Tuesday, June 28, 2011

12 combat deaths in Iraq this month?

Three US soldiers died in Iraq Sunday. L. Finch (Boston Globe) reports that one of the three is 22-year-old Sgt Matthew Gallagher who was on his deployment to Iraq and who was supposed to have a brief leave to return home next week for his 23rd birthday. James Ruggiero, Matthew Gallagher's step-father, states, "He loved the Army so much he was talking about reenlisting when the time was up." Sean Teehan (Cape Cod Times) adds a quote from Katie Gallagher, Matthew Gallagher's spouse, "He died a hero." In addition to his wife and his step-father, his survivors include his mother Cheryl Ruggiero and his biological father Peter Gallagher. His mother explains the military told her that he was doing "a house sweep" when he had been shot and she states, "I'm a gold star mother. But I'd give that gold star back if it could bring my baby back." WCVB offers a video report which includes Katie Gallger speaking of her late husband, "He's the most generous nice person that I've ever met in my life. He was everything to me. He was my best friend."

Manny Gamallo (Tulsa World) reports
20-year-old Pfc Dylan Jeffrey Johnson was killed by "a grenade attack in Iraq on Sunday, his father said" in Jalula and that another soldier (a sergeant) was killed as well. Jeff Johnson says of his son, "He knew they were going to Iraq, but he didn't know when. He was really excited about going over there."

The three deaths Sunday brought the number of US soldiers killed in Iraq this month to 12, with 11 of them dubbed combat deaths and 1 under investigation. Please note, if parents above are accurately remembering what they were told (and I'm sure they are), there are 12 combat deaths. The 1 under investigation is from Sunday and was a single soldier. Now we learn that soldier was shot dead while doing a house sweep? Unless it was by a fellow US soldier, that was combat or else there's another death that hasn't been acknowledged. This needs to be cleared up by the Pentagon and it needs to be cleared up very quickly.

June 6th there was an attack that resulted in the deaths of 6 soldiers (5 died that day, one of the wounded died after he had a medical transport back to the US). One of the six who died June 6th was buried yesterday, 27-year-old Spc Micahel Cook Jr. CBS3 Sprinfield provides a video report which includes, "While family members of Cook declined to go on camera, they tell us Cook leaves behind his wife Samantha and two young children. Even though Cook is not from Pioneer Valley, family and friends say it's special for him to be buried with full military honors at the Massachusetts Veterans Cemetery in Agawam because his uncle, who also served in the military, is buried there as well." I'm going to go ahead and be rude here and not give a damn about it. It's your job to know what you're saying. If you're on camera or you're in print, it's your damn job. You need to learn to do it. CBS 3 wrongly states June 5th was the worst attack (based on US deaths) in Iraq in 2 years. No. That was the week of June 6th. Go back to June 12th here and you will find "Another US soldier dead from the Iraq War" and the Defense Dept annoucement:

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation New Dawn.
Spc. Marcos A. Cintron, 32, of Orlando, Fla., died June 16 at a medical facility in Boston, Mass., of wounds suffered June 6 at Baghdad, Iraq, when insurgents attacked his unit with indirect fire. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.
For more information, the media may contact 1st Infantry Division public affairs office at 785-240-6359 or 785-307-0641.

That took the number to six dead from that attack. June 12th. It's now June 28th. There's no excuse for not knowing about Marcos A. Cintron's death now. It's disrespectful to him and makes you look like a lazy ass when you can't get your facts straight. 6 US soldiers were killed in that attack, not 5. That is so disrespectful. It's not like DoD just announced the death yesterday. Nor is it like you're doing a podcast. You've got a whole newsroom behind you and you can't get your facts right.

Here's DoD's June 9th release on the 5 who died on June 6th:

DOD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of five soldiers who were supporting Operation New Dawn.

They died June 6 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with indirect fire. They were assigned to the1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.

Killed were:

Spc. Emilio J. Campo Jr., 20, of Madelia, Minn.;

Spc. Michael B. Cook Jr., 27, of Middletown, Ohio;

Spc. Christopher B. Fishbeck, 24, of Victorville, Calif.;

Spc. Robert P. Hartwick, 20, of Rockbridge, Ohio; and

Pfc. Michael C. Olivieri, 26, Chicago, Ill.

For more information, the media may contact the 1st Infantry Division public affairs office at 785-240-6359 or 785-307-0641.

Six died. There are two who were seriously wounded -- so badly that they're now out of the Army. One lost both his legs. Most press outlets have never even noted that. We'll (again) note him in today's snapshot and we'll also note the other known wounded. (The military never gave the press a number for the wounded or even acknowledged that anyone was wounded in the attacks until they announced Marcus Cintron's death and acknowledged he was injured in the attack.) Here's George Graham (The Republican) writing about Cook in a story published yesterday at 5:00 pm, "U.S. Army Spc. Michael Benjamin Cook Jr., one of five soldiers killed in action in Iraq earlier this month, was laid to rest here Monday at the Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery." But, as we've established, he wasn't "one of five," he was one of six. Again, there's no excuse for this. I am appalled.

Jake O'Donnell (Patch) notes, "During the funeral ceremony Cook was honored with several posthumous awards and medals, including the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and the Good Conduct Medal. Cook has also been honored with the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Combat Action Badge and the Army Service Ribbon." O'Donnell provides a photo essay of the service here. David Roback (The Republican) offers a photo essay here.

Gen David Petraeus was once the top US commander in Iraq. He moved on to Afghanistan and is now nominated by Barack Obama to head the CIA. Greg Mitchell (The Nation) revisits the suicide of Ted Westhusing:

In Iraq, Westhusing worked under two generals: Maj. Gen. Joseph Fil, and Petraeus, then a lieutenant general. But Bryce continued: “By late May, Westhusing was becoming despondent over what he was seeing." When his body was found, a note was found nearby addressed to Petraeus and Fil. It read:
"Thanks for telling me it was a good day until I briefed you. [Redacted name]—You are only interested in your career and provide no support to your staff—no msn [mission] support and you don’t care. I cannot support a msn that leads to corruption, human right abuses and liars. I am sullied—no more. I didn’t volunteer to support corrupt, money grubbing contractors, nor work for commanders only interested in themselves. I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored. I trust no Iraqi. I cannot live this way. All my love to my family, my wife and my precious children. I love you and trust you only. Death before being dishonored any more.
"Trust is essential—I don’t know who trust anymore. Why serve when you cannot accomplish the mission, when you no longer believe in the cause, when your every effort and breath to succeed meets with lies, lack of support, and selfishness? No more. Reevaluate yourselves, cdrs [commanders]. You are not what you think you are and I know it.”
Twelve days after Westhusing’s body was found, Army investigators talked with his widow, who told them: "I think Ted gave his life to let everyone know what was going on. They need to get to the bottom of it, and hope all these bad things get cleaned up.”

Yesterday on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, Pelley (link has text and video) introduced Bill Whitaker's latest investigative report, "On any given day in this country, more than 75,000 military veterans are homeless. So we were shocked to discover what's become of land in southern California that's meant to house homeless veterans and once did." Whitaker's report reveals how the city of Los Angeles is misusing land that was given to the city for veterans housing and how the city can't explain why they've misused the land for over a century or where the money has gone that they've charged various companies they've rented it out to in that time.

The following community sites -- plus Antiwar.com -- updated last night and this morning:

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends