Brit journo: 'Bungling raids by US troops fuel Iraqi anger'

hostile piece from Saturday's Times. The reporter Anthony Loyd is an ex British Army infantry subaltern, author of "My War Gone By I Miss It So".

December 11, 2004

Bungling raids by US troops fuel Iraqi anger
From Anthony Loyd in Zangora, Iraq

IT WAS dawn and “the Doc”, a tall rangy figure of 21, was crouched beside the door of a building, a dark silhouette with a pump-action shotgun.
The Doc — real name Henry Grundle, an infantryman and medic with the US 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment — was entry man for a raid on a suspected insurgent safehouse in Zangora, 8km (five miles) northeast of Ramadi. “Don’t use the shotgun unless you have to,” a senior officer whispered behind him. “Don’t use the —” Blam! The Doc blew the locks off, kicked open the door and led the rush inside.

“Get down, get down,” the raiders screamed, the flashlights on their assault rifles dazzling a group of Iraqi men wrenched from their sleep by the soldiers’ violent entry. The Americans swarmed through the compound, corralling the women and children into one room and the men — by then cuffed and blindfolded — into another as the search for munitions and documents began.

Household goods were sent clattering to the floor, mattresses and bedding upturned, the contents of cupboards and drawers spilt on to a growing pile of personal effects and domestic items. Across the wakening town dogs barked and engines rumbled as US units converged on similar targets.

“Er . . . we’re in the wrong house,” Sergeant Hendrix announced quietly as the troops began questioning the blindfolded Iraqis. “Our target is 100 metres south.”

If US commanders in Zangora, al-Anbar province, heartland of the Sunni insurgency, dream of winning the battle for Iraqi hearts and minds, then every coalition raid must be a nightmare.

The graffiti “One shot, one hit. NYC 9/11” graced the helmet of the Doc’s five-man team commander, Sergeant Eric Santiago, 25. The sergeant, a tough man from the Bronx, had kept his men alive since their arrival in Iraq in September.

They had expected trouble in Iraq and found it: shot at, bombed and, in Fallujah last month, clashing with insurgents in full-on street fighting.

Their brief for the mission in Zangora had warned them that it was a hotbed of guerrilla activity and home to several escaped Fallujah insurgents, so they were going in as they new best — but what was any of it achieving?

The scene in the second house they raided, apparently the “real” target, was as awful as the first. With no interpreter, and lacking even an Arabic leaflet to explain their mission, the American troops burst in to find a startled Iraqi family sitting on the floor ready for breakfast.

The family’s two men were blindfolded and plasticuffed. “We have done nothing wrong,” the elder detainee, Hatam Moslah Jabar, 20, pleaded quietly in English. “This is a big insult for us.”

A student of Shakespeare and Wordsworth at al-Anbar University, he seemed an unlikely insurgent suspect. Thirty minutes later he was released, along with every other detainee the squad had captured that morning, with a slap on the backside and shout of “Run. Get going!”

Sergeant Santiago’s team found neither a weapons cache nor a single insurgent in the dozen houses they checked. Iraqis — even a crippled woman in her eighties — were questioned on the whereabouts of weapons and sometimes, if they were men, plasticuffed and blindfolded, sometimes humiliated and threatened.

Just before the operation ended and the troops withdrew to Ramadi, the Doc forgot himself. The team had entered a house and found only an Iraqi man in his thirties and a young baby. The Doc put a cigarette to his mouth and raised a lighter.

“Hey, Doc! What the f*** ya doing, man?” exclaimed Sergenat Santiago as the rest of the squad joined in a chorus of dissent. “You can’t goddamn smoke here! You might give the kid asthma or some s***! Don’t go givin’ no one else your cancer! Smokin’ in front of a kid — Jesus!”
And of course we never made mistakes like this on the Falls and Bally M in the Seventies???
If Mr Lloyd is so concerned about these poor people and feels the need to pontificate on who he thinks would fit the profile of an insurgent, let him go and try to interview some of Zarqawi's lunatics!!!!! :roll:
We might have, but then we at least have learnt form our mistakes and have offered help and advice freely and without comment. this type of action, especially with press reporting is causing deaths not preventing them. The US troops should think more, rather like MLR


Love the bit at the end about telling the soldier off for smoking in front of the kids!!

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