Today is our 4,727th day in Afghanistan, and our 89th day back in Iraq.
We'll start this morning as we always do; with the latest casualty figures from our ongoing wars, courtesy of Antiwar.com:
US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 2,343
Other Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 1,125
There have been no new casualties in Iraq.
We find this morning's Cost of War passing through: $ 1, 565, 434, 300, 000 .00
Well, for one of the very few times during our nine-year tenure, I've been caught flat-footed. I'm working from home today, and I left my thumb connected to my work computer (intentionally). Of course, all my notes are there. So instead, let's just bounce around the ol' internets and see what sticks.
Since we're back at war in Iraq, let's start there. The BBC (among many others) is reporting on our overnight strikes around Baghdad
. The story also has an interesting chart on who is contributing what to the latest coalition.
The US has carried out its first air strike against Islamic State (IS) militants under a new strategy to defeat the group.
The US military said Monday's strike had destroyed an IS fighting position south-west of Baghdad that had been firing on Iraqi forces.
It came five days after US President Barack Obama outlined his plan to "degrade and ultimately destroy" IS.
The US has also been building a broad coalition to fight the jihadist group.
IS, also known as Isil or Isis, has announced the creation of a caliphate, or Islamic state, in the large parts of Syria and Iraq it controls.
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Gabriel Gatehouse reports from the front line of Peshmerga-held territory in northern Iraq
"The air strike south-west of Baghdad was the first taken as part of our expanded efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions to hit Isil targets as Iraqi forces go on offence, as outlined in the president's speech last Wednesday," US Central Command said.
It did not specify the exact location but Iraqi security spokesman Lt Gen Qassem Atta told AFP news agency it was "an important strike" in Sadr al-Yusufiya, 25km (15 miles) from the capital.
The US also said an IS position near the north-western town of Sinjar had been targeted on Sunday, destroying six IS vehicles.
US fighter planes have conducted more than 160 airstrikes across Iraq since August.
Previous US air strikes in Iraq have been carried out to protect US interests and personnel, help Iraqi refugees and secure infrastructure.
In a speech last week, President Obama unveiled a four-point plan to defeat IS using air strikes, material and technical support for Iraqi ground troops, counter-terrorism activities and humanitarian help.
He has said there are no plans to send in US ground troops.
Not sure if that's helping, as Antiwar.com reports from the front lines
(as they have almost every day since we invaded the first time.
Diplomats from 30 countries met in Paris today to discuss the Islamic State situation in Iraq. The Kurdish Peshmerga Ministry held its own meeting with representatives from seven countries. Attacks and battles left at least 86 dead and 22 wounded.
In Baghdad, the number of crimes and kidnappings has risen as security forces turn their attention to the militants. The Shi’ite militias that have replaced them in the city often contribute to the problem instead of alleviating it. Many gangs are thought linked to the Islamic State itself.
Meanwhile, a car bomb killed three and wounded 15 more in Abu Dsheer. Another car bomb wounded seven in a minibus. A civilian was gunned down in Bayaa.
In Mosul, three young men were executed by militants. Gunmen killed two militants.
A civilian was shot dead in Yusufiya.
U.S. airstrikes moved closer to Baghdad. A militant location southwest of the capital was bombed.
Clashes broke out in Duluiya. More clashes took place near the Tikrit University.
In Jurf al-Sakhar, 18 militants were killed. Nearby 22 militants in Afghan uniforms were killed.
Sixteen militants were killed, including several leaders, during operations in the Hamrin Basin over the last 10 days.
Airstrikes in Tal Afar left 10 militants dead.
Airstrikes killed eight militants in al-Sger.
Two militants were shot dead at one of their checkpoints near Jalula.
Since we're not at war, this is a purely defensive measure, right?
WASHINGTON — The United States would retaliate against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s air defenses if he were to go after American planes launching airstrikes in his country, senior Obama administration officials said Monday.
Officials said the U.S. has a good sense of where the Syrian air defenses, along with their command and control centers, are located. If Assad were to use those capabilities to threaten U.S. forces, it would put his air defenses at risk, according to the officials, who insisted on anonymity in order to discuss the administration’s thinking on the matter.
President Obama has authorized U.S. airstrikes inside Syria as part of a broad campaign to root out the Islamic State militant group, though no strikes have yet been launched in the country.
Asked Monday about the prospect of striking Assad’s regime if his forces were to target Americans, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said there will be “rules of engagement that are related to any military orders the president directs.”
“It won’t surprise you to know that there are contingencies related to self-defense when it comes to these sorts of rules of engagement,” he said.
It's a curious thing. I'll invoke Godwin here, since comparisons have already been made between The Patriot Act and The Enabling Acts....sure seems to me like the President's speech the other day is starting to look like a Sportpalast Redux