Friday, April 04, 2008

Kite-Flying in Iraq

How soon we forget:

I remember a parade down one of the main thoroughfares of Baghdad when I was a child. The road was closed to traffic, and thousands of people joined in the march, which was intended to celebrate the glory of Saddam. As the day wore on, however, a small group of insurgents became vocal in their criticisms of the regime and started to shout anti-Saddam slogans. There weren’t very many—certainly only a small proportion of the crowd—but the Republican Guard was quick to react. A helicopter immediately flew overhead, and white paint was poured over the entire crowd—insurgents and noninsurgents alike. Heavily armed soldiers were then dispatched with orders to shoot anyone stained with white paint. The whole operation took less than an hour. A few lucky souls with paint only on their clothes managed to escape the crowd and change, but people with paint in their hair or bodies, where it was more difficult to remove, fared less well. The military scoured the area and shot dead anybody suspected of being part of the “uprising.”

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