Someone Is Launching Airstrikes on Iraq, But No One Knows Who

When the history is finally written about this latest bout of fighting in Iraq, it’s a safe bet that the ebooks will describe the fighting as the strangest goddamn...
©Daniel Martinez

When the history is finally written about this latest bout of fighting in Iraq, it’s a safe bet that the ebooks will describe the fighting as the strangest goddamn war/conflict/combat to grace the annals of conflict in quite some time. Take last week’s bout of airstrikes in Mosul.

By Ryan Faith, for US — VICE Magazine

Iraq’s second-largest city is currently under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS… or ISIL… or the Islamic State… or the caliphate… or Whatever-the-Hell-You-Want-to-Call-the-Sunni-Extremist-Messiness). It’s not all that crazy that Mosul was bombed. What iskind of crazy is that nobody is sure who decided to start bombing Mosul.

©Boris Niehaus

©Boris Niehaus

In most wars, it’s a given that you can figure out who is trying to bomb something — even if the country bombing things doesn’t really want to fess up to it. For example, during the Vietnam War, the US didn’t want to announce that it was bombing the crap out of Cambodia and Laos. But that didn’t stop anyone with a room-temperature IQ from figuring it out. The bombs all fell in Cambodia and Laos, so that solves basic questions about targets. People could also follow the line of reasoning that suggested that the huge B-52 bombing raids launched from Guam were initiated by the US, the only country that operated the B-52 and the proud owners of an airbase on Guam.

But in terms of double-dealing, abject confusion, and deception, Iraq is well on its way to making the Vietnam War look like Blue’s Clues.

After the latest round of airstrikes in Mosul, the Washington Post’s intrepid reporters tried to puzzle out basic stuff that any reporter in a war zone might want to find out. Questions like “Which countries are actively involved in the blowing-things-up and killing-people portions of this particular war?”

So they called the US and asked if the US knew anything about the airstrikes. The US said no. So they called the Iraqi government and asked if they knew anything about the airstrikes. The Iraqi government said no. So they called the Iraqi military and asked if they knew anything about the airstrikes. They didn’t return the call.

Pro tip: When figuring out who launched airstrikes against targets in a major urban center starts to sound like “Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar,” your war is getting deeply, deeply weird.

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