Saturday, November 13, 2004
Two items we hope are unrelated. From the Washington Times (via Antiwar.com):
The U.S. military thinks many insurgents fled Fallujah, blending in with the waves of Iraqi civilians who were given weeks to leave before the coalition invaded and disappointing war planners who were hoping to kill a huge number of enemy guerrillas there, military officials said yesterday . . . .And, from this morning's NYT (via Raw Story):
"We figured that a bunch of them sneaked out with the civilian population and left some stupid ones behind to get killed," a senior defense official said.
U.S. commanders, in a big disappointment, have revised downward the estimated number of fighters inside Fallujah when coalition forces launched a multiprong assault on the city on Sunday. Commanders had hoped to wipe out a huge number of enemy fighters.
Human rights experts said Friday that American soldiers might have committed a war crime on Thursday when they sent fleeing Iraqi civilians back into Falluja.In wartime, of course, the high-value targets are often in short supply; one takes what one can get.
Citing several articles of the Geneva Conventions, the experts said recognized laws of war require military forces to protect civilians as refugees and forbid returning them to a combat zone . . . .
A stream of refugees, about 300 men, women and children, were detained by American soldiers as they left southern Falluja by car and on foot. The women and children were allowed to proceed. The men were tested for any residues left by the handling of explosives. All tested negative, but they were sent back.