In the same briefing, he mentioned an incident, describing it as a "pretty much isolated" event that involved the Yazidis, a minority pre-Islamic religious sect that is predominately Kurdish.
Last April a group of Yazidi workers was pulled from a bus and executed. Local officials believe this was in retaliation for the stoning of a Yazidi girl. The Yazidi girl was stoned to death by her family and tribal leaders. Her crime? Falling in love with a Sunni Muslim.
This video is hard to watch. A seventeen year old girl is murdered by Islamic men. Think Nazi. Think the Klan. The retaliation and the massive bombing murder in Yazidi is said to be tied to this murder of this young woman. Now explain to me again why we tolerate Islam, the religion of the sewer, in the US.
Iraq: horrific attack highlights security challenge
ANALYSIS BY RNW MIDDLE EAST EDITOR BERTUS HENDRIKS, Radio Netherlands
Up to 200 people were killed and another 200 injured near the Northern Iraqi town of Sinjar when four or five fuel trucks driven by suicide bombers were detonated on Tuesday in what was clearly a coordinated attack targeting the Yazidi community. (NOTE: CNN is reporting 500 killed)
Hospital treatment for one of the wounded people
The Yazidis are a small Kurdish religious sect whose members live mainly in Northern Iraq and Syria, with a few others scattered across Turkey and Armenia. Tuesday's attack was one of the bloodiest of the four-year-old Iraq war, and came just as US forces embarked on yet another offensive against Iraqi insurgents.
The steady flow of almost daily reports about casualties could make people numb to the point where they may forget or prefer to ignore the tragedy that is called Iraq. But then, from time to time, there is - as occurred on Tuesday - a massacre of such magnitude and such barbaric proportions that the world is forced to take notice again.
Iraq continues to be a killing field, and Tuesday's attack serves as a cruel reminder that the Bush Administration is simply unable to provide the country with nationwide security. US generals are busy trying to talk up the success of the surge (the sending of some 30,000 more soldiers to the Baghdad area), or rather they are trying to dispute the claims of opponents of the surge strategy that it has failed already.
They are also busy preparing the report that the highest US commander in Iraq, General Petraeus, is due to deliver on 15 September, namely his assessment of and progress report on how successful the US strategy is proving to be and when it will be possible to begin withdrawing the country's troops.
Not enough troops
However, American military sources have already let it be known that withdrawal will not be possible anytime soon and that a large US military presence will be required for at least two more years. So much for the apparent success of the surge.
But what Tuesday's attack against the Yazidi community also illustrates is that whatever blows the extra American troops can inflict on the insurgency in the Baghdad area and surrounding provinces, they simply do not have enough troops to impose security on a country-wide scale. This is a problem that can only get bigger if and when, as expected, the British start to withdraw their troops from Basra province in the South.
The Pentagon only announced on Monday this week that it would launch a country-wide operation against al-Qaeda affiliated forces, following on the heels of the offensive against insurgents in Dyala province, north of Baghdad. Yet, the very next day, an al-Qaeda-like group struck in the North. The attack has indeed all the hallmarks of al-Qaeda, or an Iraqi Sunni fundamentalist jihadist group. The difference is not that big given that the overwhelming majority of so-called al-Qaeda fighters are Iraqis too.
By attacking the Yazidi sect in such a barbaric way, the suicide bombers have not only inflicted another blow against the US strategy of restoring security to Iraq, but also 'punished' a sect that has over the centuries maintained its own religion and identity and whose members have therefore come to be regarded as a band of heretics, as has everyone else who does not adhere to the violent and utterly intolerant version of jihadist Sunni orthodoxy.
Deepening political crisis
The attack against the Yazidi sect comes against the background of the ever-deepening political crisis in the government of Prime Minister Al-Maliki. After the departure of the Sunni ministers from his Shi'a dominated government, which was already boycotted by the ministers of the Shi'ite radical leader Moqtada al-Sadr, Prime Minister Al-Maliki called for a "crisis summit" of all the major leaders of Iraq's splintered ethnic and religious communities to be held soon. That summit has yet to convene, although that may still happen later this week.
Whatever else happens, Genaral Petraeus will have great difficulty trying to maintain a brave face when he presents his report in September.