Thursday, January 10, 2008

9 US service members

Six of the American soldiers were killed Wednesday at an unspecified location in Diyala in part of the offensive when insurgents detonated a large bomb hidden in a house. Four other soldiers were wounded, and an interpreter of unknown nationality was killed.
A military spokesman later confirmed that the explosion had occurred while the soldiers were clearing a building.
The military did not release further information, but in Diyala, northeast of Baghdad, house bombs have long been a staple weapon for Sunni fighters who try to lure soldiers inside booby-trapped buildings. Another house rigged to explode was discovered in the Diyala village of Khan Bani Saad on Sunday. Warplanes destroyed it with bombs.
Three American soldiers were killed Tuesday in neighboring Salahuddin Province, where fighting has been fierce recently between Sunni extremists and Sunni militiamen who have allied with American forces.

The above is from Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Stephen Farrell's "9 U.S. Soldiers Killed in Sunni Strongholds" and, no, it doesn't run on the front page. 3921 is the ICCC total currently for US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war with 17 for the month thus far. Reuters count is also 3921. In the Los Angeles Times a headline writer dubs a story "U.S. bombers target Al Qaeda in Iraq" but Alexandra Zavis and Julian E. Barnes article might question that:

In all, they dropped 40,000 pounds of bombs on Arab Jabour, in an area of mostly farmland, the U.S. military said in a statement.

40,000 pounds of bombs. On farmland. Who's being targeted? Sounds like the civilian population is being targeted. Also from Zavis and Barnes:

The last time six American troops were killed in a single hostile incident was in late May, in a roadside bombing in the Diyala community of Abu Sayda.

That's about all that's worth noting from them. They refer to "intelligence sources" -- 6 US service members killed in one day and 40,000 pounds of bombs dropped doesn't indicate that there's any working "intelligence" in the US command in Iraq. But hey, it's hard rewriting US military press releases, right? We should all cut 'em some slack for not including "precision air strikes," right? (In what world.) At least CBS and AP attribute this morning:

U.S. bombers and jet fighters unleashed 40,000 pounds of explosives during a 10-minute airstrike Thursday morning, flattening what the military called al Qaeda in Iraq safehavens on the southern outskirts of the capital.

In the New York Times (front page), James Risen's "2005 Use of Gas by Blackwater Leaves Questions" offers:

The helicopter was hovering over a Baghdad checkpoint into the Green Zone, one typically crowded with cars, Iraqi civilians and United States military personnel.
Suddenly, on that May day in 2005, the copter dropped CS gas, a riot-control substance the American military in Iraq can use only under the strictest conditions and with the approval of top military commanders. An armored vehicle on the ground also released the gas, temporarily blinding drivers, passers-by and at least 10 American soldiers operating the checkpoint.
"This was decidedly uncool and very, very dangerous," Capt. Kincy Clark of the Army, the senior officer at the scene, wrote later that day. "It's not a good thing to cause soldiers who are standing guard against car bombs, snipers and suicide bombers to cover their faces, choke, cough and otherwise degrade our awareness."

Nor is "a good thing" for "the senior officer" to be unaware that "it's not a good thing" to target civilian populations. A "senior officer" should especially remember that and, in fact, note that early and often.

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