BAGHDAD, Iraq - Police found 30 more victims of the sectarian slaughter ravaging Iraq — most of them beheaded — dumped on a village road north of Baghdad on Sunday. At least 16 other Iraqis were killed in a U.S.-backed raid in a Shiite neighborhood of the capital.
Accounts of the raid varied. Aides to the Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and Iraqi police both said it took place at a mosque, with police claiming 22 bystanders died and al-Sadr's aides saying 18 innocent men were killed.
The Americans said Iraqi special forces backed by U.S. troops killed 16 "insurgents" in a raid on a community meeting hall after gunmen opened fire on approaching troops.
"No mosques were entered or damaged during this operation," the military said. It said a non-Western hostage was freed, but no name or nationality was provided.
Associated Press videotape showed a tangle of dead male bodies with gunshot wounds on the floor of what was said by the cameraman to be the imam's living quarters, attached to mosque itself.
The tape showed 5.56 mm shell casings scattered about the floor. U.S. forces use that caliber ammunition. A grieving man in white Arab robes stepped among the bodies strewn across the blood-smeared floor.
A total of at least 69 people were reported killed Sunday in one of the bloodiest days in weeks. Most of the dead appeared to be victims the shadowy Sunni-Shiite score-settling that has torn at the fabric of Iraq since Feb. 22 when a Shiite shrine was blown apart in Samarra, north of Baghdad.
Much of the recent killing is seen as the work of Shiite militias or death squads that have infiltrated or are tolerated by Iraqi police under the control of the Shiite-dominated Interior Ministry.
Many of the victims have been found dumped, mainly in Baghdad, with their hands tied, showing signs of torture and shot in the head.
It’s apparent, to me at least, that the deaths in Iraq are being caused by Iraqis fighting and killing each other. There is a culture war taking place inside of that country, and to be quite honest, I’m not sure why the hell this is America’s problem.
Seeing as the Republicans are the party in power, perhaps they should get on the ball and offer up some solutions for this Iraq situation. As of right now, their solution seems to be to sit back and wait for this civil war to burn itself out. The Republican policy of do nothing will lead to their eventual loss of power. Democrats need to step up their calls for a timetable so that American voters can see that they are serious and have a plan, unlike the GOP.
Oh, and before some Republican comes here and burns up some strawman, let me say that I’m not talking about leaving Iraq, right now. In fact, that isn’t what Democrats are even trying to suggest. The Democratic strategy is simple: give the Iraqi government a timetable so that they know we are serious. This civil war isn’t our problem, and we need to let the Iraqis know that we are not going to fight their wars for them.
Republicans can try and attack this strategy all they want, but the truth is, it’s much better than their no strategy.