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#213468 - 18/09/03 02:33 AM An article I found - long
InfX708 Offline
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Registered: 24/09/00
Posts: 864
Loc: Ft. Bragg, NC
Sorry, I can't link to this - you have to have an Army account. IT shows why we're having so many problems in Baghdad. We do things quite a bit differently in Mosul. Maybe these guys should have done the "cordon and knock" earlier. We have great success here - we've searched houses and then been offered tea. Totally freaks me out.

U.S. Errors Creating New Enemies In Iraq

By Ken Dilanian and Drew Brown, Inquirer Staff Writers

BAGHDAD - Talib Abdul Jabar al-Sayeed was asleep at home with 11 relatives, he said, when U.S. troops stormed his gate and began firing.

At least three dozen soldiers blazed away for more than an hour on the early morning of July 31, the British-trained physician recounted recently, pointing to hundreds of bullet holes that still mark his stately home.

His is just one of dozens of accounts of tragic errors by U.S. troops.

"I shouted at them with all my strength to stop shooting," said Sayeed, 62. "I will open the door. Please give me a chance."

Eventually, he said, the commanding officer apologized: They had raided the wrong house. But, Sayeed said, not before a soldier burst in and struck him with a rifle butt, knocking him down. Sayeed said that the soldier kicked him in the ribs and that others bound his hands with plastic cuffs as his wife and young nieces cowered in the next room. They also took his three grown sons in for questioning; they remain in a military jail in the south of Iraq.

Three weeks after they were first asked about it, military spokesmen said they were unable to track down details of the incident, so it is unknown whether the military disputes Sayeed's story.

Iraqis and international observers say that the military's tactics - including use of overwhelming force against houses filled with women and children - have resulted in the detentions of hundreds of innocent people and the deaths of others. They say the coalition is creating new enemies as fast as old ones are eliminated.

Military officials acknowledge there have been mistakes but say that raids, arrests and accidental deaths of civilians, while regrettable, are the harsh realities of guerrilla war.

"My soldiers are operating in a low-intensity-conflict environment," said Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the U.S. commander in Iraq. "And they're getting attacked every day - at service stations... in hospitals, on the road - and, of course, they're going to be prepared to defend themselves and fight."

Added Lt. Col. Guy Shields, a chief military spokesman in Iraq: "We know that some innocent civilians have been killed, and each one of those is a tragedy."

In one sense, Sayeed was lucky. His family survived.

U.S.-led coalition troops have shot and killed at least 58 and possibly as many as 81 civilian noncombatants since major combat was declared over May 1, according to a review of reports first compiled by Iraq Body Count, a London research group that bases its estimates on published or broadcast reports by news agencies and human-rights groups.

The military says it does not count civilian deaths. Asked about the issue, L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator for Iraq, said: "The loss of life is a tragedy for anyone involved, but the numbers are really very low."

When pressed, Bremer acknowledged that he could not say how many civilians the coalition troops had killed.

For many Iraqis, it is a painful irony: As American civilian officials promote democratic values and respect for human rights, heavily armed U.S. soldiers storm their homes, arrest people, and kill some by mistake, all without public accountability or judicial review.

"It is the same scenario every day," said Eman Ahmed Khammas, the director of Occupation Watch, a Baghdad-based advocacy group. "The number of civilian casualties is increasing. But there are no statistics."

In the last few months, a number of incidents have become public:

U.S. troops shot and killed eight Iraqi police officers and a Jordanian security guard Friday in an apparent case of mistaken identity.

U.S. troops killed an 18-year-old woman when they tossed a grenade into a house during a raid Sept. 1 in Mahmudiyah.

A Reuters journalist was killed in Baghdad on Aug. 17 when troops mistook his television camera for a grenade launcher.

Two uniformed Iraqi policemen were shot and killed Aug. 9 while pursuing criminals in Baghdad.

Five people, including a girl, 8, and three family members, were killed Aug. 7 when they ran into an unmarked checkpoint during an evening raid in Baghdad's Slakh neighborhood.

A mother of six was shot and killed Aug. 1 in Baghdad after the family car broke down near where troops were attacked.

Five people were shot and killed July 28 when they encountered poorly marked roadblocks during a raid in Baghdad.

In all but the most recent case, military officials said they concluded soldiers were acting within the rules of engagement, which authorize a soldier to fire when he feels his life is threatened. Still, they said concerns about the deaths at checkpoints had prompted them to compensate some victims' families and order a new policy to better mark the roadblocks.

Capt. Mike Friel, a coalition spokesman, said the coalition had paid a total of $68,000 to relatives in nine wrongful-death cases since the war began in March. Of 74 such claims, 23 have been denied; the rest are still being investigated, he said. He did not respond to inquiries about the claims that were paid.

Commanders said they also had tried in recent weeks to be more precise and less aggressive when raiding homes and detaining residents.

The military says it has imprisoned about 5,500 people, most of whom are held without access to lawyers or relatives.

Among them are Sayeed's sons. They told their mother during a recent visit that they had not been interrogated or told what they were suspected of or when they might be released. Military officials did not respond to queries about them.

These officials note that U.S. troops are facing the most difficult sort of military task imaginable: trying to stamp out a determined enemy that is part of the local population.

Soldiers have been hit with an average of 12 attacks a day - snipers firing from buildings, grenades dropped from overpasses, humvees blown up by land mines. At least 74 U.S. soldiers have been killed by hostile fire since May 1.

There is no evidence that soldiers intentionally target innocent civilians. What critics say, in essence, is that some are overwhelmed by the complexities of fighting a guerrilla war.

The most frequent complaints from Iraqis and observers are that soldiers fire indiscriminately in crowded civilian areas, that they often base raids on faulty information, and that they erect poorly marked checkpoints and fire without warning on cars that approach without stopping.

An officer of the Third Infantry Division, which occupied Baghdad after fighting some of the war's big battles, described the soldiers' burden in a "lessons learned" report in April:

"[They] have been asked to go from killing the enemy to protecting and interacting, and back to killing again... . The soldiers are blurred and confused about the rules of engagement, which continues to raise questions about force protection while at checkpoints and conducting patrols. How does the soldier know exactly what the rule of engagement is?"

He added: "Soldiers who have just conducted combat against dark-skinned personnel wearing civilian clothes have difficulty trusting dark-skinned personnel wearing civilian clothes."

Many of the worst incidents occur in Baghdad, which is patrolled by First Armored Division troops trained for tank battles, not police work.

Anthony Cordesman, a military expert at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies, said most troops in Iraq were not well-trained in counterinsurgency warfare.

"Some of this is inevitable," he said. "When you have young men and women who don't have a lot of experience, they overreact."

Sanchez, the U.S. commander in Iraq, expressed concern last month about what he called the military's "ironfisted tactics" in some raids. He said he now urged commanders to surround target areas, then knock and ask permission to search.

But military officials said soldiers still would kick down doors and go in shooting when they thought it was necessary.

Officials declined to explain how they decide what level of force to use in a raid on a home, except to say that it is "based on intelligence."

But a raid can be prompted by a tip from a single informant, and "unfortunately, there are some raids that go awry," Spec. Nicole Thompson, a military spokeswoman, said recently. "Sometimes you get a case of, you know, this guy doesn't like that guy, and he makes a phone call."

To those whose homes are mistakenly raided or whose relatives are killed or held for months without word of their fate, the tactics are indistinguishable from those of Saddam Hussein's regime.

"I loved the Americans before this happened," Sayeed said. "But now I hate them. Before, I wanted all of my sons to go to America to finish their studies. But now there is no way I will let them go. This is the freedom they promise us? This is democracy?"

Zahra Khalid Sabry is asking the same questions, as are hundreds of her family, neighbors and friends.

"They killed him in front of my eyes," she sobbed on the day her male relatives brought her husband's body back from the morgue. "I tried to kiss him, but they wouldn't let me."

Her house spilled over with more than 200 mourners who could barely contain their fury as they described what happened when soldiers crashed through their doors at 1 a.m. Aug. 11, four days after Sanchez promised changes in tactics. Upstairs, bullet holes marred the bedroom door, and the mattress was stained with blood.

Sabry said she had been in bed with her husband, Farid Abdul Khahir, 23, after celebrating their first anniversary when they heard loud noises outside. Khahir, thinking the house was being attacked by looters, pulled his rifle from under the bed - most Iraqis have at least one firearm in their homes - and fired out the window, Sabry said.

Soldiers bolted up the stairs and fired at least seven shots through the closed bedroom door, hitting him in the leg and torso, Sabry said. The soldiers took him to a hospital, where he died. The next day, other soldiers came to the house to retrieve the bullets, relatives said.

A translator with the Americans told them an informant had fingered Khahir as an anti-coalition fighter. His relatives said he had been in Hussein's Fedayeen militia before the war but quit and had been working at odd construction jobs.

"We've never done anything against the Americans, never," said Ali Khalid, 16, a cousin.

Military officials did not respond to repeated requests for comment about the incident.

"Please, tell the world what happened," said Khalid's sister, Khalid Abdul Amir. "He would have gone with them. Why did they do this? Why?"
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#213469 - 18/09/03 05:17 AM Re: An article I found - long
MBFlyerfan Offline
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Registered: 30/04/01
Posts: 4450
Loc: NJ, Just east of the Walt.
Here is the link to the story in question.

Quote:
Sabry said she had been in bed with her husband, Farid Abdul Khahir, 23, after celebrating their first anniversary when they heard loud noises outside. Khahir, thinking the house was being attacked by looters, pulled his rifle from under the bed - most Iraqis have at least one firearm in their homes - and fired out the window, Sabry said.

Soldiers bolted up the stairs and fired at least seven shots through the closed bedroom door, hitting him in the leg and torso, Sabry said. The soldiers took him to a hospital, where he died. The next day, other soldiers came to the house to retrieve the bullets, relatives said.
This is a terrible thing if indeed the article is accurate. But the guy fired out the window, what were the soldiers supposed to do?

Quote:
His relatives said he had been in Hussein's Fedayeen militia before the war but quit and had been working at odd construction jobs.
These Fedayeen were supposed to be cold-blooded killers. Did he just turn over a new leaf? "I am done torturing, I think I will build houses now." He was a Fedayeen, even his relatives said so. That is like saying, "I was a killer for the mafia, but I quit and became a bread salesman."

I feel bad for these people I really do, but the stress level for the troops must be unbelievable. So do the math, ex-fedayeen fires on troops with a shotgun. Hmm, sounds like a pretty reasonable response to me. I wonder how many more of these incidents have similiar circumstances.
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#213470 - 19/09/03 04:07 AM Re: An article I found - long
InfX708 Offline
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Registered: 24/09/00
Posts: 864
Loc: Ft. Bragg, NC
Quote:
Originally posted by MBFlyerfan:

This is a terrible thing if indeed the article is accurate. But the guy fired out the window, what were the soldiers supposed to do?
Firing through the door is a no no unless you are being fired at through the door. That's why we train for such things. They could have gotten away with tossing a frag or a 40mm through the window. It's like last night here. We had 3 RPGs fired at us and assorted small arms - took out a humvee, another repair for the tax payers - yet we didn't maneuver and fire blindly. We returned fire to the spot from which it came. I know it sounds strange, but that's allowed. There is no way those guys had positive ID form inside the house. I've been in enough of these houses. Things don't always line up. They could have gotten away with breaching the door - shotgun, or if they had engineer support, det cord. Our room clearing techniques have changed since WWII. We are closer to a spec ops method than the old way of tossing in a frag or firing through a door.

These Fedayeen were supposed to be cold-blooded killers. Did he just turn over a new leaf? "I am done torturing, I think I will build houses now." He was a Fedayeen, even his relatives said so. That is like saying, "I was a killer for the mafia, but I quit and became a bread salesman."
You don't have to tell me about the Fedayeen. IT is possible that he signed "the paper" in which he disavows the Ba'ath party, blah blah, blah. Yeah, I don't buy it either, but we have a shit load of these guys working for us as Facility Protection Security Forces. They wear a grey T-shirt with FPSF on it and carry an SKS. Most are former Fedayeen - tats and all. The only ones we are really interested in are the officers these days.

I feel bad for these people I really do, but the stress level for the troops must be unbelievable. So do the math, ex-fedayeen fires on troops with a shotgun. Hmm, sounds like a pretty reasonable response to me. I wonder how many more of these incidents have similiar circumstances.[/QUOTE]
What we don't know is the purpose of the mission. If it was a "capture or kill", then by all means, they acted appropriately. From the way the article sounded, it was simply a search.
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#213471 - 19/09/03 06:54 AM Re: An article I found - long
2001frontier Offline
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Registered: 20/12/01
Posts: 4932
Loc: Fort Worth, TX
Wouldn't you agree that you guys have learned a lot since the beginning of these kind of raids? The cordon and knock thing seems like it should make a massive difference in the way you guys are perceived by the average Iraqi.
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#213472 - 19/09/03 02:37 PM Re: An article I found - long
InfX708 Offline
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Registered: 24/09/00
Posts: 864
Loc: Ft. Bragg, NC
I'm not sure we've learned a whole lot. Maybe you can clarify what you mean. As far as Iraqi perception, most appreciate the politeness, even if it is just an illusion. IT definitely separates us from the old regime methods.
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#213473 - 19/09/03 11:07 PM Re: An article I found - long
2001frontier Offline
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Registered: 20/12/01
Posts: 4932
Loc: Fort Worth, TX
Didn't the English suggest cordon and knock and other methods that tend to piss the locals off and alienate them less? I read an article about that somewhere. Anyway, you guys are definately having to do things that are not part of a normal soldiers duties. I hope that all of you can come home as soon as possible. Take care of yourself man, we appreciate your service, no matter what the circumstances that got you there are.
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#213474 - 20/09/03 02:01 PM Re: An article I found - long
InfX708 Offline
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Registered: 24/09/00
Posts: 864
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I'm not sure who came up with the term "cordon and knock". It's not doctrine. The Brits did share some good info on counter insurgency and gave us some ideas to try on the individual level that make sense. Now that the minister of defense has turned himself in, we have to find something else to do. He's been our prime target for a couple of months.
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#213475 - 20/09/03 04:44 PM Re: An article I found - long
BoneCrusher Offline
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you dont train a doberman as a gaurd dog and than use him as a police dog. It dont work that way. Those grunts are being used as police officers. Thats why we have the MP forces. What is needed right now is specialists. The brass has either no idea what to do ::surpirse surprise:: or they are just unwilling to do it because of public outcry
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#213476 - 20/09/03 05:30 PM Re: An article I found - long
2001frontier Offline
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Registered: 20/12/01
Posts: 4932
Loc: Fort Worth, TX
Quote:
Originally posted by BoneCrusher:
you dont train a doberman as a gaurd dog and than use him as a police dog. It dont work that way. Those grunts are being used as police officers. Thats why we have the MP forces. What is needed right now is specialists. The brass has either no idea what to do ::surpirse surprise:: or they are just unwilling to do it because of public outcry
I have heard this argument before and think it is bunk. It makes it sound like our soldiers are to stupid to adapt.
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#213477 - 20/09/03 06:45 PM Re: An article I found - long
CPTMIGGS Offline
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In a way he is correct. Infantrymen are not trained to be police officers in any way. Logically thinking it just makes more sense to use the people best trained to do the job. Reality, however keeps that from happening. The Army has a total of 7 infantry divisions (roughly 15,000 people per division). I am not positive but I would say that there are not even enough total MP's to make up one division. There simply are not enough MP's to do the job. Thus people like our good friend INFX end up picking up the slack.
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#213478 - 21/09/03 12:45 AM Re: An article I found - long
Kerensky97 Offline
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Registered: 12/03/01
Posts: 3385
Loc: Utah
It not that the soldiers are too stupid to adapt, it's the Iraqi's perception of us. The soldiers acting as police are dressed and equiped the same as they were when they came in as invading soldiers 6 months ago.

Iraqi's see invading soldiers not police. The perception is slowly changing but it would be alot easier if Iraqi's saw that we're not trying to take things over anymore, we just want to root out the dangerous elements of society so the country can be safer.
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#213479 - 22/09/03 07:07 AM Re: An article I found - long
2001frontier Offline
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Registered: 20/12/01
Posts: 4932
Loc: Fort Worth, TX
I understand that. I guess the point is the grunts have to do this, because we don't have enough people to do the security work. Hopefully Bush will make a good impression at the UN this week and we can get some more foreign troops to help with peacekeeping type duties.
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