The Main Steam Media still has not picked this up (Robert Reid from the AP is now aware, but no story, yet). I’ve mentioned it, previously. A brief correction: the correct name of the village is al Ahamir.
Before I go on, I implore anyone reading this to go to follow the links to Yon’s site and read directly from him. Please do not just consider the parts I’ve posted here enough. They are not!
Yon recently put up a post which generated some controversy and has just addressed the issue.
First, here’s the bit that started it:
At first, he said, they would only target Shia, but over time the new al Qaeda directed attacks against Sunni, and then anyone who thought differently. The official reported that on a couple of occasions in Baqubah, al Qaeda invited to lunch families they wanted to convert to their way of thinking. In each instance, the family had a boy, he said, who was about 11 years old. As LT David Wallach interpreted the man’s words, I saw Wallach go blank and silent. He stopped interpreting for a moment. I asked Wallach, “What did he say?” Wallach said that at these luncheons, the families were sat down to eat. And then their boy was brought in with his mouth stuffed. The boy had been baked. Al Qaeda served the boy to his family.
In his most recent post, Michael Yon goes on to state:
As I write these words just a few miles from the graves I saw, the resulting controversy about whether what the man said was true, or whether his words should have been written if the writer couldn’t verify them, seems precious. There is no imaginary line of credulity that al Qaeda might cross should it go from beheading children to baking them.
No unnamed Iraqi stringer claimed that al Qaeda had taken over Baqubah. Al Qaeda said this through the press. I sit writing these words in Diyala Province just a short drive from where the self-proclaimed leader of al Qaeda in Iraq was killed by a bomb delivered by a US warplane. Al Qaeda: the organization that gleefully bragged about murdering roughly 3,000 people by smashing jets full of civilians into buildings and earth. Al Qaeda in Iraq: who proudly broadcast their penchant for sawing off the heads of living breathing people, and in such a manner as to ensure lots of spurting blood and gurgles of final pain, in some cases with the added flourish of the executioner raising up the severed head and squealing excitedly.
These are the same terrorists I often come face to face with: not on television or in magazines, but on bloodstained streets ablaze with human carnage. I remember the charred corpse of a small Iraqi boy. I remember the wailing Iraqi parents and countless other scenes that I am likely to see again and again. Back in 2005, terrorists here were intentionally attacking children. I shot the photo below on a day when they drove a car bomb through a crowd of children who had run out to American soldiers on patrol.
In the more than two years since that awful day in May 2005, I’ve witnessed innumerable instances of the work of terrorists of many stripes. One clear indicator of just how bad a terrorist group is, is when battle-hardened soldiers—and writers like me who travel with them—don’t find it hard to believe a story which purports that al Qaeda had baked a child and set his roasted body out as the main course at a lunch for his parents.
People at home might find it incredible, improbable, even impossible. Yet here in combat with al Qaeda, the idea is no more improbable-sounding than someone saying “The chicken crossed the road.” Maybe the chicken crossed the road. Maybe not. The veterans I’ve been talking with here have no difficulty imagining the chicken crossing the road, or al Qaeda roasting kids. Sickening, yes. Improbable, no.
Make no mistake, leaving Iraq early WILL result in mass genocide and horrendous acts, likely exceeding those witnessed in Rwanda, Cambodia, and the Sudan. Further, al Qaeda will be strengthend and will bring their ‘theology of death’ with unmerciful violence and hate back to our shores. We’ve seen their acts towards ‘fellow Muslims’ and the innocent people of Iraq and Afghanistan, there is no question of their brutality and lust for blood and pain.
Hope for peace and freedom continues to rest in us, our allies, and, most importantly, the Iraqi (and Afghan) people who increasingly assist our soldiers in their mission (see Yon’s posts).
Finally, the drive-by media had been saying no benchmarks would be met according to the upcoming report (which was only intended to monitor progress towards those benchmarks, not actual attainment), this appears to be inaccurate. Senator McCain delivered a good speech on Iraq today which discusses why we must stay and achieve victory. Thanks to Sen. McCain for his leadership on this issue.
As an aside, let me say that, while the immigration debate was a tough slog for many of us, I will, without hesitation, support any candidate who is dedicated to victory. The war, for me, trumps all other issues (we can have our battles on the other stuff, as with President Bush).