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Daily Column
US Papers Thu: 2 GIs Killed by Iraqi Soldier
Bombings continue: "Wounded Warriors" sought
By DANIEL W. SMITH 11/13/2008 02:03 AM ET
Most of the news today is rundowns of violence that continues around Iraq. Also, the U.S. military searches for wounded veterans, and a film about female GIs is reviewed.

From Baghdad
On Wednesday, an Iraqi soldier opened fire on U.S. troops in Mosul, killing two. Two Christian women, also in Mosul, were shot to death in their home. In Baghdad, at least 12 Iraqis died and sixty were wounded in a twin bombing.

In the shooting which killed the two GIs, six more were wounded and the gunman was killed by returning fire. It is unclear whether the incident followed an altercation between the GIs and the Iraqi soldier, identified as Barzan Mohammed, of the 6th Brigade of the Iraqi army's 2nd Division.

Ernesto Londoño and Qais Mizher of the Washington Post write...
The American soldiers were in the courtyard of an Iraqi army outpost in Zanjeli, in western Mosul, waiting for their lieutenant to wrap up a meeting with an Iraqi army captain, U.S. and Iraqi officials said.

The Iraqi soldier walked into the courtyard, said something to another soldier, and shot an American soldier at close range in the head, said Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, commander of U.S. forces in northern Iraq. The Iraqi soldier then shot a second American soldier in the stomach, the general added. "Basically he began spraying his weapon," Hertling said.

The rifles Iraqi soldiers carry have standard magazines that hold 30 rounds. The Iraqi soldier who opened fire on the Americans had a drum magazine, which can hold up to 75 bullets, Hertling said. "There may have been some premeditation," he added. The American soldier shot in the head died shortly after the attack. The soldier shot in the stomach died later at a military hospital, U.S. officials said.
The six wounded soldiers are in stable condition at a U.S. base in Mosul. There is a joint U.S./Iraqi investigation underway.

An Associated Press tally counts 19 bombings in Baghdad so far this month, compared with 28 in the entire month of October and 22 in September. The latest are a pair of twin bombings in Baghdad Jadida, the first of which appeared to target a group of national police officers who had parked in front of the vehicle and were walking toward a store, witnesses said. Each blast is reported to have killed six people. Sam Dagher reports in the New York Times on the killings in Mosul which left two Iraqi Christian women dead and their mother seriously wounded and also of political developments in the north.
Lamia Subaih Daoud, a local government employee in her 30s, was waiting outside her home in the northern neighborhood of Qahira for a bus to take her to work. Three gunmen in a gray vehicle pulled up and shot her in the head and chest. They then stormed the house and gunned down Ms. Daoud’s sister, who was 23, in the same fashion. The gunmen made their way to the kitchen and shot the mother of the women. Ms. Daoud’s three children, ages 2 to 5, were asleep at the time in their room and survived the attack.

The killings come less than two weeks after church leaders and the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki urged more than 2,000 refugee Christian families to return to the city under a government guarantee of their safety. The refugees had fled before a wave of attacks against Christians in Mosul in September and October.

...Nineveh Province is also the scene of escalating tensions between the central government and the semiautonomous Kurdistan region. In what is viewed by many as a move to hem in Kurdish influence in northern Iraq, Mr. Maliki has been courting Sunni Arab nationalists and tribal leaders in Nineveh and other parts of the north. The nationalists and tribal leaders are traditionally hostile to Kurds and their claims to disputed territories.

In response, the deputy speaker of Iraq’s Parliament, Aref Tayfour, a Kurd, issued a statement objecting to Mr. Maliki’s plans, which involve forming so-called tribal support councils in Mosul and Kirkuk that would answer to the central government. He called them “illegal and unconstitutional” and warned that they would “enflame sectarian and ethnic discord.”

Military Matters
USA Today’s Gregg Zoroya, reports that the American military has launched a detective effort to find at least 2,300 veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan to see how they are faring, and whether they are missing out on health and other benefits. There military releases figures of about 33,000 troops that have been wounded in the two wars, and their locations and conditions are not all known.

"We are trying to catch up to six years' worth of war," says Col. Gregory Boyle, commander of the Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment.
Callers who contact these new veterans help eliminate red tape to resolve compensation and health care needs, educate veterans about new benefits and link them to resources or potential employers. Congress last year authorized expanded efforts to manage cases and advocate for wounded service members leaving the military, at a cost of about $65 million, records show.

The outreach is so unexpected that some veterans ask if the service is trying to call them back to duty, says John Chavis, who directs a call center for the Wounded Warrior Regiment. "We reassure them that's not our intent," he says. The military is concerned that "some of its people may fall between a crack somewhere," just as some Vietnam veterans ended up homeless, said historian Dale Smith of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

Gary Strauss, also in USA Today writes a brief but positive review/listing of the PBS documentary "Lioness", in which several current and former Army soldiers watch a TV report about a bloody Iraqi battle between U.S. forces and insurgents that they themselves fought in. A more detailed article about the film appeared earlier in the New York Times, as covered in Media Watch on November 5th.

"This may come as a shock to America, but we went on lots of missions," says Shannon Morgan, profiled in the film and now living in Oklahoma, struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. "But if our government is going to allow us to play infantry, they should start training us for it. We pretty much wing it."

Image courtesy of USA Today
And lastly, there was an extra print edition of the Times yesterday, with Iraq coverage that Media Watch didn’t catch. In our defense, it was completely fake.

Christian Science Monitor, Wall Street Journal, no Iraq coverage.

Wounded Warrior Project