SNAFU

Looks as if that “terrorist cell” we attacked was a meeting of Prime Minister Jaafari’s Dawa Party. Oooops!

This is doubleplusungood. It turns out that Sunday’s raid didn’t hit the Mahdi Army, but a meeting of the Dawa Party (the party of Prime Minister Jaafari) in a building attached to a mosque.

The (Kurdish and mostly pro-U.S.) President of Iraq, Jalaal Talabani, has demanded, and Gen. Casey has agreed to, a joint Iraqi-U.S. investigation. But Talabani seems to have made up his mind already on the main question:

“I will personally supervise, and we will learn who was responsible. Those who are behind this attack must be brought to justice and punished.”

Looks like we’re a little bit short of friends in Iraq right now.

[Update It gets worse. Reuters reports that “Iraq’s ruling parties have demanded US forces cede control of security as the government investigated a raid on a Shiite mosque complex that ministers said involved “cold blooded” killings by US-led troops.”]

Of course, it’s entirely possible that a Dawa Party group was actively engaged in sectarian warfare, making bombs, and holding a hostage. But U.S. officials are telling the press that this was an Iraqi operation, with American troops along only in support, and no one in the Iraqi government seems to agree.

Footnote Nothing but an eerie silence from the warbloggers. No doubt they’re waiting to be told which media outlet to blame this on.

Update to footnote

Note that the Reuters story ran on the Murdoch-owned News.com.au site, a sister enterprise of Fox News. Either someone at News Corp. was asleep at the switch and let some unspun news get into print, or Murdoch, seeing the water rising over the gunwhales, has decided to follow the rats.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

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