[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
Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group
U.S.: Airstrike that killed 10 Iraqi soldiers was `a mistake that involved
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
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
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
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
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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