Tuesday, March 28, 2006

As I write, the news from Iraq is that tensions between the Americans and the Shiite leadership are at an all-time high, stemming from, among other things, a raid under American leadership that killed a few dozen people. (The Americans, so far, insist that the killing was not done by American soldiers directly, but rather, by their Iraqi minions. Perhaps they think that having been killed by fellow Iraqis will be a comfort to the relatives of the Iraqi dead).

Among the many things that are disputed is the nature of the facility that was attacked. The Shiite leadership says it was a mosque. Reporters on the scene report that it was a mosque, with a minaret --- an architectural feature at least as distinctive as, say, a church steeple. But the American leadership disagrees:

In a conference call with reporters in Baghdad late Monday, Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, commander of the day-to-day operations of the multinational forces in Iraq, said the building was "an office complex," and not a mosque. ...

The general said he believed that the scene was disrupted after the raid to make the building look like something other than a terrorist headquarters, although he did not give details on how it was done. "After the fact someone went in and made the scene look different than it was, for whatever purposes," he said.

So, after our raiders had killed twenty people at the headquarters of a terrorist organization in an office complex, they abandoned the scene (and any intelligence therein) for long enough that the dastardly Iraqi insurgents were able to call in a construction crew to erect a minaret on site, in order to make it look as if we'd raided a mosque. Such is the implacable nature of our enemies.


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