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Deadly Mistake Typifies Shaky Line U.S. Walks

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RamboLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-03 11:33 PM
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Deadly Mistake Typifies Shaky Line U.S. Walks

On the day that Baghdad fell, one-armed Iraqi war veteran Mohammed Khadim Hussein was buoyant with hope. The country's hated dictator had vanished, and the U.S. bombing was ending. So Khadim Hussein, who had taken refuge in the suburbs, piled a few relatives into his 1982 Toyota Corona to check on his home in the city center.

That same afternoon, Marine Sgt. Miles Johnson and Pfc. Patrick Payne Jr. rode the last truck of a long military convoy arriving in Baghdad after the long push north. They were assigned to protect fellow Marines on what officers warned would be the most dangerous day of the war, as the convoy crawled through the crowded streets of Saddam Hussein's capital. Their M-16s were locked and loaded; the two Marines from Camp Pendleton were eager for action.

The Iraqis came upon the tail end of the U.S. convoy as they left the city center in the early spring twilight. Seconds later, Khadim Hussein and two passengers were dead, shot by Johnson and Payne.

The incident was noted and then largely forgotten in the chaos surrounding the fall of Baghdad on April 9. But it now stands as an omen of what was to come. Despite the U.S.-led occupation, Iraqis and Americans here largely live parallel lives. When they do intersect, misunderstandings, disillusionment, suspicion and an imbalance of power often define their relations and frequently result in violence.
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