One of the snipers charged with placing "bait" out to draw Iraqis into their killzone is quoted as saying
"If you've never been outside the wire, you really have no basis -- you don't have a basis to judge what I do or what I don't do. You've never been in a life-or-death situation, where you've had to count on the guy to your left and right,"Hand said.
"People who stay back here, in my opinion, are not mentally in the game. They've never been out there."
The problem is what happens "outside the wire" has become a freezone. Free from accountability for anything a Soldier does. We have seen over and over when brought up on charges for things like murder and rape, the punishment is a slap on the wrist if that. There is too pat a pattern not to believe the same thing that is happening in Washington, is happening in Iraq.
Nancy Pelosi is leading this country by making sure GW knows he can do as he pleases without fear of indictment. The Commanders in Iraq are doing the same thing but maybe worse since they have unspoken quotas for the sniper teams to meet.
Interviews and court transcripts portray a 13-man sniper unit that felt under pressure to produce a high body count, a Vietnam-era measure that the Pentagon officially has disavowed in this war...
The main line of defense for Vela and Hensley is a shocking one: In their zeal to get more "kills" out of snipers, officers of the 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, allegedly pushed a program of leaving weaponry as "bait," and allowing snipers to kill anyone who came to pick the items up. That, defense attorneys say, led to loose rules of engagement that the Army now says amounted to murder.http://www.latimes.com/...
The trials of these soldiers have yet to be finished. Will they be used as victims, murders, both, or just walk away ? I would bet on somewhere in between. The Soldiers accused of the mess in Haditha fall in the same realm of those barely punished.
Haditha, a place we have heard called the site of a massacre where 24 Iraqis lost their lives, women and children among them, is part of the pattern. ABC has a piece that shows what I mean, but first I want to refer to a earlier ABC piece from the period during the investigation phase.
In the scathing 104-page report, Maj. Gen. Eldon Bargewell concludes that commanders behaved as though, "Iraqi civilian lives are not as important as U.S. lives, their deaths are just the cost of doing business, and that the marines need to get 'the job done' no matter what it takes."
Retired Gen. Jack Keane ( a known Rightie ) told ABC News that's a message that dehumanizes Iraqi civilians....
The killings occurred Nov. 19, 2005, after a roadside bomb killed one marine and injured two others. Military prosecutors say the surviving marines went on a rampage, executing five unarmed men on the street then raiding nearby houses, shooting men, women and small children, some still in their beds. http://www.abcnews.go.com/...
Nothing sounds very much in dispute there, including the part where they tell us 7 Marines where granted immunity for testifying. 7 witnesses, remember that number for a min. while we move to the next ABC piece.
"The evidence is contradictory, the forensic analysis is limited and almost all the witnesses have an obvious bias or prejudice," wrote investigating officer Lt. Col. Paul Ware.
Ware was referring to the case against Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich charged with 17 counts of murder for his role as the squad leader in the Iraqi town of Haditha on Nov. 19, 2005.
"The case against Staff Sgt. Wuterich that he committed murder is simply not strong enough to prove beyond a reasonable doubt," http://www.abcnews.go.com/...
Ware, Lt. Col. Paul Ware is one of the investigating officers and what does he recommend for charges in this case of a bloody site of a massacre ? Would you believe "negligent homicide charges" ? 24 deaths in a hell of a lot of negligence, yet the the punishment would be fitting of the crime right ? Wrong again, only 3 yrs for the lives of women and children is not fitting, but remember the theme here, it happen outside the wire.
There is another massacre that happen in Iraq, actually 2 in the same city. One has been in the news lately because of the Blackwater Mercs and their actions that are being "investigated". Fallujah is where 4 of Blackwaters own people were killed when they may have been sent into a area under trained, under-armed, and undermanned. We have yet to see anything happen to those that may of sent those to their deaths, but that is not the real massacre of Fallujah we need to make sure is not forgotten.
What I can report from Falluja is that there is no ceasefire, and apparently there never was. Iraqi women and children are being shot by American snipers. Over 600 Iraqis have now been killed by American aggression, and the residents have turned two football fields into graveyards. Ambulances are being shot by the Americans. And now they are preparing to launch a full-scale invasion of the city.
All of which is occurring under the guise of catching the people who killed the four Blackwater Security personnel and hung two of their bodies from a bridge. http://www.antiwar.com/...
As bad as the above quote sounds that is not the worse of what happen in Falluja. In a graphic description of the Falluja in the days following by the Iraqi Ministry of Health are acts that again, no one has faced punishment, punishment for the violation of International Laws.
The US also used napalm in the siege of Falluja as was reported in the UK Mirror ("Falluja Napalmed", 11-28-04) The Mirror said, "President George Bush has sanctioned the use of napalm, a deadly cocktail of polystyrene and jet-fuel banned by the United Nations in 1980, will stun the world.. Reports claim that innocent civilians have died in napalm attacks, which turn victims into human fireballs as the gel bonds flames to flesh.Since the American assault on Falluja there have been reports of 'melted' corpse, which appeared to have napalm injuries."
"Human fireballs" and "melted corpses"; these are the real expressions of Operation Iraqi Freedom not the bland platitudes issuing from the presidential podium.
Dr. Khalid ash-Shaykhli, who was the head of the Iraqi Ministry of Health in Falluja, reported to Al Jazeera (and to the Washington Post, although it was never reported) that "research, prepared by his medical team, prove that the US forces used internationally prohibited substances, including mustard gas, nerve gas, and other burning chemicals in their attacks on the war-torn city."
Dr Shaykhli's claims have been corroborated by numerous eyewitness accounts as well as reports that "all forms of nature were wiped out in Falluja".as well as "hundreds, of stray dogs, cats, and birds that had perished as a result of those gasses." An unidentified chemical was used in the bombing raids that killed every living creature in certain areas of the city. http://www.informationclearinghouse....
A complete accounting of the number of dead in Fallujah was never done and the numbers are all over the place. One account reports the number of insurgents killed at over 1200, while others place it much higher when the civilian deaths are added in. Fallujah was named a free-fire zone by the US Army, meaning there are no civilians in the area, and the troops can shoot to kill anything that moves. The problem with this is that not all the civilians had left, having no place to go, or anyway to get there if they did. While there are claims from the US that no gasses were used in Fallujah, they have admitted to the use of White Phosphorus. The troops called it's use " Shake and bake ", a description that, as graphic as it is, doesn't tell how horrific White Willy (White Phosphorus) is.
Common Dreams. Org had a article in Nov. of 05 telling some of real facts of Fallujah that should be read by everyone , especially by those that think Bush should just be allowed to walk away after his term is up.
One resident told him the US used "weird bombs that put up smoke like a mushroom cloud" and that he watched "pieces of these bombs explode into large fires that continued to burn on the skin even after people dumped water on the burns." The doctor said he "treated people who had their skin melted"
Jeff Englehart, a former marine who spent two days in Fallujah during the battle, said he heard the order go out over military communication that WP was to be dropped. In the RAI film, Mr Englehart, now an outspoken critic of the war, says: "I heard the order to pay attention because they were going to use white phosphorus on Fallujah. In military jargon it's known as Willy Pete ... Phosphorus burns bodies, in fact it melts the flesh all the way down to the bone ... I saw the burned bodies of women and children."...
Indeed, the Pentagon readily admits WP was used. Spokesman Lt Colonel Barry Venables said yesterday WP was used to obscure troop deployments and also to "fire at the enemy". He added: "It burns ... It's an incendiary weapon. That is what it does." http://www.commondreams.org/...
As far as I can find, no one was never even investigated for the use of Willy Pete in Fallujah since the claim is it's use is totally legal. Many other people say it violates a number of International Treatys. I guess this should not surprise us since once again this happen "outside the wire".
While there is no new News in this diary, it's purpose is to point out just how any discussion is shutdown once someone says this happen "outside the wire". As if once the troops leave the Green Zone or any other base, the rules fade into the background because we can't be there to judge the facts of what happen. This is partly the fault of the press for accepting to do it's job while embedded instead of being independent. We must stop crimes from being whitewashed with the use of 3 small words if we are to ever reclaim the high ground America once held in the minds of the world.
With another 5 to 10 yrs likely left in Iraq if our "leading candidate" Hillary Clinton wins the election, we are sure to have at least a few more massacre type situations happen. It's time we worry much more about what happens outside the wire, and start to hold accountable the Civilian leaders and the Generals instead of the troops, for winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqis for the enemy, whoever the hell they are. We cannot keep allowing these whitewashes.
I end once again wondering if any Candidate will answer "the Question" and take the pledge to do the right thing if elected. For those of you who have some how missed my definition of "the Question", here it is.
The Question is to Hillary, Obama, Edwards, Gore and any other candidate :
Will you promise if elected, to direct your new Atty. General to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate all the crime and corruption of the Bush Administration ? Crimes in violation of Civil Rights, War Profiteering, Torture, War Crimes, Domestic Spying, Etc. and will you further swear to bring them to trial and to do it without issuing Pardons to anyone found guilty of any crimes ?