The four U.S. airmen who perished Monday in the crash of an Iraqi aircraft were commandos from special operations units based in Florida, the Pentagon disclosed on Wednesday.
Their deaths brought to 20 the number of Air Force members who have died in Iraq since the war began in March 2003. Nine of the 20 were killed in action; the other 11 were classified as “non-hostile” deaths.
Although the Pentagon has announced no cause for Monday’s crash, the Air Force has classified the four deaths as non-hostile.
Killed in the Iraqi aircraft crash were Maj. William Downs, 40, of Winchester, Va.; Capt. Jeremy Fresques, 26, of Clarkdale, Ariz.; Capt. Derek Argel, 28, of Lompoc, Calif.; and Staff Sgt. Casey Crate, 26, of Spanaway, Wash.
My best wishes to the families, and my gratitude to these men who gave their lives on Memorial Day.
The Netherlands has become the second country to reject a proposed constitution for the European Union, three days after the French turned the proposal down, leaving the EU in disarray over what steps to take next.
A provisional final result posted by Dutch news agency ANP shows a comprehensive 61.6 percent of voters were opposed to the charter, while only 38.4 percent approved.
Expected, though I am somewhat surprised by the crushing margin.
The UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, has sacked a senior staff member for “serious misconduct” in the oil-for-food scandal.
Joseph Stephanides is the first dismissal stemming from alleged corruption in the multibillion-dollar programme, a UN spokesman said.
Well, it’s a start.
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has warned countries near Iraq not to provide sanctuary or medical treatment to Iraq’s al-Qaida leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who is believed to have been wounded by coalition forces.
“Any country that decides it wants to provide medical assistance or haven to a leading terrorist, al-Qaida terrorist, is obviously associating themselves with al-Qaida, and contributing to a great many Iraqis being killed, as well as coalition forces in Iraq. And that’s something that people would want to take note of,” he said.
Obviously, medical assistance would be fine as long as Zarqawi was detained and handed over to either Iraq or the U.S.
Meteorologists think a decade-long trend of active Atlantic hurricane seasons will continue this summer. That’s bad news for U.S. coastal residents who took a 45-billion-dollar (U.S.) pounding from the storms last year.
Forecaster William Gray of Colorado State University expects a busy summer in the Atlantic Basin, which includes the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Gray, a pioneer in long-range hurricane forecasting, thinks eight hurricanes will form during the season, which officially began today and runs to November 30.
Gray said four of those storms will become major hurricanes, with winds exceeding 111 miles an hour (178 kilometers an hour).
I hate “inactive” hurricanes.