Sunday, August 12, 2007

5 US service members announced dead and the military tries to explain a helicopter attack

Today the US military announced: "A Task Force Marne Soldier was killed by small arms fire while conducting a dismounted patrol southeast of Baghdad August 11." And they announced: "Four Task Force Marne Soldiers were killed and four others were wounded by an explosion during combat operations south of Baghdad Aug. 11." ICCC's total for the month thus far of US service members killed in Iraq is 31.

The Los Angeles Times offers a strong article by Tina Susman, "Sectarian 'cleansing' in Baghdad:"

The expressway skirting the Amil neighborhood in Baghdad is only a couple of miles from Mahmoud Mekki's home, but it might as well be a hundred.
To reach it, Mekki must pass checkpoints guarded by Iraqi police commandos who he says are really Shiite Muslim militiamen trying to drive Sunni Muslims out of Amil.
So Mekki, a Sunni, remains holed up in his home, dependent on sympathetic Shiite neighbors to pick up his groceries and run other errands.
"I ask you to help us!" Mekki sobbed on the phone late one hot July night. "I don't want democracy! I just want security."
Iraqi and American military officials say incidents of sectarian "cleansing" in Baghdad have decreased since a U.S. military clampdown began in February, but what is happening in Amil and neighboring Bayaa belies the claim.
Since May, Iraqi police say, more than 160 bodies have been found in Amil and Bayaa -- men without identification, usually shot and bearing signs of torture, hallmarks of sectarian death squads.

Meanwhile Richard A. Oppel Jr. has roundup duties at the New York Times and is left with making sense of the US military's claim that they did kill "six men" "within the vicinity" of where 8 electric workers were killed when a US helicopter fired a rocket last week, but the six weren't any of the eight because they were killing 'insurgents' who do what 'insurgents' do -- hang out "in the back of a truck". We noted it as an attack that took place on Saturday but Oppel reports that it took place Thursday. The only military press release on a helicopter firing is about a Thursday incident (press release went out today) and notes August 9th (Thursday) "eight insurgents" were killed. Eight is the number of electrical workers reported killed from the rocket fired by a US helicopter. This would appear to be the same incident. (And for the record, the press release was sent out after Oppel filed. He was told it was six -- by the military -- and later they released that it was eight.) Oppel also explores the death of Khalil Jalil Hamza and police chief Khalid Hassan (as well as three of their body guards) yesterday. Khalil Jalil Hamza had been the governor of the Qadisiya Province. He'd also been the target of "rage" leading to various graffiti throughout the area (such as "Death to the Traitor Governor!").

New content at The Third Estate Sunday Review:

Truest statement of the week
A Note to Our Readers
Editorial: The way it was/is
TV: P(ure)BS
2 Books, 20 minutes
She's a celebrity, get her out of here!
Weeks load of crap in one morning
David Bacon's "Living Under Trees" now showing

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