DAMASCUS, Syria (Oct. 26) – U.S. military helicopters launched an extremely rare attack Sunday on Syrian territory close to the border with Iraq, killing eight people in a strike the government in Damascus condemned as "serious aggression."
A U.S. military official said the raid by special forces targeted the foreign fighter network that travels through Syria into Iraq. The Americans have been unable to shut the network down in the area because Syria was out of the military's reach.
"We are taking matters into our own hands," the official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the political sensitivity of cross-border raids.
The attack came just days after the commander of U.S. forces in western Iraq said American troops were redoubling efforts to secure the Syrian border, which he called an "uncontrolled" gateway for fighters entering Iraq.
A Syrian government statement said the helicopters attacked the Sukkariyeh Farm near the town of Abu Kamal, five miles inside the Syrian border. Four helicopters attacked a civilian building under construction shortly before sundown and fired on workers inside, the statement said.
The government said civilians were among the dead, including four children.
A resident of the nearby village of Hwijeh said some of the helicopters landed and troops exited the aircraft and fired on a building. He said the aircraft flew along the Euphrates River into the area of farms and several brick factories. The witness spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.
This is not only another example of Dubya's incredibly dangerous foreign policy, but dangerously consistent with the kinds of unilateral tactical interventions that both Senator JohnMcCain and Barack Obama have suggested they'd be willing to make.
Even more disturbing is that just hours ago the US was still denying the attacking forces had crossed the Syrian border:
Lieutenant-Colonel Chris Hughes, a spokesman for US forces in western Iraq, said the US division that operates on the Iraqi side of the border was not involved in the incident.
A Pentagon spokesman in Washington said he had no immediate information on the reported strike but would check further while the White House and CIA declined to comment.
Notice the nuance here. LTC Hughes denies that the US division that operates on the Iraqi side of the border was not involved in the incident, while later a US military spokesman admitted that special forces not accountable to the regional commander had conducted the raid. Clever wordplay, eh?
None of this can disguise that US conduct is becoming increasingly lawless its conduct of foreign policy, and nothing that's going to happen on November 4 stands to change this unless it's us--the American people.