Monday, July 21, 2003

The American occupation of Iraq is proving to be violent:

  1. The Americans ran over and killed an 11-year-old boy on the road between Baghdad and Basra, and didn't even bother to stop. In Baghdad, they shot and killed an unarmed 12-year-old boy who was on the roof of his house. A boy and two girls who range in age from 10 to 11, suffered burns when they set fire to a bag that they found on the street in their village which contained explosive powder. Their father asked Sergeant David J. Borell for help, and he immediately called for assistance. However, the two army doctors who arrived refused to treat the children because their injuries were not life-threatening and had not been inflicted by U. S. troops (back home, they must work for an HMO!). One of the doctors refused to even give the children something for their pain. As a result of the failure to treat the children are remained in pain and the boy cannot use his right leg. This refusal to treat appears to be Pentagon policy, and is a violation of the Geneva Conventions. Of course, children are still at high risk of death throughout Iraq due to disease, malnutrition, and the unexploded munitions, including cluster bombs, that litter the country. American cluster bombs use old technology and lack the secondary fuse used by more civilized countries which causes the duds to explode, thus removing the danger to civilians of the unexploded bombs.

  2. The American have taken to arresting (or here or here) Iraqis in the true style of tyrants everywhere, with a knock at the door in the middle of the night. The prisoners are then taken to concentration camps, where no information is provided to their relatives and no visits allowed. They are kept in terrible conditions in the camps, one of which is actually located on the grounds of Saddam's notorious Abu Ghraib prison, with the symbolism probably not lost on the Iraqis. Children are mistreated in the same way as adults. Hussein Ali Shalal of Tikrit said:

    "Even in the old days if someone was locked up they would have told us where they were and we could visit them every 10 days. But the Americans don't let us see them or even tell us if they're here."

    Amnesty International has accused the United States of violations of international law by subjecting Iraqi prisoners to 'cruel, inhuman or degrading' conditions at its detention centers. Prisoners are held in the sun, with plastic hoods, tightly handcuffed with plastic handcuffs, and sometimes are denied water and access to a toilet in the first night of arrest. They are also denied access to lawyers. Neither the United States nor Britain is living up to its obligations (or here) under international law to notify the Red Cross of any arrests. Some American interrogation techniques amount to torture (or here). Some of the most famous victims of the mistreatment are the Iraqi scientists, which the Americans are desperately attempting to 'break' in order to obtain information on the mythical 'weapons of mass destruction.'

  3. The American strike into Syria, which has been downplayed as a mere border skirmish (and is subject to a Pentagon cover-up), seems to have resulted in the deaths of at least 80 people, some of them Syrians killed on Syrian territory. It is quite likely that the attack was precipitated by faulty Israeli intelligence, which was intentionally misleading in an attempt to have the Americans make a provoking attack on Syria, perhaps leading to the war which Israel so deeply craves. All these attacks are probably war crimes, which I suppose fades into insignificance considering all the many war crimes the Americans are committing. The Syrians have played it exceptionally coolly, and have therefore so far avoided the trap. The result is that the Americans have slaughtered many people whose main crime, if any, was smuggling. The Americans are continuing to make provoking attacks along the Syrian border.

  4. The many American operations against supposed enemies of the occupation, each operation with its own distinct clever name, are resulting in a tremendous amount of anger in the population, but relatively few weapons or high-level Baathist functionaries. The usual problems of cultural insensitivity, including entering houses unannounced and the frisking of women, just adds to the anger. This is almost a textbook example of how you increase the fury in an occupied population.

Due to all the other things to write about, I've gotten woefully behind on Iraq, but more is coming soon!