In yesterday's NYT (Saturday, March 29, 2003), Dexter Filkins reports a conversation with two American Marine sharpshooters, Sgt. Eric Schrumpf, 28, and Cpl. Mikael McIntosh, 20, at their base camp in southern Iraq.
"We had a great day," Sergeant Schrumpf said. "We killed a lot of people."
Both Marines said they were most frustrated by the practice of some Iraqi soldiers to use unarmed women and children as shields against American bullets. They called the tactic cowardly but agreed that it had been effective.Sgt. Schrumpf tells of seeing an Iraqi soldier standing near some women, and with other men in his unit, opening fire. He saw one of the women "go down."
"I'm sorry," the sergeant said. "But the chick was in the way."Cowardly soldiers, or heroic women? We have seen them before, shielding their men with their bodies against Ulster Constabulary in Northern Ireland, against the National Guard in the Colorado mine strikes of the 1920s, against the French in Algiers in the 1950s, against American soldiers in Vietnam, and many other places. We are bound to see them again. The chicks and the mamasans and the kids keep getting in the way.