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'Dead bodies are everywhere' ... Saddam's first martyrs lost
smh.com ^ | March 22 2003 | Lindsay Murdoch

Posted on 03/21/2003 3:19:31 PM PST by Nachum

Herald Correspondent Lindsay Murdoch, travelling with a Marines artillery unit, reports on one of the war's first battles on the Iraq-Kuwait border.

There was little initial resistance as the United States Marines swept into southern Iraq early yesterday. One of the first encounters of the ground war was more like a massacre than a fight.

The Iraqi gunners fired first, soon after United States President George Bush announced the attack on Saddam Hussein was under way.

It was a fatal mistake.

The Iraqi artillery unit, preparing for the American invasion, had tested the range by firing registering shots at a likely spot where the American tanks would cross from Kuwait. US radar picked up the incoming shells and pinpointed their source.

Within hours, the Iraqi gunners and their Russian-made 122mm howitzers were destroyed as the Americans unleashed an artillery barrage that shook the ground and lit up the night sky with orange flashes.

"Dead bodies are everywhere," a US officer reported by radio.

Later in the day, the American firepower was turned on Safwan Hill, an Iraqi military observation post a couple of kilometres across the border. About six hours after US marines and their 155mm howitzer guns pulled up at the border, they opened up with a deafening barrage. Safwan Hill went up in a huge fireball and the Iraqi observation post was obliterated.

"I pity anybody who's in there," a marine sergeant said. "We told them to surrender."

The destruction of Safwan Hill was a priority for the attacking forces because it had sophisticated surveillance equipment near the main highway that runs from Kuwait up to Basra and then Baghdad. The attacking US and British forces could not attempt to cross the border unless it was destroyed.

Marine Cobra helicopter gunships firing Hellfire missiles swept in low from the south. Then the marine howitzers, with a range of 30 kilometres, opened a sustained barrage over the next eight hours. They were supported by US Navy aircraft which dropped 40,000 pounds of explosives and napalm, a US officer told the Herald.

A legal expert at the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva said the use of napalm or fuel air bombs was not illegal "per se" because the US was not a signatory to the 1980 weapons convention which prohibits and restricts certain weapons. "But the US has to apply the basic principles of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and take all precautions to protect civilians. In the case of napalm and fuel air bombs, these are special precautions because these are area weapons, not specific weapons," said Dominique Loye, the committee's adviser on weapons and IHL.

When dawn broke on Safwan Hill, all that could be seen on top of it was a single antenna amid the smoke. The marines then moved forward, their officers saying they were determined to push on as quickly as possible for Baghdad.

The first air strike on Baghdad, and Mr Bush's announcement that the war was under way, appeared to catch US officers in the Kuwait desert by surprise.

The attack was originally planned for early today. But the US officers did not seem worried.

Within hours of Mr Bush's announcement, a vast army of tanks, trucks, bulldozers and heavy guns was surging through the dust of the Kuwaiti desert to positions on Iraq's border.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: areeverywhere; deadbodies; firstmartyrs; lost; napalm; saddams

1 posted on 03/21/2003 3:19:31 PM PST by Nachum
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To: Nachum
What exactly was he expecting on the battlefield?
2 posted on 03/21/2003 3:21:51 PM PST by jwalsh07
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To: Nachum
Sounds like the Iraqis fired just a few rounds to get their
co-ordinates just precisely right and waited for the ambush.
3 posted on 03/21/2003 3:23:13 PM PST by dwilli
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To: jwalsh07
"What exactly was he expecting on the battlefield?"

Little big eyed 5'4 Iraqi soldiers holding teddy bears begging for peace and understanding and a free condo in San Francisco with their friends. What the hell else would you expect these peace loving gooks to write??

V


4 posted on 03/21/2003 3:24:57 PM PST by Beck_isright ( V ......................... use this instead of bttt... for victory)
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To: Nachum
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/870994/posts
5 posted on 03/21/2003 3:26:25 PM PST by Textide
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To: Textide
Dang it. I did a search and it didn't come up.
6 posted on 03/21/2003 3:29:53 PM PST by Nachum
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To: Nachum
>>When dawn broke on Safwan Hill, all that could be seen on top of it was a single antenna amid the smoke. <<

I hope they went back amd blew up the antenna.
7 posted on 03/21/2003 3:31:27 PM PST by SerpentDove (Dallas Pro-America Rally, Sat 3/22 3-5 PM, JFK Memorial and Old Red Courthouse. BE THERE!)
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To: dwilli
Without computerized FDC (Fire Direction Control) systems like those used by the US, the Iraqi artillery must rely on adjusting or walking-in their guns which usually takes about 3 rounds to verify elevation, azimuth and charge.

Besides, we have counter battery radar which detects rounds in the air and precisly calculates the coordinates of the guns that fired it. We have the ability to have rounds fired on the enemy gun before his first adjusting round hits the ground.

8 posted on 03/21/2003 3:32:39 PM PST by Natural Law
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To: Nachum
I stand in awe. Thanks guys.
9 posted on 03/21/2003 3:32:40 PM PST by gorush
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To: Nachum
Saddam Insane is responsible for this. Let's keep rolling!!!!!!!!!! Down with the rape rooms!! Down with torture chambers!! Liberate Iraq! For victory & freedom!!!
10 posted on 03/21/2003 3:33:35 PM PST by Saundra Duffy
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To: Nachum
dead bodies
11 posted on 03/21/2003 3:37:14 PM PST by SMEDLEYBUTLER
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To: Nachum
They still call him "Mr. Bush".
12 posted on 03/21/2003 3:44:33 PM PST by Dat
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To: Natural Law
I understand all that. I attempted a sarcastic statement, maybe not very well.
13 posted on 03/21/2003 3:50:26 PM PST by dwilli
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To: Nachum
I would have to see some kind of clear, undeniable, multiply verified proof of napalm being used before I would believe it, and such proof should be forthcoming if the stuff has indeed been revived (it's pretty hard to conceal). Murdoch is clearly a lefty of the Fisk school ("massacre" indeed!). I smell a planted myth and another conspiracy theory in the making here.
14 posted on 03/21/2003 3:52:28 PM PST by atomic conspiracy (Reformed liberal)
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To: atomic conspiracy
Right. Napalm doesn't fit.
15 posted on 03/21/2003 3:55:33 PM PST by HairOfTheDog (The eagles are coming! The eagles are coming!)
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To: Nachum
The Marine Sgt was right...we told them to surrender.
16 posted on 03/21/2003 4:00:58 PM PST by mystery-ak (Saddam...your time is almost up..my hubby and son are on their way to kick your a$$ out of Baghdad!)
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To: Natural Law
They can use math, if they know how. I had a college algebra teacher that was a former Ukrainian artillery officer. He said he could put a shell on a single house 12 miles away in high wind. That was his answer to students who questioned the real-world applications of his subject matter :)
17 posted on 03/21/2003 4:01:48 PM PST by Britton J Wingfield
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To: Britton J Wingfield
Your teacher was full of BS. They would of course use the math in their FDC function, but then they would have to fine tune.
18 posted on 03/21/2003 4:06:52 PM PST by Natural Law
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To: Natural Law
Well, I'm not going to ask him to demonstrate.
19 posted on 03/21/2003 4:09:33 PM PST by Britton J Wingfield
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To: Britton J Wingfield
Yup. I learned math at Ft. Sill. That was back when we used slide rules, graphical and tabular firing tables, pencil and paper to compute ballistic data. No computers in those days.

I can't believe the Iraqis registered (There must be a joke here about registering your guns). They had to know they were giving away their position. Surely they had time to survey in their own country. It also appears, from the article, that they had their antenna co-located with or near the battery. On the modern battlefield, an antenna is like a giant illuminated bullseye for opposing artillery. These guys are unbelieveably inept.
20 posted on 03/21/2003 4:23:36 PM PST by Chuckster
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To: Nachum
Not a massacre when the inferior force opens the ball.

"Call it evolution in action"

21 posted on 03/21/2003 5:04:42 PM PST by Clive
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To: Dat
It's the British way of doing things. All the UK papers do it too, and they refer to Tony Blair as "Mr. Blair" a lot too.

It's meant as a sign of respect (as opposed to the crass, "Bush," often used by U.S. papers), rather than disrespect.

V
22 posted on 03/21/2003 5:05:58 PM PST by TheAngryClam (Victory over Iraq - God go with our soldiers.)
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To: Chuckster
They are probably guys just dragged in off the streets and/or with little training. Probably very young, too?
23 posted on 03/21/2003 5:07:34 PM PST by Mrs. P (I didn't do it, no one saw me, you can't prove anything....)
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To: Nachum
"I pity anybody who's in there," a marine sergeant said. "We told them to surrender."

Just shows the difference between the US Military and any other. Do any other armies give their enemies the chance to surrender?

24 posted on 03/21/2003 7:04:31 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: Natural Law
"Besides, we have counter battery radar which detects rounds in the air and precisly calculates the coordinates of the guns that fired it. We have the ability to have rounds fired on the enemy gun before his first adjusting round hits the ground."

Yup. They shoot once then die. Awesome.

25 posted on 03/21/2003 7:10:04 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
This was pioneered during the Cold War to offset the Warsau Pact's overwhelming numerical superiority in artillery. The US artillery has evolved into the heavy weapons equivalent of a sniper. Uh-Rah
26 posted on 03/21/2003 8:12:28 PM PST by Natural Law
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To: SuziQ
And then do they pity them?
27 posted on 03/21/2003 8:14:54 PM PST by eyespysomething (Pray for our troops, our President, our country.)
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To: Dat

This Australian newspaper also says "Mr. Blair" and "Mr. Chirac." What you (and I) are griping about are the American newspapers which say "Mr. Bush" and "President Hussein."

28 posted on 03/21/2003 8:26:04 PM PST by Cultural Jihad
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To: Natural Law
Woah!
29 posted on 03/21/2003 8:27:13 PM PST by Cultural Jihad
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To: Nachum
Do you like how the reporter made the time to contact lawyers to give the impression that what we are doing may be "unfair" at best, and "illegal" at worst?

I don't know what is worse, this or Campbell Brown's horrified, incredulous, "Is the President watching this?" comment regarding the "shock and awe video" press conference.

30 posted on 03/21/2003 8:54:06 PM PST by Captainpaintball (The First Amendment is the FIRST refuge of a scoundrel!!!)
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To: eyespysomething
And then do they pity them?

Definitely NOT! They consider us weak for this trait; I believe it makes us stronger than any other people.

31 posted on 03/21/2003 8:56:37 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: Nachum; jwalsh07; dwilli; Beck_isright; Textide; SerpentDove; Natural Law; gorush; Saundra Duffy; ..
The Sydney Morning Herald has been caught lying so many times - including the intentional alteration of wire service articles to change their meaning - that it should NEVER be trusted on anything.

The following was subsquented tacked onto the end of this story:

The Pentagon subsequently issued a statement to the Herald:

Your story ('Dead bodies everywhere', by Lindsay Murdoch, March 22, 2003) claiming US forces are using napalm in Iraq, is patently false. The US took napalm out of service in the early 1970s. We completed destruction of our last batch of napalm on April 4, 2001, and no longer maintain any stocks of napalm. - Jeff A. Davis, Lieutenant Commander, US Navy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense.

The SMH lies. ALWAYS.

Also:

Pentagon denies report on napalm

March 24 2003

The Pentagon has a denied a report in The Age on Saturday that napalm was used in an attack by US Navy planes on an Iraqi position at Safwan Hill in southern Iraq.

A navy official in Washington, Lieutenant-Commander Danny Hernandez, said: "We don't even have that in our arsenal." The US military says it last used napalm in 1993 and destroyed its last batch of the weapon in 2001.

The report was filed by Age correspondent Lindsay Murdoch, who is attached to units of the First US Marine Division.

Murdoch's report was based on information from two marine officers, who said napalm was used in the air strike on the hill. One of the officers repeated that napalm was used when Murdoch was asked by The Age foreign editor to confirm the story on Friday.

32 posted on 03/23/2003 5:00:17 PM PST by Timesink (If you use the word "embedded" in a conversation, you'd better be carrying an x-ray to show me.)
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To: Timesink
I've had my bacon saved by napalm in close air support from F4's. I have no problem with it's use and don't consider it any different from any other lethal ordinance.
33 posted on 03/23/2003 5:18:59 PM PST by Natural Law
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To: Timesink
I wrote to John Pike of GlobalSecurity.org and asked him about this. I received the following response:

Our information is that napalm was withdrawn from US inventory two years ago http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/mk77.htm @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ John Pike www.globalsecurity.org
Pike is the former spokesman on defense and military issues for the Federation of American Scientists. He is a recognized authority on weapons of mass destruction and weapons proliferation, as well as a top proponent of logic, critical thinking, and rational skepticism. If napalm had been re-introduced, he would know.
34 posted on 03/23/2003 6:15:43 PM PST by atomic conspiracy (Reformed liberal)
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