Saturday, July 29, 2006

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'No one is coming here:' War costs Haifa businesses dearly

The Daily Star - Business Articles - 'No one is coming here:' War costs Haifa businesses dearly: "HAIFA, Israel: In front of a charred house hit by a Hizbullah rocket near Haifa's industrial sector, the mayor of the beleaguered city offers the assurance that 'spirits are high.' But many residents are not so sure. Since the Lebanon conflict began, some 70 rockets have landed in Israel's third-largest city, killing 10 people."

Hizbullah has rained more than 1,000 rockets on northern Israel since cross-border violence flared on July 12, when the Shiite militant group captured two Israeli soldiers and killed eight others in cross-border attacks.

Aside from the human toll, the economic cost to the Jewish state's industrial capital - home to chemical, oil and electronic enterprises - has been enormous. The rocket attacks have ground economic life here to a near complete halt.

Haifa port, the Jewish state's second-largest, is closed. So is the railway line north of the city. And the university has appealed for donations for its students who will be unable to pay their tuition fees because they are not working.

"We don't yet know the full impact," says Neta Dori, a city spokeswoman. "We can't yet give exact numbers ... but we know that this is hard on small businesses. The petrochemical industry has also stopped functioning for at least the past 10 days. Only small sites that enjoy shelter have been able to open.

"This will cost millions" in losses, she adds.

According to a recent study by the Israeli Association of Manufacturers, just a third of enterprises in Israel's north are functioning normally. Thirty-five percent have closed completely and another 35 percent are not operating at full capacity. The conflict is costing Haifa 300-500 million shekels ($68-$113 million) per day, the study estimates.

The tourist industry in the coastal city has also taken a hit.

Haifa's hotels are usually fully booked at this time of year, but today's occupancy rate is a mere 60 percent - and most clients are the journalists who have converged on the city from around the world to cover the conflict. Commercial centers are shut, the streets are deserted and the rare businesses that remain open are counting only those clients who have vanished.

Avi Ketz, a restaurant owner in Haifa's middle-class neighborhood, estimates that his receipts have fallen by 90 percent since the conflict erupted. A bakery owner who is staying partly open says that 80 percent of his customers have disappeared.

"Look, no one is coming here," says Sashi Shmueli, owner of the Cafe Toot. He and a sole employee are the only staff of the business who have not fled south in the face of the Hizbullah rocket attacks.

Before the crisis, Shmueli went to the bank every day to deposit cash from the cafe's turnover. Now he goes just once a week.

Residents estimate that up to half of their compatriots have left the city, like the brother and sister of Ohad Ron, 29.

"They are worried. They don't know if their salaries will be paid," Ron says. "They have houses, children."

Shmueli is also worried. At this rate, he says, the Cafe Toot will not be able to survive for more than a month.
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Lebaneese Poll finds support for Hizbullah's retaliation

The Daily Star - Lebanon News - Poll finds support for Hizbullah's retaliation: "Editor's note: In an attempt to gauge the mood of the country after nearly two weeks of Israel's latest assault on Lebanon, the Beirut Center for Research and Information queried 800 citizens regarding Hizbullah's July 12 capture of two Israeli soldiers, the resistance's military operations against Israel and the American position on the crisis. Respondents were also asked to assess the Lebanese government's performance on the diplomatic front and its handling of relief efforts. This survey was conducted by Lebanese statistician Abdo Saad between July 24 and July 26 according to confessional and regional distribution, including the opinion of the displaced in the regions of emigration."

The survey consisted of direct questions concerning respondents' position regarding Hizbullah's role in the conflict.

The answers to the first question showed a relatively high level of support for Hizbullah's capture of two Israeli soldiers, contrasting the positions of some local political forces' condemnation of the operation. Such support was based on a belief that Israel and the US intended to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1559 by force, regardless of whether Hizbullah carried out the July 12 raid.

Moreover, the results show the majority of Lebanese believe the only way to liberate Lebanese detainees in Israeli prisons is through the capture of Israeli soldiers and a prisoner swap, as was the case in 2000.

The survey showed near-identical numbers as an earlier survey, published by As-Safir on March 2. That survey showed 70.9 percent support for Hizbullah operations to capture Israeli soldiers.http://www.dailystar.com.lb

However, while 59 percent of the Druze community in March supported such operations, only 40 percent now express such support.

Christian support for capture operations rose from 48 percent to 55 percent, due likely to the Free Patriotic Movement's memorandum of understanding signed with Hizbullah.

The survey showed 87 percent support for Hizbullah's retaliatory attacks on northern Israel. Such a high level of support must be attributed to Hizbullah's political and military performance, in addition to a national consensus identifying Israel as Lebanon's main enemy.

The survey suggests that Hizbullah's military performance has bolstered confidence in the resistance's abilities as 63 percent of respondents expected a Hizbullah victory over Israel.

The survey showed that a large majority of Lebanese do not consider the US to be an honest mediator (89.5 percent). A similar survey conducted by the Beirut Center for Research and Information published in As-Safir on January 31 showed 38.2 percent support for the US role in Lebanon. This drop is due to the close political cooperation between the US and Israel.

Meanwhile, the majority of respondents were unsatisfied with their government's performance on the diplomatic level (64.3 percent) and relief efforts (54 percent).

However, the rates varied according to sect, as 82.1 percent of Shiites polled and 64.8 percent of Sunnis polled said they were dissatisfied with the government, while 50.1 percent of Druze polled and 61.9 percent of Christians polled said the government had done a good job with humanitarian relief.

[bth: these are just stunningly negative survey numbers. We have lost our friends, our support and our reputation as an honest broker among all of Lebannon's diverse ethnic populations.]

Anger in India over Israeli war on Lebanon- The Times of India

Anger in India over Israeli war on Lebanon- The Times of India: "NEW DELHI: Scenes of unbelievable destruction and mounting casualties of innocent non-combatants caused in Lebanon by Israeli air strikes have evoked outrage in India.

Irrespective of their religion, Indians are reacting with fury after seeing on television the near-total destruction of southern Lebanon that had rebuilt itself after decades of civil war. "

And the revulsion is not confined to Muslims, who constitute the largest religious minority in overwhelmingly Hindu India.

India is also home to the world's fourth largest Shia population, the community the Hezbollah draws its strength from. "This is sheer madness, destruction at its worst," said criminal lawyer K Elangovan, said over telephone from Chennai.

"The Israelis are doing this because there is no one to stop them. The destruction they have caused is completely disproportionate to the Hezbollah's actions," he added.

"And after so many days, have the Israelis got back their two soldiers (abducted by the Hezbollah)?" India has been a long-standing backer of the Palestinian cause and established diplomatic ties with Israel only in 1992. A

lthough India-Israel relations have expanded since then, and many Indians - repeated victims of terrorism - have a sneaking admiration for that country, the latest war in Lebanon has turned the mood against Tel Aviv. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh articulated the country's feelings when he addressed parliament on Thursday.

While condemning the Hezbollah abduction of two Israeli soldiers, which triggered the Israeli onslaught, Manmohan Singh took Tel Aviv to task: "The virtual destruction of a country which has been painfully rebuilt after two decades of civil war can hardly be countenanced by any civilized state."

He also hit out at Israel for abducting and detaining duly elected representatives of the Palestinian people, while simultaneously calling for an overall and long-term peace settlement in the Middle East. Barring some Hindu hardliners, most Indians are equally critical of Israel. "This is an unfair war," said Rahul Goel, who studies the Middle East closely.

"Israel has tanks, artillery, planes, it can impose naval blockade. What does the Hezbollah have? Just rockets. But this war has also exposed the so-called invincibility of Israel." Like many, he warned that Israel's heavy handedness would only provoke anti-Israeli and anti-US sentiments in a world where American unilateral actions are not to anyone's liking.

Hundreds have died in Lebanon, most of them women and children, and TV stations are full of scenes of blood and gore. "This is surely going to radicalise the Muslim community," Goel said.

"Look at the way they have destroyed Lebanon. It is a shame. Is this fair?" Retired Major General Ashok Mehta, a strategic thinker, said both Israel and Hezbollah had "miscalculated" and added: "Yes, it is completely disproportionate use of force (by Israel). It is like swatting a fly with a sledgehammer. But that is how Israel is."

Indian political parties have mostly come out vocally against Israel. On Thursday, Left MPs and activists marched towards the Israeli embassy, raising slogans against the fighting that shows no sighs of ending. An Islamic scholar blasted both Israel and the US. "This is all America's doing," said Moulvi Mohamed Mouazzam Ahmed, the Naib Imam of the Fatehpuri mosque. "Americans want to crush Muslims.

Since they are trapped in Iraq and Afghanistan, they have started this Lebanon conflict. "We should remember that Israel and America are two sides of the same coin. There is no law for Israel and US. They can do what they want. They are killing innocent children. If they want to fight the Hezbollah, why attack civilians?"

[bth: America will be blamed for Israel's actions against the civilian population of Lebannon.]
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Fighting Roadside Bombs: Low-Tech, High-Tech, Toy Box

Fighting Roadside Bombs: Low-Tech, High-Tech, Toy Box: "Robert Pervere's fight against insurgents in Iraq started with an Emaxx monster truck from Debbie's RC World Inc. in Chesapeake, Va., a $335 toy that he turned into a weapon for U.S. troops against roadside bombs. The 24-year-old engineer replaced about 80 percent of the toy's plastic parts with aluminum, fastened two small surveillance cameras to the top and made room for an explosive that could blow up suspicious objects from hundreds of feet away."

I get paid to play with [radio control] cars," said Pervere, who helped build the prototype for Applied Marine Technology Inc., a Virginia-based defense contractor that has said it expects to begin receiving military orders in September. "This has been a very rewarding project, working on a tool that's going to be out the door saving lives shortly."

After more than three years of war in Iraq, roadside bombs remain the deadliest single threat to U.S. troops, and countering them has emerged as one of the chief technological problems of the conflict. The Pentagon has spent tens of millions of dollars on the most obvious fixes -- adding armor to vehicles and deploying jammers to block radio signals used to explode the devices -- only to see the insurgents develop larger, better-concealed and more complicated explosives triggered by cellphones, garage-door openers, pressure hoses and other methods. Soldiers have even developed solutions of their own: Many Humvees in Iraq are outfitted with metal devices the size of a hockey stick that can catch tripwires or detect heat-sensitive triggers on roadside bombs.

Now, a Pentagon agency with a $3.3 billion budget and a staff of 300 has a mandate to focus the defense industry on the problem. The undertaking has attracted not only the country's top weapons makers but also dozens of small businesses like AMTI, all pitching a science-fiction gallery of possible solutions.

Lockheed Martin Corp. has established a corporate team with $22 million in internal funding, according to documents reviewed by The Washington Post, that is looking for "best of breed" technology, including ways to study attack patterns.

International Business Machines Corp. has a system it says will create a digital image of often-traveled roads and alert soldiers to changes that could indicate bombs hidden in trash, rocks or animal carcasses.

General Dynamics Corp. is pitching a laser-based system adapted from Israeli technology that it says could burn away trash often used to conceal bombs and disable the devices.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is studying whether there is a way to sniff out bombs with electronic polymers that mimic a dog's ability to smell. Octatron Inc. of St. Petersburg, Fla., is touting a low-tech approach: -- a 14-foot, 5-pound high-strength pole that the company says soldiers can use to place explosives next to suspected bombs from a distance.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has a toy car of its own. After hearing complaints from soldiers that robots operated by wireless controllers were unreliable and subject to radio interference, Livermore came up with one attached to a 1,000-foot tether.

"This may not be super-high science, but it seems to be useful," Milton Finger, a senior scientist at Livermore, said of the lab's $200,000 research project. "It sounds trite that we're using toys, but it's more than that."

The defense industry's response to the roadside bomb problem mirrors in some ways the response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, with many companies, such as Lockheed and Northrop Grumman Corp., establishing internal units to go after the market.

So far the threat from the bombs is outrunning the technical creativity of U.S. industry, and the Pentagon now views the bombs as a long-term problem. The search, Pentagon officials say, is not so much for a silver-bullet solution as for a wider set of tools that troops can use.

Sometimes "it takes us longer to do the counter measures than . . . it takes them to evolve to a new threat," said Marine Col. Brian Green, acting technical director of the new agency, the Joint IED Defeat Organization. IED stands for improvised explosive device.

Officials with the task force visited Paris and London last month to study technology under development by foreign vendors, and they are planning an industry conference in Washington in September. The office's Emerging Capabilities Cell met with several Washington area companies in May and June, an agency spokesman said.

In June, Green traveled to Fayetteville, N.C., near Fort Bragg, where he lectured contractors ranging from industry novices to titans like General Dynamics on the complexity of the problem.

"We are accepting all ideas and I would tell you I have seen quite a few that aren't worth five seconds' worth of review, but we take the time and we review every concept and technology that comes in the door," Green said. He said later that the office receives 20 to 30 ideas a week.

Concern about the bombs has migrated to U.S. law enforcement. EOD Technology Inc., which provides security in Iraq, is offering courses to state and federal law enforcement agencies on how to respond to roadside bombs.

The company encountered the bombs in Iraq and "we're transferring these lessons for use in the homeland," chief executive Matt Kaye said.

The Pentagon has made some progress. The number of bombs detected before they detonated has increased, according to the Joint IED office. The office did not provide figures to back up that assertion.

Still, the number of attacks continues to rise and roadside bombs remain the deadliest weapon used against troops.

There were 11,242 roadside bomb attacks through June of this year, compared with 5,607 in all of 2004 and 10,953 in all of 2005, according to U.S. Central Command. They are the leading cause of U.S. casualties, accounting for about 33 percent of deaths, according to the Brookings Institution.

Military officials would not discuss in detail the technology they have deployed so far, fearing that any information could give insurgents an edge. They also would not say how quickly any of the new technologies may be put into the field.

One new effort is to combine several signal jammers in a single device, protecting troops against a wider array of detonators. Competition for that program is expected to begin in the fall.

Much of the challenge, industry and military officials say, is detecting bombs with enough warning for soldiers to stay out of range. A safe distance depends on the size and type of device, but with a roughly 100-pound high-grade explosive, a soldier would have to be perhaps 50 yards away to escape death and more than half a mile away to escape serious injury from the blast and bomb fragments, said Vilem Petr, assistant research professor at the Colorado School of Mines.

"But even then the pressure pulls could still cause you to break an arm or a rib," he said. In a convoy traveling 60 mph, even small improvements in detection can save lives.

The work of the task force has rekindled interest in roadside bombs among weapons makers who said the Pentagon rebuffed earlier proposals to see if advanced technology could help with the problem.

Chicago-based Boeing Co., the maker of the F-18 jet, began studying the matter in 2004 and approached the Pentagon with ideas that included putting sensors on unmanned drones and on the ground to hunt for explosives, said Patricia Stevens, manager of the company's IED Defeat Program.

"The customer was not quite ready for them yet. There was not a high level of confidence that we could field them as quickly as they wanted them," said Stevens, who has been in her job since mid-May. "The customer has evolved. They picked the low-lying fruit," she said. Now the Pentagon is open to more sophisticated solutions.

Timothy M. Swager, head of the chemistry department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said the military's requirements will not be easy to meet.

Swager has spent years developing a system that can mimic a dog's sense of smell and thought he saw an application when the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency announced a search for ways to spot "chemical vapor signatures."

DARPA wanted a system that worked at a distance of about 400 meters, or roughly 437 yards.

"Even dogs can't do 400 meters," Swager said. A gust of wind in the wrong direction or residue from a recent blast could throw off the typical system, he said.

Swager offered one of the more exotic solutions suggested so far: pretreating road corridors with a chemical spray and using a laser to detect whether explosives are planted. He is researching ways to increase the sensitivity of his system to include other chemical vapors, including the components of C4 plastic explosive.

"I am hoping that my expertise can play a role in solving part of that problem," he said.
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Iranian Leader Bans Usage of Foreign Words

My Way News - Iranian Leader Bans Usage of Foreign Words: "TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ordered government and cultural bodies to use modified Persian words to replace foreign words that have crept into the language, such as 'pizzas' which will now be known as 'elastic loaves,' state media reported Saturday.

The presidential decree, issued earlier this week, orders all governmental agencies, newspapers and publications to use words deemed more appropriate by the official language watchdog, the Farhangestan Zaban e Farsi, or Persian Academy, the Irna official news agency reported.

The academy has introduced more than 2,000 words as alternatives for some of the foreign words that have become commonly used in Iran, mostly from Western languages. The government is less sensitive about Arabic words, because the Quran is written in Arabic.

Among other changes, a 'chat' will become a 'short talk' and a 'cabin' will be renamed a 'small room,' according to official Web site of the academy."

[bth: idiot.]
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ANALYSIS: U.S. Not Talking to Its Enemies - Los Angeles Times

ANALYSIS: U.S. Not Talking to Its Enemies - Los Angeles Times: "WASHINGTON -- There is an old saying in diplomatic circles: You don't make peace with your friends, you make peace with your enemies.

The United States, which doesn't lack for enemies, is not talking to North Korea, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas -- all of which are contributing to the Bush administration's chief overseas problems these days. "

While each situation is different, the administration's underlying position is that Iran, North Korea and Syria must change their policies and that Hezbollah and Hamas are terrorist groups, legally off-limits to diplomatic discourse.

Critics say this absence of communication restricts U.S. diplomacy and makes U.S. allies anxious because they believe there is no way of resolving crises without American participation.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, who helped shape a far different U.S. foreign policy as national security assistant for President Carter, responded tartly when asked to appraise the Bush administration stance. "(President) Bush and (Secretary of State Condoleezza) Rice are pursuing a remarkably successful policy of self-ostracism," he said.

"Unfortunately it is a disaster for the United States." Madeleine Albright, who was secretary of state for President Clinton in his second term, said "the stakes are too high" to avoid contact with Iran and Syria, whom the State Department for years has designated as sponsors of terrorism.

"Engagement is not appeasement," Albright said. "Diplomacy is a mechanism for the U.S. to send a tough message." A former career U.S. diplomat in the Middle East, Edward S. Walker, said, "Neither side wants to have a conversation" over the current fighting.

Yet, Walker said in an interview: "The tragedy of this administration is it doesn't know how to use diplomacy. It seems to be actually clueless." The Bush administration's policies have been criticized by some Republicans, too.

In a speech Friday at the Brookings Institution in Washington, Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., suggested U.S. support for Israel was coming at the expense of U.S. relations with Muslims and Arabs. Whether or not Syria and Iran were directly involved in Hezbollah and Hamas aggression in Israel, Hagel said, "both countries exert influence in the region."

"As we work with our friends and allies to deny Syria and Iran any opportunity to further corrode the situation in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, both Damascus and Tehran must hear from America directly," he said.

Bush administration officials say direct negotiations with regimes such as Iran, North Korea and Syria would be fruitless. White House spokesman Tony Snow has specifically ruled out talking to Iran and Syria because they support Hezbollah.

The administration has made its views clear to both governments and "frankly, there is nothing to negotiate," Snow said. Syria, which with Iran is a pivotal supporter of the Hezbollah guerrillas, has been pursued by successive administrations for more than three decades for Mideast peacemaking.

But it has been completely sidelined by the U.S. as the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah rages into its third week. "The track record stinks," Snow said of past U.S. efforts to negotiate with Syria. Syria is also close to Hamas, the radical group that controls the Palestinian government and whose fighters kidnapped an Israeli soldier last month, helping prompt Israeli incursions into Gaza.

The Syrian ambassador to the United States, Imad Moustapha, told The Associated Press last week his country had not heard from the U.S. He said Syria would like to get started on a comprehensive Mideast peace effort that extends beyond the current fighting in Lebanon. "Syria does not consider itself an enemy of the United States," Moustapha said.

Iran's nuclear ambitions have been a subject of international concern, but Rice has told Iran there will be no talks on its nuclear program unless it suspends enrichment of uranium. The United States has not had relations with Iran since the U.S. Embassy in Tehran was overrun by Muslim fundamentalists in 1979. American and Iranian diplomats have participated occasionally in meetings, such as on Afghanistan. I

n the case of North Korea, the Bush administration has offered one-on-one talks about Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and missiles program -- provided they are held against the backdrop of a six-nation format. North Korea seeks the kind of unqualified direct talks it had with the Clinton administration and has not responded.

Nor has it resumed six-nation negotiations. The classic example of breaking the ice to talk to a longtime foe was President Richard Nixon's opening to China. It led to normal diplomatic relations and an up-and-down relationship through the years.

* __ Barry Schweid has covered diplomacy for The Associated Press since 1973.
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The tall story we Europeans now tell ourselves about Israel

Telegraph Opinion: "Sir Peter Tapsell is, if the phrase is not a contradiction in terms nowadays, a distinguished backbencher. He first entered the House of Commons in 1959. Noted for his grand manner, he is the longest-serving Tory MP.

At foreign affairs questions in Parliament on Tuesday, Sir Peter rose. He wanted Margaret Beckett to tell him whether the Prime Minister had colluded with President Bush in allowing Israel to 'wage unlimited war' in Lebanon, including attacks on civilian residential areas of Beirut. These attacks, he added, were 'a war crime grimly reminiscent of the Nazi atrocity on the Jewish quarter in Warsaw'.

Mrs Beckett firmly rejected the premise of the question - that Mr Bush had permitted 'unlimited war' - and moved on, but I found myself winded by Sir Peter's choice of words."

What is happening in Lebanon? After the kidnapping of two of its soldiers and the firing of hundreds of rockets against its people from across the Lebanese border, Israel is trying to crush the Hizbollah fighters who have perpetrated these acts. In doing so, it has also killed civilians. Some 500 people have died in Lebanon as a result.

What was the "Nazi atrocity on the Jewish quarter in Warsaw"? There were many, of course. But Sir Peter was probably referring to the events of April-May 1943. The Nazis had earlier deported 300,000 Polish Jews to Treblinka. As news of their fate reached Jews in Warsaw, they decided to revolt against further round-ups. For about a month, they resisted. They were subdued: 7,000 of them were killed and 56,000 were sent to the camps.

Sir Peter surely knew this, yet he chose to speak as he did.

Here is a man who has been in public life for more than 50 years (he was an assistant to Anthony Eden in the general election of 1955), and yet he compared Israel's attack to the most famous genocide of the 20th century. What possessed him?

I ask the question, not because I am interested in Sir Peter - he is not an important figure in the current debate, though he may differ on this point. I ask, rather, because his remark seems to me a symptom of a wider unreality about the Middle East, one that now dominates. It tinged the recent Commons speech by William Hague, the shadow foreign secretary. It permeates every report by the BBC.

You could criticise Israel's recent attack for many things.

Some argue that it is disproportionate, or too indiscriminate.

Others think that it is ill-planned militarily. Others hold that it will give more power to extremists in the Arab world, and will hamper a wider peace settlement. These are all reasonable, though not necessarily correct positions to hold. But European discourse on the subject seems to have been overwhelmed by something else - a narrative, told most powerfully by the way television pictures are selected, that makes Israel out as a senseless, imperialist, mass-murdering, racist bully.

Not only is this analysis wrong - if the Israelis are such imperialists, why did they withdraw from Lebanon for six years, only returning when threatened once again? How many genocidal regimes do you know that have a free press and free elections? - it is also morally imbecilic. It makes no distinction between the tough, sometimes nasty things all countries do when hard-pressed and the profoundly evil intent of some ideologies and regimes. It says nothing about the fanaticism and the immediacy of the threat to Israel. Sir Peter has somehow managed to live on this planet for 75 years without spotting the difference between what Israel is doing in Lebanon and "unlimited war".

As well as being morally imbecilic, this narrative is the enemy of all efforts to understand what is actually going on in the Middle East. It is so lazy.

Thus, for example, you would hardly know from watching the television that most Arab nations in the region, with the notable exception of Syria, detest the power of Hizbollah. You would barely have noticed that Hizbollah is a Shia faction, actively supported by Iran, and therefore feared by most Sunnis and by all who resist Iranian hegemony.

Nor would you have seen investigations of how Hizbollah places its missile sites in civilian areas, or coverage of the report in a Kuwaiti newspaper that Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbollah, was expected in Damascus on Thursday for a meeting with the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, and the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council. You would also not have gathered that the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, which the television so recently invited you to admire, cannot possibly be carried through if Syria and Iran and Hizbollah are able to operate in that country.

Behind the dominant narrative of Israeli oppression is a patronising, almost racist assumption about the Arabs, and about Muslims, which is, essentially, that "they're all the same". Public discussion therefore does not stop to consider whether the immediate ceasefire called for by most European countries might hand a victory to Hizbollah, which, in turn, would ultimately lead to a much greater loss of life. It just postures.

Part of the same attitude-striking is the attack on Tony Blair for being the "poodle" of America, instead of pursuing an independent foreign policy.

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the last Middle East crisis in which Britain acted without concerting with America. On July 26, 1956, Gamal Abdel Nasser, the president of Egypt, nationalised the Suez Canal.

Britain accounted for a third of the ships passing through the canal at that time, and we feared that Nasser had put his foot on our windpipe. Eden, perhaps reeling from his good fortune in having employed the young P. Tapsell, concocted a secret plot with France and Israel to regain control of the canal by violence and bring about the fall of Nasser.

Ignoring the delicacies of a presidential election in America and a president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had publicly made it clear that his country opposed force, we went ahead and invaded Egypt on November 5. Furious at having been deceived, America immediately refused to support the pound in the markets, and we crumpled almost overnight.

The then chancellor, Harold Macmillan, who supported the attack from the first but ratted on it in November, wrote in his diary on August 18: "…if Nasser 'gets away with it', we are done for… It may well be the end of British influence and strength for ever." Well, Nasser did get away with it, and British power in the Middle East did collapse.

We have now passed half a century in which the ultimate responsibility for these decisions has passed from us (and from France) to America. Unless we seriously propose to try to regain that responsibility, either alone or in concert, we do well to try to work closely with America rather than acting like a querulous octogenarian. Mr Blair's efforts in Washington yesterday to search for a ceasefire that prefers durability over immediacy are perfectly sensible.

Yet Mr Blair is bayed at by all parties and most of the media. It is as if, having relinquished power, we Europeans now wish our own powerlessness upon the rest of the world. We make vaporous and offensive Nazi comparisons. We preach that unilateral action is always wrong. That position can be maintained only by people who do not have to make life-and-death decisions. It is cheap and immoral.
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Friday, July 28, 2006

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Hezbollah leader said to be hiding in Iranian Embassy

Hezbollah leader said to be hiding in Iranian Embassy�-�Nation/Politics�-�The Washington Times, America's Newspaper

Intelligence reports indicate the leader of Hezbollah is hiding in a foreign mission in Beirut, possibly the Iranian Embassy, according to U.S. and Israeli officials.

Israeli military and intelligence forces are continuing to hunt for Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's secretary-general, who fled his headquarters in Beirut shortly before Israeli jets bombed the building last week.

"We think he is in an embassy," said one U.S. official with access to the intelligence reports, while Israeli intelligence speculates Sheik Nasrallah is hiding in the Iranian Embassy.

If confirmed, the reports could lead to an Israeli air strike on the embassy, possibly leading to a widening of the conflict, said officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Foreign embassies are sovereign territory and an attack on an embassy could be considered an act of war.

But other reports from the region indicate Sheik Nasrallah may be in Damascus. A Kuwaiti newspaper, Al-Seyassah, reported from the Syrian capital yesterday that Sheik Nasrallah was seen moving through the city with Syrian guards in an intelligence agency car, Associated Press reported. He was dressed in civilian clothes, not his normal clerical robe.

The newspaper quoted Syrian government sources as saying Iranian national security council official Ali Larijani was in Damascus and was to meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad and Sheik Nasrallah.

Hezbollah officials in Beirut said they did not know whether Sheik Nasrallah had gone to Damascus.

Asked about the reports of Sheik Nasrallah in Syria, a U.S. official said they are unconfirmed, but noted that because of the proximity, it is easy to travel between Lebanon and Damascus.

U.S. officials confirmed the existence of intelligence reports about Sheik Nasrallah hiding in a Beirut embassy after Israel's Ma'ariv newspaper reported Wednesday that the Hezbollah leader was thought to be in the Iranian Embassy. The newspaper, quoting intelligence officials, said Sheik Nasrallah has set up an operations center in an embassy basement that is coordinating Hezbollah attacks.

However, the U.S. officials said the intelligence reports have not confirmed Sheik Nasrallah's precise location.

Iran's embassy in Beirut is located in the Shi'ite stronghold known as the Bir Hasan section, in the western part of the city.

The embassy also is a major base for Iranian intelligence and is used by large numbers of Ministry of Intelligence and Security agents, as well as by senior members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran's shock troops that are linked to international terrorist activities.

President Bush said yesterday that Iran is linked to the problems in Lebanon. "Hezbollah attacked Israel. I know Hezbollah is connected to Iran," Mr. Bush told reporters after meeting Romanian President Traian Basescu. "

Now is the time for the world to confront this danger." Mr. Bush said the root cause of the violence is "terrorist groups trying to stop the advance of democracies."

Israel has dispatched both military special operations units and intelligence personnel in an effort to kill the Hezbollah leader, who has continued to issue statements since the two-week-old war began, said the U.S. officials. In a Wednesday television broadcast, Sheik Nasrallah threatened more attacks throughout Israel.

On July 14, Israeli jets bombed the Hezbollah headquarters, also located in Bir Hasan, starting a campaign of "decapitation" strikes designed to eliminate the group's leaders, weaken the organization and limit its military effectiveness.

Iran's government has called for a cease-fire.

A Middle East diplomat confirmed that Israel is seeking out Sheik Nasrallah and that the Iranian Embassy appears mostly evacuated. However, the diplomat stated: "Wherever he is, he is a legitimate target," similar to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. "He's responsible for organizing attacks and killing Israelis," the diplomat said.

In Tehran, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman denied that the embassy in Beirut was sheltering Sheik Nasrallah and dismissed reports of his presence there as Israeli government "disinformation."

Hezbollah forces in the past were known for specializing in coordinated suicide bombings. The group, however, has shown a different military effectiveness in the recent fighting with Israel through its coordinated attacks with small bands of guerrillas.

The Shi'ite terrorist group was behind the 1983 suicide truck bombings that killed 241 U.S. troops and 58 French paratroopers who were deployed to Lebanon as peacekeepers.

[bth: this story is unconfirmed by any identifiable source. Friday will be the day such stories are 'leaked' out to roll around through the weekend. I would be very guarded about this. It also comes from the Washington Times which is a preferred source to leak juicy friday afternoon tidbits by the Pentagon and various neocons. I want to see proof.]
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Technology Review: Emerging Technologies and their Impact

Technology Review: Emerging Technologies and their Impact: "The U.S. military has begun developing an ultrasonic tourniquet in an effort to stop life-threatening bleeding during combat.

Called the Deep Bleeder Acoustic Coagulation (DBAC) program, it aims to create a cuff-like device that wraps around a wounded limb. Rather than applying pressure to the wound to stem the flow of blood, the device would use focused beams of ultrasound (sound waves above the audible frequencies) to non-invasively clot vessels no matter how deep they are. "

If a major blood vessel is hit and a lot of blood lost quickly, a person can die in a few minutes, says Michael Pashley, head of Ultrasound Imaging and Therapy at Philips Research in Briarcliff Manor, NY, one of the groups taking part in the program.

According to the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), "these internal bleeding injuries are the leading cause of death for soldiers in the battlefield," says Pashley. In light of this, DARPA is committing up to $51 million for the project over four years, to be spread among a number of different research organizations.

The ultrasound tourniquet is intended to buy time, so that a medic can get the patient to a better-equipped medical facility, says Lawrence Crum, director of the Center for Industrial and Medical Ultrasound at the University of Washington's Applied Physics Laboratory in Seattle, who has been working in this field for more than a decade.

Once applied to a wounded limb, the cuff would automatically detect and then seal damaged blood vessels or arteries, by focusing beams of ultrasonic waves at the wound to clot it, in a process known as high-intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU.

Ultrasonic waves are usually innocuous, bouncing off tissue. This is the principle behind sonograms, says Crum. But when the ultrasonic waves are focused, the effect is radically different. "If you concentrate ultrasound in the same way as light, you can raise the temperature, particularly if the wave is absorbed by the tissue," he says.

To achieve this effect, the frequency has to be geared to increase its absorption by the tissue, while the intensity must be roughly one million times greater than imaging ultrasound. When applied to a bleeding wound, the effect is similar to cauterization, Crum says.

HIFU is already approved in parts of the world for treating prostate cancer, while clinical trials are underway to use it to treat liver and kidney cancer. For cancer treatment, the tumor tissue is ablated using the HIFU.

Applying it to bleeding seems like a sensible next step, says Gail ter Haar, a physicist at the Institute of Cancer Research's Therapeutic Ultrasound Team in the Royal Marsden Hospital, near London. "It is ambitious but it's quite realizable," she says.

Surrounding tissue may be damaged in the process, since it will be heated close to the boiling point. But the blood vessels remain functional because "the blood flow in the vessel cools the wall and so protects it," says ter Haar. So the blood around the opening coagulates, while the blood passing through the vessels keeps on flowing.

The biological feasibility of this technology is well established, says Joseph Eichinger, president of Seattle-based AcousTx, which was spun out of another company, Therus, to take part in DARPA's research program. Therus, also in Seattle, has also been developing ways to use ultrasound to stop bleeding. In particular, its acoustic hemostasis system is being developed to seal punctures in the femoral artery of the groin that are caused as part of cardiac catheter treatments.

Normally, these punctures have to have continuous pressure applied to them, and can take from 30 minutes to several hours to seal, says Eichinger. With the HIFU approach, they seal in just a few seconds.

In its final form, the acoustic cuff will consist of a lightweight, flexible device with both ultrasonic imaging transducers and therapeutic transducers lining its insides. The imaging transducers, which function in the same way as sonograms, will be used to first identify the vasculature within a limb and locate any bleeds. The therapeutic transducers are then focused to stem the blood flow.

All these capabilities have been demonstrated as separate parts, says Eichinger -- now comes the engineering hurdle of putting them together in a package capable of surviving the rigors of a battlefield. "It is a very challenging environment," he says. "It's hard enough to take an iPod into Iraq and make it work." Indeed, the heat, humidity, dust, and noisy electromagnetic environment of combat couldn't be further from a safe and clean hospital treatment room.
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IAF targets Hezbollah hideouts in south Lebanon - Haaretz - Israel News

IAF targets Hezbollah hideouts in south Lebanon - Haaretz - Israel News: "...The heads of two Israeli intelligence agencies disagree over how much the Israel Defense Forces assault has damaged Hezbollah, although both say the group has been weakened.

The Mossad intelligence agency says Hezbollah will be able to continue fighting at the current level for a long time to come, Mossad head Meir Dagan said.

However, Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin disagrees, seeing Hezbollah as having been severely damaged.

The IDF believes that at least 200 Hezbollah operatives have been killed since the fighting began more than two weeks ago, a military source said Friday.

Both intelligence chiefs agree that Hezbollah remains capable of command and control and still holds long-range missiles in its arsenal, they said at a security cabinet meeting Thursday."

Armitage Fears Bombing Campaign Will �End Up Empowering Hezbollah�

Think Progress � Armitage Fears Bombing Campaign Will �End Up Empowering Hezbollah�: "Richard Armitage dramatically broke ranks with his neoconservative allies yesterday, saying in a radio interview that he feared it was impossible to eliminate Hezbollah through airstrikes, and that by attempting to do so, "you;re going to end up empowering Hezbollah, and perhaps introducing an element into the body politic in Lebanon that will take some great period of time to recover from." Armitage also criticized the Bush administration for refusing to talk directly to Syria."
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Medic's Humvee design not much of a stretch

Stars & Stripes: "LOGISTICS SUPPORT AREA ANACONDA, Iraq � You've probably never met Sgt. Justin Folts. But someday, this 23-year-old's simple innovation could save your life.

Folts, a medic with 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Infantry Division from Fort Carson, Colo., has come up with an idea to make room for wounded patients to lie down inside a Humvee.

The idea is simple: With a little bit of welding and less than $200 worth of parts, the back panel of the Humvee's passenger cabin can be made to fold down (much like in a civilian car) making room for a stretcher to slide in lengthwise.

Typically, patients suffer upright rides in the back seat -risking spinal injuries in the process -until they make it to a secure location for treatment."

The battalion has already modified 11 Humvees for this purpose; the 4th Infantry and 101st Airborne divisions are considering adopting the plan in the future as well.

“It keeps our promise to the soldiers to take care of them when they’re wounded,” Folts said of the idea, which he came up with over six months ago. “Without it, we keep our promise to take care of the wounded, but it’s not in as professional of a manner.”

But the idea wasn’t always so well-received. “It was rough at first,” he said. “I tied up with lots of people. I almost lost my rank. They said it wasn’t going to happen. They said no [Humvees] were being modified, and it would have to go all the way up the chain of command.

“Everybody else said, ‘Oh, just drop it,’” he recounted. “I said, ‘Until a general officer shoots this down, I’m going to keep knocking on doors.’”

Eventually, he found support from battalion commander Lt. Col. Jeff Vuono, who gave medics and maintenance personnel the go-ahead to look into the idea.

Spc. Ben Kissell, 26, was one of three welders involved in the design and execution. “We actually made the first design before any command issue was put out,” he said. “They were scared we’d get into trouble. In essence, we were destroying government property without the go-ahead.”

Battalion officials say the modification doesn’t hamper the safety of the vehicle. In fact, as part of the modification, welders attached extra blast plates to the panel, thus strengthening the panel. The first modified vehicle was sent outside the wire two months ago.

The modification “only takes 18 to 24 hours, depending on what condition [the vehicle is] in,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Joseph Bolte, maintenance control technician for the battalion. “In most cases, we have it out in a day and a half.

It’s really inexpensive to do. Most of the stuff we use is already available to us.”

More important, he said, is the benefit to the wounded patient. “You can go from the ground into the truck in less than two minutes,” he said, adding that the battalion has yet to encounter a situation in which the modified vehicles were needed.

Having seen his idea go from pipe dream to fruition, Folts is surprisingly modest about his achievement.

“I don’t care who gets the credit, as long as it saves lives,” he said. “I don’t care as long as it helps somebody. I’m not going to make any more or less money. But … even if it’s only going to be used once, it’ll be worth it.”

[bth: since we aren't sending out M113 ambulances out the gate to bring people to the FOBs, returning them in humvees is the only alternative. Doing this design is better than nothing. That the vehicles aren't being modified because destroys government property, just sort of leaves you breathless. Most of 2003 was spent in unarmored humvees because some asshole told troops not to modify their vehicles. Imagine discussions on not using army approved paint and plywood! yet it happened this way. Stuff like this gets people killed.]
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Technology Review: Emerging Technologies and their Impact

Technology Review: Emerging Technologies and their Impact: "The U.S. military has begun developing an ultrasonic tourniquet in an effort to stop life-threatening bleeding during combat.

Called the Deep Bleeder Acoustic Coagulation (DBAC) program, it aims to create a cuff-like device that wraps around a wounded limb. Rather than applying pressure to the wound to stem the flow of blood, the device would use focused beams of ultrasound (sound waves above the audible frequencies) to non-invasively clot vessels no matter how deep they are. "

If a major blood vessel is hit and a lot of blood lost quickly, a person can die in a few minutes, says Michael Pashley, head of Ultrasound Imaging and Therapy at Philips Research in Briarcliff Manor, NY, one of the groups taking part in the program.

According to the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), "these internal bleeding injuries are the leading cause of death for soldiers in the battlefield," says Pashley. In light of this, DARPA is committing up to $51 million for the project over four years, to be spread among a number of different research organizations.

The ultrasound tourniquet is intended to buy time, so that a medic can get the patient to a better-equipped medical facility, says Lawrence Crum, director of the Center for Industrial and Medical Ultrasound at the University of Washington's Applied Physics Laboratory in Seattle, who has been working in this field for more than a decade.

Once applied to a wounded limb, the cuff would automatically detect and then seal damaged blood vessels or arteries, by focusing beams of ultrasonic waves at the wound to clot it, in a process known as high-intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU.

Ultrasonic waves are usually innocuous, bouncing off tissue. This is the principle behind sonograms, says Crum. But when the ultrasonic waves are focused, the effect is radically different. "If you concentrate ultrasound in the same way as light, you can raise the temperature, particularly if the wave is absorbed by the tissue," he says.

To achieve this effect, the frequency has to be geared to increase its absorption by the tissue, while the intensity must be roughly one million times greater than imaging ultrasound. When applied to a bleeding wound, the effect is similar to cauterization, Crum says.

HIFU is already approved in parts of the world for treating prostate cancer, while clinical trials are underway to use it to treat liver and kidney cancer. For cancer treatment, the tumor tissue is ablated using the HIFU.

Applying it to bleeding seems like a sensible next step, says Gail ter Haar, a physicist at the Institute of Cancer Research's Therapeutic Ultrasound Team in the Royal Marsden Hospital, near London. "It is ambitious but it's quite realizable," she says.

Surrounding tissue may be damaged in the process, since it will be heated close to the boiling point. But the blood vessels remain functional because "the blood flow in the vessel cools the wall and so protects it," says ter Haar. So the blood around the opening coagulates, while the blood passing through the vessels keeps on flowing.

The biological feasibility of this technology is well established, says Joseph Eichinger, president of Seattle-based AcousTx, which was spun out of another company, Therus, to take part in DARPA's research program. Therus, also in Seattle, has also been developing ways to use ultrasound to stop bleeding. In particular, its acoustic hemostasis system is being developed to seal punctures in the femoral artery of the groin that are caused as part of cardiac catheter treatments.

Normally, these punctures have to have continuous pressure applied to them, and can take from 30 minutes to several hours to seal, says Eichinger. With the HIFU approach, they seal in just a few seconds.

In its final form, the acoustic cuff will consist of a lightweight, flexible device with both ultrasonic imaging transducers and therapeutic transducers lining its insides. The imaging transducers, which function in the same way as sonograms, will be used to first identify the vasculature within a limb and locate any bleeds. The therapeutic transducers are then focused to stem the blood flow.

All these capabilities have been demonstrated as separate parts, says Eichinger -- now comes the engineering hurdle of putting them together in a package capable of surviving the rigors of a battlefield. "It is a very challenging environment," he says. "It's hard enough to take an iPod into Iraq and make it work." Indeed, the heat, humidity, dust, and noisy electromagnetic environment of combat couldn't be further from a safe and clean hospital treatment room.

Technology Review: Emerging Technologies and their Impact

Technology Review: Emerging Technologies and their Impact: "The U.S. military has begun developing an ultrasonic tourniquet in an effort to stop life-threatening bleeding during combat.

Called the Deep Bleeder Acoustic Coagulation (DBAC) program, it aims to create a cuff-like device that wraps around a wounded limb. Rather than applying pressure to the wound to stem the flow of blood, the device would use focused beams of ultrasound (sound waves above the audible frequencies) to non-invasively clot vessels no matter how deep they are. "

If a major blood vessel is hit and a lot of blood lost quickly, a person can die in a few minutes, says Michael Pashley, head of Ultrasound Imaging and Therapy at Philips Research in Briarcliff Manor, NY, one of the groups taking part in the program.

According to the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), "these internal bleeding injuries are the leading cause of death for soldiers in the battlefield," says Pashley. In light of this, DARPA is committing up to $51 million for the project over four years, to be spread among a number of different research organizations.

The ultrasound tourniquet is intended to buy time, so that a medic can get the patient to a better-equipped medical facility, says Lawrence Crum, director of the Center for Industrial and Medical Ultrasound at the University of Washington's Applied Physics Laboratory in Seattle, who has been working in this field for more than a decade.

Once applied to a wounded limb, the cuff would automatically detect and then seal damaged blood vessels or arteries, by focusing beams of ultrasonic waves at the wound to clot it, in a process known as high-intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU.

Ultrasonic waves are usually innocuous, bouncing off tissue. This is the principle behind sonograms, says Crum. But when the ultrasonic waves are focused, the effect is radically different. "If you concentrate ultrasound in the same way as light, you can raise the temperature, particularly if the wave is absorbed by the tissue," he says.

To achieve this effect, the frequency has to be geared to increase its absorption by the tissue, while the intensity must be roughly one million times greater than imaging ultrasound. When applied to a bleeding wound, the effect is similar to cauterization, Crum says.

HIFU is already approved in parts of the world for treating prostate cancer, while clinical trials are underway to use it to treat liver and kidney cancer. For cancer treatment, the tumor tissue is ablated using the HIFU.

Applying it to bleeding seems like a sensible next step, says Gail ter Haar, a physicist at the Institute of Cancer Research's Therapeutic Ultrasound Team in the Royal Marsden Hospital, near London. "It is ambitious but it's quite realizable," she says.

Surrounding tissue may be damaged in the process, since it will be heated close to the boiling point. But the blood vessels remain functional because "the blood flow in the vessel cools the wall and so protects it," says ter Haar. So the blood around the opening coagulates, while the blood passing through the vessels keeps on flowing.

The biological feasibility of this technology is well established, says Joseph Eichinger, president of Seattle-based AcousTx, which was spun out of another company, Therus, to take part in DARPA's research program. Therus, also in Seattle, has also been developing ways to use ultrasound to stop bleeding. In particular, its acoustic hemostasis system is being developed to seal punctures in the femoral artery of the groin that are caused as part of cardiac catheter treatments.

Normally, these punctures have to have continuous pressure applied to them, and can take from 30 minutes to several hours to seal, says Eichinger. With the HIFU approach, they seal in just a few seconds.

In its final form, the acoustic cuff will consist of a lightweight, flexible device with both ultrasonic imaging transducers and therapeutic transducers lining its insides. The imaging transducers, which function in the same way as sonograms, will be used to first identify the vasculature within a limb and locate any bleeds. The therapeutic transducers are then focused to stem the blood flow.

All these capabilities have been demonstrated as separate parts, says Eichinger -- now comes the engineering hurdle of putting them together in a package capable of surviving the rigors of a battlefield. "It is a very challenging environment," he says. "It's hard enough to take an iPod into Iraq and make it work." Indeed, the heat, humidity, dust, and noisy electromagnetic environment of combat couldn't be further from a safe and clean hospital treatment room.

Technology Review: Emerging Technologies and their Impact

Technology Review: Emerging Technologies and their Impact: "The U.S. military has begun developing an ultrasonic tourniquet in an effort to stop life-threatening bleeding during combat.

Called the Deep Bleeder Acoustic Coagulation (DBAC) program, it aims to create a cuff-like device that wraps around a wounded limb. Rather than applying pressure to the wound to stem the flow of blood, the device would use focused beams of ultrasound (sound waves above the audible frequencies) to non-invasively clot vessels no matter how deep they are. "

If a major blood vessel is hit and a lot of blood lost quickly, a person can die in a few minutes, says Michael Pashley, head of Ultrasound Imaging and Therapy at Philips Research in Briarcliff Manor, NY, one of the groups taking part in the program.

According to the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), "these internal bleeding injuries are the leading cause of death for soldiers in the battlefield," says Pashley. In light of this, DARPA is committing up to $51 million for the project over four years, to be spread among a number of different research organizations.

The ultrasound tourniquet is intended to buy time, so that a medic can get the patient to a better-equipped medical facility, says Lawrence Crum, director of the Center for Industrial and Medical Ultrasound at the University of Washington's Applied Physics Laboratory in Seattle, who has been working in this field for more than a decade.

Once applied to a wounded limb, the cuff would automatically detect and then seal damaged blood vessels or arteries, by focusing beams of ultrasonic waves at the wound to clot it, in a process known as high-intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU.

Ultrasonic waves are usually innocuous, bouncing off tissue. This is the principle behind sonograms, says Crum. But when the ultrasonic waves are focused, the effect is radically different. "If you concentrate ultrasound in the same way as light, you can raise the temperature, particularly if the wave is absorbed by the tissue," he says.

To achieve this effect, the frequency has to be geared to increase its absorption by the tissue, while the intensity must be roughly one million times greater than imaging ultrasound. When applied to a bleeding wound, the effect is similar to cauterization, Crum says.

HIFU is already approved in parts of the world for treating prostate cancer, while clinical trials are underway to use it to treat liver and kidney cancer. For cancer treatment, the tumor tissue is ablated using the HIFU.

Applying it to bleeding seems like a sensible next step, says Gail ter Haar, a physicist at the Institute of Cancer Research's Therapeutic Ultrasound Team in the Royal Marsden Hospital, near London. "It is ambitious but it's quite realizable," she says.

Surrounding tissue may be damaged in the process, since it will be heated close to the boiling point. But the blood vessels remain functional because "the blood flow in the vessel cools the wall and so protects it," says ter Haar. So the blood around the opening coagulates, while the blood passing through the vessels keeps on flowing.

The biological feasibility of this technology is well established, says Joseph Eichinger, president of Seattle-based AcousTx, which was spun out of another company, Therus, to take part in DARPA's research program. Therus, also in Seattle, has also been developing ways to use ultrasound to stop bleeding. In particular, its acoustic hemostasis system is being developed to seal punctures in the femoral artery of the groin that are caused as part of cardiac catheter treatments.

Normally, these punctures have to have continuous pressure applied to them, and can take from 30 minutes to several hours to seal, says Eichinger. With the HIFU approach, they seal in just a few seconds.

In its final form, the acoustic cuff will consist of a lightweight, flexible device with both ultrasonic imaging transducers and therapeutic transducers lining its insides. The imaging transducers, which function in the same way as sonograms, will be used to first identify the vasculature within a limb and locate any bleeds. The therapeutic transducers are then focused to stem the blood flow.

All these capabilities have been demonstrated as separate parts, says Eichinger -- now comes the engineering hurdle of putting them together in a package capable of surviving the rigors of a battlefield. "It is a very challenging environment," he says. "It's hard enough to take an iPod into Iraq and make it work." Indeed, the heat, humidity, dust, and noisy electromagnetic environment of combat couldn't be further from a safe and clean hospital treatment room.
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National Guard Bureau to review training and equipment issues

WEAU National Guard Bureau to review training and equipment issues: "According to the Governor's Office, the National Guard Bureau has promised to review training and equipment issues after a Cedarburg soldier was killed in Iraq on Monday.

The soldier's father says his son, Specialist Stephen Castner, had raised complaints about the training he'd received and the limited equipment available to the unit.

Governor Doyle says the concerns are legitimate and he brought them up with Lieutenant General Steven Blum, the chief of the National Guard Bureau. According to Doyle, Blum promised to assign the guard's Inspector General to review the issues.

Castner died and three others were injured when their humvee was hit by a roadside bomb. All the soldiers were from the Milwaukee-based 1st battalion, 121st field artillery regiment."
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Centigon: 'We sell survivability'

TimesDispatch.com Centigon: 'We sell survivability': "In the world's most dangerous places, living or dying often depends on what kind of car you have, and who's driving.

Roadside bombs and ambushes by gunmen make armored cars a must-have for diplomats, corporate executives and other VIPs traveling in parts of the Middle East and other troubled regions.

Not surprising, the company that claims leadership in the commercial armored-vehicle market, Cincinnati-based Centigon, has seen some serious business growth in recent years. It outfits automobiles such as sport utility vehicles and limousines with bullet-and blast-resistant armor and sells them to governments, corporations and individuals."

"Anything that requires protection on wheels falls within our mantra," said Gary Allen, the company's president. "We sell survivability."

Centigon's latest armored vehicle, unveiled yesterday at a training facility in King and Queen County, is designed to withstand the types of improvised roadside bombs that are all-too common in Iraq. All armored vehicles will withstand gunshots, but explosions are another chal- lenge.

"The threat in Iraq and Afghanistan is so large today that we have found most vehicles aren't capable of handling the weight of the armor system," said Michael Reynolds, the company's vice president of engineering. "That led us to start doing more work on the automotive side of the system."

Centigon calls its armored Chevrolet Suburban an ECV, or enhanced-capacity vehicle, because its engineers have designed the chassis to carry 3,000 to 5,000 pounds of armor without sacrificing handling and performance.

It looks like a regular Suburban, but the 15,000-pound chassis upgrade includes customized brakes and shocks, a reinforced frame and wheels and tires that carry extra weight and keep running when flat. Its 3-inch-thick windows can stop armor-piercing bullets.

The company demonstrated the armored vehicle yesterday at a training facility in King and Queen owned by ArmorGroup International, a London-based security company. On a former airfield in the woods near West Point, the facility trains thousands of professional drivers each year on how to avoid and escape bombings, shootings and kidnapping attempts.

The cost of the ECV starts at about $225,000. That's cheap compared with some armored vehicles. A fully-armored stretch limousine can cost up to $1 million.

Centigon's largest customer is the State Department, which uses armored vehicles at embassies, but corporations also buy the cars for executives working in dangerous places. Some private individuals -- celebrities, for example -- also buy the cars, Allen said. He would not provide names.

An armored car provides a protective shield, but it mainly buys time to escape, said Richard Weaver, president of ArmorGroup's training division.

A trained driver is also a necessity, which is why ArmorGroup operates training facilities in Virginia and Texas.

"If you sit there, whether the vehicle is armored or not, you are going to die or be kidnapped," Weaver said. "You have to know how to get away."

Contact staff writer John Reid Blackwell at jblackwell@timesdispatch.com or (804) 775-8123.
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Questioning when son would not

Questioning when son would not: "...Stephen Castner was driving one of those Humvees on Monday when an IED detonated beneath it and claimed his life.

"Hope more step forward"

As shockwaves from his letters rippled toward the White House, carried along by a powerful congressman, Steve Castner asked rhetorically the question at the heart of everything.

'What did (the training shortcomings) have to do with him being killed?

I don't know because I wasn't there,' he said.

But he does dearly hope the deficiencies he identified, some of which the military has acknowledged, are addressed.

'If you're going to prosecute a war in this democracy, you have to have a high degree of public support,' he said. 'You don't put citizen soldiers over there in positions of untoward risk and treat them as being expendable based upon the decisions you make whether to use proper equipment or not. You cannot do that and expect to sustain the kind of support necessary in this democracy to prosecute a war.

'It takes a lot of momentum and a lot of people to carry the day on something like this, and I'm hoping more people step forward.'


This story appeared in the Ozaukee County News Graphic on July 27, 2006 "

Five Blasts Kill at Least 32 in Baghdad Marketplace

Five Blasts Kill at Least 32 in Baghdad Marketplace - Los Angeles Times: "BAGHDAD -- A coordinated attack today on one of the city' s most popular neighborhoods killed at least 32 Iraqi civilians and begat scores of screaming, bloodied wounded, most of them moderate, middle-class Shiite Muslims shopping in one of the capital ' s only still-vital commercial districts.

At least five blasts struck the Karada area of central Baghdad, with at least one devastating car bomb that set shops ablaze and incinerated passersby along a crowded strip of shops selling meat. "

Panicked Iraqi police, holding AK-47s and handguns and firing wildly into the air, quickly sealed off the area. Footage taken immediately after the blast and broadcast on state-owned Iraqiya television showed a weeping woman, her face bloodied, being led away from the scene.

Two men struggled to carry a limp elderly man in a dishdasha robe over a pile of debris from crushed buildings. Survivors begged police to help friends and loved ones trapped inside an inferno. "

I headed back to my shop to see blazing with fire and my friends and neighbors killed or wounded, " said Zuhair Ali Hussein Zaidi, a 30-year-old hardware store owner, who left his shop to investigate one blast only to return and find that his shop was destroyed. " I saw children completely burnt and many injured, " he recalled. " People were evacuating the dead and injured by carrying them out. "

The explosions turned several buildings into mangled heaps of twisted steel girders, rubble and dust.

Bloodied residents scrambled around the close-knit neighborhood looking for missing loved ones, including one 11-year-old girl on a shopping errand who remains missing. Six of the dead weren ' t discovered until eight hours after the blast.

The 10 a.m. attack bore the signature of Sunni Arab insurgents possibly allied with foreign extremists, such as Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Police said four of the five blasts were caused by rockets or mortars. But officials have often attributed such explosions to indirect fire, hoping to stave off blame for allowing drivers to maneuver explosives-packed vehicles past checkpoints that dot the city.

Overlapping layers of insurgent, sectarian, ethnic, tribal and criminal violence have overwhelmed and frazzled Iraqi civilians, many of whom stay clustered in their homes and immediate neighborhoods out of fear for their lives. "

There are many collaborators involved in the violence, " said Saif Daik, a 23-year-old grocery store employee near one of the explosion sites. "

The Americans, the foreign fighters, the political parties, the criminals and the terrorists, all are part of it. " ...
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NBC15 | Ready or Not

NBC15 Ready or Not: "Even on a perfect summer night on the square, hearing the news of another American killed in Iraq brings the pain back to the Maida family.

'It brought me back a year ago,' said Ray Maida. 'As a matter of fact it brought me back more than a year ago.'

A year ago is when Ray Maida's son Mark was killed in Iraq.
More than a year ago, Ray was receiving letters from his son saying the Army was sending him to fight in a situation he wasn't prepared for and in Humvees that didn't have enough armor. "

"What was being said was that our troops are not adequately equipped and our troops are not adequately trained," said Maida.

On Monday, Cedarburg native Stephen Castner was killed by a road–side bomb in Iraq.

Just a few days before that, he was sending the same message to his parents that Mark Maida had sent to his ... that the Guard had not given him the proper training to fight the war.

The Cedarburg soldier's complaints have spurred a major debate over training, with some Congressmen even asking for an investigation into the matter.

But Lt. Col. Tim Donovan says the training Wisconsin guard members get at Camp Shelby is top notch.

Donovan says he's seen it himself ... and the programs in Mississippi give soldiers what they need to successfully complete their missions.

"It just doesn't appear to us that Camp Shelby and training deficiencies have anything to do with this tragic event on Monday in Iraq," said Donovan.

But Ray Maida says that's just not possible.

Maida says the war in Iraq is much different than what America's leaders first thought they were getting into when they believed soldiers would be welcomed into the country as liberators.

Instead, the war has become a long, drawn out affair ... and Maida says the commanders training those soldiers, don't even know what they were preparing for.

"I think that's the crux of it," said Maida. "How can you train soldiers when you don't understand the culture and the people yourself?"

Ray Maida says it is upsetting when he sees a soldier's obituary buried behind other news.

Maida wants people to keep talking about the deaths and to keep caring about what is happening in Iraq.

[bth: see story two down from this one. Same war, same story, two years, two dead soldiers. We could lose WWII like this]
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Opinion & Letters: Letter: Antiwar is pro-American

TownOnline.com - Opinion & Letters: Letter: Antiwar is pro-American: "The SpeakOut section of the July 20 edition of the Needham Times contained comments that said our Interfaith Peace Group did not belong in the Fourth of July parade. Perhaps our critics do not realize that our Peace Group has many participants who have themselves served in the military and others have family members who have served.

Two of our members have a daughter who is currently serving in Iraq. To infer that we are unpatriotic is absurd. All of us care deeply about our country and we support our troops wholeheartedly"

But we don't like seeing our brave, idealistic sons and daughters victimized. The men in the administration who carefully avoided any military service themselves have sent other people's children to fight. They were sent to Iraq under false pretenses; intelligence reports were falsified to make the case for war; the advice of generals in the field was ignored; and the public has been fed a constant stream of sunny reports about how well the war is going when it has become steadily more chaotic.

We were horrified that our troops were not equipped with proper armor when they were sent to Iraq. We are concerned about servicemen and women being redeployed again and again. Will those who return traumatized by what they have experienced or with burns and lost arms and legs be provided with the health benefits they will need for the rest of their lives? That's the least the government can do to repay them for their sacrifices.

We need to bring our troops home so that no more lives are lost in this disastrous misadventure.

July Fourth is the day we celebrate the liberties we all hold dear, which includes the freedom to criticize the president and hold him accountable for his actions, and the freedom to advocate peace. We are grateful to the Exchange Club for making it possible to express our values, and we thank the many, many viewers who cheered and applauded us as we marched through town. Perhaps those who telephoned SpeakOut objecting to us will have the courage to conduct a reasoned discussion of war and peace in the pages of the Needham Times by writing letters to the editor and signing their names.

Susan Fleming
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Shelby training disputed - Troops also need IED jammers

The Sun Herald 07/27/2006 Shelby training disputed: "Wisconsin native Stephen L. Castner's early concerns about what he felt was his son's deficient training regimen at Camp Shelby may have been proved mortally true Monday, when Army Spc. Stephen W. Castner died after an improvised explosive device went off near his Humvee in Tallil, Iraq.

Castner's son was one of about 430 National Guardsmen from 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery, Milwaukee, who trained at Camp Shelby this year."

Congressman James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on Tuesday on Castner's behalf, which claimed the Guardsmen left not fully prepared for their mission.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Rumsfeld had offered no reply, according to a Sensenbrenner spokesman.

A spokesman from the 1st Army, which has oversight of Camp Shelby, did not respond to submitted questions from the Sun Herald in time for this report.

Congressman Gene Taylor, whose district encompasses Camp Shelby, said Wednesday he called Sensenbrenner and told him the issue has more to do with a lack of easily available IED-jamming devices than inadequate training.

"Most IEDs are remote detonated... garage-door openers, cell phones, kids' toys, anything radio-operated," Taylor said.

"Therefore, since it travels on a radio frequency, there's also technology out there to jam those frequencies. I have been really in particular after the (Department of Defense) to spend more money on jammers. Every one of the amputees I visited had been in a vehicle that didn't have a jammer. I'm frustrated that we have not had a helpful Secretary of Defense on this. Remember how this young soldier died."

Taylor said when he visited Shelby about two months ago, he asked a soldier how much training he had received in working with jammers; the soldier asked Taylor what a jammer was.

In his letter, Sensenbrenner referred to another letter he had received from Col. Alfred P. Jones, Army Chief of Staff, on June 6, that addressed his specific training concerns.

Those concerns included arguments among training officers in front of trainees, poor rifle-range training procedures and an inadequate number of Humvees for proper training.

In the letter to Rumsfeld, Sensenbrenner said Castner gave this response about the letter from Col. Jones: "It is too late to improve the deficient training given to my son's regiment, but it is not too late for units yet to be trained."

Taylor agrees, and hopes something positive emerges from Castner's tragedy, citing a House and Senate committee meeting late Wednesday discussing military appropriations, at which he hoped a provision for more jammers makes it past a group of skeptical senators and Defense officials.

[bth: years into this war, it is a crime of leadership that every vehicle does not have a jammer and that the troops using them are not adequately trained. These deficiencies kill soldiers and aid the enemy. Poor leadership murders our men.]
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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Scientist: Inject Sulfur into Air to Battle Global Warming

LiveScience.com - Scientist: Inject Sulfur into Air to Battle Global Warming: "One way to curb global warming is to purposely shoot sulfur into the atmosphere, a scientists suggested today.

The burning of fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. It also releases sulfur that cools the planet by reflecting solar radiation away from Earth. "...

Senator Reid victim of identity theft� - Jul 27, 2006

CNN.com - Senator Reid victim of identity theft� - Jul 27, 2006: "WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid discovered this week he was the victim of identity theft after someone used his MasterCard number to charge about $2,000 at a Wal-Mart and other stores in Monroe, North Carolina.

The Nevada Democrat said he found out someone had obtained the number after opening his bill Tuesday night.

'It's not a tremendous inconvenience for me,' he said. 'I won't have to pay it.'

But Reid said he is steamed about the fact the perpetrator likely will never be caught. 'Something has to be done,' he said, holding up his now-deactivated card.

Reid said he does not know how someone obtained the number or whether he has been the victim of a broader identity theft -- a problem that affects millions of Americans every year."

Cindy Sheehan Buys Property in Crawford

BREITBART.COM - Cindy Sheehan Buys Property in Crawford: "War protester Cindy Sheehan has purchased a 5-acre plot in Crawford with some of the insurance money she received after her son was killed in Iraq.

The group she helps lead, Gold Star Families for Peace, says on its Web site that it will return next month to protest the war in Iraq in the small town near Waco where President Bush has a ranch. Like last year, Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in Iraq in 2004, will again demand to meet with the president.

'We decided to buy property in Crawford to use until George's resignation or impeachment, which we all hope is soon for the sake of the world,' Sheehan said in a newsletter set to be sent to supporters Thursday. 'I can't think of a better way to use Casey's insurance money than for peace, and I am sure that Casey approves.'

Her anti-war gathering in Crawford is scheduled for Aug. 16 through Sept. 2. But Bush is scheduled to be at his ranch mainly during the first two weeks of August.

Sheehan, from California, reinvigorated the anti-war movement last summer with her peace vigil, which started in ditches off the road to Bush's ranch. As it grew, the group also set up its protests on a private, 1-acre lot closer to the ranch. "

'Waiting to Get Blown Up'

'Waiting to Get Blown Up': "BAGHDAD, July 26 Army Staff Sgt. Jose Sixtos considered the simple question about morale for more than an hour. But not until his convoy of armored Humvees had finally rumbled back into the Baghdad military base, and the soldiers emptied the ammunition from their machine guns, and passed off the bomb-detecting robot to another patrol, did he turn around in his seat and give his answer.

'Think of what you hate most about your job. Then think of doing what you hate most for five straight hours, every single day, sometimes twice a day, in 120-degree heat,' he said. 'Then ask how morale is.'"

Frustrated? "You have no idea," he said.

As President Bush plans to deploy more troops in Baghdad, U.S. soldiers who have been patrolling the capital for months describe a deadly and infuriating mission in which the enemy is elusive and success hard to find. Each day, convoys of Humvees and Bradley Fighting Vehicles leave Forward Operating Base Falcon in southern Baghdad with the goal of stopping violence between warring Iraqi religious sects, training the Iraqi army and police to take over the duty, and reporting back on the availability of basic services for Iraqi civilians.

But some soldiers in the 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division -- interviewed over four days on base and on patrols -- say they have grown increasingly disillusioned about their ability to quell the violence and their reason for fighting. The battalion of more than 750 people arrived in Baghdad from Kuwait in March, and since then, six soldiers have been killed and 21 wounded.

"It sucks. Honestly, it just feels like we're driving around waiting to get blown up. That's the most honest answer I could give you," said Spec. Tim Ivey, 28, of San Antonio, a muscular former backup fullback for Baylor University. "You lose a couple friends and it gets hard."

"No one wants to be here, you know, no one is truly enthused about what we do," said Sgt. Christopher Dugger, the squad leader. "We were excited, but then it just wears on you -- there's only so much you can take. Like me, personally, I want to fight in a war like World War II. I want to fight an enemy.

And this, out here," he said, motioning around the scorched sand-and-gravel base, the rows of Humvees and barracks, toward the trash-strewn streets of Baghdad outside, "there is no enemy, it's a faceless enemy. He's out there, but he's hiding."

"We're trained as an Army to fight and destroy the enemy and then take over," added Dugger, 26, of Reno, Nev. "But I don't think we're trained enough to push along a country, and that's what we're actually doing out here."

"It's frustrating, but we are definitely a help to these people," he said. "I'm out here with the guys that I know so well, and I couldn't picture myself being anywhere else."'

Never-Ending Battle'

After a five-hour patrol on Saturday through southern Baghdad neighborhoods, soldiers from the 1st Platoon sat on wooden benches in an enclosed porch outside their barracks.

Faces flushed and dirty from the grit and a beating sun, they smoked cigarettes and tossed them at a rusted can that said "Butts."

The commanders in Baghdad and the Pentagon are "looking at the big picture all the time, but for us, we don't see no big picture, it's just always another bomb out here," said Spec. Joshua Steffey, 24, of Asheville, N.C. The company's commanding officer, Capt. Douglas A. DiCenzo of Plymouth, N.H., and his gunner, Spec. Robert E. Blair of Ocala, Fla., were killed by a roadside bomb in May.

Steffey said he wished "somebody would explain to us, 'Hey, this is what we're working for.' " With a stream of expletives, he said he could not care less "if Iraq's free" or "if they're a democracy."

"The first time somebody you know dies, the first thing you ask yourself is, 'Well, what did he die for?' "

"At this point, it seems like the war on drugs in America," added Spec. David Fulcher, 22, a medic from Lynchburg, Va., who sat alongside Steffey. "It's like this never-ending battle, like, we find one IED, if we do find it before it hits us, so what? You know it's just like if the cops make a big bust, next week the next higher-up puts more back out there."

"My personal opinion, I don't speak for the rest of anybody, I just speak for me personally, I think civil war is going to happen regardless," Steffey responded. "Maybe this country needs it: One side has to win. Be it Sunni, be it Shiite, one side has to win. It's apparent, these people have made it obvious they can't live in unity."

It was dark now save for one fluorescent light and the cigarette tips glowing red.

"I mean, if you compare the casualty count from this war to, say, World War II, you know obviously it doesn't even compare," Fulcher said. "But World War II, the big picture was clear -- you know you're fighting because somebody was trying to take over the world, basically. This is like, what did we invade here for?"

"How did it become, 'Well, now we have to rebuild this place from the ground up'?" Fulcher asked.

He kept talking. "They say we're here and we've given them freedom, but really what is that? You know, what is freedom? You've got kids here who can't go to school. You've got people here who don't have jobs anymore. You've got people here who don't have power," he said. "You know, so yeah, they've got freedom now, but when they didn't have freedom, everybody had a job."

Steffey got up to leave the porch and go to bed.

"You know, the point is we've lost too many Americans here already, we're committed now. So whatever the [expletive] end-state is, whatever it is, we need to achieve it -- that way they didn't die for nothing," he said. "We're far too deep in this now."'

Our Biggest Fear'

The largest risk facing the soldiers is the explosion of roadside bombs, known among soldiers as improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, the main killer of U.S. troops in Iraq.

Battalion commanders say they have made great strides clearing the main highways through their southern Baghdad jurisdiction, including the north-south thoroughfare they call Route Jackson, but insurgents continue to adapt.

"We do an action, he counters it. It's a constant tug of war," said Sgt. 1st Class Scott Wilmot, an IED analyst with the battalion. "From where I sit, the [number of] IEDs continually, gradually, goes up."

Each day, U.S. and Iraqi soldiers patrolling neighborhoods such as Sadiyah, al-Amil and Bayaa -- an area of about 40 square miles where about half a million people live -- encounter an average of one to two roadside bombs, often triggered remotely by someone watching the convoys, he said.

"Motorola radios, cellphones, garage door openers, remote-controlled doorbells. Anything that can transmit, they can, in theory, use," Wilmot said. "Anybody who thinks they're stupid is wrong."

After the bombing in February of a golden-domed Shiite shrine in Samarra, sectarian killings between rival Shiite and Sunni Muslim factions exploded, and have continued to take thousands of Iraqi lives despite a security crackdown in Baghdad that started last month. U.S. military commanders in Baghdad say the killings extend beyond sectarian motives, to include tribal rivalries, criminal activity and intra-sect gang warfare. Most of the killing takes place out of sight of the Americans, commanders said.

"At this point, it's getting a little difficult to tell which groups are responsible," said Capt. Eric Haas of Williamsburg, Va., an intelligence officer for the 2nd Battalion. "Our biggest fear is this turning into a Bosnia-Kosovo situation" where the police are allowing the slaughter to take place.

"We're definitely making progress," he added. "It's going to take some time to get there."

Into this fray, day and night, come the U.S. soldiers. Each infantryman conducts an average of 10 patrols a week, for a total of 50 to 60 grueling hours, "and it is having an effect," said the battalion's executive officer, Maj. Jeffrey E. Grable.

"Sometimes it's not obvious, the fruit of their labor," said Grable. But the patrols have "a deterrent effect on sectarian violence. Unfortunately, we just cannot be everywhere all the time."'

Only Promises'

The patrol led by Capt. Mike Comstock, 27, of Boise, Idaho -- two Humvees and a Bradley Fighting Vehicle -- started at 1 p.m. on Saturday. At about 15 miles per hour, the patrol passed down blighted Iraqi streets with dozens of cars waiting in gas lines, piles of smoldering trash, rubble-strewn vacant lots and gaping bomb craters.

On one stop, the patrol pulled up to the Saadiq al-Amin mosque in the Bayaa neighborhood. Some mosques in the city have stockpiled weapons and been operations centers for insurgents -- used, said one officer, "like we use National Guard armories back home."

"How are you doing today, sir? A little hot?" Comstock asked Walid Khalid, 45, the second-ranking cleric of the Sunni mosque, who opened the gate wearing sandals and a white dishdasha , a traditional robe.

"Our imam was killed three weeks ago," Khalid said through an interpreter.

"This is actually the first I've heard about this," Comstock said, taking notes.

"The people around here are afraid to come here to pray on Fridays," Khalid said, going on to explain that the mosque didn't have water or electricity. He said that he was worried about corrupt Iraqi police attacking the mosque, and that he needed permits for the four AK-47 assault rifles he kept inside.

"Would it help if we brought the national police here so you could meet them?" Comstock asked. "Maybe you guys could start building trust together."

"We would like to cooperate, but sometimes those people come to attack us, and we want to defend the mosque," Khalid said. "Inside the mosque is our border. If they cross this line, we will shoot these guys."

Comstock's patrol stopped at Bayaa homes and shops to conduct a "SWET assessment": checking the sewage, water and electricity services available to residents. Most said the sewage service was adequate, but the electricity functioned no more than four hours a day. Some said they had little running water and dumped their trash along the main streets. Inner neighborhood roads were blocked with slabs of concrete and the trunks of palm trees. The most repeated concern among residents was a lack of safety.

"I can't fix electricity or sewers all the time. We recommend projects to be done," Comstock told Muhammed Adnan, a Bayaa resident. "Patrolling your neighborhood is one thing we can do. I hope that helps."

"We just receive promises around here, nothing else," Adnan, 40, told Comstock. "Three years, just promises, and promises and promises."

Comstock wrote down the words: "only promises."