The top U.S. military commander in Iraq admitted yesterday the military was fighting a “classical guerilla type” war. He went on to say, “It’s low-intensity conflict… but it’s war however you describe it.”
The statements of Army Gen. John Abizaid, who just took over for the retired Tommy Franks marked a sharp contrast to word of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld just a few days before.
The Wall Street Journal reports the Pentagon is considering calling up 10,000 new U.S. military reserves to go to Iraq.
ABC News is reporting that troop morale is at a new low. The network yesterday broadcast interview with soldiers who questioned their mission and the Pentagon’s leadership.
One soldier, a specialist, said, “If Donald Rumsfeld was here, I’d ask him for his resignation.” Another private added, “I used to want to help these people, but now, I don’t really care about them anymore.”
The 10,000 reserves expected to be called up are needed in part because other countries including India have refused to offer troops. The Washington Post notes that even when some countries offer aid, it has been of little value. Hungary, for example, offered to send a truck company but the country has no trucks to offer.
One senior defense official told the Wall Street Journal that he had never seen the military stretched so thin in the last 30 years.
And the Los Angeles Times reports the U.S. is considering going back to the United Nations Security Council to seek broader UN authority with hopes it may lead to more international assistance. The U.S. may call for the formation of an International Security Assistance Force similar to the one now patrolling Afghanistan.
In other news from Iraq, a pro-American mayor was murdered yesterday along with his son. Al Jazeera reported the mayor was killed because he was “accused of cooperating” with Americans.
The deaths were among a flurry of attacks yesterday which was the anniversary of Saddam Hussein’s seizing of power in 1979.
Also for the second time in two weeks, Iraqi forces unsuccessfully fired surface-to-air missiles at a landing U.S. aircraft in Baghdad.
CIA Director George Tenet yesterday told the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed door meeting that he was not personally informed that President George Bush’s State of the Union contained disputed intelligence about Iraq purchasing uranium from Iraq.
But in a five-hour grilling Tenet took responsibility because he said a CIA official approved the speech.
It remains unclear how the assertion that Iraq was purchasing uranium from Africa entered the January speech three months after Tenet personally interceded with the White House to remove a more detailed reference to the claim from a Bush speech on Oct. 7.
Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginian, the ranking Democrat on the panel, hinted that the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation would widen and other witnesses including possibly White House personnel could be brought in for closed-door questioning.
Rockefeller said the committee examining whether the Niger reference was ” an isolated incident or part of a pattern of misleading by the administration.”
He asked, “Was there any attempt to take what was either accurate or inaccurate intelligence and shape it in a way which helped the president makes his case that he wanted to go into Iraq?”
Another Democrat on the committee said, “The real question is why someone was so insistent that they wanted this information in.”
Two Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Joseph Lieberman and Howard Dean called for Tenet to resign. A third candidate, Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, the former chairman of the Senate intelligence panel said, “We do not have a George Tenet problem; we have a George Bush problem.”
Early this morning, South and North Korean soldiers in the border zone briefly traded machine-gun fire heightening tensions on the Korean peninsula. The last exchange of fire in the DMZ was in November 2001.
At least six Republican state attorney generals have solicited hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations from corporations and trade groups that were facing lawsuits from their states. This according to a report by the Washington Post based on internal fundraising documents.
Among the companies targeted were: Pfizer, MasterCard, Eli Lilly, Anheuser-Busch, Citigroup, U.S. Steel, General Motors Microsoft and Shell Oil.
The states involved were Texas, Alaska, Virginia, Delaware, South Carolina, and Ohio.
The House Appropriations Committee yesterday voted 40 to 25 to block the Federal Communications Commission from easing portions of the Commissions changes to the nation’s media ownership laws.
And later today Illinois is expected to become the first state in the country to require police to record the testimonies of all homicide suspects.
And the Queen of Salsa, Celia Cruz, died yesterday at the age of 77. The Cuban-born singer recorded over 70 albums over the past 50 years ranging the full spectrum of Afro-Cuban music from mambo to cha-cha to salsa.
Celia Cruz was by far the biggest female Latin act of the last half century.
She once said, “Women are afraid to sing salsa. I don’t know why. Maybe they think it’s for men. But I think everybody can sing everything.”
Over the years she received 12 Grammy nominations. In 1994, President Clinton gave her the National Medal of Arts.
Ruben Blades said “She became a symbol of quality and strength, and she became a symbol of Afro-Cuban music. You couldn’t be a fan of Celia and not be a fan of Afro-Cuban music, because she was Afro-Cuban music.”