Saturday, June 7
Bloodshed, Fear And a Deadly Ambush Killings At Fallujah
by Robert Fisk, The Independent, June 06, 2003
FROM HIGH over Iraq yesterday, President George Bush cast his Olympian eye over ancient Mesopotamia after praising the Americans in Qatar who had "managed" the war against Saddam Hussein. But far below him, on a dirty street corner in a dirty town called Fallujah that Mr Bush would prefer not to hear about, was a story of American blood and American power and American boots smashing down the front gates of Iraqi homes.
"She's got a gun," an American soldier shouted when he caught sight of a woman in her backyard holding a Kalashnikov assault rifle. "Put it down! Put the gun down!" he screamed at her. The soldiers were hot and tired and angry. They'd been up since 3am, ever since someone fired a grenade at a lorry-load of troops from the 101st Airborne. You could see why Mr Bush chose to avoid any triumphal visits to Iraq.
Survivors of the ambush were among the soldiers yesterday, remembering the early hours as only soldiers can. "They fired a grenade at a two-and- a-half ton truck full of the 101st Airborne and then straffed it with AK fire and then just disappeared into the night," one of them told me. "The guys were in a terrible state. One of our soldiers was dead with his brains hanging out of his head and his stomach hanging out, and there were eight others in the back shouting and pulling bits of shrapnel out of their legs."
Before dawn, the Americans came back to wash their comrades' blood off the street. Then they returned once more to deal with the people who live in this scruffy corner of the old Baathist city of Fallujah.
In Qatar - before his 75-minute flight through Iraqi airspace - Mr Bush did his best to lay down an appropriately optimistic narrative of the Iraq war. Iraq was a better place now that Saddam had gone - "a great evil has been ended," he said - and praised the "humanitarian work of US troops".
On weapons of mass destruction, he was understandably a little more circumspect. "We are on the look. We will reveal the truth ... But one thing is certain. No terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime, because the Iraqi regime is no more."
But of course, no weapons of mass destruction have been found. [...]