I just figured it out: Why a US helicopter gunship would fire upon and kill 13 Iraqis who were gathered around a burning Army vehicle that had been blown up some time before. Surely it couldn't be to kill those responsible for the explosion. They wouldn't be hanging out at the site, or if they were there wouldn't be any means to distinguish them from onlookers. In fact, in this incident a member of a TV crew was killed by the fire from the helicopter.
It's clear, therefore, that such random fire by our soldiers isn't meant to win the Iraqis "hearts and minds" in the traditional sense. No, it's the reverse. Once there's an insurgent attack, the US responds with such force, including killing innocents, so that the populace becomes so fearful of an insurgent uprising that they turn against the insurgents out of fear of reprisal by the US.
Is this so obvious that I'm wasting cyberspace here? Well, it wasn't obvious to me, just as it wasn't initially obvious to me that Bush/Cheney/Rummie love this ongoing violence in Iraq and elsewhere--they adore it, they sponsor it--because it attracts the idiot-faction of US voters to their cause. Just witness the recent polls, showing Bush's numbers increasing as the violence increases.
So, does Bush win the election if there's an increase in violence--and if there's a decrease? Well, if you're Karl Rove, that's precisely what you planned.