somebody please tell me that the corporate news media is talking
about U.S. war crimes in Iraq besides just the civilians killed
I can only
hope that my fellow citizens are not being told that this latest
outrage tumbling out of Iraq is some isolated incident; that Herr
Rumsfeld will diligently investigate it, and dispense timely justice
to all guilty parties (below the rank of Lieutenant, of course).
Just in case
your Uncle Bob or Aunt Sophie has been asking you "Exactly
what the hell is going on in Iraq?" and youre looking
for hard facts to help them get off the fence, here you are.
Keep in mind
these are just a few instances compiled by one citizen sitting
in Toledo with an old computer connected to the internet - an
indication that there just might be even more going on.
Keep in mind
also, that the following acts are criminal violations of the law
not just because they are really horrid inhumanities, but because
Congress, the U.S. Constitution, and international law (yes, there
are international laws binding on the U.S.) explicitly
prohibit the very kinds of atrocities now rotting at the feet
of George W. Bush. Each section below begins with the relevant
law or treaty violated in Iraq or Afghanistan. Every one of them,
and more, are documented at the Veterans For Peace website
here for more.
VI: "The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes
under international law:
of civilian population
of or in occupied territory; murder or ill-treatment of prisoners
plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction
of cities, towns, or villages
- Two Afghan
prisoners who died in American custody in Afghanistan in December
2002 were chained to the ceiling, kicked and beaten by American
soldiers in sustained assaults that caused their deaths, according
to Army criminal investigative reports.
- At least
26 prisoners have died in American custody in Iraq and Afghanistan
since 2002 in what Army and Navy investigators have concluded
or suspect were acts of criminal homicide, according to military
- In Fallujah,
40% of the buildings were completely destroyed, 20% had major
damage, and 40% had significant damage. That is 100% of the
buildings in that city.
against humanity: Murder, extermination
and other inhuman
acts done against any
when such acts are done
of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime."
- "I decided
to swim ... but I changed my mind after seeing U.S. helicopters
firing on and killing people
who tried to cross the (Euphrates) river."
were tied up and beaten despite being unarmed and having only
our medical instruments,"
al-Muhannadi, a doctor who was present during the U.S. and Iraqi
National Guard raid
on Fallujah General Hospital told reporters later. She said troops
dragged patients from their beds
and pushed them against the wall. "I was with a woman in
labour, the umbilical cord had not yet
been cut," she said. "At that time, a U.S. soldier shouted
at one of the (Iraqi) national guards to arrest
me and tie my hands while I was helping the mother to deliver."
- Abu Hammad
said he saw people attempt to swim across the Euphrates to escape
the siege. "The
shot them with rifles from the shore," he said. "Even
if some of them were holding a white
flag or white clothes over their heads to show they are not fighters,
they were all shot." Hammad
said he had seen elderly women carrying white flags shot by U.S.
soldiers. "Even the wounded people were killed. The Americans
made announcements for people to come to one mosque if they wanted
to leave Fallujah, and even the people who went there carrying
white flags were killed."
I, Article 75: "(1)
persons who are in the power
of a Party to the conflict
shall be treated humanely in all
(2) The following acts are and shall remain
whether committed by civilian or by military agents:
(a) violence to the life, health, or physical or mental well-being
(b) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular
humiliating and degrading treatment, enforced prostitution and
any form of indecent assault
and threats to commit any of
the foregoing acts."
- The investigation
of the 800th Military Police Brigade by Maj. Gen. Antonio M.
Taguba found that "intentional
abuse of detainees by military police personnel" included
slapping, and kicking detainees; jumping on their naked feet
and photographing naked male and female detainees
arranging detainees in various sexually explicit positions for
detainees to remove their clothing and keeping them naked for
several days at a time
naked male detainees to wear womens underwear
groups of male detainees to masturbate themselves while being
naked male detainees in a pile and then jumping on them
a naked detainee on a MRE Box, with a sandbag on his head, and
attaching wires to his fingers, toes, and penis to simulate
a dog chain or strap around a naked detainees neck and
having a female soldier pose for a picture
- A male
MP guard having sex with a female detainee
military working dogs (without muzzles) to intimidate and frighten
detainees, and in at least
one case biting and severely injuring a detainee
I, Art. 70: "The Parties to the conflict
allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of all relief
consignments, equipment and personnel
even if such assistance
is destined for the civilian population of the adverse Party."
sent by the Iraqi Red Crescent to aid the remaining population
(in Fallujah) have been turned back.
ambulances were repeatedly shot at by U.S. troops during the
April, 2004 siege of Fallujah and
troops prevented the distribution of medical supplies.
- In Saqlawiyah,
Dr Abdulla Aziz told IPS that occupation forces had blocked
any medical supplies from
entering or leaving the city. "They won't let any of our
ambulances go to help Fallujah," he said.
"We are out of supplies and they won't let anyone bring
I, Art. 35: "In any armed conflict, the right of the
to choose methods or means
of warfare is not unlimited
It is prohibited to employ methods
or means of warfare which
are intended, or may be expected, to cause widespread, long-term
and severe damage to the
- On April
1, 2003 the residential al-Hilla outskirts of Babylon were hit
with an undetermined number of BLU-97 A/B cluster bombs. Each
bomb releases 202 bomblets which scatter over an area the size
of two football fields, with a dud rate of 5%-7%. Immediate
reports stated that at least 33 civilians died and around 300
were injured in the attack. Amnesty International condemned
the attack, saying that "the use of cluster bombs in an
attack on a civilian area of al-Hilla constitutes an indiscriminate
attack and a grave violation of international humanitarian law."
- On March
22, 2003, reporters from CNN and the Sydney Morning Herald -
Melbourne Age embedded with the 1st Battalion 7th Marines at
Safwan Hill near Basra reported air strikes dropping napalm.
III, Art. 5: "Should any doubt arise as to whether persons,
having committed a
belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy
(are prisoners of war under
this Convention), such persons shall enjoy the protection of the
present Convention until
such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal."
Bush issued an order on February 7, 2002, specifying that the
U.S. would not apply the Third
Convention to members of Al Qaeda. That order set forth policies
that led to the willful killing,
torture, or inhuman treatment; and great suffering or serious
injury to body or health, of prisoners
in U.S. custody in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay.
documentation? Try the 1996
War Crimes Act; the U.S. Constitutions Supremacy
Clause, Article VI (par. 2); or the above-mentioned
treaties such as the Geneva Conventions, the Nuremberg Principles,
U.N. General Assembly resolutions, and others.
Just as the
news medias fascination with Abu Ghraib was way after the
fact and limited in scope, so too, is its present fascination
with the Haditha killings. As they used to say during WWII, "Theres
a war on, ya know!" Exactly what do Americans think
happens when their nation goes to war?
Shay, a psychologist with years of experience treating Vietnam
vets with PTSD and author of the seminal "Achilles in Vietnam,"
gave his prescription for preventing that disease and preventing
the breakdown of character that would likely happen to any of
us in combat. It wasnt better training, or better diagnoses,
or better drugs. He said "Abolish war." Its time
we took his advice seriously.
Ferner served as a Navy Corpsman during Vietnam and is a member
of Veterans For Peace,
whose slogan is "Abolish War!" He
traveled to Iraq with Voices for Creative Nonviolence just prior
to the U.S. invasion and again a year later. His book, Inside the
Red Zone: A Veteran For Peace Reports from Iraq (Praeger), is due
out in August.
Click here for other articles by Mike Ferner:
Movements: From Antiwar, To Peace, To Democracy
Speaker Of House Not Responsible For War Funding
Seven Arrested At White House Protest Against Iraq War
There Are Lives In The Balance
Getting Jailed For Peace