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30 May

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.

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: Syrian army ready for southern battle, pro-Assad commander says

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The Syrian army has completed preparations for an imminent offensive against rebel-held areas in southwestern Syria, a non-Syrian commander in a military alliance that backs Damascus said on Tuesday, raising the prospect of a major new escalation.

However, a rebel commander in the Deraa region of the southwest told Reuters there was no sign of mobilization for such an assault and accused Damascus of waging psychological warfare. Nevertheless, rebels had prepared defenses, he said.

The rebel-held southwest has come into focus after the Syrian government, backed militarily by Iran and Russia, crushed the last besieged rebel enclaves near Damascus and north of the city of Homs. Damascus has vowed to recover the whole country.

The southwest is of concern to the United States, which last year brokered a “de-escalation” deal with Jordan and President Bashar al-Assad’s Russian allies, which has largely contained the war near the frontier with Israel.

The United States warned on Saturday it would take “firm and appropriate measures” in response to any violations of the ceasefire in that area.

While Assad is militarily unassailable in the Syrian conflict, swathes of territory at the frontiers with Iraq, Turkey and Jordan and Israel remain outside his control. The role of outside powers in these areas complicates further gains by Damascus.

The pro-Assad commander, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Syrian army’s preparations for the assault were complete. “The Syrian army will wage all the battles and has now become strong and capable,” the commander said.

Israel wants Iran-backed forces removed from areas near its frontier – and from Syria in general. Iran-backed Shi’ite militias, often spearheaded by Lebanon’s Hezbollah, have played a critical role fighting in support of Assad.

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BBC: Syria recognises Russian-backed Georgia regions

Syria has recognised two Russian-controlled regions of Georgia – Abkhazia and South Ossetia – as independent states, angering Georgia.

The Georgian Foreign Ministry responded by saying it was breaking off diplomatic relations with Syria.

Separatists in Abkhazia and South Ossetia broke away from Georgia in 2008 with massive help from Russian troops.

Besides Russia and Syria, only Venezuela, Nicaragua, Vanuatu and Nauru recognise them as independent.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has forged very close ties with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin since Russia sent a powerful force of aircraft and ships to bolster his war effort in September 2015.

The Russian intervention swung the war dramatically in Mr Assad’s favour, enabling his troops to recover much lost ground.

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ALJ: Trials of ISIL widows in Iraq

HIjran, born in 1994, is originally from Sadaqiyye, near Hawija. She is currently detained in Shaham Camp, near Tikrit with her children. Family members of ISIL rebels are held all together in different camps throughout the country. [Alessio Mamo/Al Jazeera]

HIjran, born in 1994, is originally from Sadaqiyye, near Hawija. She is currently detained in Shaham Camp, near Tikrit with her children. Family members of ISIL rebels are held all together in different camps throughout the country. Alessio Mamo/Al Jazeera

When Mariam arrived in Mosul from Moscow in 2014, together with her husband and their kids, she could not imagine that one day she would spend months in prison and would have to answer the court on charges of being a “terrorist”.

“I was thinking, as a Muslim, of spending a better life in an Islamic country like Iraq,” Mariam said from the court’s cell, holding her small child, Oussama.

Mariam is accused of being an ISIL member and risks spending the rest of her life in prison if convicted. She is not alone.

Up to 1,000 women accused of being ISIL members were detained in Iraq after the “terrorist group” was routed from the country. They are now being held accompanied by up to 820 infants, with some others yet to be born.

Most of the women had been widowed by the war against ISIL. They all wait for their hearings in a country where the justice system is described by rights groups as “fragile”.

A child playing in the rubbles near the Al-Nuri Mosque in the Old City of Mosul. [Alessio Mamo/Al Jazeera]

A child playing in the rubbles near the Al-Nuri Mosque in the Old City of Mosul. Alessio Mamo/Al Jazeera

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AP: The Latest: Blasts, gunfire outside Afghan Interior Ministry

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Latest on the war in Afghanistan (all times local):

An Afghan official says loud explosions have rocked the area around the Interior Ministry and that militants are exchanging fire with security forces.

Nasrat Rahimi, deputy spokesman for the ministry, did not immediately have further details about Wednesday’s attack.

The Taliban and a local affiliate of the Islamic State group have launched several attacks in the capital, Kabul, in recent months, killing hundreds of people.

An Afghan official says at least two police officials were killed in suicide-bomb attacks at a police station in eastern Logar province.

Khalid Safi, a spokesman for the provincial governor, says those killed were the commander of the police station and the deputy director of traffic police for Logar’s capital city, Puli Alim.

Safi said the casualty toll in the Wednesday morning attack was only an initial report and could rise.

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AP: Explosions, gunfire heard near Afghan Interior Ministry

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The area around the Afghan Interior Ministry was rocked by several loud explosions and gunfire on Wednesday, in what appeared to be the latest in a series of attacks in Kabul.

Nasrat Rahimi, deputy spokesman for the ministry, confirmed the attack was underway but did not have further details. The Taliban and a local affiliate of the Islamic State group have launched several attacks in Kabul in recent months, killing hundreds of people.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, Taliban suicide bombers attacked a police station in the eastern Logar province, killing at least three police.

Among the dead were the commander of the police station and the deputy director of traffic police for the provincial capital, Puli Alim, said Khalid Safi, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

Another four police and eight civilians, including two children, were wounded in the attack early Wednesday, said Shah Poor Ahmadzai, spokesman for the provincial police chief.

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AP: US: At least 50 killed in strike on Taliban leaders

WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. rocket artillery strike last week on a gathering of Taliban leaders in southern Afghanistan killed at least 50 of them, a U.S. military official said Tuesday.

Lt. Col. Martin O’Donnell, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan, said a weapon system known as the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, which is capable of firing GPS-guided rockets, destroyed a command-and-control position that was a known meeting place for high-level Taliban leaders. He said at least 50 leaders were killed.

Additional, unspecified numbers of Taliban officials were killed in U.S. airstrikes over a recent 10-day period, the spokesman said.

The May 24 rocket artillery attack in the Musa Qala district of Helmand province was announced by the U.S. military last week, but without a public estimate of the numbers killed.

O’Donnell said that because of the large number of leaders killed and their involvement in a range of attack planning, the impact of the HIMARS strike “will be felt beyond Helmand province.” He called it an example of how the U.S. military is using expanded authorities granted as part of the Trump administration’s new regional strategy for fighting the Afghanistan war, allowing U.S. forces to take a more active role in combat.

U.S. officials have sought to compel the Taliban to enter peace talks by increasing the military pressure on them.

Last week, a U.S. government watchdog group said the administration’s revamped strategy has made little progress against the Taliban insurgency, leaving the country a “dangerous and volatile” place nearly 17 years after the U.S. invaded. That conclusion contrasts with assertions last fall by the American military that the Afghans, with U.S. support, had “turned the corner” and captured momentum against the Taliban, which it called fractured and desperate.

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NYT: Afghan Women Denied Justice Over Violence, United Nations Says

KABUL — A law meant to protect Afghan women from violence is being undermined by authorities who routinely refer even serious criminal cases to traditional mediation councils that fail to protect victims, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

The Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) law, passed in 2009, was a centerpiece of efforts to improve protection for Afghan women, who suffer widespread violence in one of the worst countries in the world to be born female.

But its effectiveness has been weakened by continued reliance on mediation by local elders to resolve violent crime.

“The wide use of mediation when a woman or girl has been beaten, mutilated or murdered, or when she has been the victim of that awful concept of ‘honor killing’, normalizes such violence and makes it much more likely to recur,” said Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“To use mediation for such offences is at its core a human rights violation by the State,” Al Hussein said in a statement accompanying a United Nations report, entitled “Injustice and Impunity: Mediation of Criminal Offences against Women”.

In many remote parts of Afghanistan, where the formal legal system has no sway, mediation is the only form of justice, but the U.N. report focused on cases reported to the authorities.

No comment was immediately available from the office of Afghanistan’s attorney general.

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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

 

Iraq A Deadly Deception – 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.

DRG: Invading Iraq

Part One: How Britain And America Got It Wrong (Modern Military Documentary)

Invading Iraq is a special two-hour documentary investigation recounting the key strategies, battles and turning points of the war from both sides of the battlefield – ending with the story of Saddam’s capture. The documentary takes viewers behind the scenes of the allied invasion and advance on Baghdad. Through first-hand accounts from key commanders, frontline soldiers and civilians on both sides of the conflict, the film offers a rare battlefield perspective of the war as seen through the eyes of those who lived it. It also shows how the false assessment of Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction was just the first in a series of major intelligence failures that shaped the course of the war and led to the unstable occupation America and Britain are now mired in.

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