That is about as exciting as the Syrian-Iraqi border looks like. Across the light poles in the distance is Al Qaim, Iraq, which was part of the focus of a U.S. raid this weekend. This hut and village - Al Hiri - is not far from the U.S. attacks on Al Sukkariya this weekend. This, I should add, is not the result of any bombing - but mere farmers living in poverty.
Update on the story as it developed from 7:30 pm below or at the bottom of the link
Media reports about the latest U.S. attack on Syria show the fog of war in action. What is truth? What is falsehood?
The Guardian, that bastion of news reporting in the U.K. said that Sunday's helicopter attack on civilians on the Syrian side of the Iraqi border was "the first known US attack on Syrian soil."
Clearly, the Guardian doesn't read Sy Hersh or even Ha'aretz. Ha'aretz, an Israeli paper, reported this morning on Sy Hersh's stories from 2004:
On June 18, another event occurred that produced a sharp Syrian response. A convoy of cars and trucks in Iraq that was heading for the Syrian border gave rise to suspicions that Saddam Hussein and members of his family were in the vehicles. An American Special Operations team penetrated Syrian territory to a depth of between 10 to 40 kilometers and waited for the convoy. About 80 people, including Syrian citizens, were killed in the American attack on the convoy, which turned out to be smuggling gasoline from Iraq into Syria. In the wake of the attack and the violation of Syrian sovereignty, Damascus decided to sever its line of cooperation with the Americans.
Not only that, but little old me, working on reporting done by the UPI, has even talked of U.S. attacks on Syrian soil. This latest jab on Syria happens to be the most brazen. You wouldn't know it by reading the New York Times, though.
The New York Times was a bit more circumspect about the lethal explosion. Reporting from Baghdad and not from Damascus, the Times said:
An explosion on Sunday killed nine construction workers and wounded 19 others near the border of Iraq and Syria, the police in Anbar Province said.
Local witnesses said they believed the blast was caused by American shelling, but Maj. Gen. Tariq al-Youssef, the provincial police chief in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar, which borders Syria, said that could not be confirmed.
The police statement did not indicate on which side of the border the blast had taken place.
Think the Times might be soft-peddling U.S. aggression? Contrast that lead with what the Guardian said:
US helicopters flying from Iraq landed inside Syria yesterday and dropped special forces who killed eight people, including four children, the Damascus government said today as Washington admitted it had targeted "foreign fighters".
Syria warned it held the US "wholly responsible for this act of aggression and all its repercussions".
Surely, this violation of international soveriegnity will provoke some sort response from either Syria, Iran or Hizbollah. News reports say nine dead, including four children.
That, my friends, is the fog of war. Whose reality? And for those who think that the border of Syria is a technologically advanced zone of warfare, I offer a photo from 7km off the border. These terrarists hiding in them sunflowers:
I've often wondered how much damage can farmers living in mud huts exact on the American empire. It's the fog of war. Who are you going to belive, the New York Times, the U.S. government or your lying eyes?
Update 7:30 pm: The New York Times now reports that the US of A has taken responsibility for the act.
WASHINGTON — A raid into Syria on Sunday was carried out by American Special Operations forces who killed an Iraqi militant responsible for running weapons, money and foreign fighters across the border into Iraq, American officials said Monday.
A few more grafs down, the Times explains that the action was okay because, well, it's like that bit in Pakistan (where we have the government's permission, kind of).
American officials said the Bush administration was determined to operate under an expansive definition of self-defense provided a rationale for strikes on militant targets in sovereign nations without those countries’ consent.
Of course, anonymity is the name of the game. Don't want anyone to have potential liability in future war crimes tribunals. The AP/Yahoo story plays the same game. Only the AP/Yahoo story says we killed an Al Qaida, so the other casualties are collateral damage, only they don't quite use that phrase.
SUKKARIYEH, Syria – A cross-border raid by U.S. special forces killed the al-Qaida-linked head of a Syrian network that smuggled fighters, weapons and cash into Iraq, an American counterterrorism official said Monday.
At least the AP report is bylined from Syria. And the AP gave us who the dead were.
At the targeted building, the floor was bloodstained Monday, with abandoned tennis shoes scattered amid pieces of human flesh. A tent pitched near the site had bags of bread, pots and pans and wool blankets...
About 30 women dressed in black wept in a small courtyard outside the home of Dawoud al-Hamad, who was killed in the bombing along with his four sons.
"They were innocent laborers who worked from dusk to dawn," said the man's wife, Rima. She said work at the construction site started last week.
Bush is doing his right best to make the next president's job close to impossible. And whoever the next commander in chief is, the media will likely deliver his international warmongering in terms of how it benefits the US.