Thursday, June 30, 2011

3 more US soldiers killed in the Iraq War

Out of Iraq this morning comes the news of more US soldiers killed. Ed O'Keefe and Tim Craig (Washington Post) report that 3 US soldiers were killed yesterday making 15 for the month. The reporters tell you 39 US troops have died in Iraq this year. Okay, but let's get serious and we don't have to go some silly little website (I'm not referring to the Washington Post, I'm referring to ICCC which is a joke). Let's go to the Pentagon's numbers.

4469 is the number of US military deaths in the Iraq War as yesterday at ten a.m. So add three and you have 4472. (The DoD number does not increase until after DoD announces names of the fallen, FYI.) But the number is "48" (and, again, add 3 to get the current number of 51).

What is that number? What is 51? Well it's not a prime number. But it is the number of US service members killed in Iraq during "Operation New Dawn" you're soaking in it, as Isaiah's September 6th comic (below) noted.

Now he's soaking in it

Operation New Dawn began September 1st. Remember why? Barack declared combat over on August 31st. His own little "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED." (Isaiah archives his comics at The World Today Just Nuts.) Barack show boated and, yes, LIED. Since his little photo op, 51 US troops have died in the Iraq War. That would be the war he falsely and wrongly has received credit for ending.

Tim Arrango (New York Times) notes that 15 is the sort of "monthly toll not seen since 2008." Arango notes 14 of the fallen were killed "in hostile incidents." That may be 15. One of the three killed on Sunday was killed, according to what the military told his family, while he was doing a house sweep. His death is under investigation.

Again, the Iraq War is not over. Many people wrongly believe it is and not just due to the pretty words of Barack but due to a media that's refused to cover Iraq. We'll come back to that but let's yet again note the memo AP Deputy Managing Editor for Standards and Production Tom Kent sent out at the start of September 2010 (following Barack's 'combat's over, boys and girls!' speech):

Whatever the subject, we should be correct and consistent in our description of what the situation in Iraq is. This guidance summarizes the situation and suggests wording to use and avoid.
To begin with, combat in Iraq is not over, and we should not uncritically repeat suggestions that it is, even if they come from senior officials. The situation on the ground in Iraq is no different today than it has been for some months. Iraqi security forces are still fighting Sunni and al-Qaida insurgents. Many Iraqis remain very concerned for their country's future despite a dramatic improvement in security, the economy and living conditions in many areas.

As for U.S. involvement, it also goes too far to say that the U.S. part in the conflict in Iraq is over. President Obama said Monday night that "the American combat mission in Iraq has ended. Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country."

However, 50,000 American troops remain in country. Our own reporting on the ground confirms that some of these troops, especially some 4,500 special operations forces, continue to be directly engaged in military operations. These troops are accompanying Iraqi soldiers into battle with militant groups and may well fire and be fired on.
In addition, although administration spokesmen say we are now at the tail end of American involvement and all troops will be gone by the end of 2011, there is no guarantee that this will be the case.
Our stories about Iraq should make clear that U.S. troops remain involved in combat operations alongside Iraqi forces, although U.S. officials say the American combat mission has formally ended. We can also say the United States has ended its major combat role in Iraq, or that it has transferred military authority to Iraqi forces. We can add that beyond U.S. boots on the ground, Iraq is expected to need U.S. air power and other military support for years to control its own air space and to deter possible attack from abroad.
Unless there is balancing language, our content should not refer to the end of combat in Iraq, or the end of U.S. military involvement. Nor should it say flat-out (since we can't predict the future) that the United States is at the end of its military role.

It's a shame more outlets couldn't follow the AP's lead.

Most can't even follow Iraq. Like Diane Sawyer. Long before ABC World News Tonight airs this evening, the news is 3 US soldiers die in Iraq. Will Diane cover it? Not likely. When 5 US soldiers died in a single attack on June 5th (the death toll rose to six when a soldier injured in the attack died days later), World News Tonight couldn't tell you because they just don't give a damn about Iraq (they were all over Anthony Weiner that night and George Steph had to inform the world that Katie Couric would be joining ABC News in the not-to-soon future -- either of those stories could have been trimmed to allow time to note the death -- and to be clear, Katie didn't participate in the in-house announcement George tried to pass off as news). Will she continue her month long pattern of ignoring Iraq this evening? You could turn into a drinking game, I suppose, but if you're wanting news this evening on the deaths, you're better off tuning into CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley or NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams -- both anchors have made a point to cover the news out of Iraq this month while Diane Sawyer's spent June attempting to turn World News Tonight into The View: Almost Prime Time. Lara Jakes (AP) notes that 15 is the highest toll for US service members in Iraq since June 2009.

In other news, Iraq War veteran Elisha Dawkins is in the news. Jeff Brumley (Florida Times-Union) brings everyone up to date:

The Miami Herald broke the story that Dawkins has been in a city lockup for more than a month, and is scheduled for trial July 12. He faces a felony charge for failing to disclose in a 2006 passport application that he had started to apply for a passport three years before. It's been reported that Dawkins recently graduated last year from nursing school in Jacksonville. He born in the Bahamas and raised by relatives in Miami.
The case has garnered national attention, partly because Dawkins has an excellent military record. He was a combat photographer in the Army, serving in Iraq, before joining the Navy Reserve. A Facebook page has been created to help pay his legal and other expenses.
Nelson said it's ridiculous that making an error on a passport application can result in a decade in prison for a member of the military.

As noted in yesterday's snapshot, Senator Bill Nelson commented on the Senate floor about Elisha's case. Phil Gast and Greg Botelho (CNN) report:

Nelson, in prepared remarks, cited positive performance evaluations of the veteran and the possible sentence he faces.
"All John Dillinger served in prison was eight and a half years on a conviction for assault and battery with intent to rob and conspiracy to commit a felony," Nelson said.
The senator argued for passage of the Dream Act. The bill -- which was defeated in December 2010 -- would have given children who have grown up in the United States an opportunity to earn citizenship despite their family's immigration status.

The following community sites -- plus and Jane Fonda -- have updated last night and this morning:

Stan's "I Hope She Leaves" and Ann's "4 men, 2 women" are not showing up on the list. And we'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "U.S. MUST END WARS FOUGHT TO HIKE CORPORATE PROFITS" (US Labor Against the War):

Humanism has little place in U.S. global affairs these days when government acts as the enforcement arm of capitalism-run-amok.
Especially since WWII, Washington has habitually aligned itself with the goals of U.S. corporations to dominate. In Latin America and elsewhere, it has funded armies of goons that harass, batter, jail, and murder labor leaders and their allies. In Colombia, labor organizers that call a strike put their lives at risk. It's a veritable shooting gallery where trade unionists are targets.
In Iraq, writes Noam Chomsky in “Interventions”(City Lights Books), the occupying forces broke into union offices, arrested leaders, and enforced Saddam Hussein's antilabor laws. Union leaders were killed under mysterious circumstances. Concessions went to bitterly anti-union U.S. firms. New oil contracts went to firms whose executives were personal friends of President George W. Bush.
At home, U.S. corporations---which exhibit zero loyalty to their employees and to the cities that gave them all those tax breaks to locate---put profits first even if it means stripping those cities of their plants; even if it means throwing thousands of loyal staffers out of work; even if it means cheating taxpayers by relocating their headquarters' offshore; even if it means hiring cheap foreign labor.
“We are seeing the Financial Elite of America waging class warfare against the ordinary working men and women of this country who have made it what it is today,” says University of Illinois international legal authority Francis Boyle.
And Noam Chomsky points in Imperial Ambitions(Metropolitan Books): “Corporations barely pay taxes. The corporate tax rate is already very low, but corporations have worked out an array of complicated techniques so they often don't have to pay taxes at all.”

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