[pjw] NEWS/UPDATES: US bombs Iraqi troops, Flyers for Jan 15 event, AUMF info

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Tue Dec 22 20:01:32 EST 2015

This is a mixed bag email as I'm not sure how many folks will be out of 
touch in the coming few days.

Below is an article from Sarturday about a US airstrike that killed 10 
Iraqi soldiers, supposedly our allies. "These things happen in war" is 
a horrifying statement, in the sense that it assumes that war is a natural 
occurrence and "friendly fire" is just "the cost of doing business." Hey, 
Ashton Carter, maybe if we weren't at war these things would never happen.

Similarly, Representatives Suzanne Bonamici and Earl Blumenauer were on 
Think Out Loud today, and toward the end of their interview you can hear 
host Dave Miller ask them about a new war authorization for fighting ISIS 
in Syria and Iraq. Neither elected official said they would necessarily 
welcome a vote, but both seemed to indicate their support for bombing 
other people-- without any thought as to whether that bombing causes 
blowback. They may need to hear PJW's new slogan-- "No Boots on the 
Ground, No Bombs in the Air!"

Here's the link to the radio show:

Finally but not least, we now have a total of 7 groups on board with the 
January 15 Iraq War 25 years later event, and a flyer available for you to 
download and post / share with others:

You can find this flyer and the updated announcement at

dan handelman
Peace and Justice Works  Iraq Affinity Group

U.S.: Airstrike that killed 10 Iraqi soldiers was `a mistake that involved
both sides'
    By Mustafa Salim and Missy Ryan December 19

    BAGHDAD -- An airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition this past week killed
    10 Iraqi troops, the Iraqi government said Saturday, in an apparent
    friendly fire incident in which the U.S. defense secretary says both
    sides shared responsibility.

    Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi, at a news conference in
    Baghdad, said one Iraqi officer and nine soldiers were killed in the
    strike Friday, which took place south of the city of Fallujah, about 40
    miles west of Baghdad.

    Obeidi said the death toll announcement was a "correction" to earlier
    statements that one Iraqi soldier had died -- statements that were
    disputed by soldiers who witnessed the strike.

    U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said an American aircraft
    appeared to have conducted the strike, which he called "a mistake that
    involved both sides."

    Carter called Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Saturday to
    express his condolences for the deaths.

    Speaking during a visit Saturday to the USS Kearsarge, an amphibious
    assault ship stationed in the Persian Gulf, Carter said the details of
    how the incident took place were not yet clear. U.S. officials are
    investigating; they declined to give details of how each side may have
    played a role.

    In the call Carter placed from the Kearsarge, he said that both he and
    Abadi voiced regret for Friday's loss of life. "It's tragic," Carter
    told reporters. "But he and I both recognized that things like this can
    happen in war."

    According to the U.S.-led coalition, the strike was one of two that
    took place around Fallujah. The strikes hit an Islamic State tactical
    unit, militant vehicles and fighting positions, and a construction

    The incident, which comes as Abadi's government weighs embracing
    further support from the United States, is likely to be used for
    political gain by critics of U.S. military assistance in Iraq,
    including the country's Iranian-backed Shiite militias.

    Earlier in the week, Carter and Abadi held talks in Baghdad in which
    the prime minister, wary of being seen as too reliant on U.S.
    assistance, did not accept an offer of accelerated support for Iraq's
    ongoing campaign to retake the city of Ramadi.

    Carter, when asked whether the incident could increase political
    pressure on Abadi, said he hoped that "Iraqis will understand that this
    is a reflection of things that happen in combat . . . but it's also a
    reflection of how closely we are working."

    Carter said he and Abadi agreed to continue their joint fight against
    the Islamic State. The Obama administration in recent weeks has rolled
    out new military measures designed to be more effective against the
    group, which is firmly entrenched in much of Iraq and Syria despite
    more than a year of U.S. and allied airstrikes.

    The Pentagon has proposed employing U.S. combat advisers and Apache
    attack helicopters for the offensive in Ramadi and a future one to the
    north in Mosul, but Iraqi officials have not accepted that offer.
    President Obama has said that U.S. troops can advise and support Iraqi
    forces but that they cannot take part in combat in earnest.

    Abadi's office said Saturday that the prime minister, while speaking
    with Carter, had called for the "most accurate measures to be taken to
    avoid such painful incidents" as the friendly fire deaths. He said his
    government was working with the United States to investigate what Abadi
    called an "error."

    "It must not be repeated," Abadi said.

    Obeidi, the defense minister, said in an interview with The Washington
    Post that "the guilty" would be punished according to Iraqi laws.

    "We will never relent on Iraqi blood. . . . Whoever was guilty, it will
    not go without punishment," Obeidi said.

    The U.S. military normally does not allow its troops to be subject to
    local courts for actions that take place in the course of their
    military activities.

    Unlike Abadi, Obeidi refused to describe the alleged coalition
    airstrike as accidental, saying that such conclusions must await the
    results of the investigation. According to U.S. officials, the U.S.-led
    coalition has invited the Iraqi government to take part in that probe.

    The incident also highlights the risks that U.S. forces face in their
    renewed combat role in Iraq, not just from the Islamic State.

    Abu Alaa al-Walaie, who heads Kitaeb Sayyid al-Shuhada, a Shiite
    militia, said in a statement that "Americans are killing our soldiers
    and then express their condolences for killing them."

    "The resistance will respond with the same act for revenge," the
    statement said.

    U.S. forces battled Shiite militias for much of the war that followed
    the 2003 invasion to oust Saddam Hussein.

    According to the Iraqi military, Iraqi forces requested air assistance
    Friday near the town of Amiriyat al-Fallujah because poor weather
    prevented Iraqi planes from conducting that support on their own. When
    the strike occurred, Iraqi forces and militants were situated close
    together. "Our forces got mixed," the military said.

    The Iraqi military said a third strike had taken place.

    A U.S. defense official said the plane that conducted the strike was a
    B-1 bomber.

    Speaking aboard the Kearsarge, a senior U.S. defense official said that
    poor weather appeared to have been a factor in the incident, as did the
    fact that Iraqi forces were closer to the target area than U.S. forces
    had understood at the time.

    The United States remains "fully committed to the security and the
    safety" of Iraqi forces, said the official, who spoke on the condition
    of anonymity.

    Abadi had been "very understanding that these things happen when you're
    trying to really increase the pace of operations," the official said.
    He "did not have hard feelings about the incident."

    Loveday Morris contributed to this report.

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