Ishaqi Massacre Emerges in Wake of Haditha
The BBC has received video footage that appears to implicate US troops in the killing of 11 Iraqi civilians at Ishaqi on March 15, and in a subsequent cover-up attempt. The BBC report, and interviews with local police, along with the video, supplied by a Sunni religious group that opposes the US presence in Iraq, suggests the following narrative: The US military got a tip that an al-Qaeda (i.e. probably Salafi Jihadi) operative was in this house in Ishaqi. They went there, and appear to have shot up the inhabitants, thinking that they would be killing members of an al-Qaeda cell. The bullet wounds do not appear to be short-range ones. In fact, they killed a grandmother and 8 children, with 2 others. I presume that the GIs left the scene long enough for an Iraqi to come in and videotape.
It is alleged that the US troops then came back and collapsed the building. They reported that the building collapsed in the course of their assault on an al-Qaeda safehouse, killing 4 civilians. But the collapse appears to be after the fact and part of a cover-up. The killings themselves, bad as they are, are not as bad as what is reported from the previous November at Haditha, since the long-range bullet wounds may indicate that they went in, guns blazing, before they realized who they were killing. At Haditha, it appears that Marines were just taking revenge on civilians for the killing that morning of one of their own. What is scarey at Ishaqi, if the story is borne out, is the cover-up.
You wonder how many of the innocuous-sounding US military reports on casualties in such operations hide crimes and cover-ups. And, that the Ishaqi tape is getting play on the BBC is almost certainly a result of the revelation of the Hadith massacre. Scandal begets scandal. The Western mass media are now more predisposed to credit such evidence, which means they will likely receive more and more such evidence.
My estimation is that the number of Iraqis in Anbar Province who said it was all right to attack US troops doubled to 80 percent in 2006 from 40-odd percent in January of 2004. Doubled. And Ishaqi and Haditha and lots of similar such incidents are the reason for this doubling. The doubling, by the way, equals the loss of the counter-insurgency struggle in the Sunni Arab heartland. The errors and sometimes crimes were not just costly. They were fatal.