20th March 02:10
Bush Promised Flowers, But Iraqis Cheer U.S. Death
Harris Whitbeck: Iraqis cheer U.S. death
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) --Major combat in Iraq was declared over more than two
months ago, but U.S. troops in the country are being killed on an almost
CNN Correspondent Harris Whitbeck in Baghdad has details of the latest
attacks and measures under way to improve security.
WHITBECK: We have a couple of incidents to report. The first one occurred
earlier [Wednesday] morning. One soldier was killed and three were wounded
when the convoy they were traveling in, on Highway 1, west of Baghdad, was
hit by an explosive device.
The convoy had just passed wreckage of an abandoned vehicle when an
explosion was heard. One truck in that convoy was destroyed, and the soldier
who was killed was in that truck. Those who were wounded were evacuated to a
When that explosion was heard, a group of Iraqi civilians, who were nearby,
gathered at the site of the aftermath [and] were watching what was going on.
And when they apparently realized that this was an attack on a U.S. military
force, they erupted in cheers. And that cheering went on for several
Meanwhile, later [Wednesday] in western Baghdad, one U.S. soldier was
injured when a grenade was thrown at his truck, which was parked in front of
a bank in the Mansour district of western Baghdad. Again, that was another
apparent attack on U.S. forces here.
The U.S. military authorities here are very concerned about what might
happen over the next few hours.
Thursday is the anniversary of the Baath Party's rise to power in Iraq. That
is Saddam Hussein's former political party. And people feel that Saddam
Hussein's loyalists might try to launch more attacks on U.S. forces here as
a way of commemorating that event.
Now there are some steps being taken to improve security in the Iraqi
capital, and [Wednesday] the first 96 graduates of the Baghdad Police
Academy were graduated. U.S. Administrator Paul Bremer was at that ceremony.
The idea of this training course, which lasts for about three weeks, is to
provide the trainees with knowledge of basic policing techniques and also
knowledge of basic human rights issues that the police force would have to
deal with as they patrol the city's streets.
The idea of the Baghdad Police Academy is to graduate eventually about 900
officers who would take over a lot of the policing work that's now being
handled by the U.S. military.
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"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so
long as I'm the dictator." - GW Bush 12/18/2000.
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that
we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic
and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."
---George W. Bush on the Brink of Declaring War on Iraq.