"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Thursday, June 09, 2005
According to a Marine spokesman in Iraq, "16 Americans and three Iraqi contractors were arrested and held in a military jail for three days after spraying small arms fire at Iraqi civilians and U.S. forces from their cars in Fallujah late last month. There were no casualties." The report continues:
Marines reported seeing gunmen in several late-model trucks fire "near civilian cars" and on military positions.
"Three hours later, another Marine observation post was fired on by gunmen from vehicles matching the description of those involved in the earlier attack," Lapan said.
U.S. forces later detained the contractors without incident and held them in a military jail for three days. The American contractors are thought to have left Iraq, the military said. A Naval Criminal Investigative Service inquiry is under way.
But the "contractors" (i.e., mercenaries) have their own memories of the incident, which are somewhat different:
A group of American security guards in Iraq have alleged they were beaten, stripped and threatened with a snarling dog by US marines when they were detained after an alleged shooting incident outside Falluja last month....
The security guards claim the shooting incident was a case of mistaken identity. A spokeswoman for the company told the LA Times that the guards had fired warning shots into the air when an unidentified vehicle approached their vehicle as it passed through Falluja, but had not fired at any marines.
Mark Schopper, a lawyer for two of the contractors, told the newspaper that his clients, both former marines, were subjected to "physical and psychological abuse". He said they had told him that marines had "slammed around" several con tractors, stripped them to their underwear and placed a loaded weapon near their heads.
"How does it feel to be a big, rich contractor now?" one of the marines is alleged to have shouted at the men, in an apparent reference to the large sums of money private contractors can make in Iraq.
So, to review: If you believe tha military, then American mercenaries are firing on American soldiers. On the other hand, if you believe the "contractors" (I hate that euphemism), then American soldiers are torturing American mercenaries.
Either way, it's not the sort of thing one would expect to occur while freedom is on the march.