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Old 06-13-2003, 08:53 PM   #1
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They are our children and they had their lives ahead of them.

Since the war "ended" 66 American soldiers have died. The war is not over, and they are still there serving their country, doing their duty, and sacrificing themselves for a cause that many here are questioning. Without debating the cause that was sold to us as a reason for going into this war, I would just like to take the time to remember that it is still a dangerous situation there and many need our prayers.

This article caught my eye. Within the past year I corresponded with one of my Drill Sgt. from Boot Camp. I wanted to thank him for being the person that inspired me to turn my life around and head in a direction that would be more productive. Without him, and his inspiration, I might not be here typing today.

The reason this article caught my eye is I trained to be an MP and he is an MP. Here is a story of a hero who sacrificed his life for some others. From the description it reminded me of many of the kids I went through boot camp with. These are kids who all had their lives ahead of them.

There was Alphabet. Great kid from Washington State. He needed a job to support his new family. He was 19 years old with a 2-month-old baby. Alphabet, got his name, because his last name practically covered every letter in the alphabet. He was a very soft-spoken person with a voice that was very calming to listen to. I enjoyed hearing him speak so fondly of his newborn child.

Another of my new comrades was Big Bird. He was the last to arrive into our platoon, as the barracks were filled before they began the cycle for boot camp. We were all pressed without noses into the lockers and the lights out as he was brought into the platoon. All of us sweating it out, painfully listening as the DI's chewed him out, telling him to move faster and unpack, as we remembered just days earlier our own painful experiences of being welcomed to the platoon. Big Bird got his name because he was clearly the tallest among us. Added to his extreme height were his thin ostrich like limbs, and his beak like nose. He was a person who possessed a gentle soul. When they made him do pushups, he would list to one side because, he clearly had not been doing anything athletic for most of his young 18-year-old life. The first day, in the blazing heat of August in Alabama, he managed three or four painful pushups before he began shaking trying to hold his left side up. The DI showing no mercy had him stand and do steam engines, and even those just looked painfully awkward. Big Bird made it through though. All figured he would not make it through. He made it though, and he went on to serve his country.

Then there was Rose. Rose came into Boot Camp heavy, by far the heaviest person in the platoon. By the end he was the most muscular. Rose had skin that was as dark as coal. They went after Rose that first day, calling him fat body. As I remember it Rose was the first person in the platoon from Texas, and "There are only two things that come from Texas" and they were quite curious about which one of these two things Rose was. Why was he called Joe Cool Rose? Because Rose was his last name. Rose and I shared many an adventure, getting into trouble and saluting the CO's picture together one night for about an hour an a half, missing supper because we forgot to salute. One pass, we rented a hotel, and literally ate nothing but candy and soda for the entire weekend. Rose loved MARS bars. If you have ever seen The Green Mile, and picture that deep voice, that is the way Rose sounded. His voice, deep reverberating in his large chest cavity saying "Mars Bars", will linger in my mind forever. We watched the World Series that weekend, and were shocked to learn about the earthquake in Oakland, which had caused the game to be delayed. Rose had a great laugh and he made it through with hard work and determination. I believe he was trying to impress a girl back home if I remember right. He was in love, and hoped to marry her.

I was the Joker, and the Count. I was nicknamed another name, but I will not repeat it. I was the Joker because I was always pulling jokes in the barracks, and because quite honestly, when I smile, I look very similar to the Jack Nickolson Joker in the first Batman movie. I was nicknamed the count because when my head is completely shaved I look like the count from Sesame Street. They used to make me count pushups and count them as if the count from Sesame Street were counting them off.

There are many other tales I could tell. They fill my mind tonight for many reasons. The first reason is the story I am going to post below. It could have been any one of us. Anyone of the forty kids, just leaving home for the first time in their lives, with children back home, or a girl waiting for us, or just a kid like me, trying to get his head on straight. The second reason is that increasingly I am wondering if there was a plan of how to handle Iraq after the war was over. There is a saying about losing the battle but winning the war. The situation there feels somewhat the opposite.

I am sorry if I am rambling tonight, but my mind is back in 1989, and I am thinking about how young we were, our lives were still ahead of us.....
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Old 06-13-2003, 08:54 PM   #2
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U.S. Soldier Braved Ghosts In Darkness


Pfc. Halling, at center wearing a helmet, was killed June 7 in Tikrit during a guerrilla-style attack. "Jesse was a hero," his platoon leader said. "And that is what every soldier in the platoon thinks about him." (Pfc. Jason R. Phillips -- U.s. Army)



By William Booth
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 13, 2003; Page A01


TIKRIT, Iraq -- On the last night of his young life, Pvt. Jesse Halling was hunkered down with his squad in a looted Iraqi police station in Saddam Hussein's gritty home town, wet with sweat in his bulletproof vest and helmet, waiting for something bad to happen. It was what one soldier called "the witching hours."

On June 7, the ghosts came out -- armed with rocket-propelled grenades -- and found a 19-year-old recruit from Indianapolis. Since Baghdad fell on April 9, 66 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq, in vehicle and munitions accidents, drownings, medical emergencies and increasingly, like Halling, in ambushes. In the last 19 days, 10 soldiers have been gunned down in assaults that appear increasingly organized and sophisticated, carried out by determined foes that the Pentagon now calls "subversives."

This is the story of one of those soldiers.

Halling's company commander, Capt. Marc Blair, sat this week on a wobbly chair in a hot, barren room on the grounds of Hussein's Tikrit palace, rubbing his temples, barely talking as his men described the attack to a reporter. Blair looked grim and sad, and very tired, like he was carrying the weight of the world. "He exceeded what he should have done," he said of Halling. "And that's why these three men sitting here in front of you today are alive."

"Some people label soldiers 'heroes' who don't reach that level, in my professional opinion," said Sgt. Chris Dozier, the ramrod-straight and tall leader of the 2nd platoon of the 401st Military Police Company out of Fort Hood, Tex., to which Halling belonged. "But Jesse was a hero. And that is what every soldier in the platoon thinks about him."

The room grew smaller, and the soldiers found a wall to stare at for a couple of minutes, blinking.

Into the Crucible


It was after midnight last Saturday, but in the brown, flat semi-desert north of Baghdad, the daytime temperatures that soar to 120 degrees melt away slowly. The troops who were there that night remember it felt as warm as a bread oven. Streets were empty, shops shuttered.

In Tikrit, where portraits of Hussein still adorn walls of auto parts shops and kebab joints, many citizens close their doors at night and stay locked inside until dawn.

Halling's squad had been running patrols earlier that night, and had returned to the walled compound of the Iraqi police station.

Around 2 a.m., the attack started with sporadic but accurate small-arms fire. Pop. Then silence. Then another crack of rifle. Then nothing but dogs howling.

"They were probing us. Seeing what our reaction would be," said Sgt. Jaime Carrasco, whose men were three buildings away from Halling's position, at a former municipal building that holds the Civilian Military Operations Center, known as the CMOC.

Carrasco said it was hard to know, initially, where the shots were coming from. The streetlights were on, so the men could not use their night-vision goggles. They were looking for muzzle flashes, they said, for phantoms.

Later, they realized their attackers had taken positions on rooftops at several houses directly across the street, and were moving from house to house, in a classic hit-and-run guerrilla tactic.

Halling was suited up and ready to go.

"We were at the police station and there was a call to respond and Halling's team went out from the station and immediately started taking small-arms fire," said Staff Sgt. James Ferguson, the leader of Halling's squad.

At first, rifle shots from the Iraqis were focused on the operations center, which was protected by a wall of sand barricades and concertina wire, as well as an M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Then the CMOC was targeted. The Iraqi attackers seemed to be drawing the soldiers onto the street. "And it wasn't sporadic anymore," Ferguson said.

Suddenly, the Iraqis fired rocket-propelled grenades, lethal missiles designed to splinter into shrapnel fragments after detonation. Their aim was true, the soldiers said; the assailants knew what they were doing.

As Halling swung out onto the street, "it was a full-out firefight from both sides," Ferguson said. Tracer fire, sound of big guns emptying, lights and screaming.

Halling was the gunner in a three-man team of MPs, meaning he sat up in the turret of the Humvee, while the driver, Pfc. Ronald Glass, and the team leader, Sgt. Angel Cedeño, sat below.

Glass said that Halling was hammering away with his .50-caliber machine gun. Big gouges remain along the rooftops hit by Halling's fire.

Just north of the CMOC, Halling was reloading his machine gun and squeezing off rounds from his M-16 rifle. All the while, he was telling Cedeño and Glass where targets were, and also telling them to watch out, to get down, Glass recalled.

Cedeño told the other soldiers later that Halling, by remaining at his post, had saved his life. He never came down from the turret, seeking shelter in the relative protection of the Humvee, as many soldiers might have done.

From one of the roofs, a rocket-propelled grenade struck Halling's Humvee. The round detonated, and a hot chunk of shrapnel tore through Halling's jaw.

Someone was shouting: "He's hit! He's hit!"

It was an ugly, mortal wound. Halling was treated in the field. A soldier from the CMOC said he thought Halling was choking on his own blood from the face wound. He was helicoptered to a hospital but did not make it.

"He never gave up; that's what you should put in the paper," Ferguson said.

'I Never Saw Him Without a Smile'


Halling's family, friends and members of his platoon describe him as a good-looking, all-American type, with a passion for motorcycles and his Camaro. He wanted to be a pilot, but his eyesight was less than perfect. So he opted for service in the Military Police corps, and thought about getting laser surgery to correct his vision.

"He was an ordinary guy, but I never saw him without a smile on his face," said Pvt. John Jones, his roommate from Fort Hood. "He'd smile when we were digging trenches."

Halling enlisted the summer after his high school graduation, and did his 18 weeks of basic and MP training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. In February, he arrived at Fort Hood. On March 23, he deployed to Kuwait and was in Iraq on the first of May.

One of Halling's fellow soldiers recalled, "He told us his sister was freaked out that he was over here and was worrying about him all the time." Jesse was close to his sister, Kristina, just two years older. At a memorial service for Halling on Tuesday afternoon on the banks of the Tigris, in the shadow of one of Hussein's elaborate palaces, Jones was planning to say a few words. But he couldn't. "It was real emotional," Jones said. There were 200 people there, including Iraqi policemen who fought alongside the U.S. troops.

"I've seen a lot of soldiers in my 13 years in the army," platoon Sgt. Dozier said, "and Halling was definitely a good soldier. That stood out right away. You could tell he was a good person. That probably came from the way he was raised. He was mature. Capable. In the army, there are low-maintenance soldiers and high-maintenance soldiers and no-maintenance soldiers, and he was no-maintenance. Knew his duty and did it."

His fellow grunts described Halling as diligent and decent. He wasn't a gung-ho warrior, but he also wasn't one of those soldiers always trying to make friends with the Iraqis.

"He was kind," Jones said. "Even though these people don't like us."

Was Halling excited to come to Iraq?

"I don't think any of us were excited to come," Jones answered.

Halling's father, Alma Halling, a former Marine officer, recalled that he warned his son of the dangers he might face in Iraq. They talked on a satellite phone a few weeks ago, a rushed conversation late on a Saturday night. "He said the people were really friendly, but you had to keep your distance because you don't know who is who," Alma Halling said. "That's what makes this war so dangerous now. You don't know who are the good guys and who aren't."

"He was not shy. I would say he was reserved. He never ever got into trouble. He never got sent to the principal or got a referral or anything like that," said Natalie Mattingly, his guidance counselor at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, where Halling graduated a year ago. "It takes a brave man to be gentle, kind and considerate when everyone wants the macho guy."

The high school principal, David Marcotte, said: "Now the perception here and everywhere is the war is kind of over with. The war isn't over. It brought the war back to the front page for us. We have an awful lot of young American kids in harm's way over there."

His father said: "I am proud of him. What he did he did to help his fellow friends and buddies. The only thing is, he had to pay the ultimate price."

Then he said something that's been said many times before, which doesn't make it less true: "No one should have to lose their children. Parents shouldn't have to bury their children."

Jesse Halling was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart, promoted to private first class and has been recommended for a Silver Star for gallantry under fire.

He will be buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, the final resting place for President Benjamin Harrison, 10 Indiana governors and 13 Civil War generals.

Special correspondent Kimberly Edds in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
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Old 06-14-2003, 03:00 PM   #3
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Thanks for posting that, and thanks for your service to our country.

I haven't forgotten at all that it is still such a dangerous situation over there, even though the media clearly is bored w/ it and on to the next thing
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Old 06-14-2003, 03:50 PM   #4
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Thanks for posting that, and thanks for your service to our country.
You are welcome. I really did nothing important in my time in the service. I am however proud to have served, and played a part in Desert Storm, no matter how small.

Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
I haven't forgotten at all that it is still such a dangerous situation over there, even though the media clearly is bored w/ it and on to the next thing
And this, ultimately is a crime in my mind. 66 Deaths since the end of the "war". How long are we going to be there? At this pace we will be looking at 100+ more deaths by Christmas. I do not expect it to maintain this pace, however, what are we there for now? How long will we be there for? Why haven't we been given a timetable? With each death, I want them home.

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Old 06-14-2003, 04:10 PM   #5
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Please don't say you "didn't do anything important"

Of course you did

Yes, peace
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Old 06-14-2003, 07:49 PM   #6
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Of course you did, Dread.

I'd like to see them brought home, too, but unfortunately we dug ourselves a hole and now we have to fill it in.
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Old 06-14-2003, 08:08 PM   #7
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I'd like to see them brought home, too, but unfortunately we dug ourselves a hole and now we have to fill it in.
It should not have been a hole if we had a coalition that was built with the full support of the United Nations Security Council.
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Old 06-14-2003, 08:55 PM   #8
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66 lives is a tragedy. And these kids are dying every day, half a world away from their families, their friends while we mow our lawns and buy the new Radiohead CD. It's sad.

I really fear that Iraq/the Middle East will become for America what Lebanon was for Israel. 20 years in a quagmire, lives lost.
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Old 06-15-2003, 06:52 AM   #9
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Thanks for posting that Dreadsox, you really made me stop and think about this subject. It must be so difficult for the friends and relatives of people in Iraq right now, not even knowing exactly what they're supposed to be doing there or how long it will be until they're brought home.

You mentioned that if the US had the support of the UN the situation might be different. Do you think if Iraq were occupied by a UN force (which could be viewed as more impartial) rather than a US force (which, whether correctly or not, is often viewed as occupying Iraq only to ensure it's reconstruction will benefit the US) then the Iraqi people would feel less hostility towards the occupying force?
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Old 06-15-2003, 02:35 PM   #10
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Originally posted by FizzingWhizzbees
Thanks for posting that Dreadsox, you really made me stop and think about this subject. It must be so difficult for the friends and relatives of people in Iraq right now, not even knowing exactly what they're supposed to be doing there or how long it will be until they're brought home.

You mentioned that if the US had the support of the UN the situation might be different. Do you think if Iraq were occupied by a UN force (which could be viewed as more impartial) rather than a US force (which, whether correctly or not, is often viewed as occupying Iraq only to ensure it's reconstruction will benefit the US) then the Iraqi people would feel less hostility towards the occupying force?
Even more specifically, than UN support through another resolution authorizing force in "clear" language, would be a coalition of supporters from the Arab League. If there were Turkish, Saudi Arabian, Egyptian, ect... Do you think that this would mean more legitimacy in the eyes of Iraqi citizens?
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Old 06-15-2003, 02:52 PM   #11
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I think it's a possibility. Of course there is always going to be a certain amount of hostility to an occupying force, but I certainly think that if that force were made up from many other countries, especially countries that aren't viewed as "enemies" of Iraq, it would be perceived as having more legitimacy. The fact that it was the US which attacked Iraq, and which killed innocent Iraqis may mean that Iraqis view the occupation as problematic.

Whether it's right or wrong, there is hostility to the US from people in Iraq - many of them didn't believe the war was about WMDs in the first place and so are suspicious of the motives of the US. I personally think the best way of solving that problem would be for the US to involve Iraqis in rebuilding their country, rather than bringing in outsiders, but in the meantime, I think an occupying force made up of many countries would be likely to meet with less hostility than an excuslively American occupation.

[Note: I know I've commented on it being the US which attacked Iraq, and that innocent Iraqis were being killed, but can we please not make this thread into a debate about whether the US was justified, and whether the UN authorised the war, etc. It's an interesting discussion without getting into that, I think.]
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Old 06-15-2003, 02:52 PM   #12
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Originally posted by Dreadsox


Even more specifically, than UN support through another resolution authorizing force in "clear" language, would be a coalition of supporters from the Arab League. If there were Turkish, Saudi Arabian, Egyptian, ect... Do you think that this would mean more legitimacy in the eyes of Iraqi citizens?
I absolutely think so.

In the case of the former YU, largely the peacekeepers were sent to different parts of the republics according to nationality. People in Croatia explicitly did not want the Russians on their territory, so they were assigned to Serb-held lands. Similarly, the Serbs were not open to Germans on their territory either. There are historical and religious reasons and affiliations for that. The point is, it did aid in making the situation more livable, no matter how slightly, and I think the same would be true in Iraq had the forces spoken the language, shared the religion, understood the culture more intimately.
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Old 06-15-2003, 02:58 PM   #13
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Originally posted by FizzingWhizzbees
[Note: I know I've commented on it being the US which attacked Iraq, and that innocent Iraqis were being killed, but can we please not make this thread into a debate about whether the US was justified, and whether the UN authorised the war, etc. It's an interesting discussion without getting into that, I think.]
I agree it has been debated to death in here. I think we all can agree that in looking at post-war Iraq, a few of the things I have mentioned might have made this stage of operations much easier.
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Old 06-15-2003, 07:18 PM   #14
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This makes it sound like it is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

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Law and Order in an Alien Setting
U.S. soldiers policing the streets of Baghdad try to combat crime and search for weapons in an often unwelcoming environment.
By Michael Slackman
Times Staff Writer

June 15, 2003

BAGHDAD ? The Humvee rolls out of camp, kicking up a thick cloud of lung-choking dust, then twists its way past small children waving and screaming, "Mista! Mista!" and heads into the largest, poorest, rowdiest neighborhood in all of Baghdad.

Lt. Ellis Gordon, 23, Sgt. Brian Nunes, 29, and Spc. Yoshi Yonemori, 21, are out to look for guns, arrest criminals and try to help restore law and order to the streets of Sadr City, the sprawling ghetto known until recently as Saddam City.

The mission will test the young soldiers' patience ? and that of the people they are out to help. It will expose the challenging and dangerous routine that U.S. combat forces here face as they try to act as police in an alien and often unwelcoming environment.

It's 7:15 p.m., and finally the 106-degree heat of Sunday afternoon has begun to ease. There are nearly 2 million residents in the area, and it feels like all of them are in the streets and alleys.

The Humvee is part of a platoon: four vehicles, 12 guys, all from the Army's 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment. They stop by a crowded open-air market, though "crowded" doesn't begin to describe the chaotic scene.

Arabic music blares from a speaker. Merchants sell everything from chickens to shoes. Men, women and children ? so many children it is hard to imagine where they all live ? fill the streets.

Gordon climbs out of the Humvee, along with three other officers ? one from each of the other vehicles. With an Iraqi translator, they sprint into the middle of the market.

Children descend on the idling vehicles, again shouting, "Mista! Mista!" Yonemori mimics them. "Mista, mista," he says, laughing to himself. The crowd presses in more. "Mista, money, mista!" Nearby, Kasim Daheem makes a big mistake.

He is trying to sell a handgun in the market when Gordon and the others advance on him. He runs, and that's unwise. Had he put down the weapon and walked away, the soldiers would have taken only the gun. Instead, they take him too. They cuff his hands behind his back and put a bag over his head so he can't see the maps inside the military vehicles.

It is barely 7:30. One gun, a bag of ammo, one prisoner ? and a heavy sweat. There's no time to rest. A slug of water, and they're off.

Gordon and the same three guys head down an alley at a brisk pace, weapons pointing down. Again a crowd follows. "Mista! Mista!" the Iraqis call.

"Be quiet!" Gordon hollers in English, turning to face them. The crowd quiets ? for a moment. The soldiers pick up the pace across a dirt soccer field. Their steps quicken, the crowd gets bigger. The chanting, catcalls and hooting grow so loud that the men can hardly hear one another. The crowd is not issuing direct threats, but it is menacing, making the officers' jobs harder.

Down another alley, through a courtyard, into a small building and up the stairs. Iraqis especially dislike this part of the patrols: American soldiers barging into their homes, seeing the women. But the Americans say there is no other way to confiscate guns; they can't knock on the door and wait.

Up they go, two flights, three flights, past a man reeking of alcohol, up onto the roof.

"That lady has a gun!" one soldier hollers, pointing across an alley to an old woman dressed in black on a nearby roof.

Back down the stairs, running up the alley, the crowd following, screaming, chanting. The soldiers run through a metal gate, past a man lying on the bare cement, his leg wrapped in bandages from a gunshot wound, past a startled young woman breast-feeding her child, and up onto the other roof.

The machine gun is hidden under a blanket. The soldiers take it and run back downstairs, where the shaken old woman offers them water from a bent metal bowl. They decline. "Ask her why she has this," one soldier says to the translator.

"It's for us," she replies, implying it's for her family's safety. But the U.S.-led occupation authority that rules Iraq has banned possession of machine guns, so the Americans take the weapon.

"Tell her she can have a handgun or an AK, not a machine gun," the soldier says as he walks away.

The soldiers can't stop, not for a minute. They can't allow themselves to appear vulnerable ? though they are clearly outnumbered and possibly outgunned. If the crowd were to turn on them, it would get ugly. They are huffing back across the soccer field. All this running and climbing, with weapons and bulletproof vests and helmets.

The crowd following behind has swelled to easily 100 young men and children. Now they're throwing rocks. Small white pebbles, then large stones. The rocks are dinging the four soldiers, bouncing off their helmets and chest plates.

The children chant, "Ali Baba!" ? a nickname for thieves. Flames shoot off a rooftop where someone is burning trash.

"Is that a rock?" Gordon shouts when a stone hits another soldier's leg.

He spins on his heel and grabs the first person behind him: a boy, child, maybe 12 years old. The kid looks terrified, but the move has its desired effect. The young men in the crowd stop throwing rocks, and Gordon lets the boy go.

Instantly, the rock-throwing resumes.

The soldiers climb back into their Humvees. The crowd is thick, and Yonemori is screaming at someone to get out of his Humvee.

"If you come in my car, I'll shoot you!" he yells. The Iraqis back off but seem to enjoy having incited him.

It's about 7:40.

The men slug down some more water and resume their patrol. In an instant, Nunes screams from his perch above the Humvee where he mans a machine gun.

"Major gunfire, 1 o'clock, 300 meters!" The platoon responds reflexively. Yonemori stops the vehicle. Gunfire is coming from the alley. The soldiers throw open their doors, and the three of them jump out and head right into a firefight.

Everything happens fast. Nunes doubles back. His pistol is out, pointed at a young man driving an orange-and-white car. "Get out, get on the ground!" Nunes screams in English, throwing in an expletive or two. In seconds, the man is on the ground, face down, a gun to his head and plastic cuffs on his wrists.

The soldiers find six magazines of ammunition hidden in the car. He's a weapons dealer, they say, in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The other platoon members are still chasing a man with an AK-47. He was the one firing into the alley. He jumps a wall and darts back to the soccer field.

"Let's go, let's go, let's go!" one of the soldiers yells.

Gordon drives the prisoner's car. Yonemori turns the Humvee toward the soccer field. Rocks pelt the American vehicles. The whole platoon is at the field now. A soldier runs up from the distance. He has recovered the AK-47. Other platoon members catch the suspected gunman.

The crowd cheers, but it sounds more like they're mocking rather than rooting for the soldiers.

It's about 8:15. Three prisoners, three weapons and a load of ammunition. The soldiers have to return to base to do some paperwork, before heading out again for the rest of their patrol. They are cautious as they drive out of the center of the district. It's dusk, and they don't stop for anything. The Humvees rumble toward camp, off the paved road, past a dead and rotting mule.

"What do we call this one?" Yonemori calls out to Gordon.

This platoon is keeping a journal of its Iraqi adventures, and every chapter has a title. "How about, 'Up on the Rooftop'?" Yonemori offers. "Like old St. Nick."

Gordon thinks for a minute, then offers, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." The others roar with delight as the Humvee pulls up into the thick, sticky sand outside an old cigarette factory that is their base.

The prisoners are brought out of the vehicles one at a time and questioned. There are cultural issues that apparently haven't been explained to the soldiers. For example, they ask everyone their last name, first name and middle name. But Arabs' names are complex, variations that often include the names of their father and grandfather, their family name and tribal name. They don't have what Americans think of as a middle name.

The man caught with the AK-47 says he is Laith Taher ? his father's first name and his own.

"Any tattoos?" the soldiers ask through an interpreter. They roll up the prisoner's right sleeve to reveal a homemade tattoo that says in Arabic, "My mother is lovely." The soldiers laugh. The prisoner gets nervous, kneels in the sand and gags.

"He's trying to get us to let him go," a soldier says while the others are still laughing.

The paperwork is done, and it's time to head back out while the prisoners are taken to jail.

"Every day, this happens every day," said Bret, a 35-year-old platoon medic who asked that his surname not be used.

But this was not one day. It was one hour.
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Old 06-16-2003, 10:49 AM   #15
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Originally posted by Dreadsox


Even more specifically, than UN support through another resolution authorizing force in "clear" language, would be a coalition of supporters from the Arab League. If there were Turkish, Saudi Arabian, Egyptian, ect... Do you think that this would mean more legitimacy in the eyes of Iraqi citizens?

I think it would be better for all concerned if some of the troops were from Moslem countries and were known as "peacekeepers". So yes, it would help if the troops were U.N. troops. Just my purple tuppence's worth.
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