Eyewitness Account of U.S. Airstrike Killing Innocent Iraqi Family

The results of “counter-insurgency” are rarely reported in detail from the ground. But buried on page A12 of Wedneday’s Washington Post was this chilling first-hand account from a Post correspondent.

BAGHDAD, Jan. 3 — U.S. pilots targeting a house where they believed insurgents had taken shelter killed a family of 12, Iraqi officials said Tuesday. The dead included women and children whose bodies were recovered in the nightclothes and blankets in which they had apparently been sleeping.

A Washington Post special correspondent watched as the corpses of three women and three boys who appeared to be younger than 10 were removed Tuesday from the house outside the town of Baiji, 150 miles north of Baghdad.

While the Department of Defense does report the number of daily air sorties (aka close-air-support missions… supporting coalition troops, infrastructure protection, reconstruction activities and operations to deter and disrupt terrorist activities…), the last time the word “airstrike” was even printed in a DoD press release was one year ago. Yes, before Rummy out-ed the “i” word (even before he claimed to resign twice), he axed “airstrike.” See the January 9, 2005 American Forces Press Release: “Airstrike Hits Wrong Target, Insurgent Crackdown Continues.”

Aftermath of a U.S. airstrike in Baiji. A dozen civilians, including women and children were killed.

Sharon Suffers “Massive Stroke,” Brain Hemorraghing

Ariel Sharon - AFP - Uriel SinaiDramatic news reported this afternoon by AP:

JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a massive stroke Wednesday and was on a respirator after falling ill at his ranch. Doctors operated to drain excess blood from his brain.

Powers were transferred to his deputy, Vice Premier Ehud Olmert.

Dr. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, director of Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, said Sharon suffered “a significant stroke,” adding that he was “under anesthetic and receiving breathing assistance.” A few minutes later, Mor-Yosef emerged to say that initial tests showed Sharon had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, or bleeding in his brain.

“It’s among the most dangerous of all types of strokes,” with half of victims dying within a month, said Dr. Robert A. Felberg, a neurologist at Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans. “Any time they give blood thinners to prevent clots there is a risk” that too much can cause a hemorrhage, he said.

Update: 0154am PST… via AFP:

“It’s very risky and he could die from the operation,” US neurologist Matthews Gwynn told CNN. “If he survives the operation he will have a number of days when he is in a coma, or stuporous, not really with it.

“We would be looking at weeks if not months before he would functioning close to normally.”

The response from the West, George, and most hopefully Condi, will be crucial in the coming days.