The Pentagon has been accused of ignoring a 2,000-page State Department report that accurately predicted many of the post-invasion problems in Iraq, including the widespread looting and the fact that U.S. soldiers would be seen as occupiers and not liberators.
This comes as two U.S. soldiers were killed, another injured, during an attack near the northern Iraqi oil town of Kirkuk.
Meanwhile, a new tape purportedly by Osama bin Laden declared that Iraq has become the new battlefront in the jihad against the United States.
Top Pentagon officials are predicting a sizable U.S. force will remain in Iraq until at least 2006. The current goal is to decrease the number of troops from 130,000 to about 50,000 over the next two years.
The New York Times is also reporting the White House will soon announce the formation of a new trust fund run by the United Nations and World Bank to oversee how some of the international aid money will be spent on the Iraqi reconstruction. The U.S. will retain oversight over any reconstruction money from Congress. Last week, Congress approved an $87 billion package for Iraq that included $20 billion for reconstruction.
In Turkey, scores of protesters have been detained after they demonstrated against their government decision to send up to 10,000 troops in Iraq.
And eight U.S. Marine reservists have been charged with mistreating Iraqi prisoners of war. At least two of the marines face charges of negligent homicide.
In other news, President Bush yesterday announced the U.S. and allies would agree not to invade North Korea if North Korea dismantled all of its nuclear programs. Bush made his proposal in Bangkok, where he’s attending a major economic summit.
An eight-month investigation by The Toledo Blade has found that an elite force of U.S. soldiers mutilated and killed hundreds of unarmed villagers in 1967 during the Vietnam War. U.S. soldiers admitted they cut off the ears of the dead and then strung them on shoelaces to wear them like a necklace around their neck. One U.S. sergeant admitted he killed so many civilians in 1967, he lost count. The Army conducted a four-and-a-half-year investigation, but the findings had never been made public before now. The Army concluded 18 soldiers committed war crimes. None were ever prosecuted.