“In one of the bloodiest and most horrifying days since the end of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, five U.S. troops and four civilian contractors — at least three of them Americans — were killed in separate attacks in the Sunni Triangle west of Baghdad. After ambushing the vehicle carrying the civilian contractors in Fallujah, jubilant Iraqis burned and mutilated the dead, then dragged two corpses through the streets and hung them from a bridge spanning the Euphrates River.”
NBC decided not to air tapes of the contractors’ killings. Correspondent Richard Engel told Katie Couric:
“Katie, for the sake of decorum and respect for those people who were killed, we can’t show you everything that happened in Fallujah today. But I can tell you that the crowds dragged the charred bodies through street then tore them apart and hung them up for public display.”
No relief in sight: Our head man in Iraq, Paul Bremmer, says it will be at least a year before Iraq’s internal security problems can be addressed.
“ ‘There is no way to speed it up; it simply can't be done,'' he said. “We just have to be honest about that.’
“Bremer's comments -- coming just three months before the American-led coalition is scheduled to return power to an Iraqi government -- made it clear that U.S. troops will continue to play the key role in maintaining security in Iraq even after the hand-over of power, scheduled for July 1.
“At least 100,000 American soldiers will remain in the country after Iraqis take over.”
U.S. war dead now 599: All told, 700 coalition troops have died.