Well, perhaps proving the point from my rant over the weekend - we seem to be asking for trouble in the Middle East.
We just can't leave well enough alone. The US has to poke it's nose in everyone else's business, so here we are launching airstrikes again
. I presume this will open us up to more terrorist reprisals.
Another retaliatory U.S. airstrike in the Middle East -- the first of its kind in Iraq -- ratcheted up tensions in the region Wednesday as casualties among Iranian-backed forces mounted and one militia group vowed retaliation.
A U.S. defense official confirmed to Military.com on Wednesday that fighter aircraft conducted precision airstrikes against two facilities used by a Hezbollah militia to support recent attacks on bases used by U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria.
The strikes, which were carried out in Iraq, came just a day after Iran-backed fighters shot ballistic missiles at Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq, prompting a response by a nearby U.S. AC-130 gunship against a vehicle near the launch site, killing some fighters.
According to the defense official, Tuesday's strikes were conducted against Kata'ib Hezbollah, an Iraqi Shia militant group that, according to U.S. intelligence, has thousands of members and seeks to establish an Iran-aligned government in Iraq.
The strikes targeted an operations center and a command-and-control node south of Baghdad, the official said. They also added that the initial evaluation indicated that "U.S. forces successfully destroyed the intended facilities." But while they confirmed the presence of Kata'ib Hezbollah personnel, "we're unable to provide a casualty assessment at this time."
In a statement reported by The Associated Press, Kata'ib Hezbollah said it was considering "expanding the scope of targets" if the U.S. strikes continued, adding that the most recent attack "will not go unpunished."
The most recent U.S. strike -- the first planned retaliation in the country -- also angered the Iraqi prime minister who, in a statement reported by several media outlets, called the attack a violation of the country's sovereignty and breach of the longtime U.S. mission to combat the Islamic State terrorist group on Iraqi soil.
So who knows where this will lead? But moving on...the ludicrous "Space Force" now has something in common with it's more established brethren. They have suicides, too.
The Space Force has publicly disclosed its first deaths by suicide -- the first since becoming the newest military service branch in 2019, according to the latest data.
The Pentagon, which maintains and releases suicide data among all the service branches, disclosed in its most recent quarterly suicide report for 2023 that two Guardians died by suicide sometime between April and June.
Until this year, the relatively tiny and new Space Force had been an outlier among the other services as they have struggled to reduce the number of troops who take their own lives.
"The Department of the Air Force reports suicide rates for airmen and Guardians to the Department of Defense on a quarterly basis so we can detect long-term trends and adjust prevention efforts and resources accordingly," said Maj. Tanya Downsworth, an Air Force spokeswoman.
The Space Force, with about 8,600 active-duty Guardians, is the smallest of all the service branches, but is not immune to the same issues facing all of the services when it comes to mental health.
Last year, according to the 2022 report, the Space Force experienced no deaths by suicide. By comparison, the Air Force -- active-duty, reserve and Guard -- saw 91 suicides last year. So far, in the first two quarters of 2023, the latest data available, the Air Force has seen 46 deaths by suicide.
I'm afraid the more things change, the more they stay the same.