September 2, 2010 |
Bill and Beverly Osborn still can't bring themselves to erase the phone message from their son Ben. He had called from Afghanistan in June to assure them that he was safe. Four days later, he was killed in a Taliban ambush. The Osborns long ago accepted the risks faced by their son, an Army specialist. But what they can't accept now are the military rules of engagement, which they contend made it possible for the Taliban to kill him. "We let the enemy fire first, and they took my son from us," Beverly Osborn said of the rules, which in most instances require U.S. forces to identify an enemy threat before firing, and to withhold fire if civilians are close by. The rules also place restrictions on close air support and artillery, prompting complaints from some service members that their lives are put at risk against an enemy that fights by no rules at all. As American combat deaths have reached record levels this summer, public support is eroding for the 9-year-old conflict.
August 9, 2010 |
Weekend bombings and shootings in Iraq left at least 69 people dead from the north to the south, intensifying fears of a possible surge of violence coinciding with the drawdown of U.S troops. West of Baghdad, eight people died Sunday in what police suspect was a suicide bombing near a government office in Ramadi, and three more were killed in a car bombing in Fallouja targeting a police patrol. In the southern city of Basra, health officials raised to 43 the death toll in a triple explosion in a busy marketplace Saturday night, and police confirmed the bloodshed was caused by at least one bomb, which may have triggered the other blasts.
June 7, 2010 |
Two U.S. citizens were arrested at a New York airport as they tried to leave the country to join an Islamic terrorist group in Somalia and plot attacks against American troops abroad, authorities said Sunday. The men — Mohamed Mahmood Alessa, 20, of North Bergen, N.J., and Carlos Eduardo Almonte, 24, of Elmwood Park, N.J. — were arrested Saturday night at John F. Kennedy International Airport and charged with conspiring to kill, maim and kidnap people outside the United States, according to a complaint by the U.S. attorney's office in New Jersey.
December 6, 2009
There is a perennial danger in imagining that one war will replicate the history of another. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney sent troops to Iraq and foresaw that they would be greeted as liberators, in a happy reenactment of American soldiers entering Paris beneath fluttering rose petals; six years and more than 4,300 American fatalities later, their promises have been bitterly repudiated and America still struggles to extricate itself from that reckless...
December 5, 2009 |
It's only his second day on the job after graduating from a police academy sponsored by U.S. Marines, and Khair Muhammad is stopping cars along the main road to the Nawa market to check for explosives. An ancient Toyota rolls up, jammed with four men, five boys, a woman fully covered in a burka and, against the back window, a small goat. In a friendly but firm voice, the 20-year-old police officer orders the men and boys out of the vehicle for a pat-down search. Then he checks the glove box and underneath the floor mats -- as well as under the goat.
October 22, 2009 |
Federal authorities today charged a Boston-area man with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists as part of a plot to "kill, kidnap, maim or injure" people -- including U.S. officials -- overseas and in the United States. Prosecutors and FBI agents said that from 2001 to 2008, Tarek Mehanna, 27, of Sudbury, Mass., conspired with at least two men to carry out an Islamist holy war, or jihad. That included discussions about killing two prominent U.S. politicians, attacking American troops in Iraq and shooting at shoppers in U.S. malls, according to those authorities and detailed FBI affidavits that were unsealed this morning in connection with the case.
October 17, 2009 |
A roadside bomb killed four American troops in southern Afghanistan, the U.S. said Friday. Two service members were killed instantly in the blast Thursday and two others later died of their wounds, the U.S. said in a statement. No further details were released. The deaths brought to 25 the number of American troops killed in Afghanistan this month, according to an Associated Press count. "Unfortunately, Afghanistan remains a dangerous place. We do try to take all the precautions that we can and we are regularly readjusting our forces to better protect the civilian population here and unfortunately that places our forces at risk," said U.S. military spokesman Army Col. Wayne Shanks.
October 16, 2009 |
Plans to hold a referendum that could have accelerated the withdrawal of American forces have quietly been shelved, as even those Iraqi politicians who were pushing for the poll conclude that it would no longer be a useful exercise. Sunni Muslim politicians had wanted the referendum on the U.S.-Iraqi security pact to be held in January, at the same time as national elections. But with the clock ticking on preparations for the elections and parliament still deadlocked over a new election law, there is now not enough time to also draft and approve the legislation required to simultaneously hold a referendum, legislators say. Perhaps more significant, the political will to hold a referendum appears to have evaporated amid the realization that U.S. troops are leaving anyway, and that it may not be in Iraq's interests to have them pull out even sooner.
October 10, 2009 |
Many Iraqis interpreted the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama on Friday as recognition of his role in winding down the Iraq war, never mind that the timetable for troop withdrawal was negotiated during the Bush administration. "He deserves even more," said Qassim Fartoosi, 35, a store owner in the capital's Shiite Muslim neighborhood of Sadr City. "Who was expecting peace from America? All we heard from American policies were threats and wars." Even though it was former President Bush who signed off on the security pact setting the end of 2011 as a deadline for the withdrawal of all U.S. forces, Obama's pledges to end the war have certainly helped restore a measure of trust in America on the part of Iraqis who otherwise were disinclined to believe American troops really would go home.