I called my Congresswoman's office yesterday to leave a message. I wanted to see if some of my analysis might be of service to her staff. The first idea I got from watching various footage of units on patrol in Iraq (Off to War, Gunner Palace, and various media reports). I didn't note much in the way of standard traffic and roadblock safety management equipment. So I began investigating in November/December to see what our typical protocols were. I'm doing more analysis and would be interested to hear from someone who knows more about it.
From what I am given to understand:
- US vehicles are marked with "Warning stay back" signs to stay back a certain distance in both Arabic and English.
- It was said there were TV and radio reminders of what to do at checkpoints.
- It is well-known that military vehicles have right-of-way.
- Lead vehicles have sirens installed.
- There was a "universal audio or visual warning system worked out to give guidance to the civilians.
- With a reasonable concern for suicide bombers, soldiers preferred to err on the side of caution.
The following is not an exhaustive report, but is simply my attempts to gather information on the types of incidents that occured. Many of these date back to the initial invasion, so it was reasonable to believe that there have since been better traffic management protocols established. However, it was said that there were broaches of the standard protocols that led to the oft-told reported death in 2005 of an Italian intelligence agent that was escorting a recently-ransomed Italian journalist.
- 12 Iraqi civilians dead, Nasiriya, 30 April 2003
- 15 Iraqi civilians dead, al-Hilla, 1 April 2003
- 7 (10?) Iraqi civilians dead, 1 critically wounded, Kerbala, 2 April 2003
- 15 Iraqi civilians dead, Baghdad, 6-7 April 2003
- 2 Iraqi children dead, Nasiriya, 11 April 2003
- 4 Iraqi civilians dead, al-Mansur, 27 July 2003
- 5 Iraqi civilians dead, 1 wounded, al-Slaikh, 7 August 2003
- 2 Iraqi police dead, 1 beaten by US soldiers, Baghdad, 9 August 2003
- 1 Italian intelligence officer dead, 1 Italian journalist wounded, Baghdad, 4 March 2005
Online NewsHour report: Iraqi Checkpoint Security Reevaluated - 7 March 2005
Human Rights Watch: Iraqi: Checkpoints Lack Basuc Safety Measures - 17 June 2005