Knights Ridder is reporting that Iraqi police and eyewitness reports say U.S. soldiers killed 11 Iraqi civilians during a raid, after herding them into a room. Among those allegedly killed were a 75 year old woman and a six month old infant. The raid was the result of information that an al-Qaeda member was at the house.
The villagers were killed after American troops herded them into a single room of the house, according to a police document obtained by Knight Ridder Newspapers. The soldiers also burned three vehicles, killed the villagers' animals and blew up the house, the document said.
Neighbors confirmed there was an al-Qaeda member visiting at the house that was raided. The house belonged to a school teacher and family member of the al-Qaeda member. The teacher was among those killed, while the al Qaeda member survived and was arrested.
With the advent of the three year ‘anniversary’ of the liberation of Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, the common headline has switched from an indomitable insurgency to impending civil war, if not an existing civil war. Richard Hernandez looks at the issue in detail, and postulates “the shift of meme from the "insurgency" to a "civil war" is a backhanded way of admitting the military defeat of the insurgency without abandoning the characterization of Iraq is an American fiasco.” We believe there is merit to this argument.
Democrats will love reading this WaPo piece: Republican efforts to craft a policy and political agenda to carry the party into the midterm elections have stumbled repeatedly as GOP leaders face widespread disaffection and disagreement within the ranks. In 2002-2004, the Democrats appeared to run on platforms of “Anything But Bush.” It looks like the GOP platform in 2006 will be "We're Not Bush." Considering the Senate Majority Leader was handpicked by Bush, and Bush has signed EVERY piece of legislation passed by the Republican Congress, this should be an interesting sell. Good luck with that, guys.
Testimony resumes in Zacarias Moussaoui's death penalty trial this morning. Late Friday, the Defense filed a motion (pdf) seeking to have TSA attorney Carla J. Martin brought into court for questioning on her actions. She now has counsel, who has advised the court that she does have matters to bring to the attention of the Court. In a cover letter to prosecutors accompanying the motion, the Defense says:
The purpose of this Motion is to attempt to complete the record as Mr. Howard has publicly indicated that Ms. Martin did not act alone and that she is willing to tell the complete story regarding her conduct in this matter.
The Judge could order Martin to testify Monday, or she could delay it to the end of the trial. I suspect she will delay it.
...or that you trusted someone who did not deserve your trust. But columnist for The Independent, Johann Hari does just that and offers few excuses in After three years, after 150,000 dead, why I was wrong about Iraq. So when people ask if I think I was wrong, I think about the Iraqi friend - hiding, terrified, in his own house - who said to me this week, "Every day you delete another name from your mobile, because they've been killed. By the Americans or the jihadists or the militias - usually you never find out which."
Andrew Sullivan is just being incoherent here in his defense of his own conservatism: "I'm in favor of Bush's tax cuts, but want spending cuts to match them; I favor balanced budgets; I favored and favor the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns, but want to execute them competently, with enough troops....I want more money for defense." If you support the tax cuts, and you don't want to cut defense spending, and you want a balanced budget, you need to slice about $400 billion out of the $500 billion that's left.
In USA Today, Kathy Kiely writes: Through Friday, the House was in session for 19 days, compared with 33 for the Senate. If they stick to their current schedule - including two weeks off in April, a week in May and July, plus all of August - House members will spend 97 days in Washington this year. Kathy says that like it's a bad thing. If we really want to improve the way Congress conducts business, then let's move the Capital to, say, Phoenix - and not allow them to have air conditioning.
Erik Eckholm has an article in the New York Times on the plight of black men in modern day America, and some of the statistics may surprise you.... There is a lot of debate about what is causing this state of affairs. Explanations vary from it being an unintentional legacy of Welfare (eroding the nuclear family), the loss of low-skill jobs, the state of public education in the inner cities, to a problem with the black culture itself. But, for my money, nothing has contributed to this problem more than the Drug War and the draconian sentences that go with it.