Thursday, May 20, 2004

“Oops” Doesn’t Cut It

From the New York Times:

BAGHDAD, Iraq, May 19 — About 40 Iraqis were killed Wednesday by American forces in an attack near the volatile border with Syria. American officials said they had fired on a suspected guerrilla safe house, but Iraqis said the Americans had strafed civilians at a wedding party.

American military officials said the attack occurred in the open desert on Wednesday evening, about 15 miles from the Syrian border and southwest of the town of Qusaiba. In a statement, American officials said they had called in air support after an American military operation in the area had come under hostile fire.

After the attack, the Americans said they had recovered “numerous weapons,” cash and foreign passports.

Associated Press Television News broadcast film, said to be taken at the scene, showing a truck heaped with bloody bodies, many of them wrapped in blankets. Several of the bodies shown appeared to be those of children.

Both the American and the Iraqi accounts agreed that about 40 people had died. But some Iraqis and several reports in the Arab press said the attack had killed civilians, not insurgents.