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No bodies found after Iraq gunfight
December 1, 2003 5:28 PM   Subscribe

No bodies found after Iraq gunfight "THE US military has said it believes 54 insurgents were killed in intense exchanges in the northern Iraqi town of Samarra on Sunday but commanders admitted they had no bodies. The only corpses at the city's hospital were those of ordinary civilians, including two elderly Iranian pilgrims and a child. US Brigadier General Mark Kimmit told a Baghdad press conference 54 militants were killed, 22 wounded and one arrested." Ok. I am a bit slow. Help me out on this one. How can you count the bodies you are not able to find? Did the G.I.s take them as souvenirs?
posted by Postroad (44 comments total)

 
huh.

But surely the US military wouldn't overhype something like this to counter the feeling that they just kill us without reprisals other then blowing up empty buildings...
posted by delmoi at 5:34 PM on December 1, 2003


Wait a minute, overstating body counts?

*thumbs through Vietnam-era military manual*

Ah, yes. Step three.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:42 PM on December 1, 2003


How can you count the bodies you are not able to find? Did the G.I.s take them as souvenirs?

The military version is:
- the count is derived from the accounts of soldiers involved in the incident (i.e. from soldiers who think they killed someone; although how do you know how many you kill when you fire a tank shell into a building?);
- the attackers took their dead with them as they retreated.
From skimming the news sites the original "54 fedayen dead" story seems to be evaporating as we speak/type.
posted by carter at 5:56 PM on December 1, 2003


We need a couple dozen dead hajis, stat! Get Commander In Chief on the horn. Gas up Air Force One. Let's roll!
posted by sharksandwich at 5:59 PM on December 1, 2003


This incident, or the way it was portrayed, seemed slightly suspect to me too. A statement of power or something. There was an interesting snippet in The Age's article on the incident this morning:

But witnesses claimed that fire from US troops killed bystanders. Residents of the town questioned claims by a US spokesman that all those killed in the fighting had been attackers. Also, workers at a state-owned pharmaceutical plant in Samarra said at least two colleagues were killed and many wounded as they walked out of the factory gates at the end of their shift and a US tank opened fire in all directions. "The 4th Infantry Division repelled multiple ambush attacks," Lieutenant-Colonel William MacDonald told reporters, adding that US troops wounded 18 Iraqis and captured eight. Five US soldiers and a civilian with them were wounded
posted by Onanist at 6:13 PM on December 1, 2003


According to witnesses on NPR they also dispute the numbers and even more interesting was that one expert claimed that there is no uniform of the Fedayeen just camo and a black face covering, which is a fairly common outfit for militants.
As to how the troops came up with their casualty figures, Rudesheim said it was by counting their weapons.

"We don't indiscriminately engage people, only those who engage us with AK 47s and RPGs. That's how we determine the number of people we are engaging and, after talking with each soldier, we can tell just how many people are returning fire at us."
Everyone in Iraq is packing something. Even another fellow interviewed on NPR had a machinegun under his jacket.

One man claimed his elderly father was killed.

This story is fishy, and I doubt the mainstream media is going to run with it. A big successful offensive after Bush's turkey landing is good news for everyone, the corporate media rarely rocks the boat.

>From skimming the news sites the original "54 fedayen dead" story seems to be evaporating as we speak/type.

Yet, which story will Americans remember? The corrections page is largely ignored and some prefer myth over truth.
posted by skallas at 6:17 PM on December 1, 2003


This is pretty interesting, if true, and the article is not embellishing or making up shit. I see the NY Times is now picking up on the story.
posted by vito90 at 6:21 PM on December 1, 2003


"They attacked and they were killed," General Pace said of the heavy firefight that military officials in Iraq reported left 46 of their adversaries dead, many wearing the black uniform of Saddam Hussein's fedayeen militia. "So I think it will be instructive to them."


- does anyone else wonder what planet these guys live on?
posted by specialk420 at 6:22 PM on December 1, 2003


Since it didn't happen earlier due to some kind of mix-up or another...

Vietnam...George Bush
George...This is Vietnam.

You two talk amongst yourselves and get acquainted. Seems like you'll be spending lots and lots of time together!
posted by damnitkage at 6:26 PM on December 1, 2003


It's real simple. From the perspective of the Iraqis, the people who were attacked by the American military were Iraqi citizens. So to the Iraqis, the Americans are bad guys. The American military can't tell the Iraqis who are shooting at them from the ones that are not, excepting of course for when those who are shooting at them actually have guns drawn in their directiion. From the perspective of the American miltary, the people who were shooting at them were "insurgents."

Doesn't matter their intentions or my skin color or whether or not they worship steamed prawns. If someone were shooting at me, I'd see them as the bad guy.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:29 PM on December 1, 2003



posted by specialk420 at 6:38 PM on December 1, 2003


Zachsmind: If someone were shooting at me, I'd see them as the bad guy.
"Is this woman shooting a rocket-propelled grenade?" he demanded, standing over the body. "Is she fighting?" There was only one other body, that of a gray-bearded old man, in the morgue.
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/01/international/middleeast/01CND-IRAQ.html?hp

Sorry, ZM, but its not simple, its mind-boggingly complex and all this was pointed out to the current administration before the war even began. So its not even unpredictable at this point.
posted by skallas at 6:46 PM on December 1, 2003


Is it still The War On Terror, or did they change the name to The War On The Mysteriously Vanishing But Probably Dead Gunmen?
posted by spazzm at 6:51 PM on December 1, 2003


Another quote of note:
"If I had a gun, I would have attacked the Americans myself," said Satar Nasiaf, 47, a shopkeeper who said he had watched two Iraqi civilians fall to American fire. "The Americans were shooting in every direction."
I think its getting fairly obvious, even to joe-sixpack die-hard GOP voter, that this isn't about Saddam fucking Hussien, loyalists, "terrorists", or whatever label sticks this week. Its about people fighting for autonomy from their occupiers. Occupiers who they see as setting up a pro-western and pro-Israel puppet government.

There was a solution to all these problems last year: do not invade Iraq. Shame Bush and the PNAC crowd could have cared less about their little middle east "cakewalk" chess game.

I don't know about the analogy to Vietnam, it sure as hell sounds a little too much like Palestine for comfort.

So when is someone in the media or with a high profile going to call Bush a liar and a fuck-up to his face? I think we've respected "the office" long enough. The Bush administration is a world-wide embarrassment guaranteeing a world in which my kids and their kids will fear traveling outside the US.
posted by skallas at 6:58 PM on December 1, 2003


Is it still The War On Terror

It never really was.
posted by homunculus at 7:13 PM on December 1, 2003


Just when I thought this clusterf#ck couldn't get worse... now zombies.
posted by Tuatara at 7:14 PM on December 1, 2003


So when is someone in the media or with a high profile going to call Bush a liar and a fuck-up to his face?

Odds are it has been done, "we the people" just has not seen the footage is all.

With the US citizens 'over there' all having agreed to be over there of thier own free will (aka no draft) they all made a choice to follow the commander in chief. Things would be different if they were drafted.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:18 PM on December 1, 2003


Mysteriously Vanishing But Probably Dead Gunmen?
Just as long as it isn't the Lone Gunmen, they killed them off already... :(
posted by kaemaril at 8:03 PM on December 1, 2003


As a grotesque alternative: what if there *were* bodies, but the Army didn't want journalists photographing bodies?

As a historical reference, even in WWII, the US Army could, with remarkable speed, make bodies disappear or appear.
As example, the Malmandy Massacre turned up two to three times more bodies then were killed on site, including the son of the local inkeeper who had died of the flu, "borrowed" for the photos. Exhumed and put into an Army uniform. (A local historian has for years unsuccessfully been trying to get his name purged from the memorial.) It made for good propaganda.

I also remember "The Road of Death", the escape from Kuwait, where a large convoy of vehicles was annihilated. But within the few hours it took for journalists to arrive on scene, there was nothing left but little scraps of bodies everywhere, with the pathetic excuse that "They must all have run off into the desert." Perhaps a dozen *whole* bodies from 200-300 vehicles. But lots and lots of parts.
Yeah, right.
posted by kablam at 8:19 PM on December 1, 2003


Losing Hearts and Minds from Time.
posted by amberglow at 8:39 PM on December 1, 2003


Wow vanishing weapons of mass destruction and now bodies.......maybe there's a Bermuda Triangle thingy in the occupied Iraq...Oooooopppss I mean the "autonomous we're just holding it for you for now" Iraq.
posted by Civa at 9:45 PM on December 1, 2003


From the NY Times article linked above:

"The Pentagon typically does not publicize the number of enemy dead or wounded to avoid comparisons to the frequent enemy body counts in the Vietnam War, counts that ultimately proved to be a poor indicator of American military performance."
posted by anastasiav at 10:04 PM on December 1, 2003


props to skallas and his eloquent outrage.
posted by specialk420 at 10:13 PM on December 1, 2003


Apropos stories from Iraq, facts or fictions. I watched a documentary on CBC called Deadline:Iraq-Uncensored Stories from the War, which showed footage shot by journalists which has never been aired in N/A tv or print. It was quite damning.

There was footage shot of a US tank aiming its cannon at the Hotel Baghdad, where foreign journalists were staying and firing upon them. The results were terrible, as you can imagine. A cameraman's movie camera fried, one cameraman dead. He wasn't the only journalist killed. This after US soldiers warned reporters not to stay there because of "enemy" fire. Hmmm. Damning I tell you. Definitely a must see.

More about it at Guerrilla News Network.

The rosy picture is coming off the bloom and the propaganda is exposing itself for exactly what it is.

It's become quite apparent that the majority of media aren't reporting. They just aren't doing their job, unless it's under the guise of the Ministry of Propaganda. You may call these rough scripts for the next block buster. Great job y'all.
posted by alicesshoe at 10:21 PM on December 1, 2003


Tuatara: Just when I thought this clusterf#ck couldn't get worse... now zombies.

Bwa ha ha!
posted by UKnowForKids at 11:20 PM on December 1, 2003


As a grotesque alternative: what if there *were* bodies, but the Army didn't want journalists photographing bodies?

We know damned well that the Army (read: the Commander in Chief and Crew) doesn't want journalists photographing American bodies, whether on the ground or in a box. I can also imagine journalists and the Army collaborating to keep this from turning into a war (like that 'foreign aid' in Vietnam) that causes physical nausea in we the people, thereby souring our support. But I expect that if criticism stacks up and results reported home are scarce enough, the administration would have no problem with sending home photos of the occasional bloody mess of a supposed terrorist, just to 'prove' that we have the upper hand. In a way, that's exactly what this story is, but without the bloody photos, and possibly without the bodies....
posted by kaibutsu at 12:02 AM on December 2, 2003


alicesshoe: Moving photos at that CBC site and some so sad. Thank you.
posted by iffley at 12:52 AM on December 2, 2003


It's become quite apparent that the majority of media aren't reporting. They just aren't doing their job, unless it's under the guise of the Ministry of Propaganda. You may call these rough scripts for the next block buster.

indeed, this entire clusterfuck, taken as a whole, is serious business. those who pooh-pooh the actions of the current regime and smugly characterize concern about them as left-wing alarmism are often wet behind the ears naifs, spoon-fed the american spectacle of television, sports and the "life as acquisition and consumption" paradigm, too young to have had reality stomp their naivete to a pulp yet, or too stubborn to acknowledge the unspeakable. but the unspeakable is precisely where we americans are headed. as the planet plunges toward all out war (to the delight of those who lust to rule it) there will be those who only realize the gravity of the situation with the ever escalating tightening of control - "well, there's no martial law yet. certainly there's nothing to worry about." except the imposition of martial law. there will be those who only begin to have doubts as their friends and families are "detained". and there will be those who will only grasp the full extent of this evil as the bullet hurtles down the barrel toward their brain. nothing can be done for them, but there is no reason for the rest of us to stand by and allow an incurious half-wit whose way in life has always been purchased for him (and those who in turn manipulate and control him) ruin all chance of salvaging anything from the current mess. i still belive america provides for the best opportunity to create a society that actually works to the benefit of even its least endowed members. but this current bunch, they have got to go. and, among other things, the mechanisms of mass media insanity that created the environment in which they flourish must be altered.
posted by quonsar at 1:36 AM on December 2, 2003


Indeed quonsar. This is our last stand here, in order to get people to give a flying fuck about the great hordes, absolutely complex beyond imagination, hordes of humanity who will all soon come home to roost.

We're in a time of "landing". Staking out our plot on the field from high above in which we will tend to our eggs. Only there ain't enough space and there ain't enough gregariousness to spread around. The space as well as our good nature will be spent in no time flat. Something needs to happen in order to change people's minds and arouse them out of their lethargy. And what that is, I have no fucking clue.

I think it will just happen when it does. And then we'll see about the rest. It's a horrible cusp we're on right now.
posted by crasspastor at 3:14 AM on December 2, 2003


Everybody take cover! Here comes another round of flat-out lying.
posted by magullo at 5:05 AM on December 2, 2003


I think its getting fairly obvious, even to joe-sixpack die-hard GOP voter, that this isn't about Saddam fucking Hussien, loyalists, "terrorists", or whatever label sticks this week.

skallas, meet Joe Sixpack, i.e.,
NASCAR Dad
posted by NorthernLite at 6:55 AM on December 2, 2003


Y'all having fun stroking yourselves here?
posted by smackfu at 6:56 AM on December 2, 2003


You know, Quonsar is off the cuff and amusing so much of the time that it always amazes me when he sits down to actually share a deep thought...

That being said, what Quonsar said. This is a big ol' clusterfuck....and the vast, vast majority of the population believes the Ministry of Propaganda lies.

I'm ashamed because of my country's leadership...and more than that, I'm afraid of what it will portend for my son as he grows up in a world that despises us. I'm astounded that in 3 short years the Constitution has been short-sheeted, Congress has been rendered ineffectual (not that they were ever really efficient), and states rights have all but disappeared...and yet, there is no talk of revolution. People are comfortable being spoon fed their FOX soma...which just blows my freaking mind.
posted by dejah420 at 6:58 AM on December 2, 2003


I'm glad you're so prescient, quonsar. It takes a visionary like yourself to see that we're headed towards "all out" war and martial law. The rest of us rubes are simply deluded by the mass media -- we don't think for ourselves.

I have to say, though (having now seen the light), the administration is doing a very good job of keeping this movement towards "martial law," which will apparently include "detaining friends and family," secret. You'd think there would at least be some crushing of dissent. But I look around and I see no shortage of dissent -- on MetaFilter, in the New York Times, on NPR, in the Detroit Free Press and the San Francisco Chronicle, in countless left-wing publications and web sites, by Presidential candidates, by congressmen and women, at marches and rallies.

I'm sorry, your post was the most alarmist, Chicken Little-style "warning" I've read in a long time.

on preview ... but you sure seem to have found a receptive audience at this place.
posted by pardonyou? at 7:16 AM on December 2, 2003


Pardonyou? is right. Somewhat.

While it's true that there is dissent in the aforementioned places, the fact of the matter is that the fat, bloated, lazy ass body politic that is the American people don't really give a rats ass.

The protesters are seen as anti-american, pinko leftist commies, thanks to the efforts of main stream media to portray them as such. The NYT, NPR, etc. are seen in the same vein as the pinko commies.

It just doesn't matter as people in large part are to lazy and fuckwitted to care.
posted by damnitkage at 7:26 AM on December 2, 2003


pardonyou? Not such a good job, perhaps:

"Our goal was to drown you out," one Miami-Dade police officer explained to me, and that's exactly what they did. Small, peaceful demonstrations were attacked with extreme force; organizations were infiltrated by undercover officers who then used stun guns on activists; busses filled with union members were prevented from joining permitted marches; dozens of young faces were smashed into concrete and beaten bloody with batons; human rights activists had guns pointed at their heads at military-style checkpoints. "

"With the activists recast as dangerous aliens, Miami became eligible for the open tap of public money irrigating the "war on terror." In fact, $8.5-million spent on security during the FTAA meeting came directly out of the $87-billion President Bush extracted from Congress for Iraq last month -- a fact barely reported outside of the Miami press.

Police violence outside of trade summits is not new, but what was striking about Miami was how divorced the security response was from anything resembling an actual threat. From an activist perspective, the protests were disappointingly small and almost embarrassingly obedient, an understandable response to weeks of police intimidation."

Link to 14 common characteristics of a fascist regime.

damnitkage:
"The protesters are seen as anti-american, pinko leftist commies, thanks to the efforts of main stream media to portray them as such. The NYT, NPR, etc. are seen in the same vein as the pinko commies."

According to the brain-dead consumer sheep model of society, would it not be easy to change the image of protestors via the same media that presently damns them? They could go from terrorist to freedom fighter in the blinking of an eye.
posted by asok at 8:27 AM on December 2, 2003


They could go from terrorist to freedom fighter in the blinking of an eye.

not if they're frigging morons
posted by shoos at 8:32 AM on December 2, 2003


Yes, asok, your average Miami-Dade beat cop is in cahoots with the Bush administration in its attempt to supress dissent. What a joke. Protestors complaining about police force is as old as activism itself. This is just another manifestation of the inherent conflict between anti-authoritarian (and deliberately provocative) protestors, and overly-authoritarian police. I'm not defending the police, I'm just saying it's not symbolic of some new sea change, or evidence that there's some nefarious, coordinated campaign between the federal government and municipal police to suppress dissent. Hell, in the mid 90s I was an attorney in a lawsuit brought by a striking union against a city for alleged overly aggressive police conduct that makes Miami look like a tea party. Fortunately nobody involved was crazy enough to imply that it was part of of a nationwide crushing of dissent.
posted by pardonyou? at 9:02 AM on December 2, 2003


I can only assume that the military works on some sort of fucked-up point system where civilians are worth x number of insurgents. It's the only way you can get from a half a dozen dead old men and children to 54 "terrorists".

And the media is doing their job. You just have to follow the British and Canadian media to get the straight scoop. The US corporate media's job is to make you complacent so you vote for the guy doing the best job to promote corporate interests. The Republicans have hit on a brilliantly incestuous plan: Give money to the rich people who will then donate part of it to the Republican party and give the corporate media what they want in terms of overturning those bad FCC rules, as the Republicans did with the Fairness Doctrine after coming to power. No better way for the republicans and media to wash each other's backs.

As far as us American people? Many are just so sheeplike and scared witless that they aren't going to raise a peep no matter how many innocent *foreign* kids get killed as long as they have the illusion of security.

Those people are mean, stupid sheep.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 10:08 AM on December 2, 2003


From the NASCAR dads article:

"The term NASCAR dad was coined last year by Democratic political pollster Celinda Lake as she described mostly white, culturally conservative Southern rural men who once voted Democratic but switched parties to vote for Ronald Reagan and, with few exceptions, have been doing so ever since."

heheheh. Foolish NASCAR dads - haven't they heard of term limits?
posted by kaibutsu at 10:43 AM on December 2, 2003


Rev: No better way for the republicans and media to wash each other's backs.

Hear , Hear!
posted by skallas at 11:11 AM on December 2, 2003


your post was the most alarmist, Chicken Little-style "warning" I've read in a long time.

i really enjoyed writing it. thank you for volunteering to illustrate my point! baaaaaaa.
posted by quonsar at 11:26 AM on December 2, 2003


Well, that was an ever expanding cirle of comments about an assorted range of topics.

So, anybody hear anything more about this "no bodies found" thingy? I mean, that just seems weird, doesn't it?

Why do you suppose they said that there were dead soldiers, when there appear to be no dead soldiers?

Anyone?
posted by dglynn at 12:19 PM on December 2, 2003


'Yes, asok, your average Miami-Dade beat cop is in cahoots with the Bush administration in its attempt to supress dissent.'

Were you watching the money?

"With the activists recast as dangerous aliens, Miami became eligible for the open tap of public money irrigating the "war on terror." In fact, $8.5-million spent on security during the FTAA meeting came directly out of the $87-billion President Bush extracted from Congress for Iraq last month -- a fact barely reported outside of the Miami press.

The suppression of protest is not something I associate with democracy. Whether of not the police violence in Miami is comparable with past police violence is not important.

During the eighties the police in the UK went to war against striking miners. This does not mean that violence against protestors today is any less damaging to democracy.

Every act of suppresion undermines a democratic and free society.

On topic: this has made it into the mainstream here, the US are saying they were going on soldiers reports; 54 dead 23 wounded. The local hospital saw 80 wounded and 8 dead, which isn't far off the total reported by the US.
How this got into the newsas 'news', may demonstrate something of the propaganda mechanisms of the US occupation.
posted by asok at 6:02 AM on December 3, 2003


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