October 26, 2007
"This month has seen the smallest number of Americans killed in Iraq than any other month since March 2006. But the reasons may have less to do with progress in the war than with the way we're now fighting it. Just 29 U.S. military personnel have died in Iraq in October so far—down from 65 in September, 84 in August, 78 in July, 101 in June …
... However, some perspective is warranted. First, all told, 2007 has been a horrible year for American lives lost in this war—832 to date, more than the 822 lost in all of 2006, and, by the time the year ends, almost certainly more than the 846 killed in 2005 or the 849 in 2004.
...What accounts for the decline in American deaths since the summer? It's hard to say for sure, but one little-reported cause is almost certainly a relative shift in U.S. tactics from fighting on the ground to bombing from the air.
On Sunday, U.S. soldiers were searching for a leader of a kidnapping ring in Baghdad's Sadr City. The soldiers came under fire from a building. Rather than engage in dangerous door-to-door conflict, they called in air support. Army helicopters flew overhead and simply destroyed the building, killing several of the fighters but also at least six innocent civilians.* (The bad guy got away.)
...From January to September of this year, according to unclassified data, U.S. Air Force pilots in Iraq have flown 996 sorties that involved dropping munitions. By comparison, in all of 2006, they flew just 229 such sorties—one-quarter as many. In 2005, they flew 404; in 2004, they flew 285.
In other words, in the first nine months of 2007, Air Force planes dropped munitions on targets in Iraq more often than in the previous three years combined. (emphasis added)
More telling still, the number of airstrikes soared most dramatically at about the same time that U.S. troop fatalities declined. (Click here for month-by-month figures.)"
An Airstrike a Day Won't Keep Insurgents at Bay. Oct. 24, 2007
"The semi-secret air wars ('semi-secret’ because the information is released and is even reported on, but no American mentions it as a possible moral issue) (emphasis added):
"The U.S. military has increased airstrikes in Iraq four-fold this year, reflecting a steep escalation in combat operations aimed at al-Qaeda and other militants.
Coalition forces launched 1,140 airstrikes in the first nine months of this year compared with 229 in all of last year, according to military statistics.
... The increasing use of air power also stems from improved accuracy and smaller munitions that allow commanders to launch airstrikes against insurgents who travel in small groups and sometimes hide among civilians."
Whoever they claim they are trying to hit, it is civilians who are the actual targets (that last paragraph is unintentionally gruesome) (emphasis added). Air Force Maj. Gen. Allen Peck said: "We are using air power in lieu of putting extensive forces on the ground." Exactly right, as they lack the manpower (emphasis added) to do the job properly, and they don’t want the American casualty rates to go up. The real political benefit is that the civilian casualties are increasing hatred of the Americans..."
The semi-secret air wars October 25, 2007
It is not only the lack of manpower, but also the lack of 'bravery' of the armed to the teeth American soldiers.
"Iraq war veterans now stationed at a base here in upstate New York say that morale among US soldiers in the country is so poor, many are simply parking their Humvees and pretending to be on patrol, a practice dubbed "search and avoid" missions.
... Aliff said he participated in roughly 300 patrols. "We were hit by so many roadside bombs we became incredibly demoralized, so we decided the only way we wouldn't be blown up was to avoid driving around all the time." "So we would go find an open field and park, and call our base every hour to tell them we were searching for weapons caches in the fields and doing weapons patrols and everything was going fine," he said, adding, "All our enlisted people became very disenchanted with our chain of command."
Aliff, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), refused to return to Iraq with his unit, which arrived in Kirkuk two weeks ago. "They've already lost a guy, and they are now fostering the sectarian violence by arming the Sunnis while supporting the Shi'ites politically ... classic divide and conquer."
Aliff told Inter Press Service (IPS) he is set to be discharged by the military next month because they claim his PTSD "is untreatable by their doctors".
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the number of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans seeking treatment for PTSD increased nearly 70% in the 12 months ending on June 30. The nearly 50,000 VA-documented PTSD cases greatly exceed the 30,000 military personnel that the Pentagon officially classifies as wounded in both occupations."
...Other active duty Iraq veterans tell similar stories of disobeying orders so as not to be attacked so frequently. "We'd go to the end of our patrol route and set up on top of a bridge and use it as an over-watch position," Eli Wright, also an active duty soldier with the 10th Mountain Division, told IPS. "We would just sit with our binoculars and observe rather than sweep. We'd call in radio checks every hour and say we were doing sweeps." Wright added, "It was a common tactic, a lot of people did that. We'd just hang out, listen to music, smoke cigarettes, and pretend."
US soldiers shy from battle in Iraq October 26, 2007