Date registered: Sep 2004
Vehicle: 83 Astral Silver 280 SL
Location: Planet Houston
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
RE: Iraq goes totally FUBAR
So now elements of the new Iraqi Government are now the "insurgents": Is this thing a total, absolute mess or what!
US troops defend raid, say Iraqis faked "massacre" By Alastair Macdonald
Mon Mar 27, 6:00 PM ET
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. commanders in Iraq on Monday accused powerful Shi'ite groups of moving the corpses of gunmen killed in battle to encourage accusations that U.S.-led troops massacred unarmed worshippers in a mosque.
"After the fact, someone went in and made the scene look different from what it was. There's been huge misinformation," Lieutenant General Peter Chiarelli, the second-ranking U.S. commander in Iraq, said.
He rejected the accusations of a massacre that prompted the Shi'ite-led government to demand U.S. forces cede control of security but declined to spell out which group he believed moved the bodies.
Government-run television has shown footage of bodies lying without weapons in what Shi'ite ministers say is a mosque compound run by radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. The security minister accused Iraqi and U.S. troops of killing 37 unarmed men.
Giving the first U.S. military briefing on Sunday's events in Baghdad, Chiarelli said the raid by about 50 Iraqi special forces troops backed by some 25 U.S. "advisers" had been the fruit of long intelligence work. But he said he did not know the religious affiliation of 16 "insurgents" who were killed.
An Iraqi was freed who had been taken hostage that day and threatened with death if he did not pay a $20,000 ransom, he said. Three fighters were wounded and 18 other people detained.
Chiarelli insisted the compound was not a mosque but an office complex. Neighbors and aides to Sadr call it a mosque and say it was once offices for Saddam Hussein's Baath party.
"There was gunfire from every room," he said.
Major General J.D. Thurman, whose division controls Baghdad, said: "If it was a mosque, why are they using it as a place to hold hostages?" He added that weapons, including 34 assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades were also found.
Chiarelli stood by the U.S. account, disputed by Sadr aides and other Shi'ite leaders but which is broadly in line with police reports and some local witnesses who spoke of a fierce gun battle around the site.
He said an Iraqi special forces unit with about 25 U.S. advisers, trainers, medical and bomb disposal crew in support arrived to raid the site at nightfall and were immediately fired on from a number of buildings around the compound.
The troops "cleared the compound," he said, killing or capturing those inside. "It was Iraqi forces who did the fighting," he stressed. Thurman said U.S. helicopters were in the air at the time but only in support of another mission.
All the dead were killed by Iraqi fire, Chiarelli said.
Chiarelli identified the hostage as a dental technician and said: "He was shown a picture of his daughter and told if he didn't pay $20,000 he was going to be dead the next day."
Asked about the apparent surprise, not to say disapproval, of the operation in the ruling Shi'ite Alliance bloc, Chiarelli said: "It was coordinated through military channels. Not every operation we run is coordinated with every politician in Iraq."
Though he declined to be drawn on the possible involvement of Sadr's Mehdi Army militia, whose political leaders have led condemnation of the raid, Chiarelli said: "I think the backlash has been caused by the folks who set the scene up."
Both generals praised the unidentified Iraqi unit involved for its record of discipline and minimizing the use of force. Chiarelli said: "They don't go in guns blazing
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address