Dec 18, 2006

The "Black Market Uniform" Story

These ongoing attacks are not being portrayed as U.S. officials strongly suspect them to be.

Not "gunmen wearing Iraqi police uniforms", but real members of the Shiite-militia infiltrated Iraqi Interior Ministry.

In other instances, members of the Iraqi army have been working for the insurgents. On December 21, 2004, one of the infiltrators blew up a U.S. Army mess tent in Mosul -- killing 15 Americans.

But always it is bad guys "dressed in Iraqi military uniforms", and idle speculation of how available these Iraqi BDUs must be on the black market.

Reporting the unvarnished truth would advertise the impossibility of the U.S. ever standing up Iraqi security forces that will eventually represent (or at least not be actively hostile towards) our interests in that beleaguered country.

The occasion this time was yesterday's abduction of 25 Red Crescent employees in Baghdad.

Outside the compound, a cluster of police vehicles and four U.S. military Humvees were parked. They had arrived too late to stop the gunmen, who had worn police uniforms and carried police-issued guns, witnesses said. ...

It has become a familiar story in Baghdad. Gangs of gunmen, dressed in camouflage uniforms and driving official police vehicles, abduct dozens of employees in broad daylight, motivated by sectarian tensions, a bid for ransom or merely a desire to undermine a weak government unable to provide security for its citizens. They leave the women but take the men, then calmly drive off without firing a shot.

Almost the only difference Sunday was the target: a humanitarian organization, linked to the International Committee of the Red Cross, that has helped Iraqis cope in a nation that offers little comfort. The kidnappers took about 25 employees and a few visitors, employees said. The assault began at 11:30 a.m. and ended 15 minutes later.

The office is located in a part of the capital that is surrounded by checkpoints and concrete barriers largely because the Dutch Embassy is nearby. The gunmen also seized three embassy guards as they left. ...

The mass abduction Sunday was the third in Baghdad in just over a month. On Thursday, gunmen rounded up about 25 shopkeepers in a busy commercial district. And on Nov. 15, 150 employees were seized from a Ministry of Higher Education agency in Karrada. In both cases, the gunmen wore police or military uniforms, witnesses said.

The willful misrepresentation of the Iraqi element that is behind many of the kidnappings and massacres is as unacceptable as would be the media reporting American dead and wounded as "gunmen wearing U.S. military uniforms."

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