Officially, Israel is not one of the 49 countries the administration has identified as members of the "Coalition of the Willing." Should we boycott them like the French? Why should Israel behave other than low-key at the moment, they already managed to have the whole US army fighting their war against Iraq. Now they can afford to relax in their ringside seats and watch the unfolding tragedy that is being played on their behalf.
For Israel Lobby Group, War Is Topic A, Quietly
At Meeting, Jerusalem's Contributions Are Highlighted
By Dana Milbank
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 1, 2003; Page A25
This week's meeting in Washington of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has put a spotlight on the Bush administration's delicate dance with Israel and the Jewish state's friends over the attack on Iraq.
Officially, Israel is not one of the 49 countries the administration has identified as members of the "Coalition of the Willing." Officially, AIPAC had no position on the merits of a war against Iraq before it started.
Officially, Iraq is not the subject of the pro-Israel lobby's three-day meeting here.
Now, for the unofficial part:
As delegates to the AIPAC meeting were heading to town, the group put a headline on its Web site proclaiming: "Israeli Weapons Utilized By Coalition Forces Against Iraq." The item featured a photograph of a drone with the caption saying the "Israeli-made Hunter Unmanned Aerial Vehicle" is being used "by U.S. soldiers in Iraq."
At an AIPAC session on Sunday night, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom proclaimed in a speech praising Secretary of State Colin L. Powell: "We have followed with great admiration your efforts to mobilize the international community to disarm Iraq and bring democracy and peace to the region, to the Middle East and to the rest of the world. Just imagine, Mr. Secretary, how much easier it would have been if Israel had been a member of the Security Council."
A parade of top Bush administration officials -- Powell, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, political director Kenneth Mehlman, Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton and Assistant Secretary of State William Burns -- appeared before the AIPAC audience. The officials won sustained cheers for their jabs at European opponents of war in Iraq, and their tough remarks aimed at two perennial foes of Israel, Syria and Iran.
The AIPAC meeting -- attended by about 5,000 people, including half the Senate and a third of the House -- was planned long before it became clear it would coincide with hostilities in Iraq. And organizers tried to play down the emphasis on Iraq, dedicating only one of its 12 "forums" during the conference to the war. "This is not about Iraq," said AIPAC spokesman Josh Block. "This is about going to Congress and lobbying for the Israeli aid package."
The reason for the sensitivity is clear. Internationally, anything that links Israel to the current war could alienate friendly Arab states by suggesting that the war is driven by Israel's interests. At home, the embrace of the war by an organization of influential Jews could fuel anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, though polls have indicated that American Jews are less likely to support the Iraq war than white Americans of other faiths.
Despite the meeting's script, AIPAC attendees found the subject of the war impossible to avoid. Powell talked about Iraq. Rice talked about Iraq. In the hallways, everyone talked about Iraq.
"If a widget maker were having a convention, the talk would be about Iraq," said Nathan Diament, a lobbyist for orthodox Jews and a participant in the conference. "It's not what this meeting is all about, but it's the context."
When Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Leon S. Fuerth, the former foreign policy adviser to Al Gore, sat down with Burns for a session yesterday titled "the Future of the Middle East," the subject was almost exclusively Iraq.
Kirk said the war would be "longer and more expensive than we think," and noted efforts the U.S. military had made to defend Israel. When Fuerth wondered whether there is too much "happy optimism" about Arab democracy, Kirk won cheers and an ovation for rejecting the charge. "God willing, we're going to have a great victory in Iraq," said AIPAC's Steve Rosen, the moderator.
AIPAC also promoted Israel's involvement in the Iraq war, though it has not been acknowledged by the administration. Citing the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, AIPAC reported on its Web site that the U.S. Army is using Israeli-made Hunter and Pioneer drones, computer systems and Popeye air-to-surface missiles. AIPAC and Israeli officials at the conference said that while such weapons are being used in the Iraq war, they were not provided by Israel specifically for it.
Eyal Arad, who has served as a campaign adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said in an interview at the conference yesterday that his country, which attacked an Iraqi nuclear facility two decades ago, was pleased to honor the Bush administration's request to keep a low profile in this conflict.
"We don't need to shout, 'We're pro-American,' " Arad said. "We are."
The Bush administration was somewhat ambivalent about tying itself to AIPAC and Israel. Though it sent several officials to the meeting with strong pro-Israel messages, there were efforts to keep things low-key. The White House insisted that yesterday's speech by Rice, though delivered to a room with 2,000 people, be "off the record."
"I'm not making this up!" AIPAC's Rosen said to his guests while serving as host at a later session. "All these people were part of an off-the-record discussion."
© 2003 The Washington Post Company
By Patrick Seale*, 21 March 2003
The United States has embarked on an imperial adventure in the Middle East. This is the true meaning of the war against Iraq. The war is not about the disarmament of Iraq. That was always a hollow and cynical pretext. No one with any real knowledge of the situation believed that Iraq, on its knees from two disastrous wars and from twelve years of punitive sanctions, presented any sort of 'imminent threat' to anyone. In any event, from the start of last November when UN inspectors returned to Iraq under Security Council Resolution 1441, the Washington hawks wanted the inspectors to fail and then pressed impatiently for war, just when inspections showed real signs of progress.
Nor is the war only, or even primarily, about toppling Saddam Hussein. Indeed the White House announced that US forces would enter Iraq whether or not the Iraqi leader resigned and left the country. The war has bigger aims: it is about the implementation of a vast - and probably demented - strategic plan.
Washington is intoxicated by the vision of imposing a Pax Americana on the Arab world on the model of the imperial 'order' which Britain imposed on the entire region in an earlier age -- with its Gulf and South Arabian strong points protecting the route to India, its occupation of Egypt in 1882, and then the extension of its rule after the First World War to some of the Arab provinces of the defeated Ottoman Empire. The result was the creation under British tutelage of Iraq, Palestine and Transjordan.
America's imperial ambitions
With bases across the region from Oman to Central Asia, America is now seeking to recreate the British Empire at its apogee. The occupation of Iraq, a major Arab country at the strategic heart of the region, will allow the United States to control the resources of the Middle East and reshape its geopolitics to its advantage - or so the Anglo-American strategists hope. But if things go badly, history may well judge the war to be a criminal enterprise - unjustified, unprovoked, illegitimate, catastrophic for the Iraqi victims of the conflict and destructive of the rules of international relations as they have evolved over the past half century.
The fatal flaw is that this is not a purely American project. Rather it must be seen as the culmination of America's strategic partnership with Israel which began 36 years ago when, in 1967, President Charles de Gaulle told Israel that it would lose French support if it attacked its Arab neighbours. Israel promptly switched its attentions from Europe to the US, which it gradually made its main external ally and subsidizer. The relationship has since grown more intimate with every passing year, to the extent that the tail now wags the dog.
Much of the ideological justification and political pressure for war against Iraq has come from right-wing American Zionists, many of them Jews, closely allied to Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and occupying influential positions both inside and outside the Bush administration. It is neither exaggeration, nor anti-Semitism, as they would have it, to say that this is a Bush-Sharon war against Iraq.
As is now widely understood, the genesis of the idea of occupying Iraq can be dated back to the mid-1990s. Richard Perle, chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board and often described as the intellectual driving force behind President Bush's world-view, has for years been pressing US and Israeli leaders to go to war against Iraq. On 8 July 1996, shortly after Benyamin Netanyahu's election victory over Shimon Peres, Perle handed Netanyahu a strategy paper entitled 'A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm'. It called for the removal of Saddam Hussein as a key Israeli objective and as a means of weakening Syria.
The call for an attack on Iraq was then taken up in 1997 by a right-wing American group called The Project for a New American Century (PNAC), whose members included Richard Perle; Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz; Eliot Abrams, Middle East director of Bush's National Security Council; Randy Scheunemann, President of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq; and two influential conservative editors, William Kristol of the Weekly Standard and Norman Podhoretz of Commentary. With friends such as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfled and Vice-President Dick Cheney, and backed by half a dozen right-wing think-tanks, this group formed a formidable pressure group. The terrorist attacks on the United States of 11 September 2001 gave these advocates of American empire and of the US-Israeli alliance their chance. They were able to make the inexperienced President George W Bush, who came to power after a questionable election, the vehicle for their agenda.
The result is the war we are now witnessing. The ultimate objective is to change the map of the Middle East by destroying or intimidating all the enemies of the US and Israel. If America's imperium turns out to be benevolent, which is most improbable, the Arabs may accept it for a while. But they will always resist Israel's domination of their region. That is the flaw in the project.
Britain's Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair is a strange bedfellow of these right-wing ideologues. He has spoken passionately not only of the need to 'disarm Iraq' but also of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestine conflict.
He has castigated France for opposing the war and of thereby allegedly missing the chance of promoting Arab-Israeli peace. This is contorted and unconvincing logic.
Blair knows that Sharon, who has rubbished the Quartet's 'road-map' and has devoted his life to the achievement of a 'Greater Israel', has no intention of allowing the emergence of a viable Palestinian state. On the contrary, he is using the crisis to continue his wholesale destruction of Palestinian society. Blair has not commented on the 80 Palestinians Israel has killed, and the hundreds it has wounded, in the first 18 days of this month, nor has he spoken of the 48,000 Palestinian houses damaged or destroyed in the past 30 months. Blair has squandered a great deal of his integrity in order to protect Britain's so-called 'special relationship' with Washington. But if, after the war, attention turns to the Arab-Israeli conflict, he will find that Sharon has more influence in the American capital than he has - in spite of the 45,000 British troops he has committed to battle. As evidence of this influence, neither the White House nor the State Department has chosen to protest at the death of a young American peace activist, Rachel Corrie, crushed by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza this week as she tried to stop the demolition of a Palestinian home.
Will America's war meet resistance?
The United States is counting on a swift, successful, relatively 'clean' war in Iraq, in which American troops will be seen as liberators not occupiers. It intends to buy goodwill by embarking immediately on a programme of reconstruction of roads, power plants, hospitals, schools and so forth. But who will pay for this reconstruction? Will it be money drawn from Iraq's oil revenues? In particular, will American companies, who intend to secure the lion's share of the contracts, be paid out of the UN escrow account established under the oil-for-food programme? This will require a new Security Council Resolution. If France, Russia and China are cut out of the reconstruction contracts and the oil concessions, they will undoubtedly fight any such American monopoly. Some Western diplomats see this as the next diplomatic battle.
In this war, the great unanswered question is whether American and British troops will meet any serious resistance, not just from the elite units of the Iraqi army but also from the civilian population. After the first flush of victory, will the occupying armies be harassed by hit- and-run guerrillas, as happened to Israel after its invasion of Lebanon in 1982? Will an Iraqi 'Hizballah' emerge on the model of the resistance movement which eventually drove Israel out of south Lebanon? A successful resistance movement needs outside support, a flow of arms and money, safe havens when the going gets tough. In Lebanon, Hizballah had such support from Syria and Iran. In 1983, it was Syria and its local allies that managed to defeat American attempts, brokered by George Shultz, then US Secretary of State, to draw Lebanon into Israel's sphere of influence.
Who in the region today could extend help to an Iraqi resistance movement? Syria has become too vulnerable to play any such role, Iran too fearful of being the next target, Turkey too preoccupied in keeping a lid on Kurdish aspirations to statehood in northern Iraq. The most likely resistance might come from elsewhere. A non-state actor like Osama bin Laden's Al-Qa'ida, drawing inspiration and recruits from the violent anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiments now sweeping the Muslim world, might take up the challenge. Occupation breeds insurrection. This is an axiom of history.
*Patrick Seale is a distinguished British historian
Held under house arrest by Saddam for a decade, could this cleric be a secret weapon for the Allies?
By Paul Vallely
04 April 2003
Iraq's most senior religious leader issued a fatwa yesterday urging the country's majority Shia community not to hinder the US and British armies. It could prove as significant a development for the invading forces as any of the military victories of the past few days.
The ruling, from Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali al-Sistani the foremost Shia authority in Iraq called on Muslims to keep calm, stay at home, not put themselves in danger and not to fight. It could add the decisive weight to the scales of war.
Certainly the fatwa provoked great optimism among the coalition's political and military leaders. Brigadier General Vincent Brooks, of Allied Central Command in Qatar, said: "We believe this is a very significant turning point and another indicator that the Iraqi regime is approaching its end."
The Ayatollah, who is 73, has been under house imprisonment at his home in the holy city of Najaf by Saddam Hussein's secret police for almost a decade. He was freed two days ago when his guards fled as US forces advanced on the city.
His decree coincided with conciliatory noises from the reformist Prime Minister of Iran a predominantly Shia state who voiced sorrow yesterday for the deaths of American and British soldiers.
Muslim commentators said the fatwa "could be decisive" in the outcome of the war.
US troops received a relatively warm reception from the 560,000 largely Shia locals after entering the holy city, which is the site of the tomb of Imam Ali, the son-in-law of Mohammed, whom Shias believe was the Prophet's true successor. (Islam split not long after the Prophet's death, in a manner not unlike the Catholic- Protestant schism in Christianity; Sunnis are in the majority worldwide, but Shias dominate in Iraq and Iran.)
The tomb, in the central mosque, is revered and has immense political importance. The Americans have failed to realise this in the past. In 1998 a US air strike killed 17 civilians in Najaf, handing President Saddam's Baath regime a valuable propaganda tool.
President Saddam tried to repeat the trick this time. He stationed troops inside the Imam Ali mosque, from where they fired on the Americans, hoping that US commanders would shell the shrine, in a bid to turn the Iraqi Shias and others around the world against the US.
This time, the Americans were wise to the ploy. A precision bomb took out the Baath party headquarters, which had been built near by. But US soldiers were told not to return fire at the men in the mosque.
"We've hit them very hard the last two days, wherever they're firing at us, from homes, from schools," said the American commander, Colonel Ben Hodges. "But the one place I've absolutely told them they cannot fire is into the mosque."
When the crowds of irate civilians and clerics pressed down upon US troops heading towards the grand mosque yesterday, their commanders told the soldiers to back off. The situation was defused when the soldiers their weapons pointing down pulled back and reassured the clerics that they would stay away from holy sites.
The ruse also backfired in the Muslim world. A Shia expatriate group in Tehran, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, condemned the Baath regime for putting soldiers into the mosque complex.
One of the first things the US military did on entering Najaf was to seek a meeting with Ayatollah Sistani. At first, the cleric refused to talk to the commanders. But then he promised he would respond to their request in two days. Yesterday he issued the fatwa.
Between 60 and 65 per cent of Iraqis are Shias. Under President Saddam they have been an oppressed majority. President Saddam is a Sunni, as are most of the dominant individuals and groups (such as the Republican Guard) in his regime.
There were tensions between the two groups during the Iran-Iraq war, though the loyalties of Iraqi Shias were complicated by feelings of nationalism. (The Iraqis are Arab, the Iranians Farsi). But during the 1991 Gulf War the Shias rose up against President Saddam, with the encouragement of the US government, who then abandoned the rebels. President Saddam harshly repressed the uprisings, killing thousands of ordinary Shias.
In the years since, the Baathist regime has murdered at least four important ayatollahs in Najaf and imprisoned six others. Besides keeping Ayatollah Sistani under house arrest, President Saddam has forced other religious leaders to issue fatwas supportive of his actions. On several occasions the Baath party issued false fatwas in the names of ayatollahs.
In September, Ayatollah Sistani issued a ruling calling on Iraqi Shias to fight against the Americans. It read: "It is the Muslims' duty, under this critical situation, to be united and do their best to defend Iraq and protect it from the plots of the aggressors."
But that was the first time his important theological school had issued such a fatwa and many opposition groups said at the time that the fatwa had been issued by President Saddam's officials. Yet so significant was the decree deemed to be that until a week ago copies of it were still pinned to the door of a main Shia mosque in Baghdad.
Yesterday's fatwa urging his flock to co-operate with the Americans is the first he has issued since being freed. Some Muslim groups immediately voiced suspicions that the Grand Ayatollah had been coerced by the US military. But it seems likely that most will accept it as legitimate, regarding the September fatwa as the one that was issued under pressure. "Of course, he was forced to do it," scoffed Abdul Majid al-Khoei, the son of the late Grand Ayatollah Abul-Qasim al-Khoei, who was Ayatollah Sistani's teacher.
Other Muslims argue that both fatwas could be lawful. "Fatwas are always circumstantial," said one prominent Islamic leader. "Judgements can change with changed circumstances, where that is for the public good. So even if the first was uncoerced, the second is binding for the new situation. It could be just what the Allies have been looking for."
There was some comfort from Iran too. Yesterday, President Mohammad Khatami had some unusually warm words for the Allies. He gave a speech on the war that was televised by the state-run station in Tehran. In it, predictably enough, he condemned the US-led invasion and said: "With this war you are giving a green light to extremist movements and violence-seekers to answer back your violence with violence". But, for the leader of a state which is traditionally hostile to America, he was also remarkably sympathetic to the Allied troops.
After voicing pity for the Iraqi people, he said: "We also feel sorry for the killed young American and British soldiers who came from another part of the world to war because of the wrong policies and motives of those who seek power."
The speech and the fatwa suggested that a tide was starting to turn. "Until now the Shias of Iraq and the followers of Sistani were confused on whether to take up arms against the Americans, whether to fight," said a spokesman for the Al-Khoei foundation, which represents followers of the Ayatollah. "This is reassuring to everyone. The regime wanted to portray the Shias of Iraq and Sistani as supporting him [President Saddam]."
In Najaf the Ayatollah also issued a Thought for the Week. It read: "At the extremity of hardship comes relief and, at the tightening of the chains of tribulation, comes ease."
Held under house arrest by Saddam for a decade, could this cleric be a secret weapon for the Allies?
By Paul Waugh, Deputy Political Editor
04 April 2003
Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, launched a vitriolic attack on Robert Fisk of The Independent yesterday, claiming there was no conclusive proof US cruise missiles had bombed markets in Baghdad.
Mr Hoon hit out after Labour MPs used an emergency Commons statement on the war to highlight Fisk's reports on the civilian casualties caused by explosions in the city last week. The Independent carried detailed reports on the two incidents. The first was last Wednesday when 14 Iraqis were killed and the second was on Friday when 62 died. Fisk collected shrapnel at the scene of the bombing in the Shu'ala district from what turned out to be a cruise missile made in Texas by Raytheon.
Alice Mahon, Labour MP for Halifax, seized on the report when she highlighted the number of deaths of civilian children in the war on Iraq to date.
"The two market bombings killed a high number of children. If he wants information on the second bombing, he can go to yesterday's Independent, where they have got the number of the missile," she said.
Mr Hoon said there was not "a shred of corroborating evidence", other than that "supplied by Saddam Hussein's regime", that American forces were responsible for the two marketplace tragedies.
"I would really caution Ms Mahon against relying on a particular account. First of all the original account of the first market place bomb, set out in graphic detail in the Independent newspaper," he said.
"If as I'm sure she did, she read it carefully, she would have seen the source of information to suggest it was the responsibility of coalition forces was someone the journalist spoke to in the marketplace. That was the source of the allegation it was a coalition responsibility."
Mr Hoon had also read "with some care" The Independent's reports on the second incident but was equally unconvinced. He revealed for the first time Western intelligence claims that Iraqi authorities had been seen "clearing up" the bomb site soon afterwards.
"The allegation is that because a piece of cruise missile was handed to the journalist it somehow proved it was caused by coalition forces," he said. "A considerable number of cruise missiles have been targeted at Baghdad in the past few weeks. I can also tell Ms Mahon we have very clear evidence immediately after those two explosions there were representatives of the regime clearing up in and around the marketplace. Now why they should be doing that other than to perhaps disguise their own responsibility for what took place is an interesting question.
"What is important about this is all of us should look very sceptically at these kinds of reports, relying only on known and agreed facts." Mr Hoon repeatedly cast doubt on TV reports on Wednesday that Iraqi civilians had died from cluster bombs dropped near the village of Hillah. MPs and the public should "suspend their belief" because the graphic images were the product of Iraqi minders taking television crews to particular locations.
But Glenda Jackson, Labour MP for Hampstead and Highgate, condemned the suggestion that journalists should be censored and pointed out several reputable British reporters had already died in Iraq.
Mr Hoon replied: "I'm certainly prepared to consider criticism of coalition forces if it is warranted. But what I'm not prepared to do is to accept at face value an account of an incident given by a man in a marketplace in Baghdad. It is simply absurd to suggest that we've got to accept that kind of account.
"We are prepared to recognise we might have some responsibility but at the same time we don't rush to judgement in blaming, in this case, coalition forces without there being a shred of corroborating evidence other than that supplied by Saddam Hussein's regime."
"The whole world is watching us die"
In the face of Iraqi resistance to the invasion, the U.S. military strategy has abruptly shifted in the last few days. Instead of posing as liberators, the U.S. high command has called for open warfare against the Iraqi civilian population. In the last 48 hours, hundreds of civilians have been shot down on the roadways, in their homes, on their farms. The aerial bombings are becoming more indiscriminate as missiles land in markets and residential neighborhoods.
The Iraq war has suddenly taken on the worst features of the U.S. war in Vietnam. Facing a defiant and resisting population, U.S. troops, under the direction of their officers, treat all members of the population as suspect and decide to shoot first and ask questions later. The U.S. soldiers have been lied to about their mission. They have been sent to kill and be killed in a war for empire and conquest, not liberation. U.S. casualties are mounting in this war that need not have happened.
On March 31, there was a massacre of civilians, mainly women and their children, whose crime was that they were driving on a roadway in their own country. As their van approached a checkpoint, U.S. soldiers destroyed their vehicle with a barrage of 25mm cannon fire from one or more of their M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles. The Washington Post quoted Capt. Ronny Johnson of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division in his series of orders to the troops present:
- "Fire a warning shot"
- "Stop [messing] around!"
- "Stop him, Red 1, stop him!"
- "Cease fire!"
- "You just [expletive] killed a family because you didn't fire a warning shot soon enough!"
The "shoot first ask questions later" strategy is not the result of spontaneous actions by scared and edgy troops. These are orders given the troops from the Pentagon high command.
"Everyone is now seen as a combatant until proven otherwise," a Pentagon official is quoted in the Washington Post of April 1, 2003. The Pentagon recognizes that the shift in tactics will be understood as a brutal escalation of force against the civilian population and that their earlier posture as "liberators" will be exposed. "You'll see acts of kindness, medical care and the like, but the large scale aid effort will have to wait," a Pentagon official told the Washington Post. In fact the new U.S. strategy now is deliberately preventing Iraqi civilians in Nassiriya and other towns from receiving food and water unless they cooperate with the occupation forces.
U.S. Marine Operations Commander Lt. Colonel Paul Roche told reporters on March 31 that the U.S. strategy towards the people of the city of Nassiriya included the use of food and water as a weapon to terrorize and break the will of the civilian population.
In the April 1 front page of the Washington Post, the Pentagon's new strategy is euphemistically referred to in the headline "U.S. troops instructed to use tougher tactics."
The assault against civilians is being reported in greater detail and honesty by the world media outside the United States. This change in U.S. tactics is, as the following report shows, encouraging the most racist and homicidal tendencies among U.S. soldiers at the front.
It is important to read the following passage from the UK Times of Sunday, March 30. It reports of a gruesome scene outside of Nassiriya. Some fifteen vehicles, including a minivan and a couple of trucks, were found destroyed and riddled with bullets by the Times UK reporter Mark Franchetti:
"Amid the wreckage I counted 12 dead civilians, lying in the road or in nearby ditches. All had been trying to leave this southern town overnight, probably for fear of being killed by US helicopter attacks and heavy artillery.
"Their mistake had been to flee over a bridge that is crucial to the coalition's supply lines and to run into a group of shell-shocked young American marines with orders to shoot anything that moved.
"One man's body was still in flames. It gave out a hissing sound. Tucked away in his breast pocket, thick wads of banknotes were turning to ashes. His savings, perhaps.
"Down the road, a little girl, no older than five and dressed in a pretty orange and gold dress, lay dead in a ditch next to the body of a man who may have been her father. Half his head was missing.
"Nearby, in a battered old Volga, peppered with ammunition holes, an Iraqi woman - perhaps the girl's mother - was dead, slumped in the back seat. A US Abrams tank nicknamed Ghetto Fabulous drove past the bodies.
"This was not the only family who had taken what they thought was a last chance for safety. A father, baby girl and boy lay in a shallow grave. On the bridge itself a dead Iraqi civilian lay next to the carcass of a donkey."
The UK Times article also documents that in Iraq, just as in Vietnam, the U.S. soldiers are being trained to wage war against a civilian population by dehumanizing those whom they are killing.
"I'll Just Kill Him"
"As I walked away, Lieutenant Matt Martin, whose third child, Isabella, was born while he was on board ship en route to the Gulf, appeared beside me.
" 'Did you see all that?' he asked, his eyes filled with tears. 'Did you see that little baby girl? I carried her body and buried it as best I could but I had no time. It really gets to me to see children being killed like this, but we had no choice.'
"Martin's distress was in contrast to the bitter satisfaction of some of his fellow marines as they surveyed the scene. 'The Iraqis are sick people and we are the chemotherapy,' said Corporal Ryan Dupre. '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.' "
Crimes Against Humanity
George Bush and the high command are guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes. What we are witnessing is a full-scale massacre carried out from the land, the air and the sea assault. The U.S. media presents the war as carefully packaged propaganda and trivializes the actual human costs of the war by turning it into something of a spectator sport. But the Iraqi people cannot escape this war and they cannot turn off their television to make it go away.
Again, it is the non-U.S. press that reveals the extent of the criminality of the war.
A March 29 Reuters article entitled "Iraqis Delirious with Grief After Missile Attack" described the Friday night attack by U.S. bombs in a poor section of Baghdad. Arouba Khodeir, 39, while "wailing hysterically and hitting herself in the face and chest, as women around her were trying to calm her down," spoke of her 11-year-old son Karar who died outside the house with his friends: " 'My son had his head blown off,' screamed Khodeir. 'Why are they hitting the people? Why are they killing the children? Why are they doing his to us? Why are they attacking civilians? Didn't Bush say on TV that he won't attack civilians. But these people who died are all civilians? Is this a target?' she wailed, pointing at the dried blood of her son still splashed on the walls."
"The Whole World is Watching Us Die"
The report also described the killing of Shaza Shallum, 20, who was "holding her baby and walking with two relatives when the explosion sent a shard of shrapnel through her neck. Six-month-old Fatma was found alive in her dead mother's arms and brought by neighbors to her grandmother. The wails of the mourners drowned the cries of the hungry infant."
One of the people living in this neighborhood told Reuters: "We are helpless people. It is all out of our hands. Why cannot the world find a solution? The whole world is watching us die and is doing nothing to help us."
©-free 2003 Adelaide Institute