The Death Squads We Trained

This image says it all.

A skull is painted on the helmet of an Iraqi army soldier patrolling in the Sunni Muslim stronghold of Baghdad’s Haifa street.

AFP/Patrick Baz

If you need to know more, here it is.

Shia gunmen rounded up, bound and shot dead at least 45 Sunni men during a two-hour orgy of vengeance yesterday, in Tal Afar, a northern Iraqi town once held up by President Bush as a shining example of US success in quelling sectarian violence.

The rampage, which one local politician said was carried out by Shia militiamen aided by police officers, came in retaliation for a double lorry bombing in the town centre, which killed as many as 75 people — most of them Shias — and wounded 180 more. The most deadly of the twin blasts occurred when a booby-trapped lorry distributing flour exploded as people came to collect their subsidised food rations.

Furious Shia militiamen swarmed through a Sunni district in southern Tal Afar, handcuffing and blindfolding their victims — aged between 15 and 60 — before shooting them point-blank in the head inside their own homes, said Brigadier Najim al-Jebouri, the mayor of the town.


“I wish you can come and see all the bodies. They are lying in the grounds. We don’t have enough space in the hospital,” a distraught doctor at the main hospital in Tal Afar said.

“I’ve never seen such a thing in my life.”

4 thoughts on “The Death Squads We Trained

  1. But somehow I doubt that the Iraqis are up on the Marvel comics.
    They might have seen one or the other of the movie versions. And American culture is insidious and viral, so who knows? Maybe a US soldier brought over some books, maybe he got some issues off the Internet…I wouldn’t be surprised.

  2. That’s actually the Punisher logo. One could interpret this as the soldier believing he’s a vigilante superhero, dealing out justice to bad guys.
    But somehow I doubt that the Iraqis are up on the Marvel comics.

  3. So Holden, you’re, like, bothered that Shrub should care about the Iraqis giving legal due process to their, like, um people? And you’re like, um, enamored with the example Shrub has set with, like, US Justice?

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