Author Topic: not a good week... US Marines killed in Iraq  (Read 3349 times)

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not a good week... US Marines killed in Iraq
« on: August 03, 2005, 21:26:11 »
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Fourteen U.S. Marines were killed Wednesday when a huge bomb destroyed their lightly armored vehicle, hurling it into the air in a giant fireball in the deadliest roadside bombing suffered by American forces in the Iraq war.
A civilian translator also was killed and one Marine was wounded. The victims were from the same Ohio-based Reserve unit as six members of a Marine sniper team killed on Monday in an ambush claimed by the Islamic extremist Ansar al-Sunnah Army.
The deaths brought to 23 the number of Marines killed in the past week in fighting along the volatile Euphrates Valley of western Iraq and marked one of the bloodiest periods for U.S. forces in months. In all, 44 American service members have died in Iraq since July 24 _ all but two in combat.
A Marine officer, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons, said the attack occurred as troops were traveling in an armored amphibious vehicle to assault insurgent positions around a village near the Haditha dam, a longtime way station for foreign fighters infiltrating Iraq from Syria.
Suddenly, a thunderous explosion rang out and the vehicle flipped over in a fireball, he said. The surviving Marine scrambled from beneath the overturned vehicle, the officer said.
The Marines killed Wednesday were assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines based in Brook Park, a Cleveland suburb, and attached to the Regimental Combat Team-2. Nine of them were from a single smaller unit in Columbus.
President Bush lamented the deaths of the 14 Marines, calling the attack a "grim reminder" America is still at war.
"These terrorists and insurgents will use brutal tactics because they're trying to shake the will of the United States of America. They want us to retreat," Bush told some 2,000 lawmakers, business leaders and public policy experts in Grapevine, Texas.
The heavy loss of life cast new attention on a longtime Marine complaint _ the lack of protection provided by their armored amphibious vehicles, or AAVs. The vehicles are designed to be dropped from ships for coastal assaults. Although fast and maneuverable, the vehicles have armor plating that is lighter than those used by the Army _ a critical issue in a war where the roadside bomb is the most common threat.
Moreover, American commanders have warned that while insurgent bombings have been declining in number, they have been increasing in power and sophistication. Villagers reached by telephone said the blast blew the vehicle into pieces, and a large crater could be seen nearby.
"This is a very lethal and unfortunately very adaptable enemy we are faced with," said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Carter Ham, a Pentagon staff officer and former commander of U.S. forces in Mosul.
Marines have been fighting for months in a string of towns along the Euphrates to try to seal a major infiltration route for foreign fighters slipping into Iraq from Syria. Late Wednesday, insurgents fired two mortars at Marine positions near Haditha. Moments later, U.S. warplanes could be heard mounting counterattacks, residents said.
The Marines stepped up operations in May in hopes of pacifying the area so Iraqi military and civilian forces could assume effective control. However, government authority in the heavily Sunni Arab region is tenuous.
U.S. officials have long complained that American forces seize Sunni areas only to have Iraqi authorities lose them again to the insurgents once American troops leave. Despite those complaints, the Bush administration is talking about handing more security responsibility to the Iraqis and drawing down forces next year.
At least 1,821 members of the U.S. military have died since the Iraq war began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
On Wednesday, the Web site of the Ansar al-Sunnah Army posted photographs from Monday's attack on the Marine sniper team. One picture shows a bloody, battered body wearing Marine camouflage trousers. Another shows two hooded gunmen standing in front of several rifles, apparently taken from dead Marines.
In a statement accompanying the photos, Ansar al-Sunnah said the insurgents lured the Marines out of their base and ambushed them.
"The intention was to capture them alive, but they opened fire on the mujahedeen," the statement said. "The heroes slaughtered those who were still alive ... except for one, who begged the mujahedeen for his life. They captured him and he is in our hands."
At the Pentagon, Ham said no Marines were missing and believed captured.
In Brook Park, the Cleveland suburb where the battalion was based, businesses tied red, white and blue ribbons on their doors, and some had American flags hanging in the windows. A bouquet of red roses was placed at the gate of the Marine headquarters, an old brick schoolhouse.
Among the six killed Monday was Cpl. Jeffrey A. Boskovitch, 25, of North Royalton, Ohio, an aspiring police officer who planned to set a wedding date with his girlfriend when he returned home this fall.
A New York City police officer serving in the Army Reserve was shot and killed Tuesday by a sniper while guarding prisoners at the Camp Victory military base, outside Baghdad, city officials said Wednesday. Staff Sgt. James McNaughton, 27, was the first member of the police force to be killed in action in Iraq.
In Basra, 340 miles southeast of Baghdad, an American freelance writer was found dead late Tuesday _ the first U.S. journalist slain in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion. Steven Vincent of New York was shot multiple times hours after he and his Iraqi translator were abducted at gunpoint, police said.
The translator, Nour Weidi, was seriously wounded. Five gunmen in a police car abducted them as they left a currency exchange shop Tuesday evening, police Lt. Col. Karim al-Zaidi said.
Vincent had been in Basra for several months working on a book about the city's history. In an opinion column published July 31 in The New York Times, he wrote that Basra's police force had been heavily infiltrated by members of Shiite political groups, including those loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
He quoted an unidentified Iraqi police lieutenant as saying that some police were behind many of the assassinations of former Baath Party members that have taken place in Basra. He also criticized British forces for failing to curb the infiltration.
According to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 46 journalists and 20 media support workers have been killed covering the war in Iraq since March 2003. Insurgent actions are responsible for the bulk of the deaths.
The Vienna, Austria-based media watchdog International Press Institute condemned Vincent's killing and urged Iraqi authorities to conduct a speedy and thorough investigation.
The death underscored how "Iraq continues to be the most dangerous country in the world in which to work as a journalist," the group said.
Contributing to this report were Associated Press photographer Jacob Silberberg in the Haditha area, and AP writers Abbas Fayadh in Basra and M.R. Kropko in Brook Park, Ohio.

Semper Fi Bros

Offline Carcharodon Carcharias

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Re: not a good week... US Marines killed in Iraq
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2005, 22:05:50 »
I had heard the news of the 14 KIA's last night (Australian time). Sadly a reality of war, in which one friendly casualty is one too many. What gets me is I am coming 46, and al lot of US and Allied forces killed are old enough to be my own kids. I feel for their families, and friends. I reckon as one gets older his propective on things changes.

"You've never lived until you've almost died; as for our freedom, for those of us who have fought for it, life has a flavour the protected will never know." - Anonymous

Offline Lerick

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Re: not a good week... US Marines killed in Iraq
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2005, 10:10:25 »
R.I.P  :salute:

Offline Thucydides

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Re: not a good week... US Marines killed in Iraq
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2005, 12:30:04 »
Perhaps it is time to lean on Syria , since they seem to have been the biggest support base for the Jihadis. Nothing like having Jihadi camps and support bases being bombed or targeted by SF raids to put a damper on their enthusiasm.

Then of course, Saudi Arabia and Iran......
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: not a good week... US Marines killed in Iraq
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2005, 14:26:16 »
Don't want to hijack your thread here Pappy.  Deepest condolences to the Marine family.

However Arthur's comments twigged this - Syria organized a "resistance" conference in Lebanon (and I thought they were liberated now) just recently.

Strangely enough they couldn't figure out how to vote long enough to agree on coffee-break it seems.

"Resistance" conference; a grand failure.
A group of those who still long for the "good old" past have arranged for a meeting for the different factions of the "Iraqi resistance" whether that resistance was Ba'athist, Salafi, She'at or pan-nationalist doesn't really matter as long as they share the same dream of bringing Iraq back to the dark ages of tyranny and repression.

Of course the conference attracted some opportunists who saw in the latest meetings between American officials and some militant groups a chance to gain influential positions in the political process by representing these groups.
Anyway, the objective of the conference was to unite the efforts of the powers that oppose the American presence and the current administration in Iraq (or any future administration other than the Ba'ath) and to form a front that can defeat all the present trends in Iraq that are led by "American agents".
The conference-unsurprisingly-drastically failed and they even couldn't release a final statement.

Syria didn't host the conference because her position these days is already critical and the Syrian Ba'ath cannot take more risks so the choice (or the offer) was made to hold the conference in Lebanon and that was most probably a Syrian idea since Syria and the Ba'ath in general still have good presence in Lebanon represented by the pan-Arab movements and the Lebanese Ba'ath party.

The sponsor was the "center for Arabic unity studies" which is stationed in Lebanon and led by Iraqi professor Khair-Iddin Haseeb; one of the tireless defenders of pan-Arabism and who still thinks that armed resistance will certainly win.
A first look at the list of attendants (100 of them) was enough to tell me what kind of a conference it was; a pathetic assortment of people who do not know anything about dialogue meeting to have a dialogue. All they know and believe in is the language of guns so I was positive of their upcoming failure, and it happened.
I don't want to bother you with a list of a hundred names that you don't know but to keep you in the scene, those 100 attendants could be classified as follows:

1-Members of the leadership of the Arab Ba'ath Socialist Party.
2-Patriotic democratic trend (a pan-Arab group).
3-Members of Muqtada trend (delegation led by Hassan Zargani chief of foreign relations in the Sadr trend).
4-Regualr guests of Al-Jazeera and other Arab media networks.
Full list in Arabic can be found here.

The attendants were trying to put plans for post-liberation Iraq (liberation from what the call western occupation) considering that kicking coalition troops out of Iraq is something they don't need to worry about because they (the armed "resistance") are already triumphing so their main concern was how to run Iraq's affairs after "liberating it" and the basic issues that were scheduled for discussion included rebuilding the army (the old one), rebuilding the ministry of information and solving the Kurdish issue.

After the 1st session, objections came 1st from the armed groups themselves where they said that no one had the right to represent them "we are the ones to lead Iraq and we are the only body that has the right to decide for the Iraqi people and there shall be no politics or negotiations of any kind".
As a matter of fact, the objections came earlier than this in the form of announcements posted on some "resistance" websites.
I actually find it funny (and of course stupid) to say that they're the one and only legitimate representative of the Iraqi people when they oppose all kinds of politics while 60% of Iraqi voted in the January elections and more are willing to vote in the next elections!

I guess this clearly shows that they do not represent more than an extremely low percentage of Iraqis which is the same percentage that helped Saddam repress the rest of the people.
That statement of the armed groups left the other groups in bewilderment; who's going to fill the security vacancy if America left? UN peace-keeping forces? Or forces from the Arab league?

The armed groups answered by "NO" for both suggestions as they believe that both institutions are under American influence and they helped America invade Iraq(!!).
The representatives of the armed groups said that they are capable of controlling Iraq and that there's no need for any kind of foreign troops.
Those who had a few neurons functioning in their heads were not convinced by this response. Actually even the Sadrists were shocked when the heard those people talking in the name of Saddam and Ezzat and referring to them as if they were the legitimate leaders of Iraq.

The Sadrists and the patriotic democratic trend asked the Ba'athists to give up on the past regime and apologize to the Iraqi people for the atrocities committed by the Ba'ath as a condition to resume cooperation.
But the Ba'athists refused and the Sadrists left the conference and so did the patriotic democratic trend.
Even professor Haseeb who arranged for the conference chose to sneak out and announced that his center is just a research institution and they happened to be sponsoring this conference. At this time the Jazeera regulars were getting aboard their flights on the way back to Europe.

The objective of the conference in the first place was to form a national front to lead Iraq after it's liberated from the colonial west and its Iraqi agents but the conference ended also calling for the formation of that front!

Related Arabic links here and here.

This confab, and its lack of success, may have something to do with the recent up-tick in assaults along the Euphrates corridor.  That, and declining polls at home and idle speculation about draw downs.

The line from "In Flander's Fields" seems particularly appropriate - "If ye break faith with us who die, we shall not rest......"

Here's hoping those Marines and their 1700 mates get rest.

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Offline ArmyRick

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Re: not a good week... US Marines killed in Iraq
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2005, 23:01:28 »
US Marines who have paid the price, RIP.  :salute:


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Re: not a good week... US Marines killed in Iraq
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2005, 17:36:59 »
It doesn't matter what flag you serve, but you can't help but feel for those boys families, friends, and their buddies who still remain in Iraq.