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

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

War News for Tuesday, September 04, 2007

(1) The DoD has announced a new death, not previously reported by CENTCOM: Private Justin T. Sanders, 22, of Watson, Louisiana. Sanders died in a non-hostile, unspecified incident at Taji just northwest of Baghdad on Wednesday, August 29th.

(2) The DoD has also announced a second new death, not previously reported by CENTCOM: Specialist Travis M. Virgadamo, 19, of Las Vegas, Nevada. According to an article published in the Las Vegas Sun, Virgadamo had told his family that he had been so frightened in combat that he had "sought and received psychiatric counseling from the military in Iraq". Plus, he received additional counseling during a leave in late July when he was able to return home for a brief visit. His family says that he was in no emotional shape to be sent back to combat and that the army knew he was suciddal. According to his aunt, "They gave him Prozac and sent him back to Iraq". On Thursday, August 30th, Virgadamo killed himself with a self-inflicted gunshot wound at Camp Taji just northwest of Baghdad. His survivors include his parents and two sisters.

(3) The NATO/ISAF website has posted the death of a NATO soldier on Tuesday, September 4th, saying only that the servicemember was found dead in his barracks room. The brief report was bylined "Kabul" which may have been where the death occurred. As usual, no nationality was given.


Security incidents:

#1: Elsewhere Tuesday, the U.S. military said despite anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's declaration last week of a "freeze" on his Mahdi Army militia activities, there have been 11 attacks in Baghdad since last Thursday. "Among the 11 attacks attributed to criminal militia members are 107mm rocket attacks impacting coalition outposts and residential Baghdad neighborhoods, small arms attacks, the use of the deadly explosively formed projectiles and one complex attack requiring detailed coordination and planning," the military said in a statement.

#2: A roadside bomb went off in the morning at the entrance to a communication centre in Baghdad's neighbourhood of Zaiyounah, killing a civilian and wounding five, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

#3: Separately, a US force stormed a house in the same neighbourhood, killing two people inside the house and detaining another, the source said. The objective of the US raid was not clear yet, he added.

#4: Another roadside bomb explosion struck a US patrol near the Beirut Square on the Palestine Street in eastern Baghdad, wounding two civilians. It was not known whether the US posse sustained any casualty as the troops immediately cordoned off the area preventing people and Iraqi police from approaching the scene.

#5: The Iraqi army killed 10 insurgents and arrested 57 others around Iraq during the past 24 hours, the Defence Ministry said.

#6: One person was killed and five wounded by a roadside bomb in eastern Baghdad, police said.

#7: Fifteen bodies were found in different districts of Baghdad on Monday, police said.

#8: Eight electricity workers were kidnapped and killed in the northern Baghdad district of Waziriya on Monday, the Electricity Ministry said in a statement. The workers had been travelling to a training workshop in the northern city of Arbil.

#9: A source from the Iraqi police said on Tuesday two mortars fell onto the fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad with no reports of casualties.

#10: 2 injured in a car bomb explosion. The vehicle was parked in the car park of the Ministry of Trade, in Unions' St, Mansour District, central Baghdad and was detonated at 01:30 this afternoon.

Diyala Prv:
#1: A group of gunmen fired a volley of bullets at a gathering of people on Tuesday morning, killing two civilians," the source, who asked not to have his name mentioned, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq

#2: When a police vehicle rushed to the scene an explosive charge planted on a main road went off near it, wounding a policeman and damaging the vehicle, the source added.

#1: The assistant police chief of Kufa was assassinated by an unidentified sniper bullet in eastern Najaf, a security source from the province said on Tuesday. "Capt. Aziz Beiwi was assassinated at 9:00 p.m.on Monday by a sniper bullet that pierced his eye while he was heading home," the source, who asked not to be named, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq

#1: The British base at the city's airport, however, came under fire from some "light indirect fire" from mortars but they caused no damage or injuries, said British spokesman Maj. Mike Shearer.

#1: A roadside bomb killed an Iraqi army major and four of his soldiers in Baiji, 180 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#1: Two Iraqi soldiers were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle in the northern city of Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said

#2: 3 Iraqi policemen injured as IED targeted a joint patrol consisting of Iraqi police and Coalition forces in Kornish St, near al-Aras Club, downtown Kirkuk, at 11:20 pm yesterday evening. There was no mention of any MNFI casualties.

#3: 2 Turkmen, Najat Ali and Ali Haq were killed by gunmen in Gharnata neighborhood, south Kirkuk late last night as they were returning home from their store.

#4: 1 shepherd injured by grenade explosion yesterday evening. The 25 year old shepherd found the hand grenade and it accidentally exploded. He is in critical condition.

#5: 1 unidentified body of a female was found by Iraqi Police near Galozi village, Barada, to the north of Kirkuk this morning. She was 20 – 25 years of age, and had been shot several times. The body has been transported to the morgue for further investigation into her identity and the details of her death.

#6: 1 civilian shot dead by gunmen. Fadhel Mohammed al-Dulaimi, 38, was shot on his way home from work in the industrial area, near the used-car lots in Hawija district, to the south of Kirkuk.

#1: Gunmen shot dead an Iraqi journalist working for a local television in the northern city of Mosul, an Iraqi independent watchdog said on Tuesday. "Amir Malallah al-Rashidi, a sport journalist, was gunned down by unidentified armed men riding two vehicles, in the Garage al- Shemal area in the city of Mosul at about 5:30 p.m. (1330 GMT) on Monday," the Iraqi Journalists' Rights Defending Association said in a statement posted on its web site.

#2: Gunmen killed two members of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan (PDK) in two separate incidents on Monday and Tuesday in Mosul, police said.

#1: The suicide attacks took place Tuesday in Kunduz town in northern Afghanistan, which has largely escaped surging violence by Taliban fighters, and Monday in Paktika province, a militant hotspot that borders Pakistan. Officers in Kunduz had been trailing a suspicious vehicle before they challenged the driver as he neared the town's bus station, deputy police chief Mohammed Omar Khail said. As they opened the doors, he detonated his explosives, killing two officers and wounding five others, he said.

#2: In the attack in Paktika, a suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into a police car, killing one officer and wounding two others, said Ghamia Khan, spokesman for the governor of Paktika.

#3: Also Tuesday, suspected Taliban fighters attacked a joint Afghan and U.S.-led coalition patrol in the central province of Ghazni, a coalition statement said. In the clash that ensued, "several" militants were killed, the statement said.

#4: KABUL, Afghanistan – An ISAF servicemember was found dead in his barracks room today.

#5: A Coalition helicopter made a precautionary landing south east of Khogyani in Nangarhar Province earlier today. The CH-47 Chinook helicopter, a transport aircraft, made a precautionary landing based on the crew’s judgement for safe air operations. There were no injuries to the crew or passengers on the aircraft.

#6: Unidentified armed men have kidnapped two Afghan officials, the government said on Tuesday, the latest in a wave of abductions amid a raging insurgency by Islamist Taliban guerrillas. The pair, employees of the ministry of rural development, were seized on Monday while discussing a project in the southwestern province of Nimroz with residents, the ministry said in a statement.

Casualty Reports:

The DoD has identified the Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldier who died in enemy action in western Baghdad on Thursday, August 30th: Staff Sergeant Jason M. Butkus, 34, of West Milford, New Jersey. His unit, the 1st Battalion of the 28th Infantry Regiment (1st Infantry Division out of Fort Riley, KS) had been operating in the western Baghdad neighborhood of Amel.