The present-day U.S. military qualifies by any measure as highly professional, much more so than its Cold War predecessor. Yet the purpose of today’s professionals is not to preserve peace but to fight unending wars in distant places. Intoxicated by a post-Cold War belief in its own omnipotence, the United States allowed itself to be drawn into a long series of armed conflicts, almost all of them yielding unintended consequences and imposing greater than anticipated costs. Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. forces have destroyed many targets and killed many people. Only rarely, however, have they succeeded in accomplishing their assigned political purposes. . . . [F]rom our present vantage point, it becomes apparent that the “Revolution of ‘89” did not initiate a new era of history. At most, the events of that year fostered various unhelpful illusions that impeded our capacity to recognize and respond to the forces of change that actually matter.

Andrew Bacevich

Saturday, September 8, 2007

War News for Saturday, September 08, 2007

The British Ministry of Defense is reporting the death of a British soldier in Iraq on Wednesday, September 5th. The statement is vaguely worded, saying only that he was from the Parachute Regiment and that he died "while conducting routine operations in support of ongoing Coalition activity in Iraq". However, a BBC News item is stating that the man was reportedly on a special forces mission and was a member of the Special Air Services (SAS). The 1st Battalion of the Parachute Regiment exists to provide specialized support to Special Forces such as the SAS.


Security incidents:

#1: A contractor working for the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center in Huntsville died Friday in Iraq when the vehicle he was riding in was struck by a bomb, according to the Corps of Engineers. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. Another contractor was injured during the same incident

#2: Police found eight bodies in different districts in Baghdad on Friday, police said.

#1: Unidentified gunmen have killed a prominent aide of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in the Iraqi city of Najaf, police said on Saturday. Mohammed al-Garaawi, a member of Sadr's office in the holy city of Najaf, was gunned down in front of his house on Friday, said Najaf police commander General Abdul Karim Mustafa. "Gunmen driving a Daewoo car assassinated Garaawi in front of his house in Al-Jamiaa neighbourhood and then fled," said Mustafa.

#1: A roadside bomb exploded in a market in the holy Shia Iraqi town of Kufa today, killing five people and wounding eight, police said. The local hospital said three people were killed and four wounded.

#1: Gunmen killed a 40-year-old woman in front of her house in southeastern Diwaniya, 180 km (112 miles) south of Baghdad, on Friday.

#1: Four bodies, including one of a woman, were found with gunshot wounds in Daquq, 45 km (28 miles) south of Kirkuk, police said.

Al Zab:
#1: Gunmen killed three people in a drive-by shooting in Al-Zab, 35 km (20 miles) southwest of northern Kirkuk, on Friday, police said.

#1: A car bomb exploded near a police station in the Shi'ite Turkmen town of Basheer, 20 km (12 miles) southwest of Kirkuk, police said. One police source said one policeman was killed, while a second said two died. Police said Turkmen residents launched a revenge attack on the Sunni town of Albu-Faraj, burning six houses.

#2: Police found two bodies with gunshot wounds and signs of torture in a small town north of Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.


Casualty Reports:

(1) The DoD has confirmed the death of Kentucky Army National Guard Staff Sergeant Delmar White, 37, of Wallins, Kentucky, in a blast from an improvised explosive device in Baghdad on Sunday, September 2nd.

(2) The DoD has identified the two Task Force Lightning soldiers who died in Balad in Salah ad Din Province from an improvised explosive device attack on Wednesday, September 5th:
Corporal William T. Warford III, 24, of Temple, Texas
Private 1st Class Dane R. Balcon, 19, of Colorado Springs, Colorado
A brief article from Waco (Texas) station KWTX reports that Warford joined the army in September of 2004 and was a track vehicle repairman. He had been in Iraq since October of 2006.

A somewhat lengthier piece from the Colorado Springs Gazette describes Balcon as very much involved in all aspects of music while in high school, including being on the school's drum line during his senior year. He graduated in 2006. A career in the military was what he had dreamed of for years. Balcon apparently enlisted in January of 2007 and returned to his high school in May to see his teachers and friends once more before shipping out for Iraq.

(3) The DoD has also identified the Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier who died from a non-hostile, unspecified injury in Baghdad on Wednesday, September 5th: Sergeant 1st Class David A. Cooper Jr., 36, of State College, Pennsylvania. The only substantial coverage on Cooper at the moment comes from the Associated Press which quotes a statement issued from Fort Lewis, WA, where Cooper was stationed. He had enlisted in the Army in June of 1988, and had been assigned to Korea, Fort Drum, NY, and Fort Knox, KY, before his current Fort Lewis assignment. At the time of his death he was a platoon sergeant recently based in the East Rashid district in southern Baghdad.

(4) The DoD has identified a soldier who died in an enemy attack on his unit in Baghdad on Wednesday, September 5th: Specialist Keith A. Nurnberg, 26, of McHenry, Illinois. His unit, the 2nd Battalion of the 69th Armor Regiment (3rd Infantry Division out of Fort Benning, GA), had recently been operating out of FOB Rustamiyah in eastern Baghdad which could mean he was one of the two soldiers who died in the incident described in this CENTCOM release. According to article published by Chicago station WLS-TV, Nurnberg first enlisted in the Army 4 years ago, following a long family tradition of military service. Not long after the Iraq War began, he was ordered to deploy to Iraq where he served as a tank gunner. He re-enlisted last year. Also last year over the Christmas holidays, he married a woman he had known for some 10 years and they settled in Genoa City, Wisconsin, not far from where his wife teaches school in Round Lake. Within a few months they were expecting a child, but Nurnberg was deployed to Iraq for a second time in March of this year. On September 5th, while on patrol, his armored vehicle was hit by a rocket propelled grenade, killing his dreams of seeing his first child's birth this November.