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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mosul Falls To al Qaeda and Disgraceful Iraqi Deserters




The Battle for Mosul was a battle fought during the Iraq War in 2004 for the capital of the Ninawa Governorate in northern Iraq that occurred concurrently to fighting in Fallujah. Casualties and losses in bloody fighting included 4 U.S. troops killed, 116 Iraqi forces killed, 1 British security contractor killed, 1 Turkish contractor killed, 5 civilians killed, and 71 enemy (confirmed) insurgents killed.  

In Mosul, the entire 5,000 member police force deserted before U.S. and Iraqi troops regained control.

It is June 11, 2014, and Mosul has been lost. The city of Fallujah was captured in January by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other al Qaeda insurgents, but Mosul is a bigger and more important prize, located at a strategically vital intersection on routes linking Iraq to Turkey and Syria.

The loss of control of Iraq's third-largest city to Al Qaeda-inspired insurgents is a crushing defeat not only for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's security policies but for Iraqi politics as a whole.

But what terrible, disheartening news to America and to the memory of United States forces lost in Iraq.

After four days of fighting in a city of over two million people, tens of thousands of civilians have fled for their lives, including the governor of Nineveh province, who spoke of the "massive collapse" of the Iraqi army. This "collapse" also describes the state of U.S. policy in Iraq. The entire country is in upheaval.

The recent fighting exposes the inadequacies of Iraq’s security forces. It reveals the risks aggravating the country’s already fraught sectarian divide and enables the extremists to capture large quantities of weaponry, much of it American.

The speed with which the security forces lost control of one of Iraq’s biggest cities was striking, and it was a major humiliation for the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

So what does Maliki do? He called on “all powers — political, financial and popular” -- to help the government, raising concerns that he plans to further mobilize the Shiite militias that are reported to be helping beleaguered government forces in the battle against Sunni insurgents in the western province of Anbar.

Those militias also played a key role in accelerating the country’s civil war from 2005 to 2007, raising fears that this latest insurgent victory will serve to further exacerbate the sectarian divide.

“Maliki calling on people to arm themselves to fight al-Qaeda is a real indictment of his own security policy and also an invitation for more chaos,” said Zaid al-Ali, an Iraq scholar and the author of a recent book on the challenges confronting Iraq.

The loss of Mosul is also an indictment of the efficiency of the Iraqi security forces, he said.
“There’s a lot of infiltration, a lack of training, a lack of motivation and a significant level of corruption.”

(Liz Sly and Ahmed Ramadan. "Insurgents Seize Iraqi City of Mosul As Security Forces Flee." 
The Washington Post. June 10, 2014)

In January, 2005, Army General George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said that U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces were still not ready to take over the counterinsurgency and that there was no guarantee that they would ever be able to defeat militant guerrillas on their own.

Then, many years ago, Casey warned that the 130,000 Iraqi police and soldiers still lacked leaders to direct them in a fight against rebels and that local police who had deserted in the thousands remained a key weak point.

(Associated Press. "U.S. Commander Says Local Forces Not Ready." 
NBC News. January 26, 2005) 


So now, in June of 2014, thousands of Iraqi soldiers are deserting the army as the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic militants take control of vital regions in the war-torn country. U.S. government officials have forked out $14 billion on Iraqi security forces to help them prepare for a battle against the Sunni extremists, according to The New York Times. Evidently, the preparation made no difference.

The Iraqi deserters dumped their weapons, their vehicles, and their uniforms as militants captured five army bases, as well as the city’s airport.

As the fighters paraded around in captured Humvees, the Iraqi government was reduced to bombing its own bases to prevent more weapons ending up in enemy hands.

One soldier named Mohamed, who would only give his first name because deserters face a possible death sentence, told the newspaper that eight of his comrades had been killed recently when a mortar shell struck their Humvee.

"I felt like I was fighting armies, not an army," said Mohamed, 24. "I’m tired," he said, referring to the U.S. invasion and the years of sectarian strife between the Sunnis and Shiites. "Everyone is tired."

The Iraqi government has attempted to play down the crisis by saying soldiers are "missing" and not deserters, while other officials have claimed that soldiers had not returned from leave because the roads leading to the battlefields were dangerous, the Times said.

The desertions have resulted in Baghdad ordering more artillery attacks and airstrikes while attempting to recapture lost territory, including Fallujah, which was taken over by the militants six months ago.

However, the measure have led human rights workers to say that Iraq is using widespread "barrel bombs" that put civilians at risk.

(Drew MacKenzie. "Iraq in Crisis as Thousands of Deserters Flee Battlegrounds." 
Newsmax. June 11, 2014) 




When Will We Ever Learn...

Latest tallies from one recent study say the U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest.

The war has killed at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians and may have contributed to the deaths of as many as four times that number, according to the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

When security forces, insurgents, journalists and humanitarian workers were included, the war's death toll rose to an estimated 176,000 to 189,000, the study said.

(Daniel Trotta. "Iraq War Costs U.S. More Than $2 trillion: Study." Reuters. March 14, 2013)

I grieve for those Americans who lost their lives in Mosul. I grieve for those Americans who lost their lives in Iraq. What is the true cost of war? One special American life that can never be replaced is too much sacrifice for anyone unwilling to defend themselves. I do not understand politics and war. Our brave troops are disgraced by those who honestly believe in Iraqi freedom and who abandon the fight. I pray we never again enter a country that is destined to fall after our costly occupation. I fear Iraq was such a country.

I despise whoever or whatever is putting our armed forces in harm's way, then knowingly withdrawing from ground paid for with American lives to allow our enemies final victory. These measures top to bottom must be stopped. No more can we afford to allow so-called statesmen and Big Business CEOs to lead our sons and daughters into such wars.

The Human Cost of Occupation
Edited by Margaret Griffis
 
American Military Casualties in Iraq
Date
Total
In Combat
American Deaths 
Since war began (3/19/03):44893528
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03) (the list)
4347
3424
Since Handover (6/29/04):36272899
Since Obama Inauguration (1/20/09):256128
Since Operation New Dawn:6639
American WoundedOfficialEstimated
Total Wounded:32021Over 100,000

Page last updated 06/5/14 10:57 pm EDT 
 
(The List:  http://antiwar.com/casualties/list.php) 
 
 
One Special Loss In the Battle of Mosul
 
Spc. Thomas K. Doerflinger
Spc. Thomas K. Doerflinger


 
homas K. Doerflinger was quiet but very funny. He wrote poetry, short stories and liked the music of Johnny Cash. He was not "your typical play-video-games kind of guy," said his younger sister, Anna Doerflinger, 23. Thomas Doerflinger, 20, of Silver Spring, Md., died Nov. 11 when his unit came under small-arms fire in Mosul. He was based at Fort Lewis, Wash. Doerflinger joined the military shortly after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. "He said, 'I just want to be helpful,'" his sister said. Thomas' parents, Richard and Lee Doerflinger, tried to dissuade him because U.S. military action appeared to be imminent. "But he said he'd rather join then than in a time of peace," Anna said. His parents released a statement that said, in part: "Even as we grieve for our loss we honor the ideals he stood for and ask others to do the same." Doerflinger's family last saw him a week before he left for Iraq. Anna hugged her brother, told him she loved him and told him to be careful. "He scoffed, and said he was going to OK," she said. "He never wanted us to know the threat he was in." - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/washingtonpost/obituary.aspx?pid=3098197#sthash.JorwLwpm.dpuf
Thomas K. Doerflinger was quiet but very funny. He wrote poetry, short stories and liked the music of Johnny Cash. He was not "your typical play-video-games kind of guy," said his younger sister, Anna Doerflinger, 23. 

Thomas Doerflinger, 20, of Silver Spring, Md., died Nov. 11, 2004, when his unit came under small-arms fire in Mosul. He was based at Fort Lewis, Washington. Doerflinger joined the military shortly after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. "He said, 'I just want to be helpful,'" his sister said. 

Thomas' parents, Richard and Lee Doerflinger, tried to dissuade him because U.S. military action appeared to be imminent. "But he said he'd rather join then than in a time of peace," Anna said. His parents released a statement that said, in part: "Even as we grieve for our loss we honor the ideals he stood for and ask others to do the same." 

Doerflinger's family last saw him a week before he left for Iraq. Anna hugged her brother, told him she loved him and told him to be careful. "He scoffed, and said he was going to OK," she said. "He never wanted us to know the threat he was in."
 
  
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