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Stereotype of the Month Entry
(7/25/04)


Another Stereotype of the Month entry:

From the LA Times, 7/25/04:

THE CONFLICT IN IRAQ
No Shortage of Fighters in Iraq's Wild West

* Marines in the key city of Ramadi dig in and wait anxiously for the battle to come to them. The goal isn't victory; it's to stave off chaos.

By Patrick J. McDonnell, Times Staff Writer

RAMADI, Iraq Hunkered down in the turquoise-domed Islamic Law Center, a dozen Marines wait for the enemy to make its inevitable move. Insurgents equipped with Soviet-made sniper rifles keep the building in their cross hairs. Assailants with AK-47s and grenade launchers regularly peer from nearby alleys and roofs. Attacks can come from any direction.

The wait is unnerving, but it's better than being in the streets of this turbulent western city. A Marine convoy was attacked here Wednesday with a roadside bomb and as many as 100 insurgents unleashed a barrage of small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades in rolling firefights that lasted for much of the day. Thirteen Marines and one soldier were injured, and the U.S. military reported killing 25 fighters.

"When you walk on the streets, they can hide in every nook and cranny and you can never find them until they start shooting," said Marine Cpl. Glenn Hamby, 26, who heads Squad 3 of Golf Company. "Here, they have to come right to us."

This is what the war has come down to in Iraq's Sunni Muslim heartland, where providing tenuous security harks back to America's 19th century Indian Wars a time when the cavalry set up outposts and forts in decidedly hostile territory. Ramadi is Indian Country "the wild, wild West," as the region is called.

Half a dozen or so Marine observation posts dot Ramadi's main drag, linking heavily fortified bases and helping to keep the inhospitable city from turning into a Fallouja-like sanctuary for insurgents.

Rob's comment
Amazing that a major newspaper repeated the "Indian Country" line. Not in a quote, not ironically, but matter-of-factly, on the front page, in a supposedly objective news story. It's as if it were a historical truth that the West was "wild" and Indians were hostile.

Related links
Enemy territory as "Indian country"


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