11.23.2003

More Sadness in Iraq

Shit. What a shitty weekend for US Troops. I wonder how much longer Bush will be calling this a "success."


Via NY Times:
Three American soldiers were killed in Iraq today, including two whose throats were slashed, a military official said, after they came under attack in the northern city of Mosul with rocks and gunfire.

Juan Cole has more on this:

Reuters reports that two US soldiers were shot while stuck in traffic in Mosul, and that then crowds gathered to loot their bodies and vehicle (which they tried to set on fire), shouting angry slogans. They may have survived the shooting and then the crowd slit their throats. [Later reports speak of the soldiers being dragged out of their vehicle and pummeled with concrete blocks.] People of Mosul have been upset by recent US military actions in the area. In Baquba, another US soldier was killed by a roadside bomb.
[...]
...I just do have to remark that this incident is an alarming indication that the US is losing the battle for hearts and minds. Mosul is not in the Sunni Arab triangle where hostility has run high, though it does have a substantial Arab population, and a long-lived Muslim Brotherhood branch. But my impression from earlier reports was that progress had been made. I guess you can win hearts and minds or you can pound an Iron Hammer, but it is tough to do both.


Via Austin American Statesman / Associated Press:

Since April, the military says, at least 17 Americans — 15 Army soldiers and two Marines — have taken their own lives in Iraq. The true number is almost certainly higher. At least two dozen non-combat deaths, some of them possible suicides, are under investigation according to an AP review of Army casualty reports.

No one in the military is saying for the record that the suicide rate among forces in Iraq is alarming. But Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top American military commander in Iraq, was concerned enough, according to the Army Surgeon General's office, to have ordered a 12-person mental health assessment team to Iraq to see what more can be done to prevent suicides and to help troops better cope with anxiety and depression.
[...]
"In most previous conflicts you went, you fought, you came home," Rudd said. "In this one they went, they fought, they're still there."

Rudd said she knows of no studies that show a definitive correlation between length of deployment and military suicide rates. But Michelle Kelley, a psychiatrist who studies deployment-related stress for the Navy, said the longer the deployment, the greater the strain on a relationship with a loved one.


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