Monday, October 17, 2005

A DAY AFTER IRAQIS VOTED to either pass or reject a new constitution, U.S. airstrikes killed 70 Iraqis in two villages west of Baghdad. Two days earlier, five U.S. soldiers had been killed by a roadside bomb. The American bombing raids were, the U.S. military reports, a response to a crowd of Iraqis gathered at the wreckage site of the roadside bombing. When the U.S. pilots saw the Iraqis, they guessed that they were insurgents trying to plant another bomb. Their evidence for this conclusion is, of course, classified information; suffice it to say that they knew there could not be any other explanation for a large group of Iraqis gathered around the wreckage of a U.S. military vehicle. So -- in accordance with the Bush administration's efforts to create a culture of life, and Pres. Bush's strongly held belief that we must respect the dignity of all human lives because each human life is the image of God, even if they're not frozen embryos -- the U.S. warplanes and helicopters bombed a crowd of Iraqi civilians who were looking at the wreckage of a U.S. military vehicle.

All of the Iraqis killed were Sunnis, since the villages bombed are in the area of Ramadi, where the population is almost all Sunni.

According to the (UK) Guardian:

Yesterday's violence came a day after Iraq voted in a referendum on whether to accept the country's draft constitution, which many Sunnis oppose.

Sunnis turned out in large numbers to vote against the constitution, although they did not have enough votes to defeat it. The U.S. is hoping that this airstrike on two Sunni villages will encourage those Sunnis who still oppose the charter (which as of Saturday's vote, was most of them), to change their minds and give the constitution their support.

The US and British governments see the adoption of a constitution as a key stage in creating a sovereign Iraq and in helping to bring about the withdrawal of troops.

However, the US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, admitted yesterday that violence will continue in Iraq, even if the new constitution is adopted.

She said support for the insurgency would eventually wane as the country moves toward democracy.

The bombing raids against the Sunni villagers are a key part of the U.S. strategy to move Iraq toward democracy and hence decrease support for the insurgency.

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