Alistair Beaton: Seven days in the glorious whup-ass campaign of General Brad Jawbone

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The Independent Online

Day 1: US troops kill 552 terrorists in Iraq

In a major breakthrough for coalition forces in Iraq, 552 insurgents were killed yesterday after launching an ambush on a US convoy in Samarra. One American soldier was slightly wounded. The clash is being seen by United States military officials as a major breakthrough. "We whupped their ass," said General Brad Jawbone, director of military operations in Iraq, confirming that all 503 dead Iraqis were wearing the uniforms of the pro-Saddam Fedayeen militia.

Day 2: Coalition cheered by Iraq breakthrough

General Brad Jawbone today praised the courage of American troops during the recent fierce firefight in Samarra in which 473 pro-Saddam guerrillas were killed. He denied that there had been any civilian casualties. "We took the fight to the enemy," said the General. Asked whether it was wise to use Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles and heavy artillery in a built-up area, the General said coalition forces were facing a ruthless and well-armed enemy, as evidenced by the fact that the 392 dead Iraqis were wearing uniforms "consistent with those of pro-Saddam Fedayeen militia".

Day 3: No cause for complacency says US General

Following the killing of 281 rebels in Samarra, US officials have admitted that there may have been "a small number of civilian casualties" during the fiercest battle in Iraq since the fall of Saddam. The blame is being placed fairly and squarely at the door of the insurgents, who deliberately mingled with innocent men, women and children in order to confuse coalition forces. Responding to persistent questioning as to the identities of the 163 dead rebels, General Jawbone pointed out that they wore clothing "not inconsistent with the kind of clothing worn by supporters of Saddam Hussein".'

Day 4: Doubts surface over US-Iraqi clash

The recent assault on US troops in Samarra, in which 92 of the attackers were killed, may also have led to the deaths of up to 20 civilians, a US military spokesman admitted today. General Brad Jawbone criticised local authorities for permitting Iraqi civilians to go out shopping on a day when the American military was passing through. He pointed out that troops on the ground could easily mistake a shopping basket for a grenade launcher. Admitting for the first time that there may have been "minor inaccuracies" in the initial estimates of enemy dead, General Jawbone maintained that the dead were all wearing clothes "consistent with once having been pretty keen on Saddam".'

Day 5: Confusion grows over firefight

In addition to the 37 guerrillas killed in Samarra, there may also have been around 100 civilian casualties, Pentagon sources today admitted. General Brad Jawbone asserted that it was only too easy to criticise split-second life-or-death decisions taken by commanders on the spot. He believed that the 12 dead guerrillas had been responsible for the "fairly heavy" civilian casualties due to the fact that they all wore clothing "consistent with harbouring anti-American sentiments".

Day 6: Mystery over Samarra deepens

As the controversy over the numbers and the identities of the dead in Samarra continues to mount, General Jawbone yesterday argued that they all wore clothing "consistent with being Arabs".

Day 7: Massacre of civilians in Samarra

Following the deaths of 551 civilians and one guerrilla fighter in Samarra, a US military spokesman defended American tactics in the area. General Brad Jawbone said he regretted the deaths of the 551 civilians, who were apparently caught in the crossfire when a lone gunman opened fire on an armoured convoy of US troops. Emphasising the difficulty of distinguishing rebels from civilians in built-up areas, General Jawbone denied that his troops over-reacted. He maintained that all the dead Iraqis were "definitely wearing clothes".