Sunday, July 02, 2006

Winning Hearts and Minds

Sorry, but the post title is nothing but bitter irony. This five-page article by Nir Rosen at Truth Dig is a first-person account of how life in Iraq looks to someone who looks like an Iraqi but who in fact carries an American passport.

Nir Rosen is a fellow at the New America Foundation and a free-lance writer. His book on postwar Iraq, "In the Belly of the Green Bird: The Triumph of the Martyrs in Iraq," was published by Free Press in May 2006.

From Page two...

As her husband was taken away, one woman angrily asked Allah to curse the soldiers, calling them “Dogs! Jews!” over and over. When his soldiers left a home, one officer emerged to slap them on the back like a coach congratulating his players during halftime in a winning game. In a big compound of several houses the soldiers took all the men, even the ones not on the list. A sergeant explained that the others would be held for questioning to see whether they had any useful information. The men cried out that they had children still inside. In several houses soldiers tenderly carried out babies who had been left sleeping in their cribs and handed them to the women. When the work at a house was complete, or at the Home Run stage (stages were divided into 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Home Run and Grand Slam, meaning ready to move on), the soldiers relaxed and joked, breaking their own tension and ignoring the trembling and shocked women and children crouched together on the lawns behind them.

Prisoners with duct tape on their eyes and their hands cuffed behind them with plastic “zip ties” sat in the back of the truck for hours, without water. They moved their heads toward sounds, disoriented and frightened, trying to understand what was happening around them. Any time a prisoner moved or twitched, a soldier bellowed at him angrily and cursed. Thrown among the tightly crowded men in one truck was a boy no more than 15 years old, his eyes wide in terror as the duct tape was placed on them. By daylight the whole town could see a large truck full of prisoners. Two men walking to work with their breakfast in a basket were stopped at gunpoint, ordered to the ground, cuffed and told to “Shut the fuck up” as their basket’s contents were tossed out and they were questioned about the location of a suspect.

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