In Huseybah for Steel Curtain
HUSEYBAH — Hello all. Currently in Huseybah covering Operation Steel Curtain. Will write more later.
*UPDATE 11/9/05 2:45:20 AM:* And “here it is”:http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1127376,00.html on TIME.com. The most interesting aspect to me was about the tribal politics the U.S. is exploiting.
A note on civilians. I didn’t see one civilian hurt or mistreated while I was with the Marines of the 2/1. For one, there aren’t many there. Huseybah, normally about 30,000 people, is almost abandoned. I made it halfway through the city, and found maybe 10 houses with families in them. Best estimate is that about 5,000 civilians remain.
Secondly, I never saw a Marine shoot first. They never fired a round unless fired upon, which is in keeping with their rules of engagement. Now, when they were fire upon, even if it was just some guy taking potshots, the entire company would open up. If they brought the tanks in, it was all over.
Some will say, “yeah, well, that unit was probably behaving themselves because they had press with them.” Well, I moved freely between Fox and Golf company, and all the various platoons over the three days I was up there. They were often completely surprised to see me and it was sort of a “spot press check” on the squads. Secondly, the New York Times and CNN is embedded with the 3/6 in the north of the city. No one is reporting significant effronteries to civilians. And if they _are_ behaving themselves because of the press, doesn’t that make the case for _more_ embedding not less, as the press is fulfilling its watchdog role and keeping people honest — and, presumably by extension, civilians alive?
Anyway, I’m back in Baghdad now.