Tuesday, April 01, 2003

The Iraq theme of the day seems to be attacks on civilians:

  1. American troops killed seven (or possibly ten) Iraqi women and children when they opened fire on a van. A U. S. military spokesman at central command in Qatar said:

    "The soldiers motioned for the vehicle to stop but the motions were ignored. Then the soldiers fired warning shots which were also ignored. The soldiers then fired shots into the engine of the vehicle but it continued to drive towards the checkpoint. As a last resort the soldiers fired into the passenger compartment of the vehicle."

    It must also be pointed out that this occurred near Najaf, about 20 miles north of where a suicide bomber driving a taxi killed four American soldiers over the weekend. The Offical Story is therefore that understandably jumpy soldiers, fearing another suicide attack, gave reasonable warning to the van to stop, and only opened fire whan they had to. However, a 3rd Infantry Division captain had seen the van coming, and had radioed to one of his forward platoons of M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles to fire a warning shot. Nothing happened. He then ordered that a shot be fired into the van's radiator. Still his order was not obeyed. Only when he ordered at the last minute that the van be stopped, were the fatal shots fired. He then yelled at his platoon leader: "You just [expletive] killed a family because you didn't fire a warning shot soon enough!" It seems much more likely that the Official Story has been created for American domestic consumption, and the real story is that the soldiers were looking for an opportunity to shoot a civilian vehicle in revenge for the suicide attack (I can imagine them discussing it at night, waiting for the next chance at revenge). Referring to other soldiers, the Washington Post article said: "Several said they accepted the platoon leader's explanation to Johnson on the military radio that he had, in fact, fired two warning shots, but that the driver failed to stop." That's a nice way of saying that most of them didn't accept his story. I can understand their fear, but state again that they have no moral excuse for anything they do, as all their actions are based on an illegal and immoral foundation. I like the humanitarian conclusion: "Medics gave the group 10 body bags. U.S. officials offered an unspecified amount of money to compensate them."

  2. There were two missiles that hit the street at a market in Shu'ale in Baghdad. Thanks to Robert Fisk, we know these were fired by an American plane or planes. There was no obvious military target in the area. They were fired in broad daylight into a crowded street. The oddest thing is that the missiles, while being tremendously destructive of human life, left quite small craters in the ground. In other words, they would not have done much damage if they were targeted at a building. The only conclusion one can draw is that they were intended to kill civilian human beings.

  3. The Americans fired on a group of about 15 vehicles attempting to cross a bridge at Nasiriya, killing at least 12 (this article is unusually well written). A man named Corporal Ryan Dupre, is quoted as saying:

    "The Iraqis are sick people and we are the chemotherapy. I am starting to hate this country. Wait till I get hold of a friggin' Iraqi. No, I won't get hold of one. I'll just kill him."

    These soldiers had been traumatized by the battles they had just been in, which has turned them into something far less than human. This is the fault of the stupid military leaders who put them in this position. That fact does not get anybody morally off the hook for the dead civilians.

  4. At least four children (one report says six civilians and dozens wounded) were killed on March 31 by a cruise missile that destroyed five houses in the low-income neighborhood of Al-Amin.

  5. There is a report that twenty people, including eleven children, were killed when a nighttime missile attack struck a farm near Baghdad. They must have been hunting those pitchforks of mass destruction.

  6. The Americans continue to use the distribution of humanitarian aid as a photo op, leading to unfair distribution of food and water, with the strongest being in a position to steal much of the aid.

  7. The 'coalition' has bombed a hospital in Rutbah.

  8. British warplanes have allegedly destroyed 76,000 tonnes of goods imported within the framework of the 'oil-for-food' program (it is even possible that civilians who had gathered to receive aid were killed or injured in these bombings). This aggressive bombing has been necessary due to the continuing inability of the British to take control of Basra. It would not surprise me in the least if the stories about how Saddam's supporters have been firing on civilians in Basra is just another lie to cover up British atrocities.

  9. The Americans have started rounding up Iraqi men in civilian clothes suspected of being involved with the paramilitary squads that have been attacking them in southern Iraq. They claim they may ship some of them to the detention center at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They claim to use Article Five of the Geneva Convention, which concerns the determination of whether a detainee is a POW or not, in order to determine whether a detainee is an 'enemy combattant', which is just a trick definition created by American military lawyers in order to circumvent the Geneva Convention entirely. This from a country that is still complaining bitterly about alleged transgressions of the Geneva Convention by Iraq. Of course, what they are really doing is picking up all young men they can, and scaring them into cooperation with the threat of shipping them permanently to Cuba. With all the outrages they are committing, this is one of the most cynical.

  10. Three British soldiers have been sent home for protesting that the war is killing innocent civilians. They face court martial. Since this war is illegal, these soldiers are only living up to their Nuremberg responsibilities not to obey illegal orders. If a British military court can't see this, do you think the European Court of Human Rights might be able to?

  11. To put the various claims of atrocities and war crimes levelled against the Iraqis in perspective, let's say someone comes into your house late a night with a machine gun in order to kill you and steal your money. Before you defend yourself by knocking him over the head with a brick from behind (because a brick is all you have), do you have to turn on the lights, tap him on the shoulder to announce your presence, and give him a fair time to take his aim at you? This isn't a war, it's a massacre, an unprovoked attack by a bully with no right in law or morality, and if any 'coalition' soldier gets killed in taking part in it, he has only himself to blame for obeying orders that he has a legal obligation to refuse to obey.

What is happening already in Iraq is what took years to happen in Vietnam. A combination of fear of death, frustration at not winning what was supposed to be an easy war, and racism against the enemy, has reduced the Anglo-American forces to a moral state lower than animals. It will be interesting to see how much mayhem is created by these people when they return home, driven mad by participating in this dirty, immoral massacre.