Who said the Iraqis didn't want to be liberated?

by Gopher 7 Replies latest social current

  • Gopher

    Here's an article from the frontlines, written for the New York Times. I think it shows that some Iraqis are starting to understand that the American coalition is there to HELP them.

    I know some people will say this is fabricated or slanted, but I think there's a lot of truth to this.


    Iraqis fleeing Baghdad cheer oncoming Marines
    Dexter Filkins, New York Times
    Published April 4, 2003CIVI04

    AZIZIYAH, IRAQ -- Iraqi civilians streamed out of Baghdad and surrounding cities Thursday as U.S. Marines approaching the capital from the southeast raced ahead to farmlands just beyond the city's edge.

    The bulk of the 1st Marine Division crossed the Tigris River on Thursday and wheeled northward, pausing to crush a group of several hundred Iraqi soldiers who stood and fought.

    By nightfall, the lead Marine units were within 25 miles of the outskirts of the capital, forming a vise with the 3rd Infantry on the western side of the city.

    As the Marines pushed northward along Hwy. 6, hundreds of Iraqi civilians passed them fleeing south, cheering and encouraging the troops as they passed. It was one of the first signs of a large movement of people out of Baghdad since bombing began two weeks ago, and one of the warmest receptions the Americans have received.

    The Iraqis leaving in buses, cars and taxis said the city was no longer safe. One man drove himself and his family south on a motorcycle and sidecar, another in a 1954 Dodge pickup. A third man, standing in the bed of a pickup, shouted the only words in English he knew. "George Bush!" he cried, whizzing past.

    Even some Iraqi soldiers jumped aboard the southbound vehicles, hoping to make an escape. Many Iraqis, fearful of the armada streaming past them, waved white flags, some fashioned out of sheets and T-shirts. One woman waved a pair of her husband's boxer shorts.

    "You have saved us, you have saved us from him," exclaimed Alawih Hussein, pausing as he drove his battered red Toyota pickup south on Hwy. 6. Hussein's wife, who sat next to her husband, was so effusive in her joy that she had to pause several times to suck on a pocket inhaler.

    "I love you," she said in English, panting and weeping. "I love you."

    The outpouring by the Iraqis marked a break with past days, when the reception from townspeople had often been more muted. For days, as U.S. troops swept through the country, Iraqis often refrained from offering their opinions, fearful of reprisals, some said, especially if Saddam Hussein survived. But on Thursday, as the scope of the U.S.-led military effort became apparent, Iraqis seemed to feel little urge to keep their emotions in check.

    The warm reception, coupled with the rapid progress of the troops, lent an air of momentary jubilation to the Marine convoy.

    At one point earlier Thursday, the Marines were moving north at such a torrid pace that troop carriers, going 40 miles per hour, shredded the outer skin of their tank treads.

    There was no resistance to speak of, and the road seemed clear. The convoy moved so quickly toward Baghdad that Marine commanders had to stop to draw up another map.

    "The general has taken the leash off," said Lt. Col. Sam Strotman, pausing on a hill about 55 miles south of Baghdad. "We've got orders to go as far as we can go."

    Battle for Aziziyah

    The mood changed quickly when the Marines ran into a large force of Iraqis guarding the approach to Aziziyah. Some officers said the Iraqi force represented a portion of the Al Nida Division of the Republican Guard, parts of which U.S. officials think have retreated into the southern suburbs of Baghdad.

    Late Thursday night, Marine officers said they had located a large group of tanks dug into the earth, believed to be the main Al Nida force. They began airstrikes and prepared to attack in the morning.

    The fighting in Aziziyah lasted much of the day, with the Americans calling in airstrikes from B-52 bombers, Super Cobra helicopter gunships and F/A-18 Hornet jets. By the time the Marines passed through the city in the late afternoon, the guns had fallen quiet. Buildings in the city were still burning when the Marines finally drove through.

    The Marines continued a pattern of bypassing urban areas as they sweep toward their main objective: Baghdad. In Aziziyah, they stormed past the town, and then, with the Iraqis surrounded, turned and attacked them from two sides. The Marines captured just enough of the city to enable them to build a pontoon bridge across the Tigris.

    Inside Aziziyah, the Americans' arrival seemed to leave the city in chaos. When a reporter showed up, a crowd gathered, claiming that U.S. bombs had killed 50 Iraqi civilians in airstrikes the night before. Some of the people said that they supported the U.S. effort to overthrow Saddam but that the bombing had been indiscriminate.

    "Please give a message to George Bush," said Abdul Karim, a shopkeeper. "Tell him to stop dropping bombs on women and children."

    Soon, another man appeared, saying the reports of civilian casualties in the city had been exaggerated.

    The second man, who said he managed a taxi stand, declined to give his name. He said most of those killed in the fighting over the past 24 hours had been members of the Baath Party and Republican Guard.

    "The wounded inside the hospital are all Republican Guard," he said.

    As the sun began to set, it was unclear whether the Baath Party, or anyone else, was in control of Aziziyah. Some residents said the Baath Party members had fled during the fight with the Americans; others said they were still in charge.

    "Don't go there," the taxi stand manager said. "The Baath Party is still inside the town."

    Fleeing soldiers

    Up and down Hwy. 6, many Iraqi soldiers had taken advantage of the chaos to flee. Marines reported seeing discarded military uniforms along the road.

    A few miles south of Aziziyah, a chaotic scene unfolded on the roadside when a group of Marines stopped and searched three passenger buses.

    Checking identification cards, the Americans pulled aside about 30 Iraqi men who they claimed were soldiers. At noontime, those prisoners sat in a makeshift barbed-wire prison. The rest of the Iraqis, perhaps 300 of them, sat huddled on the roadside, yelling and shouting at the Americans to let them through.

    The Marines, with only one Arabic translator at their disposal, tried to insist on an orderly process of allowing the Iraqis to board their buses. But groups of Iraqi men, eager to get home, dashed to the buses anyway.

    "Sit down and shut up," screamed one U.S. sergeant to an uncomprehending Iraqi man.

    Under a sweltering sun, many of the Iraqis, including an elderly man named Hussein, lost their tempers. Hussein, who had left Baghdad two days earlier, finally exploded in frustration to a Marine sergeant.

    "This is between you and Saddam," Hussein said, jabbing a finger. "You can have him. Do anything you want with him. But let me go home."

  • pr_capone

    Apparently not you! hehehehe

    Kansas District Overbeer

  • jelly

    The Iraqi people have a lot of fear. They don’t trust us and they are terrified of Saddam. They are afraid we are going to leave them high and dry like we did in 91 when we made the mistake of listening to the idiotic UN.
    In Alaska, they have a statewide revenue sharing plan where every state resident gets some of the oil revenue. I would love to see something like that implemented for the Iraqis. Imagine how much Saudi Arabia and Iran would crap themselves if we gave the oil revenue directly to the Iraqi people. Both countries would have a revolution within three months.

  • Gopher

    LOL Eric.

    Terry -- I never heard that proposal, but I think it's very inventive and "outside the box", the type of thing that will help the Iraqis buy into the post-war rebuilding of their country. Great stuff!

  • Realist


    there are different religious and ethnic groups in iraq. the people in the south faught against hussein in 1991 and got massacred. same thing with the people in the north. most arabs in central iraq stand behind hussein however (with exceptions of course).

    the problem is that the parts of the country that welcome the US now are also the hard core islamistic parts. the south was against hussein in part because of him suppressing islam.

    so it is expected that they welcome the US now but that they will turn against the west pretty soon after the war is over. this is gonna be a hell of a mess.

    Jelly, you are a dreamer .... but you are not the only one

  • GermanXJW

    Yesterday, there was an interview of Iraqis living in exile in Iran. They said the Forces behave very unsensible by putting their flags everywhere an Arabic ground, something not understood at all. They said the US does not give a .... about Arabic mentality.

    They said if the soldiers keep on behaving that way ALL Iraqis will hate them.

    A quote from Iraqi that fled Saddam and wish a regime change.

  • GermanXJW
  • jelly


    Yeah, I know I am a dreamer but if they did this I think it would end the 'war on terror' with in one year.


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