Friday, May 13, 2005

FROM TODAY'S NEW YORK TIMES: More public relations efforts by the U.S. military to help Iraqis understand what the U.S. is all about and why we're in their country:

Fighting raged anew in the western Iraqi desert today as American fighter jets flattened what the military said was an insurgent hideout, and hundreds of Iraqi families streamed out of the area to seek refuge in other villages, according to aid officials.
... on Thursday, F-18 jets used rockets and bombs to destroy a building in Karabilah that a "senior terrorist" who was captured in recent days had identified as an insurgent safe house, the Marines said. According to their account, at least four gunmen emerged from the building and fired as troops approached. The military said there were no Marine or civilian casualties from the attack.

Okay, now we know what the military says. What do local Iraqis and relief officials say?

... an official from the Iraqi Red Crescent, the Red Cross aid affiliate in Iraq, said in an interview today that hundreds of families have fled the area to escape the shooting and destruction.

"The situation is very bad there, and we are sure that there are civilian victims," the Red Crescent spokeswoman, Fardous al-Abadi, said. Her organization was now focused on providing aid to refugees who have moved to other villages to get out of harm's way, she added. Hundreds of families have left the city of Qaim, with most of them seeking refuge in Akashat, while others have traveled as far as Ramadi or have sought shelter in the desert, Ms. Abadi said.

Iraqi residents from the area told The Associated Press that the United States military was periodically attacking areas near their villages with artillery rounds.

"Most of the people have fled to the desert," a tribal leader in Saadah, Samran Mukhlef Abed, told the A.P. "The Americans are all around, and medical services do not exist here. If someone is hurt, we have to take him to cities that are far way from here, and that is impossible with the situation."

As much as I would like to believe U.S. military officials when they say that no civilians were injured or killed in a 5-day attack by 1000 Marines, including the use of F-18 fighter jets to bombard one single building with rockets and bombs, it stretches my incredulity.

No comments: