[Marxism] Re: Elusive sniper saps U.S. morale in Baghdad

Brian Shannon Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Sat Aug 6 07:41:54 MDT 2005

Today’s NPR weekend edition has an interview with Mike Heidingsfield, 
of the State Department’s civilian police advisory mission. I only 
caught part of it, but the issue of U.S. snipers being killed came up 
here, too. The interviewer, Scott ??? indicated that he was surprised 
that U.S. snipers had been picked off by Iraqi snipers. Heideingsfield 
replied that this was a common feature of the war, particularly in 
large cities such as Baghdad, which had a lot of abandoned buildings.

Our level of knowledge about small-arms combat is due to the results, 
which are probably relatively high in casualties other than death. In 
other words, in Iraq it is part of the war consciousness of the 
soldier, but it is not part of our awareness as civilians.

The original sniper article is from The Guardian, which should be 
checked out from time to time. It is not exactly mainstream, although 
it is certainly an important capitalist paper. I don’t think the 
purpose behind the article was to put up a single sniper as a strawman 
who, once defeated “the war is won.” (Nick). The article itself says 
“Sniper fire is only of the threats for an American military that has 
suffered heavy losses this week.”

On the other hand, Nick’s indignation over the failure of the 
mainstream press to report ongoing assaults by U.S. and other 
“coalition” soldiers against the population is well placed. We all 
remember that even the filming of a cold-blooded murder in Fallujah was 
worked over again and again by the U.S. media in order to trivialize or 
justify the killing. Other evidence of the systematic assault by U.S. 
soldiers in Iraq dribbles out only when there is a courts martial due 
to particularly egregious and public actions.

I won’t even bother to cite it, but today there was an article on a 
U.S. military unit extorting “rent” from some businesses in the Green 

There are dozens of cases where charges have been brought and the 
examining officers decided not to prosecute. Even these are only 
revealed when the examining officer is overruled due to the public 
exposure and long-range effect on the morale of the unit. We can only 
speculate on the number of cases where the examining officer says, 
“don’t prosecute” and is not overruled.

And as Nick points out, the overwhelming majority of cases are the 
known unknowns, as Rumsfeld might say. Only a fiction writer can 
capture the truths in this and any war.

Brian Shannon

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