Excerpts from the Guardian and NYT: Between six and 14 members of an Iraqi family were reported dead yesterday after US warplanes obliterated a house in the northern oil town of Baiji. Enraged local officials described the attack as unjustified and said it had killed an innocent family, including one member who worked for the Iraqi police.
"I absolutely confirm there were no terrorists in this house," police chief Colonel Sufyan Mustafa told Reuters. "Even if there had been, why didn't they surround the area and detain the terrorists instead?" People at the scene of the blast said seven bodies were recovered from the rubble, including at least two children.
A preliminary investigation indicated the blast had killed the wife of the home's owner, his daughter-in-law and seven children and grandchildren, including one son who worked for the police, said Maj. Muthanna al-Qaisi, a spokesman for the governor of Salahaddin Province. Three more relatives were wounded, he said.
A statement from the US 101st Airborne Division said troops monitoring images from an unmanned reconnaissance drone on Monday night had observed three men "as they dug a hole following the common pattern of roadside bomb emplacement"
The men were tracked from the road site to a building nearby, which was then bombed with "precision guided munitions," the military said. The statement did not say whether a roadside bomb was later found at the site. An additional military statement said Navy F-14's had "strafed the target with 100 cannon rounds" and dropped one bomb. [End excerpts]
Get ready to see a lot more of this, because Bush has finally settled on an "exit strategy" for Iraq: he's going to bomb his way out.
As various papers have reported, the U.S. is stepping up its air campaign inside Iraq – you know, the completely independent, sovereign country that Bush liberated ("Mission Accomplished!") way back in May 2003. This is how Bush is planning to reduce American ground forces – i.e., the cannon fodder whose unfortunate propensity to get killed in the death trap he's created has caused a spot of bother amongst the hoi polloi. He will take a few thousand troops out of harm's way – while leaving behind plenty of fodder to man his gargantuan, Saddamite fortress embassy, staff the permanent bases that the Americans have officially not been building so assiduously for the past two years, and train the Iraqis in the proper treatment of captives ("Naw, Hamid, you don't have to whup 'em with that tire iron! It leaves marks, the Red Cross might get all het up. Jes' slap 'em with an open hand, like this – POW! – and try a little waterboarding, like so – GLUG, GLUG, GLUG. That's learn them hajis just fine, let me tell ya"). But, aping his idol, Winston Churchill, Bush intends to control the "recalcitrant" Arabs with air power: dropping 500-pound bombs on private homes and residental neighborhoods, and keeping the natives under constant watch by helicopter gunships and robot sky-drones.
This is, of course, a recipe for mass "collateral damage" – i.e., the murder of innocent civilians in a land that had nothing to do with the September 11 attacks that triggered Bush's "War on Terror" – a global military operation that so curiously dovetails with pre-existing plans for "projecting U.S. dominance" around the world. Yes, we speak of our old pal, PNAC, whose September 2000 blueprint for a military empire was the final iteration of a scheme first hatched in the office of then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney in 1991. As the new year unfolds, and the hard rain of Bush bombs grows into a torrent, hundreds, maybe thousands of innocent children, women and men will be shredded into lifeless hunks of meat and shards of bone – murdered by the moral cretins of the Bush Regime as they pursue their stunted vision of "dominance," of endless wealth and privilege for their bloodsoaked little circle of elites..