Wednesday, November 30, 2005

One Iraqi Said to the Other

Iraqi bloggers generally resist commenting about their fellow Iraqi bloggers. Still, there have been a few occasions when they have addressed issues directly to particular colleagues in the Iraqi blogosphere. You may recall both the ITM brothers and Salam Pax blogging about specific comments that had been made by other fellow Iraqis. But, in general, the Iraqi bloggers have refrained from discussing remarks made by other Iraqis.

Today, however, IraqiPundit has posted a very moderate, even-handed blog entry called Sister Riverbend, in which he speaks directly to several fellow Iraqi bloggers, one of them being the Doleful Dame of Baghdad, Riverbend.
My Iraqi sister, Riverbend, disappoints me when she discusses the current situation in Iraq. I am saddened by her references to the ethnic and religious divisions in the country. Why point out what sect the victims of killings are? It gives the impression that she is more upset when the dead are Sunnis killed by Shiite thugs. I know that she is a good Iraqi and is equally upset when the victims are Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, Kurds and so on, no matter who the killers are. But why would she fall into that pattern that the Westerners insist upon? I don't understand. Our country is known for its rich mix of peoples who respect each other. Why ignore our traditions now? Riverbend knows that Iraqis consider it impolite to discuss who is Sunni and who is Shiite.
For myself, I don't think the verb "disappoints" adequately captures what around two years of exposure to Riverbend's Saturnine orbit has done to me.


Monday, November 28, 2005

Saddam's Torturer: Working In Iraq Interior Ministry

Go to Comments

Go to Update 1: Insurgents targeting children

Go to Update 2: Badr Brigade implicated in Steven Vincent's murder

Certain elements of the Iraq Interior Ministry have recently been to discovered maintaining some pretty ghoulish penal policies. here here Riverbend doesn't seem to remember anything like this happening under Saddam, and was horrified/satisfied to see it happening in New Iraq. Hammorabi, however, does remember how things worked under Saddam and he says (paraphrasing) "good enough for them":

"First we should know whether these detainees are terrorists who perpetrated and executed operation by which they killed innocent Iraqis or political prisoners. The answer is so simple, that in Iraq today there are no political prisoners unlike during Saddam Hussein regime. Therefore those detainees are either criminals who killed the Iraqis or among those who helped them."

Hammorabi says that the whole issue is being blown out of proportion and exploited by elements hostile to the New Iraq, which is true enough (Right? Riverbend & the Jarrar Boys?). On the other hand, Mohammed at Iraq the Model doesn't see it that way.

As for the assassination of a Sunni leader and his son, Riverbend is predictably aghast that there would be reprisals by Shi'a against Sunnis that are harboring and launching murder-suicide bombers against their mosques and on their streets and at their police and government officials; after all, the Shi'a brought it on themselves:

I hate suicide bombers...But I completely understand how people get there.

Ah! Yes! According to Riverbend, reprisal against Saddam's Orphans are the cause of Iraq's chaosmasters, not the other way around. What a clever, twisted, absolutely laughable rationalization. Naturally, political executions are something she doesn't recall happening under her daddy's old boss, Saddam.

But Reuters is reporting on someone who DOES remember all that, intimately, and guess where he works today?

Abu Hussein, a Sunni, works at Iraq's interior ministry dominated by Shi'ites long oppressed under Saddam. Abu Hussein says nobody knows his past but he isn't taking any chances. Wearing a bullet-proof vest and armed with two guns, he longs for the old Iraq...

And what was the Old Iraq like...the one he longs for?

He was one of Saddam's torturer/executioners.

Before executions, of course, there was always the obligatory torturing:

"Sometimes we would hang them upside down and beat their feet with clubs. Or we would electrocute them."

"One of the worst things was putting 10 people in a one-square-metre room for weeks. They had a brief break every day and were allowed the toilet every three days."

...then the executions:

"A firing squad is more compassionate because people usually died immediately. But hanging [reserved for those who had somehow insulted Saddam] is cruel because it can take time to die. If they don't die, we started over again."

They had three executions each Monday and Thursday unless Uday showed up and wanted to see more productivity. "A new batch of political prisoners was brought in without charge every week."

Many of his fellow executioners fled Iraq after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, fearful that prisoners or their families would seek revenge for their suffering at Abu Ghraib...

But it wasn't his fault:

"We would have been killed on the spot [for disobeying orders]. One time this executioner was one hour late in hanging someone and he was himself hanged. What could we do? All of this had a toll on us."

Not that he isn't anxious to get back on that gallows as soon as Saddam's returns:

"It felt terrible but I am willing to hang and torture again...I am ready to return to my job if Saddam comes back."

And although he is taking part in the New Iraq, he shares something with the people who didn't wait to be oppressed before they took up arms against their country:

"I know they will set Saddam free. He is a strong man with a brain like a computer."

"Only Saddam can save us...Saddam taught us about force. He is a strong personality."

"I cry every time I think that he is on trial. I pray for his strength and freedom. Saddam must come back to rule Iraq."

This is where the rubber meets the road. Do I like it that Interior Ministry has criminals that operate as gangs inside Iraq? Absolutely not. The sooner they are caught and tried the better. What about elements of the IM operating torture cabins? No. Iraq cannot progress beyond the possibility of another Saddam with such tactics being conscienced. What about US soldiers committing crimes in Abu Ghraib or in Ramadi? I say, "Try them and punish them appropriately for whatever they have done."

But whatever your opinion about such things and what should be done to end them, you cannot consider them absent the vileness and ruthlessness of the Saddam Orphans and Islamists who wage war-- not on the foreign forces in Iraq at the pleasure of the elected government --but on the Iraqi people, on NGO workers, on poll workers, and on anyone too weak to defend themselves. Whatever you think about the Iraqi police, or even the most Islamic SCIRI representative, their families became targets of those human crocodiles as soon as they started working for the new democratically elected government of Iraq...long before they did any of the famous things we don't like.

I'm not defending gang-like behavior, but if you read that Iraqi police are overly brutal in hunting out the terrorists in their midsts, consider what is on the line for them: To the enemy, they are traitorous apostates and turncoat deviants and souless puppets. There is no going back for them. Their parents, siblings, wives, and children are already considered reasonable targets even among the majority in Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Iran, and especially Syria, let alone by the enemy.

The Sunni Arabs are a small minority in Iraq-- they apparently don't think so, but I'm convinced they are. They better stop shaking their tiny fists at the sporadic injustices done to them and expunge the criminal elements among them before the Shi'a and Kurds lose patience and exact a ethnic purge of the Anbar province. Do they think the US forces will be able to save them then? They won't.


In case I haven't hammered this home enough, here's a report on bomb-rigged dolls captured from the so-called "resistance", "...the same type of doll as that was handed out on several occasions by US soldiers to children."


A murder-suicide bomber "blew up his car outside a hospital south of Baghdad on Thursday while U.S. troops handed out candy and food to children, killing 30 people and wounding about 40, including four Americans."

(hat tip to CounterColumn for both of these and he also points out that the NYTs article on the atrocity failed to report that the US troops were passing out candy and food to children during the murder-suicide attack. As I urged here, when you hear of a soldier injured or killed, ask yourself what they were doing at the time. Clearly the NYT doesn't consider it noteworthy.)


"A security source" says that local Basra authorities are investigating Iranian spies who entered the country "to issue directives on the killing of several Basra citizens, including several journalists". The source claims that the information gathered could implicate the Badr Organisation [the military arm of SCIRI] in the murder "of the American journalist and writer Steven Vincent".
(hat tip to Fayrouz with an excellent post on the subject)

The Cat T View: Fay And Sami: Cool Iraqi-Canadian Cats For Democracy

The Iraqi-Canadian Cats (counterclockwise): Fay, Sami, Fay, Fay - Courtesy of Tiki's Imagination

A New Trend is sweeping across North America: Naming Cats after Iraqi/Kurdish Bloggers. And that's the case, appropriately enough, with Fay
and Sami, the new Canadian Feline Sensations, who recently emigrated to Canada from Iraq, thanks to Operation Happy Collar and the Canadian Justice Department. The Canadian-Iraqi Cat Tandem sat down with IBC's Mister Ghost recently and shared their thoughts on a wide variety of subjects dear to their Kitty Hearts.

It's The Cat T View: Fay And Sami: Cool Iraqi-Canadian Cats For Democracy

MG: Fay and Sami, How are you two frisky felines doing?

Fay & Sami: We're doing so well Mister Ghost in our new Canadian home, we won't scratch your eyes out.

MG: That is good to hear. Is it okay to pet you two?

Fay: Did you wash your hands?

Sami: Let me sniff your behind before I trust you to pet me.

MG: Being Iraqis yourself, which Iraqi Blogger(s) would you like to be petted by?

Fay: Definitely my namesake Fay. Everbody Loves Fay. Didn't they name a TV show after her?

Sami: Sam from Hammorabi. He likes to smack Cock-a-rooches and so do I.

MG: What's the major difference between living in Canada and living in Iraq?

Fay: People here in Canada are always hugging
Maple Trees. We don't have Maple Trees in Iraq,
just date trees, and if you try to hug them, the dates will fall on your head.

Sami: The rats are bigger here. They call them Moose or something.

MG: What do you Miss most about Iraq?

Sami: The nice Litterbox Sand. Iraq has the nicest sand. The whole country is a Giant Litterbox. You can't top that.

Fay: My Mother.

Sami; Yes, and our Mother.

MG: Tell me about your Mother? You are Orphans, is the Loss Painful?

Fay & Sami: She was the greatest. She use to bring us mice and masgoof, which is barbecued fish. Yummy. We could drink her milk all day. Then it was all taken away. She was on her way home from the kindly Grocer in Ninawah, Mosul who left out food for her every day, and then a Mean Terrorist blew up an IED. Mom was caught in the explosion. She dragged herself home to say goodbye to us and then she was gone.

Mom's last words to us were, "Behave and Be Good Kitties. Make your Mama Proud of You." Then, we were in shock, and homeless, out on the streets by ourselves. It was a rough life. We were lucky that a kind woman from a Canadian NGO in Mosul found us, and 3 months later we were in peaceful Canada.

MG: Will there ever be Peace in Iraq and would you like to go back?

Fay & Sami: Some day, we hope we can return to see our Cousins in Baghdad and Mosul. We have quite a few of them. We hope they are okay and not playing with the scorpions. Our cousins, if you're reading this Cat T View: "Don't Play With the Scorpions!" That's what Mom always use to tell us.

MG: Let's talk a little Geo-Politics, How would you Contain an Expansionist Totalitarian Regime
in Iran?

Sami: Bomb them with catnip.

Fay: I'd teach all the Iranian cats the proper way to use a litter box. Good Litter Box Etiquette works wonders for your morale.

MG: What does Love Mean to you two?

Fay: Love means never having to return a flea collar. They're like an engagement ring in the
cat world.

Sami: Yuck, Love Yuck, that's girly kitty stuff. Give me one of them Big Canadian Moose Rats to hunt
any day.

MG: They say that "All Dogs Go To Heaven." Does that mean all cats go to Hell?

Fay: That's Dog Propaganda.

Sami: Cat's go to heaven and boss around the dogs. Sometimes we kick them out of heaven and laugh as their tails get singed in Hell. "Ha ha ha evil stupid dog, your tail is on fire."

MG: Is there a God?

Fay & Sami: Yes the All Powerful Cat is watching down upon us all from his Giant Scratching Post
in the Sky

MG: Is there a Devil?

Fay: There is a Devil Dog.

Sami: Yes, the Devil Dog lives in the Dog House of Hell. That's why most Cats are so well behaved, because you don't want to end up in that Dog House. That's for sure.

MG: Why do Canadian Cats Sleep so much?

Fay & Sami: In Canada, everyone has a big cup of Cocoa at 9 PM and falls asleep. So we wouldn't want to disturb them by playing around. Good Kitties are well mannered.

MG: What is your Favorite Food these days?

Sami: Turkey & Giblets, but hold the cranberry sauce.

Fay: A Big Ol' Can of Tuna Fish in olive oil. It helps keep my fur shiny and tastes yummy.

MG: Fay & Sami, Where can we learn more about you two?

Fay & Sami: You can learn more about us -- if Mr. Tiki ever updates his Blog -- at Tiki's Imagination.

MG: Thanks very much Fay and Sami for a Nice
Cat T View and Final Question: Have you two ever seen a Ghost?

Fay & Sami; We see ghosts all the time. We're animals. We have a Sixth Sense. Evil Kitties and Dogs have 666 senses. Lololol.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving, It's November's Part II of the Largest Iraqi-Kurdish Bloggers Update in the Blogosphere

Sassafras: The Herbal Tea of The Wampanoags and Pilgrims This Thanksgiving Day - Photo & Manipulation by MG

Happy Thanksgiving, It's November's Part II of the Largest Iraqi-Kurdish Bloggers Update in the Blogosphere

has not departed the Blogosphere. She's still posting at Iraqi in America and recently
had Thanksgiving Dinner (lots of photos) with the Alabama-Coushatta Indians, a tribe of Indians that
originally lived in Baghdad under Saddam's Big Wigwam and moved to Texas, when Saddam revoked their Gambling and Gaming licence to run the Big Ziggaraut Casino on the Tigris. Well, maybe not.

MEDYA NEEDS YOUR PRAYERS. I'm not sure I can discuss more of this, but Medya could use your Well Wishes of Good Luck, because if things go right, he could be making a big move to a Happier and Freer Place. So, Good Luck to Medya, who with Piling have formed the new Kurdish Blog:
Roj Bash! which means Good Morning in Kurdish.

And Medya is in the news again at the KBU , as Kurdo charges Medya with sending him and other KBU members an Angry E Mail:

Medya sent me an email full of "swearing" and shameful words. I am sure if you also receive such an email you would not want to be part of that...the email was at the same time sent to all the members of KBU..if you want send me an email I will forwad it for you to so that you decide yourself :)

Sadly, there has been a split at KBU and Kurdo details it:

Taking this opportunity, I would like to announce that the Kurdistan Bloggers Union has acheived its goals in the Northern Iraq Project and we no later support this project. This is an official announcement.

The KBU breakaways are Medya, Piling, and I think Delal and have created their new blog which we warmly accept and wish them success.
Delal described the blog as a "rival", I don't know if there is the need of using this term because we at the KBU do not compete with anyone else. We help others and not compete.

Delal goes on to say "the infighting between the two projects is lamentable", I was quite surprised at this sentence. There is no infighting in KBU. We all agree on respect and especially the respect of others opinions and identities. If a Kurd wants to be recognised as an Iraqi that is his or her choice, and vice versa.

We all agree on respect, but what we don't agree on is that members sending emails to others starting with "boil to your a double s" and finishing with "shame on your dignity". We do not accept attacking follow Kurdish bloggers because they call themsleves "Iraqis". This is their right. Anyone wishing to join this path of disrespect and ultra-natoinalism and neofacism are welcomed to leave this blog and anyone wishing to be treated with respect are welcomed to stay.

Delal takes issue with Kurdo's comments:

To be honest I was completely shocked by this post. I have not chosen to leave KBU and I resent the implication that I have. In fact in the emails sent between the leadership of this blog, I have ALWAYS been supportive of the continued collaborative effort found here.

As to my comments/article on Global Voices, my purpose there is to objectively cover the postings of other Kurdish bloggers...I would like to ask how exactly would you cover the recent events on this blog? I believe that my comments were as objective and truthful as possible, and I do not appreiciate you twisting my words to make it sound as if I am promoting hate or infighting within this group.

As regards US - Kurdish relations, which sometimes generates a bit of criticism in Kurdish blogs such as Kurdo's and the KBU, Charles Chapman suggests to the Kurds to not bite the hand that feeds them:

Fourthly, and I mean this to be a positive suggestion, please don't "bite the hand that feeds you." Yes, the U.S. wants to maintain the territorial integrity of Iraq as a buttress to Iran and to prevent Shiite Iraq from joining Iran in a larger, theocratic Shiite state (which I don't think would be good for the Kurds in the long run). However, I don't think it is fair to refer to the U.S. as a "colonial power." The bottom line is that the U.S. established the no-fly zone and eventually, if belatedly, overthrew Sadam. Without the U.S. there would be no autonomous region in Iraqi Kurdistan. We're spending a lot of money, and losing a lot of people, and people are beginning to ask, "for what?" The great advantage the Kurds have right now is that U.S. citizens believe that out of all the groups in Iraq the Kurds actually like us, appreciate what we did, want to be our allies, and want to be our friends. (In contrast, the perception is we liberated the Shiites only to be unappreciated and disrespected.) Don't risk that that good will. In that regard the current ad campaign is very smart.

As you're reading this, Iraqi Journalist Baghdad Treasure will have already departed Baghdad for a Big Journey across Four Continents before touching down in the United States, where he'll conduct a Sit Down Interview in a Hot Tub with Hillary Clinton, our Next President after Hell freezes over and the Devil goes ice skating.

Meanwhile, fellow Iraqi Reporter 24 Steps To Liberty continues to bring us his recollections of his own American Odyssey.

That Average Iraqi Hassan gives us three reasons why the US shouldn't leave Iraq just quite yet:

First: There are still many armed militias in Iraq. No country can prosper and grow with such militias in it. Like the Mahdi Army, Badr Brigade, Terrorist factions and even the Kurdish Besh Merga. . These militias have to be disbanded. Either peacefully or by means of arms. The US army would prove to be most useful in this I think. The Iraqi army may be trained well, but from what I have seen, they are way behind in equipment. They roam the cities in civilian pick-up trucks, and SUVs (Sport Utility Vehicles, or as we call them 4WD in Iraq) that are not even bullet prove.

Second: With no powerful government in command. And the many disagreements and infighting between the Iraqi politicians. Civil war might stir up when there is no unchallengeable power force in Iraq. Like the US army. In which I hope we can replace by the Iraqi Army in the future. As there is no question that we cannot rely on the US army much longer. As probably it is the main reason all this violence has started in the first place.

Third: Iraqi is simply not ready yet.
What is done is done. It won't do anything to disscuss whether the American ivasion of Iraq was right or not. We can only go on from here, the question is how do we go on. I know many Iraqis are going to disagree, Najma will be the first, American liberals will too. I know I have objected to what the US is doing in Iraq now. But I will object too if they leave now, guess I am hard to satisfy after all.

I could call Faiza Jarrar a Stupid Old Cow, but let's let her own words convict her. And Jesus, she rambles on. Faiza, sum up your insanity in one paragraph please.

Soonie looks at the Political Parties in the upcoming Iraqi Election:

. Almost all the political powers will participate in the elections and this hopefully means a balanced National Assembly

· All the big entities came apart for smaller and I can say distinguished entities. Most of the liberals left the "United Alliance" (the biggest Shia bloc in the assembly) and this is what made the Alliance make a new partnership with Muqtada al-Sadir and its obvious that " the radicals becoming more radical". That was on the Shia side

· On the Sunni side there are good changes too since they are not all "Islamic" now and there is a new branch I can't say liberal "even if they acclaim so" but at least they are not a religious party and they will take a good share of the votes.

· The liberals are stronger this round and much more organized and they are trying a new concept that I will call "a flower from every garden", they have organized their slate to make room for everyone ( Shia, Sunni, communists even old Ba'ath members)

Morbid Smile has
nice pics of the Southern Iraqi Marsh Land and its people that convey a sense of Oriental Romanticism
of days gone by.

Sami speaks of the occlusionary (that may not
be a word) vision of the Arabic World after the Jordanian Bombings:

rhetoric that is going around in the arabic media and among the people......

Zionist/Imperialist plot to destroy the arabic world and arab nation one by one... palestine, iraq, lebanon and now jordan.

They look and talk to me like I am stupid, cause I don't believe in conspiracy theories. They don't realise that to me its not the race or the person that commits the crime that matters. Its finding them and punishing them. The fact that people blame certain races or people helps create this sense of anxiety and doesn't help.

The fact is that in my lifetime I doubt that people will in the Arabic world and by that I mean the majority, understand the threat of the people that exist among them with extreme views. Its no use blaming others for creating and aiding them in the past. Its a feeling of helplessnes to be honest. Thats why I haven't really been writing cause its not exactly positive when you have the sort of activities on going now in the part of the world you live in.

Pharmacist of the Future Nabil is busy with his college exams.

Ibn_ALRAFIDAIN last talked about the Jordanian Bombings.

Nancy from Beth-Nahrain who's into Mud Baths and Kinky Seven Foot Swedes with Mongolian Ferrets wishes all American Foot Fetishists a Happy Thanksgiving.

There may be some fictionalized material in the previous statement.

Dr. "Truth-Teller" was so very excited over the news of the US's alleged misuse of White Phosphorous in Fallujah.

Who's he kidding? He brushes his teeth every day with white phosphorous. He's got the cleanest pair of choppers in the entire Middle East and you can beam a laser off them and have it reach the moon.

Cats, Cats, Cats, and no Rats. It's Raghda.


Ays at Iraq at a glance hasn't been heard from since October 17.

Ferid missing in action since August 27.

Husayn at Democracy in Iraq has been gone since July 19.

Rose is AWOL since September 5th.

Is Zarqawi hiding out with HNK of the Jihad-Supporting Family in Mosul? Missing since October 22nd.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Need Something To Be Grateful For?

In the US tomorrow, everyone traditionally gets together to knock off a turkey and be grateful for what they have. Well, this post is devoted to some things Americans have to be grateful for. Here are some reasons to say "thank you."

Also, next time you hear on the news that "X number of soldiers or Marines or Iraqi forces were killed today", ask yourself a question that the TV and print media will never answer:

What were they doing when they were killed? What was their mission? What were trying to accomplish?

The following are little windows to the answer to that quesiton:

Col. James Coffman (Army)
Distinguished Service Cross
On 14 November 2004 in Mosul, Col Coffman was the Senior Advisor to the 1st Iraqi Special Police Commando Brigade. At this time a Commando platoon was under attack from insurgents at Four West Police Station. Col Coffman led a Quick Reaction Force to reinforce them. (Remember that this occurred after the Battle of Fallujeh, when the terrorists flushed out of that pit went on a rampage against Mosul). As they got close to the action, they suddenly came under combined fire of RPGs, mortar rounds, and machinegun and AK-47 fire. The battle would last for four hours, as Coffman and the Iraqi commandos repulsed attack after attack. In the end, the fight was as close as 20m. During the battle, all save one of the Iraqi Commando officers were killed or badly wounded. Coffman needed to reorganized the commandos for an impromtu defense, but he didn't speak Arabic and most of the commandos did not speak English. Using hand signals, Coffman directed them in what he wanted them to do. Coffman was hit by round in his hand that also destroyed his M4 weapon, so he bandaged his hand and then picked up an AK47 of one of the commando casuaties, firing it one-handed until it was out of ammo. He and the remaining Iraqi officer redistributed the clips among their uninjured men. Soon even that ran out. So Coffman put magazines between his legs and loaded them with loose bullets with his one good hand as the assault went on and on.

Finally, after four hours Iraqi commando reinforcements arrived and Coffman continued to direct them in the fight, refusing to be evacuated. This was a good thing, because when the US helocopters arrived and a Stryker Brigade QRF, Coffman could identify the enemy and friendly positions. After the battle in which 12 commandos were killed and 42 wounded (at times up to 50% casualties), Coffman refused to leave the scene until all the Iraqis, including those in the beseiged police station were evacuted.

Coffman was given the chance to receive his Distinguished Service Cross in the US among his friends and family, but he chose to receive it in Iraqi among the men he fought with because "In my mind, it’s more for the Iraqis." At the ceremony, Iraq’s Minister of Interior, Bayan Jabr said:

"Col. Coffman, the blood you shed will never be forgotten. We, the forces of the (Ministry of Interior) and the (Ministry of Defense) will continue to fight until we defeat terrorism. Right will always defeat wrong.”

Master Sgt Donald Hollenbaugh (Army)
Distinguished Service Cross
On April 26, 2004 in the first battle of Fallujah, Mstr Sgt Hollenbaugh was a team leader in Urban Combat Operations. There was little I could find on his actions except that during one of the most intensive firefights of the entire war his platoon's position was in danger of being overrun. He "personally eliminated multiple enemy-controlled weapon positions" and was "essential in turning the tide of the enemy's ground-force assault".

Cpt Brent Morel &
Sgt Willie Copeland III
Navy Cross
On April 7, 2004, Cpt Morel was in the second vehicle in a fifteen vehicle convoy to set up an FOB. Somewhere west of Baghdad, an RPG knocked out their lead vehicle, right in front of Cpt Morel. Machine gun fire began ripping into Sgt. Copeland's vehicle and then a mortar disabled it for good. Under the heaviest barrage, Cpt Morel, Sgt Copeland, and four other Marines took out across an exposed field against the assailants. It is not clear how many there were among the insurgents: somewhere between 40 to 60. They pushed on through a canal and up a 10 ft berm to the enemy's position on the other side. Moving into close range they engaged the enemy with grenades and rifles. Sgt Copeland saw Cpt Morel fall critically wounded at his side. But Copeland continued to lead the other Marines, until ten insurgents were put down and the rest high-tailed. Sgt Copeland told the other Marines to stay where they were in cover while he shielded Cpt Morel with his own body, applied first aid to him, and carried him to safety. Then he returned and extracted the rest of the team using hand grenades for cover. Copeland stayed with Cpt Morel until an armored Humvee arrived to take him to the hospital. Cpt. Morel was pronounced dead upon arrival.

Cpl Marco Martinez (USMC)
Navy Cross
On 12 April, 2003 (just days after the fall of Saddam's regime), while rushing to reinforce his ambushed platoon, Cpl Martinez's team came under fire and his squad leader was wounded. He led his squad through the tree line where the ambush originated. They advanced securing one enemy position after another all the while under fire from a nearby building. Cpl Martinez launched a discarded enemy RPG into the building, suppressing the enemy fire and permitting a wounded Marine to be evacuated. Then the shooting started again from the building, BY HIMSELF he assaulted and entered the building and killed four enemy insurgents with a rifle and grenade.

Sgt Scott Montoya (USMC)
Navy Cross
On 8 April 2003, in the streets of Baghdad, Sgt Montoya's sniper team came under heavy fire, but they could not be sure exactly from where. He rallied his team to return fire. Then he noticed a wounded Iraqi civilian in a disabled car in the road right in the middle of the firefight. Through a rain of bullets, Montoya ran into the street and dragged the man out of harm. Then he returned to the fight. He saw another Marine in the street, wounded, trying to drag himself to cover. Montoya ran back into the street and carried him to safety. Then he saw another wounded Marine in the street. Back he went, paying no mind to the gunfire, and carried the second Marine to cover. Another Marine went down in the street, completely incapacitaed. Into the street for the fourth time, he rescued the unconscious Marine. Soon he was back in that open street rescuing a Marine dazed from a nearby explosion. Then Montoya helped evacuate the wounded and the other members of his team to safety.

Pfc Joseph Perez (USMC)
Navy Cross
On 4th April, 2003, as point man for the lead squad, Pfc Perez led the charge under fire into a trench and wiped out the enemy there with his M16 and a grenade. Still under heavy fire, he destroyed a machine gun bunker with an AT-4 rocket. As he engaged the enemy, his squad was able to assault and seize the bunker. Then his squad began to work their way to another platoon on their left flank, as Perez took out enemy combatants on the way. But soon they were pinned down again by enemy fire, and Pfc Perez received bullet wounds in his torso and shoulder. But was able to direct his fellow Marines' return fire so that they were able to reorganize and defeat the combatants.

1st Lt Brian Chontosh (USMC)
Navy Cross
On 25 March 2003. Lt Chontosh's platoon moved into a coordinated ambush of mortars, rocket propelled grenades, and automatic weapons fire, catching them in a kill zone. He commanded his the driver of his humvee to charge the entrenched machine gun firing on them, as the soldier manning the mounted .50 caliber weapon took them out. Then he directed the vehicle into the enemy trench, got out and charged the enemy with a M16 and 9mm pistol. When his ammunition ran out he picked up an AK47 and continued his assault. When that one ran out , he picked up another one. A Marine following him found an enemy RPG and he used it to destroy another pocket of the enemy. In the end Lt Chontosh cleared over 200m of territory and killed over 20 of the enemy aside from those he wounded.

1s SGT Justin Lehew (USMC)
Navy Cross
On 23 March 2003, after pushing 2.5 km into enemy lines to rescue the famous Jessica Lynch Army unit that had been ambushed, all the while under enemy fire, 1st Sgt Justin's Lehew's unit of amphibious assault vehicles (AAVs) were immediately commanded to take a bridge in An Nasiriyah. On the way, a white van pulled in front of them and fired a RPG, which they swerved and avoided. They arrived at the bridge alone.

"Once we got on top of the bridge it got quiet for a minute. Then all at once it seemed like Armageddon opened up from all angles of the streets."

An ambulance sped toward them. After warning shots were to no avail they opened fire on it. Searching it, they found six armed men in in black (the uniform of the Fedayeen Saddam). Then cars began speeding toward a weapons stockpile under the bridge, black clad Iraqis jumping out of the cars. RPGs were being fired out of cars and the windows and doorways of a nearby building. Lehew said,

"Swarms of Iraqis started converging on our positions. There had to have been hundreds...They were using women holding babies as spotters, but we had to hold the bridge at all costs."

Eventually, some Marine tanks showed up, and Lehew directed them to fire at the building where some of the RPGs were coming from. The tanks leveled the building. Then things got really bad....

BTW the tactics Sgt Lehew describes being used by the Fedayeen Saddam are particularly vile. For a side to use an ambulance as a war assault vehicle strips all ambulances of their protection under the Geneva Convention within the theater of the war. To say nothing of infant-carrying women acting as spotters. That is why using such tactics are war crimes.

Hospitalman 3rd Class Luis Fonseca jr. (USMC)
Navy Cross
On March 23, 2003, during the battle of An Nasiriyah, corpman Fonseca was assigned an AAV for evacuating battle casualties. He received a call that five Marines were wounded when their AAV was hit by an RPG. Arriving at the broken vehicle, still under fire, Fonseca leapt from his vehicle and took cover among the wounded and began to treat them. Then he looked up an saw U.S. Air Force A-10 “Warthog” mistakenly dropping cluster bombs him and other Marine positions.

“I saw … you know how bottle rockets sparkle? It was like that.”

Fonseca and other Marines dragged the five wounded Marines onto the AAV, and were immediately hit with "at least" three RPGs. But reinforcements soon arrived and Fonseca was able to evacuate the wounded by AAV and helocopter. All survived.

Is Iraq a lost cause? The Iraqi public and the US soldiers in Iraq don't think so. Who is right?

"47% of Iraqis polled said their country was headed in the right direction, as opposed to 37% who said they thought that it was going in the wrong direction. And 56% thought things would be better in six months. Only 16% thought they would be worse.
"...64% of military officers are confident that we will succeed in establishing a stable democracy in Iraq. The comparable figures for journalists and academics are 33% and 27%, respectively...Although both the Army and the Marine Corps are having trouble attracting fresh recruits — no surprise, given the state of public opinion regarding Iraq — reenlistment rates continue to exceed expectations. Veterans are expressing their confidence in the war effort by signing up to continue fighting.
"For all the insurgents' attempts to sabotage the Iraqi economy...per capita income has doubled since 2003 and is now 30% higher than it was before the war. Thanks primarily to the increase in oil prices, the Iraqi economy is projected to grow at a whopping 16.8% next year. According to Brookings' Iraq index, there are five times more cars on the streets than in Saddam Hussein's day, five times more telephone subscribers and 32 times more Internet users. The growth of the independent media — a prerequisite of liberal democracy — is even more inspiring. Before 2003 there was not a single independent media outlet in Iraq. Today, Brookings reports, there are 44 commercial TV stations, 72 radio stations and more than 100 newspapers."

Iranian-Kurd Medya provided some impressive geo-political analysis in his last blog entry. The month of Ramadan is based on the phases of the moon. But Iran has announced a starting date for Ramadan that is unique to all other Muslim countries. Why? Medya knows:

"Don't you think announcing [a separate starting date for Ramadan] is related to politics? [The Iranian] government wants to see how loyal his followers are: for example in Iraq, Moqtada al-Sadr also didn't announce today as a holy day and obeyed Iran's calendar. But Sistani said it is holy day! It is like a competition, Iran wants to show it can announce another day as a holy day and people will obey it. While scientifically it must be holy day here too because both sides of Iran [Iraq and Afghanistan] have seen the moon, by science, if both Afghanstian and Iraq have seen the moon then Iranian people who are is between Iraq and Afghanistan can see the moon too ."

Verrrry insightful. I think his analysis is dead on too. Remember this, next time you read a blogger who claims Sistani (with his thick Persian accent) is a tool of the Iranian mullahs. Meanwhile, there is no doubt who is buttering al-Sadr's toast.

Medya also provides a glimpse into the bizarre knots religious busy-bodies inevitably lead us:

Student 1: Some of the mullahs had announced today as holiday but the Supreme Leader [of Iran] didn't announce it today

Student 2: Yeah, I don't know why they don't use telescopes to watch moon to find out.

Student 1: well I heard some of the mullahs say it is Haram to use a telescope. You should see the moon by your own eye.

Well, I'm no howsa graduate, but I don't recall the place in the Quran where using a telescope to determine the start of Ramadan is forbidden. But apparently watching the moon at all is useless. It is more fruitful to point your telescope at Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Photo-Journalism Tribute To Canadian-Iranian Journalist Zahra Kazemi


A Photo-Journalism Tribute to the Beautiful Zahra Kazemi, who was literally tortured to death in 2003 by Iranian authorities in Tehran; and to Muslim Women worldwide who won't be silenced!

Zahra Kazemi (1948 - 2003)

Born as Zahra Kazemi in Shiraz, Iran, on the first day of Autumn, 1948
Two years later her parents renamed her Ziba...

How Kazemi was Murdered
The Ottawa Citizen, Michael Petrou
"The murder of Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi in Iran has been shrouded in denial and speculation -- until now. In exclusive interviews, other dissidents reveal what happened inside Tehran's notorious Evin prison last June.

TEHRAN - Heshmatollah Tabarzadi will never forget Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi screaming in a nearby cell...

Before & After in Iran

The Silent Muslim Majority is the Problem
By Nonie Darwish | January 7, 2005
For Canadian Coalition for Democracies

I am overwhelmed with sadness over the state of the Muslim world. I am looking at the photograph of an Iranian woman about to be stoned to death in Iran, buried to her waste in dirt to keep her from running away.
A few weeks ago, I read about a 14 year-old Iranian boy who died after receiving 85 lashes for the `sin' of eating in public in the month of Ramadan. Salah Uddin Choudhury has been in prison for one year in Bangladesh for the `crime' of urging his nation to recognize Israel and advocating interfaith dialogue among equals as well as warning against the growing power of Islamists in Bangladesh.

What are Muslim community activists in America doing about their homegrown brutal human rights violations? They are silent.

The picture of the stoned woman has been seen by some Muslims I know in the Middle East and also fellow Americans, Christians and Jews. The first reaction by the Muslims was "what did she do?" while the first reaction by Americans was "How could this happen?"...
"...They are silent in the face of Muslim poverty, corruption, neglect of human rights, oppression of women, honor killings and the brutal and unusual punishments such as cutting off limbs, flogging and stoning. They are not using American freedoms as an opportunity to change their countries of origin, but as an opportunity to influence and change America to be like the countries they came from. Their goal is also to keep Muslim-Americans under their control and the control of Muslim world mullahs, sheiks and dictators they should have left behind...."

What Will It Be by Deeyah

Irshad Manji, best-selling author of The Trouble with Islam Today, October 24, 2005 "Friends and Foes: I’m devoting this special edition of to Deeyah, a young Muslim singer and musician who has a maverick message for us all. Months ago, Deeyah emailed me out of the blue....

Lyrics of What Will It Be by Deeyah:
Verse 1):
Does the truth only come from the top of a holy man’s spire?
From three paces back, covered head to toe?
Are the rules just for the masses and written just for show?
Pre chorus):
Where the beat goes -- nobody knows
Where the street goes -- nobody knows
Do you stand up, lay down or follow?...

See and hear it all, beautiful photography, lyrics, video at MUSLIM REFUSNICK

Photo Sources:

Globle & Mail Frontpage
: Kazemi, - CAN

Veiled women : Iran va Jahan
Context: "Tehran - Iranian women can now demand divorces from husbands who are alcoholics or drug addicts, one of ... "

Human Cruelty: The photograph with The Iranian Woman about to be stoned to death has been everywhere around the Net, unfortunately I was unable to trace the origin. Perhaps one of the readers could would know.

Deeyah / Irshad & Friends :
Irshad, Deeyah and Donya at Muslim Refusnik

Lectrice du Nord de l'Iraq by Zahra Kazami :

Silence Off : Yvon Goulet / Montage: D.C.

This post was originally published in an unedited form at the site Search.



Website in Memory of Ziba Zahra Kazemi: Biography, Gallery, Ziba`s Article, Report, Foundation...

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Blood Just Won't Come Off Sites's Hands

Nothing has angered me more than Kevin Sites's cheap-shot reporting of the shooting of the terrorist in the mosque during Operation Phantom Fury (Fallujah II, November 2004). Several times now Sites has tried to explain himself while everyone can plainly see what kind of person he is. Sites was willing to play judge and jury against a Marine in the middle of a bloody battle. He sold his soul for his 15 minutes of fame.

Now Sites is working for Yahoo with his "Hotzone" and again tries to wash the blood from his hands by returning to Fallujah one year later to talk about ... yeah ... you guessed it ... HIMSELF. The comments are pouring in fast and furious, the majority of them being, to use Sites's phrase, "brutally honest." Commenter Noldsy writes:
I find it ironic that you refer to the marines you are now with as "your unit" when I am certain that they would greatly prefer you were nowhere near them. You showed them just how much a part of their unit you were last year with the 3/1 when you allowed your video to be "taken out of context" as you put it. It sounded to me -- and I got a first hand account from a marine who was there and knew you -- that you hightailed it home just as soon as you'd captured your sensationalized mosque story. You were not there to support or report the truth. You were looking for your one big story, and the shooting in the mosque was your perfect opportunity. You allowed the story to be used as it was -- possibly pitched it that way. You betrayed the 3/1, our country and yourself.
Commenter Alisa takes Sites's article apart point by point:
First, you describe a Marine reading his Bible and discussing it with a fellow Marine. Do you use that conversation to demonstrate that these soldiers are intelligent, thoughtful individuals? No, your take home point is that "King David's pride made him turn from God." Trying to slide in a little subtext are we?....a little analogy to America and her pride perhaps? However, I would have forgiven you those little subliminal messages.

Your slanderous implications concerning our Marines "opening body bags and taking photo- graphs of the dead Iraqi's contained in" them is too much for me to forgive.
Of course you told this story though the voice of 'another Marine' and had him condemn their actions. With this you have implied that our soldiers are so crazy (in need of help is the way you so eleoquently put it) and blood-thirsty that they are snapping pictures of dead Iraqis to what........line their lockers??????? Knowing how the Islamic faith feels about treatment of their dead....what were you hoping for......Another controversy perhaps??? Another 15 minutes of fame perhaps?

Listen if you are the conscientious reporter you claim to be you will apologize to them.. Those individuals were simply doing the normal documentation of casualties. This documentation is done to insure that these terrorist were in fact killed in battle and not any other (i.e. being set on fire and hung from a bridge like our contractors) It also allows anyone (the Iragi government, the U.S. government or even relatives) to identify specific individuals without having to open every body bag, they can just look through a file. You also implied that our soldiers are so ashamed that they "cringe when the American people say thank you".

Last but not least, you intimated that these soldiers you're "supporting" are shooting 'old unarmed men' AND leaving them to die when they are still breathing!!!! Didn't you say that two Americans had just been wounded in that same area? So there was an active battle going but what???? some poor "old unarmed" civilian just decided at that exact time to go for a stroll.? You know as well as I do that young or old the only folks left in that part of the city at that particular time were hard core terrorist.

I think your [conscience] is bothering you, hence you keep explaining yourself. Meanwhile we have you " bravely carrying your burden" and being "brutely honest". I think ...You are just brutal -- forget the honest part.
Alisa is very good at showing how reporters work in their messages between the lines through selection of detail. When you read that passage about the Marines reading the Bible, you'll clearly see how Sites has manipulated that scene.

I used to follow Kevin Sites's reporting from Iraq and I respected him. What he did in Fallujah, however, was a low as it gets. He could not have done a better job of smearing the Marines than if he had been in the employ of Zarqawi.

Bing West, who was also reporting from Fallujah during Operation Phanton Fury, writes in his "No True Glory":

That afternoon [November 15, 2004] the television networks showed the video of the Marine shooting the wounded insurgent inside the mosque. Al Jazeera played the clip every hour. The terrorists had provided a video of the execution of Margaret Hassan, but Al Jazeera refused to air it, knowing that it would provoke outrage against the insurgents. Instead Al Jazeera posted side by side a photo of Hassan and a picture of the Marine aiming his rifle, suggesting they were the twin sides of terror. (pp. 314-15)


Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Long View

I was reading some comments over at Sami's blog -- An Iraqi's Thoughts -- when I saw that one of our regular commenters Louise had stopped by to comment. After reading Sami's somber blog entry called Not in My Lifetime, Louise wrote this:
Sami, you are still young. Take it from someone who is in her 56th year. Sometimes you'll be amazed at what can be accomplished and how much change can sweep through a society in one person's lifetime.

In my lifetime I have witnessed the American Civil Rights Movement, which ushered in tremendous change in the way White Americans and others viewed people of African descent, which paved the way for Martin Luther King Junior's vision of seeing his people judged by "the content of their character" rather than the color of their skin. We have highly influential people right now, like Condileeza Rice and Thomas Sowell, who are the product of that movement.

I have also witnessed the women's movement which gave Western women rights and a position in society that was previously unknown and I have personally benefitted from that movement in untold ways along my journey through this life.

I can also tell you that a spectacularly sweeping change took place when the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union collapsed.

Some things have to build up until they are so stressed that they will let go with the suddenness of an earthquake. I believe that that earthquake has started in Iraq.

Young folks tend to be very idealistic, and God bless them for that, but this may make them too easily discouraged if things don't happen as quickly as they would like. I was an idealist, too, when I was young.

But taking the long view, I can tell you a lot can happen in one lifetime and I believe it will for you.

I don't doubt for a minute that when you are 56 years old you could very well look back on the things you have witnessed and you will be able to say to yourself that you would never have believed it when you were only in your 20s.

Too bad I won't be around when you are 56 so we could see which of us gets to say to the other "I told you so!", but let's hope I'm right and you can be happy to admit you were wrong. Maybe you'll think of me, and imagine me saying it. ;-)
Being around the same age as Louise, I can vouch for that. I remember living in West Berlin back in 1988, one year before the Wall came down, and no German I talked to then ever thought that the two Germanies would ever be reunited.

I don't know what's going to happen in Iraq and the Middle East. I don't know if the people in the region will ever be able to break the death-grip mind-meld of the Arab Parallel Universe. There are, however, many in the region like the ITM brothers and Sandmonkey whose intelligence and clarity of vision make me hopeful.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

White Heat

White Devils

What is White Phosphorous (WP/Whiskey Pete/Willie Pete)? article, Wikipedia article

Is it specifically banned by any treaty? No.
Is it banned as a chemical weapon? No.
Is it an incendiary weapon? Yes.
Is it therefore banned by a treaty?

Against combatants? No.
Against non-combatants? Yes! Protocol III of Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons prohibits targeting non-combatants with incediary weapons...but then, that would be a war crime anyway under the Geneva Convention, wouldn't it?
And that is probably an important reason that the US did not sign Protocol III.

Also, Protocol III "restricts the use of incendiary weapons against military targets adjacent to concentrations of civilians, but it only applies to bombs dropped from airplanes, not shells fired by artillery as was done in Fallujeh".

Did the US target non-combatants with WP? Again that BBC article:

Col Venable told the BBC's PM radio program that the US army used white phosphorus incendiary munitions "primarily as obscurants, for smokescreens or target marking in some cases. However it is an incendiary weapon and may be used against enemy combatants." And he said it had been used in Fallujah, but it was a "conventional munition", not a chemical weapon. It is not "outlawed or illegal", Col Venable said. He said US forces could use white phosphorus rounds to flush enemy troops out of covered positions. "The combined effects of the fire and smoke - and in some case the terror brought about by the explosion on the ground - will drive them out of the holes so that you can kill them with high explosives", he said.

San Diego journalist Darrin Mortenson, who was embedded with US marines during the assault on Fallujah, told the BBC's Today radio program he had seen white phosphorous used "as an incendiary weapon" against insurgents. However, he "never saw anybody intentionally use any weapon against civilians", he said.

It is significant to point out here that the battle for Fallujeh is arguably the most photographed and journalistically documented battle in history.

What's the difference between incindiary and chemical weapons?

Chemical weapons kill with their toxic properties, such as nerve agents that kill by preventing the victim from being able to breathe.

Incindiary weapons kill by burning. Naturally, incendiary weapons use chemicals, so do high explosives, but they are not chemical weapons.

But isn't a WP cloud the same thing? No. WP as it is used by the US is not at all like Halabja. Apparently, many people imagine a giant cloud of burning poison gas enveloping a city block. That's not the way it works nor how it is used according to expert reports. For example, a WP cloud would be useless against forces inside a building (WP expert: "If the enemy was inside a building WP would be wholly ineffective as a weapon employed to neutralize/kill him."

What is the origin of the accusation that the US used "outlawed" weapons in Fallujeh (11/04)? Well, the US has been charged with using chemical and biological weapons in every war since Korea. So in a sense, this is an elaboration on a charge now a half-century old. In this case, the charge is ironic since the terrorists in Fallujeh themselves claimed to have munitions armed with chemical weapons that they were going to use against Coalition and ING forces.

- During the Fallujeh operation? According to

"Qatar-based Internet site Islam Online was one of the first to spread the false chemical weapons claim. On November 10, 2004, it reported that U.S. troops were allegedly using "chemical weapons and poisonous gas" in Fallujah. ("US Troops Reportedly Gassing Fallujah") It sourced this claim to Al-Quds Press, which cited only anonymous sources for its allegation. [...] There is a great deal of misinformation feeding on itself about U.S. forces allegedly using "outlawed" weapons in Fallujah."

- Currently? An Italian communist news channel released a documentary entitled "Fallujeh: The Hidden Massacre".

Who were their experts? What is their evidence? Via Confederate Yankee:

  • Kidnapped Italian journalist for communist daily newspaper Il Manifesto, Guiliana Sgrena gave her opinion and explained inexplicably "that the terrorists who took her hostage for several months did not want videotaped evidence of U.S. atrocities to leak out."
    Uh huh. /sarcasm
  • "Jeff Englehardt former soldier and left-wing political blogger who has been roundly debunked for his erroneous claims about the physical properties of white phosphorus". He "has now apparently retracted his claims...claiming that the Rai film team (that let him go on at length) misquoted him." CY's WP expert calls him "a liar".
  • Mark Manning (deep sea diver), who had "his videotapes of alleged atrocities...stolen before another living soul could view them, apparently by a cash rich street bum with ties to George W. Bush himself."
  • U.S. helicopter video that "has been exposed as fraudulently edited footage taken from another battle entirely."
  • Lots of footage of burned bodies fully clothed and carmelized, and claims that this is proof that the dead were killed by WP. Jeff Englehardt says "It doesn't necessarily burn clothes, but it will burn the skin underneath the clothes."
    This is not true, in fact, the presence of clothing is pretty much a guarantee that they were NOT killed by WP. WP in concentrations that burn skin, will also burn clothes. It will burn through any military protective gear as well. Furthermore, carmelization of the skin is not indicative of WP burns but of dessication in a dry climate.
    source 1, source 2: ("This Italian news story is nothing but a lie")

CY also provides expert testimony on WP and the documentary who was "pleased to announce that it is junk". This is a detailed debunking of the video and testimonial evidence, and I strongly recommend it.

Confederate Yankee is racking up an impressive number of cogent posts debunking Fallujeh: The Hidden Massacre as a careless fraud. Check out this post and the hyperlinked list of posts and the bottom. Also, here here here here here.

Jason at CounterColumn has been whipping the media for their bone-headedness on this issue like a muttawa surrounded by young women in public without a male relative. here here here here here

Mudville Gazette has an excellent timeline of the Fallujeh operation.

White Zombie

Salam Pax (post 1, post 2) has posted about the US Army's discovery of an civilian bomb shelter devoted to Iraqi police abuse, torture, and apparent murder of prisoners. Salam naturally cannot bypass a shot at the US military:

It is slightly ironic that Americans are trying to stop a case of prisoner abuse considering Abu Ghraib and all but I guess they already blocked that memory.

Well, it's not exactly the same thing. US Army personnel reported the Abu Ghraib crimes, the US Army investigated those crimes, and the US Army prosecuted those crimes for three months outside of the spotlight of the media. Then the father of one of the soldiers who thought his precious dumpling wasn't being treated fairly delivered pictures to CBS News (he had previously tried to get leniency for said dumpling by threatening to do so). Not only did this act not help Junior, it guaranteed he would get the maximum for any crime he was found guilty of. No one had to step in and rescue the Abu Ghraib inmates from the US Army.

But, look, I know how Salam Pax feels about this. Okay. Fine. Whatever.

While Salam seems to be taking some righteous pleasure in reporting incontrovertible evidence that the hands of the Shi'a Arabs are not so squeaky clean as with Sunni Arabs, he does at least give the initial skeptics their due:

The Shi'a were always taking the moral high ground and for obvious reasons it is the Sunnis who are always blamed for crying Wolf! Just to distract from the atrocities they commit.

I admire that. Then he moves on venting justified indignation against the perps. They're good posts and good updates on the situation. Check it out.

White Lies

Here is the core of Christopher Hitchens's take on the Milbank and Pincus article in the Washington Post and for the unrealists' penchant for splitting nano-threads in the Iraq debate:

[Milbank & Pincus said:] The October 2002 joint resolution authorized the use of force in Iraq, but it did not directly mention the removal of Hussein from power.

A prize, then, for investigative courage, to Milbank and Pincus. They have identified the same problem, though this time upside down, as that which arose from the passage of the Iraq Liberation Act, during the Clinton-Gore administration, in 1998. That legislation which passed the Senate without a dissenting vote did expressly call for the removal of Saddam Hussein but did not actually mention the use of direct U.S. military force.

Let us suppose, then, that we can find a senator who voted for the 1998 act to remove Saddam Hussein yet did not anticipate that it might entail the use of force, and who later voted for the 2002 resolution and did not appreciate that the authorization of force would entail the removal of Saddam Hussein! Would this senator kindly stand up and take a bow? He or she embodies all the moral and intellectual force of the anti-war movement. And don't be bashful, ladies and gentlemen of the "shocked, shocked" faction, we already know who you are.
Hans Blix, the see-no-evil expert who had managed to certify Iraq and North Korea as kosher in his time, has said in print that he fully expected a coalition intervention to uncover hidden weaponry.

And this, of course, it actually has done. We did not know and could not know, until after the invasion, of Saddam's plan to buy long-range missiles off the shelf from Pyongyang, or of the centrifuge components buried on the property of his chief scientist, Dr. Mahdi Obeidi. The Duelfer report disclosed large latent facilities that were only waiting for the collapse of sanctions to resume activity. Ah, but that's not what you said you were looking for. Could pedantry be pushed any further?

This one goes in the "About Time" file. The RNC website is hosting
a video on the "The President Lied About Saddam" crowd declaring that war and deposing Saddam was necessary.
Starring Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, etc.

Hammorabi Sam blogs on Bill Clinton's declaration that deposing Saddam in 2003 was a "big mistake".

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Weapons, Equipment, Insurgents And Their Tactics in Post War Iraq By A US Marine

Guns in Conflicts / M16 versus AK47: Steel Diamond By DC

The Weapons, Equipment, Insurgents and Their Tactics in Post War Iraq By A US Marine

Thanks to Rantburg we are provided with an intriguing insight into the Weapons, Equipment, Insurgents and their Tactics of the Conflict in Post War Iraq via the email thoughts of a US Marine who was stationed for seven months at Ramadi, Iraq, aka Fort Apache.

"Bad Guns, Bad Guns, What You Going To Do, What You Going To Do, When They Jam On You": The M-16 Is A Piece Of Crap

The M-16 rifle : Thumbs down. Chronic jamming problems with the talcum powder like sand over there. The sand is everywhere. Jordan says you feel filthy 2 minutes after coming out of the shower. The M-4 carbine version is more popular because it's lighter and shorter, but it has jamming problems also. They like the ability to mount the various optical gunsights and weapons lights on the picattiny rails, but the weapon itself is not great in a desert environment. They all hate the 5.56mm (.223) round. Poor penetration on the cinderblock structure common over there and even torso hits cant be reliably counted on to put the enemy down.

Fun fact: Random autopsies on dead insurgents shows a high level of opiate use.

"We Have A Winner Here": The M240 Machine Gun

The M240 Machine Gun: 7.62 Nato (.308) cal. belt fed machine gun, developed to replace the old M-60 (what a beautiful weapon that was!!). Thumbs up. Accurate, reliable, and the 7.62 round puts 'em down. Originally developed as a vehicle mounted weapon, more and more are being dismounted and taken into the field by infantry. The 7.62 round chews up the structure over there.

"Do You Believe In The Virgin Mary?" Thumbs Down to the M243 SAW

The M243 SAW (squad assault weapon): .223 cal. Drum fed light machine gun. Big thumbs down. Universally considered a piece of shit. Chronic jamming problems, most of which require partial disassembly. (that's fun in the middle of a firefight).

"This Is My Rifle, This Is My Gun": Aok to the Mossberg 12 ga.

Mossberg 12ga. Military shotgun: Works well, used frequently for clearing houses to good effect.

"No Boom Boom With Soul Brother": Mixed Reviews
for the M9 Beretta

The M9 Beretta 9mm: Mixed bag. Good gun, performs well in desert environment; but they all hate the 9mm cartridge. The use of handguns for self-defense is actually fairly common. Same old story on the 9mm: Bad guys hit multiple times and still in the fight.

"Game Over Man Game Over": M24 sniper Rifle Passes Muster
The M24 sniper rifle: Thumbs up. Mostly in .308 but some in 300 win mag. Heavily modified Remington 700's. Great performance. Snipers have been used heavily to great effect. Rumor has it that a marine sniper on his third tour in Anbar province has actually exceeded Carlos Hathcock's record for confirmed kills with OVER 100.

"Express Elevator To Hell": Barret .50 Caliber Sniper Rifle is Good

The Barrett .50 cal sniper rifle: Thumbs way up. Spectacular range and accuracy and hits like a freight train. Used frequently to take out vehicle suicide bombers ( we actually stop a lot of them) and barricaded enemy. Definitely here to stay.

"Oh You Want Some Of This": The M-14 is Fine

The M-14: Thumbs up. They are being re-issued in bulk, mostly in a modified version to special ops guys. Modifications include lightweight Kevlar stocks and low power red dot or ACOG sights. Very reliable in the sandy environment, and they love the 7.62 round.

"We Came, We Saw, We Kicked Its Ass": Controlling the Night

Night Vision and Infrared Equipment: Thumbs way up. Spectacular performance. Our guys see in the dark and own the night, period. Very little enemy action after evening prayers. More and more enemy being whacked at night during movement by our hunter-killer teams. We've all seen the videos.

"Vinz Clortho, Key Master Of Gozar": Body Armor
is a Key Thing

The new body armor: Thumbs up. Relatively light at approx. 6 lbs. and can reliably be expected to soak up small shrapnel and even will stop an AK-47 round. The bad news: Hot as shit to wear, almost unbearable in the summer heat (which averages over 120 degrees). Also, the enemy now goes for head shots whenever possible. All the bullshit about the "old" body armor making our guys vulnerable to the IED's was a non-starter. The IED explosions are enormous and body armor doesn't make any difference at all in most cases.

"Alright You Primitive Screwheads Listen Up":
Evaluating the AK47

AK47's - The entire country is an arsenal. Works better in the desert than the M16 and the .308 Russian round kills reliably. PKM belt fed light machine guns are also common and effective. Luckily, the enemy mostly shoots like shit. Undisciplined "spray and pray" type fire. However, they are seeing more and more precision weapons, especially sniper rifles. (Iran, again)

Fun fact: Captured enemy have apparently marveled at the marksmanship of our guys and how hard they fight. They are apparently told in Jihad school that the Americans rely solely on technology, and can be easily beaten in close quarters combat for their lack of toughness. Let's just say they know better now.

"The Coyote Of The Desert Always Likes To Eat The Heart Of The Young": The RPG

The RPG: Probably the infantry weapon most feared by our guys. Simple, reliable and as common as dogshit. The enemy responded to our up-armored humvees by aiming at the windshields, often at point blank range. Still killing a lot of our guys.

"You Know What Jack Burton Says At A Time Like This": Annoying Mortars and Rockets

Mortars and rockets: Very prevalent. The Soviet Era 122mm rockets (with an 18km range) are becoming more prevalent. One of Jordan's NCO's lost a leg to one. These weapons cause a lot of damage "inside the wire". Jordan's base was hit almost daily his entire time there by mortar and rocket fire, often at night to disrupt sleep patterns and cause fatigue (It did). More of a psychological weapon than anything else. The enemy mortar teams would jump out of vehicles, fire a few rounds, and then haul ass in a matter of seconds.

"And I Killed A Guy With A Trident": The Dreaded and Powerful IED

The IED: The biggest killer of all. Can be anything from old Soviet anti-armor mines to jury rigged artillery shells. A lot found in Jordan's area were in abandoned cars. The enemy would take 2 or 3 155mm artillery shells and wire them together. Most were detonated by cell phone, and the explosions are enormous. You're not safe in any vehicle, even an M1 tank. Driving is by far the most dangerous thing our guys do over there. Lately, they are much more sophisticated "shape charges" (Iranian) specifically designed to penetrate armor. Fact: Most of the ready made IED's are supplied by Iran, who is also providing terrorists (Hezbollah types) to train the insurgents in their use and tactics. That's why the attacks have been so deadly lately. Their concealment methods are ingenious, the latest being shape charges in Styrofoam containers spray painted to look like the cinderblocks that litter all Iraqi roads. We find about 40% before they detonate, and the bomb disposal guys are unsung heroes of this war.

"They Have Survived The Burning Blade": Bad Guy Technology

Bad guy technology: Simple yet effective. Most communication is by cell and satellite phones, and also by email on laptops. They use handheld GPS units for navigation and "Google earth" for overhead views of our positions. Their weapons are good, if not fancy, and prevalent. Their explosives and bomb technology is TOP OF THE LINE. Night vision is rare. They are very careless with their equipment and the captured GPS units and laptops are treasure troves of Intel when captured.

"We Are Simply Passing Through History": Who are the Bad Guys?

Most of the carnage is caused by the Zarqawi Al Qaeda group. They operate mostly in Anbar province (Fallujah and Ramadi). These are mostly "foreigners", non-Iraqi Sunni Arab Jihadists from all over the Muslim world (and Europe). Most enter Iraq through Syria (with, of course, the knowledge and complicity of the Syrian govt.) , and then travel down the "rat line" which is the trail of towns along the Euphrates River that we've been hitting hard for the last few months. Some are virtually untrained young Jihadists that often end up as suicide bombers or in "sacrifice squads". Most, however, are hard core terrorists from all the usual suspects (Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas etc.) These are the guys running around murdering civilians en masse and cutting heads off. The Chechens (many of whom are Caucasian), are supposedly the most ruthless and the best fighters. (they have been fighting the Russians for years). In the Baghdad area and south, most of the insurgents are Iranian inspired (and led) Iraqi Shiites. The Iranian Shiia have been very adept at infiltrating the Iraqi local govt.'s, the police forces and the Army. The have had a massive spy and agitator network there since the Iran-Iraq war in the early 80's. Most of the Saddam loyalists were killed, captured or gave up long ago.

"We Have Top Men Working On It Right Now": Bad Guy Tactics

When they are engaged on an infantry level they get their asses kicked every time. Brave, but stupid. Suicidal Banzai-type charges were very common earlier in the war and still occur. They will literally sacrifice 8-10 man teams in suicide squads by sending them screaming and firing Ak's and RPG's directly at our bases just to probe the defenses. They get mowed down like grass every time. ( see the M2 and M240 above). Jordan's base was hit like this often. When engaged, they have a tendency to flee to the same building, probably for what they think will be a glorious last stand. Instead, we call in air and that's the end of that more often than not. These hole-ups are referred to as Alpha Whiskey Romeo's (Allah's Waiting Room). We have the laser guided ground-air thing down to a science. The fast mover's, mostly Marine F-18's, are taking an ever increasing toll on the enemy. When caught out in the open, the helicopter gunships and AC-130 Spectre gunships cut them to ribbons with cannon and rocket fire, especially at night. Interestingly, artillery is hardly used at all. Fun fact: The enemy death toll is supposedly between 45-50 thousand. That is why we're seeing less and less infantry attacks and more IED, suicide bomber shit. The new strategy is simple: attrition.

The insurgent tactic most frustrating is their use of civilian non-combatants as cover. They know we do all we can to avoid civilian casualties and therefore schools, hospitals and (especially) Mosques are locations where they meet, stage for attacks, cache weapons and ammo and flee to when engaged. They have absolutely no regard whatsoever for civilian casualties. They will terrorize locals and murder without hesitation anyone believed to be sympathetic to the Americans or the new Iraqi govt. Kidnapping of family members (especially children) is common to influence people they are trying to influence but cant reach, such as local govt. officials, clerics, tribal leaders, etc.).

"But They Will Never Take Our Freedom": American, Don't Get Captured

The first thing our guys are told is "don't get captured". They know that if captured they will be tortured and beheaded on the internet. Zarqawi openly offers bounties for anyone who brings him a live American serviceman. This motivates the criminal element who otherwise don't give a shit about the war. A lot of the beheading victims were actually kidnapped by common criminals and sold to Zarqawi. As such, for our guys, every fight is to the death. Surrender is not an option.

"Knowing Their Minds Is The Key To The Throne": Evaluation of the Iraqi and Kurdish Soldiers

The Iraqi's are a mixed bag. Some fight well, others aren't worth a shit. Most do okay with American support. Finding leaders is hard, but they are getting better. It is widely viewed that Zarqawi's use of suicide bombers, en masse, against the civilian population was a serious tactical mistake. Many Iraqi's were galvanized and the caliber of recruits in the Army and the police forces went up, along with their motivation. It also led to an exponential increase in good intel because the Iraqi's are sick of the insurgent attacks against civilians. The Kurds are solidly pro-American and fearless fighters.

"I Think This Is The Beginning Of A Beautiful Friendship": American Soldiers Morale and the MSM

According to Jordan, morale among our guys is very high. They not only believe they are winning, but that they are winning decisively. They are stunned and dismayed by what they see in the American press, whom they almost universally view as against them. The embedded reporters are despised and distrusted. They are inflicting casualties at a rate of 20-1 and then see shit like "Are we losing in Iraq" on TV and the print media. For the most part, they are satisfied with their equipment, food and leadership. Bottom line though, and they all say this, there are not enough guys there to drive the final stake through the heart of the insurgency, primarily because there aren't enough troops in-theater to shut down the borders with Iran and Syria. The Iranians and the Syrians just cant stand the thought of Iraq being an American ally (with, of course, permanent US bases there).

Guns In Conflict / M16 versus AK47: Light Colored By DC

And Thanks to for the quotes.

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