Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.
Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.
CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.
The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.
Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683
Thank you for your support,
Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel
CounterPunch PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558
Incident at Makr al Deeb
Last week an Iraqi wedding party was bombed in the location of Makr al Deeb near the Syrian border. Approximately 40 members of the party were killed, many of them women and children. So far, there is a great deal of pictorial and anecdotal evidence suggesting that the US made a horrible error in mistaking the get-together for a gathering of foreign fighters.
General Mark Kimmitt, however, has adamantly denied any responsibility for the incident and insists that the site was a legitimate target. Kimmitt said that there was no sign of "wedding decorations, large quantities of food or musical instruments". He also added that, "The men were almost all military aged, no family elders that one would expect to see at an event of this type." He emphatically denied that children were killed in the attack. (All of the eye-witness accounts are directly at odds with Kimmitt’s assessment)
According to BBC, Gen Kimmitt said the site looked "somewhat of a dormitory. There were more than 300 sets of bedding gear in it and about 100 sets of prepackaged clothing.
"It’s suspected that when foreign fighters come in from other countries they change their clothes into typical Iraqi clothing sets."
He said ID-making machines and "the capability to make exit visas for Iraq" were among suspicious items found.
Unfortunately, for Kimmett and his elaborately prepared story, a video of the wedding festivities (with many of the dead included) has now surfaced and has been released on Arab TV. It provides conclusive evidence that the people killed were not foreign fighters, but innocent victims of American aggression.
So, what should we make of Kimmett’s absurd story? And how should we regard this sophisticated hoax that requires "visas and ID-making machines" to cover up US involvement?
First we should recognize that in the last few days a similar incident occurred in Afghanistan and produced the very same untenable denials. Two Afghan children were killed in the bombing raid of a home that was identified as a hideout for terrorists. There’s no doubt that they were killed by errant US bombs. (no other military aircraft even patrol that region) Still, the US is flatly rejecting any culpability.
The incidents suggest that US command in both Afghanistan and Iraq have decided to "preempt" bad publicity by simply rejecting any blame in the killing of innocent civilians. The Pentagon is pursuing a policy that will actively alter the facts on the ground to create "plausible deniability." Visas and ID-making machines are just one more part of a covert war aimed at winning public opinion.
Certainly, no one would be surprised if the bunglers at the Pentagon had decided that lying was the best way to paper-over their mistakes. After all, it’s worked up to this point.
MIKE WHITNEY can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org