SOME POINT and counterpoint from recent days:

Peter Arnett, on Iraqi TV (March 30): "Clearly, the American war plans misjudged the determination of the Iraqi forces.

"This war is not working."

New York Times (April 2): "In a sweeping advance, Army and Marine forces closed to within 20 miles of Baghdad from two directions today after crippling or destroying two divisions of the Republican Guard that had blocked their drive on the capital.

"The Third Infantry Division battled forward today from a starting point north of Karbala, 45 miles from Baghdad, cutting through and routing disorganized Iraqi forces with no reports of American casualties on the ground."

***

Not in Our Name (from the website): "NO War on the World NO Detentions and Round-ups NO Police State Restrictions. . . .

"In the days ahead we must show the would-be emperors--now standing naked in all their viciousness and illegitimacy--that the people will not stop until we have stopped this war and their entire war on the world."

CNN.com (April 2): "A torture chamber equipped with hooks hanging from ceilings and an on-site electrocution room has been found in the basement of an Iraqi police station, an embedded reporter with the BBC reports. . . .

"The reporter said he interviewed one man, who did not want to be identified, who said prisoners were blindfolded, tied up, hung on the hooks and then beaten.

"The man also said a citizen who committed a crime could avoid being tortured by putting up cash--about $1,600 for stealing and almost twice that for murder, according to the BBC reporter."

***

Nicholas De Genova, professor of anthropology at Columbia University (at a campus teach-in and rally, March 26): "The only true heroes are those who find ways that help defeat the U.S. military. I personally would like to see a million Mogadishus."

European Journal of International Law (March 23): "A group of American anti-war demonstrators who came to Iraq with Japanese human shield volunteers made it across the border today with 14 hours of uncensored video, all shot without Iraqi government minders present. Kenneth Joseph, a young American pastor with the Assyrian Church of the East, told UPI that the trip 'had shocked me back to reality.' Some of the Iraqis he interviewed on camera 'told me they would commit suicide if American bombing didn't start. They were willing to see their homes demolished to gain their freedom from Saddam's bloody tyranny. They convinced me that Saddam was a monster the likes of which the world had not seen since Stalin and Hitler. He and his sons are sick sadists. Their tales of slow torture and killing made me ill, such as people put in a huge shredder for plastic products, feet first so they could hear their screams as bodies got chewed up from foot to head.'"

***

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (March 25): "Martha Burk, leading the charge to force the Augusta National Golf Club to admit women as members, says the war in Iraq has enhanced, rather than detracted, from her goal. . . .

"'The war in a certain way has enhanced our message,' Burk said in a telephone interview from her Washington office. 'We have women fighting for American values in Iraq. Women fighting for their country. But there's something wrong with this picture. Women can't get into Augusta."

New York Times (April 3): "Senior military officials provided only a few details about the intelligence that led to Private [Jessica] Lynch's rescue, but family members said they were told that she was located because an Iraqi doctor handed a note to a Marine indicating that she was at a hospital, listed the room number and added that she was being tortured."

***

Peter Arnett, in the Daily Mirror (April 1): "Tariq Aziz told me the U.S. will have to brainwash 25 million Iraqis because these people think exactly the same as Saddam does.

"Maybe he is wrong, maybe not."

Agence France Presse (March 29): "Iraqi civilians fleeing heavy fighting have stunned and delighted hungry U.S. Marines in central Iraq by giving them food, as guerrilla attacks continue to disrupt coalition supply lines to the rear.

"Sargeant Kenneth Wilson said Arabic-speaking U.S. troops made contact with two busloads of Iraqis fleeing south along Route Seven towards Rafit, one of the first friendly meetings with local people for the Marines around here. . . .

Khairi Ilrekibi, 35, a passenger on one of the buses, which broke down near the Marine position, said he could speak for the 20 others on board.

"In broken English he told a correspondent traveling with the Marines: 'We like Americans,' adding that no one liked Saddam Hussein because 'he was not kind.'"

***

Reuters (March 30): "Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz said in an interview on Sunday that the war against U.S. and British invasion forces was going well, and he described Iraq's decision to use suicide bombings as heroic.

"'When you fight an invader by whatever means available to you, you are not a terrorist; you are a hero,' he told the ABC television network a day after an Iraqi officer killed four U.S, soldiers in a suicide bombings at a checkpoint near Najaf."

CNN.com (April 2): "Iraqis welcome U.S. troops in Najaf"

***

Robert Scheer, in the Los Angeles Times (April 1): "We are told endlessly by our government's public relations machine that the 'greatest care' is being taken to prevent civilian deaths, as if good intentions matter to the child whose mother is killed."

Associated Press (March 31): "U.S. troops killed seven Iraqi women and children at a checkpoint Monday when the Iraqis' van would not stop as ordered, a military official said.

"Two other civilians were wounded in the incident at a U.S. Army checkpoint on a highway near Najaf in southern Iraq, the official said. The military is investigating, he said.

"The dead and wounded were among 13 women and children in a van that approached the checkpoint but did not stop, the official said. Soldiers fired warning shots and then shots into the vehicle's engine, neither of which stopped it, he said.

"Four Army soldiers were killed at a checkpoint near Najaf Saturday by a car bomb detonated by an Iraqi soldier dressed as a civilian."

***

A banner held aloft at an anti-war rally in San Francisco (March 15): "We support our troops when they shoot their officers."

Associated Press (April 1): "Hundreds attended a brief but emotional funeral service Tuesday for a Marine who was one of the first American combat casualties in the war in Iraq.

"Therrel Shane Childers, 30, died March 21 after being shot in the abdomen in an assault on a pumping station in Iraq. Known as Shane, he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment based at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

"Childers was an enlisted Marine who won a commission as a second lieutenant. The 1991 Gulf War veteran was promoted posthumously to first lieutenant. . . .

"As the threat of war neared, 'his concerns were for his men,' Cmdr. Paul Moore, a retired Navy chaplain, told the mourners. 'He emanated a courageous sense about him, that nothing scared him. . . .'

"Residents waving flags lined the town's main street as a hearse carried Childers' body to the college gym where the funeral was held. Some Northwest College students cut class to wave flags and offer their condolences. Firefighters and ambulance drivers stood along the route, hats in hand."

Joel Engel is an author and journalist in Southern California.


Correction Appended 4/4/03: Edited to remove the report of a hoax about CNN reporter Martin Savidge.

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