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Guard Sees Parallels to Iraq in Louisiana


Guard Sees Parallels to Iraq in Louisiana
September 3rd, 2005 @ 7:18am
By ROBERT TANNER
AP National Writers

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A month ago, this steamy riverfront offered Michael Rogers a much-needed vacation after a year's tour in Iraq. His head was spinning when he returned in his National Guard uniform, unable to shake the similarities to his time on the streets of Baghdad.

An angry crowd. A hot blazing sun. A murky mixture of resentment and gratitude.

He took a break in the shade Friday, smoking a cigarette as hundreds of newly homeless lined up outside the downtown convention center for the basics they'd gone without for days _ food and water. Emergency shelter was uncertain, and home either gone or underwater.

"This right here I'd have to say is very similar to Iraq, the way the people are _ hungry, very angry," said Rogers, a 33-year-old specialist.

Some of the thousands who spent days sleeping outdoors or on the center's soggy carpets applauded Guard members when they arrived, but others shouted at them.

"It's a two-sided street," said Spc. Terrence Haynes, 28 and shrugged. "Some accept it, some resent it. Same old song and dance."

Nothing's simple, not here or in the Middle East, the soldiers said.

Spec. Ricardo Richards, also of the Arkansas unit that had been in Iraq, stood squinting in the sun, armed with flak jacket, webbed helmet, assault rifle pointed to the ground.

"They're clapping on one side, because they see the security. On this side they're not clapping, they're hungry and thirsty," Richards said. "It's like Baghdad all over again ... The only thing different about this is there's no car bombs, no IEDs, nobody shooting at you."

As the troops prepared to hand out the Meal Ready to Eat, or MREs, and bottled water, one Guard member shouted out: "OK, guys _ 1 MRE, 1 bottle of water per person. Then we'll go to Afghanistan and do it again."

Sgt. Jamie Sutherland spent a year at Guantanamo Bay's holding center for combatants captured in the war on terror. She also saw echoes between that stint and her time here, with a small section of New Orleans' evacuees criticizing or even attacking those trying to provide aid and restore order.

"You have different mind sets _ gangs and cliques. People don't always get along," she said. "It's not only in New Orleans."

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So....what's the point of this?
These two sound like desensitized military robots that just see humans falling into two catagories: gangs or cliques.

This article seems to imply that U.S. military would not see any problem turning guns on its own fellow citizens?

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