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`Shock and Awe` Hasn`t Ended for U.S. Soldiers in Iraq

Posted July. 07, 2003 21:44,   


Three U.S. soldiers were killed by a series of surprise attacks by Iraqis Sunday inside and outside Iraq`s capital city Baghdad.

U.S. and British media have shown concern over rather more frequent and strongly conducted surprise attacks despite mop-up operations of those still loyal to Saddam Hussein, focusing on the central region of the country.

U.S. soldiers in Iraq are becoming skeptical of calling themselves `Iraq liberators” and feel increasingly threatened, the BBC said.

On Sunday at 12:30 a.m., a U.S. soldier, who was standing in line to buy a soft drink in the cafeteria of the engineering department at Baghdad University, was killed by an Iraqi man who sneaked up on him and shot him at a close range. On the same day at 9:30 p.m., a U.S. soldier patrolling in Ajamiyaf, near Baghdad, was attacked by armed Iraqis and killed during the melee. On the same day in the evening, a U.S. soldier in Kardhimiya district was also killed by a grenade attack.

The attack at Baghdad University was carried out while Iraqi interim government officials were visiting the Department of Higher Education located in Baghdad University to discuss rebuilding Iraq`s education system.

On Saturday, a British freelance journalist visiting the Baghdad National Museum was killed by an Iraqi man in front of the museum.

“Recent shootings have been carried out not only on military targets but also against civilians,” USA Today reported yesterday.

U.S. soldiers were welcomed as `liberators who kicked out Hussein` when they entered Baghdad, but now are feeling threatened by the endless surprise attacks. “I wake up every morning and wonder if I`m going to still be alive by nightfall," a 21 year female soldier from Oklahoma who demanded anonymity was quoted as saying by the BBC.

Fedayeen militia fighters are very cunning and sneaky,” another soldier said. “They unexpectedly shoot at us from rooftops, and moreover, they even use children as shields.” He said he used to encounter attacks after following naïve looking boys who approached him first.

In addition, another terrifying thing is that U.S. soldiers must wear body armor in plus 50 degrees centigrade heat. "It`s terrible. We`re sleeping in this heat without any air-conditioning. I wake up in a puddle of sweat every morning... and they`re not giving us enough water, just one bottle a day!" one soldier was quoted as saying by the BBC.

The country now has about 150 newspapers, up from 14 before the war and they are responsible for spreading groundless rumors, resulting in low morale among U.S. soldiers, the AP reported.

A newspaper reported that American night vision equipment could be used to see through women`s clothing, so U.S. soldiers visited the newspaper personally to let them look through the goggles, proving it was impossible. Also word is traveling on Iraqi streets that U.S. patrols are blaring messages from loudspeakers telling people that “they won`t have electricity until the attacks on Americans stop.”

Ki-Tae Kwon kkt@donga.com