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Latest deaths of U.S. soldiers in Iraq

by jamie Sunday, Jan. 18, 2004 at 9:01 AM

TIKRIT, Iraq - The number of American service members who have died in the Iraq conflict since war started last March reached 500 Saturday after a roadside bomb exploded near Baghdad, killing three U.S. soldiers and two Iraqi civil defense troopers.


Latest deaths (3 yesterday and one this morning) of U.S. soldiers in Iraq. The beat goes on despite the denials by the Pentagon and corporate media liars. Spread this news everywhere as it will soon go into the “memory hole.” Wake up already. It’s 1984. Peace. Jamie


TIKRIT, Iraq - The number of American service members who have died in the Iraq conflict since war started last March reached 500 Saturday after a roadside bomb exploded near Baghdad, killing three U.S. soldiers and two Iraqi civil defense troopers.

Two Americans also were wounded when a Bradley Fighting Vehicle hit the explosive device and caught fire on a road near Taji, about 20 miles north of the Iraq capital, said Lt. Col. Bill MacDonald, a spokesman for the 4th Infantry Division.

Those killed and wounded had been part of a joint U.S.-Iraqi patrol looking for roadside bombs, a frequent attack method by insurgents targeting the U.S.-led occupation, MacDonald said. Three men fleeing in a white truck were detained, and soldiers found bomb-making material in the vehicle, he added.

Also Saturday, the military said a U.S. soldier died from a non-hostile gunshot wound south of Baghdad. The incident occurred Friday evening near Diwaniyah south of Baghdad, the command said in a statement. No further details were released.

The deaths raised to 500 the number of U.S. forces who have died since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq started March 20. Of those, 346 died as a result of hostile action and 154 of non-hostile causes, according to Defense Department figures in addition to those reported Saturday.

Most of the deaths — both combat and non-combat — have occurred since President Bush declared an end to major fighting on May 1.

The loss of American life in Iraq has surpassed the U.S. death toll of the first Gulf War (news - web sites) of 1991, when about 315 Americans died in the operation to drive Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s forces from Kuwait. That figure includes combat and non-combat deaths suffered during the military buildup and the war itself.

The ongoing operation in Afghanistan (news - web sites) has killed 100 American forces, less than a third of them by hostile fire.

U.S. officials dismiss most of the attacks by Iraqi insurgents as militarily insignificant, and figures show the number of attacks has declined sharply since the military adopted aggressive tactics following an upsurge in violence last fall. The Bush administration strongly defends the U.S. role in Iraq.

Bush said during a visit to London in November that the failure to build democracy in Iraq "would throw its people back into misery and turn that country over to terrorists who wish to destroy us."

Yet reaching the 500 threshold could again raise questions among the American public about Bush's Iraq policy as the U.S. presidential campaign cranks up, some analysts said.

"I think it's symbolic in the sense that maybe a lot of people who have not paid attention in recent weeks ... will say, 'I thought that we were in much better shape than this,' and, 'What's going on?'" Lawrence J. Korb, vice president of the Council on Foreign Relations and an assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration, told The Associated Press.

"I don't think it will lead to demands for withdrawal or anything like that, but I think it will lead people to ask, 'What's going on,' and, 'What's the end game here? When does it end?'"

MacDonald said the remote-controlled bomb, planted on an access road, was made up of two 155 mm artillery rounds and other explosives.

Abed Ali, who lives nearby, told AP that he rushed to the scene after hearing the loud explosion and saw the Bradley burning. The explosion left a large crater. Young Iraqi men could be seen picking through the wreckage of the destroyed vehicle.

Separately, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq has ordered a criminal investigation into reports of abuse of prisoners at a coalition detention center.

A military statement Friday gave no indication about the scope of the alleged abuse, saying simply that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez ordered a probe "into reported incidents of detainee abuse at a coalition forces detention facility." The statement did not specify the facility.

"The release of specific information concerning the incidents could hinder the investigation, which is in its early stages," the statement said.

In Washington, Lawrence Di Rita, spokesman for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, said it is a criminal investigation and that the reports of abuse were deemed "very serious and credible."

Di Rita declined to provide details other than to say the alleged abuse happened at detention centers in Baghdad.

The announcement followed allegations by Amnesty International and former prisoners of harsh treatment of detainees arrested by U.S. and coalition forces since the Iraq war began last March.

The coalition is believed to be holding about 12,800 detainees for various offenses, including attacks on U.S. and allied troops. Earlier this month, three U.S. Army reservists were discharged for abuse of prisoners at the Camp Bucca detention center in southern Iraq.

On the political front, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, the country's most influential Shiite Muslim leader, demanded that members of a new provisional legislature be chosen by voters. The Americans want them selected by regional caucuses.

Doubts over the American plan for transferring power to Iraqi hands by July 1 have loomed over the U.S.-led occupation this week, with the Americans pointing to sporadic violence as evidence the country is not ready for direct elections.

U.S. officials insist al-Sistani's demand for elections is unfeasible given Iraq's security situation. Many Shiites suspect the Americans simply want to manipulate the caucuses to make sure favored Iraqis win seats.

L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator for Iraq, said in Washington that the United States will revise its plan to create self-rule in Iraq, but he rejected postponement of a June 30 deadline for ending the occupation and handing over power.

"The Iraqi people are anxious to get sovereignty back, and we are not anxious to extend our period of occupation," Bremer said after meeting with Bush and senior U.S. officials.

Bremer, and an Iraqi delegation led by Adnan Pachachi, current chairman of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council, plan to confer with Secretary-General Kofi Annan (news - web sites) on Monday in New York.

In other developments:

_ France, a leading opponent of the war, said it wants to help to train Iraq's next generation of police officers — once power is transferred to a sovereign Iraqi government. But Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said Friday that the question of sending in French troops is "not a current topic."

_ An advance team of Japanese soldiers arrived Saturday in Kuwait for training at a U.S. military base before they cross overland to Iraq on a humanitarian mission that puts soldiers from Japan in a combat zone for the first time since World War II.


Also from the great state of Arizona:

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who gained notoriety for putting inmates on chain gangs and issuing them striped uniforms and pink underwear, has now ordered all undocumented immigrants currently in jail to register for the draft.

About 500 undocumented immigrants housed in the Phoenix-area county's jail system have not complied with a 1980 federal law that requires all men between the ages of 18 and 26 to register for the draft, regardless of their immigration status, Arpaio said.

"I can't say that I've ever heard anything like this, but we do appreciate any effort toward compliance," said Dan Amon, a spokesman for the Selective Service System in Washington, D.C.

He said Arpaio may be doing the undocumented immigrants a favor by ordering them to register, because Selective Service is tied to a number of benefits, including citizenship.

If they want to legalize their immigration status, the first thing they would be asked is whether they are registered for the draft, Amon said.

The United States hasn't had a draft since 1973. Registration was reinstated in 1980, and the law still requires that males who are U.S. citizens or resident aliens register within 30 days of their 18th birthdays.

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simple reason why. nonbushadmirer Sunday, Jan. 18, 2004 at 11:56 AM
stoopid babie killers nonsupportive of troops Sunday, Jan. 18, 2004 at 11:59 AM
I think you're confused Coco Sunday, Jan. 18, 2004 at 12:35 PM
sadaam is bush duh. nonsupportive of authority Sunday, Jan. 18, 2004 at 1:02 PM
Really? Coco Sunday, Jan. 18, 2004 at 1:16 PM
Coco, you're asking questions of someone... ;lkhkjhklj Sunday, Jan. 18, 2004 at 2:58 PM
just like you wasting your time nonjew nonstupidity Sunday, Jan. 18, 2004 at 6:43 PM
Kill jerry? ;lkj;lkhhj Monday, Jan. 19, 2004 at 6:57 PM

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