Monday, February 04, 2008


Nine people were killed and four were injured in an errant U.S. airstrike southeast of Baghdad, the military said Sunday.
One child was among the dead, and two children were among the injured, said U.S. Army Maj. Brad Leighton. "We offer our condolences to the families of those who were killed in this incident," Leighton said. "We mourn the loss of innocent life."
The news came the same day the military announced that a U.S. soldier was killed by a rocket-propelled grenade Thursday in eastern Baghdad. The identity of the soldier was not released pending notification of next of kin. At least 3,945 American troops have been killed in Iraq since the conflict began in March 2003, according to the independent website

The above is from Garrett Therolf and Saif Hameed's "Errant U.S. airstrike kills 9 in Iraq" (Los Angeles Times). Must have been a "dumb bullets" because we all know those "smart bullets" always hit their target and determine guilt or innocence before hand -- like "smart bombs" -- and never call civilian deaths, right? Martin Fletcher (Times of London) notes:

Even the US figures would make the civilian death toll the highest since last October, when a US air strike killed around a dozen Iraqis, including women and children, near Samarra, north of Baghdad.
In November a leader of one of the 'Awakening Councils' of Concerned Local Citizens claimed US soldiers mistakenly killed dozens of his fighters during a protracted gun battle north of Baghdad. The US military admitted killing 25 men, but insisted they were insurgents.

Click here for the Wikileaks article on the 2005 policy regarding US forces crossing over to Syria and Iran from Iraq. From the summary by Wikileaks:

Classified SECRET consolidated US Forces Rules of Engagement (ROE) for Iraq.
On first reading, the document contains a number of items of interest to the press, including rules about mosque attacks, detention of immams, cross border incursions (including Iran and Syria), the use of mines and riot control agents, terrorist targeting, the destruction of Iraqi government property used by insurgents and even kafkaesque rules for attacks on WMD mobile production labs. Deeper reading by those more familiar with the US-Iraq war is likely to reveal other items of interest, for instance variations in the declaration that Al Quds, the Mahdi Army and armed supporters of Muqtada Al-Sadr are enemies who may be engaged at will.
The document forms a talking point to most US operations in Iraq and the degree of official sanction for them.

Do not read Michael Gordon's garbage in this morning's New York Times. He and Eric Schmitt not only offer a book report (of a document that they didn't turn up), they poach a story filed in Baghdad (to give it the 'correct' nuances, you understand) when neither is in Baghdad. I'm really getting sick of the US based reporters who 'report' on Iraq by stealing the work of others. Glory hog is not a pretty animal.

When you read Wikileaks' document, grasp again that all the "No War On Iran!" crowd (that can't cover Iraq) were idiots. As we noted a long time ago, the threat for a war with Iran is greater while US forces are in Iraq. Want to stop another war? End the first one.

From Khaled Farhan's "Internal pressure grows on Iraq's Sadr to end truce" (Reuters):

Influential members within the movement loyal to Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr have told him they do not want his Mehdi Army militia to extend a ceasefire when it expires this month, Sadr's spokesman said on Monday.
The U.S. military says the Shi'ite cleric's announcement on Aug. 29 to freeze the activities of the feared Mehdi Army for six months has been vital to cutting violence. A return to hostilities could seriously jeopardise those security gains.
Sadr has been gauging the mood among senior figures and five main committees had reported back with their views on the truce, Sadr's spokesman Salah al-Ubaidi, one of the cleric's senior officials in the southern holy city of Najaf, told Reuters.

In the New York Times, Thom Shanker reports, " The Pentagon on Monday will unveil its proposed 2009 budget of $515.4 billion. If it is approved in full, annual military spending, when adjusted for inflation, will have reached its highest level since World War II." And Reuters reports, "Iraq has halted oil supplies to Austria's OMV AG in protest over a deal between the company and the Kurdish regional government, Iraq's oil minister said on Friday." This as Reuters also reports the Turkish military sent planes over northern Iraq to bomb three villages today.

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