The war ended for those children, but it has never ended for survivors who carry memories of them. Likewise, the effects of the U.S. bombings continue, immeasurably and indefensibly.

How many Iraqis have died as a result of the invasion 15 years ago? Some credible estimates put the number at more than one million. You can read that sentence again.

The invasion of Iraq is often spoken of in our country as a “blunder,” or even a “colossal mistake.” It was a crime.

Those who perpetrated it are still at large. Some of them have even been rehabilitated thanks to the horrors of a mostly amnesiac citizenry.

We condemned children to death, some after many days of writhing in pain on bloodstained mats, without pain relievers. Some died quickly, wasted by missing arms and legs, crushed heads. As the fluids ran out of their bodies, they appeared like withered, spoiled fruits. They could have lived, certainly should have lived – and laughed and danced, and run and played- but instead they were brutally murdered. Yes, murdered!

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War News

REU: Commentary: Finally, Senate might force Trump’s hand on Yemen

The U.S. Senate voted 63 to 37 on Wednesday to clear the way for a debate and final vote on a resolution to end American military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It’s the first time that an anti-war resolution has advanced in Congress since Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in Yemen’s civil war in early 2015.

Mukhtar Hadi, who survived a Saudi-led air strike on a school bus in August, stands with his brother and sister in Saada, Yemen September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Naif Rahma

The vote, with an unexpectedly wide margin in a Senate typically gridlocked along partisan lines, underscores growing anger over American involvement in a war that is currently the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. But the vote, in which 14 Republicans joined all 49 Senate Democrats, was also a rebuke to President Donald Trump for doubling down on his support for Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, after Saudi agents murdered the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.

Despite the initial Senate vote, the resolution may not ultimately be approved in its current form. Senators could demand amendments or change their minds before a final vote, and Trump has threatened a veto. Saudi Arabia and its allies are also poised to lobby behind the scenes to curtail the measure. And even if the United States ultimately withdraws its support, the Saudi coalition could continue the war for some time. But the vote was a setback for both Trump and Saudi leaders, who are trying to contain the fallout from Khashoggi’s murder.

The Trump administration made a last-ditch effort on Wednesday to derail the vote, by sending Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to give all senators a classified briefing on the Yemen war and Khashoggi’s murder. That move backfired because the White House blocked CIA Director Gina Haspel from testifying at the briefing, as many senators had wanted.

The CIA has reportedly concluded with “high confidence,” after reviewing intelligence intercepts and other evidence, that Prince Mohammed ordered Khashoggi’s killing, despite the Saudi government’s denials of the heir apparent’s involvement. Haspel has listened to audio recordings provided by the Turkish government of Khashoggi’s killing, and senators wanted to question her on the CIA’s assessment of the prince’s culpability. Trump has rejected the CIA’s assessment, and stood by his Saudi ally. In an extraordinary statement on Nov. 20, Trump wrote, “It could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”

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NYT: Remains of 3 Troops Killed in Afghanistan Return to US

WASHINGTON — The remains of three service members killed in the deadliest attack against American forces in Afghanistan this year have arrived back in the U.S.

A U.S. Air Force carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. According to the Department of Defense, Elchin, 25, of Hookstown, Pa., was killed Nov. 27, 2018, by a roadside bomb in Andar, Ghazni Province, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

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A U.S. Air Force carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. According to the Department of Defense, Elchin, 25, of Hookstown, Pa., was killed Nov. 27, 2018, by a roadside bomb in Andar, Ghazni Province, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Vice President Mike Pence and relatives of the men were at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to receive the remains.

Media representatives were on hand early Friday to witness the somber transfer of the flag-draped cases of two of the service members. The transfer of the third man was done in private.

The men were killed Tuesday by a roadside bomb in Ghazni province, where the Taliban is resurgent.

They were identified as Army Capt. Andrew Patrick Ross, of Lexington, Virginia; Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Michael Emond, of Brush Prairie, Washington; and Air Force Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin, of Hookstown, Pennsylvania.

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REU: Ambulances ‘repeatedly targeted’ in Syria conflict: study

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Ambulances have been intentionally and repeatedly targeted in Syria, researchers said on Tuesday, calling for more efforts to protect medical workers caught up in the conflict.

The research, in the peer-reviewed journal BMJ Global Health, analyzed reports of 243 attacks on ambulances in 2016 and 2017 and found more than half were deliberately targeted.

“There is no ambiguity in the results: ambulances are directly and repeatedly targeted in Syria,” Hayes Wong, one of the authors of the report, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The attacks studied were mostly in opposition-held enclaves in and around Aleppo, Idlib and Damascus and nearly 90 percent were carried out by Syrian government forces and their Russian allies, the paper said.

There have been repeated reports of attacks on medical workers and healthcare facilities during Syria’s eight-year conflict, even though both are protected by international law.

Among the most prominent medical workers in Syria are the “White Helmet” rescue workers.

The group, who say they are neutral, have been credited in the West with saving thousands of people in rebel-held areas.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his backers accuse them of acting as propaganda tools and proxies of Islamist-led insurgents.

Paramedics on ambulances are particularly vulnerable to attack as they are highly visible and can be targeted as they attend to casualties in the aftermath of an attack, according to the research paper.

Almost half the ambulances that were attacked were severely damaged or destroyed, potentially hampering efforts to help casualties, researchers said.

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ALJ: Yemen fishermen face starvation at home or death at sea

Fearing attacks by the Saudi-UAE alliance, fishermen have cut their fishing zones from 100 nautical miles to 25.

Ali Mohammed has been fishing off Hodeidah since he was a child, but for the first time in 30 years, the Yemeni father of eight cannot feed his family.

He and his fellow fisherman are facing “tragedy”, he said as he emptied his net at a harbour in the battle-scarred Red Sea city.

“We are really scared to go out to sea, to the extent that we say goodbye to our children every time we leave the house because we do not know if we are coming back.”

The fishing harbour where Mohammed landed his catch lies just one kilometre from the front lines.

The fighting poses a mortal threat to an industry the World Bank says employed some 10,000 registered fishermen in Hodeidah and the surrounding province before the war.

Under heavy international pressure, pro-government forces backed by a Saudi-UAE military alliance have suspended a five-month battle to seize Hodeidah.

But the United Nations said on Tuesday that operations at the vital port had fallen by nearly half over the past two weeks.

The alliance says its air and maritime embargo is needed to prevent Iran from delivering weapons to the Houthis, a charged denied by Tehran and the Houthis.

The danger of being shot or intercepted at sea has forced fishermen to stay close to shore.

“A rocket could strike you and you wouldn’t know where it came from,” Mohammed said.

“There are fishermen still missing at sea … they went out and never came back.”

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GUARD: Opinion Congress is finally pushing the US to withdraw from Yemen. It’s about time

The Senate’s vote this week to push the US military to withdraw from Yemen is historic for a number of reasons

It was a resounding defeat for the White House and Republican Senate leadership: by a 63-37 majority, the US Senate voted this week to advance legislation that would give President Trump 30 days to get the US military out of Saudi Arabia’s genocidal war in Yemen, unless he could get congressional authorization for US military intervention. Which he almost certainly could not.

The vote on Wednesday was procedural, allowing the legislation spearheaded by Bernie Sanders, Mike Lee and Chris Murphy – to move toward a full Senate vote. But it is widely seen as a reliable indicator of what a Senate vote on the resolution itself would look like.

The Senate’s action was truly historic for a number of reasons. First there is the magnitude of the war crimes that the Senate is trying to end. Mass starvation has been used as a weapon of war by the Saudis and their Emirati allies, pushing 14 million people to the brink of famine. More than 85,000 children have already died since their bombing campaign began in 2015. As was noted during the Senate debate on Thursday, the Saudi and UAE planes have also bombed water treatment plants and other essential civilian infrastructure, leading to a cholera outbreak that has killed thousands of people.

Democratic Senators such as Murphy, Lee, and Dick Durbin of Illinois were unusually frank in the Senate debate. They used words like “involvement” and “participation” to describe the US military role – in contrast to the fuzzier descriptions of “support” and “complicity” that are often seen in the media.

In a recent interview Senator Murphy said:

I think there is an American imprint on every single civilian death inside Yemen. We sell them the bombs, we help them with the targeting, we fuel their planes in mid-air, and we give them moral cover. So I don’t think there is any way around complete American culpability for the humanitarian nightmare that is happening there.

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REU: Yazidi women seek to join case against French company accused of funding Islamic State

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A group of Yazidi women kidnapped as sex slaves by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria applied on Friday to join a criminal case against French cement maker Lafarge, which is being investigated over allegations it funded the militants.

Lafarge is under formal investigation in France over charges it paid IS, also known as ISIS, to keep open a plant in northern Syria that operated between 2011 and 2014.

Lawyers said they had filed an application for the women to become civil parties to the case, which they said marked the first time a multinational company had been charged with complicity in international crimes by IS.

“It provides an opportunity to establish that ISIS, and all those who assisted them, will be held to account for their crimes, and that victims will be awarded just compensation,” said Amal Clooney in a statement.

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REU: U.S. strike kills 11 suspected Qaeda militants in Libya: Africom

CAIRO (Reuters) – The U.S. military said on Friday it killed 11 suspected al Qaeda militants in an air strike in Libya’s southwestern desert.

U.S. Africa Command (Africom) said Thursday’s attack was its third since March on the militant group’s North African branch – al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

The strike near the town of Al Uwaynat, close to the Algerian border, destroyed three vehicles and “at this time, we assess no civilians were injured or killed,” Africom added.

Jihadists linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State have found a haven in Libya’s vast southern desert as the country struggles to restore stability seven years after the uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi.

NYT: At Least 23 Afghan Civilians Killed in U.S. Helmand Air Strike-U.N.

KABUL — A United Nations investigation has found that at least 23 Afghan civilians, most of them women and children, were killed in a U.S. airstrike in the southern province of Helmand this week, the latest in a growing toll of casualties from air operations.

The U.S. military says it is investigating the incident on Tuesday in which a helicopter hit a compound during a joint operation with U.S. and Afghan forces in Garmsir district in Helmand.

Local residents said at least 30 people were killed in the strike ,which came amid a surge in air operations as the U.S. military takes a more aggressive approach to force the Taliban towards peace negotiations.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan noted a sharp increase in civilian casualties from air strikes and said it was particularly concerned that children have been hit.

“Initial findings indicate that the vast majority of the victims were women and children,” it said in a statement on the latest incident in Helmand……………………..In the first nine months of the year, U.S. aircraft released 5,213 weapons, more than in any other year since 2011 when there were more than 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

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Militants suffer casualties in Badakhshan airstrike

At least 21 militants were killed in an airstrike in Jurm district of northeastern Badakhshan province of Afghanistan, the Afghan Military in the North said.

According to a statement released by 209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the North, the Air Force carried out an airstrike in Khastak valley of Jurm district on Friday.

The statement further added that the airstrike left at least 18 militants dead while three others sustained injuries.

The 209th Shaheen Corps also added that three Hilux vehicles, a hatchback car, a motorcycle, and some weapons and munitions were also destroyed during the same airstrike.

The anti-government armed militant groups including Taliban have not commented regarding the airstrike so far.

Badakhshan is among the relatively volatile provinces in Northeast of Afghanistan where the anti-government armed militants including Taliban are active in some of its districts.

Read full story »

Drone strikes target Taliban court in Kapisa province

The U.S. forces based in Afghanistan have carried out airstrikes on a Taliban court in northeastern Kapisa province of Afghanistan.

The 201st Silab Corps of the Afghan Military in the East in a statement said the airstrikes were carried out in Nejrab district on Friday.

The statement further added that the coalition forces unmanned aerial vehicles bombarded a Taliban court in Zarba Khel area in Pechghan Valley of the district.

According to 201st Silab Corps, at least two militants were killed in the airstrikes and at least two others sustained injuries.

The anti-government armed militant groups including Taliban have not commented regarding the airstrikes so far.

Kapisa is among the relatively calm provinces in Northeastern parts of the country but the security situation of the province has started to deteriorate recently amid ongoing efforts by the militants to expand their insurgency.

Read full story »

Casualties, Exclusive of Civilians

Recent Casualties

Color Denotes Today’s Confirmation

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers and one airman who were supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

The service members died Nov. 27, 2018, from injuries sustained when their vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in Andar, Ghazni Province, Afghanistan.

The soldiers were assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The airman was assigned to the 26th Special Tactics Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico.

The incident is under investigation.

The deceased are:

Army Capt. Andrew Patrick Ross, 29, of Lexington, Virginia.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Michael Emond, 39, of Brush Prairie, Washington.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin, 25, of Hookstown, Pennsylvania.

Iraq Coalition Casualties: Military Fatalities By Name>>

Afghanistan Coalition Casualties: Military Fatalities By Name>>

Care for Veterans:

 

PTSD: National Center for PTSDPTSD Care for Veterans, Military, and FamiliesSee Help for Veterans with PTSD to learn how to enroll for VA health care and get an assessment.

All VA Medical Centers provide PTSD care, as well as many VA clinics.Some VA’s have programs specializing in PTSD treatment. Use the VA PTSD ProgramLocator to find a PTSD program.If you are a war Veteran, find a Vet Center to help with the transition from military to civilian life.

Call the 24/7 Veteran Combat Call Center1-877-WAR-VETS (1-877-927-8387) to talk to another combat Veteran.DoD’s Defense Centers of Excellence (DCoE) 24/7 Outreach Center for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury provides information and helps locate resources.

Call 1-866-966-1020 or email resources@dcoeoutreach.orgMilitary OneSourceCall 24/7 for counseling and many resources 1-800-342-9647.Need further assistance? Get Help with VA PTSD Care,

IRAQ BODY COUNT>>

 

This data is based on 51,544 database entries from the beginning of the war to 28 Feb 2017, and on monthly preliminary data from that date onwards. Preliminary data is shown in grey when applicable, and is based on approximate daily totals in the Recent Eventssection prior to full analysis. The full analysis extracts details such as the names or demographic details of individuals killed, the weapons that killed them and location amongst other details. The current range contains 36,537–38,380 deaths (20%–19%, a portion which may rise or fall over time) based on single-sourced reports.

Graphs are based on the higher number in our totals. Gaps in recording and reporting suggest that even our highest totals to date may be missing many civilian deaths from violence.

Total Dollar Cost of War>>

Cost of War in Iraq>>

Cost of War in Afghanistan>>

Pictures by Corporal MIKE PRYSNER, US Military Iraq War Veteran

Please Never Forget These Children

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