US troops encouraged not
to kill too may civilians in run-up to Iraq polls
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.
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
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 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 …"
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
Shootings of Iraqi policement by both insurgents
and US troops may have a somewhat detrimental impact on police recruitment
|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.
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
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