The first U.S. soldier killed in Iraq since 2011. The captives were facing “mass execution.” Why mount these dangerous half-measure operations at all, instead of taking genuine action to destroy the Islamic State, as Obama promised to do?
“First American soldier killed in Iraq since official end of combat in 2011,” by Mustafa Salim, Missy Ryan and Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Washington Post, October 22, 2015:
BAGHDAD —Elite American and Kurdish forces raided an Islamic State prison in northern Iraq on Thursday, freeing about 70 captives facing “mass execution” and leaving one U.S. commando dead, U.S. and Iraqi officials said.
The raid marked the first time a member of the U.S. military had been killed in a combat situation in Iraq since the United States launched its campaign against the Islamic State last year.
U.S. Special Forces have staged several raids on Islamic State compounds in northern Syria, but Thursday’s predawn raid was the first of its kind against the jihadist group in northern Iraq.
The operation by the Army’s Delta Force also highlighted the U.S. military’s close cooperation with Kurdish rather than Iraqi federal forces, a move likely to anger the central government in Baghdad. In the past, Iraqi leaders have sparred with Kurds over growing Kurdish power, oil revenue sharing and political independence in their northern enclave.
The Special Operations forces and Kurdish peshmerga troops launched the operation early on Thursday to rescue hostages who “faced imminent mass execution,” Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said.
In a statement, Cook said that U.S. helicopters flew the Kurdish forces to the town of Hawija, well south of Iraq’s largely autonomous Kurdish region. The hostages freed included more than 20 members of Iraqi security forces, Cook said. Five Islamic State militants were captured and at least 10 were killed.
The Kurdish Regional Government said that none of the 69 freed captives were Kurdish, contradicting earlier claims by other Kurdish officials. The Pentagon placed the number of freed prisoners at 70.
One U.S. service member died from wounds suffered when Islamic State forces opened fire on the Kurdish and American forces, Cook said. Four peshmerga were wounded….