117 Ιανουαρίου 22, 2005Posted by Lida in Uncategorized.
There is only one traffic law in Ramadi these days: when Americans approach, Iraqis scatter. Horns blaring, brakes screaming, the midday traffic skids to the side of the road as a line of Humvee jeeps ferrying American marines rolls the wrong way up the main street. Every vehicle, that is, except one beat-up old taxi. Its elderly driver, flapping his outstretched hand, seems, amazingly, to be trying to turn the convoy back. Gun turrets swivel and lock on to him, as a hefty marine sergeant leaps into the road, levels an assault rifle at his turbanned head, and screams: «Back this bitch up, motherfucker!»
The old man should have read the bilingual notices that American soldiers tack to their rear bumpers in Iraq: «Keep 50m or deadly force will be applied». In Ramadi, the capital of central Anbar province, where 17 suicide-bombs struck American forces during the month-long Muslim fast of Ramadan in the autumn, the marines are jumpy. Sometimes, they say, they fire on vehicles encroaching within 30 metres, sometimes they fire at 20 metres: «If anyone gets too close to us we fucking waste them,» says a bullish lieutenant. «It’s kind of a shame, because it means we’ve killed a lot of innocent people.»
And not all of them were in cars. Since discovering that roadside bombs, known as Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), can be triggered by mobile telephones, marines say they shoot at any Iraqi they see handling a phone near a bomb-blast. Bystanders to an insurgent ambush are also liable to be killed. Sometimes, the marines say they hide near the body of a dead insurgent and kill whoever comes to collect it. According to the marine lieutenant: «It gets to a point where you can’t wait to see guys with guns, so you start shooting everybody…It gets to a point where you don’t mind the bad stuff you do.»