May 27, 2006

A few of the Iraqi "insurgents" the US Marines murdered in cold blood

This case is by no means unique, or even rare. Far from it. Tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi women, men and children have been murdered by uniformed and non-uniformed American thugs and murderers, usually referred to as "soldiers" and "security contractors." Hundreds of thousands of others have been maimed for life. The only difference this time was that the cover-up and the suppression of evidence failed.

Logic tells us that if Abu Ghraib was revealed only through the accident of the publication of some unauthorized pictures, and Haditha was revealed through the accident of the failure of a cover-up, then there must have been many other Abu Ghraibs where no unauthorized pictures were taken, and many other Hadithas where the perpetrators were more skillful in covering their tracks. The members of the "embedded" newsmedia never seem of think of this logic.

Other than Haditha, only a single case is pending against the Marines. It involves last July’s killing in cold blood of the cousin of Iraq’s Ambassador to the United Nations. Do you see the pattern here? Ambassador Samir al-Sumaidaie had sufficient influence to force an investigation, although no results have been announced yet. That killing drew attention and got investigated simply because it happened to involve an ambassador’s cousin. Should the newsmedia not be asking themselves whether there have been other killings that did not accidentally involve relatives of ambassadors and other powerful individuals? Would it not be a logically inescapable conclusion that there have been many other such killings?

Before dismissing the argument as speculation, read the following Reuters story by Michael Georgy:

BAGHDAD, May 28 (Reuters) - Word that U.S. Marines may have killed two dozen Iraqi civilians in "cold-blooded" revenge after an insurgent attack has shocked Americans but many Iraqis shrug it off as an every day fact of life under occupation.

Despite U.S. military denials, many Iraqis believe killing of men, women and children at the hands of careless or angry American soldiers is common. No reliable statistics are available.

Since U.S. officials said last week that charges including murder were possible after an investigation into the deaths at Haditha last November, Iraqi media and politicians have paid scant attention to details leaking out in Washington...

Leaders of the Sunni minority are more critical but say the Haditha incident is only part of a pattern of U.S. behaviour in the Sunni heartlands north and west of Baghdad: "The American soldier has become an expert in killing," said Abdel Salam al- Qubaisy, spokesman for the Sunni Muslim Scholars Association...

In Baghdad's bustling Karrada commercial district, Mohammed Jawdaat, 47, offered a typical view at his store, where business selling firefighting gear is booming amid the chaos of Baghdad:

"It really doesn't surprise me," he said.

Like many in the city, he can recount an incident in which he says he saw U.S. forces open fire on civilians: "Six months ago a car pulled out of a street towards an American convoy and a soldier just opened fire," Jawdaat said.

"The driver was shot in the head and the person behind was killed too. They were innocents. There were no warning shots and the Americans didn't even stop. The police took the wounded." ...

Imad Mohammed, a teenager selling newspapers at a Baghdad intersection, said he had not seen Haditha on any front page and said it simply was not news: "The Americans see a Muslim go into a mosque and just assume he is a terrorist.

"They either arrest him or blow it up."

A more detailed account


Jade said...

These poor beautiful babies...

Brenda said...

Oh My G-d. That man in the White House should have to wake up to this photo every morning for the rest of his life.


Prophet said...

Why doesn't someone make a collage of all these photographs and blow them up for the White House to see? This is Vietnam all over again, and they don't care.

Peter Matthes said...

Bush is a madman.

He thinks that God has sent him to change the face of the earth. What blows me away is that he claims to be a Christian. Somehow I don't think Christ would carpet bomb anyone or carry a gun. I am also fairly sure that Christ did not turn over the tax tables in the temple because they were taxing his Intel dividends.

968 days left.

Anonymous said...

SICK. Bush is a criminal for sure. I don't want my tax dollars going to kill children. Bush should be impeached.


Rain said...

I am happy I came across your blog. Too bad photos like these don't make the front page of a newspaper.

A Dog Named Bocephus said...

iraq is a f*cked up place and plenty of unfortunate events have occurred. i dismiss your assertion that us soldiers are thugs though (i am assuming you mean ALL). regardless of where you go in this world, you will come across nut cases, thugs, murderers, etc. doesn't matter what country you are in, what instutition you are a part of. they will be there. the us military is no exception. there are thugs and murderers and psychopaths in the military. they drag the us military through the dirt. they drag the flag and the people along with it. however, my co-workers are all well mannered, level headed individuals who are good representatives of the us, its people and the military. sure, there are a couple dorks in the specific career field i am in, but they are harmless. they go to work and do their jobs to the best of their abilities. they enlisted for hopes of a better life for their families, a paycheck, an education, for honor, etc. i have come across none who had the sole craving to shoot people or drop bombs on cities. i went through technical training with a number of marines. they are trained to be warriors. they are trained to kill. the few i interacted with were a little out there, but good men nonetheless. they were more responsible than members from my branch of service and they did not complain. even when a marine was told that they were going to iraq, their response was typically, "sh*t!"
it is unfortunate that this man in the white house represents the united states of america. americans, civilians and servicemembers, are judged on who they are based off what he does. based off my experiences, most americans are either compassionate or indifferent. there are a select few who have supported this war and share the views of bush and his mob. my parents have typically been republican, but they agree that bush has made it worse for american civilians and servicemembers worldwide.
all american military members are assumed to be thugs and killers now. that sucks because it is far from the truth. when i said that i was entering the military, my parents asked me why i wanted to do such a thing when "that idiot" was in office. i said: "there are no decent jobs that require such a degree. what the hell else am i going to do?" the latter sentence is likely what was muttered by 95% of servicemembers prior to taking the oath of enlistment. i doubt it was "kill kill kill!"

Alcuin Bramerton said...

How quickly America has become a pox on the planet.

Al S. E. said...

Bocephus: Based on the testimony of many American military personnel (and their family members), the training that they receive turns them into immoral/amoral killing machines. The brainwashing goes far beyond what is needed to prepare them to do their job as soldiers.

You are quite right that many of them entered the military simply because it was the only available job. But once they enlist, the military tries to destroy all of their human instincts and moral training, and to reinforce and bring out everything thuggish and brutal in their nature. All human beings are potentially brutal animals. It has been reported again and again that American military training, and specifically the training of the American Marines, aims to actualize that potential, and, in the majority of cases, it succeeds.

The primary blame for America’s crimes does, of course, lie at the door of its government and major corporations. That does not by any means absolve the ordinary Americans who are the foot soldiers for those crimes.

I am not religious, but I would say that real absolution can only come through confession. I am saddened to see that so many Americans try to justify and minimize the crimes, rather than to condemn them and express sorrow and contrition.

LadyNoor said...

shame on bush.. war is a nasty business and women & children are the innocent victims.. how many more beautiful babies have to die before they stop this war...

Rhonda said...

It was shocking to come across your blog. It took me a moment to realise what I was looking at. It saddens me that this has to happen. I must say, though, that I am Canadian, and I don't think this reflects on Americans in general. It's just a very sad state of affairs, that hopefully soon, will come to an end.

Diem Burden | Author said...

The assertion that not all American troops are like this may well be true but I recall reading that when they were told they were going to war they stocked up on beer and watched all of the terrible American war movies such as Full Metal Jacket, Rambo and all of the other US war movie shite for 48hrs non-stop.

This is how they see war. This is the mentality of the people now 'policing' cities in Iraq.

And how come most of the high number of 'friendly fire' incidents (a nice American euthemism!) come from the trigger happy US troops?

I also saw a video (will try to locate it and let u know) of an American truck convoy in Iraq having stones thrown at them by local children. The US driver asked for permission to respond with lethal force - against stone throwing children with his M16!!!

This is a fucking driver for Godsake, not a Marine...

A British officer refused to go back for a second tour of Iraq due to the behaviour he witnessed of American soldiers towards local people.

I could go on but I won't as I'm getting angry.

Finally, there is only one thing more terrifying than going to war - and it's going to war with America on your side.

Well done with the photo. The truth is too horrendous to believe. The world needs to see this and all of the others that will now surface...

Titchy Carla said...

How can Bush sleep at night

george said...

Outrage is the initial impulse. Anger is a feeling, but nothing more. Pity is far worse. Emphathy is mere reaction. What to do? It is not the corporations who are to blame. Or even just Bush. Rage, but do not simply indulge in rage. Protest, but do not simply protest.

The contradictions of the modern world are exposed, but will invariably disappear. They come to view, many lament the tragedy of the particular occurence, pound their chest about how such things are possible...and wait for the next tragedy to react to.
What is lamentable is the focus on the "beautiful children and innocents"; the deification of victimhood. The dead, sadly, are often turned into instruments of propaganda for a variety of causes.

Why are Iraqis and Afghanis seen as "immature" in the Kantian sense? Why must the west trumpet their respective causes - left or right - as protectors? It is an ethocentric view that buys into the same logic: modernity cures arcane barbarism. Modernize or die. That is the option the US government, and to an extent - the resistance to the Iraq war - have given Iraqis. Where is the possibility for genuine mutuality, an encounter between peoples? I guess that is thrown out once war has been declared - on terror, on Iraqi insurgents, and on the war itself. Protest, but do not simply protest. Because taking the anti-war cause - along with the anti-Bush, anti-corporation causes fall into simple reaction. It works with, rather than against, the Conservative agenda. Where would Bill O'Reilly find "crazy liberals" to chide and ridicule? Where would Karl Rove find fodder to undermine the electoral possibilities of the Democratic Party? To paraphrase Sun-Tzu, one must engage an adversary in conditions favourable to one's chances of victory. Allowing one's adversary to dictate the terms of engagement leads invariably to difficulty, and works towards your own defeat.

The release of the photos and of the story are intended to create a reaction. The conservatives, through its intimate connection with certain news outlets, were quickly were able to spin both the "bad apples" story and to toss out the more clinical term "unjustified killing" to describe the event. Is this intended to goad liberals into reaction, into engaging the problem on terms set forth by the administration? Possibly. Keep in mind, these are the same people who were able to make Purple Heart recipients look like put nothing past them, with the mid-term elections coming.

On the other hand, these photos have aroused consciousness, to bring attention to the insanity of the modern world. Too bad they pass through with little affect through the collective consciousness. All that is remember is the human drama, the "insane" soldiers and their innocent victims. Drama, as we remember, is often distraction from what underlies it.

So do not lay this only at the doorstep of Bush - even though he has demonstrated time and time again of ineffectual leadership. His impeachment would change little. The symptoms that underlie this brutality goes beyond partisan lines. Even if the specific marines are brought to justice, these massacres will continue. Even if America was not at war, massacre happens at home - in the ghettos, at the borders, and in the suburban home.

So what are Americans really exporting? Is it freedom or democracy, wrapped in its idyllic romantic imagery? Or is it merely the false dream of liberty?

Al S. E. said...

Thanks, Civitas, for your thoughtful comments. I think what you prescribe in your comment was, in fact, exactly the reason I decided, more than a year ago, to direct some of my criticism against individual soldiers, and not simply against the capitalist system or Bush. I had begun to realize that the problem was not simply that the system and its representatives were ruthless and amoral, but that there were millions upon millions of ordinary people – kind and moral people – who took part in the system’s ruthlessness and amorality. I realized that they needed to be woken up from their dogmatic slumber, from the stupor of their blind nationalism and basic apathy, even if it took shock treatments such as showing them pictures of dead babies.

Also, I had realized that in order to motivate people to take action, you had to bring the issue home to them. As I explained last November in the following post

“People need something they can personally connect and relate to before they can care… It is useless to try to raise anti-war sentiment in the US by appealing to people’s compassion. People, at best, have compassion for their own group. It is, therefore, much more useful to help them see the irrationality and futility of the suffering of members of their own group.”

I think one way to stop the war is to show ordinary people what they have become. I don’t mean showing them that babies are being killed, but that they themselves have become baby-killers.

Putting all of my usual leftist modus operandi aside, I have to propose that it is individual people who are to blame for everything, and it is they who must be made to feel personally responsible for everything that goes on in this world.

As to your point regarding the apparently paternalistic attitude of many Western progressives towards the Third World, I would agree that there is some truth in what you say. At the same time, solidarity work in the West is useful and indispensable. As many American radicals in the ‘60s believed, citizens of the imperialist countries, by engaging in solidarity work, can help the Third World countries involved as well as their own countries, at many levels and across many dimensions. For one thing, solidarity work can help expose the side of imperialism that is customarily hidden from view in the West.

george said...

Although I admire your drive to rouse people to act, there is something inherently faulty with appealing to guilt - so called liberal guilt. Much like how the Catholic Church provided absolution for sin through charity, i.e. indulgences, at one time. Liberal guilt affects people on a similar level. They see the affect of tragedy...images of horror and danger in faraway lands or times of crisis in their own - such as the "outpouring" of charity after 9/11 and Katrina. The tragic event soon passes and the novelty of charity wears off.

Charity is a not necessarily a negative thing. However, it involves neither action or responsibility. Altruistic gesture - especially those that come from the wallet - does little to change understanding about the deep-seated problems that lead to apparent tragedy. Such gestures absolve oneself of guilt; "I did what I could do," some say. This is the consequence of placing responsibility solely on the individual; gesture is equated to action, done to soothe the individual conscience.

I understand the sentiment that underlies your comment about responsbility. And in some way, you are correct. Tacit consent through relative ignorance about the actions of the state leads to horrible results, seemingly again and again. But to frame the problem in terms of responsibility provides for absolution of guilt. It should not be guilt that leads to action, but - for a lack of a better term - consciousness and awareness about one's world; or the waking world as Heracalitus put it. But in the waking world, the world puts demands not on individuals, but on human beings on a whole. We - as living beings - do share in the world. It is a responsbility that is inextricably tied to our very existence. Particular tragedy neither sharpens or dulls that existential human condition. Solidarity has to be the norm...rather than the exception.

I also understand that the discourse leaves one with no recourse apart from appealing to compassion, appealing to emotions - to make people feel something about these events. This is the tragic failure of education. We - children and parents of liberal society - consume propaganda as if it is truth and admire confrontational polemics as proper discourse. It is a sad state of affairs. I appreciate your blog and your attempts at critically interpreting news blurbs. It is a start at sorting information from a sea of misinformation.

Al S. E. said...

Civitas, as to the question of raising consciousness versus raising feelings of guilt (I prefer to call the latter "creating a feeling of responsibility"), I would argue that one is caught in a vicious circle. The generality of humankind do not ponder on the roots of their individual life in the conditions of their existence. They identify the two, in that, to them, their life/existence is about making a living, going on vacations, and so on. Everything else seems irrelevant to them. They don't become conscious of their share in the world -- that is, of the conditions of their existence -- unless they are made to feel responsible.

As you say, this is all a part of the tragic failure of education. That educational system, however, is an integral component of the current socioeconomic system. Perhaps future generations, livig under a different socioeconomic system, won't need to be prodded into taking action to improve the world. The current generation, though, do need such prodding. Regrettable, but unavoidable.