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View Full Version : an update - Baghdad chaotic; 460 Iraqis, 45 U.S. troops killed in week



supergarr
04-09-2004, 05:31 PM
http://www.salon.com/news/wire/2004/04/09/baghdad/index.html

April 9, 2004 | BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- A U.S. AC-130 gunship raked targets in Fallujah on Friday night after hundreds of women and children fled the besieged city during a pause in the Marine offensive. On the anniversary of the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, Baghdad and parts of central Iraq were chaotic.

At a square in the capital where Saddam's statue was toppled a year ago, soldiers took down a disturbing new icon: pictures of the radical Shiite cleric whose followers have risen up against coalition forces in the south.

Gunmen running rampant on Baghdad's western edge attacked a fuel convoy, killing a U.S. soldier and an Iraqi driver and causing a fiery explosion that sent up a pall of black smoke. A Baghdad correspondent for Al-Jazeera Arab television said at least nine people were killed.

Another U.S. soldier was killed in an attack on a base elsewhere in the capital, and large groups of insurgents battled U.S. troops in two cities to the north, Baqouba and Muqdadiyah.

The military also announced the deaths of three Marines a day earlier, bringing the toll of U.S. troops killed across Iraq this week to 45. The fighting has killed more than 460 Iraqis – including more than 280 in Fallujah, a hospital official said. At least 646 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq since the war began in March 2003.

For the first time, U.S. troops moved in strength into the heartland of the rebellion by the militia of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. More than 1,000 troops backed by tanks pushed into the southern city of Kut, retaking police stations and government buildings seized this week by Shiite gunmen.

Elsewhere, fighting with al-Sadr's al-Mahdi Army militia diminished. Coalition forces largely left gunmen in firm control in three cities of south central Iraq, and further south, coalition troops have largely succeeded in taming the uprising, though Italian troops still saw light fighting in the city of Nasiriyah.

In Fallujah, Marines halted their assault on Sunni insurgents to allow U.S.-picked Iraqi leaders – angry at the United States over the bloodshed from five days of heavy fighting – to hold talks with city leaders about how to reduce the violence.

Throughout the afternoon, fighting was reduced to sporadic gunfire. But when night fell, heavy explosions resumed as an AC-130 gunship strafed targets and soldiers and insurgents engaged in a mortar battle.

Iraq's top U.S. administrator, L. Paul Bremer, said the unilateral pause was also aimed at allowing humanitarian aid to enter the city and Fallujah residents to tend to their dead.

Many families, emerging from their homes for the first time in days, buried slain relatives in the city football stadium.

A stream of hundreds of cars carrying women, children and elderly headed out of the city after Marines announced they would be allowed to leave. Families pleaded to be allowed to take out men, and when Marines refused, some entire families turned back.

The heavy fighting in Fallujah – during which mosques have been damaged and buildings demolished – has made the city of 200,000 a symbol of resistance for some Iraqis and threatens to divide the Iraqi Governing Council and the U.S. administration that appointed it.

Marines agreed only grudgingly to a halt in fighting. After initially being ordered to cease all offensive operations, they quickly demanded and received permission to launch assaults to prevent attacks if needed.

"We said to them (the commanders): 'We are going to lose people if we don't go back on offensive ops.' So we got the word," Marine Maj. Pete Farnun told The Associated Press.

Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt underlined that talks between two Governing Council members and sheiks and clerics representing Fallujah representatives were not negotiations, suggesting the military would not be making concessions. U.S. officials were not participating in the talks, which began Friday.

Abdul-Karim Mahoud al-Mohammedawi, a Shiite on the Governing Council, announced he was suspending his council seat until "the bleeding stops in all Iraq." He also met Friday with al-Sadr, whom U.S. commanders have vowed to capture.

A Sunni council member, Ghazi al-Yawer, said he would quit if the Fallujah talks fell through.

One of the strongest pro-U.S. voices on the council, also a Sunni, Adnan Pachachi, denounced the U.S. siege. "It was not right to punish all the people of Fallujah, and we consider these operations by the Americans unacceptable and illegal," Pachachi told Al-Arabiya TV.

Meanwhile, in a signal of how U.S. forces face a new enemy in Iraq, two pictures of al-Sadr hung from a sculpture in Baghdad's central Firdos Square, where one year ago Marines toppled a statue of Saddam.

A U.S. soldier climbed a ladder to tear down the posters, and the military warned that al-Sadr's followers were planning bomb attacks in the area. Hours later, a mortar hit nearby, shaking two hotels where foreign journalists and contractors are staying.

U.S. troops drove into Kut before dawn Friday, pushing out members of al-Sadr's al-Mahdi Army militia that seized the southern textile and farming center this week after Ukrainian troops abandoned the city under heavy attack.

A U.S. helicopter struck al-Sadr's main office in Kut, killing two people, witnesses said. Americans were patrolling the streets during daylight.

Kimmitt said he expected the operation to retake Kut would be finished by Saturday morning. "We are fairly comfortable that the town of al-Kut is well on its way to coming back under coalition control," he said.

Still, he suggested a move against al-Sadr's militia controlling parts of Najaf and Karbala would have to wait, because hundreds of thousands of Shiite pilgrims are in the area this weekend for al-Arbaeen, which commemorates the end of the period of mourning for a 7th-century martyred saint.

"We expect that those special cities that are currently observing the Arbaeen will continue to have some al-Sadr presence," he told reporters.

Al-Sadr on Friday demanded U.S. forces leave Iraq, saying they now face "a civil revolt."

"I direct my speech to my enemy Bush and I tell him ... you are fighting the entire Iraqi people," al-Sadr said in a sermon, delivered by one of his deputies at the Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf, Shiite Islam's holiest site.

Al-Sadr, a young, firebrand anti-U.S. cleric, is thought to be holed up in his office in Najaf, protected by scores of gunmen. He has said he is willing to die resisting any American attempt to capture him.

Gunmen on the highway outside Baghdad were seen stopping a car carrying two Western civilians – apparently private security guards, because both had sidearms. The gunmen pulled the men from the car, firing at the ground to warn them to obey. Their fate was not known.

The heavy fighting for Fallujah was prompted by the March 31 slaying of four U.S. civilians there. Their burned bodies were mutilated and dragged through the streets by a mob that hung two of them from a bridge.

gluon999
04-09-2004, 07:38 PM
And the White House is actually putting a spin on it and saying that we are making progress?

MAKING PROGRESS? By re-capturing cities that we lost to some pissed off militia men?

Section 8
04-09-2004, 08:18 PM
Originally posted by gluon999
And the White House is actually putting a spin on it and saying that we are making progress?

MAKING PROGRESS? By re-capturing cities that we lost to some pissed off militia men?

No - by flushing out the guerillas and eliminating them in one fell swoop.

The accelerated death toll, on our side, makes the situation seem worse than it actually is. While it is certain that death, in and of itself, is a tragic thing, we can't neglect context. We have lost several hundred troops over the past year. 460 guerrillas is more than we managed to take out in that process. Those things considered, I don't see how the situation can be seen as anything but progress.

gluon999
04-09-2004, 08:29 PM
Originally posted by Section 8
No - by flushing out the guerillas and eliminating them in one fell swoop.

The accelerated death toll, on our side, makes the situation seem worse than it actually is. While it is certain that death, in and of itself, is a tragic thing, we can't neglect context. We have lost several hundred troops over the past year. 460 guerrillas is more than we managed to take out in that process. Those things considered, I don't see how the situation can be seen as anything but progress.

We are merely killing those guerillas that we provoked and created by going to war in the first place. Don't forget that we are in their country fighting an upopular war.

Sure we are helping them out by giving them basic stuff like food, water, electricity, but they are too damn brainwashed to understand this. They simply want us out.

And we are paying the price for this daily with troops being slaughtered and people being burned alive.

t0mmy
04-09-2004, 09:03 PM
460 Iraqis killed <- Good
45 U.S. troops killed <- Bad
"Pictures of the radical Shiite cleric" <- Ugly

Debaser
04-09-2004, 09:19 PM
Originally posted by t0mmy
460 Iraqis killed <- Good


Not all of all of the 460 Iraqis killed were "the bad guys". I am sure there are some innocent people as well.

mariners216
04-09-2004, 09:35 PM
Originally posted by Debaser
Not all of all of the 460 Iraqis killed were "the bad guys". I am sure there are some innocent people as well.
Yeah I'd bet a high percentage of those were civilians..

t0mmy
04-09-2004, 09:38 PM
Originally posted by mariners216
Yeah I'd bet a high percentage of those were civilians..

heh, i'm sure they were.. civilians, not "innocent victims". I've learnt that a minority of them are innocent.

mariners216
04-09-2004, 09:42 PM
Originally posted by t0mmy
heh, i'm sure they were.. civilians, not "innocent victims". I've learnt that a minority of them are innocent.
Where did you hear that?

Debaser
04-09-2004, 11:46 PM
Originally posted by mariners216
Where did you hear that?

He didn't, he's just generalizing. I admit I am as well, but to an extent. You've 'learnt' nothing, t0mmy.

Starsky
04-09-2004, 11:54 PM
Originally posted by gluon999
And the White House is actually putting a spin on it and saying that we are making progress?

MAKING PROGRESS? By re-capturing cities that we lost to some pissed off militia men?



Yes, we are making progress by every definition of the word. We are taking the fight to them and killing them everywhere they gather. The army is saying these insurgents and terrorists are being slaughtered in droves.


What do you want? Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd talking about Vietnam, depressing the troops and giving strength to the terrorists? No, you do the opposite, you stay firm. If you waver, or show any sign of fear you encourage more violence. Bush hasn't wavered. Liberals are in waver-fest 04' at the moment.

gluon999
04-10-2004, 12:23 AM
Originally posted by Starsky
Yes, we are making progress by every definition of the word. We are taking the fight to them and killing them everywhere they gather.

yes, and getting slaughtered and burnt alive in the process, while the rest of the world sits back and laughs at us saying "those Americans deserved it."

GOOD JOB EINSTEIN! You figured out the definition of the word progress!

Starsky
04-10-2004, 12:35 AM
Originally posted by gluon999
yes, and getting slaughtered and burnt alive in the process, while the rest of the world sits back and laughs at us saying "those Americans deserved it."

GOOD JOB EINSTEIN! You figured out the definition of the word progress!


Your exactly the type of citizen the terrorists love. An uncommitted, whiney liberal who can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. We honor their memory by winning, not by running.

Debaser
04-10-2004, 11:02 PM
Originally posted by Starsky
Your exactly the type of citizen the terrorists love. An uncommitted, whiney liberal who can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. We honor their memory by winning, not by running.

Victory? There aren't any real winners in this war.

gluon999
04-11-2004, 08:20 AM
Originally posted by Starsky
Your exactly the type of citizen the terrorists love. An uncommitted, whiney liberal who can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. We honor their memory by winning, not by running.

So much for honoring their memory when the US military called a ceasefire! and boo ****ing hoo, a chopper was shot down anyway and 2 more soldiers died today.

Do you even give a crap that these soldiers are dying everyday but u just can't seem to stop with your conservative agenda, can you? Its not me who the terrorists love, its hypocrites like you who they love, who say one thing and do the other. if you are so much for fighting it out, then why dont u pick a rifle and head to Iraq.