As the war continues, U.S. troops and Iraqi forces are coming closer to ground combat near Karbala, the site of most of the Iraqi and American battles. In recent reports, 1,000 vehicles carrying Iraqi troops are approaching Najaf.

“As they approach Baghdad, our fighting units are facing the most desperate elements of a doomed regime,” President George Bush said, according to CNN.

Pentagon officials are concerned about ground war in light of the battles fought with Iraqi soldiers in the past few days.

Reports have been circulated that indicate Iraqi troops surrender and then often open fire on U.S. troops or attack U.S. forces by dressing in disguise.

These war tactics, which are against the laws of war, may further endanger troops who are attempting to close in on Baghdad.

The illegal tactics by Iraqi forces also endanger civilians in Baghdad as troops will have further difficulty in discriminating between enemy forces and actual civilians.

On Wednesday, U.S. munitions reportedly are responsible for killing 15 Iraqi civilians according to Iraqi sources.

Major General Stanley McChrystal denies that the incident at a marketplace was an intentional effort to attack civilians. “Another explanation could be the triple-A fire (antiaircraft artillery) or surface-to-air missiles that missed their targets and fell back into the marketplace area,” McChrystal said.

Experts are doubtful of a quick victory in light of recent events. As Bush requests further funding under the emergency plan from Congress, experts expect that such requests may continue.

In response to American attacks, Iraq has begun to publicly defend itself. “The Iraqi people are being subjected to a criminal and barbaric American-British military invasion,” Iraq’s U.N. ambassador Mohammed Aldouri said, according to CNN.

“[Military efforts] have led to thousands of casualties, among them women, children and the elderly.”

Iraq has been claiming a much higher death rate than U.S. reports indicate for Iraqi civilian deaths. As of Wednesday, death counts reached 78, which have yet to be verified by any U.S. military sources.

In other areas of Iraq troops have begun to surrender and turn against the government of Saddam Hussein. In Basra, British military reports signs of a government upheaval.

Iraqi press denies any such dissent among civilians in Basra. Confirmed reports have been received however that Iraqi troops continue to surrender to American and British forces.

Tanner can be reached at rtanner@campustimes.org.



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