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Army General: US Wasn't 'Necessarily Concerned' About Killing Civilians During 2007 Iraq Surge
The US military wasn't "necessarily concerned" about limiting civilian deaths during the 2007 troop surge in Iraq, according to the Army's top general overseeing logistics.
At a forum sponsored by the Association of the US Army, Lt. Gen. Aundre F. Piggee made the comment in contrast to air strikes in the fight for Mosul, which he said were carried out with more care to avoid collateral damage.
“These high-tech munitions limit collateral damage, and we were not necessarily concerned about that at the height of the Surge,” Piggee said, according to a transcript on the AUSA website. "Now in Mosul, we are absolutely concerned about that.”
The statement is starkly different from the usual Pentagon messaging of always taking care to reduce civilian casualties. A 2003 American Forces Press Services article, for example, touted the use of precision-guided munitions that would reduce casualties in the Iraq War. The same article quoted then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as saying the coalition would "take great care" to avoid them.
Still, Piggee's statement seems a stunning explanation for the rise in civilian deaths during that time. Civilian deaths in Iraq went up by roughly 70% in 2007, according to the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.
Perhaps the most infamous example came in the release of the Iraq War logs by WikiLeaks. Leaked gun camera footage taken by US Apache helicopters in 2007 showed the pilots firing on and killing several civilians, including two Reuters journalists.
A US airstrike in March killed 105 civilians in Mosul, marking one of the deadliest days for civilians since the campaign to retake Mosul began in late 2016. A Pentagon investigation asserted that explosives placed in the building by ISIS was a major factor contributing to the death toll.
In a statement provided to Business Insider, Piggee took issue with reporting on his remarks at AUSA:
"The battlefield in Iraq during the surge and during Mosul were two completely different battlefield scenarios," Piggee said. "The battle for Mosul is close-in, urban fighting, which requires the use of more precision munitions and technologies. The surge was not limited to urban areas, which allowed us to use a range of munitions. In both cases we were — and remain — equally concerned about reducing and preventing civilian casualties."
This article was updated June 30 at 7:35 a.m. PDT with a statement from Piggee.
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Moments before Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia went back into the house, journalist Michael Ware said he was "pacing like a caged tiger ... almost like he was talking to himself."
"I distinctly remember while everybody else had taken cover temporarily, there out in the open on the street — still exposed to the fire from the roof — was David Bellavia," Ware told Task & Purpose on Monday. "David stopped pacing, he looked up and sees that the only person still there on the street is me. And I'm just standing there with my arms folded.
"He looked up from the pacing, stared straight into my eyes, and said 'Fuck it.' And I stared straight back at him and said 'Fuck it,'" Ware said. "And that's when I knew, we were both going back in that house."
Former Army Special Forces Maj. Matthew Golsteyn will plead not guilty to a charge of murder for allegedly shooting an unarmed Afghan man whom a tribal leader had identified as a Taliban bomb maker, his attorney said.
Golsteyn will be arraigned on Thursday morning at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Phillip Stackhouse told Task & Purpose.
No date has been set for his trial yet, said Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, a spokesman for U.S. Army Special Operations Command.
John Wick is back, and he's here to stay. It doesn't matter how many bad guys show up to try to collect on that bounty.
With John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, the titular hitman, played by 54-year-old Keanu Reeves, continues on a blood-soaked hyper-stylized odyssey of revenge: first for his slain dog, then his wrecked car, then his destroyed house, then ... well, honestly it's hard to keep track of exactly what Wick is avenging by this point, or the body count he's racked up in the process.
Though we do know that the franchise has raked in plenty of success at the box office: just a week after it's May 17 release, the third installment in director Chad Stahleski's series took in roughly $181 million, making it even more successful than its two wildly popular prequels 2014's John Wick, and 2017's John Wick: Chapter 2.
And, more importantly, Reeves' hitman is well on his way to becoming one of the greatest action movie heroes in recent memory. Few (if any) other action flicks have succeeded in creating a mind-blowing avant garde ballet out of a dozen well-dressed gunmen who get shot, choked, or stabbed with a pencil by a pissed off hitman who just wants to return to retirement.
But for all the over-the-top acrobatics, fight sequences, and gun-porn (see: the sommelier), what makes the series so enthralling, especially for the service members and vets in the audience, is that there are some refreshing moments of realism nestled under all of that gun fu. Wrack your brain and try to remember the last time you saw an action hero do a press check during a shootout, clear a jam, or actually, you know, reload, instead of just hip-firing 300 rounds from an M16 nonstop. It's cool, we'll wait.
As it turns out, there's a good reason for the caliber of gun-play in John Wick. One of the franchise's secret weapons is a professional three-gun shooter named Taran Butler, who told Task & Purpose he can draw and hit three targets in 0.67 seconds from 10 yards. And if you've watched any of the scores of videos he's uploaded to social media over the years, it's pretty clear that this isn't idle boasting.
The Navy's electromagnetic railgun is undergoing what officials described as "essentially a shakedown" of critical systems before finally installing a tactical demonstrator aboard a surface warship, the latest sign that the once-beleaguered supergun may actually end up seeing combat.
That pretty much means this is could be the last set of tests before actually slapping this bad boy onto a warship, for once.
The Justice Department has accused Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) of illegally using campaign funds to pay for extramarital affairs with five women.
Hunter, who fought in the Iraq War as a Marine artillery officer, and his wife Margaret were indicated by a federal jury on Aug. 21, 2018 for allegedly using up to $250,000 in campaign funds for personal use.
In a recent court filing, federal prosecutors accused Hunter of using campaign money to pay for a variety of expenses involved with his affairs, ranging from a $1,008 hotel bill to $7 for a Sam Adams beer.