The wedding party

Belmont Club has a brilliant post about the American assault on the house near the Syrian border in Iraq: “The wedding party.” The details of the assault seemed not to be credible to me at the time they were initially reported; Wretchard supplies additional grounds for skepticism:

[The] stories evolved from a categorical description of an American attack on a wedding party, to a middle stage in which the wedding party attack remained the primary hypothesis disputed by American military officers; and finally to one in which the roles were reversed — a story of an attack on a militant safe house described by some Iraqis to have been an attack on a wedding party…
Why was a wedding party in full swing at 02:45 am in the middle of the desert? A glance at the map would show the area in which the wedding took place was 250 kilometers from “Dr. Salah al-Ani, who works at a hospital in Ramadi,” and who “put the death toll at 45.” A long way to go for medical treatment or burial when Qusabayah is 50 kilometers away. Under normal circumstances, there are two wounded for every dead. By the normal ratios there should have been at least 90 injured. There was a videotape “showing a truck containing bodies of people who were allegedly killed in the incident. Most of the bodies were wrapped in blankets and other cloths, but the footage showed at least eight uncovered, bloody bodies, several of them children. One of the children was headless.” A video of the dead, but where were the wounded?…
We are collectively no nearer to definitively finding out the truth about the “wedding party” than we are to discovering anything definite about the Oil for Food scandal, WMD stockpiles in Iraq, the anthrax letters or what the deal was in Fallujah.

HINDROCKET adds: The AP has the latest on the story here, including a description of a video of the scene. The facts are still entirely unclear; one point that seems to have been lost in much of the press coverage is that this was a combined ground-air attack, which means that there were American soldiers on the scene who have provided their own eyewitness accounts. But the AP doesn’t seem to be in doubt. It describes “Wednesday’s attack, which killed up to 45 people, mostly women and children from the Bou Fahad tribe in Mogr el-Deeb, a desert village on the Syrian border.”

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