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Sunday, April 13, 2003  
Iraqis free American POWs

Seven American troops who were missing in action have apparently been freed by the Iraqis and are in good condition.

WASHINGTON, April 13 — Coalition forces found seven U.S. troops previously classified as missing on the road between Baghdad and Tikrit, Gen. Tommy Franks said Sunday. The soldiers appear to be healthy and were flown from Iraq to Kuwait City.

FIVE OF THE rescued were prisoners of war, part of the 507th Maintenance Company convoy that was ambushed in the southern city of Nasiriyah on March 23. The other two soldiers are Army servicemen captured early the morning of March 24 when their AH-64A Apache Longbow attack helicopter was shot down by Iraqis during a predawn airstrike near Najaf, NBC News reported.

It seems to that, from what is known now, the Iraqis have honored the Geneva Conventions and perhaps gone beyond doing so. That is in stark contrast to the image of the Iraqis as monsters that has been perpetrated by much of the media and many Right Wing bloggers. According to them, the Iraqis are subhumans who rape and torture American prisoners. Their 'hospitals' are secretly torture chambers. Iraqi civilians? They are really Feyadeen.

A former MIA/POW draws a quite different picture of her Iraqi captors who, despite imprisoning her, saved her life. U.S. Army Col. Rhonda Cornum was captured during the Gulf War of 1991. She endured some gunplay and being fondled by a low-level Iraqi soldier, but was treated well otherwise.

During the rest of her captivity, Cornum said she was treated relatively well. On the third day, doctors put splints on her arms. On the fifth day, they gave her anesthesia and reset her bones. Several Iraqis showed her small kindnesses. Nurses bathed her, fed her dates by hand and gave her a toothbrush. One Iraqi driver removed her blindfold and took her on a clandestine tour of Baghdad.

Among those the Iraqis freed is Spec. Shoshana Johnson, the remaining known female POW. It will be interesting to hear what she has to say about her experience. I will not be surprised if she was treated as well as Col. Cornum.

The fact the Iraqis freed American troops they could have taken revenge on has not been addressed by the U.S. military despite the prominence of the reportage on the topic.

The Washington Post, quoting a Marine commander near the Iraqi town Samarrah, reported that Iraqi guards brought the prisoners to the Marines.

The story I believe will emerge about the Iraqis and this war will be one of complexity, in which the Iraqis' humanity, both the good and the bad aspects, is the same as our own. Unfortunately, many conservatives will refuse to hear it.

10:17 AM