Please! Would somebody please tell me that the
corporate news media
are talking about U.S. war crimes in Iraq besides just the civilians
killed in Haditha.
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
you’re 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
indication that there just might be even more going on.
Keep in mind also, that the following acts are
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
For Peace website.
Nuremberg Tribunal Charter
Principle VI: “The crimes hereinafter
set out are punishable as crimes under international law:
(b) War crimes:
… murder, ill-treatment … of
civilian population of or in occupied territory; murder or
ill-treatment of prisoners of war … plunder of public or
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
In Fallujah, 40 percent of the buildings were
destroyed, 20 percent had major damage, and 40 percent had significant
damage. That is 100 percent of the buildings in that city.
(c) Crimes against humanity:
Murder, extermination … and other inhuman acts done against
any civilian population … when such
acts are done … in execution of
or in connection with any crime against peace or any war
“I decided to swim … but
I changed my mind after seeing U.S.
helicopters firing on and killing people who tried to cross the
“We were tied up and beaten despite
being unarmed and having
only our medical instruments,” Asma Khamis al-Muhannadi, a
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
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
Abu Hammad said he saw people attempt to swim
Euphrates to escape the siege. “The Americans shot them with
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
white flags shot by U.S. soldiers. “Even the wounded people
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.”
The Geneva Conventions
Protocol I, Article 75:
“(1) … persons who are in
the power of a Party to the conflict … shall be treated
humanely in all
circumstances … (2) The following acts are and shall remain
… whether committed by civilian or by military agents: (a)
the life, health, or physical or mental well-being of persons
outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading
treatment, enforced prostitution and any form of indecent assault
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
military police personnel” included the following:
Punching, slapping, and kicking detainees;
jumping on their naked feet.
Videotaping and photographing naked male and
Forcibly arranging detainees in various
sexually explicit positions for photographing.
Forcing detainees to remove their clothing and
keeping them naked for several days at a time.
Forcing naked male detainees to wear
Forcing groups of male detainees to masturbate
while being videotaped.
Arranging naked male detainees in a pile and
then jumping on them.
Positioning a naked detainee on a MRE Box,
with a sandbag on his
head, and attaching wires to his fingers, toes, and penis to simulate
Placing a dog chain or strap around a naked
detainee’s neck and having a female soldier pose for a
A male MP guard having sex with a female
Using military working dogs (without muzzles)
to intimidate and
frighten detainees, and in at least one case biting and severely
injuring a detainee.
Protocol I, Art. 70:
“The Parties to the conflict …
shall allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of all relief
consignments, equipment and personnel … even if such
destined for the civilian population of the adverse Party.”
Convoys sent by the Iraqi Red Crescent to aid
the remaining population (in Fallujah) have been turned back.
Marked 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
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 us more.”
Protocol I, Art. 35:
“In any armed conflict, the
right of the Parties … to choose methods or means of warfare
unlimited … It is prohibited to employ methods or means of
which are intended, or may be expected, to cause widespread, long-term
and severe damage to the environment.”
On April 1, 2003 the residential al-Hilla in
the outskirts of
Babylon was 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 percent to 7 percent.
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
of al-Hilla constitutes an indiscriminate attack and a grave violation
of international humanitarian law.”
On March 22, 2003, reporters from CNN and the
Herald - Melbourne Age embedded with the 1st Battalion 7th Marines at
Safwan Hill near Basra reported air strikes dropping napalm.
Convention 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
- President 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
Need more documentation? Try
the 1996 War Crimes Act; the U.S. Constitution’s 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 media’s 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,
“There’s a war
on, ya know!” Exactly what do Americans think happens when
goes to war?
Dr. Jonathan Shay, a psychologist with years of
Vietnam vets with PTSD and author of the seminal “Achilles in
gave his prescription for preventing that disease and preventing the
breakdown of character that would likely happen to any of us in combat.
It wasn’t better training, or better diagnoses, or better
said “Abolish war.” It’s time we took his