Tuesday, August 12, 2003

The situation in Iraq has gotten so bad that I am having trouble keeping the American atrocities separate in my mind. I find myself reading about some new massacre, and mistakenly thinking it is a report of an old massacre, only to realize that it is in fact a brand spanking new massacre with similarities to the old massacres. The Americans have been in Iraq so long now they are resorting to repeating their outrages:

  1. 'Jittery' American soldiers shot and killed six Iraqis who were attempting to get home before the 11 p. m. curfew in Baghdad. Anwaar Kawaz, who lost her husband and three of her four children, said:

    "We kept shouting, 'We're a family! Don't shoot!' But no one listened. They kept shooting. They killed us. There was no signal. Nothing at all. We didn't see anything but armored cars. Our headlights were on. He (her husband) didn't have time to put his foot on the brake. They kept shooting. He was shot in the forehead. I was still sitting next to him. I got out of the car to get help. I was shouting, 'Help me! Help me!' No one came."

    Her husband didn't die for at least an hour, but no one tried to help. In fact, the father and two daughters would have survived if they had been taken immediately to the hospital, but the Americans refused to let anyone take them (this is very Israeli, and is starting to become an American trend). The daughter bled to death on the street. There were at least two other individuals killed in two separate incidents involving American checkpoints on the same night. The Americans are in the habit of throwing up surprise checkpoints before the curfew starts, and the Iraqis don't know about them and drive right through.

  2. I've already mentioned the massacre in Tikrit. In order to deal with some illegal arms merchants in a market in Tikrit, the Americans decided it would be a good idea to position snipers around the market and then fire into it. Besides the fact that they executed people who should have received a trial, firing into a market is an extremely dangerous thing to do. They killed three men (or perhaps five men and a child), and injured a number of others, including a ten-year-old boy who had been selling doves (a symbol of peace). Ghabbash Khaddum, who had come to the market to sell okra and was wounded in the attack, said:

    "We were happy when Americans first entered, but my opinion toward them has changed. They promised us freedom, and now they are shooting us."

    Again, the troops sealed off the market, making it impossible to take the wounded to the hospital.

  3. Three Iraqi policemen were pursuing a vehicle in their unmarked car and firing on it. American soldiers took them for bad guys, and attacked them. One was shot dead in the car, another was killed as he tried to surrender with his hands in the air shouting 'police, police', and the third was captured alive and beaten. The survivor, Sergeant Hamza Atiya Muhsen (whose name may be Sergeant Hamza Hilal Nahi), said:

    "Three soldiers surrounded me. I got down on my knees, hands in the air, holding my badge. One of them kicked me in the back and I fell to the ground. Another one kicked me twice in the face. They put their boots on my head and pressed it into the ground. I kept saying 'police, police.' I don't speak English but it's the same word in Arabic."

  4. From a report from Baghdad by Scott Fleming:

    "And then it's the outskirts of Baghdad. Increasingly frequent U.S. Army convoys of Humvees, fuel trucks, heavy trucks with .50-caliber machine guns, and even some street sweepers, which will seem in retrospect futile when we see the condition of the city. Our driver asks me not to photograph the soldiers, because they are 'crazy' and he doesn't want me to get us all shot."


    "George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz and Condoleezza Rice and Tony Blair and Dick Cheney are insane. I don't know what they think they are doing here, but if it involves order and sanity they have failed miserably and indefinitely. It's obvious enough from the newspaper accounts but you have to see it for yourself. They have caused a catastrophe here. The events of the past year have moved so quickly we tend to forget about the effect of 12 years of economic sanctions. 'The price is worth it?' I don't know what they're going to do, and the masters of war themselves must be terrified."

    To read some of the reporting coming out of Baghdad you'd think it was some kind of paradise on earth under the wonderful rule of the benign Americans, but the whole article (and this one) gives a more accurate view.

The American troops are 'jittery', which means they make bad judgments, which means they kill people, which makes the Iraqis angry, which leads to more Iraqi attacks on the Americans, which makes the Americans more 'jittery' . . . .