Found in Sunday NY Times wrap-up
of escalating violence in Iraq:
American soldiers and four Iraqi security contractors engaged in a firefight on a road in western Baghdad at dawn on Saturday, the Interior Ministry official said. The shootout ended in the death of two of the Iraqis and the wounding of the other two.
An American officer, Lt. Jamie Davis, said the firefight began when the Iraqis drove too close to an American convoy. He added that he had no confirmation that they were security contractors, but said the soldiers found many Kalashnikov rifles in the car.
That's it. Not clear who the Iraqi security contractors were working for. But it does seem clear that security contractors in Iraq carrying "many Kalashnikov rifles" would be well advised to stay away from American convoys - far, far away.
The battle between U.S. soldiers and security contractors in Iraq comes just days after reports
that Marines detained 19 security contractors, mostly Americans, who reportedly fired on the Marines and Iraqi civilians. The security contractors blamed mistaken identity and some alleged that they were mistreated while detained.
The Times story lists many incidents of horror in Iraq, but provides scant details. It seems like the media is overwhelmed by the escalating violence. And it seems like fears that Iraq would slip into a Vietnam-like quagmire are being realized. U.S. soldiers, unable to distinguish friend from foe, battle insurgents, armed militias, and mercenaries paid by the U.S. government. The Iraqi government is in disarray and the Iraqi army can't fight.
Meanwhile, as the violence swells (nearly 950 dead since April) and the U.S. death toll tops 1,700, VP Dick Cheney claims that the insurgency is in it's "last throes." But beware: The light at the end of the tunnel could be the flash of car bomb.