- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 23, 2003

DOHA, Qatar — Arab television on Sunday aired Iraqi footage of purported dead Americans, some sprawled in a room, and interviews with five seemingly tense U.S. prisoners.
U.S. officials confirmed that up to 10 soldiers and perhaps one aircraft were missing in southern Iraq, and that some may have been lured into a trap by Iraqi soldiers pretending to surrender.
The casualties and the interviews with four men and a woman were broadcast by the Arab satellite station Al-Jazeera with footage from state-controlled Iraqi television. Each was interviewed individually and gave their names and their home states. They spoke with American accents into a microphone labeled "Iraqi Television."
One prisoner identified herself as Shauna, 30, from Texas. Her eyes darted back and forth as she was interviewed and she held her arms tightly in her lap as she was questioned.
At one point, the camera panned back, showing that a massive white bandage wrapped around her ankle. Her voice was very shaky.
One prisoner, who said he was from El Paso, Texas, stared directly at the camera and spoke in a clear direct voice, often shaking his head and cupping his ear slightly to try to indicate that he couldn't hear one of several questions being shot at him from around the room.
The footage said the American soldiers were captured during fighting around An Nasiriyah, a major crossing point over the Euphrates River northwest of Basra.
The woman identified as Shauna also said she was from the 507th Maintenance. There are 507th Maintenance companies both in the Air Force and Army.
The prisoners looked scared. One captive, who said he was from Kansas, answered all his questions in a shaky voice, his eyes darting back and forth between and interviewer and another person who couldn't be seen on camera.
Asked why he came to Iraq, he simply replied "I come to fix broke stuff."
Prodded again by the interviewer, he was asked if he came to shoot Iraqis."No I come to shoot only if I am shot at," he said. "They (Iraqis) don't bother me, I don't bother them."
Another prisoner said only: "I follow orders."
A voice off-camera asked "how many officers" were in his unit.
"I don't know sir," the man replied.
Iraqi TV attempted to interview a wounded man lying down, at one point trying to cradle his head so it would hold steady for the camera.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said some American soldiers are missing in the fighting in Iraq and possibly being held as prisoners. The Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman said he thought fewer than 10 soldiers were missing in southern Iraq and that military officials were trying to account for them. "Beyond that, we don't know," Gen. Richard Myers said on Fox television.
President Bush demanded that any American prisoners of war be treated humanely by Iraq.
Bush, returning to the White House from Camp David, said he did not have all the details, but expected that Iraq treat any prisoners "humanely, just like we'll treat any Iraqi prisoners."
In Cairo, Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri said the casualties were proof the Iraqi military would fight. "What happened today showed that we're not surrendering easily. It is proof we're strong and it is not an easy invasion."
Al-Jazeera later showed footage of what appeared to be a fuel or water carrier parked alongside a highway and a body in uniform with full gear and still wearing a helmet lying behind the carrier.
Showing the television footage may have been Iraq's way of testing America's resolve in the war. In Somalia in 1993, American audiences were outraged by television pictures showing Somali crowds dragging the bodies of American soldiers through the streets of Mogadishu: U.S. troops were pulled out of Somalia shortly after the incident.

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