Human shields
September 30, 2004 1:17 PM   Subscribe

Is there a link between today's headline: Baghdad Car Bombs Kill 34 Children Receiving Sweets (from American troops) and this Wall Street Journal front page article from September 22th?

"Capt. Ayers took lessons from his fellow captains. In April, Capt. Jesse Beaudin convinced a friend from the U.S. to send backpacks, notebooks and pencils for schoolchildren. Kids mobbed troops for the goods whenever they went out on patrol. "The kids provided security. No one attacked us when we were surrounded by children," Capt. Beaudin says. After hearing about this tactic at the dining hall, Capt. Ayers's men also wrote home requesting school supplies." Non-subscribers can read the WSJ article here
posted by miguelbar (15 comments total)
IMHO, the more likely link is between these two headlines:
Baghdad Car Bombs Kill 34 Children Receiving Sweets

Bush, Kerry Set for Crucial First Debate
posted by mkultra at 2:07 PM on September 30, 2004

Jesus, that's horrible news. They may be linked, if the insurgents noticed troops using kids as cover, but damn that's some cold shit to blow up dozens of kids just to get to a few soldiers.
posted by mathowie at 2:12 PM on September 30, 2004

I'd have to say there is, a smart enemy educates himself on what his enemy is doing, saying and thinking as best he or she can.

That said, its pretty pathetic that they attacked children and equally so that the US forces are using children to shield themselves from terrorists.

Man, Iraq sucks! I think I'm gonna just listen to Bush for updates on how the war is going. He seems to be able to spin everything into a positive.

On Preview: It is some cold shit to kill kids. Where are they going to recruit more terrorists from if they kill off the next generation?
And yes, I'm joking. This is a terrible, terrible tragedy.
posted by fenriq at 2:16 PM on September 30, 2004

Ugh. I thought I had grown more or less inured to the bad news from Iraq, but this just turned my stomach. My god, war really is hell, isn't it?
posted by mr_roboto at 2:39 PM on September 30, 2004

CNN said on air that the soldiers were giving out candy.

If a smart enemy watches and learns, what does a smart soldier do? Maybe the soldiers thought they'd be safer surrounded by kids?
posted by amberglow at 2:51 PM on September 30, 2004

That's very perceptive, amberglow.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:58 PM on September 30, 2004

Sorry about that. I regretted immediately upon posting; maybe I need two previews.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:00 PM on September 30, 2004

Now CNN says it was free candy being given out in honor of the opening of a sewage plant.

Inviting tons of kids to a big target? Shouldn't we be caring about Iraqi kids even if the insurgents aren't?
posted by amberglow at 3:07 PM on September 30, 2004

Amberglow, in a word, yep!

This was a poorly considered strategy and lots of kids died because of it. This will not help.
posted by fenriq at 3:17 PM on September 30, 2004

You'd think after a year of occupation we still wouldn't be so criminally and insanely stupid. I hope to God we didn't actually invite kids there.
posted by amberglow at 3:42 PM on September 30, 2004

Kids are everywhere in Iraq, and they often get killed by both sides for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Obviously the soldier in the linked article made an assumption that was true at one time (We won't be attacked as long as there are children around us). That was a bad decision on his part, children should not be used as shields regardless of its efficacy.

That being said, it's easy to understand there the US troops are coming from-- they're stuck 9,000 miles from home, fighting a war that is increasingly unpopular at home, trying to do their job and stay alive at the same time. The figured if they befriend local children, it can only be a good thing. Well, it also has unintended consequences like today and they share some responsibility.

I'm trying really hard to not shift the blame from the terrorists, but something like "The kids provided security. No one attacked us when we were surrounded by children," seems criminally irresponsible to me, because in the same breath most soldiers can talk about the brutality of the terrorist enemy.
posted by cell divide at 3:52 PM on September 30, 2004

This Knight-Ridder account seems to be one of the more comprensive pieces of reporting on this bombing, and it pulls no punches in gruesome details.
posted by pitchblende at 5:19 PM on September 30, 2004

From pitchblende's link:
"Soldiers had advertised the event with loudspeakers and drawn a large crowd of children by handing out candy, residents said."
What in the hell were they expecting to happen?

What really sucks is that kids are probably the only people in the entire country that genuinely like our troops.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:29 PM on September 30, 2004

Jesus, that's horrible news. They may be linked, if the troops noticed insurgents weren't attacking kids, but damn that's some cold shit to use dozens of kids as a shield against guerillas.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:41 PM on September 30, 2004

Well, from what we have to go on we simply cannot know one way or the other; until we get some further evidence it’s probably not greatly useful speculating on the issue.

Yes, this is a quite revolting occurrence – I’m sure everyone can mirror that sentiment.
posted by ed\26h at 2:18 AM on October 1, 2004

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