07 Apr

United States Wars, News and Casualties

United States Wars, News and Casualties

The War Criminals

How many Iraqis have died as a result of the invasion 15 years ago? Some credible estimates put the number at more than one million. You can read that sentence again.

The invasion of Iraq is often spoken of in our country as a “blunder,” or even a “colossal mistake.” It was a crime.

Those who perpetrated it are still at large. Some of them have even been rehabilitated thanks to the horrors of a mostly amnesiac citizenry. (A year ago Mr. Bush was on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” dancing and talking about his paintings.)

The war criminals, Bush,Cheney,Rice,Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Powell who sold us the war still go on doing what they do.

 Iraq is now far worse than it was during Saddam’s reign. And that is what America’s war achieved and bequeathed to Iraqis.


We condemned children to death, some after many days of writhing in pain on bloodstained mats, without pain relievers. Some died quickly, wasted by missing arms and legs, crushed heads. As the fluids ran out of their bodies, they appeared like withered, spoiled fruits. They could have lived, certainly should have lived – and laughed and danced, and run and played- but instead they were brutally murdered. Yes, murdered!

The war ended for those children, but it has never ended for survivors who carry memories of them. Likewise, the effects of the U.S. bombings continue, immeasurably and indefensibly.

The McGlynn

War News

AP: Violence breaks out near Syrian capital killing dozens

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian troops began a ground offensive under the cover of airstrikes on rebel-held areas outside the capital Damascus on Friday after a 10-day truce collapsed over disagreement regarding evacuation of opposition fighters. The new wave of violence left at least 36 people dead, including women and children, according to state media and opposition activists.

By sunset Friday, artillery pieces, multiple rocket launchers and warplanes intensely pounded the city of Douma, which is home to tens of thousands of people. Live TV footage showed thick smoke billowing from different parts of the city as airstrikes create huge clouds of dust.

Douma is the largest city in eastern Ghouta. Government forces captured the entire region except for the city in a crushing offensive in February and March. The city is a stronghold of the Saudi-backed Army of Islam.

Violence resumed in and around Douma on Friday afternoon after the Army of Islam placed new conditions on an evacuation deal that saw hundreds of fighters and civilians leave earlier this week.

The intense bombardment could be meant to pressure the insurgent group to evacuate the city as many fear that the death toll could be high in an all-out battle to retake the town. Army of Islam has thousands of well-armed fighters in Douma.

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BBC: Syria war: Jets strike rebel-held Eastern Ghouta as evacuation stalls

At least 30 people have been killed in heavy air strikes on the last rebel-held town in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta region, activists and rescuers say.

Destroyed buildings in Douma, in the Eastern Ghouta region of Syria (19 March 2018)

Douma has been devastated by five years of siege by Syria government forces (file image)

Women and children were reportedly among those who died as almost two weeks of calm in Douma were shattered.

State media said the strikes were retaliation for the shelling of nearby government-held areas by rebels from Jaysh al-Islam, which controls Douma.

They also said an evacuation agreement with the group had been put on hold.

The official Sana news agency cited a military source as accusing Jaysh al-Islam of “thwarting” the deal by refusing to allow “state institutions” back into Douma and release prisoners it was holding.

However, Jaysh al-Islam political official Mohammad Alloush told al-Hadath TV that the group did not want to “close the door that can lead to sparing the blood of civilians and reaching a peaceful situation”.

More than 1,600 people are reported to have been killed and thousands injured since the government and its allies launched an offensive in mid-February to retake the Eastern Ghouta, which was the last major rebel stronghold near Damascus.

Several thousand people left Douma in recent days, taken by bus to the rebel-held northern town of Jarablus, which is next to the Turkish border.

But the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, says they were wounded rebels and civilians, not active Jaysh al-Islam fighters.

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BBC: Syrian refugees: The people who want four things before they go home

It is clear that Syria’s refugees fled their homeland to escape its devastating war. But other than an end to the fighting, what would make them want to return home?

Children sit on top of a truck carrying Syrian refugees

Getty Images

More than five million Syrians have left their country since the war started in 2011.

Most are now in neighbouring countries, with about 3.5 million in Turkey and one million in Lebanon. More than half a million travelled to Germany, with smaller numbers in other European nations.

To find out what changes they hope for, the Carnegie Middle East Center held a series of meetings involving about 320 refugees in Lebanon and Jordan.

Here are four things they told us they would like to see.

1. Safety for their children

Children play at the Yaqteen refugee camp in Lebanon

Getty Images

A recent report published by the Lancet suggested that one in four civilian deaths in 2016 was of a child and that about 14,000 had been killed since the war started.

Many of the refugees we spoke to were not enthusiastic about permanently resettling abroad.

They spoke of fears about cultural change and discrimination against their children.

But they were also deeply concerned about the dangers their children could face if they go back to Syria.

Syrian refugee children stand near their temporary shelter at a refugee camp in Lebanon

Getty Images Syrian refugee children stand near their temporary shelter at a refugee camp in Lebanon

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REU: Syrian government launches assault on last rebel enclave in Ghouta

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The Syrian government launched a fierce air and ground assault on the last rebel-held town in eastern Ghouta on Friday, killing at least 32 people in a bid to seal President Bashar al-Assad’s biggest victory since 2016, a war monitor said.

State TV showed thick clouds of smoke rising from the targeted area, the town of Douma, where the Jaish al-Islam rebel group is holding out after insurgents in other parts of eastern Ghouta accepted safe passage to other rebel areas.

State TV said Republican Guard forces were pushing in.

Jaish al-Islam said its rocket and artillery brigade were responding to what it described as a massacre by “the Assad militias and their ally the Russian warplanes”. Jaish al-Islam’s political official called for talks to spare civilian bloodshed.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war, said the 32 dead in Douma included five children and the air strikes were likely carried out by Russian war palnes. State media said rebel shelling of Damascus had killed four people………………

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IraqiNews: Kurdish Peshmerga denies news on troops return to disputed regions

Erbil ( The Kurdish Peshmerga Ministry has denied news on return of the troops to the disputed regions, stressing refusal of side agreements that take place in this regard without involving it.

Jamal Iminiki, the chief of staff of the Peshmerga, said in remarks that they are unaware of the return of Peshmerga to Kirkuk.

News reports quoted a source from U.S. Pentagon, Wednesday, as saying that special forces of Peshmerga accessed Kirkuk, after coordination with Baghdad. However, the pro-government al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) denied news that Kurdish troops accessed Kirkuk province, saying that remarks made by the Pentagon is an attempt to stir controversy among people in the province.

On Wednesday, Peshmerga Ministry announced holding a round of meetings along with the federal Defense Ministry in attendance of U.S. officials representing the International Coalition over formation of a joint task force at the regions, where sovereignty is disputed on between Baghdad and Erbil.

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NYT: Opinion Is Trump Sowing the Seeds for ISIS 2.0?

A Syrian regime member in eastern Ghouta, on the outskirts of Damascus, this week.CreditLouai Beshara/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A few weeks ago, a Syrian friend of mine, Kassem Eid, came to talk to the class I teach at Columbia. Kassem comes from Moadhamiyeh, a suburb of Damascus that had been besieged, starved and bombed. One August morning in 2013, he woke early for his morning prayers. As he tried to go back to sleep, he heard air raid sirens. Then he heard his roommates screaming — they were being attacked with chemical weapons.

Kassem lived through that awful day and wrote about the attack for The Times, as well as his subsequent decision to become a fighter against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Five more years of war left Kassem an exhausted and frustrated survivor. His words to my class were harsh and angry, the words of someone whose country has been beaten down by seven years of conflict.

What surprised my students the most was Kassem’s enthusiastic support for President Trump’s past decisions in Syria. He praised his airstrikes in 2017, which President Obama had never ordered, launched in retaliation for Mr. Assad’s chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun, which killed more than 70 people………..Realistically, the 2,000 American troops have not made a huge difference to the landscape of the war in terms of humanitarian assistance, because the United States never had a vested interest in protecting the Syrian population; the troops were not deployed in a way that, say, could ensure the delivery of food or medicine, or open up besieged towns. But the signal their sudden withdrawal sends to the Syrian people, especially the Syrian Kurds, and the rest of the world will be damning……….As long as America has had troops in Syria, there was at least hope for a peaceful resolution to the war. Now the bottom is falling out. Kassem says he hears talk about the coming of the Mahdi, whom many Muslims believe will bring about Judgment Day, because the region is engulfed in chaos — a precondition for his arrival. “Everyone is talking end of days,” he says.

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NYT: Afghan Air Strike Kills Islamic State Commander

KABUL — Afghanistan forces killed an important Islamic State (IS) commander in an air strike, one year after he defected from the Taliban and established a new IS foothold in the country, security officials said.

Qari Hekmat was killed in a drone strike on Thursday afternoon in the Darz Aab district of Afghanistan’s northern Jawzjan province, said Hanif Rezaee, spokesman for the Afghan National Army Air Corps.

He said Mawlavi Habib Ur Rahman has been appointed as his IS successor in the north of the country.

The militant group, also known as Daesh, established a new foothold in the province last year when Hekmat defected from the Taliban, attracting the attention of U.S. forces.

IS claimed responsibility for suicide bombs last month near Shi’ite mosques in Herat and Kabul. Both the Western-backed government in Kabul and the main Islamist militant group, the Taliban, fight Islamic State.

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Afghan forces thwart rocket attack plot on Kabul city

The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces have thwarted a plot by the anti-government armed militants to carry out a rocket attack on Kabul. The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officials said Friday that the militants were looking to target the city with a BM-1 rocket from Chahar Asiab district. The officials further added that the

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ISIS Khurasan leader Qari Hekmat killed in Jawzjan airstrike

The leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Khurasan Qari Hekmat has been killed in an airstrike in northern Jawzjan province of Afghanistan. The 209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the North said Qari Hekmat was killed in an airstrike of the US forces in Darzab district. A statement by Shaheen

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Cost of War in Iraq>>

Cost of War in Afghanistan>>

Recent Casualties

Color Denotes Today’s Confirmation

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.

Master Sgt. Jonathan J. Dunbar, 36, of Austin, Texas, died March 30 in Manbij, Syria as a result of injuries when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated near his patrol. The incident is under investigation.

Dunbar was assigned to Headquarters, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Ft Bragg, North Carolina.

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of seven airmen who were supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. They died March 15 when an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter crashed in western Iraq. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Captain Mark K. Weber, 29, of Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was assigned to the 38th Rescue Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia.

Captain Andreas B. O’Keeffe, 37, of Center Moriches, New York.
Captain Christopher T. Zanetis, 37, of Long Island City, New York.
Master Sergeant Christopher J. Raguso, 39, of Commack, New York.
Staff Sergeant Dashan J. Briggs, 30, of Port Jefferson Station, New York.

Master Sergeant William R. Posch, 36, of Indialantic, Florida.
Staff Sergeant Carl P. Enis, 31, of Tallahassee, Florida.
Both were assigned to the 308th Rescue Squadron, Air Force Reserve, at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. For more information, media may contact the 920th Rescue Wing public affairs office at 321-615-0329.

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.

Sgt. 1st Class Maitland Deweever Wilson, 38, of Brooklyn, New York, died March 7 in Landstuhl, Germany from a non-combat related incident. The incident is under investigation.

Wilson was assigned to the 831st Transportation Battalion, 595th Transportation Brigade, Manama, Bahrain.

Care for Veterans:

PTSD: National Center for PTSDPTSD Care for Veterans, Military, and FamiliesSee Help for Veterans with PTSD to learn how to enroll for VA health care and get an assessment.

All VA Medical Centers provide PTSD care, as well as many VA clinics.Some VA’s have programs specializing in PTSD treatment. Use the VA PTSD ProgramLocator to find a PTSD program.If you are a war Veteran, find a Vet Center to help with the transition from military to civilian life.

Call the 24/7 Veteran Combat Call Center1-877-WAR-VETS (1-877-927-8387) to talk to another combat Veteran.DoD’s Defense Centers of Excellence (DCoE) 24/7 Outreach Center for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury provides information and helps locate resources.

Call 1-866-966-1020 or email resources@dcoeoutreach.orgMilitary OneSourceCall 24/7 for counseling and many resources 1-800-342-9647.Need further assistance? Get Help with VA PTSD Care

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