Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Pacific News Service > News > Samarra Massacre Will Haunt U.S. in Iraq

Pacific News Service > News > Samarra Massacre Will Haunt U.S. in Iraq: "Samarra Massacre Will Haunt U.S. in Iraq
Commentary, William O. Beeman,
Pacific News Service, Dec 02, 2003
Editor's Note: The firefight in Samarra, Iraq, will come to haunt U.S. troops in the country, the writer says. The attackers deliberately wore black to evoke symbolic battles from Iraqi history that resonate with Iraqi Sunni and Shi'a alike. Now, the fighters are being hailed as heroes.

U.S. commanders say their troops killed at least 54 Iraqis in the northern city of Samarra on Nov. 30. Townspeople say far fewer died, but that they were mostly civilians. Either way, it was a massacre, and the shocking surprise for Americans is that the organized Iraqi troops who provoked the attack are being hailed as heroes.

Of all the places to incur a military attack in the area that has quixotically become known as the 'Sunni triangle,' Samarra was the worst. It is not only a Sunni Arab stronghold, it is also a shrine city sacred to the Shi'a population of Iraq. In its action, the U.S. military has thus offended almost everyone in Iraq at one fell swoop.

The U.S. troops were provoked into attack, but in retaliation they not only fired on a kindergarten and a mosque, they also fired on those trying to evacuate the wounded.

Such actions make the hearts of Middle East specialists sink, because they create such long-lasting resentment -- the kind that breeds terrorists. Eventually such events lead to perpetual cycles of revenge. Already the residents of Samarra are vowing retribution."

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