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

Saturday | August 02, 2003

Iraqis turn in attacker

By Steve Gilliard

In what is some decent news, Iraqis decided they didn't want to die because some kid wanted to play hunt the Americans.

Iraqis Make Sure Assailant Doesn't Escape
Father Hands In Teenager Who Shot at Humvee; 2 Soldiers Killed in Other Attacks
By Theola Labbé
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 1, 2003; Page A14

BAGHDAD, July 31 -- U.S. troops in Iraq have grown grimly accustomed to guerrilla-style assaults by nameless, faceless attackers who toss grenades or fire mortars at them on an almost daily basis.

But Iraqis who live along Baghdad's busy Haifa Street refused to let such an attack go unsolved this morning. When someone shot an antitank weapon at a U.S. military armored vehicle, wounding one soldier, local residents identified a teenager from the neighborhood as the assailant, and the boy's father handed him over to U.S. troops, witnesses said.

"Those soldiers were very nice guys," said Salim Saheb Alwan, 55, a retired military officer who witnessed the attack. "We used to talk to them and play with these people."


Today, however, witnesses said they were disgusted at the attack on U.S. troops and were eager to catch the culprit. They were particularly upset, they said, because many innocent Iraqis could have been killed if the armored vehicle blew up in such a heavily populated area.

The locals were sending a message: pick your attacks carefully. The Americans at the bridge were not their problem. The shooter was, for lack of a better word, a punk kid with a love for guns. He endangered them. They're a problem no matter where you live and who you are. He wasn't a soldier, he was an opportunist.

What a lot of pro-war people forget is that most Iraqis don't want any more war in their lives. They want the Americans to respect them and their customs, kill Saddam and go home sooner than later. Every time Americans treat them with respect, they'll stay out of the way and in some cases, even protect them.

But when Americans disrespect them, ignore their customs and treat them with suspicion, it gets people killed. Americans have bigfooted their way into Iraqi life and it has had a lot of dire consequences. Whatever those Americans did at that bridge may not have prevented an attack, but it certainly showed that some people appreciated them.

There is no way to stress this enough, Iraqis want to live in peace. A broad, sweeping generalization, but a fair one. They want an end to the violence and the disorder. They want a real future for their kids and a voice in their government. The only problem for the American government is that they will not subjugate themselves and ignore their culture to have those things.

There is a lot of room to work with Iraqis and provide security, but the Bush Administration is uninterested in doing so

There's too much ideology and score-settling here," Hamre said, adding that some U.N. mechanism must be found to grant greater legitimacy to the newly created Iraqi Governing Council and to provide a means for a far broader international coalition to participate in Iraq, including a reconstruction fund administered by the United Nations or some other international body.


.... the administration's refusal to seek a second resolution has cost it as many as 45,000 additional troops from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Germany and France

I think it may take a lot longer to realize that we aren't going to share this burden in any meaningful way until this really becomes about Iraq and not remaking the Middle East.

Posted August 02, 2003 02:22 AM


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