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2003-07-07

Morale of U.S. Troops and Their Families Back Home Reaches New Low as Three More Soldiers are Killed in Iraq

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Democracy Now! speaks with Global Exchange’s Medea Benjamin who is leading an international group in Iraq to launch an Occupation Watch Center.

Three U.S. troops were killed on Sunday within a 12-hour period. First an American soldier was shot dead while visiting Baghdad University shortly after noon. Nine hours late, a member of the First Armored Division was killed while chasing two Iraqis. A few hours late, a third soldier died after explosives hit his truck.

The shootings came a day after seven Iraqi police recruits were killed and 70 more people were injured when a bomb exploded near the graduation ceremony of the first class of the new U.S. trained Iraqi police force.

The deaths of the U.S. soldiers come at a time when the morale of the troops and their families back home appear to be at a new low.

The New York Times reports that in Fort Stewart, Georgia, a colonel had to be escorted out of a session with 800 seething spouses, most of them wives.

One official at Fort Stewart told the Times, "They were crying, cussing, yelling and screaming for their men to come back."

The paper quotes letters written by soldiers to their elected representatives in Washington.

One read: "Most soldiers would empty their bank accounts just for a plane ticket home."

Another read: "Make no mistake, the level of morale for most soldiers that I’ve seen has hit rock bottom."

  • Medea Benjamin, co-founder and founding director of Global Exchange. She is leading an international group in Iraq to launch an Occupation Watch Center. The center, based in Baghdad, will monitor the military occupation forces and foreign corporations, host international delegations to Iraq, and keep the international community updated about the occupation. The center is supported by an advisory board of international academics, writers, and human rights advocates. It will function under the auspices of United for Peace and Justice.

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