Via Michael Totten: The Dungeon of Fallujah
Not all Middle Eastern terrorists are alike. I have been inside Hezbollah’s headquarters south of Beirut. I brushed shoulders with Hamas leaders in the Palestinian parliament, although I was there to interview other people. Never once did I worry that the Lebanese or Palestinian terrorists would actually harm me. Al Qaeda is different. These guys are like Arabic Hannibal Lectors.
“Is it safe to be in here?” I said.
“Well,” Sergeant Dehaan said. “There’s five cops. And me.”
Last summer in Ramadi I met a handful of detainees who were suspected of being Al Qaeda. They looked like doofuses who couldn’t get a date or a job.
Most of the men in this room looked like they were perfectly willing to murder us all with their hands. I could see it in their eyes, in the sinister way some of them squinted at me, in the tightness of their jaw muscles. I wished I had a gun of my own.
Should we have even been standing there in the first place? More than 50 potential killers all but surrounded us. They sat on the floor, but some of them were less than three feet away.
“The nastiest ones are the little guys,” Sergeant Dehaan said. “The little rat-looking bastards. They’re the ones who have done the worst things to people.”
I’ve seen how cruel Iraqi kids can be when they fight over candy the Marines hand out to them. The little rat-looking insurgents most likely were mercilessly picked on as children. When they joined Al Qaeda their bottomless hatred was unleashed against Iraqis even more than it was unleashed on the Americans.
“We have to get out of here,” Sergeant Dehaan said. “The cops are getting nervous.”
He was right. They were. Their hands twitched. Their eyes darted rapidly around the room.
“Let’s go then,” I said. If the cops are nervous, I’m out of there.
We left and I shuddered. There would be no interview in that room.
Read it all.
You want to know what our military men and women – called ‘baby-killers’ by the Democrat Party supported CODE PINKos – have accomplished in Iraq? According to Michael Moore and his worshippers in International A.N.S.W.E.R. and the celebrities and liberals/leftists/”progressives” in World Can’t Wait, they ended the peace and prosperity of a regime where children played and flied kites. But the facts tell a different story of what the brave men and women of the United States military have put to an end:
The famous “Red Building” in the city of Suleimaniya is a horror show. It’s a museum of sorts now, in the way Auschwitz is a museum. Perhaps monument or memorial are better descriptions.
Before it was liberated by the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga, resistance fighters and their family members were arrested, interrogated, and sadistically tortured inside its walls. A free-standing rape room with large windows was built just outside. Bloody women’s underwear was found on the floor after the Baath regime agents were ousted. Inside some of the cells are messages carved by children into the walls. “I was ten years old. But they changed my age to 18 for execution.” “Dear Mom and Dad. I am going to be executed by the Baath. I will not see you again.”
10,725 people were murdered in the Red Building alone by the previous government of Iraq. All died during torture. Formal execution actually took place in Abu Ghraib.
“Two years ago, I produced the documentary film Voices of Iraq.., where we sent 150 DV cameras across Iraq and allowed Iraqis to film their own lives. The cameras got into the prison you visited and others. I viewed several hours of video and testimony detailing the horrors of Saddam’s torture. One woman recalled tearfully how her newborn baby was fed to dogs in front of her eyes. Another video shows floors stained with blood and fat that liquefied off torture victims and poured onto the tiles below them. What transpired in those chambers is beyond belief. It takes a strong stomach to go through the tours you’re experiencing.”
An Iraqi interpreter I met in Baghdad who calls himself Hammer spent time in Abu Ghraib prison while Saddam was in charge.
“On the bus to the jail I didn’t have handcuffs,” he said. “I asked why. The guard said Look behind you. The first guy behind me got a 600 year sentence. The next guy got six hanging sentences. The third guy was sentenced to be thrown blindfolded out of a second story window. Twice. Another guy f*cked his mother and sisters three times. He was freed on Saddam’s birthday. Another guy had his hand cut off.”
I don’t know if it’s true or not, but he said he was swept up and imprisoned for no reason. It’s certainly possible. That’s the kind of country Iraq used to be.
“The guards who ran Abu Ghraib sold hallucinogenic drugs to prisoners for money,” he told me. “They forced me to take them. You need protection in there. You find someone and give him drugs and cigarettes. You pay off the guards to just punch you in the face or move you to a different cell instead of kill you. I was freed 26 days after I arrived, on Saddam’s birthday before I finished the three months. I can’t live with this nightmare anymore.”
He does not live with this nightmare anymore. Different nightmares now haunt decent and innocent people in his country.
Yet, you will not hear this from anyone in the Democrat Party, the mass media, the “anti-war” groups. No. For them, America is evil. The American military is evil. America and Israel are the worst countries in the world regarding human rights.
Via CDR Salamander: Fullbore Friday
This story is old and, hopefully, by now everyone has seen the picture and read about the story behind it. But I really liked the Motivation Picture created by Military Motivator posted by CDR Salamander.
Leading the fight is Gunnery Sgt Michael Burghardt, known as “Iron Mike” or just “Gunny”. He is on his third tour in Iraq. He had become a legend in the bomb disposal world after winning the Bronze Star for disabling 64 IEDs and destroying 1,548 pieces of ordnance during his second tour. Then, on September 19, he got blown up. He had arrived at a chaotic scene after a bomb had killed four US soldiers. He chose not to wear the bulky bomb protection suit. “You can’t react to any sniper fire and you get tunnel-vision,” he explains.
So, protected by just a helmet and standard-issue flak jacket, he began what bomb disposal officers term “the longest walk”, stepping gingerly into a 5ft deep and 8ft wide crater.
The earth shifted slightly and he saw a Senao base station with a wire leading from it. He cut the wire and used his 7in knife to probe the ground. “I found a piece of red detonating cord between my legs,” he says. “That’s when I knew I was screwed.”
Realizing he had been sucked into a trap, Sgt Burghardt, 35, yelled at everyone to stay back. At that moment, an insurgent, probably watching through binoculars, pressed a button on his mobile phone to detonate the secondary device below the sergeant’s feet. “A chill went up the back of my neck and then the bomb exploded,” he recalls. “As I was in the air I remember thinking, ‘I don’t believe they got me.’ I was just ticked off they were able to do it. Then I was lying on the road, not able to feel anything from the waist down.”
His colleagues cut off his trousers to see how badly he was hurt. None could believe his legs were still there. “My dad’s a Vietnam vet who’s paralyzed from the waist down,” says Sgt Burghardt. “I was lying there thinking I didn’t want to be in a wheelchair next to my dad and for him to see me like that. They started to cut away my pants and I felt a real sharp pain and blood trickling down. Then I wiggled my toes and I thought, ‘Good, I’m in business.’ “As a stretcher was brought over, adrenaline and anger kicked in. “I decided to walk to the helicopter. I wasn’t going to let my team-mates see me being carried away on a stretcher.” He stood and gave the insurgents who had blown him up a one-fingered salute. “I flipped them one. It was like, ‘OK, I lost that round but I’ll be back next week’.”
Sgt Burghardt’s injuries – burns and wounds to his legs and buttocks – kept him off duty for nearly a month and could have earned him a ticket home. But, like his father – who was awarded a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts for being wounded in action in Vietnam – he stayed in Ramadi to engage in the battle against insurgents who are forever coming up with more ingenious ways of killing Americans.
In case you were under a rock or living on Mars when this story broke all over the military blogs in 2005, here are some links with background:
Free Republic: Injured Marine Defies Attackers (1 Finger Salute)
View from Tonka: Injured Marine Defies Attackers (1 Finger Salute)
Blackfive: Marine Salutes Insurgents
Blackfive: Update on Defiant and Motivational Marine
View from Tonka: Update on Marine Gunnery SGT Michael Burghardt
The Wolf over at Blackfive has a great post about the backstory of the “truce” with al Sadr in Iraq. Very interesting reading. An exerpt:
[ … ] The month of April brought the major rise in the insurgency and the coming out of a young rebel Shia cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr.
In response to the killing and mutilation to the bodies of four Blackwater employees in Fallujah, the Marines of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Forces initiated offensive operations to capture the individuals responsible and any others in the region who may be involved in insurgency or terrorist activities. The newly formed Iraqi National Guard was supposed to fight right beside the Marines in the operation, but they chickened out and ran away.
The U.S. ended up aborting its attempt to regain control of Fallujah, not because they couldn’t just wipe out the whole city and turn it into a parking lot, but because they stopped offensive operations due to heavy political pressure by the Iraqi Governing Council.
On April 10, the U.S.military declared a unilateral truce to allow for humanitarian supplies to enter Fallujah. U.S. troops pulled back to the outskirts of the city; local leaders reciprocated the ceasefire, although lower-level intense fighting on both sides continued. Iraqi negotiators had made their way into the city to broker a truce between the U.S. and local leaders, but had not been successful. Meanwhile, the insurgents capitalized on this ‘ceasefire’ to conduct their most intense offensive operations, while numerous weapons were found hidden in the humanitarian supply trucks that were attempting to enter the city.
The Fallujah ceasefire followed a wave of insurgency across southern Iraq, including An Najaf and Baghdad, which included kidnapping of military members and the execution of several civilian workers.
Coalition forces sought to negotiate a truce but clearly stated that it would restart offensive operations to retake the city if one was not reached. The main goal of the military commanders was to capture those responsible for the numerous deaths of American and Iraqi security personnel, and as the negotiations continued, insurgents continued to conduct hit-and-run attacks on U.S. Marine positions.
If Fallujah wasn’t enough, fighting also broke out in Najaf between U.S. forces and the al-Mahdi Army of al-Sadr, which launched a coordinated uprising across central and southern Iraq in an apparent attempt to seize control of the country ahead of the June 30, 2004 handover of power to a new Iraqi government.
At the end of March 2004, the CPA shut the doors of Sadr’s newspaper, Al Hawza, on charges of inciting violence that including printing detailed instructions on how to kill Coalition forces.
Sadr responded by mobilizing tens of thousands of Shia followers to demonstrations protesting the closure of the newspaper; the demonstrations escalated throughout the week in number and militancy. One of the major demonstrations was held right outside Checkpoint 3 and the Convention Center. I climbed to the roof of the building and looked past the checkpoint and couldn’t believe what I saw. The main street leading up to the checkpoint was a major roadway, and it was filled with the most demonstrators I had ever seen with my own eyes. There had to be between 50,000 and 100,000 Shiites all chanting in cadence and waving the green flags showing their support for Sadr.
Fighting broke out in Najaf, Sadr City, and Basra as Sadr’s al-Mahdi Army took over several points and attacked coalition Soldiers, killing dozens and taking many casualties of its own in the process. Sadr finally realized that he couldn’t win a military fight against the Coalition, so he came to his senses and brokered a truce that would eventually de-arm his militia while keeping the cleric himself out of jail.
Muqtada al-Sadr was a force to reckoned with even if the CPA and the Coalition didn’t want to admit it publicly. We all knew that this would not be the end of him, but we also knew that we could knock this fucker off any time we wanted.
While everyone thought the American military had forced Sadr into a truce, what happened behind the scenes really shows how many different organizations had a hand in the inner workings of daily workings of what was happening in Baghdad. It was an alphabet soup including the FBI, CID, DEA and, of course, the OGA, which really was the CIA.
It turns out the truce with Sadr had nothing to do with the military at all, but only a select few leaders knew the real story of what went on in an office right above the CPIC at the Convention Center. [ … ]
Be sure to go read it all. This is the kind of analysis you do not get from our politicians or our mass media “journalists”.