[pjw] NEWS: After deadly raid, US to conduct more in Iraq, Syria (Tribune News Service 10/23)

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Tue Oct 27 12:31:46 EDT 2015

I meant to send this out over the weekend but have been knee-deep in a few 
things. So, the re-invasion of Iraq by US troops, which was promised to 
include "no combat," now includes "training and support" during actual 
combat missions, so that American soldiers are right there and can jump in 
for "support." And lose their lives, as happened late last week.

Ashton Carter shrugs off criticism that this is an expansion of the US 
mission by saying it's part of what they had planned all along. It reminds 
me of the image I often invoke, George Orwell saying "1984 was a _warning_ 
not a _blueprint._" And the endless war continues.
dan h
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

Carter: U.S. to conduct more ground raids in Iraq, Syria
    Originally published October 23, 2015 at 7:37 pm
    Defense Secretary Ashton Carter vowed Friday to conduct additional
    ground raids using U.S. forces in Iraq and said it did not mark an
    escalation of American engagement there.
    By W.J. Hennigan   Tribune Washington Bureau (TNS)

    WASHINGTON -- A day after the first death of an American soldier in
    combat against Islamic State group extremists, Defense Secretary Ashton
    Carter vowed Friday to conduct additional ground raids using U.S.
    forces in Iraq and said it did not mark an escalation of American
    engagement there.

    "We'll do more raids," Carter said at a Pentagon press briefing, adding
    the U.S. would also conduct raids in Syria. "It doesn't represent us
    assuming a combat role. It represents a continuation of our
    advise-and-assist mission."

    His comments came as the Army identified the soldier killed during
    Thursday’s raid in northern Iraq, where U.S. special operations troops
    and Kurdish peshmerga assaulted a compound in Hawija and freed about 70
    prisoners held by the Islamic State group.

    The death of Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler--the first American soldier
    to die in combat in Iraq since the U.S. withdrew from the country in
    2011--drew fresh criticism about the U.S. military's role in the fight
    against the extremist group.

    Separately, Carter also announced Friday that the Pentagon's
    preliminary report into the deadly U.S. bombing this month of a Doctors
    Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, is taking longer than

    The humanitarian group said Friday the death toll from the Oct. 3
    attack rose after another injured victim died, bringing the total
    number killed to 25.

    When President Obama launched the campaign against the Islamic State
    group in Iraq and Syria, he stressed that U.S. troops would not take a
    combat role on the ground but instead deliver airstrikes, training and
    financial support to proxy forces. Thursday's raid, however, put U.S.
    forces in the middle of a fierce battle alongside the Kurds.

    American soldiers joined the fight after Islamic State group militants
    opened fire from the prison, a high-walled, multi-building compound in
    the town of Hawija, Carter said. Wheeler, a 39-year-old native of
    Roland, Okla., suffered a gunshot wound and was taken back to a
    northern Iraqi airfield in Irbil, where he died.

    "He ran to the sound of the guns, and he stood up, and all the
    indications are it was his actions and that of one of his teammates
    that protected those who were involved in breaching the compound and
    made the mission successful," Carter said.

    Wheeler joined the Army as an infantryman and served in the 75th Ranger
    Regiment, deploying three times to support combat operations in Iraq
    and Afghanistan. He was later assigned to the Army Special Operations
    Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., and deployed 11 times to Iraq and

    Wheeler’s body is expected to be brought Saturday to Dover Air Force
    Base in Delaware, where most U.S. fallen soldiers arrive. Carter said
    he and his wife will be there, along with Wheeler's family.

    The goal of the raid was to help free captured Kurdish troops known as
    peshmerga, who have been key allies in the U.S.-led coalition against
    the Islamic State group. The Kurds and U.S. believed there were at
    least 20 peshmerga in the raided compound, Kurdish and U.S. officials

    No Kurds were found, but those people who were saved said they were set
    to be executed Thursday morning and massive graves had been dug for
    their burial, Carter said. At least five of the captives recovered were
    former Islamic State group militants being held as traitors, officials
    said. The Pentagon confirmed that more than 20 of the captives were
    members of the Iraqi army.

    Carter said the two-hour raid netted a cache of intelligence on the
    Islamic State group, including electronic equipment and captives who
    have insight into how the militants operate.

    Carter said the initial report on the hospital strike in Kunduz is not
    yet complete.

    "We want to get this done, but we want to get it done right," Carter
    said at the briefing. "Accountability is part of our obligation to
    those who died in Kunduz, and it must inform everything we do here at
    the Department of Defense."

    The Pentagon, NATO and the Afghan government are conducting separate
    investigations into one of the worst U.S. attacks resulting in civilian
    casualties since the war began 14 years ago.

    Doctors Without Borders said Friday that one more staff member was
    confirmed to have been killed, with two additional patients presumed

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