And now the most absorbing two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine:
When American forces went into a hospital in the Southern Iraqi city of Nasiriya, after some intense fighting, they found 3,000 chemical suits, 200 weapons, stockpiles of ammunition and one tank inside the building. One hundred seventy Iraqi paramilitary soldiers from inside the hospital were taken into custody. Navy Captain Frank Thorp said the Marines who took control of the complex used loudspeakers to encourage any patients and doctors to come out before they went in. The hospital was being used as a staging ground for Iraqi forces in Nasiriya, which fell to about 4,000 Marines after a two-day battle. Marines found themselves at times up against apparent civilians who turned out to have weapons hidden under their robes.
Taken for a Ride
Some Americans who went to Iraq to act as human shields have been emerging from the country with a new view. Kenneth Joseph, an American pastor, said Iraqis he talked with "told me they would commit suicide if American bombing didn't start. They were willing to see their homes demolished to gain their freedom from Saddam's bloody tyranny. They convinced me that Saddam was a monster the likes of which the world had not seen since Stalin and Hitler." Similarly, 23-year-old Daniel Pepper says he was shocked when an Iraqi taxi driver in Baghdad told him "how all of Iraq's oil money went to Saddam's pocket and that if you opposed him politically he would kill your whole family." The taxi driver told Pepper, "All Iraqi people want this war."
Meanwhile, Iraqi soldiers taken prisoner were relieved to find out they were not going to be injected with poison by coalition forces when captured -- as they had been told by Saddam's regime. An Arab-speaking allied army dentist told the Sydney Morning Herald that once one older Iraqi prisoner realized he was not going to be executed, the prisoner said, "We have been waiting for you for a long time, we have been expecting you." The dentist continued, "By the time they went, they were thanking us."
No Returns or Exchanges
Two reporters covering the New York Stock Exchange for Arab TV Network Al Jazeera are no longer allowed into the Stock Exchange. Al Jazeera says the move is due to its coverage of the war in Iraq. Al Jazeera has shown over and over gruesome images from Iraqi TV of American prisoners who had apparently been executed, as well as POW interviews. But Exchange spokesman Ray Pellechia insists the move was for "security reasons." He told the Associated Press that access had been limited to networks that focus "on responsible business coverage."