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August 24, 2007

The JOURNAL is launching a new feature this week — a clip file — stories we collect that may have fallen through the cracks or disappeared under the avalanche of information that all of us face every day. This first installment is on the war in Iraq. Among the topics: the war in the media, the weapons missing in action, financing Iraq, troop stress and new recruitment strategies.

The War in the News

President Bush's Speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, August 22, 2007
"One unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like 'boat people,' 're-education camps,' and 'killing fields.'"

Bush Supporters Launch Iraq Ad Campaign," Jim Kuhnhenn, THE WASHINGTON POST, August 22, 2007
"Former White House aides are joining Republican fundraisers in bankrolling a $15 million, five-week advertising campaign putting pressure on lawmakers whose backing of President Bush's Iraq war strategy may be wavering. The group, Freedom's Watch, launched the ads Wednesday, even as Bush delivered a renewed call for keeping U.S. forces in Iraq. The money will pay for ad placements on national cable and local television stations as well as on radio and the Internet."

The Project for Excellence in Media Quarterly Report
"Attention to the Iraq war fell across all five media sectors in the second quarter. The bulk of the decline occurred after May 24, when Congress approved funding without including troop withdrawal timetables, a move widely viewed as a White House victory. In all, the policy debate filled 7% of the space or airtime in the quarter, down from 12% in the three months of the year."

Troop Stress

"'War Czar' Concerned over Stress of War on Troops," ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, NPR, August 10, 2007.
General Douglas Lute, Coordinator For Iraq and Afghanistan: "I think it makes sense to certainly consider [the draft]. And I can tell you it has always been an option on the table. But ultimately, this is a policy matter between meeting the demands for the nation's security by one means or another."

"Fatigue cripples US army in Iraq", Peter Beaumont, THE OBSERVER, August 12, 2007
"Exhaustion and combat stress are besieging US troops in Iraq as they battle with a new type of warfare. Some even rely on Red Bull to get through the day. As desertions and absences increase, the military is struggling to cope with the crisis."

"The War as We Saw It," Buddhika Jayamaha, Wesley D. Smith, Jeremy Roebuck, Omar Mora, Edward Sandmeier, Yance T. Gray And Jeremy A. Murphy, THE NEW YORK TIMES Op-Ed, August 19, 2007
"As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day. (Obviously, these are our personal views and should not be seen as official within our chain of command.)"

Guns Missing in Action guns in Iraq, DOD

"Weapons given to Iraq are Missing," Glenn Kessler, THE WASHINGTON POST, August 6, 2007
"The Pentagon has lost track of about 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols given to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005, according to a new government report, raising fears that some of those weapons have fallen into the hands of insurgents fighting U.S. forces in Iraq."

"Iraq's Arms Bazaar," Christopher Dickey, NEWSWEEK, August 20-27, 2007
"At least three U.S. government agencies are now investigating the massive "disappearance" and diversion of weapons Washington intended for Iraqi government forces that instead have spread to militants and organized gangs across the region. The potential size of the traffic is stunning. A report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office last month showed that since 2004, some 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols, bought with U.S. money for Iraqi security forces, have gone missing."

War Finances

"U.S. Pays Millions In Cost Overruns For Security in Iraq," Steve Fainaru, THE WASHINGTON POST, August 12, 2007
"The U.S. military has paid $548 million over the past three years to two British security firms that protect the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on reconstruction projects, more than $200 million over the original budget, according to previously undisclosed data that show how the cost of private security in Iraq has mushroomed."

"Private Contractors Outnumber U.S. troops in Iraq," T. Christian Miller, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, July 4, 2007
"The number of U.S.-paid private contractors in Iraq now exceeds that of American combat troops, newly released figures show, raising fresh questions about the privatization of the war effort and the government's capacity to carry out military and rebuilding campaigns. More than 180,000 civilians including Americans, foreigners and Iraqis are working in Iraq under U.S. contracts, according to State and Defense department figures obtained by the Los Angeles Times."


"Number of Blacks Joining Military Down," Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press, June 25, 2007
"The number of blacks joining the military has plunged by more than one-third since the Afghanistan and Iraq wars began. Other job prospects are soaring and relatives of potential recruits increasingly are discouraging them from joining the armed services."

recruits, DOD "Bill Would Grant Citizenship For Service," Rick Maze, NAVY TIMES, July 16, 2007
"With the possible backing of the Pentagon, the Senate's second-ranking Democrat will offer an amendment to the 2008 defense authorization bill that allows some undocumented immigrants to receive citizenship through military service. The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act, would allow someone who was younger than 16 when they came to the U.S., has been in the country for at least five years and graduated from high school to become a legal immigrant by serving two years in the military."

"$20,000 Bonus Offered to 'Quick Shippers,' Lisa Burgess, STARS AND STRIPES, August 2, 2007
"The Army is hoping to jump-start sagging summer recruiting efforts by offering a $20,000 bonus to any recruit willing to ship out within 30 days...Soldiers won't collect any of the cash until they reach their first permanent duty station after they complete basic training and their advanced individual training school. At that point, they get $10,000, Darden said. The rest of the money will be paid out in annual installments over the lifetime of the soldier's contract, however long that may be."

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