar Towers." He said the way to prevent such attacks "is you win the war against the extremists."
Unlike in a conventional war, Myers said, "We have no front lines. The front line can be the dining hall, it can be the road outside the base, it can be the police station or the governor's office or the mayor's office down in Mosul. That's their territory. They operate all over that. They can wear, and they do wear, clothes like every other Iraqi. It's a much different thing, and the mindset has to be much different."
In opening remarks, Rumsfeld appeared to allude to recent criticism of his leadership at the Pentagon, notably over using a machine to sign letters to the families of service members killed in Iraq. Critics have suggested that not signing the letters personally, as is customary, showed a callous attitude toward the families of the more than 1,300 U.S. military personnel have died so far in Iraq. Rumsfeld said after the controversy erupted that he would sign the letters himself henceforth.
"I am truly saddened by the thought that anyone could have the impression that I, or others here, are doing anything other than working urgently to see that the lives of the fighting men and women are protected and are cared for in every way humanly possible," Rumsfeld said today, without mentioning the flap over the letters specifically. "And I hope and pray that every family member of those who have died so bravely knows how deeply I feel their loss. When I meet with the wounded, with their families, or with the families of those who have been lost, their grief is something I feel to my core."
The defense secretary, who was described by President Bush Monday as sometimes appearing "rough and gruff," seemed to struggle to keep his emotions in check today when he spoke of the sacrifices of the American military and recalled the words of Afghanistan's newly elected president, Hamid Karzai, during a recent visit to Washington.
After hearing Karzai personally thank the American people for helping Afghanistan get rid of a destructive government that supported terrorists, mired the country in poverty and prevented children from going to school, Rumsfeld said, "I have never been prouder to be an American." His voice quavered, and he took a sip of water to compose himself.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company
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