Travel Warnings and Coalitions

More nonsensical ramblings ensue.

Iraq, this war sucks. I don't care what the Bushies say about "progress." 34,426 American soldiers have been killed or wounded as of November, 20th 2008. That's alot. Perhaps something good will come out of such carnage, I sincerely hope so, and if it does I would love to see it.

That aside, the U.S. Department of State issued a new travel warning for Iraq on June 13, 2008. This may or may not be due to the revelation that a Florida teenager traveled to Iraq for a school project on immersion journalism. The warning is nothing new as the last State Dept. warning came July 23, 2007.

Sometimes all of these government releases and policy documents tend to contradict each other or at the very least bring into question some of the assertions made one place that are seemingly challenged in another.

Remember the president's "Victory Strategy in Iraq?" I posted one blog on it already.

The strategy outlines a number of points which will supposedly lead to the all-important "victory." As part of the evidence that this plan is not only already working but has been in place for some time the document presents some of the "progresses" Coalition forces have made in Iraq (and by Coalition I mean the United States, more on that later).

A prior travel warning mentioned Fallujah:

"All vehicular travel in Iraq is extremely dangerous. There have been numerous attacks on civilian vehicles, as well as military convoys. Attacks occur throughout the day, but travel at night is exceptionally dangerous. Travel in or through Ramadi and Fallujah; travel between al-Hillah and Baghdad; travel between the International Zone and Baghdad International Airport; and travel from Baghdad to Mosul is particularly dangerous."

If you check out a map those places lie mostly within the area popularly known as the Sunni Triangle. Except for Baghdad to Mosul, which is a huge tract of northern Iraq.

I guess that's what the Bush administration calls "Iraqi government control" in its victory strategy. Under control must mean something different in Iraq than it does in my mind. I wouldn't envision an area referred to as "under control" as being somewhere one might not want to travel in fear of murder or worse. This warning is meant for civilians but logic dictates places that are unsafe for civilians are probably unsafe for military personnel as well.

So heck yeah to victory, I guess.

Related Notes on Terror

I have been finding some interesting terrorist propaganda on the Internet as well as some actual terrorist sites (mostly in Arabic) where some of the groups operating in Iraq and elsewhere post responsibility claims and other items. Perhaps I will write something about those later.

The Coalition of the Willing

21 nations, some planning withdraws or draw-downs soon, have troops in Iraq right now (not including the United States). Of course, if you had gone to the Central Command web page you would have found that the Centcom had described this as the "largest Coalition ever built," which is laughable. Centcom lumps all of the worldwide "war on terror" operations into one broad coalition. Many of the nations listed on the site are participating in only Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan).

But the global security article above tells us that beyond the United States and the United Kingdom there really aren't that many significant players as far as military contributions go in the Iraq theater.