Baghdad, Iraq (TFC)— America’s dark-war in northern Iraq recently claimed the life of a Navy SEAL, following a massive firefight. Since his death, the operative has been identified as Petty Officer First Class Charles Keating IV, killed assisting “advisors”. Although mainstream sources cite Keating as the third US casualty, the war’s reality is far from so.
American’s were initially shocked to hear of a US Marine killed providing “force protection fire support”. Staff Sgt. Louis Cardin died after ISIS militants reportedly bombarded a recently established firebase near the front. Cardin’s death shattered notions that “advisors” exempt direct combat, and further shaded the black war.
Now, Navy SEAL Charles Keating has been reported KIA, Reuters reports, following fighting pinning coalition forces against over 100 militants. “It’s a combat death, of course”, said US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, an evolution in the war’s obscure nature. Although Kesting’s SEAL team is unknown, specific units are known to serve under the clandestine Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).
According to Reuters, Keating reputedly died in the town of Tel Asqof, 17 miles from the front. Despite this, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest claimed although Keating wasn’t on the front, “he was two miles away.” The Reuters report doesn’t address for this apparent discrepancy in exactly where the operative died.
Following its typical pattern, the US government announced further escalation of the war following the SEAL’s killing. The decision was made in 24 hours, New York Post Reports, and wrapped in a shroud of mourning. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said although the overall objective is for local forces to fight, “that doesn’t mean we’re not going to do any fighting at all”. What’s funny is that throughout the campaign, even as early firefights were reported, officials insisted no US combat was to be had.
The deceased operative was reputedly part of a “quick reaction force”, dispatched to aid advisors and Kurds. Islamic State militants, reportedly numbering around 145, broke militia lines with advisors nearby. Keating, according to New York Daily News, was an “advisor” himself, though specifics are unavailable. Despite a cpmbat death’s implications, more attention is aimed on Keating’s family and apparently all American past. The Guardian was able to obtain combat footage of the fight, showing US forces fighting alongside local milita’s.
Keating marks the third official US combat casualty in Operation: Inherent Resolve, others including Cardin and a Delta Force operative. The body count doesn’t stop there, however, despite the language used in recent coverage of Cardin and Keating. At least two other Americans and one Canadian have died, all of which are suspicion worthy.
Like Keating and Delta Force Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler, Canadian Sgt. Joesph Dorion was special forces. Dorion’s death has never been adequately explained, as Canadian officials and the Peshmerga who killed him gave conflicting accounts. Ultimately, the friendly fire incident was dismissed as the result of battle fatigued Peshmerga mistaking Canadian troops as the enemy. When asked to identify themselves, Dorion’s group apparently answered in arabic, and Peshmerga engaged.
Although Staff Sgt. Cardin was a Marine, his unit had been deployed to northern Iraq for previously undisclosed reasons. It was only after the man’s death that US officials admitted his unit was sent near the front anticipating the biggest fight of the war.Cardin’s unit apparently arrived at a barebones firebase directly involved in regular firefights. Rockets reputedly killed Cardin inside his bunker, Daily Beast reports, after militants located the outpost by observing US helicopters. Additionally, his unit joins over 1,400 other troops not listed as part of Operation: Inherent Resolve, due to technicalities. So not only is the role of forces in question, but also their exact number and strength.
Although new details continue to spill forth on Keating’s end, it’ll likely never be enough. As previous deaths in Operation: Inherent Resolve demonstrate, there’s no embedding with black ops. The ground narrative is not nearly as cut and dry as the mainstream presents it. For numerous incidents, many occurring in the war’s early months, there has yet to be any closure. It would be wise to remain alert in the coming weeks, and observe further war developments, as well as how the Keating’s death may, or may not, be utilized.