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, October 9, 2007

War News for Tuesday, October 09, 2007

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Force - West Marine from enemy action in Al Anbar Province on Monday, October 8th.

The DoD has announced a new death, not previously reported by CENTCOM. Task Force Lightning soldier Specialist Vincent George Kamka, 23, of Everett, Washington, died in the vicinity of Bayji in Salah ad Din Province on Thursday, October 4th. His unit, the 1st Battalion of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment (82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, NC), was stationed at FOB Summerall in Bayji. The DoD did not indicate on the release whether Kamka's death was from enemy action or not. A brief article that appears in the Idaho Falls (Idaho) Press-Tribune would seem to indicate that Kamka was actually from Idaho. According to that source, he graduated from high school in Idaho Falls in 2003. His mother had written a letter to the editor of that paper in 2006 in which she stated that Kamka's three brothers had all served or were serving in the military, as had his father.

The Ravenna (Ohio) Record-Courier is reporting the death of a U.S. Army Ranger on Saturday, October 6th: Benjamin Dillon, 22, of Edinburg, Ohio. His family has only been told at this point that Dillon died "while on active duty in the Middle East". However, his relatives believe he was serving in Iraq. Dillon, who graduated from high school in 2004, had his heart set on becoming an Army Ranger. Despite the rigors of two years of training at Fort Benning, GA, he eventually achieved just that. His mother recalled a story he told of a training incident in which he was sleeping out-of-doors when a spider crawled on him. He said he left it right where it was because it was so cold that night that he needed the extra body heat. Just two weeks prior to his death, Dillon was able to spend time on leave home with his family before he left on his fourth deployment. He was the youngest of three sons.

Security incidents:

#1: three parked car bombs struck the Iraqi capital. The first hit a commercial area in the Khulani district, killing at least eight and wounding 25 people, including four traffic policemen. Youssif Mohammed, a 36-year old vendor of second-hand clothes near Khulani Square, said the blast targeted minibuses that stop there en route to Baghdad's eastern Shiite districts. "I saw a fireball and then heard a huge explosion," Mohammed said. "Immediately, the place was covered by smoke and dust."

#2: Also in the predominantly Shiite neighborhood of Shaab, another parked car bomb killed two people and wounded 16, according to police

#3: By early afternoon, a third killed five and wounded four people near a fuel station in the eastern neighborhood of Binok, police said. Four cars were damaged in that blast.

#4: A roadside bomb ripped through and outdoor market near a bus station in Jisr Diyala on Baghdad's southeastern outskirts, killing two civilians and wounding 10 others, police said.

#5: In the southern neighborhood of Sadiyah, gunmen in a speeding car fatally shot a Shiite father and his two sons as they were leaving their home, police said. The police officials all spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to release the information.

#6: Six people were wounded by two mortar rounds which landed in a residential district in eastern Baghdad, police said.

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

#8: A car bomb killed two people and wounded five when it exploded in northern Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite district of Binoog, police said.

#9: A car bomb killed at least six people and wounded 38 when it blew up in a car park opposite a Shi'ite shrine near a busy roundabout in central Baghdad, police said.

#10: Unknown gunmen assassinated the head of the Shiite Endowment in Baghdad's eastern part of Rasafa, Ibrahim Abdul Kareem, at a late hour on Monday night, an Iraqi police source said. "Unidentified gunmen driving a civilian vehicle shot down Abdul Kareem while he was driving his car in al-Mashtal neighborhood in Baghdad al-Jadida," the source, who requested his name not be mentioned, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq

#11: Foreign security guards escorting a sport utility convoy opened fire at a civilian car and killed two women in central Baghdad on Tuesday, an Interior Ministry source said.

#1: Three bodies were found shot and bound in the town of al-Qassim near Hilla, 100 km (60 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

#1: Two suicide car bombs killed at least 22 people in northern Iraq on Tuesday in attacks targeting a police chief and a Sunni Arab tribal leader working with United States forces to fight al-Qaeda, police said. The police chief was wounded and the condition of the tribal leader was unclear, officials said. The two car bombs hit Baiji. Police did not immediately have a breakdown of the 22 dead from the two separate attacks.

One bomb exploded outside the home of police chief Colonel Saad al-Nifous, killing seven people, including three members of his family who served as bodyguards, Bijwari said.

Minutes later, a second suicide truck bomber detonated his explosives outside the home of Thamer Ibrahim Atallah, a head of the Salaheddin Awakening Council, a coalition of tribes in the Tikrit district formed to fight Al-Qaeda. Atallah escaped the attack but five people, including one of his bodyguards, were killed. The identities of the other casualties were not immediately clear.

#1: Two bodies were found on Monday in the town of Hawija, 70 km (40 miles) southwest of Kirkuk, police said. One of the victims was decapitated, the other had been shot.

#1: the head of police intelligence in Kirkuk was wounded in a drive-by shooting, police sources said

Gunmen wounded Abdul-Amir Mahmoud, the head of police intelligence in Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

#1: Gunmen shot dead a deputy police chief of Iraq's northern province of Nineveh on Tuesday, a provincial police source said. "Gunmen in two cars shot dead Brigadier Abdul Aal Danon Mubarak, deputy police chief of the province, while he was driving his car in the Hadbaa neighborhood in northern (part of) the provincial capital of Mosul City," Brigadier Abdul Karim al-Jubouri told Xinhua. The attack also wounded Mubarak's driver who was transferred to a local hospital for treatment.

#2: Five gunmen and one Iraqi soldier were killed in clashes in Mosul on Monday, police said. Another four soldiers were wounded.

#1: Three days of fierce fighting between Islamic militants and security forces near the Afghan border have killed nearly 200 people, the army said Tuesday. The clashes have been some of the most deadly on Pakistani soil since Pakistan threw its support behind the U.S.-led war on terrorism in 2001. The bodies of dozens of soldiers, many with their throats slit, have been recovered from deserted areas of North Waziristan, residents fleeing the clashes said. There were also reports of villagers killed in artillery and jet fighter strikes on militant targets. Battles in North Waziristan have killed 150 fighters and 45 soldiers since Saturday, an army statement said. It added that between 12 and 15 troops were missing. Another 50 militants and 20 soldiers had been wounded.

#2: Convoys carrying precious food donations are increasingly under attack in southern Afghanistan, says the local director of the United Nations World Food Program. "From a security point of view it has gotten worse — there’s no doubt about that," Rick Corsino said Monday during a visit to Ottawa. "We’ve lost more food in the past 12 months through those attacks than we had in the previous three years."

Casualty Reports:

The Australian Department of Defense has identified the Australian soldier who died in a roadside bomb attack in southern Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan, on Monday, October 8th: Trooper David Pearce, 41, of Liverpool, New South Wales, Australia. Born in Liverpool, Pearce entered the military service late in life. He enlisted first in the Australian Army Reserve in 2002 and saw an operational deployment to the Solomon Islands in 2005-2006. At the age of 39, however, he joined the regular army (July, 2006). Pearce and his wife of 18 years have two daughters, ages 11 and 6. His family described him as having an "outgoing personality" and the "ability to releate to people of all ages".

The U.S. Department of Defense has identified the American soldier who died from wounds suffered in a suicide car bombing in Kabul on Saturday, October 6th: Specialist Adam D. Quinn, 22, of Orange City, Florida. The DoD gives his place of death as Forward Operating Base Phoenix, which is located on the outskirts of Kabul and which is the headquarters for the Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix which trains the Afghan Army. Quinn was assigned to the Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 82nd Airborne Division, out of Fort Bragg, NC. A brief article from Raleigh (North Carolina) station WNCN reports that Quinn is survived by his wife and parents.

The DoD has identified the two Multi-National Division - Baghdad soldiers who died in an improvised explosive device attack in southeastern Baghdad on Friday, October 5th:

Sergeant Joseph Bradley Milledge, 23, of Pointblank, Texas
Specialist Jason N. Marchand, 26, of Greenwood, West Virginia

The Omaha (Nebraska) World-Herald is reporting that Milledge was actually from Glenwood, Iowa, graduating from high school there in 2002. His mother and sister still live in Glenwood. After high school, Milledge moved to Texas for a short time, joining the Army there in 2004. He married a woman from Washington State shortly after that, possibly while stationed there. He deployed to Iraq for the first time in 2004-2005, after which his duty station became Vilseck, Germany. This past August, his unit, the 3rd Squadron of the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, deployed to Iraq again, but not before he had a chance to return to Glenwood to see his young son baptized in nearby Council Bluffs. His relatives describe him as a compassionate man ... and also an avid reader of religion and philosophy who used to say, "Don't let schooling get in the way of education." He tried to return to Glenwood as often as he could to maintain ties with his seven brothers and sisters ... and nine nieces and nephews.

The Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette quotes Marchand's mother as stating that he ane Milledge died when they were searching houses and a bomb went off in one of them. Marchand had graduated from high school in 2000 where he played on the football and track teams. His football coach said of him, "He was a good student, a good human being and he would do anything you asked of him." Marchand is survived by his wife, a 6-year-old daughter, his mother, and two brothers.