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08 May

United States Wars, News and Casualties

United States Wars, News and Casualties

 

Rage Against The Dying

“Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas

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.

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

REU: Cholera vaccination campaign starts in Yemen after year delay: WHO

GENEVA (Reuters) – The first vaccine campaign against cholera in Yemen has started, 18 months after war and a sanitation crisis triggered an epidemic, but the World Health Organization said it did not yet have permission nationwide to do the vaccinations.

FILE PHOTO: A woman sits with her sons while they are treated at a cholera treatment center in Sanaa, Yemen October 8, 2017. Picture taken October 8, 2017.REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah/File Photo

Some senior Houthi officials, whose forces control the capital Sanaa, have objected to vaccinations and this has already delayed the program by nearly a year, aid workers say.

There have been more than one million suspected cases of cholera in Yemen, and 2,275 recorded deaths since Nov 2016, the WHO says.

The oral vaccination campaign, which began in four districts in Aden on Sunday targeting 350,000 people, coincides with the rainy season, which health workers fear could spread the disease further.

“We have plans in place for extending that to all of the at-risk zones and we are still negotiating with health authorities in the north of the country, in Sanaa, in order to plan those campaigns,” Michael Ryan, WHO Assistant Director-General, told a news briefing on Monday.

“As of yet we don’t have established dates for those campaigns, but we are ready to move… just as soon as we get those necessary approvals,” he added.

WHO cholera expert Lorenzo Pizzoli said in a tweet from Aden on Sunday that the campaign hoped to cover at least four million people in areas at risk.

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AP: Saudi airstrikes hit presidency building in Yemen, killing 6

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen’s Shiite rebels targeted the presidency building in the heart of the Yemeni capital on Monday, leaving at least six people dead and 30 wounded, according to health officials.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media, said the six killed were all civilians. It was not known if there were any Houthi rebel leaders present at the time of the airstrikes in Sanaa or if any were killed or wounded.

The three-floor presidency building was completely flattened, while surrounding buildings in the city’s busy Tahrir district — including a famous five-star hotel — were heavily damaged. Cars were charred and pools of blood covered the pavement.

Many were believed to have been buried under the rubble, as ambulances rushed to the area to retrieve the casualties.

Saudi officials later said they had targeted high-ranking rebel officials who had been there and that several must have been killed.

“Intelligence was behind this targeting of the presidential palace in Sanaa, and Houthi leaders were there,” Col. Turki al-Maliki told a press conference in Riyadh.

The Norwegian Refugee Council, an aid group operating in Yemen, said it was “appalled by Saudi-led coalition strikes on a highly-populated business district in Sana’a earlier today.”

“We abhor the ongoing use of violence to intimidate civilian populations under the guise of efforts to protect them. Yemeni people are not collateral. Adherence to the laws of war is not optional,” Suze van Meegen, the group’s acting country director, said in a statement.

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BBC: Syria war: Rebels leave last major besieged enclave

Syrians await evacuation from Rastan, 7 May

Men, women and children were due to leave Rastan on Monday AFP picture

Syrian rebels have begun withdrawing from the last big, besieged enclave that they held in the war-torn country.

Hundreds of fighters have been boarding buses along with their families in a pocket of territory lying in central Syria, between Homs and Hama.

Under a deal with the government’s Russian allies, the militants have been given safe passage to opposition-controlled territory in northern Syria.

It is the latest rebel enclave to give in after a long siege.

The only significant areas of Syria still in rebel hands lie along its borders in the far north and the far south.

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REU: What could Iran do if Trump pulls out of nuclear deal?

BEIRUT (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump will announce on Tuesday whether he will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. Tehran signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, with China, France, Germany, Russia, Britain and the United States in 2015.

Iran agreed to curbs on its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of some sanctions. But the withdrawal of the United States would probably sink the deal. If that happens, Iran could retaliate by undermining the interests of Washington and its allies in the Middle East.

Here are some possible scenarios:

IRAQ

When Islamic State seized much of Iraq in 2014, Iran was quick to support Baghdad. Iran has since helped arm and train thousands of Shi’ite fighters in Iraq. These Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) are also a significant political force.

If the deal falls through, Iran could encourage PMF factions who want the U.S. to leave Iraq to step up rhetorical, and maybe military, attacks against American forces.

These could be rocket, mortar and roadside bomb attacks not directly linked to a specific Shi’ite militia, which would allow Iran to deny it had changed its position of avoiding direct conflict with U.S. forces in Iraq.

SYRIA

Iran and paramilitary allies such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah have been involved in Syria’s war since 2012. Iran has armed and trained thousands of Shi’ite paramilitary fighters to shore up the government. Israel says Iran has recruited at least 80,000 Shi’ite fighters.

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NYT: U.S. Navy Jets Begin Sorties Against IS in Syria From Mediterranean

ABOARD USS HARRY S. TRUMAN — A U.S. naval strike force led by aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman began sorties on May 3 against Islamic State in Syria, continuing missions by a U.S.-led coalition against the militants.

The force joined the U.S. Sixth Fleet on April 18, nearly a week after the United States, Britain and France launched air strikes targeting what Western powers said were Syrian chemical weapons installations.

The Navy said it was a scheduled deployment to support coalition partners, NATO allies and U.S. national security interests.

“We commenced combat operations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve,” Truman’s commanding officer Captain Nicholas Dienna said, referring to the coalition operation launched in 2014 against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

“That operation demonstrates … our resolve to our partners and allies in the region and our continuing fight to eliminate ISIS and their impact to the region,” he said.

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BBC: Survival and division in Iraq after IS

 

The BBC’s Feras Kilani returns to Mosul to assess the human cost after the fight against the Islamic State group.

REU: U.S. court blocks transfer of American detainee held in Iraq

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court on Monday blocked President Donald Trump’s administration from immediately transferring an American citizen accused of being an Islamic State member from military custody in Iraq to an unidentified country, apparently Saudi Arabia.

The man, who holds dual U.S.-Saudi citizenship and whose name has not been released, was captured in Syria and had been held in Iraq without legal representation until the American Civil Liberties Union intervened on his behalf in U.S. federal court last October.

The administration was seeking to transfer custody of the man even though U.S. courts had not resolved the legal challenge to win his release. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled 2-1 on Monday to uphold U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan’s ruling last month that had stopped the planned transfer.

The appeals court’s reasoning was unknown, as both its majority opinion and the dissent were issued under seal.

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AP: Iraqi vote offers chance to chart post-IS future

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqis head to the polls this weekend for the first time since the government declared victory against the Islamic State group, in national elections that could tilt the balance of power between the United States and Iran.

The May 12 election, the fourth since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, will be dominated by the same leaders and factions that emerged 15 years ago. But the atrocities committed by IS against fellow Sunnis, the hard-fought national campaign against the extremist group and new rifts among the dominant Shiite blocs seem to have eased the sectarian tensions that marked past votes.

The main fault-line is between Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who has deftly balanced both Iranian and American influence, and other Shiite politicians seen as closer to Iran. The vote is being held amid rising tensions between Washington and Tehran, as President Donald Trump weighs withdrawing the U.S. from the 2015 nuclear deal, and Israel and Gulf countries express growing concern about Iran’s regional ambitions.

Iraqis, meanwhile, expect little from what is sure to be another fractious coalition government. Fifteen years after the U.S. invasion, the country still suffers from widespread power outages and poor public services, and low oil prices have further eviscerated the economy. In Sunni-majority areas, where the war against IS destroyed vital infrastructure and countless homes, the challenges are even greater.

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NYT: When the Taliban Are at the Gates, a City Has One Choice: Pay Up

 

The aftermath of a bomb that exploded near an Afghan Army vehicle in Ghazni, in December. Credit Sayed Mustafa/EPA, via Shutterstock

GHAZNI CITY, Afghanistan — What does it feel like to live in an Afghan city on the brink of falling to the Taliban?

The residents of Ghazni, a provincial capital of 280,000 about 110 miles south of the capital, Kabul, on a main highway, can hardly tell anymore who’s in charge, and fear has become an everyday companion.

With the Taliban controlling some of the road network around Ghazni, citizens have long felt vulnerable. But during a recent visit, I kept hearing an even greater sense of defenselessness. Many here fear a full-on effort by the Taliban to seize the city could come at any time.

Not content to merely control access to the city, the insurgents have begun attacking police posts within it. The Taliban methodically extort money — they say it is taxation — from businesses in the city center, including those near the government headquarters, and an increasing number of insurgents live openly in the city. Their fighters regularly kill officials, security personnel and even traffic police officers.

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NYT: Afghan Gunships Killed and Wounded 107 Boys and Men in Attack Last Month: U.N.

KABUL — Rockets and heavy machines guns fired from Afghan government helicopters killed and wounded at least 107 boys and men attending a religious ceremony near the northern city of Kunduz last month, according to a United Nations report on Monday.

On April 2, villagers in Dasht-i Archi district of Kunduz said dozens of people including many children were killed in an attack on a religious ceremony, prompting the UN to launch an investigation.

The UN report underlined the risks of a new strategy, developed with U.S. advisers, which has seen a big build up in Afghan air power, with rocket-equipped helicopters and attack aircraft deployed to try to break a stalemate with the Taliban.

“A key finding of this report is that the government used rockets and heavy machinegun fire on a religious gathering, resulting in high numbers of child casualties,” the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said.

It said at least 36 people, including 30 children, were killed and 71 wounded and there were questions “as to the government’s respect of the rules of precaution and proportionality under international humanitarian law”.

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Afghan Air Force to start using Black Hawks from today

The UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters will start operations in support of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces as at least 60 Afghan Air Force personnel have fully completed their training for the historic operations debut. “A historic day for the Afghan Air Force today, Afghanistan’s first UH-60 Black Hawk mission-qualified crews graduated. Tomorrow, they .

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Pakistanis among 19 militants killed in NDS Special Forces operations

At least 19 militants including 7 Pakistani nationals were killed during the operations of the Special Forces of the Afghan Intelligence, National Directorate of Security (NDS), in eastern Nangarhar province. The provincial government media office in a statement said the NDS Special Forces conducted raids on military compounds of the Taliban in Beli area of .

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Color Denotes Today’s Confirmation

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Spc. Gabriel D. Conde, 22, of Loveland, Colorado, was killed in action April 30 as a result of enemy small arms fire in Tagab District, Afghanistan. The incident is under investign.
Conde was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Alaska, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

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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