Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Beware the Bouncer: Lots of Brawn, But No Brains

Iraqi P.M. Nouri al-Maliki apologized to Iraqis for the behavior of U.S. troops in a predawn raid on Sadr City:

A predawn raid by Iraqi troops and American military advisers on a stronghold of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr erupted into a two-hour gun battle Monday, according to residents and the U.S. military.

The operation in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood was aimed at "individuals involved in punishment and torture cell activities," the U.S. military said in a statement. The Iraqi troops who conducted the raid, along with their U.S. advisers, came under fire at the outset, the statement said, and "the fire lasted for the duration of the operation and continued as they left the neighborhood."

But Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki sharply criticized the operation, saying that it could hinder his efforts at national reconciliation. Maliki, who has been working with U.S. commanders on a new program to crack down on violence in Baghdad, appeared on local television Monday and said he was "very angered and pained."

"This operation used weapons that are unreasonable to detain someone -- like using planes," Maliki said.

He apologized to the Iraqi people for the operation, saying, "This won't happen again."

Good grief. Even the hired help doesn't respect us anymore.

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