Damaging collateral in Iraq.
March 31, 2003 12:33 AM   Subscribe

Damaging collateral in Iraq: US Marines turn fire on civilians at the bridge of death. After surveying a scene of killed Iraqi civillians an American solider says: “The Iraqis are sick people and we are the chemotherapy,” said Corporal Ryan Dupre. “I am starting to hate this country. Wait till I get hold of a friggin’ Iraqi. No, I won’t get hold of one. I’ll just kill him.” [reg: cpunks/cpunks]
posted by skallas (78 comments total)
"Dear Times Online Reader,

Due to technical difficulties, we are currently unable to complete the required action.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:53 AM on March 31, 2003


works here
posted by skallas at 12:59 AM on March 31, 2003

Both Shay and Grossman have worked extensively with American combat veterans. Their research reveals that the lasting psychological damage suffered by some veterans (such as debilitating post-traumatic stress) is most often the result of experiences that are not simply violent, but which involve what Shay calls the "betrayal of 'what's right.'" Veterans who believe that they were directly or indirectly party to immoral or dishonorable behavior (perpetrated by themselves, their comrades, or their commanders) have the hardest time reclaiming their lives after the war is over.
posted by homunculus at 12:59 AM on March 31, 2003

(1) Can't seem to get to this article without not just registering, but subscribing to the "Times Online" (or shouldn't I have been honest in filling out the form that I never read the dead-tree version?)

(2) There's gonna be plenty of post-traumatic stress from this little war, just from witnessing some of the inhumanities perpetrated by THE OTHER SIDE. (And I am one who considered Saddam's bruality to his own people as a reason NOT to try to get him by going to war against his country)

(3) May I suggest (for the second time tonight) that you Take it to IraqFilter...
posted by wendell at 1:53 AM on March 31, 2003

Wendell.: I had no trouble reading the article by pasting in the URL and giving the supplied login and password.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:57 AM on March 31, 2003

I just get a 404. Anyone have a mirror?
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 2:02 AM on March 31, 2003

(1a) My eyes hath not seen the conveniently provided login/password. My bad. Nevermind. Bygones. D'oh.

(2) and (3) still stand.
posted by wendell at 2:06 AM on March 31, 2003

Beholder, say hello to the metatalk thread about you, and kindly, if you will, cease with the tiresome Iraqfilter comments. wendell, you, too, might be served to read the metatalk thread in question.

Personally, I found this to be a profoundly disturbing article. It's still beyond me how anybody could read something of that nature and still make an argument that there should be a war in Iraq right now.
posted by The God Complex at 2:08 AM on March 31, 2003

Homunculus posted a very interesting link, I suggest everybody to read it.What troubles me are the "ROE" or rules of engagement, how to make them work 99,9 of times , how they are implemented in reality and how many collaterals are "enough" to rewrite the ROE or the war itself.

That said, if that Corporal said so, I'd immediately send him back to Kuwait or to USA for he's a danger to himself and to others, he's becoming a potential terrorist.
posted by elpapacito at 2:22 AM on March 31, 2003

It is an interesting article, made the more interesting that it's (a) from a Murdoch paper and and (b) from an embedded journalist. If it had come from the Guardian (say) and an indie it would be easier to dismiss. But a Guardian link wouldn't fall over so easily.

The answer to the article would be "This is the sort of thing that happens in war", and the reply to that would be "well, yes. Which is why people ought to think more carefully and more critically before getting involved in wars".

Also interesting are the signs that whereas the U.S. strategy seems to have been to bomb the Iraqis for a decade to soften them up, the result has been a hardening of the Iraqi people as well as troops. The U.S. troops, on the other hand, have been psychologically prepared, but seem to be young and inexperienced.

Also the difficulty that the troops are having separating the "good guys" (the civilians they are supposedly there to save) from the "bad guys" (the army they are there to fight), largely because the two groups cannot be separated out.

These factors seem to combine to create a possibly debilitating culture-shock, of a similar kind that existed in Vietnam. Impressive that it seems to be setting in after a week, though. In order to do their job in the way that they have been prepared to do it, they have to maintain the cheering-Iraquis-and-garlands-of-flowers paradigm in the face of a reality that diverges hugely from that. This could have an effect on the army worse than any chemical weapons the Iraqis may or may not have. In particular, the quotes refer to a kind of disciplinary break-down, a way of making the killing of civilians not only bearable, but acceptable or even to aspire to.

A shame the thread won't survive long enough for me to post this, really.

I went to see if there were anything on the technologically more reliable Guardian site, and found this different story. It appears that British troops are more at risk from American pilots than they are from the Iraqis.
posted by Grangousier at 2:32 AM on March 31, 2003

I get a 404 error as well when I try to view that URL. I can view other stories on the site just fine.
posted by litlnemo at 2:33 AM on March 31, 2003

I can't see it either. Maybe Murdoch found out about it?
posted by spazzm at 2:50 AM on March 31, 2003

The file just seems to be gone, even the print friendly version that I saw briefly earlier. Though I had some trouble even getting their front page to load. Anyway, for those of you who haven't had a chance to read it yet, there's a story at the Scotsman that includes many (if not all) of the same quotes and talks about the same thing. Might be the same story, though I didn't read the other one closely enough to tell.
posted by Orb at 2:51 AM on March 31, 2003

That's creepy, it really has been deleted...

Thank you corporate editorial control.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:58 AM on March 31, 2003

cf. Vietnam, "It became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it."
posted by planetkyoto at 3:03 AM on March 31, 2003

I have to go with Beholder on this one.
posted by hama7 at 3:04 AM on March 31, 2003

Well, of course you do. It disagrees with your world view. Better swept under the carpet.
posted by Grangousier at 3:05 AM on March 31, 2003

The whole article is reproduced here.
posted by dglynn at 3:09 AM on March 31, 2003

The Sunday Times - World

March 30, 2003

US Marines turn fire on civilians at the bridge of death
Mark Franchetti, Nasiriya
THE light was a strange yellowy grey and the wind was coming up, the beginnings of a sandstorm. The silence felt almost eerie after a night of shooting so intense it hurt the eardrums and shattered the nerves. My footsteps felt heavy on the hot, dusty asphalt as I walked slowly towards the bridge at Nasiriya. A horrific scene lay ahead.

Some 15 vehicles, including a minivan and a couple of trucks, blocked the road. They were riddled with bullet holes. Some had caught fire and turned into piles of black twisted metal. Others were still burning.

Amid the wreckage I counted 12 dead civilians, lying in the road or in nearby ditches. All had been trying to leave this southern town overnight, probably for fear of being killed by US helicopter attacks and heavy artillery.

Their mistake had been to flee over a bridge that is crucial to the coalition’s supply lines and to run into a group of shell-shocked young American marines with orders to shoot anything that moved.

One man’s body was still in flames. It gave out a hissing sound. Tucked away in his breast pocket, thick wads of banknotes were turning to ashes. His savings, perhaps.

Down the road, a little girl, no older than five and dressed in a pretty orange and gold dress, lay dead in a ditch next to the body of a man who may have been her father. Half his head was missing.

Nearby, in a battered old Volga, peppered with ammunition holes, an Iraqi woman — perhaps the girl’s mother — was dead, slumped in the back seat. A US Abrams tank nicknamed Ghetto Fabulous drove past the bodies.

This was not the only family who had taken what they thought was a last chance for safety. A father, baby girl and boy lay in a shallow grave. On the bridge itself a dead Iraqi civilian lay next to the carcass of a donkey.

As I walked away, Lieutenant Matt Martin, whose third child, Isabella, was born while he was on board ship en route to the Gulf, appeared beside me.

“Did you see all that?” he asked, his eyes filled with tears. “Did you see that little baby girl? I carried her body and buried it as best I could but I had no time. It really gets to me to see children being killed like this, but we had no choice.”

Martin’s distress was in contrast to the bitter satisfaction of some of his fellow marines as they surveyed the scene. “The Iraqis are sick people and we are the chemotherapy,” said Corporal Ryan Dupre. “I am starting to hate this country. Wait till I get hold of a friggin’ Iraqi. No, I won’t get hold of one. I’ll just kill him.”

Only a few days earlier these had still been the bright-eyed small-town boys with whom I crossed the border at the start of the operation. They had rolled towards Nasiriya, a strategic city beside the Euphrates, on a mission to secure a safe supply route for troops on the way to Baghdad.

They had expected a welcome, or at least a swift surrender. Instead they had found themselves lured into a bloody battle, culminating in the worst coalition losses of the war — 16 dead, 12 wounded and two missing marines as well as five dead and 12 missing servicemen from an army convoy — and the humiliation of having prisoners paraded on Iraqi television.

There are three key bridges at Nasiriya. The feat of Martin, Dupre and their fellow marines in securing them under heavy fire was compared by armchair strategists last week to the seizure of the Remagen bridge over the Rhine, which significantly advanced victory over Germany in the second world war.

But it was also the turning point when the jovial band of brothers from America lost all their assumptions about the war and became jittery aggressors who talked of wanting to “nuke” the place.

None of this was foreseen at Camp Shoup, one of the marines’ tent encampments in northern Kuwait, where officers from the 1st and 2nd battalions of Task Force Tarawa, the 7,000-strong US Marines brigade, spent long evenings poring over maps and satellite imagery before the invasion.

The plan seemed straightforward. The marines would speed unhindered over the

130 miles of desert up from the Kuwaiti border and approach Nasiriya from the southeast to secure a bridge over the Euphrates. They would then drive north through the outskirts of Nasiriya to a second bridge, over the Inahr al-Furbati canal. Finally, they would turn west and secure the third bridge, also over the canal. The marines would not enter the city proper, let alone attempt to take it.

The coalition could then start moving thousands of troops and logistical support units up highway 7, leading to Baghdad, 225 miles to the north.

There was only one concern: “ambush alley”, the road connecting the first two bridges. But intelligence suggested there would be little or no fighting as this eastern side of the city was mostly “pro-American”.

I was with Alpha company. We reached the outskirts of Nasiriya at about breakfast time last Sunday. Some marines were disappointed to be carrying out a mission that seemed a sideshow to the main effort. But in an ominous sign of things to come, our battalion stopped in its tracks, three miles outside the city.

Bad news filtered back. Earlier that morning a US Army convoy had been greeted by a group of Iraqis dressed in civilian clothes, apparently wanting to surrender. When the American soldiers stopped, the Iraqis pulled out AK-47s and sprayed the US trucks with gunfire.

Five wounded soldiers were rescued by our convoy, including one who had been shot four times. The attackers were believed to be members of the Fedayeen Saddam, a group of 15,000 fighters under the command of Saddam’s psychopathic son Uday.

Blown-up tyres, a pool of blood, spent ammunition and shards of glass from the bulletridden windscreen marked the spot where the ambush had taken place. Swiftly, our AAVs (23-ton amphibious assault vehicles) took up defensive positions. About 100 marines jumped out of their vehicles and took cover in ditches, pointing their sights at a mud-caked house. Was it harbouring gunmen? Small groups of marines approached, cautiously, to search for the enemy. A dozen terrified civilians, mainly women and children, emerged with their hands raised.

“It’s just a bunch of Hajis,” said one gunner from his turret, using their nickname for Arabs. “Friggin’ women and children, that’s all.”

Cobras and Huey attack helicopters began firing missiles at targets on the edge of the city. Plumes of smoke rose as heavy artillery shook the ground under our feet.

Heavy machinegun fire echoed across the huge rubbish dump that marks the entrance to Nasiriya. Suddenly there was return fire from three large oil tanks at a refinery. The Cobras were called back, and within seconds they roared above our heads, firing off missiles in clouds of purple tracer fire.

There were several loud explosions. Flames burst high into the sky from one of the oil tanks. The marines believed that what opposition there was had now been crushed. “We are going in, we are going in,” shouted one of the officers.

More than 20 AAVs, several tanks and about 10 Hummers equipped with roof-mounted, anti-tank missile launchers prepared to move in. Crammed inside them were some 400 marines. Tension rose as they loaded their guns and stuck their heads over the side of the AAVs through the open roof, their M-16 pointed in all directions.

As we set off towards the eastern city gate there was no sense of the mayhem awaiting us down the road. A few locals dressed in rags watched the awesome spectacle of America’s war machine on the move. Nobody waved.

Slowly we approached the first bridge. Fires were raging on either side of the road; Cobras had destroyed an Iraqi military truck and a T55 tank positioned inside a dugout. Powerful explosions came from inside the bowels of the tank as its ammunition and heavy shells were set off by the fire. With each explosion a thick and perfect ring of black smoke ring puffed out of the turret.

An Iraqi defence post lay abandoned. Cobras flew over an oasis of palm trees and deserted brick and mud-caked houses. We charged onto the bridge, and as we crossed the Euphrates, a large mural of Saddam came into view. Some marines reached for their disposable cameras.

Suddenly, as we approached ambush alley on the far side of the bridge, the crackle of AK-47s broke out. Our AAVs began to zigzag to avoid being hit by a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG).

The road widened out to a square, with a mosque and the portrait of Saddam on the left-hand side. The vehicles wheeled round, took up a defensive position, back to back, and began taking fire.

Pinned down, the marines fired back with 40mm automatic grenade launchers, a weapon so powerful it can go through thick brick walls and kill anyone within a 5-yard range of where the shell lands.

I was in AAV number A304, affectionately nicknamed the Desert Caddy. It shook as Keith Bernize, the gunner, fired off round after deafening round at sandbag positions shielding suspected Fedayeen fighters. His steel ammunition box clanged with the sound of smoking empty shells and cartridges.

Bernize, who always carries a scan picture of his unborn baby daughter with him, shot at the targets from behind a turret, peering through narrow slits of reinforced glass. He shouted at his men to feed him more ammunition. Four marines, standing at the AAV’s four corners, precariously perched on ammunition boxes, fired off their M-16s.

Their faces covered in sweat, officers shouted commands into field radios, giving co-ordinates of enemy positions. Some 200 marines, fully exposed to enemy fire and slowed down by their heavy weapons, bulky ammunition packs and NBC suits, ran across the road, taking shelter behind a long brick wall and mounds of earth. A team of snipers appeared, yards from our vehicle.

The exchange of fire was relentless. We were pinned down for more than three hours as Iraqis hiding inside houses and a hospital and behind street corners fired a barrage of ammunition.

Despite the marines’ overwhelming firepower, hitting the Iraqis was not easy. The gunmen were not wearing uniforms and had planned their ambush well — stockpiling weapons in dozens of houses, between which they moved freely pretending to be civilians.

“It’s a bad situation,” said First Sergeant James Thompson, who was running around with a 9mm pistol in his hand. “We don’t know who is shooting at us. They are even using women as scouts. The women come out waving at us, or with their hands raised. We freeze, but the next minute we can see how she is looking at our positions and giving them away to the fighters hiding behind a street corner. It’s very difficult to distinguish between the fighters and civilians.”

Across the square, genuine civilians were running for their lives. Many, including some children, were gunned down in the crossfire. In a surreal scene, a father and mother stood out on a balcony with their children in their arms to give them a better view of the battle raging below. A few minutes later several US mortar shells landed in front of their house. In all probability, the family is dead.

The fighting intensified. An Iraqi fighter emerged from behind a wall of sandbags 500 yards away from our vehicle. Several times he managed to fire off an RPG at our positions. Bernize and other gunners fired dozens of rounds at his dugout, punching large holes into a house and lifting thick clouds of dust.

Captain Mike Brooks, commander of Alpha company, pinned down in front of the mosque, called in tank support. Armed with only a 9mm pistol, he jumped out of the back of his AAV with a young marine carrying a field radio on his back.

Brooks, 34, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, had been in command of 200 men for just over a year. He joined the marines when he was 19 because he felt that he was wasting his life. He needed direction, was a bit of a rebel and was impressed by the sense of pride in the corps.

He is a soft-spoken man, fair but very firm. Brave too: I watched him sprint in front of enemy positions to brief some of his junior officers behind a wall. Behind us, two 68-ton Abrams tanks rolled up, crushing the barrier separating the lanes on the highway.

The earth shook violently as one tank, Desert Knight, stopped in front of our row of AAVS and fired several 120mm shells into buildings.

A few hundred yards down ambush alley there was carnage. An AAV from Charlie company was racing back towards the bridge to evacuate some wounded marines when it was hit by two RPGs. The heavy vehicle shook but withstood the explosions.

Then the Iraqis fired again. This time the rocket plunged into the vehicle through the open rooftop. The explosion was deadly, made 10 times more powerful by the ammunition stored in the back.

The wreckage smouldered in the middle of the road. I jumped out from the rear hatch of our vehicle, briefly taking cover behind a wall. When I reached the stricken AAV, the scene was mayhem.

The heavy, thick rear ramp had been blown open. There were pools of blood and bits of flesh everywhere. A severed leg, still wearing a desert boot, lay on what was left of the ramp among playing cards, a magazine, cans of Coke and a small bloodstained teddy bear.

“They are f****** dead, they are dead. Oh my God. Get in there. Get in there now and pull them out,” shouted a gunner in a state verging on hysterical.

There was panic and confusion as a group of young marines, shouting and cursing orders at one another, pulled out a maimed body.

Two men struggled to lift the body on a stretcher and into the back of a Hummer, but it would not fit inside, so the stretcher remained almost upright, the dead man’s leg, partly blown away, dangling in the air.

“We shouldn’t be here,” said Lieutenant Campbell Kane, 25, who was born in Northern Ireland. “We can’t hold this. They are trying to suck us into the city and we haven’t got enough ass up here to sustain this. We need more tanks, more helicopters.”

Closer to the destroyed AAV, another young marine was transfixed with fear and kept repeating: “Oh my God, I can’t believe this. Did you see his leg? It was blown off. It was blown off.”

Two CH-46 helicopters, nicknamed Frogs, landed a few hundred yards away in the middle of a firefight to take away the dead and wounded.

If at first the marines felt constrained by orders to protect civilians, by now the battle had become so intense that there was little time for niceties. Cobra helicopters were ordered to fire at a row of houses closest to our positions. There were massive explosions but the return fire barely died down.

Behind us, as many as four AAVs that had driven down along the banks of the Euphrates were stuck in deep mud and coming under fire.

About 1pm, after three hours of intense fighting, the order was given to regroup and try to head out of the city in convoy. Several marines who had lost their vehicles piled into the back of ours.

We raced along ambush alley at full speed, close to a line of houses. “My driver got hit,” said one of the marines who joined us, his face and uniform caked in mud. “I went to try to help him when he got hit by another RPG or a mortar. I don’t even know how many friends I have lost. I don’t care if they nuke that bloody city now. From one house they were waving while shooting at us with AKs from the next. It was insane.”

There was relief when we finally crossed the second bridge to the northeast of the city in mid-afternoon. But there was more horror to come. Beside the smouldering wreckage of another AAV were the bodies of another four marines, laid out in the mud and covered with camouflage ponchos. There were body parts everywhere.

One of the dead was Second Lieutenant Fred Pokorney, 31, a marine artillery officer from Washington state. He was a big guy, whose ill-fitting uniform was the butt of many jokes. It was supposed to have been a special day for Pokorney. After 13 years of service, he was to be promoted to first lieutenant. The men of Charlie company had agreed they would all shake hands with him to celebrate as soon as they crossed the second bridge, their mission accomplished.

It didn’t happen. Pokorney made it over the second bridge and a few hundred yards down a highway through dusty flatlands before his vehicle was ambushed. Pokorney and his men had no chance. Fully loaded with ammunition, their truck exploded in the middle of the road, its remains burning for hours. Pokorney was hit in the chest by an RPG.

Another man who died was Fitzgerald Jordan, a staff sergeant from Texas. I felt numb when I heard this. I had met Jordan 10 days before we moved into Nasiriya. He was a character, always chewing tobacco and coming up to pat you on the back. He got me to fetch newspapers for him from Kuwait City. Later, we shared a bumpy ride across the desert in the back of a Humvee.

A decorated Gulf war veteran, he used to complain about having to come back to Iraq. “We should have gone all the way to Baghdad 12 years ago when we were here and had a real chance of removing Saddam.”

Now Pokorney, Jordan and their comrades lay among unspeakable carnage. An older marine walked by carrying a huge chunk of flesh, so maimed it was impossible to tell which body part it was. With tears in his eyes and blood splattered over his flak jacket, he held the remains of his friend in his arms until someone gave him a poncho to wrap them with.

Frantic medics did what they could to relieve horrific injuries, until four helicopters landed in the middle of the highway to take the injured to a military hospital. Each wounded marine had a tag describing his injury. One had gunshot wounds to the face, another to the chest. Another simply lay on his side in the sand with a tag reading: “Urgent — surgery, buttock.”

One young marine was assigned the job of keeping the flies at bay. Some of his comrades, exhausted, covered in blood, dirt and sweat walked around dazed. There were loud cheers as the sound of the heaviest artillery yet to pound Nasiriya shook the ground.

Before last week the overwhelming majority of these young men had never been in combat. Few had even seen a dead body. Now, their faces had changed. Anger and fear were fuelled by rumours that the bodies of American soldiers had been dragged through Nasiriya’s streets. Some marines cried in the arms of friends, others sought comfort in the Bible.

Next morning, the men of Alpha company talked about the fighting over MREs (meals ready to eat). They were jittery now and reacted nervously to any movement around their dugouts. They suspected that civilian cars, including taxis, had helped resupply the enemy inside the city. When cars were spotted speeding along two roads, frantic calls were made over the radio to get permission to “kill the vehicles”. Twenty-four hours earlier it would almost certainly have been denied: now it was granted.

Immediately, the level of force levelled at civilian vehicles was overwhelming. Tanks were placed on the road and AAVs lined along one side. Several taxis were destroyed by helicopter gunships as they drove down the road.

A lorry filled with sacks of wheat made the fatal mistake of driving through US lines. The order was given to fire. Several AAVs pounded it with a barrage of machinegun fire, riddling the windscreen with at least 20 holes. The driver was killed instantly. The lorry swerved off the road and into a ditch. Rumour spread that the driver had been armed and had fired at the marines. I walked up to the lorry, but could find no trace of a weapon.

This was the start of day that claimed many civilian casualties. After the lorry a truck came down the road. Again the marines fired. Inside, four men were killed. They had been travelling with some 10 other civilians, mainly women and children who were evacuated, crying, their clothes splattered in blood. Hours later a dog belonging to the dead driver was still by his side.

The marines moved west to take a military barracks and secure their third objective, the third bridge, which carried a road out of the city.

At the barracks, the marines hung a US flag from a statue of Saddam, but Lieutenant-Colonel Rick Grabowski, the battalion commander, ordered it down. He toured barracks. There were stacks of Russian-made ammunition and hundreds of Iraqi army uniforms, some new, others left behind by fleeing Iraqi soldiers.

One room had a map of Nasiriya, showing its defences and two large cardboard arrows indicating the US plan of attack to take the two main bridges. Above the map were several murals praising Saddam. One, which sickened the Americans, showed two large civilian planes crashing into tall buildings.

As night fell again there was great tension, the marines fearing an ambush. Two tanks and three AAVs were placed at the north end of the third bridge, their guns pointing down towards Nasiriya, and given orders to shoot at any vehicle that drove towards American positions.

Though civilians on foot passed by safely, the policy was to shoot anything that moved on wheels. Inevitably, terrified civilians drove at speed to escape: marines took that speed to be a threat and hit out. During the night, our teeth on edge, we listened a dozen times as the AVVs’ machineguns opened fire, cutting through cars and trucks like paper.

Next morning I saw the result of this order — the dead civilians, the little girl in the orange and gold dress.

Suddenly, some of the young men who had crossed into Iraq with me reminded me now of their fathers’ generation, the trigger-happy grunts of Vietnam. Covered in the mud from the violent storms, they were drained and dangerously aggressive.

In the days afterwards, the marines consolidated their position and put a barrier of trucks across the bridge to stop anyone from driving across, so there were no more civilian deaths.

They also ruminated on what they had done. Some rationalised it.

“I was shooting down a street when suddenly a woman came out and casually began to cross the street with a child no older than 10,” said Gunnery Sergeant John Merriman, another Gulf war veteran. “At first I froze on seeing the civilian woman. She then crossed back again with the child and went behind a wall. Within less than a minute a guy with an RPG came out and fired at us from behind the same wall. This happened a second time so I thought, ‘Okay, I get it. Let her come out again’.

She did and this time I took her out with my M-16.” Others were less sanguine.

Mike Brooks was one of the commanders who had given the order to shoot at civilian vehicles. It weighed on his mind, even though he felt he had no choice but to do everything to protect his marines from another ambush.

On Friday, making coffee in the dust, he told me he had been writing a diary, partly for his wife Kelly, a nurse at home in Jacksonville, North Carolina, with their sons Colin, 6, and four-year-old twins Brian and Evan.

When he came to jotting down the incident about the two babies getting killed by his men he couldn’t do it. But he said he would tell her when he got home. I offered to let him call his wife on my satellite phone to tell her he was okay. He turned down the offer and had me write and send her an e-mail instead.

He was too emotional. If she heard his voice, he said, she would know that something was wrong.
posted by skallas at 3:13 AM on March 31, 2003

It disagrees with your world view.

Well not really, because an inanimate object cannot agree or disagree. And second, because it's just more breaking news with "he said, she said" nonsense.

It's no gem, and far from the "best of the web".

Thank goodness the entire article has been cut and pasted.

Waste not want not. Or something.
posted by hama7 at 3:16 AM on March 31, 2003

hama, shut up or take it to metatalk. Matt really needs to crack down on the trolls here.
posted by skallas at 3:18 AM on March 31, 2003

It hasn't been taken down, though. I suspect the server is just getting beaten up.
posted by cx at 3:22 AM on March 31, 2003

So I take it Hama came into this thread thinking it _wasn't_ in Iraq post? (or beholder for that matter?)
posted by Space Coyote at 3:25 AM on March 31, 2003

Well not really, because an inanimate object cannot agree or disagree. And second, because it's just more breaking news with "he said, she said" nonsense.

I love that a first-hand account of the horrors of war turns into "he said, she said nonsense" in your hands. That's a nice touch, really. As near I can tell, the article is fairly light on editorializing, aside from a few comments (the one about them resembling soldiers from Vietnam, for example). For the most part, it's simply a recounting of events he has seen while on the front line with soldiers.

I hardly read this article as an indictment of soldiers in Iraq. I read it simply as further proof that such horrors, while common problems in modern warfare, could have, and shoud have, been avoided--and with great ease, I might add. As I mentioned above, I wonder how anybody can read this and not lament the loss of both soldiers and Iraqis alike (or the reports out of Basra a few days ago of children holding their intestines in with their hands, or losing their feet) and not wonder why it is exactly the Americans and Brits are in there.

But you waited twelve years. You surely couldn't have waited another one or two months. No, surely not.

hama, shut up or take it to metatalk. Matt really needs to crack down on the trolls here.

Agreed. And thanks for re-printing the article; I was about to do it myself.
posted by The God Complex at 3:27 AM on March 31, 2003

I have more breaking news for you: soldiers are trained to kill. They have only one other alternative.
posted by hama7 at 3:34 AM on March 31, 2003

I had a long repsonse to hama's latest piece of insight but I deleted it, and will jsut let it stand there drawing attention to himself and his character well enough on its own.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:47 AM on March 31, 2003

I should add that "civilians" can only be determined by their clothing, which has proved to be fatal because of the ethical standards of coalition forces in several cases so far.

On with the baloney.
posted by hama7 at 4:02 AM on March 31, 2003

Do you mean "kill them all and let God work it out"?
posted by Grangousier at 4:13 AM on March 31, 2003

I should add that "civilians" can only be determined by their clothing, which has proved to be fatal because of the ethical standards of coalition forces in several cases so far.

On with the baloney.

I have my doubts that you even read the article past the headline and perhaps the small sections that Skallas quoted on the front page.
posted by The God Complex at 4:19 AM on March 31, 2003

I hate it when military plans are made with optimistic assumptions of that kind. I never made a plan that relied on the courage of my own troops. You hope that -- and they generally will -- fight bravely. Your plan ought to be predicated on more realistic assumptions.

And if we sent the 3rd Infantry up there naked, by themselves, because somebody assessed that they'd be throwing bouquets at us, that's the worst thing you could say about political leadership, is that they made optimistic assumptions about warfare.

...Does the diplomatic situation in Turkey and Saudi Arabia have other ramifications?

These countries have hit on the problem of legitimacy. What is a legitimate use of American power? This is an overarching problem, that's going to be with us for a long time. I mean we all pray that we'll be the premier world power for centuries.

For whatever reason, the Turks and the Saudis have decided that this is not a legitimate use of power. By the way, they appear to be in the majority worldwide. I believe that one of the elements of power is the ethical and moral authority that is conferred on forces when their use is seen to be legitimate. It's as important as bullets, in my opinion.

When we started bombing Kosovo, everybody in the world saw that -- how painful that decision was. They knew we weren't there to make Kosovo the 51st state; they knew we didn't go into Afghanistan to put George Bush's face on the money there. When we act with legitimacy, it gives our military actions a source of strength. I mean for me this is an aspect of the political maladroitness. I mean you just have to say that you wonder if there's anybody in the White House that's an educated adult.

General Merrill A. McPeak, former Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force 1990-94
posted by y2karl at 4:24 AM on March 31, 2003

The resemblance to Vietnam War can't be overlooked .

Robert Timberg and Tom Bowman
Baltimore Sun

posted by y2karl at 4:30 AM on March 31, 2003

Do you mean "kill them all and let God work it out"?

Do you really think that's what I meant?

The coalition forces are doing their damndest to eliminate civilian casualties, and doing so means placing faith in supposed "civilians" who "surrender". When they actually surrender it's fine, but when "civilians" "surrender" to get closer to allied forces to detonate their semtex underpants, then there's a huge problem, and they're taking advantage of the morality of the coalition forces.

A soldier wearing civilian clothing, semtex, and waving a white flag is the deadliest of ruses.

What would you do?
posted by hama7 at 4:39 AM on March 31, 2003

The resemblance to Vietnam War can't be overlooked .

No spitting, Prisoners of War, or Missing in Action, though right?

More Bravo Sierra.
posted by hama7 at 4:41 AM on March 31, 2003

If this is an act of self-censorship on the part of the Sunday Times it's pretty useless, considering there are over 1m hard copies lying in people's front rooms right now. I don't think it is, however, as the whole of the Sunday Times site seems to be down.
posted by Summer at 4:57 AM on March 31, 2003

As a USMC vet and after reading the article, I can assure you that Corporal Dupre is not alone in his sentiment. That is the kind of gung-ho attitude that emerges after experiencing combat, particularly when the enemy fights without regard to 'rules'.

One piece of information (among many, undoubtedly) not mentioned but which should be highlighted, all US soldiers now know the fates of those who were captured by the Iraqis. With that knowledge, from here on US forces will fight to victory or to their deaths, rather than face capture. Needless to say, when circumstances appear grimmest, they will take out as many Iraqis as possible.
posted by mischief at 4:59 AM on March 31, 2003

I partly agree with Hama7, in that it is incredibly difficult to distinguish civilians from soldiers in the current situation in Iraq. However, that should have been a major consideration when the decision to invade a sovereign country was made. Expecting the local populace to welcome an invading army with open arms and floral tributes always struck me as naive.

The issue of 'civilians' fighting is interesting - I'm sure that if a foreign power invaded the US then US citizens wouldn't feel an obligation to join up and wear the right uniform before using their weapons to fight back.
posted by daveg at 5:02 AM on March 31, 2003

Do you really think that's what I meant?

To be perfectly honest I don't think you know what you meant. It is the implication of what you say.

The point is exactly that a population who are being invaded will resort to guile in order to defend themselves against the invading force. That should have been taken into account before the whole sorry affair was set in motion. If the people planning it were incapable of foreseeing that then they were not up to the job.

What would you do?

I would hope not to have been the posturing, arrogant halfwit that has dropped those soldiers into this awful situation.

I wouldn't start from here.

The current situation was deliberately induced by a small group of people for their own benefit - financial, political and (most offensively of all) of benefit to their egos. Currently it has involved the death and injury of U.S. and British troops, the deaths of large numbers of Iraqis (whose fellows will definitely not forgive and forget when this is over). Who knows what horrors the future holds.

An awful, awful mess, even if it all goes swimmingly for the US/UK from now on. If events conspire against the invaders ... ? It reminds me of the Spanish Armada of 1558 and has done for a while.
posted by Grangousier at 5:04 AM on March 31, 2003

A soldier wearing civilian clothing, semtex, and waving a white flag is the deadliest of ruses.

What would you do?

I thought you'd never ask.

Here's my list of things I would do:

1. Not invade a country.

Got that?
posted by spazzm at 5:25 AM on March 31, 2003

gen x (or whatever), meet your very own vietnam vets. talk about your deja vu! (/s "hajis" "gooks"). no need to spit on them (or invent myths of being spit upon), they'll spit all over themselves just fine over the next 20 years, as their lives veer off course into substance abuse, debilitating survivor guilt, violence and psychosis. but hey, we got oil. we got oil, man.
posted by quonsar at 5:25 AM on March 31, 2003

Liberate them all and let God work it out.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 5:26 AM on March 31, 2003

No spitting, Prisoners of War, or Missing in Action, though right?

Nope, hama7, the spitting myth lives on in Asheville, NC, undocumented as ever. And, as before, there is no documentation or any credible story of any American prisoners of war or missing in action being left in Vietnam. That was and is still a hoax used to cruelly exploit the feelings of their survivors in order to falsely manipulate American public opinion.
posted by y2karl at 5:32 AM on March 31, 2003

...as their lives veer off course into substance abuse, debilitating survivor guilt, violence and psychosis.

On the bright side, we're saving a fortune by cutting in the veterans benefits.
posted by spazzm at 5:34 AM on March 31, 2003

On the bright side, we're saving a fortune by cutting in the veterans benefits.

1. The anti-war movement supports our troops by urging that they be brought home immediately so they neither kill nor get killed in a unjust war. How has the Bush administration shown its support for our troops?

a. The Republican-controlled House Budget Committee voted to cut $25 billion in veterans benefits over the next 10 years.
b. The Bush administration proposed cutting $172 million from impact aid programs which provide school funding for children of military personnel.
c. The administration ordered the Dept. of Veterans Affairs to stop publicizing health benefits available to veterans.
d. All of the above.

If you guessed (d), you're a winner! [from zmag]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:41 AM on March 31, 2003

hama7 (=="hama seven"=="hamas, even") arrives in EVERY war thread wearing civilian clothing, semtex, and waving a white flag.
posted by quonsar at 5:48 AM on March 31, 2003

1. Not invade a country.

I'm damn glad the allied forces who defeated the Nazis, Japanese and Italians under Mussolini didn't think that way.

I might add that Hussein himself agreed to those very conditions of forced disarmament when he lost the Gulf War 12 years ago.

posted by hama7 at 5:48 AM on March 31, 2003

Saturday here in Seattle, I saw my first car sporting a UN flag.
French flags I've seen twice but a UN flag? Man, that was a first...

Bush reportedly shielded from dire forecast - Outlooks of quick war may have prevailed
Warren P. Strobel
Charlotte Observer

President Bush's aides did not forcefully present him with dissenting views from CIA and State and Defense Department officials who warned that U.S.-led forces could face stiff resistance in Iraq, according to three senior administration officials.

Instead, Bush embraced predictions of top administration hawks, beginning with Vice President Dick Cheney, who predicted Iraqis would joyously greet coalition troops as liberators and that the entire conflict might be over in a matter of weeks, the officials said.

Dissenting views "were not fully or energetically communicated to the president," said one top official, who, like the others, requested anonymity. "As a result, almost every assumption the plan's based on looks to be wrong."

posted by y2karl at 5:52 AM on March 31, 2003

"hamas, even"

quonsar, I'm surprised you haven't seen the fabulously creative "hamas heaven" moniker applied to me by so many hysterical adolescent morans.
posted by hama7 at 5:53 AM on March 31, 2003

Poop. Correct URL for the Happy Funtimes Quiz (munged on preview).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:54 AM on March 31, 2003

Talkikng Points Memo on Strobel piece:

A responsible journalist -- and the author, Warren Strobel, definitely qualifies -- reserves that classification for a very select group of people: cabinet secretaries, deputy secretaries, VPs, chiefs of staff, NSC Directors, Communications Directors, press secretaries, senior political advisors, and so forth. It might be squeezed open a bit further maybe. But these three aren't assistant-deputy-sub-deputies over at Interior or Commerce.

It's a narrow enough designation that I think you can say clearly that there simply aren't "three senior administration officials" at the State Department. Indeed, this has all the looks of a story leaked right out of the White House. Presumably, we can scratch Dick Cheney's name off the list since they finger him as the person most responsible for selling the president a bill of goods. Of course, we said months ago that Cheney was the living, breathing disaster at the heart of this administration. But we'll get back to that later.

In any case, the attribution is what makes this such a big story. The White House is in such a state of pandemonium and implosion that they are discarding the policy -- indeed, they are positively undermining it -- in the hopes of insulating the president from the immense fall-out that they can see barreling down the track. Consider also that, saying the president was "out of the loop" -- seemingly a family failing -- on the central policy of his administration is a devastating admission of incompetence on its own. So that tells you what they think of the consequences of remaining attached to the policy.

If you need some evidence that our country is in some trouble, there it is.

-- Josh Marshall

posted by y2karl at 6:02 AM on March 31, 2003

Ladies and gentlemen, please.

Don't feed the trolls.
posted by spazzm at 6:25 AM on March 31, 2003

Ladies and gentlemen, please. Don't feed the trolls.

Are they trolls? Seems to me they are simply protesting the frequency of Iraq threads. People here seem to support other types of protestors causing mischief to get their point across. Why not recognize hama7's and beholder's right to express their unhappiness with these types of posts?

Or do you only support the right to protest if you agree with what the protestors are protesting?
posted by jsonic at 7:03 AM on March 31, 2003

Jsonic: What makes you think I'm referring to hama7 and beholder?
posted by spazzm at 7:09 AM on March 31, 2003

Incorrect assumption probably. People seemed to be dumping on them (including you) earlier in the thread. If you were'nt referring to them, then please ignore the quote from you I used. The rest still stands.
posted by jsonic at 7:13 AM on March 31, 2003

The story about the bridge of death reads eerily like a sequel to Blackhawk Down. Miscalculations, troops sent in to a kill zone on the basis on an overoptimistic plan, and an enemy who doesn't play by our ROE. Ingredients for disaster.
posted by newlydead at 7:13 AM on March 31, 2003

Jsonic: No worries.

But since we're on the subject, people who feel that war-threads are superfluous may relieve their suffering by not posting in said threads.

It really is that simple.

And where was I dumping on hama7 and beholder?
posted by spazzm at 7:28 AM on March 31, 2003

So... having read the whole article... we have this:

1) The Iraqi tactics are accomplishing what the deliberately intended, and what we knew they would do; make it extremely difficult to limit civilian casualties.

2) Despite the danger to themselves the coalition soldiers are going well out of their way to try and avoid civilian casualties.

3) The Iraqi psy-op belief that #1 will cause many anti-war Americans to scream about the supposed atrocities and "war crimes" of the US was correct.

4) When Iraqi soldiers deliberately mix with civilians, civilians will die as a result. Marines will also die.

5) #4 was always a possibility, and one we were completely aware of. It will not alter the war militarily in any significant amount, but it may unfortunately cost more lives.

It seems only the anti-war folks are fixated on the idea that we thought the Iraqis wouldn't fight. The military HOPED for the best, but always knew it could go the other way. Further, the level of resistance by civilians is not extremely high.

War is rough... people die. When the regime you are fighting is deliberately working to increase the number of civilian casualties then a lot more people will die. That sucks, but it changes nothing.
posted by soulhuntre at 7:35 AM on March 31, 2003

War is rough... people die.

A good reason to avoid it, IMHO.

Funny that people with the "people die, so what"-attitude are rarely the people in the line of fire.
posted by spazzm at 7:40 AM on March 31, 2003

But since we're on the subject, people who feel that war-threads are superfluous may relieve their suffering by not posting in said threads.

I disagree. Voicing one's opposition is an important and valid activity, whether it be protesting something as significant as the war, or something as relatively insignificant as a perceived preponderance of one-sided thread posts. If we don't allow alternative viewpoints then metafilter will just turn into the left's version of free republic.
posted by jsonic at 7:42 AM on March 31, 2003

News flash! People in war take on whatever mindset required to survive!

Thanks skallas, I never knew! What will you tell me next? Our soldiers curse up a storm?
posted by Dennis Murphy at 8:19 AM on March 31, 2003

"A good reason to avoid it, IMHO."

I agree... but the reality is that you cannot always avoid it. The concept of "peace at any price" usually means the "price" is the total destruction of all you care for.

"Funny that people with the "people die, so what"-attitude are rarely the people in the line of fire."

I don't recall that I ever said "so what". I spent my time in the military, I took the risk of backing up my convictions. It is bad. It sucks. It's horrible. None of that changes that it is sometimes necessary.
posted by soulhuntre at 8:27 AM on March 31, 2003

But not on this occasion.
posted by Grangousier at 9:01 AM on March 31, 2003

Yes, war is sometimes necessary.
Why was it necessary to invade Iraq?

I don't recall that I ever said "so what". I spent my time in the military,...

My point exactly.
posted by spazzm at 9:16 AM on March 31, 2003

Whether it is justified or not at this time is obviously up for debate - but many anti war people get very caught up in the rhetoric that it is >never< justified.

Me? I think this war is justified.

"My point exactly."

I haven't seen anyone say "so what" that wasn't obviously a whacko. On the other hand, I have seen a lot of people who were never in the military make judgements on all sorts of things they have no clue about.
posted by soulhuntre at 9:23 AM on March 31, 2003

For whatever reason, the Turks and the Saudis have decided that this is not a legitimate use of power.

According to Seymour Hersh, "there is also evidence that Turkey has been playing both sides. Turkey and Syria, who traditionally have not had close relations, recently agreed to strengthen their ties, the businessman told me, and early this year Syria sent Major General Ghazi Kanaan, its longtime strongman and power broker in Lebanon, to Turkey. The two nations have begun to share intelligence and to meet, along with Iranian officials, to discuss border issues, in case an independent Kurdistan emerges from the Iraq war. A former U.S. intelligence officer put it this way: 'The Syrians are coördinating with the Turks to screw us in the north—to cause us problems.' He added, 'Syria and the Iranians agreed that they could not let an American occupation of Iraq stand.'"
posted by homunculus at 9:46 AM on March 31, 2003

The Iraqis are using "deplorable" tactics because they are outgunned on their own turf by a country that has spent most of its attention for the past half-century on amassing guns. Yeah, it's awful. But what's more awful is our side's thinking "since they're outgunned, they'll just roll over and play dead."

4) When Iraqi soldiers deliberately mix with civilians, civilians will die as a result. Marines will also die.
5) #4 was always a possibility, and one we were completely aware of. It will not alter the war militarily in any significant amount, but it may unfortunately cost more lives.

Yeah, that sure is unfortunate - not just because of the individual lives lost now, but because the more Iraqi lives are lost, the more terrorists we have trying to kill us in the months, years and decades to come. In other words, the more wrong our military experts turn out to have been about how easy this is, the worse - far worse - it is for all of us and the state of the world. That's what makes this worth paying close attention to, Iraqfilter or no.
posted by soyjoy at 9:59 AM on March 31, 2003

Hey skallas, somewhat OT, but in October 2000 you wrote:

There has to come a point when someone decides "Hey maybe this Sadam character isn't going to change his mind" and take real action.

Isn't that what we did with the Nazis? We didn't send in a few laser guided million dollar bombs on a bunch of targets, we took down their fascist government and put them on trial and set up a democratic government, err at least on one side.

My point wansn't about bombs. If you read the post you'd see I was advocating dismantling the Hussien government instead of the mess we're left in now.

Call me crazy, but it seems to me that you've slyly gone from a position advocating regime change, to one in which you view this war (which will do just that) as a great injustice. Interesting, no?
posted by pardonyou? at 11:13 AM on March 31, 2003

great link, great reporting. fair and balanced and extremely detailed. it's the first time i'm glad that there are embedded troops.

pardonyou?, i have no need to defend skallas, but there's nothing in *this* particular post (except for using that specific quote from the article) to indicate he thinks the Iraq invasion is a "great injustice," and his comments from 2000 are specifically in response to the failed Iraqi embargo.

there's a big difference between advocating the removal of a war criminal from power (which, supposedly, Saddam Hussein is) and advocating an illegal invasion.

again, thanks for the link and password. this is the type of war reporting (i.e. honest) that i'm looking for.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:29 AM on March 31, 2003

pardonyou?, i have no need to defend skallas, but there's nothing in *this* particular post (except for using that specific quote from the article) to indicate he thinks the Iraq invasion is a "great injustice," and his comments from 2000 are specifically in response to the failed Iraqi embargo.

You're right that there's nothing in this particular post (which is why I noted it was OT), but it's pretty clear where skallas stands on the war. In any case, maybe he has a legitimate explanation for his flip-flop -- certainly people can change their opinions. If I was a betting man, I'd say it was nothing more than political expediency -- in 2000 he was so against sanctions that he was willing to advocate for military conflict, whereas in 2002 if you want to be on the far left, you damn well better not support the war, even if it means the removal of a dictator and a better life for Iraqis.
posted by pardonyou? at 11:50 AM on March 31, 2003

...but it seems to me that you've slyly gone from a position advocating regime change, to one in which you view this war (which will do just that) as a great injustice. Interesting, no?

I'm not replying for Skallas but no it's not really very interesting, more like predictable - remember, it was going to be a cakewalk. Many who believed (and trusted) the chickenhawks may find themselves surprised and let down by the admission/realisation that this war will now "take as long as it takes".
posted by niceness at 12:14 PM on March 31, 2003

pardonyou?, I dont believe I was advocating anything in that thread over two years ago as much as discussing options and the failure of sanctions. Even if I did change my mind after, oh two whole years, then its really no big deal. Going through my posting history? Man that's desperate.

>you've slyly gone from a position advocating regime change

Even if I have, so what? What am I a politician who broke a promise? Chill, pardonyou? I love how I have a "position" with you, like mefi is this machine where opinions and links go in on one end and heaven forbid there's any change out the other. Or that just because its digital and searchable that the user himself is unchangable.

Classic shooting the messenger mentality here.
posted by skallas at 12:47 PM on March 31, 2003

Going through my posting history? Man that's desperate.

Actually, I wasn't. I was doing a search of the archives for another point being discussed in another thread (specifically, that around this same time in the Afghanistan war there the media was predicting the U.S. would get bogged down in a quagmire). I happened upon the thread and thought it was funny how you alone were suggesting that the U.S. should forcefully remove Hussein from power.

Like I said a few posts above: "In any case, maybe he has a legitimate explanation for his flip-flop -- certainly people can change their opinions." I guess you did -- no shame in that. Many of my opinions have changed, too. But both times your opinions just seemed so concrete, yet they're diametrically opposed.

Not shooting the messenger. Just curious is all.
posted by pardonyou? at 1:56 PM on March 31, 2003

Ah, classic. Predictable. Less than two weeks into this craven little escapade, and already we have the chickenhawk brigade rationalizing for American soldiers as they describe and advocate for crimes against humanity.

I have more breaking news for you: soldiers are trained to kill. They have only one other alternative.

I have some real breaking news for you: American soldiers killing civilians are murderers, pure and simple. And they have plenty of alternatives, including somehow acquiring the moral courage to make their lives into something more than dutiful little followers at the hands of our idiot political leaders.

If we don't allow alternative viewpoints then metafilter will just turn into the left's version of free republic.
posted by jsonic at 7:42 AM PST on March 31


Alarm. Yellow Level DoubleThink Alert. Don your gas masks, the stench is getting pretty intense. The only attempt at editing alternative views is by the usual gang whining ad nauseum about any post that doesn't rally around the flag, trying as usual to stifle any dissent from America's party line. Don't like front page posts that give reasons for America to stop this wretched war? Stop reading them....and go make some front page posts that celebrate whatever you find so very wonderful and inspiring about people killing one another. But stop trying to cowardly dictate content.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 1:56 PM on March 31, 2003

Did this particular "incident" get reported in the mainstream US media? I'm not watching the US network coverage at all (except when they break into other programming with a non-news newsbreak), and I'm only sometimes reading a few major US newspapers online.
Also, could someone who is watching US TV tell me if you think the tenor or manner of the reporting seems to have changed at all? Or is the war still being treated like a patriotic action-adventure reality show/video game?
Do any of the talking-heads shows present strongly anti-war positions?
(BTW I also can't find this particular incident/two-sided ambush/massacre on the website Iraqi Body Count.)
posted by NorthernLite at 4:29 PM on March 31, 2003

No, the major nets won't present any strongly anti-war positions, except as "look at these freakos" pieces.

It's bad for business don't ya know.
posted by zaack at 4:48 PM on March 31, 2003

Me? I think this war is justified.

Care to elaborate on why?

Is it because Hussein is a tyrant, and we are going to install a democracy? Then why are we allied with Saudi Arabia?
Is it because he gassed kurds? Then why are we allied with Turkey, who are responsible for far more kurdish deaths? And wasn't the whole kurd-gassing episode actually done by IRAN?
Is it because of 9/11? Then why are we allied with the country that spawned the 9/11 terrorists, Saudi Arabia?
Is it because we're fighting fundamentalist islam? Then why are we allied with Saudi Arabia, a fundamentalist islamic state, against Iraq, a secular socialist state?

I'm sure you have good answers to all these questions, you just haven't had the opportunity to express them before. Here's your chance to rectify that.
posted by spazzm at 5:10 PM on March 31, 2003

I don't like posting to Iraqfilter, but I wanted to inlcude some information regarding the US media's coverage of civilian deaths.
The Army announced tonight that American soldiers killed seven women and children this afternoon after a vehicle in which they were riding failed to stop when troops from the Third Infantry Division waved them down and fired warning shots.nytimes front page today
I also watched the PBS NewHour tonight ( only real war news analyis, in my opinion ). They had the Vice-Chair of the Chiefs of Staff-Marine guy- talking about the nytimes' case, if not the specific instance related in this post.

Whether or not you disagree with the event, it's not censored. Also see homunculus's link. WaPo isn't IndyMedia. If US citizens are ignorant, it's by choice,.
posted by superchris at 8:00 PM on March 31, 2003

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