18 May

United States Wars, News and Casualties

United States Wars, News and Casualties

Iraq A Deadly Deception 2016, War Documentary 2018

WAR DOCUMENTARY: IRAQ A DEADLY DECEPTION ALJAZEERA DOCUMENTARIES 2018 On the evening of 9/11, George W Bush made a vow to the American public – that he would defeat terrorism.

Unknown to those listening in shock to the presidential address, the president and his advisers had already begun planning their trajectory into an invasion of Iraq. It was packaged as “holding responsible the states who support terrorism” by Richard Perle, a Pentagon adviser between 2001 and 2003.

“I believe it represented a recognition that we would never succeed against the terrorists if we went after them one at a time and as long as governments were facilitating the organisation, training, equipping of, financing of terrorist organisations, we were never going to get it under control,” says Perle.

After 100 days spent fighting those who had become publicly accepted as the culprits – Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan – the US set the ball rolling for war against Iraq.

On the evening of 9/11 the president is saying: well, maybe we’ll be going after Iraq now and somebody said, well, that would be against international law. The president responded: I don’t care, we’re going to kick some ass.

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

REASON: John McCain: Iraq War ‘Can’t Be Judged as Anything Other Than a Mistake’

“I have to accept my share of the blame for it,” the ailing senator writes in a new book, even while defending several other interventions and surges.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), arguably the most influential post-Cold War hawk to never have worked inside the White House, makes a startling admission on page 107 of his soon-to-be-released book, The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations.

“The principal reason for invading Iraq, that Saddam had WMD, was wrong,” McCain writes along with co-author Mark Salter. “The war, with its cost in lives and treasure and security, can’t be judged as anything other than a mistake, a very serious one, and I have to accept my share of the blame for it.”

This marks a departure from McCain’s historical stances on whether the war was justified. In his speech after wrapping up the GOP presidential nomination in March 2008—long after the lack of weapons of mass destruction was well established—McCain insisted that “I will defend the decision to destroy Saddam Hussein’s regime as I criticized the failed tactics that were employed for too long to establish the conditions that will allow us to leave that country with our country’s interests secure and our honor intact.”

McCain spent most of the 2007-2008 election cycle focusing not on the original decision to go to war, but on President George W. Bush’s unpopular counter-insurgency “surge” of U.S. troops, which the senator had been advocating for years. “The next president of the United States is not going to have to address the issue as to whether we went into Iraq or not,” McCain said at his first debate with Barack Obama. “The next president of the United States is going to have to decide how we leave, when we leave, and what we leave behind.” (Obama’s counter: “John, you like to pretend like the war started in 2007…[A]t the time when the war started, you said it was going to be quick and easy. You said we knew where the weapons of mass destruction were. You were wrong. You said that we were going to be greeted as liberators. You were wrong. You said that there was no history of violence between Shiite and Sunni. And you were wrong.”)

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Photo – Iraq

GPR: The Forgotten Casualties

NYT: Veterans Go Back to Court Over Burn Pits. Do They Have a Chance?

On May 9, a federal appeals court heard oral arguments in a case about an explosive issue among U.S. veterans: the widespread use of burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the potential health consequences they suffered as a result.

The case, which dates back to 2008, consolidated dozens of lawsuits by hundreds of veterans and their families seeking to recover damages from the military contractor KBR Inc., but a trial court dismissed it in July 2017. It could be at a legal dead end unless the panel of judges, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., overturns the dismissal.

The plaintiffs accuse KBR of negligence for exposing them to toxic emissions from open-air trash fires known as burn pits, which they say cause respiratory, neurological and other health problems. In tossing the case last year, the trial court accepted KBR’s argument that the American military made the decision to use burn pits to dispose of trash on bases, and that federal courts cannot second-guess the executive branch’s wartime decisions.

One plaintiff, Lauren Price, a Navy veteran from Pasco County, Fla., who developed constrictive bronchiolitis after working at a burn pit in Baghdad, said in an interview that she has already given up hope. “I’ve stopped paying attention,” she said. After 10 years of litigation, the case is still at the procedural starting gates, and unless the plaintiffs eke out a win on appeal, it will be one of the biggest setbacks yet for tens of thousands of affected veterans who have received zero recompense despite years of advocacy by lawyers and nonprofits.

The controversy is at a point where it could become the subject of a Supreme Court decision or an act of Congress. Here’s a brief introduction to an issue that has risen over time from the lowest military scuttlebutt to the highest levels of American government.

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REU: France to seek backing for new mechanism to assign blame for chemical attacks

PARIS (Reuters) – France will on Friday seek commitments from some 30 countries to support the creation of a new mechanism at the world’s chemical weapons watchdog to enable it to assign blame for attacks carried out with banned munitions, French diplomats said.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague currently only determines whether such attacks have taken place, not who carried them out.

France’s move comes in the wake of a suspected poison gas attack by Syrian government forces east of Damascus in early April. Syria and its ally Russia denied that any attack had taken place and that they were holding up inspections or had tampered with evidence at the site.

Before the OPCW was able to carry out inspections – which in any case would not have assigned blame – the United States, France and Britain launched missile attacks on Syria’s chemical weapons-related facilities.

A new OPCW mechanism could assign blame for attacks, a job which had been carried out from 2015 by a joint United Nations-OPCW investigation in Syria, until its renewal was vetoed by Russia in November.

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AP: After upset Iraqi vote, US prepares to embrace a former foe

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fourteen years after Muqtada al-Sadr’s militias fought American troops, the United States is preparing to work hand in hand with the charismatic Shiite cleric and his movement, hoping to find common cause in curtailing Iran’s influence in the wake of an upset Iraqi election.

Like many Iraqis, Washington was caught off guard by the election, in which a coalition organized by al-Sadr took the largest share of the parliamentary vote. Although al-Sadr, who didn’t run himself, won’t become prime minister, his movement will have an outsize role in building the next government and determining the course of Iraq’s future.

Can the U.S. really set aside the past and embrace a cleric whose Mahdi Army killed U.S. and Iraqi troops and was accused of kidnapping, torturing and killing Sunni Iraqis? The tentative answer is yes.

U.S. officials involved in Iraq policy said President Donald Trump’s administration was cautiously optimistic that al-Sadr, having evolved over the years into a populist, corruption-fighting leader, could herald the formation of a broad-based and inclusive government that tolerates a continuing American presence in the country.

Al-Sadr has turned away from his previous alignment with Iran. U.S. officials believe that will make it more difficult for Tehran to install an Iran-friendly government in Baghdad. The officials weren’t authorized to discuss Iraq’s election publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, said recent public messages from al-Sadr bode positively for U.S. interests — such as finishing off the Islamic State group, a common enemy of the U.S. and al-Sadr’s militia. In addition to vowing to respect Iraq’s constitution, al-Sadr has emphasized Iraqi sovereignty and the need for a balanced foreign policy that limits Iran’s influence, as well as his ability to work with secularists and liberals such as Iraq’s communist party.

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NYT: Anti-American Cleric’s Power Grows, Upending Pentagon’s Plans for Iraq

WASHINGTON — Over the past four years, American military planning in Iraq has counted on working with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, a moderate Shiite Muslim who has managed to rebuild the country’s army, restore sovereignty and partner with both the United States and Iran to defeat the Islamic State.

But the results of the weekend’s national elections in Iraq have torn the American assumptions asunder.

Huge gains in Parliament were made by a party led by the anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr, whose implacable opposition to the presence of United States troops in Iraq was a top reason Washington withdrew its combat forces in 2011.

Now, President Trump and the Pentagon must decide whether the United States can move ahead with plans to leave a residual force of about 4,500 American troops in Iraq after the war against the Islamic State……………..Iran now “has no motivation for a leader in Iraq who would be positive toward the United States,” said Vali Nasr, the dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

But Pentagon officials are betting that Iran also does not want to see a return of the Islamic State.

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REU: Denmark pulls special forces out of Iraq

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Denmark said on Thursday it would pull around 60 special forces from Iraq, as most areas once controlled by Islamic State have been liberated.

The gradual pull-back will conclude in late autumn, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Denmark will still have around 180 military personnel posted to the al-Asad air base in Iraq, and contribute to radar surveillance as part of an international coalition fighting the Islamist militant group.

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REU: U.S. Air Force apologizes for Yanny/Laurel tweet about Afghan war

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Air Force apologized on Thursday and withdrew a tweet that sought to find humor in killing Taliban militants in Afghanistan by invoking a viral Internet debate about whether an audio file says the words “Laurel” or “Yanny.”

The tweet from the Air Force’s main Twitter account @usairforce came after days of intense fighting in the Afghan city of Farah, which has served as a reminder of the perils facing U.S.-backed Afghan forces even after 16 years of war.

The U.S. military has provided air support with A-10 attack aircraft and drones.

“The Taliban forces in Farah city #Afghanistan would much rather have heard #Yanny or #Laurel than the deafening #BRRRT they got courtesy of our #A10,” read the Air Force Tweet. The #BRRRT was meant to suggest the sound of Gatling gun fire.

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Pentagon not ruling out Iran’s involvement in Farah attack

The US Department of Defense or Pentagon does not rule out the involvement of Iran in a major offensive carried out by the Taliban militants in western Farah city of Afghanistan. “I don’t think you can ever rule out how much Iran interferes throughout this region. Iran remains the most destabilizing factor in the Middle .

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Video: Afghan-US Special Forces kill ISIS facilitator involved in Kabul attacks

The Afghan and US Special Forces have killed a senior ISIS facilitator involved in recent attacks in capital Kabul. The NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in a report said the Afghan and U.S. Special Operations Forces eliminated senior IS-K facilitator Yasir during a nighttime air assault raid in Mohmand Darah district, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, May 9, .

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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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