Saturday, January 24, 2009


A pitiful story in today's The New York Times about a man and wife in Kirkuk being shot dead apparently by U.S. Special Forces.

Timothy Williams writes from Baghdad:

"American soldiers fatally shot an Iraqi couple in their home near Kirkuk early Saturday after the wife reached for a pistol hidden under a mattress, American and Iraqi officials said. The couple’s 8-year-old daughter was wounded.

"United States troops, using helicopters, raided the family’s house in Hawija, a town in northern Iraq, around 2 a.m. in search of members of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, the Iraqi police and witnesses said. Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia is a homegrown militant group that American intelligence officials say is led by foreigners.

"In one room, soldiers saw a woman reaching under a mattress, Agence France-Presse reported, quoting an unidentified United States Army spokesman.

"The woman was told several times in Arabic to show her hands, but she refused and was shot, the spokesman said. The American military said soldiers found a pistol under the mattress."

This is a sad story. There was no reason why it should have happened.

For one thing, the U.S. has no business raiding homes of Iraqis at 2 AM. Everyone is entitled to his or her privacy in the home.

Second, the fact that the U.S. military says self-servingly that they found a pistol under the mattress begs for some evidence or proof. Of course, there is none.

Third. Why was it necessary to shoot the woman in her own home? Is there no other way for soldiers to deal with Iraqis other than to shoot and kill them?

Reports Williams:

"After the woman was shot, her husband, Dhia Hussein Ali al-Tikriti, attacked the soldiers and was shot and killed, the spokesman said, adding that Mr. Tikriti had been suspected of belonging to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.

"The couple’s 8-year-old daughter, Ahlam Dhia, was shot once in the leg and was taken to a hospital. Her injuries were not life-threatening.

"“They killed my mother and father right in front of me,” she said. “I was under the blanket. I heard my mom screaming, and I started to cry.”"

The killing of the husband was doubly unfortunate. Having shot and killed the woman, what did the U.S. soldiers expect the husband to do? Just stand there and take it?

And finally, what is going to happen to the couple's children? Consider the eight-year old girl who saw and heard her mother being shot. Surely she will want revenge, as young as she is, and she will never forget the cries of her mother in her final moments. If the child were you, would you ever stop hating Americans for killing your mother?

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