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Sunday, June 04, 2006


Mass graves in Iraq

New York Times reporter John F. Burns (who still owes me an answer about the razing of the orchards in Dujail) was in the Iraqi desert today, observing the opening of a mass grave containing 28 Iraqis slaughtered by the Hussein government as part of suppressing the Shiite uprising in 1991, an uprising encouraged by then President Bush. Burns claims that "it was a rebellion that survivors -- and American critics of the President George H. W. Bush -- say that the president encouraged after halting American troops at Iraq's southern border with Kuwait at the end of the Persian Gulf war," and that "for years, Middle East experts have debated Mr. Bush's role in encouraging Iraq's Shiites and Kurds to mount a challenge to Mr. Hussein after the war over Iraq's invasion of Kuwait ended." As far as I'm concerned, there's about as much debate on this subject as there is on the subject of global warming.

Meanwhile, the slaughter initiated by the current President Bush continues, as those 28 bodies were easily surpassed, as 20 Iraqis were slaughtered as they rode on a bus and another 11 were killed in fighting in Basra. And that's just the Iraqis who were killed in large enough groups to make the news. Were these particular Iraqis killed by American soldiers? No. Are they dead because the U.S. government chose to invade Iraq and overthrow its government? Without question.

Some of the mass graves in Iraq are the result of direct American action, of course. Shortly before those 28 people were killed in the Iraqi desert, 400 Iraqi women and children were incinerated when American bombs deliberately destroyed the Amiriyah air raid shelter. Even closer in time to the death of those 28 people was the slaughter of "thousands" of defenseless Iraqi soldiers on the "Highway of Death" as the war ended. More recently, there are the mass graves in the soccer fields of Fallujah, containing hundreds of bodies. All of them the ultimate responsibility of a President who, unlike the Iraqi President, seems unlikely ever to stand trial for his crimes.

Update: Actual death count for yesterday is being reported as 48, although again that's only the ones being reported, typically because they occured in large groups.

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