Pickup with Machine Gun Mistaken as Pickup with Machine Gun

The Beeb is reporting on how the US defends troops over Iraq killings. This info makes the encounter a little easier to interpret.

The initial findings of an American investigation into the firefight earlier this month – in which a Jordanian hospital guard was also killed – are that the troops acted “within the construct of the military’s rules of engagement”.

The US commander in Iraq, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, said the investigation was still undergoing final review but added: “The initial reports were clear. There was initial fire and it was a 30-second engagement. At the end of it, the policemen were dead.”

This one is pretty easy to check out, as far as an investigator is concerned. You look at how much ammunition was expended. The guys went through a clip or two each? Short battle. They went through almost all of the seven or eight clips and whole ammunition boxes on support weapons? Long battle.

Several of them said the firing began as several Iraqi police vehicles approached a US checkpoint near the Jordanian military hospital on the outskirts of Falluja, 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of Baghdad.

In case you aren’t familiar with the names, that is well within the area of strongest resistance. Almost all of the deaths we have sustained since the end of major combat operations have been in this small near-Baghdad area.

The police, all members of the local US-trained force, were chasing a car carrying several wanted gunmen.

It appears there were three police vehicles – one an unmarked pick-up with a rear-mounted machine gun – chasing a fourth vehicle containing gunmen.

Let me put myself in the shoes of these troops at the checkpoint. Four vehicles are bearing down on your position fast. One of them is a technical. (The pickup.) They are all armed. You have been subject to harrassment attacks and bombings for months. What would you do? I would be laying the smack down in my best Shock and Awe fashion.

The surviving policemen said they had begged the American soldiers to stop shooting, screaming in Arabic and English that they were police officers.

But the troops kept firing for between 30 minutes and an hour, they added.

Sorry. I don’t buy it. You know why? First, the ammuntion expenditure would reflect this, if it were true. You know what else would show it? The big smoking crater where these survivors would have died when the Close Air Support and Arty and every other kind of big booming exploding thing within 29 minutes response time hit that spot.

If this had been a 30-60 minute battle, there wouldn’t have been survivors to claim that it lasted that long. What we have here is an Iraqi who has realised two things —

  1. He fucked up big time
  2. He doesn’t want to get blamed (a well heeded desire under the former Baath regime, I’m sure)

That fact that you are still sucking wind belies your story, Mo.

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