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Kids
Wherever we go, there are children. They run out of there houses, sometimes two or three hundred meters from the road, to wave at us and gives the "thumbs up" that they were taught by the Americans earlier in the conflict.
Most often, they are begging for food.

Sometimes we'll throw them MREs or candy, but most of the time we wave and keep on going. The kids are hard to deal with sometimes. Some of them look like desperate and hungry. If you throw food to a group of kids, a fight will break out, and the biggest and meanest will walk away with the goods. We try to give it to the little kids, but the bigger ones always steal it first. It's hard to watch.

But they are not all good. Some of them hate us. Who knows why. They are probably getting told at home to hate us, or they haven't been given enough candy and they want more. We've seen kids wave at us, only to be beaten by other kids standing nearby. Usually, you can tell the attitude of an area, based on how the kids react to us. If they are friendly and waving, and not just begging for food, then it's usually a pretty safe area - if they are angry, or they hide in their little wall compounds, or if they want nothing but food, then we take extra special notice of the surroundings.

Another problem with the kids are rocks. Kids like to throw rocks. All across the world, a rock is a kids best friend. Only these rocks hurt people. No matter who is throwing the rock, at 60mph, a rock can kill a man.
The kids wait for us to turn our backs, and then they throw rocks at our convoy vehicles. We've had drivers hurt very badly by nine-year kids throwing rocks. If adults throw rocks, we can justify shooting them. Like I said, at 60mph a rock is a deadly weapon. But you can't shoot kids. Even if it were allowed - would you shoot?



Tuesday, August 31, 2004
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