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Saturday, January 29, 2005

U.S. Troops Fortify Iraqi Polling Stations

By Joseph Giordono,
Stars and StripesEuropean edition,
Friday, January 28, 2005

RAMADI, Iraq — American combat engineers and infantrymen occupied dozens of polling stations throughout Iraq early Thursday morning so they could fortify them with concrete barriers, search for bombs and prepare them for possible insurgent attacks in the run up to Sunday’s elections.

In Ramadi, where insurgents and American troops have clashed on a near daily basis, members of the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment and the 44th Engineers Battalion — both of which deployed with 2nd Infantry Division units from South Korea to Iraq last fall — took several locations throughout the city.

Working under cover of darkness, huge tracked-recovery vehicles moved concrete barriers into blocking positions, while engineers and soldiers laid out several layers of concertina wire.
“We are going to harden the outer perimeters and provide a secure place for the residents of Ramadi to vote,” said 1-503 commander Lt. Col. Justin Gubler, earlier in the day.

At one polling station, a relatively new train station in Ramadi, soldiers arrived around 1 a.m. to begin transforming the largely-abandoned facility into a protected area.

Squads of soldiers swept the buildings for bombs and weapons while other teams set up security measures outside. By around 5 a.m., most of the work was done, and some of the soldiers grabbed a few hours of sleep.

“We got done a little earlier than we thought, so the guys will be able to get a little rest,” said Capt. Marco Ferrara of Company D, which will guard the polling station until election day.

By morning, members of an Iraqi Special Police Commando had joined the unit. Under agreements with the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, only local forces will be inside the actual polling stations during the election.

All told, more than 100,00 Iraqi soldiers and 150,000 U.S. troops will help provide security throughout the country on election day. In other Iraqi cities, insurgents have attacked or destroyed polling stations.

Ramadi was no exception.

By morning, insurgents had located the troops. U.S. and Iraqi officials did not plan to announce the locations of polling places until around 48 hours before the vote. But as day broke Thursday and the soldiers finished up with the security measures, the crisp snap of a few incoming bullets whizzed overhead. In the distance, gunfire and explosions could briefly be heard coming from other quarters of the city.

By mid-afternoon, the soldiers at the polling station were receiving mortar and rocket-propelled grenade fire. They fired back with machine guns and grenade rounds of their own.

U.S. and Iraqi patrols, using the polling stations as new temporary staging locations, then went into Ramadi to conduct patrols.

Joseph Giordono / S&S - U.S. troops occupied polling sites throughout Ramadi early Thursday morning, hardening defenses against possible attacks ahead of Sunday’s elections.

Joseph Giordono / S&S - A U.S. soldier stays on the alert Thursday in Ramadi.

Joseph Giordono / S&S - Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, clear the rooms of a polling station early Thursday morning in Ramadi, Iraq.

Joseph Giordono / S&S - Spc. Charles Franklin, 21, from Montgomery, Ala., pulls security during patrols of the area around newly established polling stations in Ramadi, Iraq. Franklin is with the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment.

Iraq Votes

Members of the Prince Georges County Police Department provide security for Iraqi citizens casting absentee ballots at the New Carrollton, Md. voting station, Jan. 28, 2005 just two days before Iraq's national election. Defense Dept. photo by Tech. Sgt. Cherie A. Thurlby, U.S. Air Force.

Najim Chechen, formery of Baghdad, Iraq looks over the list of Iraqi Candidates for the Transitional National Assembly before casting his absentee ballot at the New Carrollton, Md. voting station, Jan. 28, 2005 just two days before Iraq's national election. Chechen, who traveled from New York to cast his absentee ballot said, "This is the foundation for tomorrow. I'm excited to vote to make a difference and bring peaceful stability to my family." Defense Dept. photo by Tech. Sgt. Cherie A. Thurlby, U.S. Air Force.

Iraqi citizens wait in line to cast their absentee ballots at the New Carrollton, Md. voting station, Jan. 28, 2005 just two days before Iraq's national election. Defense Dept. photo by Tech. Sgt. Cherie A. Thurlby, U.S. Air Force.

Members of the Iraq Out-of-Country Voting Program (Iraq OCV) help an Iraqi citizen living in the United States cast his absentee ballot at the New Carrollton, Md. voting station, Jan. 28, 2005 just two days before Iraq's official election. Defense Dept. photo by Tech. Sgt. Cherie A. Thurlby, U.S. Air Force.

Fadhil Atobeidy, an Iraqi citizen living in the United States, casts his absentee ballot at the New Carrollton, Md. voting station, Jan. 28, 2005 just two days before Iraq's official election. Defense Dept. photo by Tech. Sgt. Cherie A. Thurlby, U.S. Air Force.

Fadia Abduljabbar formerly of Baghdad, Iraq takes in an absentee voting ballot from an Iraqi man at the New Carrollton, Md. voting station, Jan. 28, 2005 just two days before Iraq's official election. Defense Dept. photo by Tech. Sgt. Cherie A. Thurlby, U.S. Air Force.

In Maryland, Celebrating the Ballot

from the Washington Post Online

By Mary Beth Sheridan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 29, 2005

Tanya Gilly, 30, in gray scarf and robe, deposited her ballot for the Iraqi parliament at a polling station yesterday. One woman. One vote. So much tragic history.

"It's a dream come true for the Kurdish people, after all the suffering we went through," exclaimed the Germantown resident, breaking down in sobs.

Thousands of Iraqi expatriates in 14 countries cast absentee ballots yesterday in their homeland's first free election in decades. More than 280,000 were eligible to participate in the three-day process, a broad effort to extend voting rights to the Iraqi diaspora, including many refugees who fled the government of Saddam Hussein. The election in Iraq takes place tomorrow.

Voters are choosing an Iraqi national assembly that is slated to draw up a new constitution. But to those casting ballots at a regional polling site, the Ramada Inn in New Carrollton, the vote carried greater significance.

"It's closure," said Gilly, referring to the calamitous history of Iraq's minority Kurdish population, which was attacked with chemical weapons by Hussein's government. "We just want to move forward."

"We're hoping this might lead to peace and a more stable government," said Batul Al Zubeidy, 20, of Fairfax, whose family fled the city of Najaf after a failed uprising by Shiites following the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

In the United States, polling stations were set up in the Washington area, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles and Nashville. Security was tight, and turnout appeared relatively light at the sites yesterday, although no estimates were released by election organizers.

Some Iraqi immigrants have complained that there were too few voting sites. Nearly 26,000 Iraqi Americans registered for the election, about 10 percent of those eligible.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) dropped by the Ramada yesterday, where 2,048 people have registered. He praised the voters but criticized the International Organization for Migration, which received $92 million from Iraq's electoral authorities to coordinate the vote abroad.

"People were excited. People were hopeful. Clearly, in their view, this was a positive day for themselves and for their families still in Iraq," Hoyer said. "I would have hoped that with a $92 million contract, more people would have come to the polls."

Stephen Lennon, a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, said the group set up as many sites as were authorized by Iraqi officials.

"That's what could be done in the timeframe given," he said.

State and local police with dogs ringed the Ramada yesterday, where voting began at 7 a.m. During the day, voters arrived in a small but steady stream and were frisked by private guards at an outdoor tent. Entering the conference center, the Iraqis showed their registration slips, signed a voter list, filled out ballots behind cardboard screens, then dropped them in clear plastic urns. The voters' fingers were dipped in purple ink, to prevent double-voting.

The mood was joyous. Some Iraqis snapped pictures. Others burst into applause as family members voted. Ayad A-Saidi of Falls Church hollered, "Thank you, Bush!" as he dropped his folded ballot in the box. He jubilantly carried a sign adorned with U.S. and Iraqi flags, reading, "Thank you USA for liberating my country."

How did he feel?

"Oh, my God! I feel very nice. I feel freedom," said A-Saidi, 37.

Organizers said they expected a heavier turnout over the weekend. "Friday is going to be slow because everyone goes to work and to Friday prayers" at mosques, said Mohamed Taam, one official.

While most voters appeared to be from the Washington area, some traveled long distances.
Ali Hama Amin, 30, flew in from Boston, where he said he studied at Harvard's School of Public Health.

"It's a historical moment for us. It's our first election," said Amin, who wore a blue suit and formal black coat for the occasion. A native of Sulaymaniyah, in the Kurdish autonomous zone, he said he voted for the main Kurdish slate.

"I don't like to have radical clerics in Iraq. I want a democratic, free federation of Iraq," he said.
Another Kurd, Lazha Talat, a graduate student at the University of South Florida, flew in with a group of other Iraqi Fulbright scholars.

"It's my duty to participate in the first election we can do," the 26-year-old explained. She noted, however, that turnout was fairly light.

"It's crowded with reporters. Maybe you are more than us," she said, noting the swirl of TV cameramen around the departing voters.

The fault lines in Iraqi society appeared evident among voters in the Washington area. Those casting ballots appeared to be mainly Kurds and Shiites, both groups oppressed by Hussein's government. There were few Arab Sunnis, the minority that dominated Iraq under Hussein. Many Sunnis in Iraq have decided to stay away from the polls.

Some Iraqis made no secret of the fact they were voting on ethnic lines.

"We are the majority, and we are going to prove it," declared Ahmed Al Mayali, 36, a Shiite taxi driver from Roanoke.

But others emphasized they wanted to overcome such divisions.

Ahmed Alsaady, 37, of Arlington wore a knitted Kurdish cap as well as a black-and-white checkered scarf he described as Shiite. He was trying to embody the different groups in Iraq, he said, gesturing from his hat to his scarf.

"From north to south, will be free Iraq," he said, smiling.

Staff writer Hamil R. Harris contributed to this report.

Kazim Warmzyary of Fairfax, left, and Rzgar Kareem of Maplewood, N.J., dance with a Kurdish flag after voting in New Carrollton. Photo Credit: Robert A. Reeder -- The Washington Post

Thanks to Kathleen for the tip on this one. She had this comment:

I love this article because it gives a sense of how much Iraqis appreciate the opportunity to vote. It's an amazing view to see them celebrating after voting. When was the last time we went to the polls and danced in joy for just the chance to vote! Our heroes gave them this opportunity!

Iraqi Election

January 29th, 2005

Dear Family and Friends,
This is an incredibly important weekend in the country of Iraq. They are getting to vote in a democratic election for the first time in 50 years. No one is holding a gun up to their heads and no one will be shot if they vote the "wrong" way. They can vote for whomever they please. Please, no matter what your political affiliation or religious background, pray for the country of Iraq and its people, both there and abroad. This is a historical time and we are all a part of it.

A fascinating web site to go to is: The blogger was at the election site in El Toro at the former Marine base. It gave me goosebumps as I'm sure it will you too to read and see how the Iraqi's are involved here in the U.S. for their elections back home.

Be involved too. Pray that this is a safe as possible weekend for our troops as well as the Iraqi people who have waited a long time for this historic day to happen.

May God continue to bless this great country of ours, the country of Iraq and the citizens and military of both. God bless you all.

Leslie S------

Farewell to a Hero

We at Soldiers' Angels mourn the loss of all of our heroes, but the loss is especially keen when it is one close to our hearts.

Marine CPL Joseph Heredia

Local street to bear fallen Marine's nameBy Malia Spencer/STAFF WRITER

Fallen Marine Joseph Heredia's memory will live on in his hometown - and his ultimate sacrifice will be honored - through the renaming of a Santa Maria street in his honor, municipal officials said.

City Council members are expected to pass a resolution changing the name of a street in the Bradley Square subdivision from Leahy Park to Heredia Lane.

"I was surprised," said Heredia's mother, Monica Diaz, when she heard of the city's plans. "But what an honor. It's something permanent, it's something that's always going to be in the community."

Heredia, 22, was a corporal when he died Nov. 20, 2004, from complications related to injuries he received in Iraq 10 days earlier. His funeral Dec. 8 drew hundreds of family, friends and community members to St. John Neuman Church.

The idea to name a street for Heredia originated with Mayor Larry Lavagnino."A city doesn't get many chances to honor and respect and show the love for our fallen heroes," Lavagnino said. "And so I thought it would be a good idea, especially since (he) was a Santa Maria boy, so we are changing a street name."

Heredia Lane is located in the Traditions portion of Bradley Square, said David Beas, senior civil engineer for the city. The street is just on the west side of College Drive and borders what will be Rotary Centennial Park.

Six homes in that development will have a Heredia Lane address and the particular street was selected because of its primary location next to the park said officials with the developer, Bradley Square Partners.

The council's resolution is the final step in the process of changing the street name, Beas explained.

City officials are planning to continue to encourage the naming of streets for Santa Maria residents who are casualties of war, Lavagnino said. Developers will be given a list residents killed in all wars for consideration when naming streets, he said. The idea is being fostered by Lavagnino and Bob Hatch, Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce CEO and a Vietnam veteran.

Heredia's family is planning on being at the council meeting tonight at 6:30 in City Council's Chambers, 110 E. Cook St.

"We want to be able to show our respect for (Heredia's) sacrifice and we thought this will be the best way," Lavagnino said. "His name will go on forever in the City of Santa Maria."

The family of United States Marine Joseph Heredia, who died of injuries received in Iraq, standS at the corner of Leahy Park (which will soon be Heredia Lane) and Hawkins Way in Santa Maria. Left to right are Heredia's brother, Primo; sister, Monika Zendejas; mother, Monica Diaz; wife, Natalia; and brother, Adrian.//Aaron Lambert/Staff

Above, our Angel Wilhelmine Aufmkolk, at the Fisher House with CPL Heredia's mother. Willie recalled meeting CPL Heredia's mother, wife, and brother at the Fisher House. Of CPL Heredia's passing, she said, "We are without words."

Our thoughts and prayers are with CPL Heredia's family, fellow Marines, and friends.

Soldiers of 1st Platoon, Company A ‘Annihilators’, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment attached to Task Force 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, unearth a 55-gallon drum filled with rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades, artillery rounds and an assortment of other munitions found during a cordon and search operation near Latifiyah, in the north Babil region of Iraq Jan. 21. The armaments were found during a comprehensive search of the farmland along the banks the Euphrates River. An explosive ordnance disposal team destroyed the cache with a controlled detonation. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Andy Miller, 122nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

from the 1st Cavalry Division Website

MyTwo Cents - Shame on You, Senator Kennedy!

Yesterday, Senator Ted Kennedy said,

"The US military presence has become part of the problem, not part of the solution."


Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a great deal of tolerance for opposing political views - provided the people who hold them can argue intelligently, and actually have reasons for what they believe beyond the fact that they've been spoonfed by some media source or other. But the one thing I cannot abide, I will never abide, is being anti-troop. And this troop-hating hidden behind a thin veil of policy dispute just makes me even more furious. If you're going to be an idiot, at least do it openly.

Part of the problem? Clean water, running electricity, medical care, food, shoes, clothing, the right to vote, for crying out loud - this is part of the problem? I'll tell you, Senator Kennedy, there are a lot of people in the world who would like those problems. Then again, maybe you're right...the citizens of Iraq were much better off when they could be carted off at any time to be shot, raped....when chemical weapons had about as much chance of raining down on whomever he didn't like at any given point as rain did. They were much better off with a leader who idolized such "problem-solvers" as Hitler and Stalin.

This week marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Good timing, Teddy. Funny, but I don't think that the people our troops took out of those places thought that we were "part of the problem."

Senator Kennedy has a long history of shooting his mouth off and knocking the troops. Anyone remember the crack about the torture rooms opening "under new management"? I'm not saying that what happened at Abu Ghraib was ok. It wasn't. But the military disciplined those involved. They didn't say, "Way to go, Soldier!" And comparing what happened there to what Saddam did to his own people is ridiculous. Have you seen pictures of the folks in the areas where he used chemical weapons? I have. Have you read the stories of the rape rooms, and all of the other warped things he and his twisted little sons did? I have.

How dare you, Senator? How dare you say that the brave men and women defending your right to shoot your mouth off are part of the problem? The problem, Senator, is a group of fanatical, demented religious zealots who fear freedom because it takes away their power, who fear democracy because it takes away their control, and who hate us because we won't back down.

Everyone seems to think that terrorism started after we went into Iraq. It sounds like Senator Kennedy and his friends need a history lesson. Bear in mind that the incidents below are only those where Americans were killed and injured, and a couple of other historical landmarks. Not included are many, many others (like the Munich Olympics attack, the shooting of the Pope, the Japanese Sarin attack...).

June - PLO agents murder U.S. Embassy attaché Army Major Robert P. Perry in Jordan.

March - Weather Underground bombs a U.S. Senate office building.

May - The Red Army Faction kills one Army officer and injures 12 servicemen in a series of bombings. Their leaders are captured and jailed

March - Black September terrorists take 10 hostages at the Saudi embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, murder the U.S. ambassador, U.S. charge d'affaires, and a Belgian diplomat before surrendering.

February - Symbionese Liberation Army kidnaps Patti Hearst.

3 U.S. Navy personnel are murdered near Subic Bay Naval Base by the guerrilla arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

January - FALN, a Puerto Rican terrorist group kills four and wounds 60 with a bomb placed at Fraunces Tavern in New York City.

January - A Weather Underground detonates bomb goes off at the U.S. State Department building.

August - Japanese Red Army terrorists wound four people and take 53 men, women, and children hostage, including the American consul, in the American consulate in Malaysia. The Japanese release the prisoners demanded, and Libya takes the terrorists.

June - PFLP and Red Army faction terrorists hijack an Air France flight, taking 240 hostages. They fly to Libya to refuel, then head for Uganda, where Idi Amin rolls out the welcome mat. They demand the release of 50+ of their friends, $5 million, and release everyone who isn't an Israeli. The Israelis decide to end this, and commandos raid the airplane, killing the terrorists. Two hostages die after being caught in the crossfire; the rest are freed. This raid is hailed as a benchmark in the battle against terrorists.

March - In Washington DC, Hanafi Muslim terrorists seize a building just about within spitting distance of the White House. 134 hostages taken. They kill one and wound twelve.. After negotiating with Egypt, Pakistan, and Iran, they surrender.

May - The U.S. Cultural Center in Madrid, where VP Mondale is due to arrive, is bombed by a group of terrorists whose name translates to the October 1 Anti-Fascist Group.

February - U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan is kidnapped in Kabul. U.S. officials try to convince the Afghan interior ministry not to storm the room, but a gunshot is heard, which leads to a hail of bullets. The ambassador is killed.

June - Serbian terrorists hijack a New York to Chicago flight (American Airlines), trying to get a full-time priest (and Chicago Yugoslavian consulate bomber on the side) released. It doesn't work out for them, and they are arrested.

November - The US allows Iran's Shah to come over for medical treatment; 500 Iranians storm the American embassy and hold 52 people hostage for 444 days because economic pressures and one rescue attempt fail to work. After Ronald Reagan is elected, negotiations are started that work. The hostages are released in late January, 1981.

December - Two U.S. Navy sailors on a bus in Puerto Rico by terrorists.

July - Khomeini fan David Belfield changes his name to Daoud Salahuddin and kills the former Shah's press aide at his home.

October - two Turkish holdings in the US are bombed by Armenian terrorists, injuring one person.

March - Columbian terrorists kidnap and kill American Chester Allen Bitterman, who refused to close the Latin American Branch of Wycliffe Bible Translators when they asked him to.

August - The US Air Force base in Ramstein, Germany is carbombed by the Red Army Faction. 18 Americans and 2 Germans are injured.

September - The Red Army Faction, on a roll, tries to murder the commander of U.S. forces in Europe. General Kruesen and his wife sustain minor injuries when two RPGs are fired at their car.

October - Egyptian President Anwar Sadat is murdered during a parade. Eight others are killed, and 20 are injured. The injured include American diplomats.

December - US Army Brigadeer General J. L. Dozier is kidnapped from his home in Italy. A month and a half later, he is freed in a raid by Italian agents.

U.S. military attaché Lt. Colonel Charles R. Ray outside near his Paris home by Lebanese Marxists.

June - Four US military installations in Germany are bombed by the Revolutionary Cells, a West German group.

July - the acting Presdient of the American University of Beirut is kidmapped, moved from Lebanon to Iran, and released a year later. Syrian leader Hafez Assad helps in negotiations by saying that the pres contributed to middle east culture.

August - One technician dies and two are injured trying to disarm a carbomb in France. The car belonged to an American embassy worker, and Lebanese Marxists claim the credit.

April - 2000 pounds of explosives are driven into the US Embassy in Beirut. 17 Americans killed, 46 others dead, and 120 injured. Islamic Jihad claims responsibility.

September - Puerto Rican terrorists pull off one of the largest bank robberies in US history, clearing about $7.2 mil from Wells Fargo's West Hartford terminal.

October - A truck filled with explosives enhanced with compressed gas goes through the fences and entanglements outside the US Marine barracks in Beirut. Marines open fire as the truck comes through, but it crashes into the building, detonates, and kills 241 sleeping servicement.
56 French servicement are killed in a similar, almost simultaneous attack on their barracks.

November - The Armed Resistance Unit detonates a bomb at the US Capitol, in what it says is a protest of Grenada and our involvement in Beirut.

December - Truckloads of explosives get driven into the American and French embassies in Kuwait. The driver goofs at the American embassy, and misses his target. Five dead there; no Americans. Down the road at the French embassy, a big hole in the building, but no one is killed. A radical, Iran-friendly Shiite group is blamed.

December - 4 simultaneous bombings by Puerto Rican terrorists in NYC on Federal and City government buildings. A number of city officers are seriously wounded. The terrorists are pardoned by President Clinton in 1999, during Hilary's Senate race.

January - Islamic Jihand gunmen kill the President of the American University of Beirut.

June - TWA flight 847 is hijacked on an Athens-to-Rome flight. It is forced to fly to Beirut, where more terrorists join the fray. US Navy diver Robert Stetham is murdered, and his body tossed out on the tarmack. The hostages are released 17 days later.

August - The Red Army Faction carbombs a US Air Force base in West Germany, using the I.D. of an off-duty serviceman they murdered the night before. 2 killed, 17 injured.

October - Palestinian terrorists hijack the Achille Lauro, murdering a 69-year-old disabled American tourist, Leon Klinghoffer. They toss his body overboard in his wheelchair. Two days later they surrender, in exchange for a safe flight out of there. US Navy F-14s intercept the Egyptian jet attempting to do so, and force it to land in Sicily, where the terrorists are taken in.

November - A carbomb explodes outside a US military post exchange in Frankfurt, Germany. 35 people (largely Americans) are injured.

A TWA jet in Greece is bombed. The timing device on the bomb was activated when a passenger sat on the seat it was under. Four dead, but the plane lands safely.

The LaBelle Disco in West Berlin is bombed. Two American soldiers die, and dozens of servicemen are injured. Another person is killed. Almost two hundred other people are injured. President Reagan orders air strikes against Libya for its involvement in the bombing.

April - 16 US Servicemen are injured in Greece by Revolutionary Organization 17 November (Marxist-Leninist) when it bombs a bus.

August - 17 November attacks another bus, injuring 10 servicemen.

October - The New People's Army kills four Americans near Clark Air Base.

December - Spanish terrorists throw grenades into a USO bar in Barcelona. One US serviceman killed, nine wounded.

April - A Japanese Red Army suicide bomber drives his car into a USO club in Naples, Italy. A US Navy enlisted woman and four others are killed. Another Red Army terrorist is arrested in April with bombs and explosives, at a New Jersey rest area. Both attacks are timed for the second anniversary of the US airstrikes in Libya.

June - 17 November murders Cpt. William Nordeen, a US defense attaché at the U.S. embassy in Athens, Greece.

August - The "Simon Bolivar Commandos" detonate a carbomb near the motorcade carrying the US Secretary of State in LaPaz, Bolivia. No one is injured.

December - Pan Am Flight 103 explodes over Lockerbie, Scotland. 259 people are killed on the plane (189 are American - one of those from my hometown), and 11 die on the ground. One bomber is finally convicted in 2001, the other returns a hero after he's acquitted.

February - Bookstores carrying Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses" are bombed in California after a fatwa is issued calling for his death.

March - In an attack believed to be retaliation for the USS Vincennes' downing of an Iranian civilian airliner, terrorists place a bomb in the van of the Captain's wife. She is not injured.

March - the Fort Myers DEA offices are firebombed by Columbian terrorists. Two months later, the FBI catches Columbian terrorists trying to buy Stinger missiles.

September - Phillipino President Corazon Aquino's Captain of the guard is killed, along with two American Ford Aerospace employees. The attacks occur at about the same time as VP Quayle's visit.

December - No more USSR, and a lot of the Communist terrorist groups go the way of the Dodo shortly thereafter.

January - Two CIA employees are murdered, and three wounded, near the Langley facility gate, by a Pakistani terrorist.

February - The World Trade center is bombed Arab terrorists. Six are killed, 1,000 injured, and the blast causes $300 million in damage. They claim to be retaliating for US support of Israel.
The damage is fixed, and the place reopened, in under a month.

March - A CIA employee and an employee of the US consulate are shot and killed in Karachi, Pakistan

April - A truck bomb outside the Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City detonates, killing 168 people. 19 of those are children. 1 person dies in the rescue effort. 220 buildings are damaged. Timothy McVeigh is executed for the crime in 2001. Terry Nichols is also convicted.

September - During rush hour, a terrorist fires an RPG into the US embassy in Moscow in retaliation for air strikes in Bosnia. The embassy loses a copier, but no one is injured.

June - In Saudi Arabia, suicide bombers drive a tanker filled with explosives into a housing facility for US and allied forces enforcing the Iraqi no-fly zone. 19 Americans die, and almost 500 are wounded. 13 Hezbollah members are indicted for the crime in 2001.

November - In Pakistan, four American Union Texas Petroleum Auditors are murdered in retaliation for the conviction of a Pakistani terrorist on the CIA murders.

July - In Nairobi, Tanzania, and Kenya, over 300 people are killed in simultaneous bombings of US embassies. Over 5,000 are injured, and Osama bin Laden is the prime suspect. In August, President Clinton authorizes cruise missile strikes on targets in Sudan and Afghanistan

December - An Algerian terrorist is arrested at the US-Canadian border with more than 100 pounds of explosives. The explosives were bound for a millenium bombing in Los Angeles.
The terrorist reports being trained by Al Qaeda.

October - suicide bombers blast a 40' x 40' hole in the American destroyer USS Cole, killing 17 and wounding 39. Again, Al Qaeda is the top suspect.

September 11, 2001 - Thousands are killed in attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in a failed attempt to strike a target in Washington. President George W. Bush begins bombing Afghanistan 4 weeks later.

Add to that the bombings in Spain and France, the numerous plots foiled by the CIA, FBI, and the military... and you see that terrorism has a long history. And it's about time someone did something about it. Terrorism, Senator, is the problem. Taking a stand is the solution. Another problem, at least in this country, is blind, troop-hating politicians that don't have the backbone to do what is necessary. Our nation's heroes are NOT part of the problem. You, sir, may be. Shame on you, and shame on every other politician from your party who hasn't got the intestinal fortitude to tell you you've crossed the line.

To see the incidents I didn't include here, visit

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Maintenance Support Team

U.S. soldiers assigned to a maintenance support team with Company B, 199th Forward Support Battalion, pose next to a Humvee they were working on. The company provides direct support for equipment of the 256th Brigade Combat Team in Iraq. Defense Dept. photo by Jim Garamone

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Mark Maddry puts the finishing touches on a generator. Maddry is an air conditioning specialist with Company B of the 199th Forward Support Battalion, Louisiana National Guard. The company provides direct support for equipment of the 256th Brigade Combat Team in Iraq. Defense Dept. photo by Jim Garamone

A U.S. soldier takes out a cotter pin in a .50cal machine gun. Armorers with Company B, 199th Forward Support Battalion, maintain all the weapons for the 256th Brigade Combat Team, part of Task Force Baghdad. Defense Dept. photo by Jim Garamone

U.S. Army Spc. Frank Greene tests a power control unit for a Bradley Fighting Vehicle at the 199th Forward Maintenance Battalion's work area. The battalion supports all the equipment needs of the Louisiana National Guard's 256th Brigade Combat Team, outside Baghdad, Iraq. Defense Dept. photo by Jim Garamone

U.S. soldiers assigned to Company B, 199th Forward Support Battalion, go about their daily missions in the company work area, located outside Baghdad, Iraq. The battalion supports the Louisiana National Guard's 256th Brigade Combat Team. Defense Dept. photo by Jim Garamone

U.S. soldiers assigned to a maintenance support team of Company B, 199th Forward Support Battalion poses in front of their work space. The team repairs tanks for the 1st Battalion 156th Armor. Defense Dept. photo by Jim Garamone


In Today's News - Saturday, January 29, 2005

We've been experiencing some technical problems, but we are back! Without further delay, here are your news headlines: Associated Press
Iraq sets dusk-to-dawn curfew before vote
Just ahead of the first free balloting in Iraq in half a century, the nation battened down for the vote, imposing a 7 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew on Friday and closing Baghdad International Airport. Five U.S. soldiers were killed in the capital and insurgents blasted polling stations across the country.

Iraqi expatriates begin voting in U.S.
Hundreds of Iraqis streamed into polling places in five U.S. cities Friday, the first day they could vote in their homeland's election. Nearly 26,000 people have registered to vote in five U.S. metropolitan areas with heavy Iraqi populations: Detroit, Chicago, Nashville, Tenn., Los Angeles and Washington.

Sen. Biden, Iran minister clash over nukes
Sen. Joseph Biden and Iran's foreign minister clashed Friday over Tehran's nuclear ambitions, with Biden hinting at the possibility of armed conflict unless fears of an Iranian weapons program were put to rest.

Lockheed wins presidential copter contract
A new fleet of presidential helicopters will be built by Lockheed Martin and its international partners, the Navy announced Friday, ending a fierce competition that had both political and international implications.

Israelis halt military activity in Gaza
Israel's army chief ordered his troops Friday to halt raids in the Gaza Strip and move against West Bank militants only with his approval, a major policy reversal after more than four years of fighting and a key step toward a truce with the Palestinians.

Ananova: War In Iraq
British troops enforce poll curfew
British troops were swooping through streets in an eerie silence as they mounted night-time patrols to enforce Iraq's election curfew. Ananova: War In Iraq

The US News: Iraq News
Wyoming Marine dies in Iraq
A Wyoming Marine was among the 31 servicemen killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq Wednesday, the deadliest day since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.Staff Sgt. Brian Bland, 26, was a 1995 graduate of Ne... [in Casper Star Tribune] The US News: Iraq News

How to Assess Iraq Election Day Results
Because there will be no exit polls nor complete election results released Sunday night, it could be difficult to assess and understand the results of Iraq ( [in Yahoo] The US News: Iraq News

Karzai urges Iraqi people to take part in polls :
[World News]: Kabul, Jan. 28 : Afghan President Hamid Karzai today urged Iraqis to follow his country's example by defying al Qaeda threats and voting in this month's Iraq election. Afghans chose th... [in New Kerala] The US News: Iraq News

For Iraqi Expatriates in the U.S., a Chance to Savor the Vote
But even as they exulted in the opportunity to vote, many expatriates expressed deep fears about Sunday's vote in Iraq. New York Times: World Special

Iraq prepares for elections amid continuing violence >
Last Updated 29/01/2005, 12:16:14 In the lead to up the election in Iraq there's been a spate of violent attacks across the country.In the latest unrest three U-S soldiers have been killed in western... [in Radio Australia] The US News: Iraq News

Iraqi family's journey inspires hope
BAGHDAD - It has been said you can't go home again. The Naama family is trying to prove otherwise, though their journey home has not been an easy one. [in MSNBC] The US News: Iraq News

U.S. Commander Predicts Large Iraqi Voter Turnout
HOUSTON (AP) - The general who commands U.S. forces in Iraq said Friday that millions of Iraqis will vote this weekend in the face of likely bloodshed because they recognize their nation must not retu... [in Tampa Bay Online] The US News: Iraq News

Bush says Iraqi vote will set a 'powerful example'
Photo: AFP WASHINGTON (AFP) - As Iraqi exiles cast ballots around the world, US President George W. Bush said weekend elections in their war-torn homeland would inspire pro-democracy reformers thro... [in AFP via Yahoo] The US News: Iraq News

U.S. Army Helicopter Crashes in Baghdad
An Army helicopter crashed in southwest Baghdad on Friday night, and the fate of the crew was not immediately known, a U.S. military official said. [in Yahoo] The US News: Iraq News

Bright spots emerge on Iraq's cloudy horizon
Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

Army Officer Speaks Out on Security During Iraq's Elections
Mary Stoker Smith U.S. forces are securing aggressive security missions for the elections. Friday WTVO Channel 17 News talked with a U.S. Army public affairs officer stationed in Baghdad about the acc... [in WTVO] The US News: Iraq News

Arab Media Split Over Iraqi Elections
Editor's Note: Arab media are showing a diversity of viewpoints in the run-up to the Jan. 30 Iraqi elections, with support for the elections coming from media that are also critical of the U.S. occupa... [in Pacific News Service] The US News: Iraq News

Indianapolis Marine Shares View on Iraq Developments
Karen Hensel News 8 brings you a special look at the war in Iraq from an Indiana State Trooper serving as a Marine there. Lieutenant Colonel Mark Smith has been corresponding with News 8 via email. He... [in WISH TV 8] The US News: Iraq News

Iraq Vote Will Set Global Example
The elections in Iraq will set an example of democracy for the rest of the Middle East, President Bush said Friday."This history is changing the world," Bush said, speaking of S... [in Tuscaloosa News] The US News: Iraq News

Tough security in Iraq for tomorrow's polls
Reuters, AFP, Baghdad Iraq clamped tough security measures across the country yesterday, sealing land borders and curbing travel to foil insurgents bent on wrecking tomorrow's election, but a car bom... [in The Daily Star] The US News: Iraq News

Blitz of TV ads rolls as Iraqi candidates try to reach voters
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqi candidates are making their pitches to voters in a barrage of last-minute advertising unlike anything this country has ever known. [in Marin Independent-Journal] The US News: Iraq News

Iraqi officials have said they are close to capturing their top enemy, Al-Qaeda frontman Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as the country goes on high alert to foil insurgent efforts to wreck the historic electio... [in The World News] The US News: Iraq News

Iraqi exiles begin casting votes in historic election
Click to enlarge LONDON (AFP) - Thousands of expatriate Iraqis cast ballots in their country's first free election for over half a century, with emotions running high among voters despite the relativ... [in AFP via Yahoo] The US News: Iraq News

Politicians seize the day in Iraq
. The political machines of the campaigns are as varied as the 111 political groups vying for 275 seats in the National Assembly. Grassroots candidates like Sheik are sticking to their neighborhoods, ... [in International Herald Tribune] The US News: Iraq News

Four killed in Baghdad police blast
A car bomb exploded near a Baghdad police station, killing four Iraqi policemen and injuring four other people, police said. Officers guarding the police station in the capital's southern Dora neighb... [in Ananova] The US News: Iraq News

Iraq Says Winning War on Rebels as Polls Near
By Andrew Marshall BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Insurgents bent on wrecking Sunday's election in Iraq killed 10 Iraqis and five U.S. troops on Friday but the government said it had caught three al Qaeda lie... [in Reuters] The US News: Iraq News

Iraqi authorities announce capture of three associates of terror leader; five U.S. soldiers killed
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Authorities in Iraq have arrested three close associates of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, officials said Friday, claiming to be close to capturing the al-Qaida-linked terror mastermind h... [in Casper Star Tribune] The US News: Iraq News

Hundreds of Alabama-based soldiers return from Iraq
Print this story. Nearly 400 Alabama-based soldiers on active duty for nearly a year are set to return home at several homecoming ceremonies throughout the state on Saturday, Alabama National Gua... [in Tuscaloosa News] The US News: Iraq News

Yahoo! News: War with Iraq
Bright spots emerge on Iraq's cloudy horizon
Yahoo! News: War with Iraq

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From Fox News
Homicide Bomber Kills Eight in Iraq
BAGHDAD, Iraq — A homicide bomber detonated explosives strapped to his body in front of a police station in a Kurdish town near the Iranian border, killing eight people on the eve of Iraq's crucial national election, Iraqi and U.S. officials said. Insurgents blasted polling places in at least seven cities. Story

Election Workers on Front Lines
Iraqis Stock Up on Food, Gas
Riot, Bomb Scare at Australia Polls
Iraq Sets Curfews Ahead of Vote
Three Zarqawi Men Nabbed
U.S. Chopper Crashes in Baghdad
Iraqi Expats Vote Around World
Iraqi-Americans Go to Polls
Hawaii Mourns Loss of Marines
Insurgents Step Up Attacks in Iraq
Kennedy Wants Pullout Timeline
Chopper Crash Victims From Across U.S.
Iraqi Expats Begin Casting Ballots
Book: Gulf War Stopped Iraq Nukes
37 Troops Killed on Deadliest Day in Iraq

From the Department of Defense
Iraqis in U.S. Cast Votes in Elections
NEW CAROLLTON, Md., Jan. 28, 2005 — Iraqi citizens, many who fled their native country for the United States to escape Saddam Hussein's brutality, came here today to take part in something they never thought they'd live to see: Iraq's first free elections in more than six decades. Story Photo Essay

U.S. Ambassador Predicts Big Voter Turnout
WASHINGTON, Jan. 28, 2005 — The U.S. ambassador to Iraq said he expects millions of Iraqis to go to the polls this weekend during what he called "a major stride toward freedom on the part of the Iraqi people." Story

Iraqi Elections Represent Historic Moment
WASHINGTON, Jan. 28, 2005 — Iraq's Jan. 30 elections mark "the beginning of the end of the miseries and difficulties that the people of Iraq have endured for so many decades," Iraq's interim deputy prime minister told Pentagon reporters today during a videoconference from Baghdad. Story

Iraqis Take Lead in Conducting Elections
WASHINGTON, Jan. 28, 2005 — Iraqis are planning and implementing their own elections Jan. 30, and American and other coalition forces will operate only in support roles, a senior U.S. officer explained Jan. 27. Story

Support Soldiers Sweat So Others Won't Bleed
CAMP TIGERLAND, Iraq, Jan. 28, 2005 — On the support side, there is probably no tougher job than extracting the main gun on an M-1A1 Abrams tank. It's usually done in a maintenance facility with cranes and lifts and all the specialized tools to do the job. Story

Engineer Battalion Helps Refurbish Iraqi Clinic
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Jan. 28, 2005 — Over the past few months, U.S. soldiers have been busy improving businesses, schools and even waterlines in the Saba Al Boor area. The most recent project nearing completion is a clinic that has gone from offering only one form of care to offering a variety of health services to residents. Story

Support Teams Maintain Forward Equipment
FORWARD OPERATING BASE ANACONDA, Afghanistan, Jan. 28, 2005 — Ensuring millions of dollars worth of military equipment remains mission-capable is a large task, but it’s one the U.S. soldiers from the Company B, 325th Forward Support Battalion, maintenance support team are ready to handle. Story Photos

Bagram, Task Force Host Diplomat Day
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, Jan. 27, 2005 — More than 20 high-level diplomats and embassy officials visited Bagram Airfield and the headquarters of Combined Joint Task Force 76 earlier this week. Story

141st Engineer Combat Battalion Skills in High Demand
Dual Military Couples Share Deployment
Cousins Deploy Aboard USS Bonhomme Richard

Deployed Unit Keeps Airmen, Flightline Safe
Multiple Units Form Combined Task Force

Marine Keeps Lines of Communication Open
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C., Jan. 28, 2005 —"When my drill instructor came charging out asking, 'Who's the joker who thinks he's from the North Pole?' I knew I was in for it," Sgt. Brian F. Shelton, a Marine with 2d Tank Battalion here, said. Story

Helo Crash Hits Unit 'Like Beirut'
WASHINGTON, Jan. 28, 2005 — A spokesman for the Hawaii-based Marine unit that lost 26 Marines and one sailor from the Jan. 26 helicopter crash that killed 31 troops in Iraq says the incident has impacted Marines like the 1983 Beirut bombing. Story

Special Report
Iraqi Elections
Iraqi Governors Address Concerns
Iraq Works to Promote Security
Citizens Assist Iraqi, U.S. Forces
Bush Expresses Confidence
Terrorists Fear Free Elections
Curfew, Restrictions Aid Security
Security Strategies Proposed
Iraqis Prepare for Election
Fact Sheet: Timeline
Fact Sheet: Transitional Admin Law
Fact Sheet: Candidate List Regulations

Army Helicopter Crashes
Suspected Insurgents Captured
Weapons, Munitions Caches Found
2 U.S. Soldiers Killed, 3 Wounded
Iraq Daily Update
Year in Review 2004 Fact Sheets (pdf)
Iraq Reconstruction
Weekly Progress Report (pdf)

Missing Aircraft Search Continues
Enduring Freedom Marks 3 Years
Afghanistan Daily Update

Bush: 'Freedom on the March'
Australian Detainee Transferred
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

Top Doc Discusses Help for Stress
National Guard, Reserve Update