While our government makes every effort to distract the public with their undefined, ever-shifting ‘war’ on terror, there is a real war and real ever-present terror going on – one which our government, and thus our country, initiated and continues to support. The USA based magazine The Nation has just published a series of in-depth interviews with 50 combat veterans of the Iraq war. Our war. The one we started and our government, our Prime Minister, and every one of his Ministers, continues to stoutly defend.
The piece in The Nation is a long one – available by clicking here. As the saying goes, read it and weep.
This report, originally published in The Independent (UK), gives an outline:
In the interviews, veterans have described acts of violence in which US forces have abused or killed Iraqi men, women and children with impunity.The report steers clear of widely reported atrocities, such as the massacre in Haditha in 2005, but instead unearths a pattern of human rights abuses. “It’s not individual atrocity,” Specialist Garett Reppenhagen, a sniper from the 263rd Armour Battalion, said. “It’s the fact that the entire war is an atrocity.”
A number of the troops have returned home bearing mental and physical scars from fighting a war in an environment in which the insurgents are supported by the population. Many of those interviewed have come to oppose the US military presence in Iraq, joining the groundswell of public opinion across the US that views the war as futile.
Through a combination of gung-ho recklessness and criminal behavior born of panic, a narrative emerges of an army that frequently commits acts of cold-blooded violence. A number of interviewees revealed that the military will attempt to frame innocent bystanders as insurgents, often after panicked American troops have fired into groups of unarmed Iraqis. The veterans said the troops involved would round up any survivors and accuse them of being in the resistance while planting Kalashnikov AK47 rifles beside corpses to make it appear that they had died in combat.
“It would always be an AK because they have so many of these lying around,” said Joe Hatcher, 26, a scout with the 4th Calvary Regiment. He revealed the army also planted 9mm handguns and shovels to make it look like the civilians were shot while digging a hole for a roadside bomb.
“Every good cop carries a throwaway,” Hatcher said of weapons planted on innocent victims in incidents that occurred while he was stationed between Tikrit and Samarra, from February 2004 to March 2005. Any survivors were sent to jail for interrogation.
There were also deaths caused by the reckless behavior of military convoys. Sgt Kelly Dougherty of the Colorado National Guard described a hit-and-run in which a military convoy ran over a 10-year-old boy and his three donkeys, killing them all. “Judging by the skid marks, they hardly even slowed down. But, I mean… your order is that you never stop.”
The worst abuses seem to have been during raids on private homes when soldiers were hunting insurgents. Thousands of such raids have taken place, usually at dead of night. The veterans point out that most are futile and serve only to terrify the civilians, while generating sympathy for the resistance.
Our Prime Minister has not expressed concern about any of this. Instead, John Howard says the important thing is that Australia is not party to “the weakening of American power and prestige around the world”, as “that would give great power to terrorists.” Looks to me like our government’s policy of initiating and continuing to support this war and the way it is prosecuted is actively providing the terrorists and anti-democratic forces with more power and support every day, whilst also giving them an added victory with their continuing efforts to remove and attack our own freedoms at home as well.