On Wednesday, September 16, U.S. forces led a task force of Iraqis into Falluja at around 1 a.m. to issue an arrest warrant for an insurgent leader of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, which are thought to be responsible for attacks on Anbar Province in western Iraq. As they arrived at the location, the troops were fired upon and so they shot back. Four were killed who were suspected insurgents and three were wounded. Two residents of the village also were killed when they came out of their homes with weapons.
It is uncertain if the mission was successful because the spokesman for the military, a Major Rob Phillips, did not have this information. It is believed that the Al Qaeda leader may have been captured or killed. One of the other dead was a colonel in the Iraqi Army under Saddam Hussein and it’s believed he might have been the original target all along, though this is uncertain. It was discovered later that the four killed on location were brothers between the ages of 10 and 18.
According to witnesses of the raid, it was not just the Iraqi police officers who used their weapons; in fact, it was mostly the American soldiers who fought. About 4,500 Special Operations troops were left in Iraq to help with counter-terrorism operations such as these. Iraqi police officers on the scene claimed they were not included in the raid and only arrived after it had begun.
All of this makes you wonder whether the combat in Iraq is really over. The spokesman for the U.S. troops claim they were only in an advisory role, but this does not seem to be the case. If we are to train the native forces in Iraq to take over so they no longer need our help and our troops can be pulled out completely, then we need to let the Iraq police force do their jobs and really only participate to advise as we claim to be doing.
We’ll have to see if our claim to no more combat is reality or just a fantasy.