All in the al Qaeda family
It is amazing, isn't it? All those baddies popping up around the globe are all al Qaeda, if not directly, then related somehow. And every blundering, blunderbuss move the US military launches initially has exterminated al Qaeda agents or those so inclined. Or so we are told. From Somali goatherds, to Afghan wedding parties, to buffoons in London with cars full of gasoline, literally everyone is al Qaeda when they're caught doing something that only evil-doers do or when they're blown up by US forces. Especially when they're blown up by US forces. But what is often the common thread, a thread in direct conflict with initial, official and incessantly repeated claims of al Qaeda connections, is that days or even hours later, not only will we learn that there was no evidence of an al Qaeda connection or, even more disastrously, those eliminated weren't even baddies. Which, in their eyes, makes US forces the baddies. And objectively, it is impossible to argue against that. Saying the we "mean well" is hardly persuasive to those whose families have been shredded by American bombs.
And so it is with the latest exposure that an attack originally claimed by the US military to have targeted al Qaeda suspects in the town of Khalis is now appearing to be something less than advertised. Seventeen "al Qaeda gunmen" were killed by a US helicopter attack, was the official word. Indeed, seventeen people were killed, but that is where the accuracy of US official claims ends.
The U.S. military is investigating the killings of 17 people in a U.S. helicopter attack north of Baghdad a week ago, after residents of the area complained that the victims were not fighters from the group al-Qaeda in Iraq, as the military originally claimed, but members of a village guard force and ordinary citizens.Dick Cheney was right. This will be a long war. And with this kind of activity, it gets longer everyday. But you can be sure that it will be al Qaeda that is to blame.
A U.S. military spokesman, Lt. Col. Christopher C. Garver, said the June 22 incident in Khalis, about 30 miles north of Baghdad, was under investigation "because of discussions with locals who say it didn't happen as we reported it." The attack occurred in the opening days of Operation Arrowhead Ripper, an offensive against al-Qaeda in Iraq that is centered on Baqubah, about 10 miles southeast of Khalis.
The investigation came to light after the BBC reported on its Web site that residents of Khalis were "incensed" that the dead men were accused of being members of al-Qaeda in Iraq. Villagers "say that those who died had nothing to do with al-Qaeda. They say they were local village guards trying to protect the township from exactly the kind of attack by insurgents the U.S. military says it foiled."