- Yesterday, we get the news of a US military convoy north
of Baghdad hit by a huge IED. A US convoy is searching for IED's, when
a huge bomb explodes under a Bradley, killing 3 US soldiers, and 2 Iraqi
Civil Defense personnel.
- This morning at 8am, a huge blast shakes my hotel, rattling
my windows. At least one suicide car bomber with 1000 pounds of explosives
has detonated his bomb at the front entrance of the CPA, killing 23 Iraqis,
2 Americans, and wounding at least 180 others.
- The entrances to the CPA are extremely fortified - huge
barricades of sand bags, razor wire, concrete blocks, machine gunners.
But this entrance, in particular, is where many people line up to file
through the security checks to go to work inside the compound.
- Now there are new checkpoints throughout central Baghdad,
clogging traffic, and people are weary. The morning fog has burnt off to
reveal a beautiful sun.
- This helps, as my mood is dark and somber. Having been
here 2 months now, I have grown weary of the violence, bombs, chaos and
destruction. Before I begin to feel too sorry for myself I feel a deep
sadness and respect for the Iraqi people, who have had to live with this
for so long. All of the wars, sanctions, a brutal dictator, and now an
even more brutal occupation which is attacked daily by a resistance movement
that obviously isn't concerned about taking out innocent civilians, as
long as they hit a US soldier or two.
- How can people live and work in this environment? When
the future doesn't exactly appear rosy - everyone knows the Americans and
British are here for the long haul. And as long as they are here, suicide
attacks are sure to continue, along with resistance attacks.
- One thing Iíve noticed since Iíve been
here is to be wary of the periods of relative calm; for they are inevitably
followed by extreme violence in one form or another. Each time, I've allowed
myself to become lulled into a sense of feeling that the resistance is
slowing down, there are fewer attacks now, blah blah blah, a terrible strike
like this morning occurs to remind me. To remind me that the US has no
idea what it has gotten itself into here. That they are swimming as hard
as they can just to keep their nose above water.
- I walk down the street today and pass a small bus stop.
In black spray paint, on one of the walls it reads,
- 'U.S. Out'
- Meanwhile, down in Basra 2 British soldiers and 2 Iraqi
police are wounded by a roadside bomb.
- Keep in mind that these are only two incidents of the
'17' daily attacks that the CPA admits to in Iraq. What about the others?
How many Iraqis were killed by IED's? How many US soldiers were wounded?
How many US soldiers now suffer permanent disabilities from these unreported
attacks? How will they be compensated by their government when they get
home? How much money will that lost leg get them? 8 grand a year?
- I am troubled by the mainstream news I see on the internet
in the US - it seems that about the only news from Iraq being reported
are the most heinous, high casualty bombings, or demonstrations that surpass
the 20,000 protestor level. What isn't being shown is the terrible living
situation for millions of Iraqis, US troops being permanently disabled
(physically and/or mentally) on what has become a daily basis, and generations
of younger Iraqis being raised with a deep disdain towards the US and British
who sanctioned, bombed, invaded and now occupy their country.
- There are demonstrations daily in Baghdad - two days
ago a large congregation of Sheikhs marched to the gate of the CPA (same
one that was bombed this morning) demonstrating for the release of a powerful
Sheikh from US jails.
- Today, a large demonstration marched down Saíadoun
street in support of women in France being allowed to wear their Hijabs.
- A few of us get a report of a house in Al-Adhamiya being
searched by the Americans, so we race across Baghdad to check it out. We
just missed the search, but we hear the usual story.
- On September 23, the home is raided, and two men, ages
31 and 41 are detained. After 8 days they are released after being forced
to sign a paper stating they promise not to join the resistance. One month
ago the home is searched again, doors kicked in and furniture damaged.
Why? The Americans had already released the innocent men.
- The family is too afraid to ask for compensation.
- Last night at 3am a neighbor's house which is attached
to the home of the aforementioned men is searched. Two holes are punched
through the wall that joins the homes. The small children living next door
are terrified. Their father tells me,
- "An American soldier came to us last night and apologized
for kicking holes in our walls. He said they didn't know this was a separate
house. He told me, 'This is our job, and we must do it.' But my children
haven't stopped shaking they are so terrorized. How can we live like this?"
- I am told a man has been detained from this house as
well, but then released. Another man from across the street, and another
from the house on the corner, detained. They, too, are released. The man
I speak with (who asks to remain nameless) tells me he thinks the Americans
are trying to intimidate people.
- "But they've already proven to themselves we are
innocent. Why do they keep terrorizing us?" he says holding his hands
up to the air.
- The home which was searched last night is completely
trashed. Broken furniture, smashed windows, holes dug in the earth in the
backyard, carpets thrown about.
- The family is too afraid to return to their home, even
though the man detained several weeks ago during a different raid has since
- We drive out of Al-Adhamiyah, passing the walls with
the usual graffiti that has become more and more common around Baghdad.
- 'Americans go Home!'
- 'US out of Iraq!