A few days ago 14 US Marines were killed in the usual way by insurgents - a deadly roadside bomb exploded just outside Haditha, 200 km northwest of Baghdad. After the earlier deaths of 6 Marines, this staggering loss in one incident has stunned the American nation.
Brooke Park just outside Cleveland, Ohio, the home of the 3rd Battalion 25th Marines, has already lost 41 soldiers, of which 21 were from last week’s insurgent attacks. Ken Hiltz, a police officer and former Marine, said:
“Is the 3rd Battalion of the 25th Marines fighting the entire war? This battalion is decimated. I’m just losing count. It’s too much for one human being to absorb in a week.”
They now asked whether Washington has underestimated the strength of the insurgency.
In response, though the military spokesman denied it is so, a joint US-Iraqi force of around 1,000 troops launched an attack against the insurgents at Haditha on Friday. The US aim is to interdict the insurgents, meaning, seal off all entries and exits to/from the area. Once the insurgents are contained, it intends to move in and finish them off.
The US has already launched two previous major offensives since May against Iraqi insurgents in the Haditha area. This volatile region in the Euphrates river valley represents the heartland of the Sunni insurgency.
If we recall another Sunni insurgent hotbed, Fallujah, and the way the US Marine Corp rampaged through that city after some American contractors were killed and hung up publicly, we dread in anticipation of what feral retribution the new US led offensive will suffer upon the innocent inhabitants of Haditha.
The American military has this propensity to punish every Iraqi in sight in a particular area where Americans had been killed, without careful application of conventional rules of engagement or regard for the treatment of civilians under international laws. It's the usual attitude of 'what the f***, they are all ragheads, aren't they? Damn camel jocks!'
The Fallujah example was a truly disgraceful exhibition of American military might used in the most barbaric fashion with nationalistic angry vengeance, unbecoming of any civilized nation. Many innocent women and children were killed, and homes of innocents were pounded to debris. Red Cross ambulances were prevented from rescuing any injured. A Marine cold bloodedly executed unarmed and wounded Iraqis in a mosque. All to satisfy a need for revenge.
The American thought it would smite the Fallujah-ites and teach them lesson never to kill any Americans. Well, what was the result? Greater Iraqi hatred than ever, and the killing of Americans continued, but with more recruits for the insurgents.
If they now add Haditha to their list of punishments for Iraqis, they would only fuel and sustain the Sunni hatred for the USA. And while the Shiites may not be the best of pals with the Sunnis, any over-the-top retribution of the Sunnis at Haditha will be look upon by the Shiites as “There, but for the grace of Allah, goes I”, with the undoubted resolution never to trust the alien Americans.
Shiites or Sunnis, in the end they are Iraqi Arabs. And no Iraqi Arab likes to see an American kill another Iraqi Arab.
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