Welcome! Our goal at Winds of Change.NET is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from Iraq that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. This briefing is brought to you by Joel Gaines of No Pundit Intended and Andrew Olmsted of Andrew Olmsted dot com.
- A suicide bomber struck a Baghdad restaurant Sunday, killing at least 29 Iraqis at a popular police hangout.
- JK: Back in 2003, Winds of Change.NET ran a piece on "throwbots," recon robots so light that soldiers could carry and throw them. DID notes that field reports are beginning to filter back from Iraq, and looks at the evolution of military land robots.
- The pressure to withdraw from Iraq is growing. Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike are starting to raise the issue in higher profile forae. War supporters argue withdrawal would throw away all the United States has sacrificed to date, while war opponents argue that staying in Iraq is simply throwing away more lives in a hopeless cause. General John Abazaid notes that he can find more confidence in the Iraq mission in Iraq than in Washington. Doubtless the Iraqi people will watch this debate closely.
Other Topics Today Include: more on Mosul; Raven 42; the right number of troops for Iraq; another Al Qaeda member arrested; where are the Iraqis; Carnival of the Liberated; French journalist freed; the Downing Street Memo; new ambassador for Iraq.
REPORTS FROM THE FIELD
- A bomb blast in Kirkuk punctuated plans for the swearing in of the first-ever president of the Kurdish autonomous region of Iraq.
- Many of the Raven 42 Warriors have received awards for their outstanding actions in battle - but SGT Hester is the first woman to receive a Silver Star since WWII. Here is a list of other female medal recipients.
- Michael J. Totten started a brouhaha when he cited an essay by Niall Ferguson stating reasons why more troops should have been used. To underscore the dangers of a weak finish in Iraq, Lou Fanning, a widely respected former intelligence officer points to a book by the deceased Muslim radical and member of The Muslim Brotherhood, As Sayyid Qutb called Mileposts, which is a favorite of the Wahhabist Jihaddis.
- Iraq announced the arrest of another member of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Musaab Kasser Abdul Rahman Hassan.
- Where are the Iraqis, asks David Ignatius.
- The latest Carnival of the Liberated is up at Dean's World.
THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE
- French journalist, Florence Aubenas was freed after five months of captivity. It has been reported that no ransom was paid for her release and that her capture was not politically motivated.. Aubenas has stated she was sent off by her captors with gifts. Another kidnap victim, Douglas Wood was freed by Iraqi and US forces after 47 days of captivity in a house in Baghdad. This incident was also thought to be monetarily motivated.
- Newsweek takes a look at the now-famous Downing Street Memos, but as Tim Cavanaugh points out, the 'smoking gun' that anti-war activists were hoping for simply isn't there.
*This week, Zalmay Khalilzad was confirmed by the Senate as U.S. ambassador to Iraq, replacing John Negroponte. Mr. Khalilzad was formerly a U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.
- There is a horrid little man and his family, who finds it important to protest the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq with signs, such as "Thank God for IEDs". He recently staged such a protest in Caldwell, Idaho. Joel, at The Stupid Will Be Punished shows us that the Police and Fire Departments did a great job of protecting the protesters - a great job! Ma Deuce Gunner weighs in too - he saluted her as her casket was loaded on a C-130 in Iraq. I have decided to give notice to all other towns Mr. Phelps plans to protest in. John at Argghhh! brought this to my attention and has his own take on it.
- Major K expresses his outrage and frustration about the death of one of his soldiers. SPC Jorge Estrada was murdered while home on leave for the birth of his daughter. Fabian Urrea is the killer, according to all reports - he is still at large.
- Mustang 23 talks about the media coverage of Staff Sgt. Alberto B. Martinez in the LA Times. His murdering two of his officers in Iraq has been described as a "fragging", followed by comparisons of Operation Iraq Freedom to the Vietnam war.
- Do you have your GI Bracelet? Many military families fall into financial hardship when the breadwinner is injured or killed. The entire $5 purchase price of the GI Bracelet is donated to support our troops and their families! Please join us to give back to these brave people in their time of need.
- The troops are still there. So is the Winds of Change.NET consolidated directory of ways you can support the troops: American, Australian, British, Canadian & Polish. Anyone out there with more information, contact us!
- Don't forget Chief Wiggles' Toys for Iraq drive!
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