Monday, March 09, 2015

Sorry, not my table: US military dodges responsibility to do something about site destruction in Iraq

This from the US News and World Report:
“Our forces in Iraq are there to advise and assist Iraqis,” a defense official tells U.S. News on the condition of anonymity. “We have no commanders there who are responsible for sectors on the ground.”
A spokesman for the Combined Joint Task Force, or CJTF, overseeing the operation confirmed the limitations on how it can help stem the Islamic State group’s destructive acts.
“The CJTF is taking these reports very seriously. Daesh actions such as this underscore the necessity to defeat Daesh. The CJTF and our partners on the ground are committed to ending the atrocities committed by Daesh,” the spokesman says, responding to questions by email from a U.S. military base in Kuwait.
“Stopping smuggling, money laundering and other criminal activities committed by Daesh are also part of the broader coalition effort, but it is not under the auspices of CJTF.”
 Always nice to hear that reports are being taken seriously. That makes everyone feel so much better. But the question is whether the US has commanders who order airstrikes against targets on the ground, including bulldozers, backhoes, and other excavating equipment being used to raze sites. The answer is, obviously, yes. Here's a report from yesterday:
In Iraq, two air strikes near Al Huwijah destroyed six excavators and hit a tactical unit. Near Fallujah, four strikes hit two tactical units, a fighting position and destroyed three vehicles. Other strikes near Haditha, Kirkuk and Mosul also struck tactical units, fighting positions, excavators, vehicles and other targets.
 "Excavators" are being hit. Just not the excavators headed for archaeological sites. 

That the same article in which the CJTF demurs also includes another rousing statement from Secretary of State Kerry affirming our deep regard for cultural heritage only adds insult to injury. The Obama administration needs to crack some heads, or they will be as culpable of negligence as the military.

No comments: