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Saturday, October 24

Why did another American soldier have to be killed in Iraq?

I think the answer boils down to a person with a serious case of ADHD running U.S. CENTCOM military operations. However, because it looks to me to be the same for AFRICOM and NATO, I'm forced to conclude that ADHD is now an occupational hazard for high-ranking U.S. military commanders and/or that America's civilian Commander-in-Chief is himself in need of ADHD medication.

Granted, this armchair diagnosis is too late to help a very valuable and courageous American Master Sergeant named Joshua Wheeler, who was killed while saving a poorly planned mission in Iraq to rescue 15 Kurdish peshmerga prisoners of Islamic State, who weren't even in the prison it turned out.

The U.S Department of Defense interpreted the raid quite differently. From an Oct 23 Reuters report:
A U.S.-backed military operation that freed 70 hostages who had been held by Islamic State in Iraq produced a cache of intelligence, and U.S. forces supporting Iraqi troops are likely to undertake more raids in the future, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Friday.
Carter said he decided on the rescue mission after intelligence showed that executions were imminent and mass graves had been dug.
"When we find opportunities to do things that will effectively prosecute the campaign we're going to do that ... raids is one of those categories and I suspect that we'll have further opportunities in the future and we're going to avail ourselves of them," Carter said.
The U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State will also intensify its assault on the group's oil production and sales enterprise, Carter said, pointing as an example to a recent strike against a pump station and site for crude oil production in eastern Syria.
That's not all they hit, according to this Associated Press report dated Oct 22:
U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq and Syria carried out a large-scale attack on Syria's Omar oil field as part of its mission to target the Islamic State group's ability to generate money, a coalition spokesman said Thursday.
Operations officer Maj. Michael Filanowski told journalists in Baghdad that airstrikes late Wednesday struck IS-controlled oil refineries, command and control centers and transportation nodes in the Omar oil field near the town of Deir el-Zour. Coalition spokesman Col. Steven Warren said the attack hit 26 targets, making it one of the largest set of strikes since launching the air campaign last year.
The refinery generates between $1.7 and $5.1 million per month for the Islamic State group.
"It was very specific targets that would result in long-term incapacitation of their ability to sell oil, to get it out of the ground and transport it," Filanowski said.
Turn to Sputnik's Oct 23 report on Islamic State's oil business and the U.S. strike on Omar to get a very different interpretation of events:
According to [Filanowski] the strike took out refineries, command and control centers, and transportation nodes. All in all, that could affect the Islamic State’s income by as much as $1.7 million to $5.1 million a month.
But that’s a far cry from the estimated $500 million IS rakes in from crude each year.
So the United States bombed a drop in the bucket as far as Islamic State is concerned -- but a drop which was crucially important to the reconstruction of Syria. A self-evident fact the U.S. government well knew.

Moreover, some of Islamic State's biggest customers are just those "moderate" anti-government fighting forces in Syria that the United States has been supporting. See the Sputnik report for details.    

Moreover, Islamic State's biggest customer is the government of Turkey, a NATO ally. To return to the Sputnik report:
In a statement provided to the AP, the office of the Turkish prime minister said it was already working to tighten its border security and "has effectively stopped oil smuggling."
I think Erdogan's government is doing a passing imitation of Pakistan's, which crosses its heart and swears to God it always tells the truth and lies every time it speaks. In any case bombing Omar begs the question asked by Sputnik: 
The self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorist group earns millions from its oilfields in Iraq and Syria. ... But the question remains: How, after over a year of the US-led coalition’s bombing efforts, can this advanced [oil processing and transport] infrastructure remain in place?
The report also notes:
According to Iraqi officials, speaking to the AP on condition of anonymity, IS has also begun adapting to the threat of airstrikes. While oil shipments used to be smuggled in caravans of large tankers, the terrorist have started using smaller trucks that attract less attention.
Because of its cheap prices and stranglehold over local markets, IS has also woven itself into local economies. Many communities in Syria and Iraq, in desperate need of fuel, are forced to conduct business with the organization.
In other words, it's as foolish to waste time launching a financial war against Islamic State as it is to find and field "moderate" militias to fight it. 

Yet this type of foolishness has stretched what should be a straightforward military operation into a generational struggle, with American bureaucrats padding their budgets accordingly. 

Gentlemen. KILL ISLAMIC STATE. If you don't know how to take this direct approach, ring up the Russians and ask for pointers. Take meds if you have a hard time focusing on the replies.  

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