Coalition Provisional Authority Briefing (May 22, 2004)
Via Chuck Simmins comes this from General Kimmit about that wedding party so ruthlessly targeted by American imperialists:
We found a significant number of identity cards, ID-making machine, capability to make exit visas for Iraq, a couple of passports — in this case, one from Sudan. We could go on and on and on about the significant amount of pocket litter that was found and all the other intelligence that was found, but let me go over a little bit of it and just hit the highlights.
There were a couple of other items that we found quite interesting. None of the bodies had identification of any kind on them — no ID cards, no wallets, no pictures — they had watches, and that was about the only way you could identify one person from another, was by their type of watches. We feel that was an indicator that this was a high- risk meeting of high-level anti-coalition forces. There was a tremendous number of incriminating pocket litter — a lot of telephone numbers to foreign countries — Afghanistan, Sudan, and a number of others.
This was purportedly a ranch, but there was no indication of ranching activities. Most of the homes in the remote desert exist to support sheep ranching operations. There was no evidence of livestock, however, present at that location. There were large farm trucks present, but there was no indication that they had ever been used for ranching. Bedding for over 300 people, a medical treatment room, a number of terrorist training manuals, suspected forged Iraqi IDs, and to the allegation that there was a wedding going on, there was no evidence of a wedding. There were no decorations, no musical instruments found, no large quantities of food or leftover servings one would expect from a wedding celebration, no gifts. All the men were almost all military-age; no family elders that one would expect to see at an event of this type. Contrary to media reports, there was no wedding tent, no nuptial tent present within a kilometer of the objective.
But what about the video available on most of the major news sites showing the wedding?
Q Have you matched the footage at all to this area? I mean, does it appear to have been taken there?
GEN. KIMMITT: No, in fact, as I understand, the film was taken in Ramadi — that they had brought all the bodies from that location over to Ar Ramadi. That was my understanding. But nonetheless, none of the geography in those videos matched the geography of this open area.
Now, having said that, there are still some inconsistencies. We still remain open-minded about this. We will continue to look into everything that is provided to us in the way of evidence.
Kimmit scores major points by describing the military’s efforts to understand a foreign culture:
There may have been some kind of celebration. Bad people have celebrations, too. Bad people have parties, too, and it may have been that what was seen as some sort of celebration or spoken to as a celebration, may have just been a meeting in the middle of the desert by some people that were conducting either criminal or terrorist activities, and that’s the conclusion that we are continuing to draw the more that we look at the material evidence, the intelligence evidence, the post-strike intelligence, the follow-up intelligence.
“Bad people have parties, too.” Indeed they do. They celebrate things that invite destruction.