Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Hey, Mr. Rooney, here's your heroes.
Marines - "No better friend, no worse enemy." Go get 'em, boys!
Some Troops Expect All-Out Fallujah FightThere's more.
By JASON KEYSER - Associated Press Writer
FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) -- Digging in around Fallujah, their three-day-old truce punctured by shelling, gunfire and well-orchestrated ambushes, U.S. Marines gave vent to their frustrations Tuesday, saying they saw no alternative to an all-out battle for the city.
With U.S.-backed Iraqi officials still talking with city leaders about ending the standoff, it's not for the troops to decide how this tangle of conflicting forces will unravel.
But as Marines traded gun and mortar fire with rooftop snipers and fighters on the northern edge of Fallujah, some of them anticipated a bloody push to take the city of 200,000 people, a stronghold of Sunni Muslim insurgents.
"If they're trying to find a peaceful way out of this, great. But at this point, there seem to be few options other than to get innocents out and level it, wipe it clear off the map," said 1st Lt. Frank Dillbeck, scanning the city's outskirts with binoculars during a relative lull in fighting.
Insurgents fired mortars at bulldozers digging earthen defenses but hit none. Marines responded with mortars and machine guns in sporadic volleys. A Marine with an M-16 shot dead a man on a balcony shouting orders to black-clad men below, Dillbeck said. He was thought to be directing snipers and mortar fire.
Insurgents used the shaky cease-fire to edge closer to Dillbeck's troops on Tuesday, taking up positions in buildings and firing rifles and rocket-propelled grenades over the earth barriers and foxholes...
...One complex ambush began when a small girl led a herd of cattle across the highway in front of a seven-vehicle convoy, said Lance Cpl. Ryan Christiansen, 25, from the Chicago suburb of Huntley.Contrast this with a story from Zeyad at Healing Iraq:
As the convoy slowed, dozens of gunmen hiding in tall grass and buildings along both sides of the zigzagging highway let loose with machine guns and small arms fire.
"It was raining bullets sideways," Christiansen said.
The commander of the convoy was shot in the leg and radioed to the others, "Hurry up; we got to get out of here," Christiansen recalled. The commander was then fatally shot in the head. The Pentagon identified him as 34-year-old 1st Lt. Oscar Jimenez, of San Diego, Calif.
Lance Cpl. Christopher Laha, 22, was manning an automatic grenade launcher when he was shot in the arm. He tied a belt around his arm to stem the heavy bleeding before firing back, Christiansen said.
Gunmen rushed the convoy but it pushed ahead, leaving nine insurgents dead, the troops said.
Christiansen said he was unfazed by concerns that the gunmen may be using the cease-fire to regroup.
"I really don't care; they're all gonna die," he said...
The body count in Fallujah till now is 518 Iraqis dead (160 of them women, and about 50 children) and 1250 badly injured. Doctors from Fallujah mentioned that a large number of the dead women and children were shot in the head and that they were saving the extracted bullets to prove that they were being targetted by Marines snipers in the city.While I am sure that at times it's difficult to determine friend or foe, I find it highly unlikely that Marine snipers are indiscriminately shooting little children. Unless those kids are carrying weapons, pointing out American positions or resupplying the insurgent fighters, they wouldn't be targeted by snipers.
The Marines are ready. The fighting at first will be hot and fierce. Then, watch for tricks (false surrenders) and traps. And then mass surrenders.
My thoughts and prayers will be with the Devil Dogs tonight. God Bless the Marines!