Maybe this will become the new demand of the antiwar movement? It just seems that they are trying to privatise everything these days! We are reducing the size of the military, but now everybody is a 'contractor'!
Also, got to love how the American propaganda machine tries to always make the other side look like animals, too. Here, they talk about mutilated bodies, but when was the last time that the Ameican media referred to how the US mutilates Iraqi and Afghani bodies? Like, 'Today The US Left Mutilated Bodies Splattered All Over The Street After Firing Upon Car', etc.? Followed by reportage of how 'USA Military Contractors Dragged Mutilated Iraqi Civilians Through Fallujah's Streets' while doing cleanup. Later, mutilated bodies dropped into unmarked pit.
That's probably why they had to close that Iraqi paper down, too? Improper phrasing.... I wonder if the Iraqis will ever know the pleasures of having a 'two party system'?
9 Americans, including 4 civilians, killed in Iraq
Contractors' bodies mutilated, dragged through Fallujah's streets
NBC, MSNBC and news services
March 31, 2004
BAGHDAD, Iraq - In one of the bloodiest and most horrifying days since the end of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, five U.S. troops and four American civilian contractors were killed in separate attacks in the Sunni Triangle west of Baghdad. After an ambush on two vehicles carrying the civilian contractors in Fallujah, jubilant Iraqis burned and mutilated the dead, then dragged two corpses through the streets and hung them from a bridge spanning the Euphrates River.
The brutal treatment of the bodies occurred after the contractors were killed in a rebel attack on their two SUVs in the city about 35 miles west of Baghdad, scene of some of the worst violence on both sides of the conflict since the beginning of the American occupation a year ago.
Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said at a briefing in Baghdad that it was not known what the coalition contractors were doing in Fallujah-apparently without a military escort-when the attack occurred.
U.S. officials, who spoke with NBC News on condition of anonymity, said that all four contractors were Americans who worked for Blackwater USA of Moyock, N.C. The officials did not confirm reports from the scene that a woman was among the dead.
Blackwater USA supplies security guards to the Coalition Provisional Authority and has provided protection for Iraq administrator L. Paul Bremer, among other coalition officials.
Firm: Employees may have been 'targets of the attack'
In a statement, the company said, "Early evidence indicates that Blackwater personnel may have been the targets of the attack." It said it was seeking additional information.
The statement also said that some personnel had been "providing convoy security for food deliveries in the Fallujah area."
The killings of the contractors came shortly after five U.S. troops died when their military vehicle ran over a bomb in Malahma, about 12 miles to the northwest of Fallujah, among the reed-lined roads through some of Iraq's richest farmland.
Pentagon officials said the victims were from the Army's lst Infantry Division, but had no other details on the attack.
White House spokesman Scott McLellan condemned the "horrific, despicable attacks," but said they would not shake U.S. plans to hand over power in Iraq to some sort of transitional Iraqi government by June 30.
The enemies of the Iraqi people are trying to shake our will," he said. "They cannot."
The attack in Fallujah was reminiscent of the 1993 scene in Somalia, when a mob dragged the corpse of a U.S. soldier through the streets of Mogadishu, a brutal scene that played a role in eventually leading to the American withdrawal from the African nation.
Chanting "Fallujah is the graveyard of Americans," residents cheered after the grisly assault on two four-wheel-drive civilian vehicles, which left both in flames. Others chanted, "We sacrifice our blood and souls for Islam."
Associated Press Television News pictures showed one man beating a charred corpse with a metal pole. Others tied a yellow rope to a body, hooked it to a car and dragged it down the main street of town. Two blackened and mangled corpses were hung from a green iron bridge across the Euphrates.
"The people of Fallujah hanged some of the bodies on the old bridge like slaughtered sheep," resident Abdul Aziz Mohammed said. Some of the corpses were dismembered, he said.
Beneath the bodies, a man held a printed sign with a skull and crossbones and the phrase "Fallujah is the cemetery for Americans."
APTN showed the charred remains of three slain men. Some were wearing flak jackets, said resident Safa Mohammedi.
Dog tags, American passports shown
One resident displayed what appeared to be dog tags taken from one body. Residents also said there were weapons in the targeted cars. APTN showed one American passport near a body and a U.S. Department of Defense identification card belonging to another man.
Witnesses said the two vehicles were attacked with small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades.
Hours after the attack, the city was quiet. No U.S. troops or Iraqi police were seen in the area.
Support for toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was strong in Fallujah, and rebels often carry out attacks against American forces there.
Kimmitt, at the news briefing, said that a small minority of the city's population is responsible for the attacks.
"There is small core element that doesn't seem to get it," he said. "... They are desperate to turn back the hands of time and that just isn't gong to happen."
There were other attacks on U.S. forces and Iraqi government personnel on Wednesday.
Grenade thrown at government building
In Ramadi, insurgents threw a grenade at a government building and Iraqi security forces returned fire Wednesday, witnesses said. It was not clear if there were casualties.
Also in Ramadi, a roadside bomb exploded near a U.S. convoy, witnesses said. U.S. officials in Baghdad could not confirm the attack.
One U.S. soldier was killed and another wounded in a roadside bombing Tuesday in the same area, according to Kimmitt.
In all, at least 597 U.S. troops have died in Iraq since the war began March 20, 2003. Of the total, 459 have died since May 1, when Bush flew onto an aircraft carrier off the California coast to declare the end of major combat.
In the deadliest previous incident this year, nine soldiers were killed when their Black Hawk medevac helicopter crashed near Fallujah, apparently after being shot down.
Northeast of Baghdad, in the city of Baqouba on Wednesday, a suicide bomber blew up explosives in his car when he was near a convoy of government vehicles, wounding 14 Iraqis and killing himself, officials said.
The attacked convoy is normally used to transport the Diala provincial governor, Abdullah al-Joubori, but he was elsewhere at the time, said police Col. Ali Hossein.
On Tuesday, a suicide bombing outside the house of a police chief in Hillah, about 60 miles south of Baghdad, killed the attacker and wounded seven others.
A bomb exploded late Tuesday in a movie theater that had closed for the night. Two bystanders were wounded by flying glass, said its owner, Ghani Mohammed.
The latest violence came two days after Carina Perelli, the head of a U.N. electoral team, said better security is vital if Iraq wants to hold elections by a Jan. 31 deadline. The polls are scheduled to follow a June 30 transfer of sovereignty to an Iraqi government.
Top U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer said Tuesday he had appointed 21 anti-corruption inspectors general to government departments to try to prevent fraud. More will be named in coming days, he said.
The inspectors will work with two other newly formed, independent agencies. Together, they will "form an integrated approach intended to combat corruption at every level of government across the country," Bremer said.
NBC News' Tammy Kupperman and Robert Windrem and the Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
Last edit by NurseHardee on Apr 1, '04