Monday, September 29, 2003

Some examples of recent American and British military violence against Iraqi civilians:

  1. On August 23 soldiers from the 22nd Special Air Service clubbed and kicked 11 Iraqis they falsely believed to have been involved in the killing of six British military police officers in Majar al Kabir on June 25. They were arrested and detained for 18 hours during which time they were further beaten. They were released when it was determined that they had been arrested by mistake.

  2. In early September in Mahmudiya, Farah Fadhil, 18, was killed when an American soldier threw a grenade through her window. She had been walking to the window to try to plead with the American soldiers who were spraying her apartment building with bullets. In the same incident, Marwan Hassan was shot to death when he went looking for his brother when the shooting began. The shooting was as a result of a raid which was a mistake. In what is becoming a pattern, the inhabitants of the house assumed they were being attacked by looters, and the 13-year-old son fired warning shots with a rifle. This provoked the full attack by the Americans, which resulted in the deaths (I note that the Americans have created their own very unconvincing version of the incident). The American troops did not record details of the raid with the coalition military press office. This is important as it also represents a pattern, and means that Iraqi civilian deaths are almost certainly intentionally being underreported.

  3. The house of Dr. Talib Abdul Jabar Al Sayeed (or here) was attacked. At least three dozen American troops fired on his house for an hour. This was another mistaken raid. The Americans conduct their raids based on the slightest of intelligence, sometimes based on one tipster who may just have a grudge against the inhabitants of a house. In this case, no one was killed, but the doctor was roughed up, his three grown sons were arrested, and his sons remain in American detention. In a similar mistaken raid, Farid Abdul Khahir was killed on August 11. Again, he had fired a rifle out the window when he feared his house was being attacked by looters. The American response to this resulted in his death.

  4. Sami Hassan Saref from the town of Baqubah thought American troops raiding his home were thieves, grabbed a rifle, and was shot. The Americans never reported his death.

  5. There is the famous incident in Fallujah on September 12 where American troops somehow managed to attack a group of Iraqi policemen who were in pursuit of a suspect vehicle, killing eight Iraqi policemen and a Jordanian hospital guard. In late September, also in Fallujah, American troops fired on two cars at a checkpoint, killing four Iraqis and injuring five others.

  6. In al-Jisr (or al-Sajr), an American raid on a house resulted in tragedy. Ahmad Hodood heard the American troops approach the house, and shouted at them. They opened fire, and fired on the house for at least an hour. Three people were killed and three injured. Zaidan Khalaf, brother of one of the victims, said:

    "My brother was a polite and decent man. He was poor and we had only enough farmland to survive. None of us are interested in politics, none of us worked in Saddam's regime. We got nothing from Saddam. I swear we don't have any weapons in our homes and we don't have any intention to fight the Americans. But the Americans have become a heavy weight on our shoulders. They don't respect human beings, they humiliate the Iraqi people. They promised freedom and democracy. Is it freedom to kill people, make bloodshed and destroy our house? Is that what they mean by freedom?"

  7. Thirteen-year-old Omar Saad Jassem from Baquba was shot and killed when American troops who were chasing and firing on someone riding a motorcycle, missed and hit him instead.

  8. The raids, besides being conducted violently, often leave the poor Iraqis with damage to their homes and possessions, loss of important documents, and stolen cash. Those who are detained are unable to work their farms.

  9. An American soldier shot and killed Saad Mohamed Sultan, translator for Italian diplomat Pietro Cardone, while both men were riding in Mr. Cardone's car. The shot came for no reason, when Mr. Cardone's car attempted to pass an American Humvee (another version of the incident involves a roadblock). After the shot, the Americans just drove off, not bothering to stop.

  10. Baghdad, in August.

Some common factors:

  • completely untrained soldiers;

  • violent raids on houses at night based on very flimsy intelligence that there are weapons inside;

  • the complete lack of security caused by the American failure to provide proper policing has resulted in Iraqis assuming that noises indicate an attack by looters;

  • Iraqis answer an attack on a house with warning rifle shots, which are taken by nervous soldiers to be a counterattack;

  • the Americans are systematically covering up the amount of the carnage they are inflicting on Iraq;

  • the American soldiers show complete and utter contempt for the Iraqis, and regard the taking of a human life as the equivalent to the shooting of an animal.

The Americans have developed all manner of complex theories to explain who is behind the Iraqi resistance, and why the occupiers are so disliked. The truth is that this constant violence against the Iraqi people is creating a natural reaction.