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Cross posted at My Left Wing, Booman Tribune and Patriot Daily

The cruel and indiscriminate killings of Iraqis is not limited to Haditha. There are also massacre claims for killings at the Abu Sifa area of Ishaqi and a mosque in Baghdad as well as an execution-style killing at Hamandiya and radioactive poisoning at Tuwaitha near Baghad and napalm at Fallujah. Just today it was reported that a deadly traffic accident involving US troops caused a riot in Afghanistan, and then US troops and Afghan security forces fired on protesters, killing at least 5 people and wounding 60. The US stated that it regretted any deaths and injuries caused by the traffic accident when a cargo truck in a convoy sustained mechanical failure, hitting 12 civilian vehicles. Witnesses say the US convoy hit the other vehicles to push their way through a rush-hour traffic jam. It's not just Iraq, either.

There have been at least two claims of massacre supported by evidence in Iraq where 10 or more civilians were killed in a rampage by US troops at Haditha and the Abu Sifa area of Ishaqi. There was the claim of unarmed worshippers killed at a mosque during a raid in which the facts are now a little less clear.  There is also the possibility of a large number of Iraqi civilians being killed in a massacre of a different type where individual killings of a similar nature show a cumulative total of the large number of deaths associated with massacres.  In this type of massacre, individual Iraqis are killed one at a time throughout the country in situations where soldiers try to cover-up the intentional killing by planting evidence to create the impression that the person was an insurgent and therefore claim that the killing was justified.  For example, the US is currently investigating a Marine for the execution-style killing of a man in Hamandiya where evidence may have been planted to support a claim that the man was an insurgent. There are indications that this is not the only case. Another example is the killing of Iraqis at wedding parties or the regular targeting of taxi cabs, ambulances and medical infrastructure. And, there is the type of massacre where the killing tool is not bombs or guns, but the toxic weapons of naplam and radioactive material in Fallujah and Tuwaitha, respectively.

Haditha: Nov. 19, 2005

Americans shot and killed 24 men, women and children -- at least 1 man in a wheelchair -- at close range in retaliation for a Marine who was killed by a roadside bomb. The military first claimed that the soldier and 15 civilians were all killed by the roadside bomb.  The remaining 9 victims were claimed to be insurgents who were killed in small arms fire battle, which included killing men in a taxi cab that were trying to flee the area. It should be noted that US troops shooting unarmed, civilian occupants of taxis is not a first, unfortunately. One veteran witnessed "an order to open fire on all taxis in the city of Samawa because it was believed Iraqi forces were using them."

TIME broke the story of the potential massacre at Haditha after conducting a 10-week investigation that included interviewing eyewitnesses and local officials, and providing a very detailed account of what transpired that day. The Marines moved very methodically from house to house in a rampage that lasted 3 to 5 hours. After shooting one man, the Marines ignored his pleas for hours as they let him bleed to death.  

The military initially denied Iraqi claims of massacre until TIME provided the military the findings of its own investigation based on survivor accounts and a videotape taken by an Iraqi journalism student of the bodies at the hospital and views of the damage done to the homes. The video showed corpses at the Haditha morgue with bullet wounds in the head and chest, not shrapnel from a bomb. The video also showed "houses with bullet holes in the walls, pieces of human flesh, pools of blood and clothes and pots scattered across floors."  The TIME investigation found that "walls and ceilings inside both houses were pockmarked with shrapnel and bullet holes as well as sprays of blood. There were no signs of damage to the outside walls" that one might expect had there been a gunfight battle between insurgents and Marines.

The evidence also includes "horrific photographs of a massacre" taken by one of the US Marines on his mobile phone.  The photographs show "many victims shot at close range in the head and chest, execution-style," and one photo shows "a mother and young child bent over on the floor as if in prayer. Both have been shot dead."  In addition, a Marine intelligence team took photographs that show "execution-style" killings as victims were shot in the head or back, including women and 6 children.

Abu Sifa Area Of Ishaqi: March 2006

Iraqi police have accused US troops of executing 11 people, including an elderly woman and an infant baby during a raid at the Abu Sifa area of Ishaqi. The purpose of the raid was to follow up a tip that an al-Qaeda member was in the house.

While Knight Ridder indicated that it is common to hear of US troops killing innocent civilians, "most are judged later to be unfounded or exaggerated." But, this report was "unusual because it originated with Iraqi police and because Iraqi police were willing to attach their names to it."

Police, military and eyewitness accounts agree that after US forces approached the house, a gun battle ensued and someone inside the house exchanged gunfire with the troops outside. Accounts differ as to what happened after the firefight. The US account is that the house collapsed from the heavy fire, and US forces found the al-Qaeda suspect alive in the rubble and arrested him. The troops also claimed to have found a dead man, 2 dead women and a dead child in the rubble.  The Iraqi police account is that US forces entered a house that was still standing and gathered the family members in one room. The troops then executed 11 people: 5 children, 4 women and 2 men. Then the troops bombed the house, burned 3 vehicles and killed the villagers' animals.  Evidence from the autopsies "revealed that all the victims had bullet shots in the head and all bodies were handcuffed."

The US military response was that it did not have information to support the allegations, but it's "highly unlikely" that such allegations were true because US forces "take every precaution to keep civilians out of harms' way. The loss of innocent life, especially children, is regrettable."

Mosque: March 26,  2006

The facts are still unfolding about the mosque raid and killing of 16 Iraqis. It was claimed by Iraqis that the killing was a massacre and initial news reports and photographs supported this claim as well as the suspicions flowing from changing stories by the US. The US military initially claimed that it did not know the building was a mosque, not having seen at the location a minaret, which is the "distinctive architectural features of Islamic mosques." But, "news footage taken after the attack" showed the "room where the killing occurred appeared to be a prayer hall" and the dead bodies were in civilian clothes in a room with no weapons.

The US then claimed the Iraqis had faked a massacre by moving corpses to the mosque, and then later retracted, indicating that the unarmed men were killed at the mosque. At first the raid was not a "crackdown on Shiite militias," and the next day the military changed its story to characterize their intent of the raid "as a reminder to Sadr of the US military's reach in Iraq."

However, a more recent report by the Los Angeles Times muddies the water sufficient to deem it inappropriate at this time to include it as an example of another massacre.  The US claims that the raid was conducted based on a tip that an Iraqi hostage would be killed that night, and an Iraqi hostage had indeed been freed during that raid. After the incident produced an uproar, some reports confirmed that a building in the area may have been used to hold Iraqis who had been kidnapped for ransom. The publicly expressed outrage caused the US military to show classified materials to the Los Angeles Times to prove that there was a report of a hostage being held at the mosque and surveillance reports of gunmen on nearby rooftops. And, there may be reason to believe that Iraqi forces played a larger role  in the killings given the new policy that Iraqi forces will only be allowed to raid mosques in the presence of US troops.

Hamandiya: April 26, 2006

The military is also presently investigating accusations that another Marine unit killed a man "execution style" in Hamandiya last month and "planted evidence to make him look like an insurgent."  If true, it would not be the first time as a veteran soldier told the BBC that his "unit was advised to carry shovels in their vehicles which they could plant on civilian victims to make it look as if they were concealing roadside bombs." As the soldier stated:

"I have seen innocent people being killed. IEDs [improvised explosive devices] go off and [you] just zap any farmer that is close to you," he said. "You're driving down the road at three in the morning. There's a guy on the side of the road, you shoot him ... you throw a shovel off."

Fallujah: November 2004

An Iraqi doctor recently brought evidence to Australia to support claims that US forces used napalm on civilians during the 2nd seige of Fallujah. The evidence is film and photographs of the bodies that doctors collected once US forces finally allowed the doctors to enter the city.  It was concluded that the "pattern of burns of bodies" indicate napalm was used because it is a "fuel bomb that burns only on the exposed part of the body, so that the clothes will not be affected."  

Baghdad: 2003 Nuclear contamination

The UN reported last month that more than 1,000 Iraqis who live near the Tuwaitha site are at "acute risk of radioactive poisoning." The Tuwaitha site had been the center of Iraq's nuclear program under Saddam Hussein, but the site was not secured after the US invaded Iraq, and US forces watched as the site that was first bombed by US forces was then being looted. Uranium drums were emptied and then sold to hold water. "Levels of radiation are known to be higher than normal and prolonged exposure could prove risky over time."

Why is such conduct being committed by our troops?

While not excusing intentional killings of innocent civilians or massacres by any means, there may be a confluence of factors that contribute to the rage expressed by these rampages and killings aside from the obvious stress and circumstances of war in which Iraq is considered an "atrocity-producing situation."

Part of the problem may be bad intelligence and disrespect for different cultural values. In a recent incident, 50 British and US Special Forces raided a home believed to be a terror cell according to US intelligence. The troops blew up the wrong house, destroyed 3 cars, killed 2 donkeys by driving over them with military vehicles and arrested 2 men, later determined to be totally innocent. Instead of remorse for destroying a home and family animals as well as the trauma caused by the raid and arrest, the "Squaddies have dubbed the mission" as "A Donkey Too Far." As stated in the article: "There's been a fair amount of ribbing. But the troops can see the funny side. Next time we'll get the right address and the boys will keep a special look out for stray donkeys."

Part of the problem may be that no military officers in the chain of command were held accountable for Abu Ghraib, or that last year the military decided not to pursue charges against a Marine who shot dead an unarmed insurgent in Fallujah in November 2004 - an incident filmed by an NBC cameraman.

Part of the problem may be US ground force numbers that were never sufficient for this war, forcing the use of Air Force and Navy personnel to perform ground troop duties and  soldiers to work "22-hour patrol shifts"  while hungry troops seek food from Iraqis.

Part of the problem may be that under pressure from the British, US commanders finally ordered Marines and soldiers in 2006 to be "less trigger-happy." Iraqis now avoid US troops, angered by checkpoint shootings, raids and airstrikes that kill innocent civilians: Some Iraqis say US soldiers act like "cowboys in Western movies." So, part of the problem may be a US President who the world perceived as a "cowboy commander-in-chief" that was reinforced by Bush's statements challenging the insurgents to "bring it on" in 2003 and that he would capture bin Laden "dead or alive." Three years later, Bush regrets using this "kind of tough talk, you know, that sent the wrong signal to people. I learned some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated manner."  These statements, given that it impacted world perception, no doubt impacted our troops, along with a number of other factors.

Patriot Daily: News of the day, just a click away!

Originally posted to Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse on Mon May 29, 2006 at 09:43 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I would add the pre-war sanctions (16+ / 0-)

    and the entire "shock and awe" illegal Iraq invasion to this list of atrocities and war crimes.

  •  Another concern is (33+ / 0-)

    how will these soldiers react when they come home after witnessing or participating in such activities; and, what may be the impact of these soldiers now performing immigration enforcement at the border or assisting in natural disasters in the future?

    •  A double recommend (11+ / 0-)

      for your reference to the work of Robert Jay Lifton. Lifton has been fighting hard within his own field to get the psychology profession to condemn all collaboration with Guantanemo-style interrogation (or torture "lite").

      Watch or read the trancscript of a debate with the director of ethics at the APA, Stephen Behnke, British medical ethicist Michael Wilks, and renowned psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton (and moderated by Jane Meyer, journalist at The New Yorker) at this Democracy Now archived page.

      From the transcript:

      DR. ROBERT JAY LIFTON: When I wrote my piece over a year ago in the New England Journal of Medicine about doctors’ complicity in torture, there were a couple of angry responses from military physicians, saying, ‘Look, we have these clear military rules and requirements. These things are prohibited. How you can say this?’ Well, the difficulty is that you can have those nice rules, but you don't have a protocol that speaks to the particular social situation that doctors and psychologists enter, what I called an atrocity producing situation. You don't speak to a rule that doctors cannot take part in interrogation, and in that way, all of these fine principles exist in the books, but have no immediate power to restrain doctors from that intense psychological situation of adaptation to military policy in which they find themselves. That has to be spoken to in protocols, the socialization to atrocity, which doctors and psychologists are prone to, rather than just these fine principles of not engaging in torture.

      "Existence is a flame which constantly melts and recasts our theories." -- R.D. Laing

      by Valtin on Mon May 29, 2006 at 11:09:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you - recommended. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      artifex, KathleenM1, sockpuppet, Overseas

      Looking at this from the POV of a traditional neighbour and ally that fought shoulder to shoulder with America in two world wars, I can certainly understand the rush of volunteers after 9/11.  I can even forgive the soldiers who felt compelled to do what they saw as their duty, when they misled into an unprovoked attack on Iraq.  But this is murder, plain and simple.  It is NOT forgivable under any circumstances.

      Canada: Land of the freeze and home of the brass.

      by Arvy on Mon May 29, 2006 at 11:36:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you for this desperately needed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KathleenM1, gabriella
      reality check on the depth and breadth to the atrocities being commited regularly.  

      While the investigations into the Haditha massacre are certainly a step in the right direction, the reporting on it gives the impression that  the military would willingly investigate any and all such crimes.  That is profoundly misleading.

      If it were part of the reporting that it was the persistence of Time that forced the investigation, an entirely different picture would be drawn.

      Thank you for doing what the MSM is obliged, but fails, to do.

      "In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder, a secret order." Carl Jung

      by Unduna on Mon May 29, 2006 at 01:20:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you all for such kind words (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        crosslark, Unduna

        Sometimes I get a little stressed out when working on a blog piece because it seems to take longer than anticipated, and then I am not doing other work. But, your kind words and appreciation make it worth it all, and more. thanks.

        •  You are extremely thorough. That's (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stressful.  You have high standards, eh?  Yea.

          But this is exactly the the type of work that America needs to effect accountabilty, change and justice.  You should be getting paid for it.  And how. This is real patriotism.

          Anyway, I'm very grateful.  Current reporting on this is misleading (!&!!*@#!) and there are few issues I can think of where the truth is more needed or more disturbing.  This is pivotal shit. Thanks for the full-bodied tackle.  

          "In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder, a secret order." Carl Jung

          by Unduna on Mon May 29, 2006 at 03:01:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Good Lord!! (7+ / 0-)

    Check the other diary posted here regarding American indifference to deaths if they're not Americans....but gee, Brangelina just had a baby!!

  •  Unmitigated disaster in both Iraq and Afghanistan (11+ / 0-)

    The riots in Kabul are quite serious.  

    The rise of [Shiite militias in Southern Iraq is another proof of the fiasco.

    The US lead coalition only controls the ground they stand on.

    Great diary.; an oasis of truth. -1.75 -7.23

    by Shockwave on Mon May 29, 2006 at 09:49:25 AM PDT

    •  Canadians have been offered up by (9+ / 0-)

      our new hawk Prime Minister to cover the south of Afghanistan, the area of the oil pipeline and the most attacks.

      Thank you Mr. Harper, Master of War.

      This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

      by Agathena on Mon May 29, 2006 at 10:55:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The situation in Southern Iraq (7+ / 0-)

      was the topic of a diary that got deleted the other day. It was written by Sherlock Google and deleted, apparently, by same. I'm not sure why that happened, but will presume it was some good reason. (I had early recommended it, so was surprised to see it gone later. -- I think, from reading another diary, there was some question if the Iranian angle wasn't some kind of Pentagon disinformation. It seems not: read below.)

      In any case, I'm glad to see the topic resurface because I think it's very important and a dire statement regarding the military and political situation in Iraq. It is also a massive condemnation over the entire strategy of Bush's "coalition". From the Mercury News article (known as a MSM reputable source):

      BASRA, Iraq - Southern Iraq, long touted as a peaceful region that's likely to be among the first areas returned to Iraqi control, is now dominated by Shiite Muslim warlords and militiamen who are laying the groundwork for an Islamic fundamentalist government, say senior British and Iraqi officials in the area.

      The militias appear to be supported by Iranian intelligence or military units that are shipping weapons to the militias in Iraq and providing training for them in Iran....

      Iranian influence is evident throughout the area. In one government office, an aide approached a Knight Ridder reporter and, mistaking him for an Iranian, said, "Don't be afraid to speak Farsi in Basra. We are a branch of Iran."....

      A week with British troops in Maysan and Basra provinces and three additional days of reporting in the city of Basra made it clear that Iraqis here are at the mercy of Shiite militia death squads and Iran-friendly clerics who have imposed an ever-stricter code of de facto Islamic law.

      The city of Basra has largely come under the control of Shiite clerics, who have banned alcohol sales. A woman without a headscarf is a rare sight. Record shops have been replaced with stores selling Quranic recordings.....

      Iraq's top Shiites acknowledge that they want to set up a regional government in the south, but they insist that the provinces involved would remain loyal to the central government in Baghdad.

      The article is credited to By Tom Lasseter, Knight Ridder Newspapers. He is a very creditable source. Editor and Publisher did an article on him, entitled "Knight Ridder's Tom Lasseter Offers Voice of Truth in Iraq":

      In October [2005] he won the Knight Ridder Excellence Award, with the judges noting he has "a history of outstanding investigative work." That history began at the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader in 1999, where among other issues he covered drug trafficking and corruption. It was preparation of a sort for covering war. "If you want to go looking for danger in Eastern Kentucky," says Lasseter, "you can find it."

      Turned down as an embed to cover Afghanistan -- Knight Ridder wanted only reporters with combat experience -- he volunteered to go to Iraq, and was part of a team embedded with the 101st Airborne during the initial invasion. He returned to Iraq three times, before joining the Baghdad bureau full time as a correspondent in October 2004.

      "Existence is a flame which constantly melts and recasts our theories." -- R.D. Laing

      by Valtin on Mon May 29, 2006 at 11:00:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Winning Hearts and Minds (16+ / 0-)

    right and left here, eh?

    again, it's pathetic we don't have a free press now as we did with the Vietnam fiasco. then we saw the slaughter of the innocents and our own people on the tube and people started justifiably asking WHY? when it turned out there was no good reason for any of it, the American people took to the streets and put a stop to it.

    the masters of propaganda know too well that "no news is good news" for them-- they can pretend there are no atrocities happening in Iraq when obviously they are happening-- but they get away with it simply because MSM isn't broadcasting any photos or info.

    if not for the Internet, we'd have NO idea of what happened in Haditha last fall, or of the other atrocities the diarist here covers.

    "Think of Iraq as a military base with a very large oil reserve underneath.... You can't ask for better than that." Fadel Gheit

    by Superpole on Mon May 29, 2006 at 09:51:23 AM PDT

    •  Well... (0+ / 0-)

      It was Time magazine that investigated and really made the Haditha story, as far as I can tell.

      "Existence is a flame which constantly melts and recasts our theories." -- R.D. Laing

      by Valtin on Mon May 29, 2006 at 12:13:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Learning from history. Neocon style. (0+ / 0-)

      again, it's pathetic we don't have a free press now as we did with the Vietnam fiasco. then we saw the slaughter of the innocents and our own people on the tube and people started justifiably asking WHY? when it turned out there was no good reason for any of it, the American people took to the streets and put a stop to it.

      Well, it seems the Neocons did learn from history, unfortunately, they learned the wrong lesson.  They went into a "pre-emptive" war, and the lesson they learned was, to control the media.

      Stupid fucking bastards.

    •  As one who is old enough to remember the (0+ / 0-)

      Vietnam war, I can assure you that the "free press" slumbered peacefully through the first five years or so.  It was only after about 1968 that the press started to report on the war in any kind of real depth.  There were reports from the front, sometimes with gunfire crackling in the background.  There was the occassional television footage of wounded soldiers.  Most of us got our real education about the war from returning veterans.  

      It was only about 1970 (don't remember exact dates) that the NYT started publishing the Pentagon Papers outlining the whole sick mess of the war.  The Nixon administration tried mightily to squash the story.  The behaviors of Republicans never changes.  

      As sick as these atrocity reports are, I come to the defense of these servicemen.  They have been put into an impossible situation (probably worse than Vietnam.)  Put men into impossibly sick and violent situations, and you will get sick and violent actions.  Count on it.  The criminals are the politicians and compliant press, who sent our servicement to Iraq on an insane mission.  

      Geonomist - Impeachment and conviction---the beginning of an American renewal.

      by Geonomist on Mon May 29, 2006 at 02:36:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is why war is hell (18+ / 0-)

    War changes people.  It makes ordinary people do extraordinary things.  Sometimes it's noble acts of heroism with out regard for their own life.  Other times it's profound evil.  It makes me really hate anybody who is so eager to send other men to fight.

    •  Similar saying goes... (6+ / 0-)

      You don't really know someone until you been in a crisis situation with them.  

      The time has come to start thinking less about Motherland and Fatherland and more about our Brotherlands and Sisterlands.

      by Crowdog on Mon May 29, 2006 at 10:31:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  very well said (6+ / 0-)

      That's exactly the point I've been trying to make in various Haditha threads.  

      Don't get me wrong -- I'm all for punishing the wrongdoers to the fullest extent of the law.  But these sorts of things happen in war.  EVERY war.  There's something terribly unsatisfying about merely punishing individual war crimes in an illegal war of aggression.

      •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        buckeyekarl, Clem Yeobright

        What really upset me about Abu Gharib was that it was only the low ranking people who were punished.  I can't believe discipline is so bad now that the officers are completely blameless and that the chain of command can get off with no punishment whatsoever.  The individual soldiers are wrong when they do these things, but I understand how it's happening.  I blame the leadership.  Especially the civilian leadership.

    •  Knight-Ridder reporter feared this would happen (7+ / 0-)

      Haditha Massacre: KR Reporter, Last August, Noted Worries There That U.S. Marines Might 'Crack'

      By Greg Mitchell

      ... New revelations suggest that U.S. marines committed atrociities in Haditha, Iraq, last November, killing at least two dozen civilians after an American was slain by a roadside bomb. Three months before that, Tom Lasseter, longtime Baghdad correspondent for Knight Ridder, filed a report from that area noting concerns that the marines there might "crack under the pressure."

      HIT, Iraq -- The inability of U.S. forces to hold ground in Anbar province in western Iraq, and the cat and mouse chase that ensues, has put the Marines and soldiers there under intense physical and psychological pressure.

      The sun raises temperatures to 115 degrees most days, insurgents stage ambushes daily then melt into the civilian population and American troops in Anbar find themselves in a house of mirrors in which they don't speak the language and can't tell friend from foe.

      Most Marines and soldiers in Anbar live behind massive concrete barriers, bales of concertina wire and perimeters guarded by sniper towers and tanks.

      Despite their overwhelming military might, they must watch every alleyway for snipers and each patch of road for mines or bombs, which can send balls of flame through their vehicles. That happened earlier this month south of Haditha, when an explosion killed 14 Marines in an amphibious assault vehicle.

      Officers worry about the enemy while trying to make sure their men don't crack under the pressure.

      "I tell the guys not to lose their humanity over here, because it's easy to do," said Marine Capt. James Haunty, 27, of Columbus, Ohio. "I tell them not to turn into Col. Kurtz."

      Haunty was referring to a character in Joseph Conrad's novella, "Heart of Darkness." It became the basis for the Vietnam War movie "Apocalypse Now," in which Kurtz has a mental breakdown and murders suspected Vietnamese double agents.

      Asked for an example of the kind of pressure that could cause Marines to crack, Haunty talked about the results of a car bomb: "I've picked up pieces of a friend, a Marine. I don't ever want to see that s--- again."

      At the link, read the rest of the story by Tom Lasseter, Knight-Ridder war reporter, a journalist who is not praised nearly enough for doing his job.

      Stop Democrats from enabling the conservative Republican LOST CAUSE.

      by skywriter on Mon May 29, 2006 at 10:51:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Perhaps you can get this published at (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Counterpunch. Thanks for the information.

    The time has come to start thinking less about Motherland and Fatherland and more about our Brotherlands and Sisterlands.

    by Crowdog on Mon May 29, 2006 at 10:29:00 AM PDT

  •  I hate to say this - but I feel I must (16+ / 0-)

    What you outline is horrifying - the push for aggression, a hair trigger mentality under the hideous pressure cooker of war, the unacceptable, monstrous consequences, the unaccountable losses, the scars being left on minds and hearts and souls (not only our soldiers, but those innocents caught in the crossfire).

    I don't excuse the men (or women, if that be the case) who perpetrated those crimes.  But a stronger, competent and more moral leadership would have put a stop to this long before it reached this point.  This should never have perpetuated to where it is now.

    Abu Ghraib is being prosecuted at the basement level.  What does that say for our military leadership? They take the credit for the accomplishments, but step aside when they fail miserably?  Could this much have occurred with them being completely clueless?  And if so, what the hell are they doing leading our troops?


    George, he may not be President ... but he did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

    by Kira April on Mon May 29, 2006 at 10:35:37 AM PDT

    •  You are so right Kira- mega framing problem (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      artifex, sockpuppet, ghengismom

      I'm really concerned that posting this diary today of all days is going to be interpreted as a slap and criticism of our troops, who are, after all, our relatives and neighbors. They are going to really be hurting for ever after from this disaster of leadership.
         We must NOT resort to the frame that was hung around our necks in the Viet Nam era when 'we' supposedly spit on returning vets and called them baby killers. This must not be allowed here or elsewhere on the left. I think it likely that there was a psy-ops campaign then along with the cointel program. On top of that there were a lot of very agitated people, with not much opportunity to gain understanding as we have right here.
         There was a comment this morning that read like a baby killer accusation, and the diary author deleted the diary because of thsat idiotic/planted? comment. The meta troll distraction makes this a ripe opportunity to start some real trouble, just like this.
         Our only response to this story must be to hold the leadership to account for every accusation, every proven massacre, freakout, civilian casualty and on and on. Hang every one of these stories around their pudgy necks. It must be vitually mandatory for any diary about issues like this.
          To truly 'support our troops' we must hold the leadership to account, and offer condolences, healing, and understanding to the grunts who always get stuck with the accountabiity.
           This is a major reason we should not be there: nobody is going to win a war with an entrenched insurgency and now with a civil war as well. When the inevitable psychotic breakdowns happen the failed 'leaders' are quick to point out the revulsions of us on the left as support for their 'waist deep in the Big Muddy' schemes.
           I think the diarist ought to consider deleting this diary today (too late, too many good comments...) out of sensitivity for the vets and active military here. This is an excellent diary on this topic, but I think a wrong day to post it. An update to better frame 'our' reponse to this issue would help. I think there will be many more traps like the Jesse MacBeth story, and we need to be very thoughtful in our approach to this issue.

      Somebody, do something, I got kids I care about, fer crying out loud!

      by KenBee on Mon May 29, 2006 at 11:06:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is very simple. when you are a soldier and (16+ / 0-)

    at any moment you can get hit it wears on you. In Vietnam I almost put a clip into my CO because he let some VC walk out of range. Fear plus seeing your fellow soldiers get it makes you crazy. This is not an excuse but I understand. We have again put 19 and 20 year olds in an impossible situation. The chickenhawks who thought this was a good idea have alot to answer for. They do not care for they are all getting rich of this insanity.

    "If standing up for the Constitution and rule of law is a "stunt," then I'll take it."

    by Jlukes on Mon May 29, 2006 at 10:40:48 AM PDT

    •  Absolutely (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davidincleveland, Jlukes

      René Girard called this "makes you crazy" phenomenon mimetic power: it's like being contaminated by violence, by aimless anger. Then you need a scapegoat.

      •  all very true. In Vietnam it was gooks in Iraq (6+ / 0-)

        it is hajjis. It is all about surviving not only physically but mentally. The enemy is not human. These guys are in a lottery and there are many different prizes. Death, maiming, insanity are at the top of the list. The weird thing is coming home. You have these dreams but it never turns out the way you dreamed. You are different for the rest of your life. Sometimes it can be for the good but sometimes you become like the swiftboat guys who because they served in Vietnam that the policy had to be right and cannot be criticized and anyone who does is a traitor. I go to the VA and most guys are rational but some of my fellow vets cannot come to grips with the reality of what the policy did there. Sadly the same will happen with the Iraqi vets. We will one way or another pull out of there and these vets will say that our country let them down. Same old stuff, different decade

        "If standing up for the Constitution and rule of law is a "stunt," then I'll take it."

        by Jlukes on Mon May 29, 2006 at 11:03:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry, but ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Detlef, ghengismom, Overseas

      Letting a VC walking out of range isn't quite the same thing as an innocent three-year-old child in the arms of a mother pleading for mercy. Just how "crazy" do you have to be to overlook the difference.

      Canada: Land of the freeze and home of the brass.

      by Arvy on Mon May 29, 2006 at 11:20:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  To say nothing of the thousands who served (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        honorably in Vietnam and didn't murder innocents. I would like to believe there are many more who are serving with honor and compassion in Iraq, those are the men we remember today.

      •  You don't SEE; it's pure feeling: ANGER (0+ / 0-)

        It's like a diabolic possession. Now you begin to understand the roots of politics--the State as the monopoly of violence on a delimited territory--and of religion--as a ritualization of anger, of the will to neutralize the evil effects of this bloody anger.

        •  diabolic possession? (0+ / 0-)

          So why didn't he just go ahead and shoot his CO?

          If this soldier could overcome his "diabolic possession" sufficiently well to resist that temptation, then surely others faced with innocent infants in their mother's arms should have been able to do likewise.

          Sorry, but I just don't buy that argument -- certainly not as some kind of automatic blanket excuse for all of the atrocities that have been committed in Iraq.

          Canada: Land of the freeze and home of the brass.

          by Arvy on Mon May 29, 2006 at 12:13:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Listen to the WORD:'Scapegoat'; the COLBERT RPT (0+ / 0-)

            I understand your concern. The theory is not about justifying bloody violence and threathening behaviour.
            The object of the anger--and I mean ANGER, the desire to RETALIATE--must always be something perceived as being or becoming OTHER than yourself and the group you belong too.
            Read again your Levitic, the part about the Scapegoat: the beast shall be expropriated from the clan.

            If you don't like to read, listen to the Word: "Scapegoat", from THE COLBERT REPORT

            Or better still, listen to Stanford Professor René Girard, on my

            •  You're either miscontruing or avoiding the point. (0+ / 0-)

              You didn't answer my question about your so-called "diabolic possession" defence and its application to the reported atrocities.

              I know what scapegoating is and it has nothing whatever to do with any of my comments.  Yes, there is overall political responsibility for the war itself and for all of its subsidiary evils.  But that overall responsibility does not relieve any soldier, sailor or airman of individual responsibility for his or her own conduct.

              It's that straightforward and there's no scapegoating involved.  Those involved can individually plead insanity or "diabolical possession" if they wish, but it's a case-by-case issue, not a blanket excuse for war crimes.

              Canada: Land of the freeze and home of the brass.

              by Arvy on Mon May 29, 2006 at 03:09:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  i am not overlooking the difference. Those (5+ / 0-)

        that commit war crimes have to be brought to the bar of justice. What I am saying is that you are not all there. Fear does things to you. To this day I have to be very careful. I have woken up beating the hell out of someone because the threatened and stuck their finger in my chest. I have no memory of hitting but my hands were bloody as was his face. Technically his fault but the reality is I have to watch out. When I see any situation that I might be put in a threatening situation I have to walk away immediately. Part of my brain does not work right and I just have to be careful.

        "If standing up for the Constitution and rule of law is a "stunt," then I'll take it."

        by Jlukes on Mon May 29, 2006 at 11:37:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not without sympathy for your problems. (0+ / 0-)

          But I have to admit great difficulty in accepting an insanity defence for all of the actions described in the recent investigations.  It would have to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, I think.

          In any case, I sincerely hope that you are getting some help with those "leftover" violent tendencies.  And I mean that for your own sake as well as for others.

          Canada: Land of the freeze and home of the brass.

          by Arvy on Mon May 29, 2006 at 12:03:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I am and have been for quite a while. (5+ / 0-)

            I am not excusing this sort of behavior but this is not what really pisses me off. It seems it is ok if it  is from a plane or an artillery shell. Most the deaths and maimings come not from guys going nuts but from what we like to call collateral damage and no one says a word. Flying metal is bad no matter what the source is.  

            "If standing up for the Constitution and rule of law is a "stunt," then I'll take it."

            by Jlukes on Mon May 29, 2006 at 12:17:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Flying metal is bad no matter what the source is. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jlukes, viscerality

              Agreed 100%.  No argument there.

              It has said been elsewhere that the "supreme crime" against peace and humanity is aggressive warfare.  And the perpetrators of that crime are undeniably the principle authors of all the others contained therein.

              I certainly didn't mean to suggest that individual soldiers should bear the main burden of overall responsiblity.  I was just responding to the topic of this particular diary.

              Peace and the best of good luck to you.

              Canada: Land of the freeze and home of the brass.

              by Arvy on Mon May 29, 2006 at 12:31:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  It was the CO he was drawing down on (0+ / 0-)

        Read twice, respond once?

    •  We also have many older, mature (0+ / 0-)

      soldiers. Everyone needs to be held accountable from the top down starting with Bush.

  •  We have lost Iraq, We have lost the ... (3+ / 0-)

    Middle East.  It's over we have lost.  We have become something worse then what we have replaced.  Chaos, Chaos, Chaos,

    DrStephanieStudebaker a great Democrat for Congress.

    by Gator on Mon May 29, 2006 at 10:42:06 AM PDT


    The massive televisual diffusion of the massacres will have a very strong effect on the world, an emotive effect, even if these kind of murders perpetrated by the US Military are only acts of retaliation, of vengeance. Everybody knows they are not connected to any dark plot. Violence can be contagious, blood can create panic, and even though they are reprehensible, these kinds of massacres does happen in every war.
    It's a well documented effect of killing, threats, and being exposed to murder. Anger, stress and fear are contagious; they can spread and possess a whole group if only one member have just been killed or tortured.

    To learn more about scapegoating, retaliation and murder of the innocents, listen here to Stanford Professor René Girard ON

  •  THIS is amazing and terrible (4+ / 0-)

    I appreciate your words for the victims of war, so much. And I do hope you can publish this diary again and again.

    And Bush declared at a recent West Point address that he had NO SECOND THOUGHTS about invading Iraq. And that means NO REGRETS. He and his hawks truly are the bastards of the century, thus far.

    This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

    by Agathena on Mon May 29, 2006 at 10:51:50 AM PDT

  •  Is anyone really surprised? (5+ / 0-)

    Considering U.S. per capita crime and imprisonment rates, would anyone really expect a crime-free U.S. occupation of a foreign land where armed troops have been deliberately taught to regard the native population as untermenchen?

    I would be quite confident in suggesting that the cases that have come to light are most likely just the smallest tip of a very large iceberg.  I'm sure there are some cases where any survivers are much too frightened to come forward, and yet others where there's no one left alive to do so.

    The current DKos top item shows a "happy picture" of a U.S. soldier being reunited with his small child. For a contrasting view, see the Iraq Patrol web site.  The photo captions are in Arabic, but here's one of the comments there:

    "These are the tears of future, heroes, Martyrs and resistance fighters, who have tasted the hardship and cruelties of their enemy. They will never forget this coward enemy. And blood is not cheap"

    Can anyone really blame them?  Would you feel any differently if it were your country and your children?

    Canada: Land of the freeze and home of the brass.

    by Arvy on Mon May 29, 2006 at 11:11:30 AM PDT

  •  a photo from Fallujah (6+ / 0-)
    which has always haunted me:

    A father and child, both gunned down as they tried to flee.

    Like with Katrina in New Orleans, the citizens of Fallujah were told to leave the city, but many had no way to do so, and no place to go if they did so.   So many stayed.

    I guess they were "losers" who deserved to die.

    The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer -- Henry Kissinger

    by theyrereal on Mon May 29, 2006 at 11:34:14 AM PDT

  •  What I don't understand is (0+ / 0-)

    how a generation raised on Star Wars and (to a lesser extent) Red Dawn so easily don their Imperial Storm Trooper outfits and march behind the megaphones calling 'We mean you no harm.  We are your friends.  Collaboration . . . mmmmmm! good! Resistance . . . dead-ender-ism!  Surrender! You have nothing to lose but  . . . well, we'll talk about that after you surrender' . . .

    You want to see a massacre? let us into that Creature Cantina, or better yet, tell us where the Wolverines are camped out (ve haf vays of making you tell us!)

  •  Wait, didn't Bill Kristol want this? (0+ / 0-)
    Didn't he say, not too long ago, that we simply hadn't been brutal enough in Iraq?

    Wasn't that the GOP talking point?  That our forces hadn't used ENOUGH force yet?

    Shouldn't the Bill Kristols of the world be appluading this as "making an example of them?"

    The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer -- Henry Kissinger

    by theyrereal on Mon May 29, 2006 at 11:41:02 AM PDT

  •  Excellent diary and highly recommended. (0+ / 0-)

    This is so important to read, although reading it broke my heart and makes me physically ill.  Thanks for this incredible summary.

  •  More evidence... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Clem Yeobright, Overseas, Arvy
    That Haditha is far from an isolated incident...

    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.


    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 toward 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."


    Make love not war because love is lovely and war is very ugly, ya know?-U Roy

    by Rojo on Mon May 29, 2006 at 12:24:27 PM PDT

  •  Then there are all the ones we don't know about. (6+ / 0-)

    While being interviewed by KQED host Michael Krasny on October 8, 2004, [Seymour ] Hersh claims to have spoken with a first lieutenant in charge of a unit stationed halfway between Baghdad and the Syrian border.

    His group was bivouacking outside of town in an agricultural area, and had hired 30 or so Iraqis to guard a local granary. A few weeks passed. They got to know the men they hired, and to like them. Then orders came down from Baghdad that the village would be "cleared." Another platoon from the soldier's company came and executed the Iraqi granary guards. All of them. "He said they just shot them one by one. And his people, and he, and the villagers of course, went nuts," Hersh said quietly. "He was hysterical, totally hysterical. He went to the company captain, who said, 'No, you don't understand, that's a kill. We got 36 insurgents. Don't you read those stories when the Americans say we had a combat maneuver and 15 insurgents were killed?'"

    Not too long ago, three Iraqi's were shot and killed by a US helicopter because they, according to US military officials, were carrying shovels.

    And then there's this,
    and this,
    and this,
    and so on..

    •  That's the scary part (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      there is so much that is occurring in Iraq that Americans are not aware of because the MSM and TV news simply don't report it. And, the violence is so bad, that reporters can't venture very far from soldiers. But, then I sometimes wonder if the coverage would make a difference: The NBC report was covered on TV news, when the soldier shot the wounded Iraqi, claiming self-defense that was not observable by witnesses on scene, but no major outrage expressed in America. So, how many Iraqis have to be killed in this manner before Americans care?

  •  this shit begins to happen (0+ / 0-)

    when the troops start seeing their side losing.

    There's the usual sequence of phases of dealing with loss- denial (hey, Mission Accomplished!), bargaining (Look, all we need is a democratic government installed), anger/bitterness (Kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out).  The depression phase is really bad too.

    Renewal, not mere Reform.

    by killjoy on Mon May 29, 2006 at 12:37:10 PM PDT

  •  My Lai wasn't the only incident, surely (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and this one is part of that history.

    you get short, you get scared, you shoot.

  •  The claims that the Brits wanted the US to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    tone things down do not square with the aggressive tactics used by the Brits, particularly at Basra. Of course, UK "techniques" are the same as those exercised in Northern Ireland. Which, by the way, hasn't toned down even after disarmament and a Peace Agreement. Please be alert to propaganda spin.

  •  This should be a lesson to the Hawks... (0+ / 0-)

    the next time they want a little "war" to shore up the ratings and get their domestic agenda passed. While Americans are naive about what our forces will or will not do under wartime conditions, people who have fought against us are not. Just ask the Chinese, Koreans, East Europeans, and so on.
     A Hungarian friend of mine had to ride refugee trains across Europe during WWII. He says they could tell by the sound of the plane engines whether they were British or American If they were attacked by the Brits, they would stay on the train because RAF pilots would only knock out the locomotive. If they were Americans, they would get the hell off the train because the pilots would shoot up the passenger cars as well.
     This news is a loss of innocence for many americans. But we have to remember the nature of counterinsurgency warfare: it's a nasty business and civilians are caught in the middle. Also, military units shoot when they are ordered to shoot. Fire control is essential. This time we should not let a few enlisted men get sold down the river. Go after the officers in command.  

  •  As I've said before, in other diaries... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Clem Yeobright

    Same shit, different war.
    I joined the loval chapter of Veterans for Peace. I've long been anti-war, and the meeting's locale was ideal. Plus being a child of a WWII bombardier (DFC, AM 4 OLC) and a veteran of anti war protests wince the 0's I thought it might be a good group to join.
    In any event, at the first meeting I attended, we had a viewing of "Winter Soldier." After seeing it, all I could think of was..."SSDF." (see above).
    while most people think of Mi Lai as being the only attrocity in Vietnam, there were many, many others, at witnessed by the soldiers in Winter Soldier (and I'm sure many others).
    War is Hell, literally. When you start one, or even participate in one, it becomes quite apparent. And those who didn't serve can also understand what war is from having lived throughh it before. I thought after Vietnam, we'd learned our lesson.
    We have placed our soldiers in an immoral war, not provided enough protection, food, clean water. We stop-loss them so they can't go home. They live in fear 24/7. If they have psychological problems, too bad, get back out there son. And when they come home, they are not given the support they need. And now Bush wants to cut back on Vets benefits once again.
    What this administration has done to our armed forces is shameful. But what do you expect from men who have never been there? Of course, Clinton didn't serve, but at least he had compassion for his fellow man and put a guy in charge who knew what he was doing (Wes Clark).
    We're got to impeach these bastards in the WH before this country is destroyed entirely.

    All Truth is non-partisan

    by MA Liberal on Mon May 29, 2006 at 01:42:40 PM PDT

  •  The Marines cracked - it's time that Rumsfeld (0+ / 0-)

    gets cracked.

  •  Thanks for all these links (0+ / 0-)

    Haditha is all over the news, and Abu Sifa was previously diaried here on March 20 and March 22, but I had not heard about Hamandiya, Tuwaitha, a mosque raid, or the use of napalm at Fallujah.

    I cannot imagine what goes through the minds of the people who support this war.

    Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D. IMPEACH!

    by TrueBlueMajority on Mon May 29, 2006 at 01:54:29 PM PDT

  •  This is EXACTLY why (0+ / 0-)

    an UN-embedded press is so important. These are the kind of things that should have been objectively reported on a long time ago.

    Let your conscience be your guide.

    by Jiminy Cricket on Mon May 29, 2006 at 02:06:01 PM PDT

  •  Media complicity (0+ / 0-)

    One other factor that is often forgotten is the newsmedia's complicity.  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.

    As far as I know, only a single case, other than Haditha, 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?  Again, why isn't the newsmedia, and the intelligensia in general, asking these questions?

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