Thursday, June 08, 2006

Investigating "Incidents" in Iraq


(Bold emphasis is mine)

"The process by which all human beings in a region transmogrify into the hated and feared enemy works in reverse as well. As in the case of My Lai, the dead by some strange process can change back into aunts, grandfathers, children, babies. It can happen on the spot. As Ryan Briones, the first Marine from Kilo Company to speak out (though evidently not one of the killers), described the scene: "They ranged from little babies to adult males and females. I'll never be able to get that out of my head. I can still smell the blood. This left something in my head and heart."

The whole article is well worth reading. It reveals the similarity between indiscriminate use of airborne force and massacres on the ground:

(Bold emphasis is mine)

"On March 20th of that year, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld chose to begin the invasion of Iraq with a "shock and awe" campaign of American missile and air wizardry over Baghdad. He meant to shock and awe a waiting world of potential enemies with the news that we were to be the dominatrix of all history. At the same time -- all things for all men -- in one fell swoop the U.S. would also "decapitate" Saddam's regime in downtown Baghdad (and elsewhere). The results: Of fifty "decapitation attacks," as the slaughter that passed for war began, not a single one killed an Iraqi leader of even the most minor sort, but scores of Baghdadi civilians died. In just four of these attacks that Human Rights Watch was able to investigate, 42 noncombatants were killed and many more wounded. One early missile attack was on "a civilian Baghdad restaurant where faulty U.S. intelligence suggested that Hussein might be having dinner," reports journalist Robert Parry. "As it turned out, Hussein was not there, but the attack killed 14 civilians, including seven children." Not quite Haditha numbers, but close enough; and this would set the tone in "accidental" death for the "liberation" of Iraq that was to follow. It simply never ended."

Bare witness. To do so over a long enough timeline will probably be enough to make me lop off an ear and wander away through the wilderness. But it feels like an obligation.

No comments: