Monday, May 24, 2004

Targeting civilians - Part II

But now 'The Independent on Sunday' has uncovered proof of US troops deliberately and indiscriminately shooting civilians. Here we examine new evidence that suggests the lawlessness in the American military was never confined to the prison camps and torture rooms but extended to the streets and homes of Iraq.
  Independent article

Like this is news. Now that the Abu Ghraib photos came out, which we know were not the first evidence of prisoner torture, it must be okay to report the other shit that has been going on since we went in (and goes on every time we go in anywhere). Well, I guess I'm glad it's getting reported now at least in a major UK source, if not in the US.

And, I suppose you'll be surprised to note that the wedding slaughter was really a retaliation for the Berg incident. Surprised, because we've never staged a retaliatory strike on an Iraqi town before.

"These were more than two dozen military-age males," scoffed Maj-Gen James Mattis, commander of the US 1st Marine Division. "Let's not be naive." What about the video footage? Maj-Gen Mattis said he had not seen it, but added: "Bad things happen in wars. I don't have to apologise for the conduct of my men." Although an investigation has been promised, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Richard Myers, said in Washington: "We feel at this point very confident that this was a legitimate target, probably foreign fighters."

Not only that: the Americans are now also dropping hints that the "foreign fighters" could be linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, an Islamist militant leader and ally of Osama bin Laden who is in Iraq, and who is accused of personally beheading the American hostage Nick Berg. Although such a connection was "still to be determined", said General Myers, it was "not out of the question".

More telling, however, was the reaction of the occupation authorities to the damaging video footage. US officials demanded al-Arabiya give them the name of the cameraman who shot the pictures. Al-Arabiya refused.

Some time back I said I'd been collecting stories of not-so-sterling soldier conduct that just might have some bearing on how the Iraqis have responded to being liberated by us, so maybe this is as good a time as any to list them.

US Marines Turn Fire on Civilians at the Bridge of Death March 30, 2003
'The Yank opened up. He had absolutely no regard for human life. He was a cowboy out on a jolly' March 31, 2003
Mesopotamia. Babylon. The Tigris and Euphrates...And now the bombs are falling, incinerating and humiliating that ancient civilisation April 2, 2003
'You've Just Killed a Family Because You Didn't Fire a Warning Shot Soon Enough' April 2, 2003
U.S. Forces “Slaughter” Iraqis At Dawn: Eyewitness June 14, 2003
US troops arrest Iraq teenager for insulting them -- "as a warning to others" June 30, 2003
Bound and hooded for selling alcohol in Iraq July 12, 2003
'Local people were accusing the Americans of "hysteria"' July 28, 2003
U.S. Adopts Aggressive Tactics on Iraqi Fighters July 28, 2003
Victims of trigger-happy Task Force 20 July 29, 2003
They Treat Us Like Cattle July 30, 2003
Iraq: soldiers doling out "Dirty Harry" style vigilante justice August 1, 2003
Firing blindly during a power cut, soldiers kill a father and three children in their car August 10, 2003
Iraqi Policemen Shot Dead by US Allies August 12, 2003
U.S. Fighter Jets Bomb House in Falluja September 23, 2003
U.S. soldiers detained an Associated Press photographer and driver on Tuesday, handcuffing them, forcing them to stand in the sun for three hours and denying them water or use of a telephone. September 23, 2003
2 Iraqi Boys, Injured, Tell of a Jet Attack in the Night September 23, 2003
US soldiers bulldoze farmers' crops October 12, 2003
Iraqis tell grim stories of U.S.-run camps October 29, 2003
Hearts and Minds - US style November 29, 2003
Take No Prisoners December 13, 2003

Check out that last one - it's a film clip which I don't imagine CBS ever showed.

I quit collecting after a while. It became so commonplace.

And hey, anybody remember this?

Four U.S. Soldiers Charged in Iraqi POW Abuse Case

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Four U.S. soldiers have been charged in an investigation into suspected abuse of Iraqi prisoners of war, a U.S. military official said on Saturday.

``There is an investigation into alleged mistreatment of some prisoners by some soldiers,'' said Lt. Cmdr. Nick Balice of U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida.

``Four soldiers have been charged based on allegations of mistreatment,'' said Balice, who declined to identify the soldiers or to detail the allegations.

A military trial was expected for the four, Balice said.

The abuse investigation centered on events that occurred in mid-May at Camp Bucca, where 7,000 prisoners of war were detained during the war to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

The British-built camp, run by U.S. military police, is near the southeastern Iraqi port of Umm Qasr.

That mid-May date quoted is May of last year. I had the link to the Reuters report from a Memory Hole posting. I don't know the date of the posting. I just know I filed a copy of it July 28, 2003. Here are a couple more links to the story:

Four US soldiers charged with abuse of Iraqi POWs
Four U.S. Soldiers Charged With Abuse

Quoting Billmon:

"Like the Jordan River, which feeds the Dead Sea, America seems determined to find its way to the lowest point on earth. Unlike the Jordan, though, it can always sink even lower - and probably will."