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'A dead Iraqi is just another dead Iraqi... You know, so what?&#39

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ranasrule    76

Iraq veterans: "...the entire war is an atrocity"

In a very wide-ranging and in-depth piece of reporting, Chris Hedges & Laila Al-Arian of The Nation have interviewed fifty combat veterans of the Iraq war. The results are devastating. These are, as the writers point out, on the record, named eyewitnesses. They are people who could testify in court, in other words. Many of these guys have come back from the war, shocked at the disparity between the savage perversity they were part of, and what is reported in a politically timid media. A lot of them describe a sickening resentment of Iraqis, which the authors relate to a report from the Pentagon some time ago, showing that less than half of soldiers and slightly less than two fifths of marines thought that Iraqi civilians should be treated with dignity and respect. They'll be a civic bunch when they return home.

It is not merely that there is depraved acting out of murderous fantasies under conditions of a frustrating war. It is that they rarely encountered Iraqis, contrary to the notion conveyed in those wierd 'encounters' that are filmed by embedded camera crews, in which marine commanders go out and meet 'haji' for the day. When they did go out of their compounds, the report says: "Some shot holes into cans of gasoline being sold along the roadside and then tossed grenades into the pools of gas to set them ablaze. Others opened fire on children. These shootings often enraged Iraqi witnesses." It goes on:

We heard a few reports, in one case corroborated by photo?graphs, that some soldiers had so lost their moral compass that they'd mocked or desecrated Iraqi corpses. One photo, among dozens turned over to The Nation during the investigation, shows an American soldier acting as if he is about to eat the spilled brains of a dead Iraqi man with his brown plastic Army-issue spoon.

...

And, of course, since they don't stop for any purpose, they regularly speed into Iraqi civilians with impunity - not only the army, but the private contractors as well. And if they feel like shooting up a bunch of civilians - well, we heard before how they manage that, and it's confirmed here:

Several interviewees said that, on occasion, these killings were justified by framing innocents as terrorists, typically following incidents when American troops fired on crowds of unarmed Iraqis. The troops would detain those who survived, accusing them of being insurgents, and plant AK-47s next to the bodies of those they had killed to make it seem as if the civilian dead were combatants. "It would always be an AK because they have so many of these weapons lying around," said Specialist Aoun. Cavalry scout Joe Hatcher, 26, of San Diego, said 9-millimeter handguns and even shovels--to make it look like the noncombatant was digging a hole to plant an IED--were used as well.

"Every good cop carries a throwaway," said Hatcher, who served with the Fourth Cavalry Regiment, First Squadron, in Ad Dawar, halfway between Tikrit and Samarra, from February 2004 to March 2005. "If you kill someone and they're unarmed, you just drop one on 'em." Those who survived such shootings then found themselves imprisoned as accused insurgents.

...

The Google ad next to the story says: 'Support Our Troops: Silicone Wrist Bands, Patches, Custom Dog Tags, Hats and more'.

Incidentally, I have been trying to avoid the frenzy about Alistair Campbell and his diaries, but this BBC interview is worth quoting:

ANDREW MARR: Did you have doubts?

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL: No, I'll tell you, look I thought it was the right thing. I thought it was the right thing.

ANDREW MARR: But do you think that now?

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL: And I do think that now.

ANDREW MARR: Despite all 600,000 people dead?

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL: Well, you know, there are cameras there now Andrew, there weren't cameras there when there were a lot of people dying before.

Aside from Marr's laudable acknowledgment of the facts about this, Campbell's response has to be the most miserable, risible excuse he could have thought of. These deaths, of course, have by and large not been caught on camera. They have been registered by an epidemiological survey team, which was there before, and which found that 655,000 more people died than would have died under the continued reign of Saddam and sanctions combined.

http://leninology.blogspot.com/2007/07/ira...s-atrocity.html

Edited by Fred Derf
article summarized, click the link for the full monte

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ranasrule    76

'A dead Iraqi is just another dead Iraqi... You know, so what?'

Interviews with US veterans show for the first time the pattern of brutality in Iraq

By Leonard Doyle in Washington

Published: 12 July 2007

It is an axiom of American political life that the actions of the US military are beyond criticism. Democrats and Republicans praise the men and women in uniform at every turn. Apart from the odd bad apple at Abu Ghraib, the US military in Iraq is deemed to be doing a heroic job under trying circumstances.

That perception will take a severe knock today with the publication in The Nation magazine of a series of in-depth interviews with 50 combat veterans of the Iraq war from across the US. In the interviews, veterans have described acts of violence in which US forces have abused or killed Iraqi men, women and children with impunity.

The report steers clear of widely reported atrocities, such as the massacre in Haditha in 2005, but instead unearths a pattern of human rights abuses. "It's not individual atrocity," Specialist Garett Reppenhagen, a sniper from the 263rd Armour Battalion, said. "It's the fact that the entire war is an atrocity."

A number of the troops have returned home bearing mental and physical scars from fighting a war in an environment in which the insurgents are supported by the population. Many of those interviewed have come to oppose the US military presence in Iraq, joining the groundswell of public opinion across the US that views the war as futile.

This view is echoed in Washington, where increasing numbers of Democrats and Republicans are openly calling for an early withdrawal from Iraq. And the Iraq quagmire has pushed President George Bush's poll ratings to an all-time low.

Journalists and human rights groups have published numerous reports drawing attention to the killing of Iraqi civilians by US forces. The Nation's investigation presents for the first time named military witnesses who back those assertions. Some participated themselves.

Through a combination of gung-ho recklessness and criminal behaviour born of panic, a narrative emerges of an army that frequently commits acts of cold-blooded violence. A number of interviewees revealed that the military will attempt to frame innocent bystanders as insurgents, often after panicked American troops have fired into groups of unarmed Iraqis. The veterans said the troops involved would round up any survivors and accuse them of being in the resistance while planting Kalashnikov AK47 rifles beside corpses to make it appear that they had died in combat.

"It would always be an AK because they have so many of these lying around," said Joe Hatcher, 26, a scout with the 4th Calvary Regiment. He revealed the army also planted 9mm handguns and shovels to make it look like the civilians were shot while digging a hole for a roadside bomb.

"Every good cop carries a throwaway," Hatcher said of weapons planted on innocent victims in incidents that occurred while he was stationed between Tikrit and Samarra, from February 2004 to March 2005. Any survivors were sent to jail for interrogation.

There were also deaths caused by the reckless behaviour of military convoys. Sgt Kelly Dougherty of the Colorado National Guard described a hit-and-run in which a military convoy ran over a 10-year-old boy and his three donkeys, killing them all. "Judging by the skid marks, they hardly even slowed down. But, I mean... your order is that you never stop."

The worst abuses seem to have been during raids on private homes when soldiers were hunting insurgents. Thousands of such raids have taken place, usually at dead of night. The veterans point out that most are futile and serve only to terrify the civilians, while generating sympathy for the resistance.

Sgt John Bruhns, 29, of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Armoured Division, described a typical raid. "You want to catch them off guard," he explained. "You want to catch them in their sleep ... You grab the man of the house. You rip him out of bed in front of his wife. You put him up against the wall... Then you go into a room and you tear the room to shreds. You'll ask 'Do you have any weapons? Do you have any anti-US propaganda?'

"Normally they'll say no, because that's normally the truth," Sgt Bruhns said. "So you'll take his sofa cushions and dump them. You'll open up his closet and you'll throw all the clothes on the floor and basically leave his house looking like a hurricane just hit it." And at the end, if the soldiers don't find anything, they depart with a "Sorry to disturb you. Have a nice evening".

Sgt Dougherty described her squad leader shooting an Iraqi civilian in the back in 2003. "The mentality of my squad leader was like, 'Oh, we have to kill them over here so I don't have to kill them back in Colorado'," she said. "He just seemed to view every Iraqi as a potential terrorist."

'It would always happen. We always got the wrong house...'

"People would make jokes about it, even before we'd go into a raid, like, 'Oh ****, we're gonna get the wrong house'. Cause it would always happen. We always got the wrong house."

Sergeant Jesus Bocanegra, 25, of Weslaco, Texas 4th Infantry Division. In Tikrit on year-long tour that began in March 2003

"I had to go tell this woman that her husband was actually dead. We gave her money, we gave her, like, 10 crates of water, we gave the kids, I remember, maybe it was soccer balls and toys. We just didn't really know what else to do."

Lieutenant Jonathan Morgenstein, 35, of Arlington, Virginia, Marine Corps civil affairs unit. In Ramadi from August 2004 to March 2005

"We were approaching this one house... and we're approaching, and they had a family dog. And it was barking ferociously, cause it's doing its job. And my squad leader, just out of nowhere, just shoots it... So I see this dog - I'm a huge animal lover... this dog has, like, these eyes on it and he's running around spraying blood all over the place. And like, you know, what the hell is going on? The family is sitting right there, with three little children and a mom and a dad, horrified. And I'm at a loss for words."

Specialist Philip Chrystal, 23, of Reno, 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Brigade. In Kirkuk and Hawija on 11-month tour beginning November 2004

"I'll tell you the point where I really turned... [there was] this little, you know, pudgy little two-year-old child with the cute little pudgy legs and she has a bullet through her leg... An IED [improvised explosive device] went off, the gun-happy soldiers just started shooting anywhere and the baby got hit. And this baby looked at me... like asking me why. You know, 'Why do I have a bullet in my leg?'... I was just like, 'This is, this is it. This is ridiculous'."

Specialist Michael Harmon, 24, of Brooklyn, 167th Armour Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. In Al-Rashidiya on 13-month tour beginning in April 2003

"I open a bag and I'm trying to get bandages out and the guys in the guard tower are yelling at me, 'Get that **** haji out of here,'... our doctor rolls up in an ambulance and from 30 to 40 meters away looks out and says, shakes his head and says, 'You know, he looks fine, he's gonna be all right,' and walks back... kind of like, 'Get your ass over here and drive me back up to the clinic'. So I'm standing there, and the whole time both this doctor and the guards are yelling at me, you know, to get rid of this guy."

Specialist Patrick Resta, 29, from Philadelphia, 252nd Armour, 1st Infantry Division. In Jalula for nine months beginning March 2004

'Every person opened fire on this kid, using the biggest weapons we could find...'

"Here's some guy, some 14-year-old kid with an AK47, decides he's going to start shooting at this convoy. It was the most obscene thing you've ever seen. Every person got out and opened fire on this kid. Using the biggest weapons we could find, we ripped him to shreds..."

Sergeant Patrick Campbell, 29, of Camarillo, California, 256th Infantry Brigade. In Abu Gharth for 11 months beginning November 2004

"Cover your own butt was the first rule of engagement. Someone could look at me the wrong way and I could claim my safety was in threat."

Lieutenant Brady Van Engelen, 26, of Washington DC, 1st Armoured Division. Eight-month tour of Baghdad beginning Sept 2003

"I guess while I was there, the general attitude was, 'A dead Iraqi is just another dead Iraqi... You know, so what?'... [Only when we got home] in... meeting other veterans, it seems like the guilt really takes place, takes root, then."

Specialist Jeff Englehart, 26, of Grand Junction, Colorado, 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry. In Baquba for a year beginning February 2004

"[The photo] was very graphic... They open the body bags of these prisoners that were shot in the head and [one soldier has] got a spoon. He's reaching in to scoop out some of his brain, looking at the camera and smiling."

Specialist Aidan Delgado, 25, of Sarasota, Florida, 320th Military Police Company. Deployed to Talil air base for one year beginning April 2003

"The car was approaching what was in my opinion a very poorly marked checkpoint... and probably didn't even see the soldiers... The guys got spooked and decided it was a possible threat, so they shot up the car. And they [the bodies] literally sat in the car for the next three days while we drove by them.

Sergeant Dustin Flatt, 33, of Denver, 18th Infantry Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. One-year from February 2004

"The frustration that resulted from our inability to get back at those who were attacking us led to tactics that seemed designed simply to punish the local population..."

Sergeant Camilo Mej?a, 31, from Miami, National Guardsman, 1-124 Infantry Battalion, 53rd Infantry Brigade. Six-month tour beginning April 2003

"I just remember thinking, 'I just brought terror to someone under the American flag'."

Sergeant Timothy John Westphal, 31, of Denver, 18th Infantry Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. In Tikrit on year-long tour beginning February 2004

"A lot of guys really supported that whole concept that if they don't speak English and they have darker skin, they're not as human as us, so we can do what we want."

Specialist Josh Middleton, 23, of New York City, 2nd Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division. Four-month tour in Baghdad and Mosul beginning December 2004

"I felt like there was this enormous reduction in my compassion for people. The only thing that wound up mattering is myself and the guys that I was with, and everybody else be damned."

Sergeant Ben Flanders, 28, National Guardsman from Concord, New Hampshire, 172nd Mountain Infantry. In Balad for 11 months beginning March 2004

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americ...icle2758829.ece

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Fred Derf    217

[Threads Merged]

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blackhorse    0

Don't worry Rana, those are just some bad apples. Its just that the worlds largest supermarket, is full of them.

Its really nice to know though that some of them still have ethics and morals and are strong enough to admit their mistakes.

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