Posted by Curt on 18 June, 2006 at 9:28 am. Be the first to comment!

UPDATE

It appears that Al-Qaeda may have our soldiers now:

An umbrella group that includes Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed in a Web statement Monday that it had kidnapped two U.S. soldiers reported missing south of Baghdad.

There was no immediate confirmation that the statement was credible, although it appeared on a Web site often used by Al Qaeda-linked groups. U.S. officials have said they were trying to confirm whether the missing soldiers were kidnapped.

“Your brothers in the military wing of the Mujahedeen Shura Council kidnapped the two American soldiers near Youssifiya,” the group said in a statement posted on an Islamic Web site.

The Web site did not name the soldiers.

We must remember that this isn’t verified and they could just be going off the news reports, trying to give a morale boost to their beaten fellow terrorists. Remember the GI Joe doll incident?

Their names have been released also, they are (h/t Tammy Bruce)

  • Pfc. Thomas Lowell Tucker, 25, of Madras, Oregon
  • Pfc. Kristian Menchaca, 23, of Houston, Texas

Over 8,000 troops have been deployed in an attempt to get these two back:

The U.S. military said Monday it has intensified its search for two missing soldiers, with more than 8,000 Iraqi and U.S. troops combing the volatile area south of Baghdad where the men were attacked.

Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq, also said the military has killed three suspected insurgents and detained 34 others in fighting that left seven U.S. servicemen wounded during the search that began Friday evening.

Fighter jets, unmanned aerial vehicles and dive teams have been deployed to find the two men who disappeared an attack on their checkpoint that left one of their comrades dead, Caldwell said.

Riehl World View see’s a Russian connection in all this.

END UPDATE

If you had not heard, two US soldiers were taken hostage by the terrorists in Iraq on Friday:

A farmer claiming to have witnessed an attack on a U.S. military checkpoint said Sunday that insurgents swarmed the scene, killing the driver of a Humvee before taking two of his comrades captive.

U.S. troops, backed by helicopters and warplanes, fanned out across the “Triangle of Death” south of Baghdad searching for the missing servicemen. At least four raids had been carried out, but the captives were not found, the military said.

A U.S. military spokesman, Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, said Saturday a dive team also was searching for the men, whose checkpoint was near a Euphrates River canal not far from Youssifiyah, 12 miles south of Baghdad. The Sunni region is the site of frequent ambushes of U.S. soldiers and Iraqi troops.

Ahmed Khalaf Falah, a farmer who said he witnessed the attack Friday, said three Humvees were manning a checkpoint when they came under fire from many directions. Two Humvees went after the assailants, but the third was ambushed before it could move, he told The Associated Press.

Seven masked gunmen, including one carrying what Falah described as a heavy machine gun, killed the driver of the third vehicle, then took the two other U.S. soldiers captive, the witness said. His account could not be verified independently.

Tony Snow made some comments on Chris Wallace’s show:

WALLACE: And what about the U.S. and its efforts to free them?

SNOW: Well, I think, Chris, you’ve got to understand that we’re involved in a war in Iraq. And in a situation like this, as you know, Baghdad is an unsafe place in some areas, and there are people who are going to do everything they can to try to make sure that the new government fails and to try to figure out some way to chip away American support for engagement there.

You saw a document that was captured from an Al Qaeda safe house — I mean, a Zarqawi safe house that indicated that they would try to use incidents like this as a way of trying to drive a wedge in terms of American public opinion and also Iraqi opinion.

It’s worth keeping in mind that since the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, we’ve rounded up hundreds of members of Al Qaeda, that there have been — or insurgents who are fighting with Al Qaeda in Iraq, that there have been significant inroads in fighting terror, and we have two U.S. servicemen that we’re going to do everything we can to find and to bring home safely.

But furthermore, the more important message is that the U.S. military and the Iraqis — right now Operation Forward Together involves about 60,000 forces, only 7,200 of which are Americans, so you’ve got roughly 50,000 Iraqi forces right now targeting areas of Baghdad, and we know there are going to be times when people are going to try to strike vulnerable spots.

But the one message not to send is that the United States somehow is going to react fearfully or defensively in this case, because we’re not.

Snow makes a valid point when asked by Wallace later in the show:

WALLACE: But let me interrupt just for a second, though, as you would if you were in this job. I’m not talking about withdrawal. I’m saying don’t you have to show measurable progress by November or you run the real risk of losing control of one house and then things are going to be even worse for you?

SNOW: Well, again, in this — you know what I think? I think leadership is going to win. In this particular point, the president has shown some leadership. The president is saying I’m sticking by my position. And furthermore, he’s made a promise to the Iraqi people: We are going to leave when the job is done.

Now, we’re vigorously doing everything we can to train up Iraqi forces. And we’re working with the Iraqis on a lot of the essentials, and I’ve mentioned them — reconciliation, building up the infrastructure and so on.

The thing is the way the war is being covered — and we’ve seen it right now. We have two U.S. servicemen — and God bless them. We hope they’re okay. We’re focusing on them and we forget that since Zarqawi was killed, hundreds of bad guys have been rounded up.

There’s been a lot of intelligence. The Iraqis have gone ahead and mobilized 50,000 of their own to go into five Baghdad neighborhoods. There’s a lot going on there.

Now, the problem is that from a video standpoint, somebody can blow up a car in a marketplace in Baghdad and get headlines the world over.

I’m dreading a video that may come out soon produced and directed by the liberals “freedom fighters” as they kill our troops.

But we also have to keep in mind what Tony is saying. The MSM will replay that video, if and when it ever comes out, over and over telling us the war is going badly when in fact, it is not. We’ve had great successes over the past year and they should not be overlooked.

Neither should these two soldiers. I know that our military is doing everything in its power to get these guys back. Keep them in your prayers.

Other’s Blogging:

>