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Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Saturday | June 28, 2003

Kidnapped GI's found dead

Missing U.S. Soldiers Found Dead North of Baghdad

Filed at 8:39 a.m. ET

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Two U.S. soldiers missing for days from a checkpost north of the capital have been found dead, a senior U.S. army officer said.

The soldiers and their Humvee went missing Wednesday from the town of Balad, 25 miles north of Baghdad. The officer, who declined to give his name, said their bodies have been found. He gave no further details.


The soldiers had been identified as Sgt. 1st Class Gladimir Philippe, 37, of Linden, N.J., and Pfc. Kevin Ott, 27, of Columbus, Ohio.

The latest violence occurred just after 11 p.m. Friday, when attackers lobbed a grenade at a U.S. convoy making its way through the predominantly Shiite Thawra neighborhood of northeast Baghdad. One American soldier was killed and four were wounded, said military spokesman Sgt. Patrick Compton.

Kidnapped and killed.

So all this is still being done by a band of Saddam's supporters, right?

The latest round of killings have all taken place in Shia neighborhoods, where Saddam and his agents are supposedly unwelcome. One would think in a land filled with armed men and teenagers, strangers with guns might well find themselves attacked.

It is far more likely that Iraqi families, redressing feuds, are participating in some of these attacks as it is any shadowy band of guerrillas.

It's a cruel tactic, but US troops, once the word of this spreads on the BBC and by word of mouth, will treat Iraqi civilains with even greater trepidation. A man is shot looking at DVD's and the shooter escapes. Two GI's kidnapped and killed from a checkpoint. Iraqis who work with the US targeted for assassination.

Whoever is doing this is pushing the US further away from the Iraqi people. The CPA seems not to get that they have no credibility to work with. If they had gotten the power up, there would be far less support for the various guerrilla armies.

But the scary part is that the resistance is moving into Shia-controlled areas. There is little chance that the baathists can run around these places without being ratted out. Whatever they do, it's with the tacit support of the Iraqi people.

What is scary is that the next move for the guerrillas is to attack the civilians working with the CPA. I am surprised that their compound hasn't had a rocket or mortar attack, yet, but I fear those days are drawing to a close.

The DOD is trying to pretend that it's just the diehards doing this, but if that was the case, they certainly wouldn't be operating in Shia areas which are protected by clerics militias.

What hasn't made much news, is that the US has conducted a series of raids against SCIRI offices in Baghdad. That could make it far more difficult for the Shia clerics to keep the hotheads under control. The fact that Americans are now being attacked in Shia neighborhoods might well result from policy decisions and not any love of Saddam.

Steve Gilliard

Posted June 28, 2003 08:10 AM | Comments (112)


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