Monday, August 23, 2004

Hearts and Minds....And a Boot

Ambush in Kufa:
Asked how the battle was going, Commander Abu Mohammad Hilu showed off his latest trophy - a blood-drenched American boot. There was a large bullet hole in the middle. 'We found it after last night's battle,' the commander explained. His colleague, Abu Ali, added: 'Originally there was an American foot inside it and a bit of the leg. But we took it out and threw it to the dogs.'


'The Americans went as far as the mosque then got out,' the commander said, having escorted me back to the scene of what, he suggested, was a heroic victory.

'It was an ambush. All of a sudden we started shooting them. They were surprised. We destroyed two of their tanks.'

Hilu showed off the newly incinerated Kufa court building just across the road. Here, he said, US troops had taken refuge under fire. Crunching over the melted remains of ceiling fans, he pointed to a small annexe room soaked in blood.

'They treated their wounded in here. They were firing in the air at the same time. That's a piece of American brain,' he added helpfully. 'We found the boot nearby.'

Over the past 17 days the standoff between Sadr's Shia militia and Iraq's US-backed interim government has been portrayed as a conflict that the renegade cleric will eventually lose. In fact, he is winning.


US warplanes control the skies above Kufa, dropping two bombs at 7am yesterday on a deserted mosque. But they don't control its streets - or the densely packed alleys around Najaf's shrine, where the Mahdi army appears to have shrugged off nights of bombardment. 'It was a big battle. They came at us from four directions,' Hilu said.

'None of the soldiers in my unit were injured.' He added: 'You will write about the boot, won't you?'

Shit. Bush got Saddam's pistol. Hilu got a US troop's boot. We, the People, got screwed.

Blonde nod to Holden.


At 4:35 PM, Blogger Evan said...

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