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Monday, June 26, 2006


 

"Interacting with" (killing) Iraqis


Knight-Ridder's Nancy Youssef sheds some light on Iraqi civilian deaths which, as it turns out, the U.S. military has been tracking since last summer. Although they still refuse, in a tribute to that "transparency" George Bush loves to talk about, to actually release the figures, Youssef managed to extract them from an anonymous source:
"Escalation of force" incidents typically involve a U.S. soldier giving a warning or hand signal to a driver approaching a checkpoint or convoy. The situation escalates if the driver fails to stop, with the soldier firing a warning shot, and then shooting to kill.

[Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, who as head of the Multinational Force-Iraq] would not say how many civilians had been killed overall or what percentage of civilian deaths occurred at checkpoints or near convoys. But a military official who was not authorized to release the numbers and who asked not to be identified said there were 3,000 "escalation of force" incidents from July to Dec. 31, 2005.

Of those, 16 percent led to a civilian being killed or injured, the official said.

During the first five months of this year, 1,700 such incidents were reported. Of those, 12 percent led to a civilian being killed or injured, the official said.
For those who need help with the math, that's 684 Iraqis killed or injured in "escalation of force" incidents in the last year. Consider that in the light of the fact that only the tiniest fraction of such incidents (less than a handful, and typically only the "exceptional" ones like the two women killed last month while heading for the hospital to give birth) have actually been reported in the press.

The headline for this post comes from this:

Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, who as head of the Multinational Force-Iraq is the No. 2 U.S. commander in Iraq, said the number of civilian dead and wounded is an important measurement of how effectively U.S. forces are interacting with the Iraqi people.

"We have people who were on the fence or supported us who in the last two years or three years have in fact decided to strike out against us. And you have to ask: Why is that? And I would argue in many instances we are our own worst enemy," Chiarelli said.
With that kind of "interaction," is it any wonder that the majority of Iraqis want the Americans out, and now? "We are our own worst enemy"? Perhaps, but "we" (that is, the American soldiers) are most definitely the worst enemy of the Iraqi people.


Why stop here? There's more...

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