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by Jeff Guntzel/Iraq Peace Team
Monday, Mar. 24, 2003 at 3:44 PM
In Baghdad today as I write, things are relatively quiet, but we have seen bomb craters...
In Baghdad as I write, things are relatively quiet. Today IPT
Wade Hudson had a chance to take a limited drive around Baghdad with a
driver and a government minder. After passing by the still smoking
of Foreign Affairs building, he drove to a residential neighborhood
reports having seen a bomb crater 8 to 12 feet deep "in the middle of a
divided street. Traffic in one direction was blocked." He also
passing by "many small homes in the neighborhood with all of their
windows blown out, presumably from the blast that created the crater."
A few hours ago, we spoke with Kathy Kelly at the Al Fanar hotel in
Baghdad. Kathy told us that they will be going around and visiting
hospitals tomorrow where there are apparently quite a lot of children.
expected that the worst is yet to come.
This grim forecast is not mitigated by Gen. Tommy Franks’ promise
today of "a campaign unlike any other in history, a campaign
by shock, by surprise, by flexibility, by the employment of precise
on a scale never before seen, and by the application of overwhelming
We are getting unconfirmed reports of fighting in Basra, Iraq’s second
largest city. Regretfully, we have no IPT presence outside of Baghdad.
are trying to reach friends in Basra and have had little success. Just
very shaky connections that were terminated after less than a minute.
This war is an explosion of uncertainties. In the recently "liberated"
Safwan, on the Iraq-Kuwait border, a reporter for the Guardian today
have unwittingly provided a window into the next weeks, months or years
"Yesterday afternoon a truck drove down a side road in the Iraqi town
Safwan, laden with rugs and furniture. Booty or precious possessions?
day of death, joy and looting, it was hard to know.
"[T]he marines' presence was light. They had not brought food,
or even order. All day hundreds of armoured vehicles poured through the
town. But they did not stop, and the looting continued. Every
establishment seemed to be fair game. People covered their faces in
shame as they carried books out of a school. Tawfik Mohammed, the
headmaster, initially denied his school had been looted, then admitted
'This is the result of your entering,' he said. 'Whenever any army
area it becomes chaos. We are cautious about the future. We are very
Exactly one month ago, also in Safwan, the Iraq Peace Team released an
open letter to members of the United States Military. The letter, read
press as nearly 100,000 soldiers prepared an invasion just miles away,
attempted to provide some measure of clarity in a time of hysteria:
"To U.S. soldiers and sailors: our prayer for every one of you is for a
return to families and loved ones without having to participate in the
of war. We recognize that you have been placed in a position full of
and danger, and we share in the responsibility for you being here. We
recognize you are in this position because back home we do not truly
govern ourselves - but are instead ruled by a minority who decide
of war and peace in the interests of the few instead of the many. Our
inadequate democracy has led us into deadly quagmires in the past, and
now to the brink of another conflict that can only be described as a
Today we are neck deep in a conflict millions of us worked tirelessly
Still, the protests grow. As the war-makers threaten a "campaign
other in history," let us continue to match their promise.
Jeff Guntzel, for Voices in the Wilderness
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