Monday, April 05, 2004

With friends like this ...

It's hard to believe the first few paragraphs of this online article, which is getting some serious links in the blogosphere.

It starts off tamely enough, describing yet another shooting match in Baghdad:

US Apache helicopters sprayed fire on the private army of radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr during fierce battles today in the western Baghdad district of Al-Showla, witnesses and an AFP correspondent said.

"Two Apaches opened fire on armed members of the Mehdi Army," said Showla resident Abbas Amid.

The fighting erupted when five trucks of US soldiers and the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC) tried to enter the district and were attacked by Sadr supporters, Amid said.

Then, suddenly, the article lurches off into the surreal:

Coming under fire, the ICDC, a paramilitary force trained by the Americans, turned on the US soldiers and started to shoot at them, according to Amid.

Yes, the American-trained and accompanying ICDC soldiers turned and opened fire on their American partners.

The soldiers fled their vehicles and headed for cover and then began to battle both the Mehdi Army and the ICDC members, he said. Their vehicles were set ablaze.

This is what you would call in the journalistic world a "bad sign".

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