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Hvem startet den siste voldsbølgen i Irak? Det var irakere, først i Fallujah, så i Sadr City, sier amerikanerne.

Christian Science er flinke til å lage medieresymeer på aktuelle temaer:

posted April 12, 2004, updated 11:00 a.m.

Did the US miscalculate in Iraq?
Iraqi officials, British commanders say US has mishandled the situation in Iraq.
by Tom Regan | csmonitor.com

Washington Post har en meget god artikkel som viser hvordan krangelen om hvem som begynte er med å forsure forholdene. Oberst Peter Mansoor har en gang i uken i snart ett år hatt møter i Bagdad med klanledere. Det siste møtet endte i fullt brudd. Amerikanerne tok på seg vestene og gikk. Det var nettopp krangelen om hvem som begynte som fikk følelsene til å koke.

Iraqi Bond Breaks as Fighting Rages
Tribesmen Turn Hostile to U.S. Troops
By Karl Vick
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, April 12, 2004

In the end a dozen men in checkered headdresses milled excitedly in front of a podium, thrusting their fists in the air and shouting, «Yes! Yes! Moqtada!» and «Yes! Yes! Iraq!» The Americans hurried into armored vests and made for the door.

«Let’s get out of here,» Mansoor said.

Det interessante her er ryktespredning som nyhetskilde. Ingen gjør forsøk på å skille fakta og fiksjon. Mansoor sier til forsamlingen at Irak står foran et veiskille, og at det ikke var amerikanerne som begynte volden i Bagdad. En reiser seg for å protestere og sier at det ble skutt mot demonstrasjonene i Bagdad, som var fredelige. Mansoor sier han kan vise ham nøyaktig hvor bråket startet forrige søndag, i Sadr City. Mannen viser tydeligvis til demonstrasjonene som var mot stengningen av partiavisen Hawza tidligere i uken.

Mansoor’s questioner was referring to a protest several days earlier at Firdaus Square, where a statue of former president Saddam Hussein once stood. Called to protest the shuttering of a newspaper controlled by Sadr, the demonstration had come off without incident in the eyes of the 1st Brigade soldiers who monitored it from nearby armor.

«We never fired a shot,» Mansoor said. «At least none was reported to me.»

But for days afterward, Iraqis spoke with outrage of shots fired toward the crowd from the nearby Baghdad Hotel, a fortified building protected by private security contractors. After tanks moved near the crowd, there was talk of innocents crushed under their treads.

Hearing this in the hallway afterward, the colonel made a face.

«We didn’t roll over anyone,» he said.

Artikkelen lyder som en illustrasjon til Thomas L. Friedmans spørsmål: Hvor er irakerne? Hvis de faller så lett for sprøyt, rykter og oppiskede følelser. hvem skal ta over 30. juni?

Hvor hardhendt har amerikanerne fart frem? En reportasje fra Fallujah tyder ikke akkurat på at amerikanerne bruker overdreven makt. Snarere minner dette om en episode fra Band of Brothers.

Marines Find Evidence of Suicide Squads
Deserted Shed in Fallujah Suggests Careful Planning, Foreign Presence
By Pamela Constable
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, April 12, 2004

Amerikanerne har inntatt et skur i utkanten av Fallujah hvor en gruppe bombemakere og selvmordsaksjonister har holdt til:

«When I saw those [suicide] vests, I thought those people obviously don’t value life,» said one staff sergeant, shaking his head in bewilderment. A 20-year-old corporal, Philip Dennis, said he had expected to be building schools in Iraq, not dodging mortar shells.

«I’m a humanitarian person, and I don’t believe in killing for no reason, but I guess this is the job that needs to be done,» he said. On his first day of combat, Dennis recounted, he climbed onto a roof and was astonished to see dozens of black-robed insurgents with AK-47 rifles. «I had no idea they had so many people, and I realized this was very big.» He paused and added, «We killed a lot of them.»

One young corpsman, tending to an injured man in his command post, said he had little time to think about Easter but a great deal to live for. Picking up his helmet, he displayed a snapshot of his baby son glued to the inside.

He also said he was keeping a war diary that he would eventually take home to California. One entry was addressed to his wife, in Spanish and dated April 6 — two days after the suicide squad member had written to his friend in Arabic, urging him to become a fellow martyr in the «beautiful» war against Shiites and Americans.

«Hello my dear, how is my precious boy?» the Marine’s letter began. «We are in the middle of the most dangerous operation in the world. Thousands of Marines are united in this battle to eliminate terrorists from this city. Last night we got in a fierce firefight and I could see the explosions and rockets going up in the sky. Tonight I expect an even more dangerous mission, and I hope I can write you again tomorrow and tell you how it went.»

Det er en anonym britisk offiser som er kilden til et oppslag i Daily Telegraph om at det er stor frustrasjon i britenes chain of command over amerikanernes slegge-for-å-knekke nøtter taktikk. Men en britisk offiser som bruker nazi-jargon om amerikanerne virker ikke tillitsvekkende.

«My view and the view of the British chain of command is that the Americans’ use of violence is not proportionate and is over-responsive to the threat they are facing. They don’t see the Iraqi people the way we see them. They view them as untermenschen. They are not concerned about the Iraqi loss of life in the way the British are.»

Han roser britene inntil karikatur og gjør det motsatte med amerikanerne. At de skulle bruke mortars indiscriminately mot sivile strøk høres helt usannsynlig ut.

The officer explained that, under British military rules of war, British troops would never be given clearance to carry out attacks similar to those being conducted by the US military, in which helicopter gunships have been used on targets in urban areas.

British rules of engagement only allow troops to open fire when attacked, using the minimum force necessary and only at identified targets. The American approach was markedly different, the officer said.

«When US troops are attacked with mortars in Baghdad, they use mortar-locating radar to find the firing point and then attack the general area with artillery, even though the area they are attacking may be in the middle of a densely populated residential area.

«They may well kill the terrorists in the barrage, but they will also kill and maim innocent civilians. That has been their response on a number of occasions. It is trite, but American troops do shoot first and ask questions later.»

Mitt inntrykk er at ingen er bedre på Irak enn de amerikanske journalistene. Jeg velger å stole på deres inntrykk.