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The Informed Citizen
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
  THE MORNING PAPER


I hear a "splat !" on the driveway,and stroll out to retrieve the morning paper.


What have we here ?


Inside the bag,beside the newspaper,there is a plastic extension bar-designed to fit inside one's toilet paper dispenser.It will accomodate the new "Mega rolls" of "squeezably soft" tissue being introduced by the wonderful folks at CharminThere's even a picture of the bear cub that does you-know-what in the woods...but wipes ! Isn't that special ?


Oh,well. Let's see what's in the paper.


"Speech by the President" - open to page A 9.(The front page has been taken up by Gay Weddings in Canada and other important stuff.)
Hmm... At least the paper had two of its reporters actually watch the speech.


The Associated Press published highlights of the speech,and critical reactions by Democrats-plus the reporter's own opinions... hours before the speech was given.( It would have been funny if the President had given an entirely different speech ! )



Let's see: New Jersey's Attorney General -criticized by some as "ethically challenged" -vows he will combat racial profiling by municipal police departments now,and will bankrupt the offending towns with lawsuits if the practice continues.


Translation: The NJ State Police have been bludgeoned and intimidated into giving drug traffickers a free pass , but local departments have been scooping up some of these young entrepreneurs -who tend to be Black or Hispanic-as they detour onto the local roadways; and this obstruction of interstate trade is just....intolerable !



Moving along, I read the rest of the paper: hoping against hope a certain story will finally be printed.


It wasn't,and probably won't be,but here it is:


At a place called Husaybah,in Iraq-up near the Iraqi-Syrian frontier,the Marines of Item Company,3rd Battalion,Regimental Combat Team 2 occupy a bunker-reinforced base camp,which is under more-or-less constant harassing attack. It is early morning.


Suddenly four mortar rounds fly over the base-impacting close together,and,as the alert is sounded,the base comes under heavy fire:mortars,machines guns,and rocket-propelled grenades: three of which hit the Combat Operations Center.The Marines saddle up and man their defensive posts.


A dump truck and a fire truck begin rolling toward the camp entrance.Two men.manning a machine gun in a forward bunker,are knocked down and stunned when an RPG hits their bunker.The resulting dust clouds obstruct their vision of the oncoming trucks,and intense small arms fire forces them to keep their heads down.


Joshua Butler, a young Lance Corporal from Altoona,Pa. sees the oncoming dump truck and opens fire with his Squad Automatic Rifle: causing the truck to veer off and detonate-about 40 yards from his post.



The blast knocks Butler down.One piece of shrapnel breaks the goggles on the front of his helmet-but he gets up again-and sees the red fire truck racing towards his post at about 40 mph.


A fellow Marine,Lance Corporal Charles Young of Oldsmar,Fl. fires grenades at the oncoming truck: slowing it down.


LCpl. Butler can see into the truck by now.There are two men inside:their faces covered by black scarves.He opens fire with his SAW again: forcing the truck to veer aside. It explodes-only 30 yards from his position.


The explosion causes a huge fireball,and its force shatters windows and pulls doors right off their hinges.


Moments later, a third truck explodes-this one further out.


The obviously-well-coordinated attack continues.Cpl. Anthony Fink of Columbus,Ohio,and 1st Sgt. Donald Brazael fire anti-tank missiles at a wall the enemy is using for cover: knocking it down with two direct hits. The fire subsides,permitting the Marines to restock their badly depleted ammunition.


At this point,approximately 100 terrified schoolchildren run out of a school,situated across the street from the base.
The "heroic insurgents" seek cover behind the children-something that has happened time and time again in Iraq-but which is almost never reported by the media.


The Marines -though still under attack - hold their fire until the children are safe.


That,I guess,is what makes this a "non-story": a story I'll never read in my morning paper.



Note: This account is based on a superb article in the July issue of LEATHERNECK Magazine: written and photographed by Lance Corporal Lucian Friel, USMC.

 
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