Issa Khalaf Harat, a lieutenant colonel in Iraq's oil protection police, and the brother of one of the victims of the U.S.-vindicated attack in the village of Ishaqi where as many as a dozen civilians were killed, said: "We know they were not terrorists, they were not shooting at the Americans, and they were killed in cold blood." A cousin of one of the victims, Ahmed Hussein, proclaimed: "America is forcing us to go and join the resistance. If this goes on like this, in the end we will find ourselves forced to fight the Americans."
Another incident, the coverup-delayed probe into the March killing of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha, elicited clucking noises from Rumsfeld and the acknowledgement that he has not spoken to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki about the matter.
So while not even recognizing man-to-man, leader-to-leader, the furious concern and delicate position of the Iraqi prime minister, Rumsfeld and president Bush expectantly await a miracle from the 13-day-old government of Maliki.... filling the vacant ministry posts of interior, defense and national security. Rumsfeld is "optimistic that Iraqi leaders will do the right thing."
Volunteers for these posts anyone? In Iraq over the weekend:
- Parliament members canceled their meeting Sunday which was intended to nominate candidates for the vacant ministry posts...Maliki said it was "almost impossible" to find candidates who had broad support among all the factions.
- Iraq's most prominent insurgent leader, Abuj Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, in a four-hour video taped "sermon" on Friday urged Sunnis to come to the defense of the sect against their Shiite enemies... and to "forget about those advocating the end of sectarianism and calling for national unity."
- In Basra on Saturday night, at least 27 people were killed in a bomb explosion, and scores more were injured.
- In Baghdad, Sunday, gunmen killed four state communications employees outside their office.....
- And, 19 minibus passengers were executed in Uthaim, 12 were Shiite Muslim high school students.