Any given day in Iraq includes a distressingly long list of casualties, but what about the stories behind those incidents? Here’s one from today which I thought warranted some expounding on:
Under the headline Terrorist hideout destroyed, a military press release touts the raid of a suspected “terrorist hideout”, the killing of a “terrorist” and the capture of 15 men.
How do we know it’s a terrorist hideout? Surveillance determined that the building contained “stockpiled food”, 12 bedrolls, and perhaps most damning of all, “men’s clothing”. How do we know the slain man was a terrorist? Well he was “near the target building” and made an unspecified sudden movement before being killed. Oh, and those 15 men who were captured? Well 3 of them were actually “wanted” for some crime or another. That would imply the other 12 were “unwanted”, wouldn’t it?
Here’s something conspicuously absent: weapons. Nowhere in the report is it alleged that this vitally important terrorist hideout, the destruction of which would, according to the story, “further degrade al-Qaeda’s terror network”, contained any IEDs, or explosive components, or the dreaded Iranian EFPs. Not one of these hardened al-Qaeda members was reported to be armed, and the story contains not one mention of a weapons cache, or even a single round of ammunition being present in the house: just food, and clothing.
And that “threatening” man somewhere near the building, the one so ably gunned down by Coalition forces? There is nothing in the story to suggest that he had a gun, or a suicide belt, or even a really pointy-looking stick. Just a guy, standing somewhere in Mosul, who made a sudden movement after being accosted by an unknown number of foreign troops. Now and forever though, he is a “killed terrorist”.
Says MNF Spokesman Major Hall â€œOur pursuit of these terrorists will continue to disrupt their ability to hinder the security, stability, and growth that Iraqi citizens are entitled to” Yet one must wonder how 15 unarmed guys in a building containing food and clothing posed such a dire threat to the citizenry of Iraq.