2 US Troops Killed; Airstrike on Fallujah;
Korean Hostage Killed
The Associated Press reports that guerrillas attacked a US military convoy near Balad north of Baghdad, killing two US troops and wounding another.
After the body of a Korean hostage was found, the US air force launched yet another air attack, allegedly on a safe house for the al-Tawhid group of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. AP reports, ‘ Fallujah residents said the strike hit a parking lot. Three people were killed and nine wounded, said Dr. Loai Ali Zeidan at Fallujah Hospital. ‘ An airstrike on Saturday killed 22, including some children and a woman, according to local residents. The US military maintained that the dead were radical Islamists and that the house went on exploding for a while because of the explosives stored there.
Guerrillas holding a Korean hostage killed him when the Korean government declined to withdraw its forces from Iraq (it is planning to send 3,000 more, dedicated to reconstruction and medical tasks, not to peace enforcement).
I don’t think a lot of press attention should be given to the capture and killing of a single hostage, since the whole point of the captors is to generate such attention. I think the big stories on Tuesday were the killing of 2 more US troops near Balad and the airstrike on Fallujah. The beheading creates a lurid interest, but it doesn’t matter to a dead person how he was killed. And, no, beheading has nothing special to do with Islam, it is just grisly and a good tool for terrorists.
The South Korean government is unlikely to back off its commitments because of this one murder. However, the killings of hostages have caused large numbers of civilian contractors to flee Iraq, according to al-Jazeerah. And, a group of Korean parliamentarians condemned their government for throwing in with what they saw as Bush’s unprovoked war in Iraq. The Washington Post contrasts the lively and divisive debate over Iraq in South Korea with the way in which Italians generally closed ranks over killings of their troops and of a hostage in Iraq.