"The bodies of more than 50 men, women and children have been recovered from the River Tigris in the town of Suwayra, south of Baghdad.
Many had been badly mutilated, Iraqi authorities said.
President Jalal Talabani said the bodies were those of people who had been taken hostage and then killed in the nearby town of Madain.
The Arabic TV channel al-Arabiya said its cameras had filmed the bodies lying on the river bank.
"We discovered bags with the slaughtered children inside them," local policeman Riyadh Sakhi told al-Arabiya.
"There were two girls. One was a student and the other was very young. We discovered bags with slaughtered and beheaded young people. We discovered a large number of unidentified bodies."
Police said they had then been buried in mass graves.
In a related massacre story today:
"The bodies of 19 Iraqis have been found at a football stadium in Haditha, north of the capital Baghdad. Eyewitness reports said they appeared to have been lined up against a wall and shot.
The dead were dressed in civilian clothes but are thought to have been members of the Iraqi National Guard."
This crap ain't' working. (Attention troops, expect indefinite deployments!)
Now, I know the Iraqi security forces are gearing up to take over for us and we're laying back and letting them take a bigger share of the fighting, but it doesn't seem to be working.
Talk of a reduction of forces by early next year might be a little premature.
According to globalsecurity.org :
The January elections "combined with regularly scheduled deployments and reinforcements boosted the US force in Iraq from 17 to 20 brigades and to an official and approximate figure of 153,000 troops. That number is expected to dwindle down to 135,000, as units get rotated out of Iraq, including units whose tour had been extended. [Yeah, right.]
This figure may, however, have been an undercount of actual in-country troop numbers, as Special Forces have been reported to generally be excluded from troop totals. As such, the total figure of US troops in Iraq may be higher than the official count of ~150,000 by multiple thousands."
There are 170,000 troops in Southasia right now as well.
There doen't seem to be any real end in sight. If we pull back into bases and let the Iraqis handle things we cut way down on casualties (three U.S. troops died today), but the potential for the Madain type crisis happening again, but much worse, grows ever more ominous. Someone is going to have to retaliate for this.
Maybe, what we need is to make a deal with one of the many militias in the area. The Badr Brigade? The Madhi Army? Eventually, that's what's going to happen and we'll declare victory and go home.
Government by warlord seems to be working just fine in Afghanistan, except for the poverty, the corruption and the poppies, that is.