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Washington (AFP) — Two U.S. aircraft on Friday bombed Islamic State extremist positions in northern Iraq after artillery fire near U.S. personnel, the Pentagon said.

The raid — the most significant since the United States withdrew from Iraq — came a day after President Barack Obama authorized force as he voiced fears of genocide against minorities.

Two US F/A-18 aircraft dropped 500-pound (225-kilogram) laser-guided bombs on a mobile artillery piece near the Kurdish region’s capital of Arbil, said Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby.

The United States bombed the position after Islamist fighters shelled Kurdish forces defending Arbil, where U.S. personnel are stationed, he said.

The strike, carried out at 1045 GMT, targeted the Sunni Muslim extremist movement Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant that has swept across Syria and Iraq.

“As the president made clear, the United States military will continue to take direct action against ISIL when they threaten our personnel and facilities,” Kirby said in a statement.

Obama, who opposed the 2003 invasion and has vowed no return of ground troops, said Thursday that he authorized action due to fears of genocide as thousands of members of the Yazidi minority fled for their lives.

On Thursday, the United States dropped thousands of gallons of drinking water and 8,000 packaged meals to Yazidis who risk starvation as they cram onto Mount Sinjar.

AFP Photo/Safin Hamed

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Photo by Mediamodifier from Pixabay

Reprinted with permission from TomDispatch

When it rains, pieces of glass, pottery, and metal rise through the mud in the hills surrounding my Maryland home. The other day, I walked outside barefoot to fetch one of my kid's shoes and a pottery shard stabbed me in the heel. Nursing a minor infection, I wondered how long that fragment dated back.

A neighbor of mine found what he said looked like a cartridge case from an old percussion-cap rifle in his pumpkin patch. He told us that the battle of Monocacy had been fought on these grounds in July 1864, with 1,300 Union and 900 Confederate troops killed or wounded here. The stuff that surfaces in my fields when it storms may or may not be battle artifacts, but it does remind me that the past lingers and that modern America was formed in a civil war.

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