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

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

War News for Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Two Iraqi men watch an oil spill burn Tuesday in the Tigris River in Tikrit, about 80 miles north of Baghdad, after a bomb went off under a pipeline in Beiji. AP
(1) MNF-Iraq is reporting that 3 Task Force Lightning Soldiers were killed in Diyala Province, Tuesday, September 18, 2007, following an explosion near their patrol. Three Soldiers were also wounded and transported to a Coalition medical facility for treatment.
(2) MNF-Iraq is reporting that a Task Force Lightning Soldier died in a vehicle accident in Nineveh province on Tuesday, September 18, 2007. The incident is currently under investigation.
(3) The DoD has announced a new death, not previously reported by CENTCOM: Pfc. Brandon T. Thorsen, 22, of Trenton, Fla., who died Sept. 15 in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident Sept. 14 in Baghdad. Thorsen was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Bliss, Texas.The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation.
(4) MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldier who died during combat operations in an area west of the Iraqi capital Sep 19.
(5) MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldier who was killed during a small arms fire attack while conducting combat operations in a southern section of the Iraqi capital Sept. 18.
(6) MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Task Force Lightning Soldier in a a non-battle related cause, Wednesday, in Salah ad Din Province.
Security incidents:
(update) Unknown attackers have blown up part of an Iraqi pipeline that pumps crude oil from Kirkuk oil fields to the Turkish export terminal, Ceyhan, a senior Iraqi oil official and a shipping agent said Wednesday. It isn't known yet how long it will take the Iraqi authorities to repair the damaged pipeline. A Middle East shipping agent based in Ceyhan, through which Iraq exports its Kirkuk crude to Europe, confirmed the flow of oil via the export pipeline was on hold Wednesday. The agent expected damage to the pipeline to delay or cancel a tender announced last week by the country's crude oil marketing arm, SOMO, to sell 5 million barrels. The storage facilities at Ceyhan now contain 6.7 million barrels, but Iraq had already sold 4.68 million barrels out of that amount at another tender announced earlier. The remaining barrels won't be enough for a sale, the shipper said. Two vessels were waiting to load 1.7 million barrels from Kirkuk crude in the storage facilities at Ceyhan Wednesday, he said. One belongs to Spanish refiner Cepsa and the other to U.S. oil major ExxonMobil Corp. (XOM), he added. SOMO awarded last week the 4.68 million barrels of Kirkuk crude oil in a tender to four companies. The crude must be lifted from Ceyhan before Sept. 24.

#1: A Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldier was killed during a small arms fire attack while conducting combat operations in a southern section of the Iraqi capital Sept. 18.

#2: The United States yesterday suspended all land travel by US diplomats and other civilian officials in Iraq outside Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, amid mounting public outrage over the alleged killing of civilians by the US Embassy's security provider Blackwater USA. The US order confines most American officials to a 3 1/2-square-mile area in the center of the city, meaning they cannot visit US-funded construction sites or Iraqi officials elsewhere in the country except by helicopter. The notice did not say when the suspension would expire.

#3: The Iraqi army killed one suspected insurgent and arrested 51 others during the last 24 hours in different parts of Iraq, the Defence Ministry said.

Diyala Prv:
#1: insurgents militants have seized control of an village in the restive province of Diyala after a two-day battle with a rival Sunni insurgent group, police said on Wednesday. Dozens of fighters from the Islamist extremist group arrived in boats on Monday and launched an attack on Al-Shuan village on the banks of the Diyala river, police Lieutenant Colonel Ibrahim al-Obeidi said. Members of the rival Brigades of the 1920 Revolution fought back but the Sunni Arab village eventually fell to the militants. Quoting villagers who escaped the assault, Obeidi said seven of the 30 houses in the village had been destroyed but he gave no casualty figures.

#1: Gunmen killed a member of the Sadr movement on Tuesday near his house in the city of Diwaniya, 180 km (110 miles) south of Baghdad, police said

#1: Three policemen were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near their patrol in Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#2: An armed group wearing police uniform kidnapped an Iraqi army soldier in Wahed Hozairan region in southern Kirkuk," the source told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI) on condition of anonymity.

#3: The same source said that unidentified gunmen abducted, late Tuesday, a child from al-Asraa Wal Mafqodeen region in southern Kirkuk.

#1: Two bodies were found shot on Tuesday in the northern city of Mosul, police said.

#2: The Iraqi army killed 14 gunmen and wounded three during clashes in eastern Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, the Iraqi army said. A soldier was killed and three wounded in the clashes. Four civilians were wounded also, police said.

#3: Two civilians were wounded in a car bomb explosion that targeted a U.S. patrol vehicle in eastern Mosul. "An explosives-rigged car driven by a suicide bomber and targeting a U.S. army patrol was detonated on Wednesday in Mosul's eastern neighborhood of Muthanna, injuring two civilians who were at the scene," al Juburi told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI). No comment was made by the U.S. side on the incident.

Al Anbar Prv:
#1: Police patrols have being attacked since the beginning of Ramadan by gunmen using hand grenades. The matter has forced us to impose a curfew to avoid such risks," he explained. Falluja, Anbar province, is 45 km west of Baghdad.

Duhuk Prv:
#1: Turkish artillery shelled border regions in Duhuk province, a source from the border guard forces said on Wednesday. "The border villages of Zakho and al-Emadiyah cities in Duhuk province were pounded late Tuesday by Turkish artillery," the source told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI) on condition of anonymity, noting that the shelling lasted until 8:00 am on Wednesday. "More than 82 rounds hit different border regions in Duhuk," he explained. No word was available on the damage caused by the shelling.

#1: NATO forces launched a new military operation Wednesday in Afghanistan's most violent southern province. About 2,500 Afghan and NATO troops began the operation in the Gereshk region of Helmand province, the site of the fiercest battles this year and the world's largest opium-producing region. NATO's International Security Assistance Force said the troops would conduct military "security and stabilization" operations in the upper Gereshk Valley, but provided no other details.

British-led forces launched a major operation in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday, aiming to clear Taliban insurgents from a valley in Helmand -- the most violent province in the country. Some 2,500 troops from the NATO-led force began the operation on Wednesday morning with infantry backed by Warrior armoured vehicles, guided rocket systems, attack helicopters and fighter jets, a spokesman for the British forces in Helmand said.

#2: On Wednesday, a suicide bomb attack in the Garmsir district of Helmand left eight Afghan police officers wounded, including three who were in critical condition, said provincial police chief Mohammad Hussein Andiwal.

Three policemen were killed and eight wounded Wednesday in a suicide bombing on a police convoy in the volatile southern Afghan province of Helmand, local security officials said. The bomber, who had explosives attached to his body, blew up a couple of vehicles when he targeted the convoy in the city of Garmsir, Helmand police chief Muhamamd Hussain Andiwal and other officials said.

#3: Three Afghan guards of a company were killed in violence in the country's southern region Wednesday, according to officials. Unknown militants early morning attacked a bridge construction site near Qalat city, the capital of Zabul province, said Gulhabshah Alikhil, spokesman for the provincial government.

#4: A joint operation Tuesday between Afghan forces and the Afghan intelligence service left three militants dead in Wardak province, including a senior member of the militant group Hezb-i Islami, which is led by renegade former Afghan Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the Defense Ministry said. Three insurgents were wounded, and four were arrested in the operation in Nirkh district.

#5: two militants were killed and three arrested in a joint operation by Afghan police and coalition forces Tuesday night in Spin Ghar district of Nangarhar province, the Interior Ministry said.

#6: Mohammad Hussein Andiwal, police chief of Helmand province, said unknown gunmen killed a known pro-government tribal elder Haji Merhjan Hadil in Gereshk district Tuesday night.

#7: Officials say that a senior police officer has been shot dead and his bodyguard injured by unidentified gunmen on the outskirts of Ghazni city in southern Afghanistan. Raees Khan, chief of security of the governor house in Ghazni, was shot dead late yesterday September 18 while visiting a new town being built for returnees. Deputy police chief of Ghazni Muhammad Zaman said the attackers have fled. Ghazni is one of the most insecure provinces in southern Afghanistan, with an increase in attacks on government targets and foreign forces carried out in recent months.

#8: Elsewhere, one woman was killed and two other civilians wounded in a Taliban attack on a NATO outpost in Zabul province in the southeast of the country.

#9: Two U.S.-led coalition soldiers were wounded on Tuesday when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in the eastern province of Paktia, the U.S military said on Wednesday.

#10: Dozens of gunmen raided a checkpoint near a stronghold of Taliban and al-Qaida militants in northwest Pakistan on Wednesday and abducted seven soldiers, a local official said. The attack near the North Waziristan region highlights concern about the ability of Pakistani troops to stand up to militants who appear to be gaining in strength near the Afghan border.
#11: Two Danish soldiers were wounded in a firefight Wednesday with Taliban militants in the Helmand province of Afghanistan, Denmark's military said. One of the soldiers was shot in the chest and hand, and the other was shot in the leg, said Kim Grunberger, a spokesman at the Danish Army Operational Command. Both were in stable condition and receiving treatment at a Danish military camp, Grunberger said. The shooting occurred during a joint military operation with British troops in Helmand province, he said, but declined to give details.
Casualty Reports:
(1) Army Sgt. John Mele, 25, Bunnell, Fla., died Friday in Arab Jabour after an explosive detonated near his unit; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.
(2) Four Army soldiers were killed Friday in Baghdad when an explosive detonated near their vehicle. They were assigned to the 6th Squadron, 9th U.S. Cavalry, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas. Killed were
Staff Sgt. Terry D. Wagoner, 28, Piedmont, S.C.;
Spc. Todd A. Motley, 23, Clare, Mich.;
Spc. Jonathan Rivadeneira, 22, Jackson Heights, N.Y.; and
Pvt. Christopher M. McCloud, 24, Malakoff, Texas.
(3) Marine Cpl. Terrence P. Allen, 21, Pennsauken, N.J., died Saturday from a non-combat incident in Anbar province; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.