The Pentagon is expanding its air war in Iraq.
The military has been conducting an average of 75 to 100 air strikes in the Iraq and Afghanistan every day for several years.
As Nick Turse tells us in Bombs Over Baghdad
, the Lancet report "estimated 655,000 'excess Iraqi deaths as a consequence of the war.' The study found that from March 2003 to June 2006, 13% of violent deaths in Iraq were caused by coalition air strikes. If the 655,000 figure, including over 601,000 violent deaths, is anywhere close to accurate - and the study offered a possible range of civilian deaths that ran from 392,979 to 942,636 - this would equal approximately 78,133 Iraqis killed by bombs, missiles, rockets, or cannon rounds from coalition aircraft between March 2003, when the invasion of Iraq began, and last June when the study concluded." Turse adds that, "According to statistics provided to TomDispatch
by the Lancet study's authors, 50% of all violent deaths of Iraqi children under 15 years of age, between March 2003 and June 2006, were due to coalition air strikes."
It appears that the pilots are wearing out because the Air Force has announced that they will be expanding the U.S. of pilot less planes over Iraq in the near future.
According to the Associated Press,
"The airplane [called the Reaper] is the size of a jet fighter, powered by a turbo prop engine, able to fly at 300 mph (480 kph) and reach 50,000 feet (15,240 meters). It is outfitted with infrared, laser and radar targeting, and with a ton and a half of guided bombs and missiles. The Reaper is loaded, but there is no one on board. Its pilot, as it bombs targets in Iraq, will sit at a video console 7,000 miles (11,265 kilometers) away in Nevada."
"The arrival of these outsized U.S. "hunter-killer"drones, in aviation history's first robot attack squadron, will be a watershed moment even in an Iraq that has seen too many innovative ways to hunt and kill."
Seems like the Associated Press writer is quite excited about the prospects.
The Air Force is building a 400,000-square-foot (37,161-square-meter) expansion of the concrete ramp area now used for Predator drones at Balad, the biggest U.S. air base in Iraq, 50 miles north of Baghdad. That new staging area will be turned over to Reapers.
It is quite clear to me that there will be no shutting down of these major U.S. bases in Iraq. All the talk now about "redeploying" our troops just means they will move from the streets of Baghdad out to these bases. Thus the plans to expand U.S. bombing operations. It's all being set up now. Can you see the true picture forming?
Here in Maine, at the Naval Air Station in Brunswick (NASB) planes from the base routinely are sent to Iraq to fly surveillance and reconnaissance missions. I've organized a couple of protests there since moving to Maine.
I am now coordinating a September 15 Maine Veterans for Peace
protest at NASB in opposition to the Navy's Blue Angels air show set for that weekend. More than 100,000 from the region will go to see the "show" which is nothing more than a recruiting gimmick at a time when the military is in desperate need for more of our kids to fight in Iraq on behalf of the oil corporations.
Taxpayers in Maine have already paid $1.2 billion as our share of the cost of the Iraq war. For that same amount of money 322,153 people
in our state could have been provided with full health care.
Come join us in Brunswick on September 15. Real angels don't drop bombs! The time is now to call for a cut in all funding for the bloody occupation of Iraq.