Sunday, January 02, 2005
Bush vs. Reality: Iraq's Hearts and Minds
With characteristic dry English understatement, The Economist's embedded reporter (Economist pieces are unbylined) notes, "[W]hen America's well-drilled and well-fed fighters attempt subtler tasks than killing people, problems arise." Their contempt for Iraqis is undisguised and dramatically expressed: a soldier, confronted by "jeering schoolchildren," fires canisters of buckshot from his grenade-launcher at them, and marines busting down doors in Ramadi scream at trembling middle-aged women: "Bitch, where's the guns?" Small wonder, ventures the correspondent, that "many Iraqis are probably more scared of American troops than of insurgents."
The last grafs of the report recount a big whoopy-do operation in the smugglers' haven of Baij involving a convoy of 1000 troops supported by Apache attack helicopters targeting three houses that had been linked to Zarquawi's terrorist band, according to a local informant.
There was no one in the houses except women and children. Rather than return to base empty, they pay homage to the last reel of Casablanca and round up the usual suspects."...they detained 70 men from districts indentified by their informant as 'bad.' In near-freezing conditions, they sat hooded and bound in their pyjamas. They shivered uncontrollably. One wetted himself in fear. Most had been detained at random...
LINK (Emphasis added.)
The Economist is not known for its liberal tendencies. If we're not hearing this from our own press, it is because they've read the election results and recall Mr. Bush's well-known instinct of taking revenge against anyone insufficiently servile.