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Despite the rosy claims of the Bu$h malAdministration, violence is increasing in Iraq in both large and small quantities.
In today's Times Richard Oppel and Qais Mizher write of an aerial attack late Friday and early Saturday on two houses reportedly occupied by gunmen, in which a number of women and children were killed and wounded.
BAGHDAD, July 21 — American helicopters and warplanes attacked a Shiite area on the outskirts of northern Baghdad late Friday and early Saturday, killing at least 15 people and wounding 10, according to an official at the Iraqi Interior Ministry, who said some of the casualties were women and children.
American officials disputed that, saying that six insurgents were killed and five people were wounded when military aircraft used rockets and a bomb to attack two buildings in Hussainiya, where gunmen holed up after firing on American forces.
Under the newly-revised Viet Nam rules, dead Iraqi males are “insurgents” and women and children are “insurgent supporters.”
There have been a number of incidents like this in which it has been said US troops were fired upon from buildings, and after air assets were used to reduce the buildings the bodies of women and children were found inside.
A very good argument can be made that troops must defend themselves when fired upon. That, after all, is the essence of the “force protection” doctrine. However, there have been so many instances of “collateral damage” that at some point a counter-insurgency expert, such as GEN Petraeus is alleged to be, would figure out that the killing on innocent civilians is not the best way for an occupier to win the hearts and minds of the helpless occupied people. After all, the Bu$h malAdministration is supposedly in the process of fashioning a new smiley face outreach program to “indigenous populations.”
Isn’t it a perfect example of the age of Bu$h that we plan to swarm the civilians with a new propaganda campaign even as we’re killing them off?
In other news, Gorilla’s Guides reports on a possible change in tactics for “armed groups” as yet another key Shiite religious figure has been assassinated.
The assassination of Sheikh Abdullah Falak, a senior official of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani’s office in the holy Shiite city of Najaf, on Friday night represented a change of tactics by armed groups in the city. Stabbed to death in a heavily guarded office, many security analysts say that the killing of Sheikh Abdullah signaled a serious escalation in violent attacks and highlighted the failure of Iraq’s security apparatus to function properly. An official source from al-Sistani’s office in Najaf told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI) earlier, “Sheikh Abdullah was found dead in his office with four stabs in his body.” The incident took place in an area called by locals “The Green Zone,” Baghdad’s heavily fortified sector and the seat of the Iraqi parliament as well as the U.S. and British embassies, because of the tight security cordons around it.
The house and office of al-Sistani are well protected; a body search is required and a number of carefully-chosen security guards are stationed everywhere.
A second level of protection is provided by security groups that were assigned to protect religious leaders after [the] al-Zarka operation, during which members from the so-called Jund al-Samaa (Soldiers of Heaven) were killed and a plot to kill Shiite religious clerics was thwarted.
It should be noted that an unnamed American spokesman is cited in the Times article as saying Sheikh Abdulah was killed in the city of Najaf, and not within the “Green Zone” of Baghdad, as you might infer from the Gorilla’s Guides article.
A curious man who didn’t understand the full implications of sectarian conflict in Iraq might wonder how an armed assassin could get through several layers of security to kill such a prominent figure.