Bodies By George

May 28, 2007

“As the Iraqis stand up,” George says, “we’ll stand down.” Trouble is, here’s what many of them do when they stand up:

On April 29, a Delta Company patrol was responding to a tip at Al Sadr mosque, a short distance from its base. The soldiers saw men in the distance erecting burning barricades, and the streets emptied out quickly. Then a militia, believed to be the Mahdi Army, which is affiliated with the radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, began firing at them from rooftops and windows.

Sgt. Kevin O’Flarity, a squad leader, jumped into his Humvee to join his fellow soldiers, racing through abandoned Iraqi Army and police checkpoints to the battle site.

He and his squad maneuvered their Humvees through alleyways and side streets, firing back at an estimated 60 insurgents during a gun battle that raged for two and a half hours. A rocket-propelled grenade glanced off Sergeant O’Flarity’s Humvee, failing to penetrate.

When the battle was over, Delta Company learned that among the enemy dead were at least two Iraqi Army soldiers that American forces had helped train and arm.

“The 29th was a watershed moment in a negative sense, because the Iraqi Army would not fight with us,” Captain Rogers said, adding, “Some actually picked up weapons and fought against us.”

But George’s War isn’t just reshaping and ruining lives. It’s transforming the landscape as well:

The [Tirgris] river is contaminated with war waste and toxins, and residents of the impoverished Sadr City suburb are often left with no alternative but to drink contaminated water from the Tigris. This is why, specialists say, many Sadr City residents are plagued by diarrhoea and suffer from recurring kidney stones . . . Military forces have banned shipping and fishing in the river, and many families who depend for their income on fishing have been deprived of their means of survival. “Many fishermen have been killed trying to fish at night because they encountered insurgents looking to plant bombs on the riverbanks. It is still possible to find some men trying to fish, but it is rare,” Barakah said. During the day, military boats can be seen making their daily patrols, and in more secure areas, such as those near the fortified Green Zone, snipers are on guard 24 hours a day preventing insurgents from entering the zone. Dead bodies Every day local police haul bodies from the Tigris bearing signs of torture. Locals who live near the river constantly see floating bodies. The situation is even worse in Suwayrah, a southern area of the capital, where the government has built barriers with huge iron nets to trap plants and garbage dropped in the river but now this is also a barrier for bodies. “Since January 2006 at least 800 bodies have been dragged from those iron nets, and this figure does not include those collected from the central section of the river. Most of the bodies are unidentified and buried without family claims,” said Col Abdel-Waheed Azzam, a senior officer in the investigation department of the Ministry of Interior. According to Azzam, 90 percent of the bodies found in the river show signs of serious torture. “Because of the state of the bodies, it is not useful to try to have an autopsy done, and if the bodies are not claimed within 24 hours they are automatically buried,” he said.

But what about all the schools that have been painted? What about all the great stuff going on that the liberal media won’t report? I know everything’s just peachy in Iraq because I read some anonymous e-mail B.S. that was then recycled by an almost-anonymous wingnut Internet cartoonist.

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