It is certainly becoming more and more clear why the Iraqi government wants a date for the withdrawal of our troops from their territory. The U.S. military has admitted that it killed a man and two women on their way to a bank by spraying their car with hundreds of rounds. Moreover, it is now clear that the military gave false information after the killings to the public and the media. Iraqi officials are now calling it murder while the military insists that the soldiers acted correctly.
The attack occurred when a convoy made a wrong turn and went down the main road used by civilians to get to the airport. The Iraqis had already submitted to the standard stop and search when they proceeded down the road to the bank. The military says that warning shots were fired before the soldiers sprayed the vehicle.
The military now admits that “a thorough investigation determined that the driver and passengers were law-abiding citizens of Iraq.” However it still insists that the soldiers exercised proper “escalation of force” measures before they opened fire on the people in the car. It is a bit curious how three innocent people can be raked with hundreds of rounds, but the entire affair was handled entirely properly. Obviously, these soldiers have only a short time to respond to cars that fail to yield. There is a clear danger of car bombs. However, they had just pulled mistakingly onto the main public road and the car had just stopped at the checkpoint earlier.
The military is also scrambling to explain why, in the aftermath of the shooting, it released a statement that “a weapon was recovered from the wreckage.” It now admits that no weapon was found and that one soldier with the Fourth Infantry Division merely reported seeing an Iraqi officer place something in the ambulance when the bodies were removed. It appears that such a sighting (which could have been anything from a purse to a clipboard) was conveniently converted into a weapon.
The military also claimed that one vehicle sustained a bullet hole in the attack. It cited “bullet hole damage” as part of its initial public account . It admits that “We now know there were no weapons in the car, and there were not any shell casings.” Once again, the release of the initial report seems calculated to defuse attention and concern in the first round of coverage. It is unclear whether anyone is being disciplined for the false accounts given to the public.
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