Thursday, November 29, 2007

Department Of Hearts & Minds We Don't Need To Worry About Anymore

What's Arabic for "Oh, shit!"? Or for "Oooops"? "Sorry 'Bout Dat"?
U.S. military kills civilians in Iraq, apologizes
By Leila Fadel | McClatchy Newspapers

BAGHDAD — For the second day in a row, U.S. soldiers on Tuesday killed Iraqi civilians when they fired on a vehicle that they thought was a threat, the U.S. military said.

The U.S. military also reported that two soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in Salah ad Din province. Two other soldiers were wounded. The military provided no further details on the incident and didn't release the names of the dead.

The shooting deaths of the civilians took place in the al Shaab neighborhood of northern Baghdad. Two people died and four were injured when an American soldier fired at a minibus that was transporting workers to a bank operated by the Iraqi Finance Ministry, the military said in a statement. But Iraqi police and employees at al Rasheed Bank said that four people were killed, including three women, and that two were injured.

The minibus was driving near a U.S. military outpost when it ended up on a road where only car traffic is permitted, the military said. American soldiers signaled the minibus to stop, and when it didn't, one of them fired a warning shot.

A military official familiar with the incident said the warning shot struck the pavement in front of the vehicle and broke apart, spraying the minibus with pieces. The official asked not to be named because he wasn't authorized to speak in detail about the incident.

A spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq acknowledged the deaths of the civilians. "We regret when civilians are killed, and we do feel terrible about it," the spokesman, Maj. Brad Leighton, said. He said the incident was under investigation.
The infallible, murderous syllogism: If they're Iraqi, and they're dead, they were insurgents. For more details on this phenomenon, I recommend Conn Hallinan's piece up at
Reporter Chris Hedges, who talked with solders, officers, and medical personnel in Iraq, said his interviews "revealed disturbing patterns of behavior by American troops: innocents terrorized during midnight raids, civilian cars fired upon when they got too close to supply columns. The campaign against a mostly invisible enemy, many veterans said, has given rise to a culture of fear and even hatred among U.S. forces, many of whom, losing ground and beleaguered, have, in effect, declared war on all Iraqis." Sgt. Camilo Mejia told Hedges that, as far as the deaths of Iraqis at checkpoints, "This sort of killing of civilians has long ceased to arouse much interest or even comment."

Except among the survivors and relatives, of course, who now know who their enemy is. "Our children are being killed. Our homes are being destroyed. We are bombed. What should we do?" asks Abdul Qader, who lost seven family members in a June 29 U.S. air strike that killed 60 people in southern Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

"The Americans are killing and destroying a village just in pursuit of one person [Osama bin Laden]," one man told The New York Times. "So now we have understood that the Americans are a curse on us, and they are here just to destroy Afghanistan."
Any questions? The only thing I object to is the juxtaposition of the report of the two USer deaths on the same day with this piece on Iraqi civilian casualties, as if just possibly the former in some way mitigates the latter.

No comments: