News Release

Behind the U.S. Jet Down in Iraq


AP is reporting: “A U.S. Air Force jet carrying one pilot crashed in Iraq on Monday, the military said.”

Author of the new book Strategic Terror: The Politics and Ethics of Aerial Bombardment, Grosscup is professor of international relations at California State University in Chico. He said today: “The silence over the Bush administration’s continuing use of air power in Iraq has finally been broken. Not by reports of daily bombing of urban and rural neighborhoods on so-called ‘dual use targets’ (including medical facilities and shopping malls) or the devastation to Iraqi civilian life and limb. No, it comes with the downing of a U.S. Air Force F-16CG fighter jet outside of Baghdad.

“A military source reported the jet was ‘flying on a low level “strafing run” — firing on targets on the ground at a low altitude.’ At this time the fate of the pilot remains unknown but is sure to be investigated and widely reported. Unfortunately the fate of the victims of this ‘strafing run’ and the thousands before and those sure to come will not be investigated nor reported. After all, official U.S. policy is ‘We don’t do body counts’ — unless they are North American.”
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Currently in Amman, Jordan, Mascia is program manager for the Italian Consortium of Solidarity, which has contact people in Anbar province, where they provide humanitarian assistance.
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Author of the book Baghdad Bulletin: Dispatches on the American Occupation, Enders has spent more than 18 months in Iraq and has reported from the Middle East since 2003 for the Washington Times, The Nation, Mother Jones and Pacifica Radio.

Enders will be in Jordan beginning Dec. 2 and available for interviews regarding the general situation in the Middle East in the wake of Bush’s visit.

He said today: “The number of aircraft shot down compared to the number of daily overflights by helicopters and other aircraft suggest that for the most part, sophisticated anti-aircraft weaponry eludes Iraqi fighters. Imagine if they were to obtain it.

“Whatever the cause, today’s crash should highlight the role of air power in the U.S. occupation. It is a necessity in a place where guerrillas have made roads extremely dangerous. Drones providing real-time aerial surveillance have been among the most effective tools in the U.S. arsenal. And finally, as U.S. troops continue to encounter resistance, air strikes continue to be a major facet of the fighting; however, they are the least-covered aspect of combat.

“This is, perhaps, in part because it is hard for journalists to visit the sites that have been bombed. It is hard to verify what’s been hit and whose story (the U.S. military invariably must be pushed to admit the possibility of civilian casualties) is correct. But CENTAF releases daily reports on its website. For instance, there were 30 missions flown over Iraq on Sunday, including some which involved the expenditure of heavy munitions, including missiles fired from an unmanned predator drone and air support for U.S. and Iraqi troops fighting guerrillas in western Iraq. This is not an unusual day for the use of U.S. air power in Iraq. So where’s the reporting?”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167