December 01, 2003

i see dead people. or not.

so first we had bush's little thanksgiving jaunt to the fertile crescent on thursday, because you just can't let hillary clinton go over there and upstage you. at dinner on thursday, my family all thought she did it because they're all convinced she's going to run in 2004. argh. nevermind the fact that she's a member of the senate armed services committee. oh, no, she's gonna try to be president in 2004 because no one would rake her over burning hot coals for breaking a promise to complete her first term.

bush loves pr stunts like this, and make no mistake -- this was a pr stunt. hanging around for 2 hours dishing out turkey is nothing like spending 10 hours on the ground actually seeing the situation for yourself like hillary did. she even went to the forgotten land, afghanistan. must be why laura now wants to go there.

but hey, after the president comes to town, you've got to show that his trip had a good effect, right? after all, november has been the bloodiest month since 'major combat operations' stopped, so why not end the month with a giant battle where you hand it to the enemy? sounds like a plan to me.

American military officials said today that a pair of ambushes of American forces in central Iraq on Sunday reflected a level of planning, scale and coordination not seen among guerrilla forces since the regime of Saddam Hussein was ousted last spring.

"Are we looking at this one closely? Yes." Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said today. "Is this something larger than we have seen over the past couple of months? Yes. Are we concerned about it? Yeah, we will look at it and we will take the appropriate measures."

American forces killed 54 people in the intense firefight in the town of Samarra after soldiers delivering Iraqi currency to two banks were bombarded with small-arms and antitank-grenade fire, General Kimmitt, a senior military spokesman, said. He added that 22 attackers had been wounded and that one had been detained. On Sunday, the military put the number of Iraqis killed at 46.

well, i dunno if they're really happy about all of that enemy planning and coordination stuff, but at least we kicked their ass. bush shows his face in a mess hall, and, bam, dead enemy soldiers. and not just any soldiers but fedayeen.

Afterward, large shell casings, rocket-propelled grenades and Kalashnikov rifles were strewn across the field of battle. So were dozens of bodies, apparently all Iraqi, many clad in the ninja-like black uniforms of fedayeen paramilitary fighters loyal to the overthrown Hussein government, according to Sergeant Cargie. Five American soldiers and one civilian traveling with one of the convoys were wounded.

yes, that's right. ninjas. we're fighting ninjas in iraq. it's almost like laser mission, where brandon lee is fighting some goofy banana republic troops in latin america and then, out of nowhere, he has to fight a ninja. (no, it wasn't a plot point -- it was more of a 'hey, it'd be cool to fight a ninja here' type of thing.) masks do not equal ninjas, folks.

that's great, though. we nailed the enemy. or did we? because there's this from agence france-presse:

THE US military has said it believes 54 insurgents were killed in intense exchanges in the northern Iraqi town of Samarra on Sunday but commanders admitted they had no bodies.

The only corpses at the city's hospital were those of ordinary civilians, including two elderly Iranian pilgrims and a child.

US Brigadier General Mark Kimmit told a Baghdad press conference 54 militants were killed, 22 wounded and one arrested.

Challenged about what had happened to the bodies, Gen Kimmitt said: "I would suspect that the enemy would have carried them away and brought them back to where their initial base was."

Asked about reports from senior police and hospital officials in the town of eight civilians killed and dozens more wounded, the US general insisted: "We have no such reports whether from medical authorities or police.

A few hours earlier, Colonel Fredrick Rudesheim, who heads the 3rd Combat Brigades that was involved in Sunday's bloody clashes, told reporters his troops had killed 46 and captured another 11.

"Are you asking me to produce (them)?" he asked, when asked by reporters about the absence of any militants' bodies at Samarra's single hospital or on the city's streets.

okay. so that's a bit odd. 54 (or 46) people dead, but no bodies. but the general says that they were just carried away by the enemy. our troops aren't going to stick around to tote dead bodies around in the middle of a firefight, because that would be stupid. but no bodies at all? not anywhere? if the 46 number is correct (with 11 captured soldiers), the article points out that there would have been 3 people to carry all of those bodies.

the only bodies at the hospital were civilians, and nobody else is saying that they saw folks in fedayeen uniforms. so my question is this: what the hell happened here?

Posted by kilgore at December 1, 2003 08:58 PM | TrackBack
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