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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Islamic Block Party

A group of children are playing soccer in an empty lot. Sounds like a peaceful afternoon in American Suburbia, right? Sure... unless you include the machine gun fire- aimed at the kids.
Near the shops, a group of children — Sunni and Shia — were playing football on an empty site. As Selim, his wife and brother, walked past, two cars pulled up. Four or five men in tracksuits got out and opened their car boots. They pulled out belt-fed BKC machineguns, a weapon known in Iraq as “the harvester” for its ability to kill lots of people quickly.

“We heard the shooting of the machineguns. It was so loud and continuous we thought they were targeting us,” said the 28-year-old Shia, his eyes red and brimming with pain.

But they were not the targets.

“I started looking, and they are shooting the kids,” he said. “Eight of the kids already fell on the ground. The guys kept shooting, they just wanted to make sure everyone was dead.”

And then it just got worse.

As the killers drove away unharmed the local men rushed home to fetch their guns. Instead of trying to catch the gunmen or help their victims, Sunnis began shooting at Shia houses and Shias began firing on Sunnis.

... As the neighbours blasted away at each other no one dared to venture out to help the children bleeding on the makeshift pitch for two hours, until people started to run out of ammunition. It was only when the firing subsided that the nine small bodies were picked up and taken to the mortuary of Yarmouk hospital.
This isn't a group of religious zealots going after infidels. These are 2 sects of the same frickin' religion fighting it out. (It would be like the Lutherans and the Methodists shooting at each other.) And the first gunmen- they're just a bunch of thugs whose sole purpose is to encourage division in Iraq- the theory being that once Iraq descends into complete chaos, then some nice neighbors can help put the pieces back together again. Nice of them, eh?

The article goes on to point out the plight of the children in Iraq. It's not nice, not right now. But there is hope for the future, right?

Someone interviewed in the article mentioned the civil war going on in Iraq right now, and how difficult reconcilliation will be until the bloodshed is over. The insurgency is just fueling the divisions, and it needs to be stopped.

I'm not in favor of pulling out of Iraq. Not at all. When stuff like this happens, though... it makes me wonder if we shouldn't just mine and patrol the borders, pull out of the interior, and let them beat the tar out of each other. We'll work with the winner to establish a democracy.

Yeah, I know... that won't work. We need to make Iraq work, and letting them destroy each other isn't part of a workable plan. But... sometimes... it sounds like a good idea to me...

(h/t to Linda)

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