Wednesday, September 12, 2007

In Memoriam: Omar Mora & Yance Gray

Two of the seven GIs in Iraq who wrote a controversial New York Times op-ed piece questioning the war have been killed.
Sergeants Omar Mora and Yance Gray died Monday when a cargo truck overturned in western Baghdad, two of seven U.S. troops killed and 11 injured just as General David Petraeus was about to report to Congress on progress of the surge. Their names were released today.

A third author, Staff Sergeant Jeremy Murphy, was shot in the head while the article was being written and is being treated for severe brain trauma at a military hospital in the U.S.
The op-ed was titled The War As We Saw It and expressed skepticism about U.S. gains in Iraq because, they wrote, Americans had long ago worn out their welcome and any possibility that they could win through counterinsurgency warfare was far-fetched.

An excerpt:
"[The battlefield] is crowded with actors who do not fit neatly into boxes: Sunni extremists, Al Qaeda terrorists, Shiite militiamen, criminals and armed tribes. This situation is made more complex by the questionable loyalties and Janus-faced role of the Iraqi police and Iraqi Army, which have been trained and armed at United States taxpayers’ expense.

"A few nights ago, for example, we witnessed the death of one American soldier and the critical wounding of two others when a lethal armor-piercing explosive was detonated between an Iraqi Army checkpoint and a police one. Local Iraqis readily testified to American investigators that Iraqi police and Army officers escorted the triggermen and helped plant the bomb. These civilians highlighted their own predicament: had they informed the Americans of the bomb before the incident, the Iraqi Army, the police or the local Shiite militia would have killed their families.

"As many grunts will tell you, this is a near-routine event. Reports that a majority of Iraqi Army commanders are now reliable partners can be considered only misleading rhetoric. The truth is that battalion commanders, even if well meaning, have little to no influence over the thousands of obstinate men under them, in an incoherent chain of command, who are really loyal only to their militias."
Immigrant Basher Alert: Mora was a native of Ecuador and had just become a U.S. citizen.


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