By Irwin Ozborne
“We Were Told to Just Shoot People, and the Officers Would Take Care of Us” – Iraqi War Vet
“Why did you shoot me?” Asked a six-year-old child “That’s not fair. I’m just a girl. I do not do anything, I just had my doll in my hand. Why you shoot me?”
“I was just riding in my car with my family and I got injured so I had to have surgery,” said the child, “…because I got shot [by the] American people.”
She lived, but her family members are a couple of the 165,000 Iraqi civilians killed in the Iraq War since 2003. However, that number is quite low and only based on reported information. However, household surveys are far more accurate and estimate between 400,000 and 650,000 deaths.
“I guess while I was there, the general attitude was, A dead Iraqi is just another dead Iraqi,” said Spc. Jeff Englehart, 26, of Grand Junction, Colorado
“I remember one woman walking by,” said Jason Washburn, a corporal in the US Marines who served three tours in Iraq. He told the audience at the Winter Soldier hearings that took place March 13-16, 2008, in Silver Spring, Maryland, “She was carrying a huge bag, and she looked like she was heading toward us, so we lit her up with the Mark 19, which is an automatic grenade launcher, and when the dust settled, we realized that the bag was full of groceries. She had been trying to bring us food and we blew her to pieces.”
Disclaimer of Cognitive Dissonance:
Before reading any further, I would like to inform the reader that this article will likely provoke strong emotional reaction and some will find it offensive. In fact, I already am aware of many of the negative remarks that will arise, so I will just address them now.
- I do not hate the troops and I do not hate people associated with the military. Quite the contrary, I feel badly for them because they are being brainwashed, manipulated, and used to fight bogus wars under the disguise of protecting our freedom; when in reality they are only fighting to secure financial interests for the elite and corporations. Then when they return with PTSD, injuries, mental health, addiction, unemployment, homelessness, anger, and violence, they VA does not provide the services they need. They are treated like pawns to profit those at top.
- Not all the troops misbehave and you are focusing on the minority. This true, the majority of the troops are good people who follow orders. However, the orders that they are following are destructive and evil. Many of Hitler’s Gestapo were probably good people following orders, but they will always be viewed as evil by association.
- How can you not support them, when they are protecting your freedom? They do not protect my freedoms. All military interventions since World War II, have been solely to secure resources from third world nations to help profit American businesses. This is all done under disguises of threats – such as the Cold War with no clear enemy and the threat of Communism; the War on Drugs with no clear enemy; and the War on Terror.
- Death threats and Personal Attacks: I can handle personal attacks, as that just shows me that you have nothing to argue the statements of the article. However, death threats are always quite ironic. The death threats come from veterans or military supporters because they have so much love for their country. They tell me that they dedicated their lives to protecting my freedoms. First, see number three, you did not protect my freedoms. And second, if you care so much about my freedoms, you should be happy that I am exercising them. To threaten to end my life for stating my point of view is not protecting my freedom, that is actually imposing that I am not allowed these freedoms unless it follows a certain point of view.
Immediately after World War II, the United States has been intervening in countries as a means to making the world safe for American corporations; enhancing financial statements of defense contractors and members of congress; preventing the rise of any society that might serve as a successful example of an alternative to capitalism.
In 1953, the United States overthrew the Iran government after they tried to nationalize and profit off their own resources, oil. This led to oppression and torture of the Iran people, while foreign powers took over control of their oil.
Similarly in Guatemala, the democratically elected government was seeking to nationalize the United Fruit Company. The United States turned this into a death field under the disguise of Soviet threat, in reality had huge commercial interests in the United Fruit Company.
The same things happened if you were neutral in the Cold War, you would soon get paid a visit by the United States to provide you “Freedom.” It happened in Italy, Greece, Albania, Indonesia, and the list goes on. Of course the Korean War and Vietnam Wars in which our history books seem to miss. The “Secret Wars” in Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand during the Vietnam War.
In the Congo, their first democratically elected president called for economic liberation which was later deemed as communism. Eleven days later he was assassinated by the request of President Eisenhower. The area is one of the richest in the world with natural resources, but the people live in extreme poverty as there is constant genocide in the area as people work in the mines to sell diamonds and cobalt to Western powers.
This list goes on-and-on (Indonesia, Chile, Nicaragua, Libya, El Savlador, Haiti, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.) with more than 70 different countries in which we have intervened with in the past seventy years. That is on average of one country per year we have invaded for nearly a century to support American interests, not protect my freedoms.
Supporting the Troops:
Supporters of the war in Iraq should do some outside research as to what is really happening without just blindly supporting the troops because they are American. In 2007, WikiLeaks revealed footage of U.S. Soldiers killing 12 civilians and wounding two children. However, this was clearly not an isolated incident as Kelly Doughetery, former director of Veterans Against the War, explained:
“The abuses committed in the occupations, far from being the result of a ‘few bad apples’ misbehaving, are the result of our government’s Middle East policy, which is crafted in the highest spheres of US power.”
Abeer Qassim al-Janabi, was a 14-year-old girl who was gang-raped by U.S. Soldiers while they killed her family before ending her life. It was all pre-meditated, and they targeted her because there was only one male living in that house.
“During the time me and Barker were raping Abeer, I heard five or six gunshots that came from the bedroom,” Sgt. Paul Cortez admitted, “After Barker was done, Green came out of the bedroom and said that he had killed them all, that all of them were dead.”
“Green then placed himself between Abeer’s legs to rape her,” he added, “When Green was finished, he stood up and shot Abeer in the head two or three times.”
The entire crime took about five minutes and the girl knew her parents and sister had been shot while she was being raped.
Then Chris Kyle writes a book referring to the Iraqis as the ‘savages’? Before this fictional book is turned this into a propaganda film used to promote further killings.
This is what we are supporting when we say “We Support the Troops.” We are supporting systematic and barbaric killings of many innocent people, to provide for a war that benefits corporations and rich politicians. The Yellow Ribbon we proudly display to show our pride is the modern-day Swastika, showing our support for savagery.
There have been a few cases in which this makes mainstream media. In Afghanistan, an army squad commander led a “Kill Team” in which they killed civilians for sport and collected body parts as trophies. And in 2006, the Al Ishaqi massacre in Iraq included the killing of 11 innocent civilians including five children and four women. The Pentagon portrays this as part of an operation directed at Al Qaeda.
However, so many more every-day occurrences never reached the headlines. A boy with both his arms lost, a dead baby on the pavement, or cars full of dead families that were trying to escape the war zone.
But what happens, when you are an eye-witness to these slayings and reveal the information to the American public? You get sent to prison. Bradley Manning, released thousands of documents to WikiLeaks providing evidence of U.S. torture, abuse, and soldiers laughing as they killed civilians. Did the soldiers get punished? No, but Manning was sentenced to prison for 35 years for exposing the truth.
The Haditha killings in 2005, left 24 civilians dead – including women, elderly and children – who were shot multiple times from close range and were unarmed. The court case drug on for six years before six officers had charges dropped, another found not guilty, and the eighth was convicted of negligent dereliction of duty and sentenced to lowering his rank.
In a few interviews with Marines it was later said that so many civilians were found dead after being killed by unknown factions in the Iraq conflict that civilian deaths seemed routine, and one sergeant testified that he would order his men to shoot vehicles that failed to stop at military checkpoints even if it were possible that children could be in the car.
One of the wars most iconic photographs is that by Chris Hondros’s image of Samar Hassan, age 5, covered in blood screaming after just witnessing her parents being blown away by U.S. Soldiers, as well as her 11-year-old brother severely injured. Her brother then went to the United States for treatment, and was later killed by insurgents in retaliation for going to the United States for treatment.
Then there is three-year-old, Dalal, is sitting in her home with her family in late March of 2003. At three-years-old, we are still exploring the world and trying to figure out how things work. But, for Dalal, she would figure out more truth about how the world works at age three, than most Americans will learn in a lifetime. Her home was hit with a missile, which killed her brother and injured her mother. She also lost her right leg that day.
And Omar, age 7, was traveling to Bahgdad to visit relatives when they came upon confused U.S. troops who opened fire. Omar’s father was shot twice in the back trying to rescue his son. He got him out of the car, but could not rescue his wife – Omar’s mother – as she burnt to death.
“My whole family was devastated by what was happening,” said Omar’s father, “The most devastating was losing my wife.”
The United States refers to these losses of life as “collateral damage.”
An estimated four-percent of Iraq’s population has been killed due to the war since 1991 and that does not include the ongoing poverty, starvation, disease, cancer from depleted uranium and birth defects. That “collateral damages” sounds more like genocide.
Khalid Hamdan Abd lost two of his sons, three cousins, and has his infant daughter wounded with 17 pieces of micro-shrapnel in one eye and 11 pieces of micro-shrapnel in the other eye, and a detached retina. He was brought to America by a group called nomorevictims.com in which they helped provide surgery for his infant daughter to prevent her from going blind. He states:
“It is kind of scary to go back, because even if you are just driving your car peacefully in the street, you might be shot by the American troops for no reason.”
These stories don’t even begin to include the families being wiped away by drone strikes in Pakistan. An estimated 200 children have been killed due to drone strikes in which one 16-year-old states, “we no longer like when skies are blue, because drones don’t fly in gray skies.”
President Obama refers to drone strikes as “targeted killing”; however, they have targeted 41 men, which has resulted in the deaths of 1,147 others.
Buried deep in the $800-billion defense budget, the Pentagon agreed to add in five million dollars to fund families killed by American airstrikes. I guess the next logical step, would be to admit to the ongoing war crimes committed daily in these wars.
Happy Veterans Day.