woensdag, mei 26, 2004

No Role in Shrine Damage, U.S. Says; Clash Kills 13 Iraqis

BAGHDAD, Iraq, May 25 — For the second time this month, the U.S. denied being involved in any killing in Iraq, not bombing of wedding parties, not clashing in the shrine of Imam Ali, one of the holiest sites for Shiite Muslims, none of it.

"It is highly unlikely that there are any American troops or weapons in Iraq at all let alone American troops or weapons in Iraq that are actually killing or destroying anything in that wonderful, free and democratic society filled with thugs and terrorists" said White House spokesman Scott McClellan. "Frankly, it mystifies us how this kind of stuff even gets spread around in the press to begin with."

The shrine in Najaf is extraordinarily sensitive to Shiites, especially those who are using it as a place to hideout from non-existent American troops during non-existent attacks.

Out of the sky, like magic, or an act of God, at least three projectiles struck the shrine's compound today, one hitting a gate in an inner courtyard and injuring at least 12 people.

The other projectiles, possibly mortars, hit a roof on an outlying building and the ground about 10 feet outside the shrine's main wall.

As when the shrine's gold dome was hit by gunfire two weeks ago, Mr. Sadr's supporters and the American military blamed each other for the damage because frankly, there isn't anyone else left to blame.

Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the chief spokesman for the American-led military here, said American troops had not caused the damage.

"No sir, no way did we cause any damage to anything, especially not a holy shrine filled with terrorists and thugs," he said. "It is quite possible that the terrorists and thugs blew themselves up to make it LOOK like we did it, but in reality, we don't have any troops here anyway, so you see, it is quite impossible." General Kimmitt told reporters.

Aides to Mr. Sadr said American mortars had damaged the shrine. And before the shrine was damaged, an aide to Mr. Sadr, Hosam Mosawi, decried the deaths in the two cities, raising as well the fear that the shrines would become the target for American soldiers.

"We will denounce these acts with our blood and our bodies," he said. "Sadly, we are not immune, for all our denunciations and outrage, from bullets and mortars and superior fire power so, well, you can see how far it gets us."

In related news, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the chief spokesman for the American-led military here, continued to deny the Iraqi wedding party wherein several dozens of innocent civilians including women and children were mercilessly slaughtered, saying that American troops had not killed anyone at any wedding parties, only "terrorists and thugs cleverly disguised as happy families celebrating a wedding just so we wouldn't kill them, but they didn't fool us and even though they're dead now and we didn't kill them, well, that's what they get for being terrorists and thugs and not innocent civilians. It's that simple."


White House ignores Iraq critics
"Fuck Em All!" Administration members announce

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. administration is seeking to project a unified, optimistic view of its plan to hand over power to an interim government in Iraq, even as President George W. Bush faces criticism over a strategy many find lacking in crucial details.

In a televised speech on Monday, Bush tried to convince Americans that he has a workable plan for transforming Iraq from a war-torn occupied nation into a beacon of democratic reform for the Middle East region as a whole but that it's a big secret right now because he "doesn't want the terrorists and thugs to find out what he's up to at the moment."

Iraq has proved a liability for Bush's re-election prospects. His job approval ratings are at the lowest point of his presidency and opinion polls show a clear majority of Americans disapprove of his handling of the situation there.

Analysts saw his speech as an effort to counteract daily news of violence and scandal in Iraq by speaking directly to the American people about the nobler aspects of mission.

Bush's half-hour speech also won few admirers in Iraq, where weary residents are bitter after a year of chaos, and drew a mixed reaction at best in the United States.

"If Washington at the political level can't see we have a security problem, I don't know that they're paying close attention."

The White House, which billed the speech as a major address, did not ask the big broadcast networks to carry it live because more people might find out how incompetent their plans really are. Instead, it was seen on hand held camcorders and on a large etch-a-sketch in the Oval Office, according to Nielsen Media Research.

By Tuesday morning, the administration was facing largely critical editorial comment from U.S. newspapers including the Dallas Morning News in the president's home state of Texas, which described the president's plan as "founded on heavy doses of hope and wishful thinking."

But the Administration is not concerned what the media or the American people think.

"We are on a mission from God," fans of President Bush noted at the conclusion of his speech. "And if people can't understand that, or don't like it, well, fuck 'em all. We've got plenty of nukes and we're not afraid to use them!"

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