Another US helicopter downed by missile


Richard Moore


Five helicopters down in two weeks, and 17,500 troops to be added to control 
Baghdad...doesn't sound like the occupation is going very well. They didn't have
this kind of security problem in Saigon, back in Vietnam days. I wonder what's 
really going on?

       "The al-Qaida-linked Sunni group claimed responsibility for
        the attack and said it would later issue a video of the
        helicopter's downing."

Al-Qaida is a myth, like Big Brother in 1984. 

       "The receptive powers of the masses are very restricted, and
        their understanding is feeble. On the other hand, they
        quickly forget. Such being the case, all effective
        propaganda must be confined to a few bare essentials and
        those must be expressed as far as possible in stereotyped
        formulas . . . only constant repetition will finally succeed
        in imprinting an idea on the memory of the crowd."
        -- Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf, 1925


Original source URL:

    US Military Says Copter Down in Iraq
    By Kim Gamel
    The Associated Press
    Wednesday 07 February 2007

A Sea Knight helicopter crashed Wednesday northwest of Baghdad, sending flames 
and black smoke into the sky, the fifth chopper lost in Iraq in just over two 
weeks. An Iraqi air force officer said it was downed by an anti-aircraft 

The al-Qaida-linked Sunni group claimed responsibility for the attack and said 
it would later issue a video of the helicopter's downing.

The twin-rotor CH-46 went down about 20 miles northwest of the capital, said 
U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, although he declined to 
comment on casualties or give a cause for the crash.

"A quick reaction force is on site and the investigation is going on as we 
speak," he told reporters in Baghdad.

At the Pentagon, an official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the 
investigation was in progress said there was a report that the number aboard the
helicopter was fewer than 10 people.

Caldwell also said the long-awaited Baghdad security operation "is ongoing as we
speak," a day after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki acknowledged that the plan to
pacify the violence-ridden capital had been slow to start and had allowed 
insurgents time to step up attacks that have killed hundreds of Iraqis in recent

U.S. military officials have said the operation began to be put in place when 
President Bush announced it Jan. 11 and Caldwell said Wednesday that it was 
"ongoing." Officials have said there would be no announced start of the security
sweep but instead it would build gradually.

The Iraqi general who is leading the security drive, Lt. Gen. Abboud Gambar, 
took over the operation headquarters on Monday.

"Portions are already being put in place, and we'll continue to put more into 
place as the forces arrive and the assets become available," Caldwell said.

Bush is increasing the number of U.S. troops in Iraq by 21,500, including 17,500
for Baghdad, as part of the efforts. But the series of helicopter crashes 
underscores the dangers facing U.S. troops as they step up their presence.

The Iraqi air force officer, who was familiar with the investigation but spoke 
on condition of anonymity because he was disclosing confidential information, 
said the helicopter went down after it was hit by an anti-aircraft missile.

Witnesses also said the helicopter had been shot down in a field in the Sheik 
Amir area northwest of Baghdad, sending smoke rising from the scene, in a 
Sunni-dominated area between the Taji air base, 12 miles north of Baghdad, and 
Karmah, 50 miles to the west of the capital.

"The helicopter was flying and passed over us, then we heard the firing of a 
missile," said Mohammad al-Janabi, a farmer who was speaking less than a 
half-mile from the wreckage. "The helicopter, then, turned into a ball of fire. 
It flew in a circle twice, then it went down."

Iraqi insurgents have used heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and 
shouldered-fired SA-7 anti-aircraft missiles throughout the conflict. U.S. 
officials believe Iran is supplying Shiite militias with new weapons including 
more powerful roadside bombs, Katyusha rockets and a newer class of RPGs.

Some of those weapons could have found their way into the hands of Sunni 
insurgents, who operate around Taji.

The U.S. military relies heavily on helicopters to avoid roadside bombs and 
insurgent ambushes. Any new threat to helicopters would be a serious challenge.

U.S. forces sealed off the area and helicopters buzzed overhead as the wreckage 
burned in an open field, not far from at least one low concrete building. The 
CH-46 is used by the Marines primarily as a cargo and troop transport, and can 
carry 25 combat-loaded troops, according to the think tank

The claim of responsibility came in an Internet statement signed by the Islamic 
State in Iraq, an umbrella group of several Sunni insurgent groups, including 
al-Qaida in Iraq. The same group claimed responsibility for downing two other 
helicopters recently.

The authenticity of the statement - posted on a Web forum where the group often 
issues statements - could not be independently confirmed.

The helicopter went down five days after a U.S. Army helicopter crashed in a 
hail of gunfire north of Baghdad, police and witnesses said. The U.S. command 
said two crew members were killed in that crash, and the al-Qaida-affiliated 
group the Islamic State of Iraq claimed responsibility.

Three other helicopters also have gone down since Jan. 20 killing a total of 19 
Americans - 14 troops and five civilian security contractors.

The military has said all four were believed to have been shot down, raising new
questions about whether Iraqi insurgents are using more sophisticated weapons or
whether U.S. tactics need changing.

Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has acknowledged that 
insurgent ground fire in Iraq has been increasingly effective.

"I do not know whether or not it is the law of averages that caught up with us 
or if there's been a change in tactics, techniques and procedures on the part of
the enemy," he told a congressional hearing on another subject on Tuesday, 
adding the downings were being investigated.

More American troops were killed in combat in Iraq in the past four months - at 
least 334 through Jan. 31 - than in any comparable stretch since the war began, 
according to an Associated Press analysis of casualty records, as U.S. soldiers 
and Marines find themselves fighting more battles in the streets of Baghdad, as 
well as other cities.

The military said a Marine was killed Tuesday in fighting in Anbar province, an 
insurgent stronghold west of Baghdad.

At least 15 Iraqis also were killed in attacks nationwide Wednesday, including 
two employees of the government-funded Iraqi Media Network in Baghdad and a 
female government official who was shot to death while she was riding to work 
with her husband in the northern city of Mosul.

Al-Maliki acknowledged Tuesday that the long-awaited Baghdad security operation 
was off to a slow start, but he reassured Iraqis that security forces will live 
up to their responsibilities, telling his commanders they must not disappoint 
those "who stand beside us."

"The operations will unite us and we will take action soon, God willing, even 
though I believe we've been very late and this delay has started to give a 
negative message," al-Maliki said on state TV. "I hope that more efforts will be
exerted and more speed exerted in carrying out and achieving all the 
preparations to start the operations."

The statement came as new checkpoints were erected and increased vehicle 
inspections and foot patrols were reported in some neighborhoods - providing the
main evidence so far that U.S. and Iraqi forces were gearing up for a major 
neighborhood-to-neighborhood sweep to quell sectarian violence in the city of 6 


Associated Press writers Pauline Jelinek in Washington and Qassim Abdul-Zahra in
Baghdad contributed to this report.

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