Peace with Realism

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Checking the Checkpoints

Israeli security personnel used excessive force while manning checkpoints, killing a number of Palestinians.

- Report by U.S. Department of State, "Israel and the Occupied Territories", March 31, 2003.

"It's hard to know who is who."

It was yet another example of the bewildering predicament American troops find themselves in as Iraqi forces disguise themselves as civilians, women are used as human shields and any vehicle driving down the road could be a suicide bomb.

On Tuesday, the day after at least seven women and children were killed when a vehicle they were riding in failed to stop at a military checkpoint, Lt. Col. Patrick Fetterman, a battalion leader with the 101st Airborne Division, lectured his company commanders on the rules of engagements.

If a soldier is threatened by a weapon or a vehicle, he is to "eliminate the threat," Fetterman said.

"We do our very best to preserve the sanctity of these people's lives," he said afterward, referring to civilians. "But if they don't act with common sense, we have to defend ourselves. When you're told to stop in a war zone by heavily armed men and you don't stop, those men will fire."

The colonel added that troops "don't have the option of just letting a vehicle approach."

- "'It's Hard to Know Who Is Who' in War", Los Angeles Times, April 2, 2003.

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Peace with Realism