Sep 17, 2003

THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT THINGS YOU WILL READ ABOUT IRAQ TODAY
from a soldier on active duty and a reporter who is on the scene.
The unfiltered unvarnished unspun truth about what American's are doing in Iraq.

For the past 6 months I have participated in what I believe to be the greatest modern lie: Operation Iraqi Freedom
by Tim Predmore on active duty with the 101st Airborne Division near Mosul, Iraq.
There is only one truth, and it is that Americans are dying. There are 10 to 14 attacks on our servicemen and -women daily in Iraq, and it would appear that there is no end in sight.

I once believed that I served for a cause: "to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States." Now I no longer believe that; I have lost my conviction, as well as my determination. I can no longer justify my service for what I believe to be half-truths and bold lies.

With age comes wisdom, and at 36 years old I am no longer so blindly led as to believe without question. From my arrival at Ft. Campbell, Ky., last November, talk of deployment was heard, and as that talk turned to actual preparation my heart sank and my doubts grew. My doubts have never faded; instead my resolve and commitment have.

My time is almost done, as well as that of many others with whom I serve. We have all faced death in Iraq without reason or justification. How many more must die? How many more tears must be shed before Americans awake and demand the return of the men and women whose job it is to protect them rather than their leader's interest?

Secret slaughter by night, lies and blind eyes by day by Robert Fisk
In the suburbs of Baghdad and the Sunni cities to the north the American military policy of 'recon-by-fire' and the breakdown of law and order is exacting a heavy toll on a war-torn people. In Baghdad, up to 70 corpses - of Iraqis killed by gunfire - are brought to the mortuaries each day. In Najaf, for example, the cemetery authorities record the arrival of the bodies of up to 20 victims of violence a day. Some of the dead were killed in family feuds, in looting, or revenge killings. Others have been gunned down by US troops at checkpoints or in the increasingly vicious "raids" carried out by American forces in the suburbs of Baghdad and the Sunni cities to the north. Only last week, reporters covering the killing of the Fallujah policemen were astonished to see badly wounded children suddenly arriving at the hospital, all shot - according to their families - by an American tank which had opened up at a palm grove outside the town. As usual, the occupation authorities had "no information" on the incident.

But if you count the Najaf dead as typical of just two or three other major cities, and if you add on the daily Baghdad death toll and multiply by seven, almost 1,000 Iraqi civilians are being killed every week - and that may well be a conservative figure. Somewhere in the cavernous marble halls of proconsul Paul Bremer's palace on the Tigris, someone must be calculating these awful statistics. But of course, the Americans are not telling us.
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