The New Mesopotamia Times

US troops encouraged not to kill too may civilians in run-up to Iraq polls

Washington …. The Pentagon is encouraging US troops in Iraq to not kill too many civilians during military operations, at least until the January 30th polls are over. The call follows the bombing by US warplanes today which accidentally killed 14 people, including seven children, near Mosul and the shooting of 5 civilians, including two policemen, just south of Baghdad.

"We are beginning to suspect that dropping 500-pound bombs on voters may not exactly provide the right kind of security environment for Iraq's first-ever democratic elections," said General Gary Luck.

"All these civilians deaths are also beginning to slightly annoy our partners in the Iraqi Governing Council and coalition allies," Luck added. "Not that we'd usually give a rat's ass about what they think anyway."

He also reminded troops that killing too many civilians is an inefficient waste of expensive ammunition, fuel and effort and cited the Mosul bombing as a good example. "There an F-16 jet flew for half an hour and dropped a 250-kg precision-guided bomb on 14 civilian men, women and children. Do you realise how much one of those precision-guided bombs cost? Trust me, they're not cheap. And do you know how much half an hour's worth of jet fuel is worth at today's oil prices? It's a criminal waste."

OOOOPS ....The latest electronic weapons guidance technology is used by the US to accidentally bomb civilians 

The US military had earlier said that an investigation into the bombing is underway and it deeply regretted the loss of "possibly" innocent lives. "We have to remember , though, that they were 'possibly' innocent - that six-year old girl may have been an active insurgent sniper, for all we know," Luck added.

The bombing has strengthened claims that similar airstrikes caused the deaths of thousands of civilians during last November's attack on Falluja. Luck denied such claims, saying said that the US military employs the latest electronic weapons guidance technology to ensure airstrikes are carried out with surgical precision and pinpoint accuracy to avoid civilian casualties. "We make sure we only use the most advanced precision-guided bombs … errrr, like the one we accidentally dropped today in Mosul….."

The pilot of the F-16 jet involved - Captain Chuck 'Bullseye' Connors - said that the house was not the intended target for the airstrike. "In fact, Mosul wasn't even supposed to be the intended target either. I was supposed to be bombing Falluja. But all these damn Iraqi towns look the same from 20,000 feet up, so I thought, what the hell …"

Shootings of Iraqi policement by both insurgents and US troops may have a somewhat detrimental impact on police recruitment campaigns
In the second incident of accidental killings today, U.S. troops killed at least five Iraqis, including two policemen and three civilians, when they opened fire after their convoy was struck by a roadside bomb at a checkpoint south of Baghdad. Luck said that the Pentagon will be examining ways in which it could reduce such accidental deaths of Iraqi policemen. "We suspect that being targeted by both insurgents and US troops may have a somewhat detrimental impact on police recruitment campaigns and efforts."

In May last year, a similar US air strike near Qaim, a town on the border with Syria, hit a wedding party and killed about 40 people. "We hoped the incident did not significantly mar wedding celebrations that day for the lucky bride and groom, and we wish them many years of marital bliss," Luck said.

Estimates of civilian deaths in Iraq so far vary from 15,000 to 100,000. However, the US government claims it does not collect any information on Iraqi civilian casualties and General Tommy Franks of US Central Command has been quoted as saying 'we don't do body counts'. "We ensure that we do all we can to avoid unnecessary civilian casualties, such as those that occurred in Mosul," Luck concluded.  "With necessary civilian casualties, such as those that occurred in Falluja, we make sure we don't count the bodies."

In a related development, the Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said that  the Iraqi government had  the security situation completely under control in the run-up to the January 30th polls. "Well … okay, there were the bombings in Mosul and shootings in South Baghdad. And seven Ukrainian soldiers were killed today in Wasit province. And gunmen today shot dead the deputy police chief of the city of Samarra. And dozens of election workers and policemen were murdered by insurgents in broad daylight across the country. And seven US soldiers were killed this week in a bomb attack on their vehicle in Baghdad. Oh yes, and the city's governor was assassinated just a couple of days ago."

"But other than that, everything is just peachy keen and it is a perfectly safe time to hold elections," Allawi concluded. "Bring 'em on!"

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A dispatch by our Embedded Satirist in Cambridge, Sabri Zain. For the real story, click here and here. For an independent estimate of civilian casualties in Iraq, please vist the Iraq Body Count Database.