UPRISING IN BASRA: Info from this Telegraph article:
Iraqi troops fired artillery pieces horizontally into crowds of their own people last night after a civilian uprising in Basra, the second city.
Watching British troops encircling the city of 1.3 million inhabitants said there were "horrific" scenes. One officer said: "We have seen a large crowd on the streets. The Iraqis are firing artillery at their own people. There will be carnage."
How can you even read that without disgust? Fortunately, our friends and allies the Brits are on the scene to help:
British artillery targeted the Iraqi emplacements, and the Ba'ath Party headquarters, home of pro-Saddam forces within the city, was destroyed by laser-guided bombs from US aircraft.
Later British forces took "significant action" against mortars and artillery pieces in Basra. An official said: "They have all been destroyed."
Tank commanders from the Black Watch battle group, part of the 7th Armoured Brigade, the Desert Rats, had been urgently seeking permission to intervene. But British commanders decided to wait for daylight.
I trust them that it's smart to wait for daylight so that they don't inadvertantly kill even more civilians while trying to help them, but I can only imagine the agony that the wait must have put the soldiers and the Iraqi people through.
Two weeks ago I was overly optimistic and didn't realize how many people were so intimately tied to Saddam's regime that they would rather die than let it fall. These are the worst of the worst, the people who know that if they are thrown out of power they will be killed by angry mobs, screaming for their blood as payment for the decades of death and oppression they have inflicted on the Iraqi people.