Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Then and Now

  • “Thank you all very much. Admiral Kelly, Captain Card, officers and sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln, my fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.” – George W. Bush, May 1, 2003.
  • Screaming “Allahu Akbar” to the end, the foreign fighters lay on their backs in a narrow crawl space under a house and blasted their machine guns up through the concrete floor with bullets designed to penetrate tanks. They fired at U.S. Marines, driving back wave after wave as the Americans tried to retrieve a fallen comrade.

    Through Sunday night and into Monday morning, the foreign fighters battled on, their screaming voices gradually fading to just one. In the end, it took five Marine assaults, grenades, a tank firing bunker-busting artillery rounds, 500-pound bombs unleashed by an F/A-18 attack plane and a point-blank attack by a rocket launcher to quell them.


    The fighting that began Sunday in Ubaydi was an unplanned opening phase of a massive Marine offensive in Iraq’s far northwest against the foreign fighters who U.S. and Iraqi commanders say are crossing the Syrian border to join the Iraqi insurgency. By Monday, more than 1,000 Marines backed by Cobra helicopters and Hornet warplanes were pouring into an area north of the Euphrates River where few American troops and no Iraqi forces have been for at least a year. [Washington Post]