As we wait to see which of Israel’s hawks come out ahead in this week’s elections – and whether any of the challenges to the Iraqi provisional elections impact the results (which we’ve all been assured already demonstrate huge popular support for Maliki – let’s just not mention the fact that 49% of Iraqis did not vote because after all this is a great success for the Odierno surge and all that Petraeus COIN juice) – regular folks continue to die. 

Yesterday it was an 8 year old girl in Iraq, killed when “gunfire from an American military convoy struck a crowd of Shiite pilgrims traveling to the holy city of Karbala…”

It was unclear how the shooting on Saturday began. Col. Asaad Malek, the commander of a joint American and Iraqi military outpost in Diwaniya, said the Americans were protecting a convoy of fuel trucks when they stopped to attend to a disabled vehicle.

The road was crowded with pilgrims heading to Karbala, witnesses said. Salah Mon’em, 26, who was wounded, said the patrol sounded horns to keep the crowds at bay. Before he realized what was happening, he said, “I fell down because of a bullet that hit me.”

Jassim Hassan, a 25-year-old college student, described a scene of chaos and confusion. “I don’t know how all of this happened and I can’t remember a thing because everything was so fast and sudden,” he said.

After the short burst of gunfire, Sa’adiya Saddam, 8, collapsed on the ground by her wailing mother, witnesses said.

Her brother, Hussein, also 8, said, “We didn’t notice the Americans before the gun shooting started. My sister fell immediately, swimming in her own blood.”

The NYT reports that US representatives have apologized to the girl’s family and “begun the process of compensation.” 

In Afghanistan, after 53 civilians were killed by US special forces in village raids in January, this month has already seen several more deaths. On Saturday:

One Afghani civilian was killed and two others were wounded when fired on by the US-led coalition troops in southeastern Afghanistan. … The troops signaled the driver of the fast car to stop but he did not, forcing the coalition troops to open fire on him in "self-defence", said the statement. The driver of the car was killed, a child was critically injured and a woman, who received minor injuries.

And last week six men were killed in a US village raid. Local officials say they were farmers from two families, US officials say they were “militants.” 

The UK government – in a move all too reminiscent of our own “concern” over civilian casualties — has arrested a Colonel … for releasing Afghan civilian casualty figures to the UN and Human Rights Watch (h/t Cernig)

As Robert Fisk asked the other week, When did we stop caring about civilian deaths during wartime?

Video: Newly uploaded to Youtube by a source I am not familiar with. The date and location are uncertain but if legit, it’s another example of why leaving residual forces in Iraq for "training" is a very bad idea.



Siun is a proud Old Town resident who shares her home with two cats and a Great Pyrenees. She’s worked in media relations and on the net since before the www, led the development of a corporate responsibility news service, and knows what a mult box is thanks to Nico. When not swimming in the Lake, she leads a team working on sustainability tools.

Email: media dot firedoglake at gmail dot com