Monday, November 19, 2007

Again with the shooting first and asking questions later?

McClatchy is reporting that a United States military convoy in Iraq opened fire on traffic as it approached from behind. Shortly after the incident, the American military and the United States embassy issued an apology in a joint statement for the deaths of two Iraqis, but the Iraqi government insists that six people died in the resulting hail of gunfire, and two of the dead were police officers.

[keep reading]

A U.S. military spokesman said the incident was under investigation, and declined to release details. The military would confirm only that the deaths were the result of "a shooting incident" near Samawa, the capital of Muthanna province, located 160 miles south of Baghdad.

"The shooting was heavy," said 1st Lt. Hussam Mohammed of the Samawa police department.

"They shot from behind," he said. "We do not have anything in our report for any reason that would justify the shooting."

Five cars were damaged during the shooting, which occurred around 10 a.m. Sunday, Mohammed said.

"We profoundly regret when any innocent civilian is killed or injured," the U.S. statement said. It said the families of those killed, as well as those injured, would be "properly cared for."

Local government officials, who chided military forces for what they deemed as unnecessary force, denounced the shooting incident.

The governor of Muthanna province, Ahmed Marzook al-Salal, condemned the incident and demanded that the U.S. government provide compensation to the families.

Every day, the sick feeling I have over this whole Iraq misadventure grows more acute and pronounced. There is no justification nor rationalization for continued combat operations in that poor, beleaguered nation. We need to get out. Now.