“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, February 02, 2007

Four Downed Helicoters in Four Weeks. Why?

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A U.S. Apache helicopter went down in Iraq on Friday, Pentagon officials said, the fourth helicopter to crash in two weeks.

The U.S. officials could not say whether the AH-64 crashed or was brought down by insurgent fire or whether there were casualties.

An official with Iraq's Interior Ministry, however, said earlier Friday that Iraqi soldiers in Taji, about 12 miles north of Baghdad, reported a U.S. helicopter was seen going down after coming under insurgent fire.

Witnesses later told The Associated Press that the wreckage was spotted near a fuel storage complex in Mashhada, near Taji, and that U.S. troops had sealed off the area.

Nineteen Americans were killed in the three previous incidents.

Of those, two U.S. troops were killed when another Apache was lost during fighting with insurgents last weekend in Najaf.

Last week, a U.S. helicopter providing air security for two U.S. Embassy officials came under heavy fire and crashed in eastern Baghdad, killing five employees for the Blackwater private security company. Three Iraqi insurgent groups claimed responsibility for the attack.

On January 20, a U.S. military Black Hawk helicopter -- believed to have been downed by a shoulder-fired missile -- crashed in Iraq's Diyala province, killing 12 U.S. soldiers on board.


  1. Manpads, they've finally made it to the battlefield.

    Same as when we armed the Mohammedans in Afghanistan. It changed the balance, there. Counted as a great success, for US, deployment of Stingers to that conflict. The Manpads creating a tipping point for the Soviets, there.

    SAM7s against rotary wings, not a fair fight. The immediate counter measures, fly less.
    Force Protection Doctrine will ground the birds, in ever higher numbers, at least until there is "new" technology.

    Negating one of the legs of the US's greatest advantage, Death from Above.

    An escalation of technology in the battlespace. An escalation that does not favor US.

  2. Do not talk about it, it'll go away.
    Just as with the Iranian dossier, the mountain of evidence that is being suppressed.
    Ignorance is bliss.

  3. I'm with you, trish.

    Just say it in a different tone.

    Weak sisters, all around, on our side.

    There is evidence enough, without Karbala. Has been for years. Against Iran, Syria and the Sauds.

    Hear no evil, see no evil and you do not have to act against it.
    Just pretend it is not there.

    Send young men off to die, killed by Enemies we refuse to confront, then call for US to continue, to keep on keepin on, to make their sacrifice whole.

    Crock of shit is what it is.

  4. What I don't understand is this. If the US is unwilling to fight the Jihadis, why don't they finance those that would?

  5. That explantion will have to come from one of the apologists for GWB. Damned if I can figure the reason why.

  6. This is good news:

    The Bush administration has suspended plans to develop space ventures with China, including joint exploration of the moon, in reaction to Beijing's Jan. 11 test of an anti-satellite weapon that left orbiting debris threatening U.S. and foreign satellites. ..

    Now get out of the International Space Station or anything to do with Russia in space.

  7. Deuce,

    The Russians were providing good cheap service of delivering Western satellites to space. They had the technology and the experience. But what did the US do instead. It went ahead and fscked the Russians and their brethren in Kosovo, and then gave the Chinese the contracts and the technology to put up and shoot down satellites. Nice.

  8. Another of Jr's cohort bought the farm, his family is burying him, in Washington State, this weekend.

    Jr says the he was a "boot". Blown to bits by a roadside bomb. No arms, no legs, no heart left.
    Pretty damn depressed, the kid is, no partys this weekend.

    Evidence enough for me.
    Take it to the fuckers, or come home and wait for the next go.

  9. Rat, It is hard to know what to believe. One Muslim group is killing another and then we hear that 40 % of the young Muslims in Britain want Sharia law. Most of them have been born and raised in Britain. If that education and exposure to the West has so unimpressed them, what will our support for either side accomplish in Iraq?

    That big battle last weekend where the US and the UK intervened to support the Iraq army seems to have been something other than what was reported. Trish may have nailed it. I did find this story...

    Pilgrims massacred in the 'battle' of Najaf
    By Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily

    "NAJAF, Iraq - Iraqi government statements over the killing of hundreds of Shi'ites in an attack on Sunday stand exposed by independent investigations carried out by Inter Press Service (IPS).

    Conflicting reports had arisen on how and why a huge battle broke out around the small village of Zarqa, just a few kilometers northeast of the Shi'ite holy city Najaf, which is 90km south of Baghdad.

    One thing certain is that when the smoke cleared, more than 200

    people lay dead after more than half a day of fighting on Sunday. A US helicopter was shot down, killing two soldiers. Twenty-five members of the Iraqi security forces were also killed.

    "We were going to conduct the usual ceremonies that we conduct every year when we were attacked by Iraqi soldiers," Jabbar al-Hatami, a leader of the al-Hatami Shi'ite Arab tribe told IPS.

    "We thought it was one of the usual mistakes of the Iraqi army killing civilians, so we advanced to explain to the soldiers that they killed five of us for no reason. But we were surprised by more gunfire from the soldiers."

    The confrontation took place on the Shi'ite holiday of Ashura, which commemorates Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammed and the most revered of Shi'ite saints. Emotions run high at this time, and self-flagellation in public is the norm.

    Many southern Shi'ite Arabs do not follow Iranian-born cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. They believe the religious leadership should be kept in the hands of Arab clerics. Hatami and al-Khazaali are two major tribes that do not follow Sistani. Tribal members from both believe the attack was launched by the central government of Baghdad to stifle growing Shi'ite-Sunni unity in the area.

    "Our convoy was close to the Hatami convoy on the way to Najaf when we heard the massive shooting, and so we ran to help them because our tribe and theirs are bound with a strong alliance," a 45-year-old man who asked to be referred to as Ahmed told IPS.

    Ahmed, a member of the Khazaali tribe, said, "Our two tribes have a strong belief that Iranians are provoking sectarian war in Iraq, which is against the belief of all Muslims, and so we announced an alliance with Sunni brothers against any sectarian violence in the country. That did not make our Iranian-dominated government happy."

    The fighting took place on the Diwaniya-Najaf road and spread into nearby date-palm plantations after pilgrims sought refuge there.

    "American helicopters participated in the slaughter," Jassim Abbas, a farmer from the area, told IPS. "They were soon there to kill those pilgrims without hesitation, but they were never there for helping Iraqis in anything they need. We just watched them getting killed group by group while trapped in those plantations."

    Much of the killing was done by US and British warplanes, witnesses said.

    Local authorities, including the office of Najaf Governor Asaad Abu Khalil, who is a member of the pro-Iranian Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, had claimed before the killings that a group of primarily foreign Sunni fighters with links to al-Qaeda had planned to disrupt the Ashura festival by attacking Shi'ite pilgrims and senior ayatollahs in Najaf. The city is the principal seat of religious learning for Shi'ites in Iraq.

    Officials claimed that Iraqi security forces had obtained intelligence information from two detained men that had led the Iraqi Scorpion commando squad to prepare for an attack. The intelligence claimed obviously had little impact on how events unfolded.

    Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani announced to reporters at 9am on Sunday that Najaf was being attacked by al-Qaeda. Immediately after this announcement, the Ministry of National Security (MNS) announced that the dead were members of the Shi'ite splinter extremist group Jund al-Sama (Army of Heaven) who were out to kill senior ayatollahs in Najaf, including Sistani.

    Iraqi National Security Adviser Muaffaq al-Rubaii said just 15 minutes after the MNS announcement that hundreds of Arab fighters had been killed, and that many had been arrested. Rubaii claimed there were Saudis, Yemenis, Egyptians and Afghans.

    But Khalil's office backed away from its initial claims after the dead turned out to be local Shi'ite Iraqis. Iraqi security officials continue to contradict their own statements. Most officials now say the dead were Shi'ite extremists supported by foreign powers.
    The government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has a pattern of announcing it is fighting terrorists, like its backers in Washington. Many Iraqis in the south now accuse Baghdad of calling them terrorists simply because they refuse to collaborate with the Iranian-dominated government.

    Ali al-Fadhily is IPS Baghdad correspondent. Dahr Jamail is IPS's specialist writer who has spent eight months reporting from inside Iraq and has been covering the Middle East for several years. "

    (Inter Press Service)

    I do not know how to evaluate the credibility. One thing is certain, nothing is certain.

  10. Oh my god! Stranded polar bears cling to drifting chunks of Arctic ice, reports Drudge.

    Polar bears are AQUATIC animals, marvelously adapted to life at sea. They have been found happily swimming scores of miles from the nearest ice flow. Indeed, polar bears have been observed to swim continuously for 100 km. Oh, and they can swim for hours in the frigid waters of the Arctic Ocean. Why, over millions of years, polar bears have become one of the frozen north’s premiere predators. It is the exception rather than the rule for these animals to make landfall. For doubters, have a look at a map of the Arctic Ocean superimposed over the polar bears’ range.

    Forgive the omission: Ursus maritimus is the scientific name for the common polar bear. And, yes, that would be “maritimus” as in “Of, relating to, or adjacent to the sea”.

  11. Bill Roggio has up an excellent thread addressing the issues facing NATO.

    “The Brit[s] concede Musa Qala is under Taliban control…”

    “Just fall, the British military, without the approval of NATO command, negotiated a 'peace' with 'local elders,' much like the Waziristan Accord agreement…”

    “[A] security contractor operating in Afghanistan, informed us that the al rayah, the black flag of al-Qaeda, was flying outside the district center in Musa Qala…”

    Musa Qala and the NATO offensive

    For those interested in such, Mr. Roggio has provided a superb map.

    Also, see Westhawk’s typically cogent thread.

    British experiment in Afghanistan collapses
    (The British experiment with militant Islam at home isn’t working well either.)

  12. There's something seriously wrong with the people willing that are to up this kind of money and have US troops be sitting ducks in hostile territory.

  13. There's something seriously wrong with the people that are willing to up this kind of money and have US troops be sitting ducks in hostile territory.

  14. Yellow Ribbons

    I stare out into the darkness from my post, and I watch the city burn to the ground. I smell the familiar smells, I walk through the familiar rubble, and I look at the frightened faces that watch me pass down the streets of their neighborhoods. My nerves hardly rest; my hands are steady on a device that has been given to me from my government for the purpose of taking the lives of others.

    I sweat, and I am tired. My back aches from the loads I carry. Young American boys look to me to direct them in a manner that will someday allow them to see their families again…and yet, I too, am just a boy….my age not but a few years more than that of the ones I lead. I am stressed, I am scared, and I am paranoid…because death is everywhere. It waits for me, it calls to me from around street corners and windows, and it is always there.

    There are the demons that follow me, and tempt me into thoughts and actions that are not my own…but that are necessary for survival. I’ve made compromises with my humanity. And I am not alone in this. Miles from me are my brethren in this world, who walk in the same streets…who feel the same things, whether they admit to it or not.

    And to think, I volunteered for this…

    And I am ignorant to the rest of the world…or so I thought.
    But even thousands of miles away, in Ramadi, Iraq, the cries and screams and complaints of the ungrateful reach me. In a year, I will be thrust back into society from a life and mentality that doesn’t fit your average man. And then, I will be alone. And then, I will walk down the streets of America, and see the yellow ribbon stickers on the cars of the same people who compare our President to Hitler.

  15. rufus,

    The village of Musa Qala, not to be confused with the district of the same name (pop. 50,000), is worth every penny.

  16. Indeed.

    It has to be a "Long War".

    Spending that kind of money.
    With the attendent results.
    For onwards of Four years
    As if it were planned that way.

    Which many believe.

    Others believe it to ba all part of a Grand Stateragy, a MASTER PLAN by a consumate poker player.

    Notice though, that with the ddvent of a Democratic House, the "War" HAS become a budget item.
    No longer to be dealt with by independent continuing resolutions.

    First step in implemmenting purse power.
    Combined with "Pay as you go"
    Tax increases or withdrawal.

  17. I get the distinct feeling that the MASTER PLAN is to lose this war.

  18. westhawk provided a link that reveals potentially more troubling times to come:

    Afghanistan: NATO Seeks To Preempt Taliban Offensive In Helmand

    the source warns that there appears to be growing sophistication among insurgents, citing an improvised explosive device (IED) attack in the fall of 2006. He says a 107-millimeter Chinese rocket was planted atop an antitank mine, and both were sunken into a road. The device ruptured the base of a specially adapted RG31 armored vehicle, killing its gunner. The NATO officer says insurgents are also adept at firing rockets from primitive launch pads -- often limited to a small number of strategically positioned rocks.

    A British squadron leader in Helmand, Kevin Parker, suggests that Taliban fighters are becoming "more technologically aware" in their attacks.

    The enemy is evolving, indeed.

  19. harrison,

    Nature's answer to evolution is extinction.