The deaths of nine civilians, including a child, further haunted efforts by American troops to win over the support of Iraqis. Witnesses and Iraqi police said helicopters strafed a house due to confusion between US forces and their allies over the source of what some troops thought were enemy militants. As American troops battle in urban areas, they increasingly encounter the problem of getting innocent civilians caught in the cross fire. A similar problem arose during fighting in Vietnam. The use of planes and helicopters only makes matters worse because they are flying at high speeds and dropping bombs which invariably will hit civilians in a densely populated area.
American soldiers thought a mortar attack came from the headquarters of friendly Awakening Council forces and then ordered in an air attack. The US military said “only” a child and eight other civilians were killed and three children wounded. The problem is undoubtedly al-Qaeda will use such incidents to play on fears of the Iraq population. There is simply no way to avoid death of innocent civilians. War is not pleasant or fair.