Good Morning. Sorry for the delay.
Today is our 453rd day back in Iraq.
There have been no new American casualties.
We find this morning's Cost of War
passing through: $ 1, 639, 364, 700, 000 .00
I've had a bumper crop of stories over the last week, so let's dive right in. We'll start in Afghanistan - perhaps you heard about this last week when it happened; several hundred young girls have been injured
in what's being categorized as a gas attack - whilst in school.
More than 300 Afghan girls were hospitalized amid several suspected Taliban attacks. Authorities confirmed the girls, who are between the ages of 9 and 18, were hurt in three separate incidents. However, the three incidents were eventually linked, as the victims reportedly inhaled a mysterious gas, which was later determined to be toxic.
On Monday, 140 female students fell ill after a questionable gas was detected inside their school building. On Wednesday, 68 others were sickened in a similar incident at the same school.
As reported by CNN, 115 other girls were transported to the Herat Regional Hospital on Thursday — after their school was also struck with a mysterious gas.
Authorities confirmed more than 300 Afghan girls were hospitalized this week as a result of inhaling toxic fumes at school. The Daily Mail reports Taliban militants are suspected in the attacks.
As the Islamist group prohibits females from seeking an education outside the home, they are suspected in numerous attacks against young girls, who were all attending school.
Between 2009 and 2012, the United Nations confirmed more than 1,000 unprovoked attacks against schoolchildren in Afghanistan. A majority of the violence was targeted toward female students and their teachers. The UN Mission in Afghanistan determined a “vast majority” of the attacks were carried out by “anti-government groups” — which include the Taliban.
In addition to using poison gas, militant groups have been blamed for poisoning school water supplies, throwing acid in students’ faces, using suicide bombers, and destroying school buildings.
Unfortunately, the attacks have discouraged some Afghan girls from pursuing an education.
In addition to the loss of buildings, and teachers, many students are simply unwilling to risk their lives for an education.
Deputy Governor Aseeluddin Jami said this week’s attacks were likely deliberate. However, he stopped short of blaming a specific militant group.
Because of course, smart people of any type will likely see through whatever false bill of sale is being peddled under the name of religion in these cases.
But never mind the Taleban; the enemy-du-jour still remains ISIS, and as such, the powers that be still need to drum up hatred and fear. Remember when we went into Iraq for a lie? There's some rumblings that the same thing is happening again...only this time in Syria.
Hold on to your butts.
More than 50 intelligence analysts working out of the U.S. military’s Central Command have formally complained that their reports on ISIS and al Qaeda’s branch in Syria were being inappropriately altered by senior officials, The Daily Beast has learned.
The complaints spurred the Pentagon’s inspector general to open an investigation into the alleged manipulation of intelligence. The fact that so many people complained suggests there are deep-rooted, systemic problems in how the U.S. military command charged with the war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State assesses intelligence.
“The cancer was within the senior level of the intelligence command,” one defense official said.
Two senior analysts at CENTCOM signed a written complaint sent to the Defense Department inspector general in July alleging that the reports, some of which were briefed to President Obama, portrayed the terror groups as weaker than the analysts believe they are. The reports were changed by CENTCOM higher-ups to adhere to the administration’s public line that the U.S. is winning the battle against ISIS and al Nusra, al Qaeda’s branch in Syria, the analysts claim.
That complaint was supported by 50 other analysts, some of whom have complained about politicizing of intelligence reports for months. That’s according to 11 individuals who are knowledgeable about the details of the report and who spoke to The Daily Beast on condition of anonymity.
The accusations suggest that a large number of people tracking the inner workings of the terror groups think that their reports are being manipulated to fit a public narrative. The allegations echoed charges that political appointees and senior officials cherry-picked intelligence about Iraq’s supposed weapons program in 2002 and 2003.
The two signatories to the complaint were described as the ones formally lodging it, and the additional analysts are willing and able to back up the substance of the allegations with concrete examples.
Some of those CENTCOM analysts described the sizeable cadre of protesting analysts as a “revolt” by intelligence professionals who are paid to give their honest assessment, based on facts, and not to be influenced by national-level policy. The analysts have accused senior-level leaders, including the director of intelligence and his deputy in CENTCOM, of changing their analyses to be more in line with the Obama administration’s public contention that the fight against ISIS and al Qaeda is making progress. The analysts take a more pessimistic view about how military efforts to destroy the groups are going.
It's close enough, so let's peer into Iraq for a moment. There's recent news that they've been trained enough to use actual fighter jets in defense of themselves. Iraqi-flown F-16s have just started flying missions against ISIS in Iraq
....so does that mean we can stop now and come home (again)?
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraq has put F-16 warplanes acquired from the United States into action against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group for the first time, the commander of the air force said Sunday.
"Fifteen airstrikes were carried out in the past four days," Staff Lt. Gen. Anwar Hama Amin told AFP following a news conference in Baghdad.
"Smart weapons" were used in the strikes, Amin said, without specifying the type.
Defense Minister Khaled al-Obaidi told the news conference that the strikes had achieved "important results" and that the jets will have "an impact on the conduct of operations in the future."
Amin told the news conference that the F-16 strikes had taken place in Salaheddin and Kirkuk provinces, north of Baghdad.
The first four Iraqi F-16s arrived from the United States in mid-July, out of a total of 36 Washington has agreed to sell to Baghdad.
The purchase had been a source of tension, with Baghdad repeatedly complaining that they have not been delivered quickly enough.
Insecurity in Iraq, where ISIS seized significant territory in June 2014, had delayed the delivery of the jets, with the first batch being sent to Arizona, where Iraqi pilots have been training.
An Iraqi pilot was killed when his F-16 crashed during training in Arizona earlier this year.
F-16 jets are much more sophisticated than other aircraft in Baghdad's arsenal and will boost Iraq's capacity for airstrikes, which are currently carried out by ageing Sukhoi Su-25 jets, Cessna Caravan turboprop aircraft and various helicopters.
Finally today, more of a footnote than anything else - another Navy Commanding Officer has been removed from command
for unspecified "dereliction of duty". I've mentioned this before, since I skim the military news sites every week, I see these all the time
. I really do wonder what's going on out there.
The Navy on Friday relieved the commanding officer of the Groton-based Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Springfield for performance related reasons, according to a Navy spokesman.
Cmdr. Daniel Lombardo, who is originally from Danbury, was removed by Capt. John McGunnigle, commander of Submarine Squadron 4, "due to loss of confidence in his ability to command," according to a prepared statement sent by Cmdr. Tommy Crosby, a spokesman for the Navy's Submarine Force Atlantic. Lombardo became the commanding officer of the USS Springfield in July 2014.
Lombardo has been "administratively reassigned" to the staff of Submarine Squadron 4, stationed in Groton, according to the statement.
Capt. Jack Houdeshell, the deputy commander at Submarine Squadron 4, has been temporarily assigned as commanding officer of the Springfield, one of 16 submarines homeported in Groton, until a permanent replacement is found.
And so, away we go. I was scurrying about this morning, drove Javi to School, Maria to work, and I'll soon be off to distribute Cub Scout recruiting flyers to the schools....so a busy morning still in the offing.