"I start looking and they are shooting on the kids," he said. "Eight of the kids fell already on the ground. The guys kept shooting — they just wanted to make sure that everybody is dead."Honestly, I don't write about this as a thumb in the eye to right-wing bloggers or pundits, or as an attack on the "surge." I only write about it because it's so awful that it's difficult not to say something, if only to make others know that it happened.
The boys were Sunni and Shiite. They had been playing soccer.
The houses around the empty lot are owned by families of both sects. They have known each other for years. Until then, sectarian tensions had been kept in check, but the savagery of this attack sent them over the edge.
"And that is when I saw something that I will never forget in my whole life — they just went crazy," Saleem said. "Fathers, brothers, they get quickly inside their houses, they take their weapons and they start shooting on their neighbors."
It turned into a sectarian free-for-all.
"Shia start shooting Sunni houses, Sunnis start shooting Shia houses. They let the real criminals run away," Saleem said. "The men in the houses they lost their mind totally."
The battle lasted for two hours. The bodies of the young boys lay in the field until everyone's ammunition was spent.
Finally, in the late afternoon, the remains were collected.
UPDATE: I take it back. I would like this column to be stuck right in Chris Hitchen's eye (see above.)