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Old 03-31-2003, 05:06 PM   #1
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U.S. Forces Kill Seven Iraqi Women, Kids

Just saw this at yahoo...

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&cid=514&e=2&u=/ap/20030331/ap_on_re_mi_ea/war_us_military_373

U.S. Forces Kill Seven Iraqi Women, Kids
13 minutes ago

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By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer

WASHINGTON - U.S. troops killed seven Iraqi women and children at a checkpoint Monday when the Iraqis' van would not stop as ordered, U.S. Central Command said.

Two other civilians were wounded at a U.S. Army checkpoint on a highway near Najaf in southern Iraq (news - web sites), according to a Pentagon (news - web sites) official and a Central Command statement. The military is investigating, the statement said.


The Pentagon, meanwhile, said U.S. warplanes dropped 3,000 precision-guided bombs over the weekend in an intensified air campaign aimed at weakening the Republican Guard divisions ringing Baghdad. The Pentagon also said fresh U.S. forces were heading for the Gulf region.


In the checkpoint shooting, Central Command said initial reports indicated the soldiers followed the rules of engagement to protect themselves. "In light of recent terrorist attacks by the Iraqi regime, the solders exercised considerable restraint to avoid the unnecessary loss of life," the statement said.


The soldiers involved were from the 3rd Infantry Division, the same unit that lost four soldiers at a checkpoint near Najaf Saturday when an Iraqi soldier dressed as a civilian detonated a car bomb.


The seven dead and two wounded on Monday were among 13 women and children in a van that approached the checkpoint but did not stop, according to the Central Command statement.


It said soldiers motioned for the driver to stop but were ignored. The soldiers then fired warning shots, which also were ignored. They then shot into the vehicle's engine, but the van continued moving toward the checkpoint, according to the statement.


Meanwhile, fresh U.S. forces are flowing to the Persian Gulf, including 500 members of an Army cavalry regiment being sent ahead of schedule to help protect U.S. supply lines from Iraqi attack.


The buildup comes amid upbeat Pentagon assessments of progress against Iraq's strongest army force, the Republican Guard, which one U.S. general said Monday had suffered a "very significant weakening" from intensified American and British aerial bombardment.


"We know how it will end: The Iraqi regime will end," said Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke. "But we know that there could be some tough fighting ahead."


Maj. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, vice director of operations on the Pentagon's Joint Staff, told a news conference that more than 300,000 allied forces are now in the Gulf region, about 250,000 of them American. Last Friday his boss, Gen. Richard Myers, had put the allied total at 270,000.


McChrystal would not discuss specific missions of the additional forces that are en route to the Gulf or getting ready to go. They include 500 members of the Army's 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment who left their Fort Polk, La., base on Sunday. They and their Humvee scout vehicles, Kiowa reconnaissance helicopters and other equipment were sent by air, enabling them to get to Iraq quicker than if the equipment had been sent by sea as originally planned.


Other members of the 2nd Armored Cavalry are to go by sea.


Iraqi paramilitary forces have launched hit-and-run attacks on supply lines between Kuwait and central Iraq, forcing U.S. commanders to devote more combat resources to protecting those lines.


The Army also is sending the 4th Infantry Division, its showpiece armored force, to Iraq. Members of the Fort Hood, Texas-based division began flying to Kuwait late last week. They originally were to deploy to Turkey to open a northern front against Baghdad, but Turkey refused access.


The first of about three dozen ships carrying the 4th Infantry's equipment arrived in Kuwait on Sunday, and the rest are expected to get there by mid-April. That would appear to make it unlikely the division will be ready in time to participate in a looming battle for Baghdad.


The 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, based at Fort Carson, Colo., also is going. Five ships carrying its equipment from ports in Texas are now on their way to the Gulf, and two more are loading.

Also scheduled to deploy, but not yet moving, is the 1st Cavalry Division from Fort Hood.

The Navy also is making adjustments. It announced Monday that four F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft from the carrier USS Nimitz in the Indian Ocean have been temporarily reassigned to the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier battle group in the Persian Gulf.

The Super Hornets, which normally are used in a fighter role, will fly refueling missions, making up for what the Navy called a shortage of fuel for strike planes searching for targets over Iraq.

Once the Nimitz gets into the Gulf, it is expected to relieve the Lincoln, which is overdue to return to its home station at Everett, Wash.

The Navy has a total of three carriers in the Gulf and two in the eastern Mediterranean.

McChrystal gave an upbeat assessment of allied forces' progress on the ground in Iraq, particularly against the Republican Guard divisions protecting the approaches to Baghdad. He said intensified airstrikes over the weekend had taken much of the fight out of them.

"We see some very significant weakening and it will hit a tipping point in some of their formations," he said.

He said some elements of other Republican Guard units have moved to shore up the Medina Division that has been the main target of U.S. bombing.

Coalition planes flew about 2,000 sorties Monday, including more than 800 strike missions, the official said. About two-thirds of those strike sorties were against Republican Guard divisions arrayed around Baghdad.
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Old 03-31-2003, 05:20 PM   #2
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Horrors! *Not* good.
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Old 03-31-2003, 05:39 PM   #3
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Why? Why? Why?????

Why didn't they stop?????

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Old 03-31-2003, 08:42 PM   #4
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Because they were terrorists. There are reports now that the soldiers did not fire enough shots to kill all those people. To kill 9 people in a car would require an extremely large amount of ammunition and I don't think, even with recent events, that the soldiers would have pumped that much in to the car. In light of the other thread about the treatment of women in Iraq, I'm sure there is more to this than initial reports and I would bet that some of those women were dead before they even reached the checkpoint.
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Old 03-31-2003, 08:57 PM   #5
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I also think that this whole thing is very strange. I almost don't want to weigh in on this because it either was another terrorist run with a vehicle or the soldiers shooting at them freaked them out and they tried to get out of there. I haven't heard enough details yet. I would like to think that our troops made the best judgement - we'll see.
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Old 03-31-2003, 10:03 PM   #6
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All the news says they shot women and children and an officer admitted it and says they need to put some more effort into distinquishing b/w civilians and noncivilians

not good is right
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Old 03-31-2003, 10:31 PM   #7
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Basstrap, did you forget that just this weekend a suicide bomber in a taxi ran into troops and killed some? Imagine you are one of the soldiers at that checkpoint - What in the world would you do if a van was driving at you and warning shots didn't deter it?
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Old 03-31-2003, 10:39 PM   #8
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i don't think a suicide bomber is a terrorist when attacking soldiers. it's war... i think it is a different story when civilians are attacked, like in Palestine.
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Old 03-31-2003, 11:01 PM   #9
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80's...what is your point?

I said it is not good...are you opposing that statement? I'm confused
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Old 04-01-2003, 03:33 AM   #10
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They don't shoot out the tires anymore?
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Old 04-01-2003, 07:08 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Man Inside The Child
i don't think a suicide bomber is a terrorist when attacking soldiers. it's war... i think it is a different story when civilians are attacked, like in Palestine.
I agree.
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Old 04-01-2003, 07:11 AM   #12
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Tragic.
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Old 04-01-2003, 07:58 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Man Inside The Child
i don't think a suicide bomber is a terrorist when attacking soldiers. it's war... i think it is a different story when civilians are attacked, like in Palestine.
For a soldier to dress as a civilian is against all established conventions for war for obvious reasons. It may not be a "terrorist" act, but it now puts too many at risk.
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Old 04-01-2003, 08:05 AM   #14
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this should do wonders for the "hearts and minds" campaign.
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Old 04-01-2003, 09:04 AM   #15
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I think they need to adopt other methods of stopping these vehicles. Admiral William Leahy once said, "wars cannot be won by destroying women and children." He was and is not wrong.
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Old 04-01-2003, 10:48 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Basstrap
80's...what is your point?

I said it is not good...are you opposing that statement? I'm confused
Nope, I think it's horribly tragic. Maybe I'm the confused one, but it seems to me that by posting the following statement,

"they need to put some more effort into distinquishing b/w civilians and noncivilians"

You seem to agree with what the officer supposedly said, that it was the soldiers' fault. If you weren't saying that, I apologize.

However, I've gotta ask - did you hear this statement directly, or did a friend tell you about it? The reason I ask is because (1) I didn't hear about it, and I read several sources (Fox News, CNN, Newsmax, Drudge, Debka)several times a day. (2) Also, it doesn't seem like a soldier would say something like that even if he felt that way, based on public opinion. Could you imagine the headlines?

"Soldier Admits Fault In Killing Civilians"

I've never been in the military, but when I worked for the police department, if we were at the scene of a crime, no one was allowed to discuss teh crime with the press except the guy in command. I would definitely think it would be that way with the military, but maybe I'm wrong. Anyways, I just don't think he would say that. I'm not saying you're lying, I just think you might be misinformed.
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Old 04-01-2003, 10:53 AM   #17
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Anitram, I see your point, but as it stands now, there was nothing else they could've done. The soldiers were trying to protect their own. It is indeed a tragedy, but I do have to wonder if the reason the van didn't stop was because it was under the control of a woman who did indeed plan to be a "martyr" and take out some US troops. For all we know, it could have been the driver acting alone, and the rest were unsuspecting passengers.
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Old 04-01-2003, 11:53 AM   #18
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A Gruesome Scene on Highway 9
10 Dead After Vehicle Shelled at Checkpoint


By William Branigin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 1, 2003


NEAR KARBALA, Iraq, March 31 -- As an unidentified four-wheel-drive vehicle came barreling toward an intersection held by troops of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, Capt. Ronny Johnson grew increasingly alarmed. From his position at the intersection, he was heard radioing to one of his forward platoons of M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles to alert it to what he described as a potential threat.

"Fire a warning shot," he ordered as the vehicle kept coming. Then, with increasing urgency, he told the platoon to shoot a 7.62mm machine-gun round into its radiator. "Stop [messing] around!" Johnson yelled into the company radio network when he still saw no action being taken. Finally, he shouted at the top of his voice, "Stop him, Red 1, stop him!"

That order was immediately followed by the loud reports of 25mm cannon fire from one or more of the platoon's Bradleys. About half a dozen shots were heard in all.

"Cease fire!" Johnson yelled over the radio. Then, as he peered into his binoculars from the intersection on Highway 9, he roared at the platoon leader, "You just [expletive] killed a family because you didn't fire a warning shot soon enough!"

So it was that on a warm, hazy day in central Iraq, the fog of war descended on Bravo Company.

Fifteen Iraqi civilians were packed inside the Toyota, officers said, along with as many of their possessions as the jammed vehicle could hold. Ten of them, including five children who appeared to be under 5 years old, were killed on the spot when the high-explosive rounds slammed into their target, Johnson's company reported. Of the five others, one man was so severely injured that medics said he was not expected to live.

"It was the most horrible thing I've ever seen, and I hope I never see it again," Sgt. Mario Manzano, 26, an Army medic with Bravo Company of the division's 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, said later in an interview. He said one of the wounded women sat in the vehicle holding the mangled bodies of two of her children. "She didn't want to get out of the car," he said.

The tragedy cast a pall over the company as it sat in positions it had occupied Sunday on this key stretch of Highway 9 at the intersection of a road leading to the town of Hilla, about 14 miles to the east, near the Euphrates River. The Toyota was coming from that direction when it was fired on.

Dealing with the gruesome scene was a new experience for many of the U.S. soldiers deployed here, and they debated how the tragedy could have been avoided. Several said they accepted the platoon leader's explanation to Johnson on the military radio that he had, in fact, fired two warning shots, but that the driver failed to stop. And everybody was edgy, they realized, since four U.S. soldiers were blown up by a suicide bomber Saturday at a checkpoint much like theirs, only 20 miles to the south.

On a day of sporadic fighting on the roads and in the farms and wooded areas around the intersection, the soldiers of Bravo Company had their own reasons to be edgy. The Bradley of the 3rd Battalion's operations officer, Maj. Roger Shuck, was fired on with a rocket-propelled grenade a couple of miles south of Karbala. No one in the vehicle was seriously injured, but Shuck had difficulty breathing afterward and had to be treated with oxygen, medics said.

That happened after a column of M1 Abrams tanks headed north to Karbala in the early afternoon and returned a couple of hours later. Throughout the day, Iraqis lobbed periodic mortar volleys at the U.S. troops, and Iraqi militiamen and soldiers tried to penetrate the U.S. lines. Later, U.S. multiple-launcher vehicles fired rockets to try to take out the mortar batteries as AH-64 Apache helicopters swooped low over the arid terrain in search of other enemy gun emplacements.

It was in the late afternoon, after this day defending their positions, that the men of Bravo Company saw the blue Toyota coming down the road and reacted. After the shooting, U.S. medics evacuated survivors to U.S. lines south of here. One woman escaped without a scratch. Another, who had superficial head wounds, was flown by helicopter to a field hospital when it was learned she was pregnant.

Johnson said afterward that he initially suspected the driver might have been a suicide bomber, because he did not behave like others who approached the intersection.

"All the other vehicles stopped and turned around when they saw us," he said. "But this one kept on coming." Two days earlier, four 3rd Infantry Division soldiers were killed when a suicide bomber detonated explosives in his car at a checkpoint.

Lt. Col. Stephen Twitty, the 3rd Battalion commander, gave permission for three of the survivors to return to the vehicle and recover the bodies of their loved ones. Medics gave the group 10 body bags. U.S. officials offered an unspecified amount of money to compensate them.

"They wanted to bury them before the dogs got to them," said Cpl. Brian Truenow, 28, of Townsend, Mass.

[In Washington, the Pentagon issued a statement saying the vehicle was fired on after the driver ignored shouted orders and warning shots. The shooting, it said, is under investigation. According to the Pentagon account, the vehicle was a van carrying 13 women and children. Seven were killed, two were injured and four were unharmed, it said, without mentioning any men.]

To try to prevent a recurrence, Johnson ordered that signs be posted in Arabic to warn people to stop well short of the Bradleys guarding the eastern approach to the intersection. Before they could be erected, 10 people carrying white flags walked down the same road. They were seven children, an old man, a woman and a boy in his teens.

"Tell them to go away," Johnson ordered. But he reconsidered when told that the family said their house had been blown up and that they were trying to reach the home of relatives in a safer area.

"They look like they pose no threat at this time," one of the Bradley platoons radioed.

Johnson, a former Army Ranger who parachuted into Panama in 1989, fought in the 1991 Persian Gulf War and rose through the ranks, relented. He ordered his troops to tell the old man that the group could walk around the Bradleys.


2003 The Washington Post Company
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Old 04-01-2003, 12:08 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
Why? Why? Why?????

Why didn't they stop?????

Who? The bus or the soldiers firing bullets at it?
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Old 04-01-2003, 12:10 PM   #20
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God, that is so tragic. I know it's war, but I can't help being torn up about it. I'll leave my opinions out of it.
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