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Friday, June 02, 2006


U.S. military: killing civilians is "normal procedure"

Well, the G.I.'s in the massacre of 11 Iraqis in Ishaqi have been "cleared of misconduct". But perhaps the most interesting statement, which confirms what I have said time and time again, is this:
The investigation of the March 15 attack in Ishaqi concluded that the U.S. troops followed normal procedures in raising the level of force as they came under attack upon approaching a building where they believed an al-Qaida terrorist was hiding, said Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, a U.S military spokesman.

Caldwell also acknowledged there were "possibly up to nine collateral deaths" in addition to the four Iraqi deaths that the military announced at the time of the raid.
In order to understand all this, we have to refer back to my original post on the subject, from March 15, 2006, the day after the massacre. First of all, let's deal with who was believed to be hiding in this building and allegedly returning fire. Today's exoneration claims it was an "al-Qaida terrorist." But back in March, the military said "it was targeting and captured an individual suspected of supporting foreign fighters for the al-Qaida in Iraq terrorist network." So back in March this person not only wasn't an actual al-Qaida member, but just someone "suspected" of "supporting" al Qaida, which for all we know is someone who let them sleep in his house one night.

Then we come to the question of the numbers. The U.S. military today is claiming there were "possibly" 13 deaths and not just the four -- "a man, two women and a child" -- that were acknowledged on the day of the attack. But that very day, "Associated Press photographs showed the bodies of two men, five children and four other covered figures arriving at the hospital accompanied by grief-stricken relatives." Despite that documentary evidence, on that very day, headlines read "Iraqis Say 11 People Killed in U.S. Raid," as if the photographic evidence was worth less than the worthless claims of the U.S. military. And now, 2 1/2 months later, the military still is only willing to admit that it is "possible" that there were more than four deaths.

The big controversy seems to be over the question of when these people died -- were they shot first, and then the building demolished to cover up that crime, or were they killed when the building was demolished by an airstrike? As far as I'm concerned, it's a distinction without a difference, which brings me back to the title of this post. Because, illustrating the point I've made so many times, here we have a suspected resistance fighter in a building, and the U.S. military stating proudly that calling in an airstrike to demolish that building, without asking or caring who else might be inside, was an example of the "normal procedures in raising the level of force." This building could have been an elementary school containing 50 small children for all they knew, or cared. As it was it "only" contained 11 Iraqis, most if not all of them unarmed and all of them, as far as we know, completely uninvolved in the fighting (the suspect actually escaped and was captured).

Rotten apples? Rotten barrel!

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