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November 27, 2007

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Sofia

All they want to do is finish their tour and get out! Regardless of what anyone writes, these are the actions of a frightened group of people.

Juan

Laura, this is a post from the Baghdad Observer (look it up), and see that it was the US military i that instance the ones that saved the children that day.

"I just want one real friend"
My friend and Iraqi colleague's son walked into the newsroom tonight and banged his head against the desk gently.
"I'm bored," he said and looked down.
For a few days the rambunctious 13-year-old's been down. For security, he's lived in the hotel where our offices are housed for a few months.
After school he runs up the three flights of stairs and eats lunch with us. Then he heads up to his room that he shares with his mother and sister, unpacks his backpack and does his homework. At night he comes down to the newsroom and watches movies, listens to music or plays video games.
I suggested playing with his PSP or listening to his iPod. He looked down thoughtfully, consdering what I'd said.
"Sometimes you want a real person to hang out with," he said. "I just want one real friend."
Naively I worried the kids at school were being mean.
"What's wrong? You don't like anyone at school?" I asked.
"No. It's just a part of me is always a secret," he said. "I can't have a real friend."
Even if he befriended someone, he couldn't bring him or her home to play. No one can know his mother works as a journalist. Not only does she work with us, she and her family live here. Working for a foreign news agency could put her and her children's lives in danger.
He isn't lucky enough to have the typical teen-age angst. At 13, most kids start to resent their parents and rules. They fight for a little bit of independence.
"I wish I had those problems," he said. "I could get killed coming home from school."
He talked about his dreams. He wished that he could sit outside in the garden on this cool windy day. He wished that he could go to the movies and one day have a girlfriend.
But in Baghdad, even this Baghdad that has gone from terrifying to a little less terrifying, these dreams are not within his reach.
A month ago gunmen came to his school and shot three guards during his last period. The U.S. Military came and the students ran out the door to catch their rides. That day he made it home safe. Tomorrow, he doesn't know.
The burden he carries is not fit for a 13-year-old. But this is not an R-rated movie; you can't keep the children out.

Serving in Iraq, Juan

USAVet

Yes, I agree with "usa all the way". Let's get out of Iraq and let them continue on with killing themselves and terrorizing their own citizens. It's amazing that Saddam Hussein did it for 3 decades, and now that something is done to try and change those ways, people seem to be outraged and saying that we're making it worse by being there.

So yes, I have always wanted us to be out of Iraq. Surely us leaving won't stop the violence that seems to be so ingrained in their culture. And then who will they blame? Then they'll say that it's our fault that we left. It's a damned if you do - damned if you don't situation.

When Saddam was in reign, people would disappear without a trace for the smallest of violations or any type of suspicion. They would be tried (unjustly in many instances) and probably tortured and killed - never to be seen again. This happened all the time and is that what Iraq wants to go back to?

Dave

This story sounds like a load of BS to me (for the record folks, im not American) and really puts the credability of this site in question.

"Someone told me a story..". Come on.

The fact that so many posters here suck up this story goes to show just how gullable some American's are along with many Iraqi's who have been living off the rumour mill for far too long.

IsraelPalestineFriendsForever

As “Inside Iraq” knows, all of Iraq’s provinces will have Provincial Iraqi Control (PIC) except for Baghdad and Diyala—16 our to 18—in 6 months. At that point the provincial government will exercise full security responsibility and civil law inside its province. The provincial and local IP (Iraqi Polic) will be fully responsible for all security. If the provincial/local IP need backup, they will have to request help from the INP (Iraqi National Police). If the INP require back-up the IA cannot assist without an explicit request from the provincial governor. If the IP, INP and IA (Iraqi Army) want to request MNF-I backup, the MNF-I cannot assist without an explicit request from the provincial governor and PM Maliki.

“Inside Iraq,” when do you think Baghdad province should receive PIC? Is the provincial government ready for PIC? Should the IA step back and let the provincial and local IP fully take the lead everywhere? Do you have confidence in the provincial government (elected in the 1.30.05 elections)?

If you don’t think the provincial government and provincial IP will be ready to take full responsibility soon (which is most Baghdadis’ point of view), should as an interim step, the BOC (Baghdad Operational Command) commander Lt. Gen. Abud Qanbar take full responsibility for the entire security file from MND-B? It would be a type of temporary partial martial law imposed by the IA and Iraq’s national government. If so, when should the BOC assume full security responsibility within Baghdad province?

Do you have confidence in Lt. Gen Ahub Qanbar and his forces? When do you think they will be able to manage all security in Baghdad province without MND-B back-up? Will violence increase if MND-B (Multinational Division – Baghdad) pulled back fully in a short period of time?

“Inside Iraq” please let us all know exactly what you think should happen to sovereignty within Baghdad province and over what time table. Please be specific.

IsraelPalestineFriendsForever

This story does not make sense. Inside America, armed police sometimes barge into dangerous schools . . . as they should to protect the school children, teachers and community.

Al Qaeda, has attacked many schools with suicide bombers. Many thousands of children have been killed by AQ linked suicide bombers.

When a legitimate tip comes in, the Iraqi police, Iraqi Army, or MNF in the area should be dispatched ASAP. They should enter the school with armed weapons.

A kid in a school has no right and no business throwing stones at armed IP, IA or MNF-I. In America such a kid who threw stones at armed police officers would be tried and almost certainly convicted in Juvenile courts. He would be severely punished. The same is true in every other free democracy on earth. I believe that the kid is lucky not to be tried in Iraq’s local civil courts for breaking Iraqi law. (I assume he is not being tried in court?)

If there is suspicion that the operation was not a legitimate op., or that it was organized by an overzealous commander without sufficient cause . . . this should be reported to the commanding officer of the commander in question, or to the MNF-I chain of command.

I have observed that MNF-I is responsive to e-mails. Even to Americans in distant America.

If there is cause to believe that the MNF soldiers acted inappropriately or outside their rules of engagement and conduct, this too should be reported up the chain of command.

Alternatively, a complaint could be lodged to the staff of BOC (Baghdad Operational Command)commander Lt. Gen. Abud Qanbar. He commands all ISF in Baghdad (over 80,000 IA, local and provincial IP, and INP.) Lt Gen Abud Qandar is ultimately accountable for security inside Baghdad Province and reports directly to PM Maliki (he administratively jointly reports to both the MoI and MoD.)

The BOC could easily take action.

Another option is to lodge a complaint directly to PM Maliki. Still another option is to lodge a complaint to the Baghdad provincial government or the local government for the section of Baghdad where the school is located. If they choose to follow up, they are almost certain to get a rapid and high level response from MND-B (if these GIs were indeed from MND-B.)

McClatchy Newspapers “HAS” high level access within MNF-I, MNC-I and MND-B. They and the writer of this blog can easily file a petition and force a quick response from MNF-I.

If the writer of this blog has already tried, and is encountering resistance, then she can state what steps she has taken so far on her blog, and let her readers know how we can help her get a more expedited response from MNF. Many readers of McClatchy could help with this.

This would be the most appropriate course of action for “Inside Iraq’s” writer to take.

Nicholas

To win the war, they can not have troops beating up kids, behavour like that will only make more people fight against them. These soldiers are being counterproductive and I don't think the US military would be happy about their actions. As John says, report it!

John

As an American. I to am very sorry this happened by a fellow American who is suppost to be in Iraq trying to bring peace.
To be honest WE ALL REALLY KNOW WHY AMERICA has invaded Iraq!! Come on!!! Dont forget Bush is one of the OIL kings! He wants more money!!! It's Greed people nothing more nothing less. I say If the Iraq's want our help lets help If they want us out than lets leave! To hell with Bush and Chaney. They think they are Kings of the World. One day they will be Judged for what they have done on earth!

shano

Very bad story. Such terrible behaviur by the troops. (We have our instances in America, like the unreasonable amounts of tazering going on and police brutality)

I would suggest to the teacher, or anyone in Iraq seeing this type of behaviour to get the NAMES of the troop leader... You must document not only what happened, when and where, but the names of those involved.

REPORT them to the military authorities. REPORT them to American reporters. Get the names. Even if you have to send an anonymous letter.

usa all the way!

Laura, I too would be extremely happy to see all US troops taken out of Iraq. Then the muslim people could go back to killing each other like they have for 2000 years. It'd be great! When I pay too much for gas for my SUV I'll vote to Nationalize the oil fields. Simple! We have the technology to wipe the population out and not many ME countries can do much to stop us. In truth we have used much restraint in the middle east and most "citizens" there hate us anyway. So be it!

Laura

We're not peace-keepers, Chris. We're illegal invaders. There's a difference. And being perceived as an enemy doesn't justify brutality.

Chris Baker

American soldiers understand that in Iraq they are the enemy and they have to act accordingly. The same thing has happened in other countries where Americans have to carry out peace-keeping operations for example, so the US military is apparently used to it. That's simply a price most Americans accept for carrying out military operations of any kind in another countries - we become their enemy. Even US liberals support some peace-keeping operations by the American military, but perhaps they don't fully comprehend the consequences of what they support.

Leila Fadel for example had a report today on how Shiite leaders, including presumably leading Shiite clerics, have declared the so-called "Concerned Local Citizen" program a security threat. Obviously anyone who works with the US military is by definition going to be declared the enemy and Americans who support a continued presence in Iraq generally understand that.

Laura

I think Noor's comment speaks volumes. In her own country. In a sovereign nation, even facial expressions must be controlled when Americans are around because some of them cannot be trusted to respect the lives and safety of civilians.

Our country does not respect or even acknowledge that Iraq is a sovereign nation (except, of course, when it suits a politician's purpose to speak of the Iraqis "stepping up"). Iraq is an occupied nation, having been invaded illegally (per international law). And our forces are committing war crimes (such as when civilian areas are bombed by U.S. helicopters). And now Al Maliki and Bush are talking about an agreement to continue this occupation for many years.

Shame on us if we allow this to happen.

johnd

Teachers should tell their students that grown men may burst in unannounced with deadly weapons, and if any of the little unarmed kids get nuts and lashes out at the foreign guys with automatic weapons, they will be jackbooted, the first time. After that they will be executed.

Spartan

Maybe you tell the students not to throw rocks. It's somewhat of an odd reaction to be "upset to see the soldiers" and throw a rock at men with weapons, don't you think? The Marines are not in the business of scaring little kids. They obviously had orders to check something out at the school. The least the school could have done is clear the yard and let them do their job. The soldiers are there willing to die for Iraqi freedom. It seems the least that could have been done is set things up to avoid such unfortunate mishaps that I'm sure the Marines would like to avoid, as well.

billjpa

The negative responses are expected. The soldiers were as scared as the students were. All they want to do is finish their tour and get out! Regardless of what anyone writes, these are the actions of a frightened group of people.

noor

this is normal in our new iraq the amercian soliders afriad from their shadow (their life is not cheap like iraqi life )So any amercian pass in your way you must keep silent as you can to keep your life and you must moniter your behiover even in your face`s expression

Laura

Al, you're right. I do not believe all American soldiers are brutal. But SOME Americans have committed brutalities in Iraq--both soldiers and mercenaries. Documented brutality (Abu Ghraib) as well as acts such as Hussein described. Several soldiers kicking a kid for throwing a rock. Winning hearts and minds, no doubt.

Al Macias

AS A FORMER SOLDIER AND OVERSEAS VET, I NEVER SAW ANY FELLOW SOLDIERS DO ANYTHING OR SAY ANYTHING BAD TO ANY IRAQI CHILDREN OR FAMILIES.

AND LAURA AMERICAN SOLDIERS HAVE DIED AND ARE NOT BRUTAL SO DO NOT LUMP THEM ALL IN ONE POT. BESIDES ANY STORY CAN BE TOLD AND SPUN DIFFERENTLY.

LJM

They must have had a tip to look for bad guys in that school. I'm sure it doesn't work out with the concept of sovereignty, but teachers should tell their students to remain well behaved in such situations, letting the soldiers do their work and hopefully then leave peacefully. We have situations in schools here with violence. Perhaps with whatever tip they had, this was the best way to handle it. You sure wouldn't want a suicide bomber in that school like happened in the former Soviet school with the Chechans blowing up those kids.

Laura

Leigh, be serious. No American soldiers would come onto an American school ground and threaten to use machine guns on the students and get away with it. On the other hand, given the brutal behavior American troops and mercenaries have already gotten away with in Iraq, it is not hard to believe that such a threat could be made with impunity there, now. We have been swallowed by our shadow. We have become a fascist state.

Hussein, if you see this teacher again, I hope you will convey my apologies for the ghastly behavior of my countrymen. Please know that--every day--there are people here fighting against the occupation and exploitation of your land.

Leigh Meyers

If this happened at a U.S. public school, no one would have the right to question their actions either. Least of all the students.

Typing from the belly of the beast,
Da' Buffalo In The Midst

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"Inside Iraq" is a blog updated by Iraqi journalists who have worked for McClatchy Newspapers. They are based in Baghdad. These are firsthand accounts of their experiences. Their complete names are withheld for security purposes.

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