Saturday, May 22, 2004

So I flipped on CNN this morning, just for a laugh, and watch Brigadier General Kimmitt say something to the effect of, "We hit a valid target and not a wedding. There were no musical instruments found, no gifts for the couple, no family elders among the dead."

Huh. Really? Aside from the fact that Kimmitt already claimed that no children were killed in the attack -- a claim he's had to quietly back off of -- there are indications that even those few 'facts' are BS.

- AP is reporting "fragments of musical instruments" spotted in their video footage of the site.

- the military is writing off the presence of jewelry among the remains as evidence of "smugglers". What were they expecting, blenders? No confirmation on the couple's registry at Saks of Baghdad.

- no ages have been given for all the victims, so Kimmitt might well have gotten lucky on the third claim. His track record so far isn't encouraging.

- and of course, there's the fact that both the owner of Ramadi's biggest photography studio and a wedding singer from Baghdad are among the dead.

The story emerging is pretty damning though. First, look at the numbers in that Tribune story. The army doesn't dispute that at least 40 people were killed. Unless it was the single most efficient strike in military history, the figures given for the wounded taken to nearby hospitals (42, supposedly including 14 children) sounds about right. Once you include unwounded survivors we're up to around 100 people present at Mogr el-Deeb.

Pretty good attendance for a secret meeting of insurgents.

Next, take a look at this piece from Friday's WaPo:

Revelers at the wedding party began worrying when they heard aircraft overhead at about 9 p.m. With jets still overhead two hours later, they told the band to stop playing and everyone went to bed. "We began to expect some kind of catastrophe," said Madhi Nawaf, who lives in the area near Mogr el-Deeb on the Syrian border.

Strip out the wedding references as unproven assertions if you like. People in the area knew more than two hours before the attack that something was coming down because of the fly-overs. So even if it was a gathering of baddies, they had plenty of time, in the dead of night, to slip off into the hills.

So here's what left: either we screwed up and bombed a wedding; or we screwed up and let the bad guys get away before we bombed the folks they left behind and handed them yet another PR victory on a silver platter.

Iraq in microcosm -- a lose-lose situation.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?