22 Killed, 92 Injured at Abu Ghuraib
AP reports that a bombardment by guerrillas of the Abu Ghuraib prison resulted in 22 deaths of inmates and about 92 injured. The prison has been attacked in the past. Since it houses captured insurgents, the US military speculates that the attacks are aimed at creating chaos and inspiring a prison uprising or breakout. The particular strategy here, of guerrillas bombing their own, is hard to understand. But I myself suspect that it is a propaganda ploy. What comes through in the Arabic news is not that guerrillas killed their own but that Iraqis got killed while in American custody. It is in a sense just another soft target, and another way of giving the US a black eye.
Gen. Richard Sanchez is quoted as boasting that 1,000 Iraqis were killed in the recent uprisings in Fallujah and the Shiite South, and that “They’ve seen the might of the American military unleashed.” I understand that this sort of talk is part of warfare (the equivalent of wearing scary war paint), but I really think Gen. Sanchez has recently started going over the top in his public comments. Those 1,000 dead Iraqis contained at least dozens and maybe hundreds of innocent civilians, and in that light his statement won’t go over well in Iraq or the Arab world. Also, it isn’t really a surprise that the US military can kill 1000 Iraqis. The surprise is that a year after the fall of the Baath, Iraqis could and would kill over 100 US soldiers, and injure hundreds more. Given that as I write, the US military almost certainly does not have control of East Baghdad, one wonders about the might of the American military where it counts.