Friday, April 9

Voting for life. Attack on Fallujah mosque.

[The brief introduction to this exchange is posted on April 19 as VOTING FOR LIFE: PREAMBLE. The following was written on April 9.]#9
Fanni: While awaiting your reply to my previous questions, I admit that I am still confused about your military version of what happened in the mosque in Fallujah the other day. I was able to find no source that uncritically justified the killing by missile firing in the mosque in the manner you did, by depicting those in the mosque as aggressors who deserved such a death. I found this AP article at the Washington Times that reports there being two radically different viewpoints on the incident:

"In Fallujah, U.S. Marines battled for a second day to seize a mosque that officers say insurgents used as a fire base. Marines called in tanks and warplanes to pound the Sunni gunmen. By nightfall, the American force seized the Abdel-Aziz al-Samarrai mosque for the second night in a row. [....]
After a six-hour battle on Wednesday, Marines called in airstrikes before they took the mosque. Sunni rebels moved back in after the Marines left overnight.
The Islamic Clerics Committee, whose offices are next to the mosque, said 40 people, including whole families, were killed in Wednesday's bombing. It occurred at about the time worshippers would have gathered for afternoon prayers.
The Marines deny any civilians were killed, but U.S. military commanders said a large number of gunmen were killed in the day's battle."
From an independent news reporter in Iraq reporting for "Free Speech News," and, I found that the U.S. admitted to only one death in the event, whereas independent observers counted 40 bodies. Moreover, it was written by the Free Speech Radio News reporter that the mosque was filled with worshippers at the time of the missile strikes. Did you not even see such reports, or reports that presented more than a single, military viewpoint? Or did you swiftly presume, as you did with my claims, that any claims that potentially cast the U.S. military forces in a bad light must have been, or must always be, written by groups hostile to anti-abortion Bush who pull figures out of the air? And was it on that basis that you dismissed them?

What matters here is not that we "get to the bottom" of this particular incident. It is highly unlikely that, with our resources, we ever could. Nonetheless, I think it's worth noting the uncritical manner in which you asserted the military version of this incident. It seems odd that you summarily adopt the military's claims in a disputed incident that belongs to a war over which you are supposed to be "ambivalent." You seem to have lost all of your ambivalence and picked up your war drum to beat on it. Why did this happen? And on the basis of what pro-military news source did you form a summary judgment? Was it Fox News? I request that you answer this question and, in the future, when you offer military versions only of disputed incidents, please cite your source.