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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

As they stand up, we'll shoot them down

Chris Floyd links to a BBC story about one of those military "successes" so common these days, where US forces kill a whole bunch of people and say they were all "al Qaeda." According to people in the village, the armed men shredded by rockets and machinegun fire from American helicopters were village guards, protecting the city.

The BBC summarizes what should be the obvious:
If the villagers' account is true, the incident would raise many questions, including: On what basis did the US helicopters launch their attack that night? How many other coalition reports of successes against "al-Qaeda fighters" are based on similar mistakes, especially when powerful remote weaponry is used?

The incident also highlights the problems the news media face in verifying such combat incidents in remote areas where communications are disrupted, where direct independent access is impossible because of the many lethal dangers they would face, and where only the official military version of events is available.
I guess the murder of eleven Iraqi security guards will set the Levin benchmarks back a few days.