Empty Days

Wednesday, March 31, 2004



I will quote this and be done with the subject for now because already a few days ago I saw Iraqi by-standers jump and dance on the burning car while two white-men bodies lay next to it. A Canadian and a Briton security guards for GE engineers have been shot (one point-blank to the head). The hot-potato 6-o'clock news showed blatant close-ups of the corpses - the 11-o'clock news cut that out. They're editing like hell in those newsrooms.
FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) - Jubilant residents yanked the bodies of four foreigners - one a woman, at least one an American - out of their burning cars Wednesday, dragged the charred corpses through the streets, and hung them from the bridge spanning the Euphrates River. Five American troops died in a roadside bombing nearby.

The brutal treatment of the four corpses came after they were killed in a rebel attack on their SUVs in the Sunni Triangle city about 35 miles west of Baghdad, scene of some of the worst violence on both sides of the conflict since the beginning of the American occupation a year ago.

It was reminiscent of the 1993 scene in Somalia, when a mob dragged the corpse of a U.S. soldier through the streets of Mogadishu, eventually leading to the American withdrawal from the African nation.

In one of the bloodiest days for the U.S. military this year, five American troops died when their military vehicle ran over a bomb in a separate incident 12 miles to the northwest, among the reed-lined roads through some of Iraq's richest farmland.

Residents said the bomb attack occurred in Malahma, 12 miles northwest of Fallujah, where anti-U.S. insurgents are active. U.S. Marines operate in the area, but it was unclear whether the slain troops were Marines.

Chanting ``Fallujah is the graveyard of Americans,'' residents cheered after the grisly assault on two four-wheel-drive civilian vehicles, which left both in flames. Others chanted, ``We sacrifice our blood and souls for Islam.''

Associated Press Television News pictures showed one man beating a charred corpse with a metal pole. Others tied a yellow rope to a body, hooked it to a car and dragged it down the main street of town. Two blackened and mangled corpses were hung from a green iron bridge across the Euphrates.

``The people of Fallujah hanged some of the bodies on the old bridge like slaughtered sheep,'' resident Abdul Aziz Mohammed said. Some of the corpses were dismembered, he said.

Beneath the bodies, a man held a printed sign with a skull and crossbones and the phrase ``Fallujah is the cemetery for Americans.''

APTN showed the charred remains of three slain men. Some were wearing flak jackets, said resident Safa Mohammedi.

One resident displayed what appeared to be dog tags taken from one body. Residents also said there were weapons in the targeted cars. APTN showed one American passport near a body and a U.S. Department of Defense identification card belonging to another man.

U.S. military officials in Washington said the situation was still confused but they did not think the victims were American soldiers and believed the SUVs were not American military vehicles.

Witnesses said the two vehicles were attacked with small arms fire and rocket propelled grenades.

Hours after the attack, the city was quiet. No U.S. troops or Iraqi police were seen in the area.

Fallujah is in the so-called Sunni Triangle, where support for Saddam Hussein was strong and rebels often carry out attacks against American forces.

In nearby Ramadi, insurgents threw a grenade at a government building and Iraqi security forces returned fire Wednesday, witnesses said. It was not clear if there were casualties.

Also in Ramadi, a roadside bomb exploded near a U.S. convoy, witnesses said. U.S. officials in Baghdad could not confirm the attack.

On Tuesday in Ramadi, one U.S. soldier was killed and another wounded in a roadside bombing, said Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt.

Northeast of Baghdad, in the city of Baqouba on Wednesday, a suicide bomber blew up explosives in his car when he was near a convoy of government vehicles, wounding 14 Iraqis and killing himself, officials said.

The attacked convoy is normally used to transport the Diala provincial governor, Abdullah al-Joubori, but he was elsewhere at the time, said police Col. Ali Hossein.

On Tuesday, a suicide bombing outside the house of a police chief in Hillah, about 60 miles south of Baghdad, killed the attacker and wounded seven others.

A bomb exploded late Tuesday in a movie theater that had closed for the night. Two bystanders were wounded by flying glass, said its owner, Ghani Mohammed.

The latest violence came two days after Carina Perelli, the head of a U.N. electoral team, said better security is vital if Iraq wants to hold elections by a Jan. 31 deadline. The polls are scheduled to follow a June 30 transfer of sovereignty to an Iraqi government.

Top U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer said Tuesday he had appointed 21 anti-corruption inspectors general to government departments to try to prevent fraud. More will be named in coming days, he said.

The inspectors will work with two other newly formed, independent agencies. Together, they will ``form an integrated approach intended to combat corruption at every level of government across the country,'' Bremer said.

03/31/04 09:01 EST
That's from AOL top news, so no links. Recently OTB reported that a bunch of american MPs in a detention-center there were charged with cruelty and indecent assaults against inmates (reported by their colleagues, OTB proudly noted). Right.

What I am saying is that the climate is rotten in Iraq. And this is not lost on either the american troops there or those Iraqis who are intent on causing havoc. They gotta change that climate before they can even begin doing something constructive in there.





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