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Saturday, June 03, 2006

Fisk: More Hadithas?

UPDATE: Another British newspaper, The Observer, has a in-depth article about the violent U.S. troop culture in Iraq as it relates to the Haditha murders. Excerpt:

American veterans of the war in Iraq have described a culture of casual violence, revenge and prejudice against Iraqi civilians that has made the killing of innocent bystanders a common occurrence.


Renowned reporter Robert Fisk, who has covered the Middle East for decades, has a powerfully disturbing piece about Iraq on the front page of The Independent. Fisk suggests the murders committed by Marines at Haditha may be just the tip of the iceberg in terms of troops killing Iraqi civilians without reason or remorse. I hope he's wrong, but I have a feeling he's very right. Excerpt:

I suspect part of the problem is that we never really cared about Iraqis, which is why we refused to count their dead. Once the Iraqis turned upon the army of occupation with their roadside bombs and suicide cars, they became Arab "gooks," the evil sub-humans whom the Americans once identified in Vietnam. Get a president to tell us that we are fighting evil and one day we will wake to find that a child has horns, a baby has cloven feet.

Remind yourself these people are Muslims and they can all become little Mohamed Attas. Killing a roomful of civilians is only a step further from all those promiscuous air strikes that we are told kill 'terrorists" but which all too often turn out to be a wedding party or -- as in Afghanistan -- a mixture of "terrorists" and children or, as we are soon to hear, no doubt, "terrorist children."

In a way, we reporters are also to blame. Unable to venture outside Baghdad -- or around Baghdad itself -- Iraq's vastness has fallen under a thick, all-consuming shadow. We might occasionally notice sparks in the night -- a Haditha or two in the desert -- but we remain meekly cataloguing the numbers of "terrorists" supposedly scored in remote corners of Mesopotamia. For fear of the insurgent's knife, we can no longer investigate. And the Americans like it that way.

Even the new Iraqi government is now speaking out against the violence and killing by foreign troops:

Iraq's new leaders have turned on their "liberators". Speaking in Baghdad yesterday, the Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, lashed out at the conduct of foreign troops. He called on the Americans to account for what happened at Haditha. He described violence against civilians as commonplace and accused the foreign forces of behaving with no respect for citizens and killing "on a suspicion or a hunch". This is a long way from the gratitude George Bush and Tony Blair surely hoped for when they launched their ill-fated invasion three years ago.

I wonder when or if our President, our Democratic leaders or the U.S. mainstream media will finally admit that enough is enough. As Fisk mentions, occupation armies are, by their very nature, prone to producing mass graves and senseless killing. With an occupation army in the midst of a civil war being fought with guerilla tactics, it's even easier to fall into the habit of lashing out lethally at anyone who happens to be in the vicinity when something bad happens.

We are losing what soul we have left in Iraq. If we stay much longer, it may be too late to regain what we've lost. It should be obvious to all by now that there is no "victory" to be had unless we get out of the way or Iraqis and let them decide their own fate. Now.

June 3, 2006 at 04:36 PM in Iraq War | Permalink


Why do we have to go to a British paper to read this? Why do our own papers not print this kind of info on their front pages/ We need to ask the editors why. Pick your papeer and write a letter to the editor.....good deed for the day.

Posted by: jeanne Carritt | Jun 4, 2006 11:40:22 AM

I guess it's because most of the mainstream media is owned by big corporations. Besides, everyone knows it's anti-patriotic to admit that bad things are happening in Iraq or anywhere else.

Posted by: Old Dem | Jun 4, 2006 2:15:32 PM

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