May 4th, 2004


Iraq troop levels to be kept at 135,000 indefinitely.

In what amounts to a permanent increase in Iraqi troop levels, General John Abizaid has ordered that troop levels in Iraq be maintained at 135,000 until further notice.

Given that they are only at 135,000 right now due to an extension of the time served by U.S. troops who were supposed to leave Iraq, It seems likely that there will be deployment extensions for additional units scheduled to leave Iraq, as well as an eventual increase in troops intended to deploy to Iraq.

The decision effectively shelves an earlier plan to shrink the size of the US force in Iraq to between 105,000 and 115,000 troops, and will significantly increase the cost of the occupation of Iraq above the Bush administration's previous budget estimates.

The heroes of Abu Ghraib.

Looks like the entire report of Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba is now online. It features a section at the end of the report that I wanted to specifically point out:

"Throughout the investigation .... we discovered numerous examples of Soldiers and Sailors taking the initiative in the absence of leadership and accomplishing their assigned tasks .... The individual Soldiers and Sailors that we observed and believe should be favorably noted include:

- Master-at-Arms First Class William J. Kimbro, US Navy Dog Handler, knew his duties and refused to participate in improper interrogations despite significant pressure from the MI personnel at Abu Ghraib.

- SPC Joseph M. Darby, 372nd MP Company discovered evidence of abuse and turned it over to military law enforcement.

- 1LT David O. Sutton, 229th MP Company, took immediate action and stopped an abuse, then reported the incident to the chain of command."

It goes to show you that heroes are ordinary people who do the right thing under exceptional circumstances. There are a lot of unsung heroes out there. Today, I just wanted to take the time to honor a few.

If you believe that they did the right thing and that they deserve to be seen as heroes, you may want to take a moment of your time to say thanks too.

Bush administration's Iraqi abuse coverup.

It's been more than two months since the release of Taguba's findings recommending the termination of employment and revocation of security clearance for a CACI contractor who abused Iraqi prisoners...

...but the Chief Executive of CACI says "we have not received any information or direction from (the Army) regarding our work in country -- no charges, no communications, no citations, no calls to appear at the Pentagon..."

Of course, Maj. Gen. Taguba's report was never supposed to have been released to the public. And Bush has known about the prisoner abuse scandal for four months. Can anyone say coverup?

That's Bush for you... No credibility. No accountability. No honor.