Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Confusion reigns in the village of Al-Khalis, north of Baquba, Iraq.

The June 22nd attack on the village as part of operation "Arrowhead Ripper" - a codename which reminds me less of Bunker Hill and Bull Run than it does of death's heads and lightning - saw American attack helicopters killing 17 gunmen.

Here's the confusing part, though - US military command describes the dead men as "Al-Qaeda", while the locals insist they were "village guards" who had previously been operating with Iraqi police.

Who to believe?

Well, I have a hunch that it's going to turn out that they're both correct.

Not six months ago, US Central Command told us that Al Qaeda militants only made up "no more than 2 percent or 3 percent of the folks killing Americans and Iraqis. Military spokesmen in Baghdad and the U.S. Central Command's Gen. John Abizaid said we'd decimated the al-Qaeda leadership in Iraq and the group wasn't likely to be much of a player in Iraq's future."

Amazingly, it now seems that the enemy is once more "al-Qaeda and likeminded radical Sunni groups". It's almost like playing whack-a-mole with screaming, bearded, exploding moles.

There's a simple explanation for all this of course, and we merely have to think outside the box for a moment to arrive at the obvious conclusion.

I'm sure most of you heard of the non-lethal weapons that the US Dept. of Defense looked at creating - the "Gay bomb" and the "Halitosis bomb" being my favourites.

Well, it looks pretty obvious to me that they've succeeded in developing an Al-Qaedification bomb - a weapon that strikes targets and transforms them from Iraqis into dead Al-Qaeda militants in the blink of an eye.

This is obviously a major breakthrough for the military, which has a shocking reputation for accidentally obliterating friend and foe alike - be they civilians, journalists, British soldiers, Iraqi troopers or Afghan wedding parties, at some point each have been erroneously vapourised by cutting-edge, poorly-aimed American firepower.

As it happens, I have a friend with the unlikely nickname of Maverick after a drunken night when he fell over while urinating al fresco and pissed all over himself and an acquaintance.

Though, to be fair, he did a lot better than the Americans, since he missed BBC correspondent John Simpson by at least four hundred miles.

Still, this is a testimony to human ingenuity - given the vast number of fissiparous factions fighting each other in Iraq, the ability to target only Al Qaeda militants is a massive step forward.

Surely victory lies just around the corner.

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