Trending Topics:

Iraq– I’m sorry

Middle EastUS Politics
on 123 Comments
US troops at flag lowerin 007
US troops and defence officials attend a flag-lowering ceremony in Baghdad to mark the end of operations in Iraq. Photograph: Ali Al-Saadi/AFP/Getty Images

There was a war, now there isn’t.

Iraqi VIPs snub US farewell:

Yesterday, as the US formally declared at an official ceremony in Baghdad that its most controversial war had ended, the American Army had to draft in extra troops to fill seats after Iraqi dignitaries failed to attend.

Reflecting the uneasy relationship Washington has with Baghdad, almost no Iraqi VIPs showed up at the End of Mission ceremony…… front-row seats marked for President Talibani and Nouri al-Maliki, the Prime Minister, among other VIPs, had to be filled with extra US troops……..The ceremony yesterday underlined that America is being kicked out of a country where it has been engaged in one of its longest ever wars.


The United States is also expected to bring in up to 17,000 staff and security contractors to work in and protect its Baghdad embassy, the largest in the world, leading some Iraqi politicians to label it a military camp in disguise.

When I think of what my country has done to Iraq since our invasion in 2003, nothing stands out for me as much as the indiscriminate killing of civilians otherwise known as collateral damage. One famous example of these killings that came to the attention of the American public is known as Haditha, for the Iraqi city where the slaughter took place on November 19, 2005 carried out by  Marines of Kilo Company. The following article published yesterday by the NYT give us a glimpse into the horrors inflicted on the people of Iraq, as revealed by interrogations of American soldiers that took place during the US military’s 2006 investigation of the Haditha massacre.

Junkyard Gives Up Secret Accounts of Massacre in Iraq

ishaqi children massacre
Ishaqi children massacre

“I mean, whether it’s a result of our action or other action, you know, discovering 20 bodies, throats slit, 20 bodies, you know, beheaded, 20 bodies here, 20 bodies there,” Col. Thomas Cariker, a commander in Anbar Province at the time, told investigators as he described the chaos of Iraq. At times, he said, deaths were caused by “grenade attacks on a checkpoint and, you know, collateral with civilians.”

The 400 pages of interrogations, once closely guarded as secrets of war, were supposed to have been destroyed as the last American troops prepare to leave Iraq. Instead, they were discovered along with reams of other classified documents, including military maps showing helicopter routes and radar capabilities, by a reporter for The New York Times at a junkyard outside Baghdad. An attendant was burning them as fuel to cook a dinner of smoked carp.

Great sorrow, great, great sorrow shrouds my apology to you Iraq. I hope one day your wounds heal and you can forgive us. However, I do not know if I can ever forgive my country for the atrocity of this war against your people in the cradle of  civilization. For all the brave Iraqis who gave their lives for freedom, rest in peace. For all the innocent lives wasted in vain, rest in peace.

Beloved Iraq, I am sorry.

(Photos of the Haditha slaughter have not been made public. The photo accompanying this article is from another massacre, carried out execution style in the town of Ishaqi).

About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

Other posts by .

Posted In:

123 Responses

  1. eGuard
    December 16, 2011, 1:41 pm

    Annie, this is the right article for this moment.

    • Justice Please
      December 16, 2011, 2:40 pm

      I second that. And don’t forget that US/Coalition sprayed Iraq with Depleted Uranium, poisoning society for decades to come. It’s really a shame that nobody gets imprisoned for THIS warcrime.

  2. timhaughton
    December 16, 2011, 1:48 pm

    The invasion of Iraq was, and still is, the greatest crime of the 21st century.

    • dahoit
      December 17, 2011, 9:59 am

      I noticed a 90 year old former German soldier was sentenced to life in prison for 68? year old crimes.So sleep lightly war criminals of the present.The past is never past.

      • Kathleen
        December 20, 2011, 10:55 am

        The Iraqi people should demand no less than Jews demanded for war crimes committed against them and others during the Holocaust. Put the Iraq war criminals on trial. May take decades…but.. Hold them accountable

      • CloakAndDagger
        December 20, 2011, 11:31 am


        Sadly, to the victor go the spoils, and the privilege of rewriting history.

        Had Germany prevailed in WWII, there would have been no acknowledgement of a holocaust, leave alone any reparations.

        The allies were never held accountable for the destruction that they showered on Dresden and other German cities by their indiscriminate carpet bombings and come out smelling like roses from that war too.

        Fairness is an ideal that is rarely achieved.

  3. dumvitaestspesest
    December 16, 2011, 1:54 pm

    “In September 2009, Fallujah General Hospital, Iraq, had 170 new born babies, 24% of whom were dead within the first seven days, a staggering 75% of the dead babies were classified as deformed.
    This can be compared with data from the month of August in 2002 where there were 530 new born babies of whom six were dead within the first seven days and only one birth defect was reported.
    Doctors in Fallujah have specifically pointed out that not only are they witnessing unprecedented numbers of birth defects but what is more alarming is: “a significant number of babies that do survive begin to develop severe disabilities at a later stage.”

    Very disturbing pictures of Iraqi children, severly deformed by depleted uranium weapons, that were used by the Army, who wanted to “bring democracy to Iraq in a ‘humanitarian’ aka militarized way”.
    God, please protect us from such a “humanitarians” with weapons of mass destruction.

    • seafoid
      December 16, 2011, 5:05 pm

      Don’t forget what they did to their own veteran soldiers , especially those with brain injuries.

      The attempts by the Bush administration to show it values the lives of human beings in Iraq and around the world can be best refuted by illustrating how the U.S. cares for its own soldiers.

      On March 1, Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman, Walter Reed hospital commander for the past six months, was fired. Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey was forced to resign on March 2. Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, who commanded the hospital from 2002 to 2004, is being asked to step down.

      It is sure that these officials commanded their positions with callous disregard for the medical well-being of U.S. soldiers. As commissioned officers, their relation to the enlisted is that of boss to worker. They deserve to face criminal charges.

      But this latest case of headhunting is a smoke screen. The blame goes all the way up the chain of command to the Veterans Affairs Department and the president.

      Veteran Ray Oliva spoke to the system wide problems and conditions at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Livermore, Calif., where he receives care. “It is just not Walter Reed. … The VA hospitals are not good either except for the staff, who work so hard. It brings tears to my eyes when I see my brothers and sisters having to deal with these conditions.” (Washington Post, March 5)

      The latest documentation of the problems at Walter Reed were featured in a Feb. 18 Washington Post article on Building 18, an outpatient barracks where wounded soldiers are sent to recover. The article documented black mold along walls, rotting openings in ceilings, cockroaches and mice.

      Yet the apex of complaints might reveal falsified records of the number of war injuries. New York Times columnist Frank Rich reports, “The Veterans Affairs Department keeps ‘two sets of books’—one telling the public that the official count of nonfatal battlefield casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan stands at 23,000, the other showing an actual patient count of 205,000.” (March 4) Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson attempted to explain this by saying “a lot of them come in for, for dental problems.” (New York Times, Feb. 27)

      Seventy-five percent of troops polled at Walter Reed have listed their experience as “stressful.” One mother, who spent 15 months living on post to care for her son, intimated: “They do the paperwork, they lose the paperwork. Then they have to redo the paperwork. You are talking about guys and girls whose lives are disrupted for the rest of their lives, and they don’t put any priority on it.” (Washington Post, Feb. 18)

      Another mother said, “If they can have Spanish-speaking recruits to convince my son to go into the Army, why can’t they have Spanish-speaking translators when he’s injured?” (Washington Post, Feb. 18)

      • Walid
        December 18, 2011, 1:36 pm

        Seafoid, the actual patient count of 205,000 makes more sense than that of 23,000. In today’s Le Monde, it was reported to what exhorbitant level the cost for the care of Iraq and Afghanistan vets will reach. The Pentagon does not provide separate accounting for both theatres but lumps both together in one account.

        1.25 million veterans resulted from the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq. By the end of 2010, the bill for caring for wounded vets and their ensuing disability benefits reached $32 billion.

        Harvard Professor Linda Bilmes estimated that the future cost will increase exponentially between today and 2055, the cost for the vets will reach somewhere between $346 billion and $469 billion.

        Maybe this is Saddam’s ultimate revenge. I’d add this cost to the other costs tied to America’s maintaining its friendship with Israel since it was Israel that had the bit in its teeth to attack Iraq in the same way it’s now doing about Iran.

        Full article in French:

  4. Kathleen
    December 16, 2011, 1:58 pm

    “I’m deeply sorry too” and did everything I could with hundreds of thousands of others (millions around the world) to stop the invasion based on what we were hearing from so many experts (Scott Ritter etc) who were questioning the validity of the intelligence before the invasion. Many of us lobbied our Reps to vote against that bloody Iraq war resolution. I audio taped hundreds of people at the anti invasion marches, in the halls of congress etc who were there to stop the invasion. Teachers, teamsters, lawyers, WWII , Korean, Vietnam, Desert Storm Vets. Families of 9/11 victims against the invasion led the march in Feb 2003 in New York. Dear friends Bev and John Titus who lost their daughter Alicia who was a stewardess on one of the United flights led the march with other 9/11 families against the invasion as well as the Vets leading the march with them. Hundreds of thousands marched and the MSM would show the same fucking clips of the 20 people with hoods over their heads over and over again on the evening news. The MSM did not show those at home who was really at those marches. Most were complicit in the run up to the invasion.

    I had never watched the ginning up of a war and the complicity of the MSM so so closely. It was infuriating knowing that my government was about to invade Iraq based on false intelligence and have absolutely no affect. None.

    Thousands in Iraq have died, been injured, millions displaced and barely a whisper on our MSM outlets about the hard facts on the ground over there.

    And now we have a President and a congress who say “turn the page, next chapter” on Iraq. Don’t be about “retribution, witch hunts, vengeance” The least the very least we can demand of our congress and the international community is that those who purposely created, cherry picked and dessiminated false intelligence be HELD ACCOUNTABLE. That is the very least we can all do for the unnecessary immoral deaths and injuries of thousands of Iraqi people and American soldiers.

    We owe this to the Iraqi people and to the families of American soldiers who have so needlessly died and been injured. (I have talked with many American soldiers who are missing limbs from serving in Iraq ) whose stories rip your heart out

    We can also demand that our news outlets and host of these shows stop allowing guest to repeat unsubstantiated claims about Iran which has been going on for 8 long years. We can demand that they challenge people when they repeat these claims

  5. CloakAndDagger
    December 16, 2011, 2:04 pm

    We have created so much bad karma over the years. Will there ever be any redemption for our damned souls?

  6. Kathleen
    December 16, 2011, 2:12 pm

    My dear friend Peggy Gish and the CPT team were some of the very first witnesses in Iraq to report what was taking place in Abu Gharib in the summer of 2003.
    Peggy documenting

    After the invasion Peggy would send back reports about what they were seeing and hearing in Baghdad. Much of what she would write about would not make it into American newspapers outlets for months. Sometimes never. Peggy and the CPT team took their reports about abuse in Abu Gharib to Paul Bremer in the I believe fall of 2003. They were turned away.

    Seymor Hersh wrote about the torture in Abu Gharib almost a year after CPT and other watch groups had been trying to get the story of torture out for months

    I was able to connect Seymour Hersh and Peggy up on the Diane Rehm show. Hersh used some of the CPT’s reports in his first articles about the horrific things that were taking place in Abu Gharib.


    • Annie Robbins
      December 16, 2011, 2:46 pm

      i know kathleen, it will never be enough. but i had to say it anyway.

      yes, we tried, many of us tried, but this post is not about us.

      an apology is in order. i wish my government would apologize to the iraqi people. perhaps some day we will.

      • Kathleen
        December 16, 2011, 3:01 pm

        Many have said they are sorry. The best way to say sorry it to demand accountability and this comes from the Iraqi people

      • Kathleen
        December 16, 2011, 3:04 pm

        Annie “Iraq– I’m sorry” “However, I do not know if I can ever forgive my country for the atrocity of this war against your people in the cradle of civilization.” “Beloved Iraq, I am sorry.”

        Exactly not about us about a real sorry which is holding those responsible for this atrocity ACCOUNTABLE

      • Kathleen
        December 16, 2011, 3:07 pm

        “it will never be enough” the only way apologies will ever be enough is when there is some kind of justice and accountability The only way

      • seafoid
        December 17, 2011, 4:53 am

        Israel always says sorry

  7. Dex
    December 16, 2011, 2:29 pm

    Off topic:

    Does anyone know of any NGOs or other organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area that deals directly with Palestinian issues or with the Palestine-Israel conflict –perhaps in areas of human rights, BDS, conflict resolution, etc…

    Links to relevant websites would be great! Just moved back to the Bay Area after 3 years in Europe and am looking for opportunities on this issue.

    Thank you in advance everyone.

  8. lysias
    December 16, 2011, 2:30 pm

    Iraq knows who its friends are. Front-page article in today’s Financial Times: Spoils of Iraq war evade US and UK (subscription required).

    The countries getting contracts in Iraq are: Turkey, Iran, China, South Korea, and Arab countries. Not the U.S. or the UK.

    • Walid
      December 16, 2011, 3:09 pm

      “The countries getting contracts in Iraq are: Turkey, Iran, China, South Korea, and Arab countries. Not the U.S. or the UK.”

      Does the article mention the over 50 Israeli companies that have been operating in Iraq since after the days of Iraq I, especially in the Kurdish north?

      • lysias
        December 16, 2011, 3:16 pm

        No, it doesn’t. But then, it’s about contracts recently awarded by the Iraqi government.

    • dahoit
      December 17, 2011, 10:17 am

      I read somewhere where Iraq wants to buy F-16s and Abrams tanks and already have some,so it’s not a shut out.
      The obituary for that Marxist fascist Hitchens said he wanted a secular demilitarized state in Iraq.Ho Ho.Ah,the best laid plans go awry again.
      Why would the NYTs celebrate the life of a career Marxist? when Marxism has been their bane and has become irrelevant to modern times by its failure to meet the needs of ALL its people(like neolibcapitalism)?
      We know why,the creep collaborator.

  9. Walid
    December 16, 2011, 2:32 pm

    The US and the UK brought something else along with democracy to Iraq, for generations to come.

    From Ya Libnan 2 years ago:

    … What the people of Fallujah, more than any other people in the world, are facing everyday and every second of every day is hell on earth; they have to witness the death of more than a quarter of the new born within a week of their birth and to make the deeply painful decision of what is to be done about the huge proportion of grotesquely deformed babies that are born with two heads, three eyes, no limbs, one eye.

    The world owes the people of Fallujah an explanation of what has triggered this avalanche of deformity and horror. The usual celebratory experience of giving birth has been transformed to a time of anxiety and horror. Women dread becoming pregnant and above all carrying the fetus for nine months only to find out that what they are carrying has been condemned to death the moment that life was to begin. Such rapid and unique developments do not occur without a cause. The only logical proximate cause for this human tragedy was the 2003 war and in particular the 2004 assault on Fallujah. It was estimated that during that assault over 10,000 tons of depleted uranium, DU, was used in the bombardment of the city of 300,000 people.

    Both the Pentagon and the British governments insist that the use of DU is not illegal and that the studies that they have undertaken do not reveal DU to be a carcinogen. That might be true but many an international body including the EU and the UN have been trying, unsuccessfully, to prevent the use of DU munitions because there are many physicians, engineers and studies that suspect that the DU produced vapour in battles is capable of contaminating humans, soil and water. It is this radioactive contamination that causes the severe deformities in the newly born “things” since many of them do not look like humans.

    A group of doctors at the hospitals of Fallujah have documented the severity of the problems encountered by the newly born and has approached the UN and other world institutions asking for an investigation to determine the root cause of this tragedy. Tragic results from technological developments in war are nothing new. Agent Orange was used extensively to defoliate forests in Vietnam but wound up in causing the death and even childbirth deformities of thousands of people that it was deployed to protect. McNamara, who approved the use of Agent Orange never, forgave himself for all the damage and suffering that his decision has caused to millions of people but especially for loosing his son to an Agent Orange induced illness.

    The prospective new parents of Fallujah and the next generation are being asked to bear the unbearable burden of seeing their children die within days of being born or of giving birth to grotesquely deformed beings. This is the result of a war of choice during which one side made the deliberate decision to subdue a city by pulverizing it and by subjecting its innocent civilians to the most incredible of human sufferings. DU is an instrument of death and horror that must be banned from use in war until serious and exhaustive studies can be made to show the opposite. Meanwhile the heart of all decent and honorable citizens in the world goes out to the suffering parents of Fallujah and to the horror that they have been forced to live with. We must make sure that such acts are never repeated again. DU; if found to be the culprit; must be prohibited and declared in violation of the laws of war besides the Declaration of Human rights.

    Dumvitae, sorry I repeated what you posted; I saw it only after I had posted mine.

    • droog
      December 16, 2011, 2:50 pm

      It’s so obscene, I wonder if even Satan himself might be giving Dick a bit of a ticking off in the next memo.

  10. Dan Crowther
    December 16, 2011, 2:47 pm

    This really pisses me off. Singling out a Marine unit to be the face of all the senseless destruction, murder and, I would say, genocide that is the Iraq war, coupled with a emotion inducing photograph that isn’t even from the mentioned massacre is inappropriate and flat out wrong.

    I make no excuses for the Marines of Kilo company – none. Nor do I think that we all need to reflexively “support the troops” – but, saying your sorry should mean just that. It doesnt mean offering up the horrible Marines as a “we’re not all like these guys” throwaway.

    Same NY Times Article:

    “The documents uncovered by The Times — which include handwritten notes from soldiers, waivers by Marines of their right against self-incrimination, diagrams of where dead women and children were found, and pictures of the site where the Marine was killed by a roadside bomb on the day of the massacre — remain classified.”

    I have buddies from that Unit. The legitimately thought they were being attacked and used indirect weapons in returning fire ( thats why people were decapitated, grenades make heads pop off, disgusting, I know, but its true) – these guys thought they were throwing themselves into the brig with these confessions – it was their chain of command, including civilians who brushed it aside. And this massacre was in direct response to a killing of a Marine, something that cant be said about the Apache Helicopter video massacre, the blackwater massacre is Nasour Square and the execution style murder of a family in 06 ( discovered in wikileaks cables) – to name just a few.

    Part of the tragedy of Vietnam was the left came to loathe the men and women in the military, for things like the My Lai Massacre – never thinking that their own consumerism and acceptance of the capitalist order was just as much to blame for the destruction of Indo-China as anything else. From this came the break up of the left – the college educated hippies vs. the working class former soldiers, and we’ve been F’d as a country ever since. Let’s not do this again. The fact of the matter is, we not only owe an apology to Iraq, we owe an apology to humanity, including the men and women in the US uniform who (like me) fell for the nonsense about “honor, integrity” and images of slaying the dragon etc. ( along with cash for college).

    There are so many atrocities that deserve as much or more attention – and again, I make no apologies for the Marines of Kilo company- that, at this point, saying sorry is more or less worthless. We should be saying, “we do not deserve forgiveness, but will try every day to become worthy.”

    This obviously hits close to home for me, sorry for being such a dick here – but our culpability is far greater than we can even fathom, and I mean ALL of us.

    • droog
      December 16, 2011, 3:43 pm

      one could spend years in a military system of instruction, training, discipline, orders, a control mechanism in which one’s place, is as a cog in a giant machine. Only to find that suddenly, no actually you’re running the show and setting the course, yours is the hand that makes it so, and yours is the face on the MSM show, ‘why did it all go wrong’.
      We are are all responsible, all those in the democratic countries that fought the war. Those who faces should be shown next to the pictures of the newborn of Falluja are those who were planning it back in the 90’s.
      I think you make an important point Dan,
      ” From this came the break up of the left – the college educated hippies vs. the working class former soldiers, and we’ve been F’d as a country ever since. Let’s not do this again. The fact of the matter is, we not only owe an apology to Iraq, we owe an apology to humanity, including the men and women in the US uniform who (like me) fell for the nonsense about “honor, integrity” and images of slaying the dragon etc. “

    • Annie Robbins
      December 16, 2011, 4:02 pm

      my intention was not to single out any one unit. that was the meaning of The following article published yesterday by the NYT give us a glimpse into the horrors inflicted on the people of Iraq

      the blockquote itself did not specifically address haditha, and i chose it for this reason. it was an editorial choice to give some context to the nyt article for people who were otherwise unfamiliar with the massacre. but this one massacre only stands out in somewhat unique-ness because it happened to be one of the few that came to our attention just like the rape and burned charred body of abeer and execution of her family came to our attention because after getting blown off by the military the people who cared about that crime kidnapped members of our military in the same unit and then of course that brought attention..the kidnappings. otherwise the american public never would have heard about that. so my apology is not addressing one specific atrocity.

      i felt the photograph was very appropriate and i hope you and everyone open the very last link of the main post about ishaqi and listen to keith olbermann recent report on that massacre. many children died in iraq as a result of our invasion so i feel no regret about republishing that photo here with the children.

      every msm article i have read about indiscriminate killing in iraq (and yes, it definitely happened) is laden with either explanations or caveats about the impact of this war on american soldiers (and i have offered several links in the text that do just that).

      this dan, was an apology. personally i am not a fan of apologies overly laden w/ rationals, explanations and caveats. i like them better straight on.

      i hear your pissed-off-ness. i just wanted to say i was sorry to the people of iraq. today, that is my message to iraq.

      • Walid
        December 16, 2011, 4:49 pm

        Annie, the horrors of Iraq didn’t start with the invasion of 2003 but had started way before with Bush Sr on Iraq I and a bit later when he incited the Shia to rise against Saddam but abandoned them to be massacred when they did.

        In 2003, CNN wrote this about what Bush Sr did:

        It has often been repeated that the reason Iraqis haven’t greeted American forces with flowers and smiles is that the U.S. failed to come to the aid of those Iraqis who–with the encouragement of the first President Bush–revolted after Desert Storm in 1991.

        And the U.S. stood by when Saddam Hussein crushed the rebellion. What did happen in 1991? It’s a sad story of false hopes and serious miscalculations. After the U.S. evicted Iraqi forces from Kuwait, George Herbert Walker Bush had no intention of marching the U.S. Army to Baghdad to topple Saddam. He had promised the Arabs in the war coalition that he would push Saddam’s army back into Iraq–that’s all.

        That didn’t mean Bush Sr. wanted Saddam to remain in power. Pentagon planners were prepared to finish him off with Air Force bombing or special-ops commandos if they could find him. And if U.S. forces could not get to him, Bush had made it no secret that he would be more than happy if others did the job.

        On February 15, 1991, as the Desert Storm air campaign blasted Iraqi defenses in Kuwait, Bush flew to Andover, Mass., for a rally at the Raytheon plant, which manufactured the Patriot Air Defense System.

        In the middle of a rousing speech, he noted, almost as an aside, “There’s another way for the bloodshed to stop, and this is for the Iraqi military and the Iraqi people to take matters into their own hands and force Saddam Hussein, the dictator, to step aside.”

        This was a notion trumpeted by other Administration officials as well, but what they and Bush had in mind was encouraging senior leaders of the Iraqi army or Baath Party to revolt.

        “We didn’t expect a general public uprising,” says a former Bush aide. It was the Shi’ites in southern Iraq and the Kurds in the north–both of whom had long been subjugated by Saddam–who took Bush’s words to heart.

        They began their revolt on March 1, just one day after Bush halted the war. But Saddam’s battered Republican Guard divisions in the south quickly refashioned themselves and attacked Shi’ite guerrillas. Meanwhile, in the north, several Iraqi divisions moved to crush the Kurdish rebellion.

        The U.S. inadvertently helped Saddam annihilate the rebels by agreeing in the cease-fire deal negotiated by General Norman Schwarzkopf to allow Iraqi generals to continue flying their helicopters–a mistake because Saddam then used them to strafe rebels on the ground.

        Desperate Shi’ite and Kurdish leaders begged the U.S. military for help. But Colin Powell, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, wanted U.S. troops safely home, not mired in what might become a messy civil war. Secretary of State James Baker feared the “Lebanonization of Iraq.”

        His nightmare: Iraqi Shi’ites, aligned with Iran’s fundamentalist Shi’ites, would carve out the south; Sunni Muslims would hold the center; and Kurds, who long craved an independent state, would capture the north, upsetting Turkey, which feared revolt from its own Kurdish population.

        American pilots flying over southern Iraq held their fire as the Republican Guard massacred Shi’ites on the ground. Bush refrained from aiding Kurdish rebels in the north, although he finally sent troops and relief supplies to protect hundreds of thousands of fleeing Kurds who were in danger of freezing or starving to death.

        Bush has never regretted his decision not to intervene. It’s debatable whether he could have given the Shi’ites and Kurds enough firepower to topple Saddam without American soldiers’ being sucked into a civil war.

        These days George W. Bush bristles when others question whether the U.S. betrayed the Iraqis.

        But the decision of the father not to intervene has become a handy way for some of his son’s allies to explain why the cheering for U.S. soldiers has so far been muted.

        Clinton that came after wasn’t any better; we have to remember the story about the 500,000 dead Iraqi children that did not fizz on Secretary Albright.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 16, 2011, 5:28 pm

        oh ys, albright’s gruesome ‘worth it’ comment ..argh.

        as i mentioned to kathleen down thread in response to one of her informative posts about the sanctions i chose to focus on this particular phase of our involvement w/iraq. i also included up there in the blockquote about the 17,000 staff and some Iraqi politicians to label it a military camp in disguise.

        none of this started in ’03 and although i am of course hopeful it will come to an end now…i have my doubts of course. it’s been such a long long haul for the people of iraq..oh please can it be over.

      • Dan Crowther
        December 16, 2011, 5:44 pm


        your points are very well taken. i think you know how much i appreciate your perspective here, that was just my initial visceral reaction….

      • Annie Robbins
        December 16, 2011, 7:40 pm

        i know dan. thanks for being so understanding. it was something i had to do because i wasn’t expecting to hear it anywhere else. apologies are not our specialty and i felt it was the very least i could do.

    • Woody Tanaka
      December 16, 2011, 4:27 pm

      “The fact of the matter is… we owe an apology to… the men and women in the US uniform who (like me) fell for the nonsense about ‘honor, integrity’ and images of slaying the dragon etc. ( along with cash for college).”

      No. That’s bullshit. Everyone who fell for the lies was an adult and responsible for his or her own decisions. Smedley Butler wrote about war being a racket 80 years ago; there’s no excuse for anyone falling for the racket now. I might have some pity that they didn’t think to question the propaganda or to even wonder whether it was propaganda.

      But do “we” owe them an apology? No. Maybe they owe us an apology. If this all-volunteer army wasn’t willing to line up to go, the country might have had a conversation about whether it was wise for anyone to go.

      And maybe if Americans looked at the military machine and military personnel with a jaundiced eye, and didn’t reflexively repeating jingoistic nonsense about them fighting to protect our freedoms or saying that they’re all “heroes” being worried if we’re “supporting the troops” then maybe, just maybe, we would stop to ask the questions we need to ask.

      The Founding Fathers got an enormous number of things flat-out wrong. But their fear of a standing army was one of the things they got right. Too bad we don’t feel this way today.

      • Dan Crowther
        December 16, 2011, 5:52 pm

        Woody, I agree with most everything you said. Except, having been in the military ( and this after going to a new england prep school) I know how most of the guys viewed entering the service.

        Just like a I extend my sympathy to those who signed bullshit mortgages and got totally hosed, I also extend my sympathy to those 18 yr old kids – many of whom had no other outlet after high school- who enlisted in the military. You may technically be an adult at 18, but being able to get past massive state propaganda at 18 is a pretty tall order, for the most enlightened of kids….And none of them had anything to do with the military being all volunteer – that was a decision made long ago, precisely so Americans would view the military as something other than part of normal American society.

      • Woody Tanaka
        December 19, 2011, 4:57 pm


        I have sympathy for them, too. And perhaps it is too tall an order to say that 18 year olds should be mature enough to see beyond the hype and the propaganda. But I can’t beyond the fact that they’re agreement is a necessary condition to all of this stuff occurring. They bear responsibility. But in retrospect, I think that I failed to recognize fully that this fact doesn not get the rest of us off the hook. Because the American people, by and large, are still taken in by the same propaganda at whatever age. Providing a way for the 18 year olds to obtain the knowledge, information and legal protections to counteract the propaganda programming would require us to go beyond the very propaganda in ourselves that we are seeking to address.

        Hell, just this past weekend, Jeremy Shockey, a 31-year old man, publicly called out the Houston Texan players for not being demonstrably patriotic enough for him. Apparantly, it was not enough to stand by while our (apparently now mandatory) exercise in public patriotism before the football game. For Jeremy, it was not enough for the other players to stand by respectfully while some D-grade singer or local celeb mangled the song. No, he wouldn’t be happy unless the other players “loved Big Brother.”

      • Dan Crowther
        December 19, 2011, 6:41 pm

        hahaha!! Yea, in the end, Shockey loved Big Brother.

        Like Einstein said, wars will end when men refuse to fight them. We should all help with the “refusal to fight” part.

        cheers woody

        semper fidelis,


    • American
      December 16, 2011, 5:41 pm

      I have to agree and sympathize some with Dan’s sentiments here.
      My oldest brother was Marine Lt. in Vietnam…. Three purple hearts, Two Bronze Stars and One Silver Star for his actions there. … which was mostly trying to keep his men alive and staying alive while carrying out his orders. A lot of boy/men of that generation thought they were doing their duty by serving. Most of them later developed a hatred of the government for what they realized was nothing but a politicians war. The Marines get the dirtiest, bloodiest jobs in a war. My brother got shot twice, stabbed once and wounded by a grenade and had to kill men just as much human as he was, that he didn’t even want to kill, and even though they were the “enemy” it still weights on him. Some twisted characters that shouldn’t be in a military get in, some weak ones lose it in war. The one who are rouges in the rules of engagement should be singled out as ‘exceptions’ and punished.
      When he came back from Vietnam some clueless but well meaning family friends wanted to have a dinner in his honor but he refused it…because the only saying about war he ever quoted is all the heroes are dead. If you go into his study today you will not find a medal displayed or citation framed, the only thing related to Vietnam is a small black and white snapshot picture of him and some fellow Marines standing in front of some sand bags in a camp. I don’t now about Marines today, they are a different generation, but I imagine most of them do the same thing, try to stay alive and protect their men and the best ones try to hold onto their humanity in situations non combatants can’t imagine.

      • Woody Tanaka
        December 16, 2011, 6:01 pm


        Your post was a very humane and touching one.

        But this cycle will repeat, over and over again until we stop saying things like “blame the politicians, not the soliders” and excusing the soldiers because they thought they were “doing their duty.” (I also understand that things are different when there is a draft.) The fact is that this duty, honor, sacrifice talk — except when the foreign army are here, in the USA, actually attacking us — is almost always baloney. Nothing but the propaganda that the rich, powerful and connected use to get others to go fight, kill and die for them.

        We don’t want to face the fact that not one American who died in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afgahnistan died fighting for America’s freedom. (Hell, a good argument could be made that the only soldiers who ever died to protect the freedom of American citizens here in America died in the Revolutionary War and the Civil War (and arguments could be against the former and the first half of the latter), and that includes the Second World War.)

        Does that mean that every time American soliders fight it is bad? No. But what it does mean is that everyone who is thinking about fighting that war, sending someone else to fight in that war, voting for that war or talking positively of that war better be damned sure that he or she understands what is really at stake and doesn’t get misty-eyed over thoughts of bald eagles, the constitution and apple pie, only to find himself maimed for life or killing people he has no real quarrel with in order to make some energy exec CEO a little bit richer.

      • Djinn
        December 17, 2011, 1:07 am

        No-one here gives a pass to the illegal actions of Israeli soldiers while they prosecute their illegal invasion & occupation, I really don’t understand why it should be different when US soldiers in an entirely voluntary army carry out atrocities when prosecuting *their* illegal invasion & occupation.

        Following orders does not and never will cut it.

      • American
        December 17, 2011, 1:03 pm

        “But this cycle will repeat, over and over again until we stop saying things like “blame the politicians, not the soldiers” and excusing the soldiers because they thought they were “doing their duty.” (I also understand that things are different when there is a draft.) The fact is that this duty, honor, sacrifice talk — except when the foreign army are here, in the USA, actually attacking us — is almost always baloney.”…….Woody

        I was in no way excusing the “bad” soldiers..they exist. But it ‘is’ the politicians who start wars. We also have ignorant, sickos who support wars politicians start. My comment was in defense of soldiers, first, that had no choice in the past except join, go to jail, or run to Canada…as in the Vietnam war. And as I said I can’t say for todays generation but I imagine by the number of state side suicides of Iraq vets, the highest in the military history, that these volunteers got mugged by the reality of war.
        Some of them, like the famous athlete who was killed by friendly fire, joined because they were misty eyed about patriotism and propagandized by politicians.

        I live in military land and volunteer a day a week for Vets Transport, driving handicapped vets on errands and to appointments and there is something people don’t pick up on about vets, especially those who had been maimed. And that is that they have two choices; to either whine about their injuries or ‘justify’….so many of them, in order to live with it, chose to justify because it makes it easier to take then living with the reality it was for nothing. The same happens with the parents who lose a son in a war; some cling to and justify the sacrifice for God and country because it’s easier for them take the lost that way. Others curse the war and the useless sacrifice.

        Bottom line you are dead wrong in saying blame the soliders as well as the politicians. You can vilify the bad soliders and those in the military that love a war all you want, but the politicians start the wars. You want to stop the cycle?….the one that lures young people into war…..start with congress….they are druming up another one right now.
        And you don’t even have to crawl thru a jungle, or dodge IEDs to do it, just go right up there and tell them the same thing you told me.

      • Woody Tanaka
        December 19, 2011, 5:03 pm


        I think that we will have to agree to disagree. Because I say we should blame the bad soldiers and the politicans, but we shouldn’t excuse the ones who justify rather than face the truth, because that act right there is what permits the politicians to start the next one.

      • Avi_G.
        December 16, 2011, 6:19 pm

        American says:
        December 16, 2011 at 5:41 pm

        I have to agree and sympathize some with Dan’s sentiments here.

        I respect you and Dan, but I can’t say that I agree with either your sentiments or Dan’s.

        I think anyone who has been paying attention in the last 50 years must know that the US invades other countries when those countries pose no threat to its security and safety.

        Compounding that issue is the simple fact that the US military is an all volunteer force where service is not compulsory. So anyone who joins knows — or at least, should know — very well that he or she will most likely be involved in some frivolous and unjustified war somewhere on the planet.

        And then of course, there are those who have served in Iraq and have seen what devastation their own military has wreaked on the country, yet they return and claim that the war was justified on the grounds that We liberated them and brought them democracy.

        But I can appreciate the fact that governments and the media manipulate the public and make it seem as though military service is essential to the survival of the nation/country. I understand that. But, I have a hard time giving those soldiers a pass. I mean, how many have come out and spoke against the war? How many of the 100K+ troops sent to Iraq dissented and refused to carry on with this sham occupation? What I’m getting at is that it’s one thing to be naive and innocent on the way in (to the military), but quite another to come out with the same naivete. So from that perspective, each and every American soldier is responsible and I don’t feel sorry for any of those who continue to live the illusion.

      • Dan Crowther
        December 16, 2011, 8:32 pm

        I think Avi and Woody are asking an awful lot of kids fresh out of high school. Your asking them to do what the adults have never done.
        We grow up in a country with GI Joe, endless war movies, professional wrestling, cage matches on TV, football ( i admit, i like football – but its the most militaristic game imaginable, and alot of those kids go right into the service) – and then top it off with individualism inducing sht like facebook, reality TV and video games…its a totally fcked up society, we’re on mission impossible fckin 18 over here….

        i will be the first to admit – some troops are just bad guys, thats a fact. ive served with some, i would never give the “they were just following orders” spiel, people are not mindless – I just thought the specific “kilo company” reference and the picture placement in the post was a bit off…so to say.

        I do think though, that there are incredibly powerful forces in the “public consent” arena – and they are part of the greatest propaganda machine in the history of man – putting the onus on the kids to see past this, is like i said, asking a whole lot – in my opinion, but again – avi and woody, your points are well taken.

      • Djinn
        December 16, 2011, 6:43 pm

        When Israelis talk about how much their military service wounded them we call it shoot & cry. The American Army is voluntary and hasn’t been used in a defensive role for a very very long time (if ever, I’ll leave the Pearl Harbour debates for another thread). I personally can’t stomach any shoot & cry for US troops anymore than ex IOF.

      • Dan Crowther
        December 16, 2011, 10:09 pm

        it’s not a matter of shoot and cry – it’s a matter of do you blame the kid for joining the military in the first place. israeli military service is compulsory, so the propaganda is more nationalistic, aggressive and macho. here, we have made the military into the largest trade union in the country. you want benefits? retirement and affordable (free) housing? gotta give it up to uncle sam…..
        kids join the military to learn a trade more times than not, or to go to college for less – its a completely capitalist enterprise, has anyone here escaped capitalist transactions? Because thats the standard your holding others to….

        I am really only giving my sympathy to the 18 yr old joining the military in this hypothetical -and yea, i feel the same for the 18 yr old israeli – it sucks that he’s been raised in a society that thinks it’s greatest expression is him in his uniform.

      • Djinn
        December 17, 2011, 1:12 am

        Yes I blame the ‘kid’. That doesn’t mean I absolve those who sat in luxury while sending others to die or those who make millions from war & destruction. They are also obviously culpable. However if you don’t know at 18 that bombarding a civilian town in a nation that posed no threat to yours is 100% wrong then you’re probably a sociopath.

        Yes plenty join for college/health insurance but you know what LOTS of settlers only live in the West Bank because of financial imperatives, the fundie nut bag Kahanists are a minority. Again we give no free pass to them because they simply wanted to be able to house their family.

        I have never seen anyone here defend Israeli actions in this way and the US has a 100 year record of this shit. I understand people who have served in the US army feel an emotional response to this criticism but so do IDF and settlers and all their ex soldiers who became politicians. If the army that trashed Fallujah was Spanish I doubt anyone here would have any hesitation in saying this but it always hard when you have to look into a mirror.

      • Dan Crowther
        December 17, 2011, 9:19 am

        No one is defending these actions. I think I need to make that point clear. Like I have said repeatedly on this thread – I was only objecting originally to the direct mention of “kilo company marines” is if they are ALL sociopaths – and the picture, which wasnt from the massacre being described….

        But as for everyone here who wants to “blame the 18 yr olds” – finding peace in the world is going to be very hard. Maybe it’s the christian still in me, but I think you have to love everyone the same. We have erected unbelievable propaganda machines, so vast and encompassing, that most don’t even realize they are there. Falling into the Trap is done in a million different ways, a million times a day. And it’s not just a US trap either – I mean, I personally don’t think there is a heaven with 70+ virgins waiting for whoever blows themselves up – BUT, Im not going to blame a teenager for buying it.

        If and when peace comes, and the American military machine is stopped – what are we going to do, just summarily execute the military and anyone who has been a member of it? And yea, its the same with the Israeli’s -if peace means civilian Israeli’s distancing themselves from the military to show that they are “not like them” – (1) that would be a lie and (2) the men and women who had served in the IDF will be outcasts; there is a lot of them, and they are trained to kill – you really want to exclude them from the process?

        My personal view is that anyone who just wants to point the finger at the enlisted members of the military – any military- and say, “they’re to blame” is taking the easy way out. They’re our fellow humans, and members of our societies. I myself make it a point to tell as many 18 yr olds as possible NOT to join the military, for many of the reasons cited here and in the arguments against me. I’ve spoken to athletic clubs and groups of high schoolers about these issues.

        One last point, i signed the dotted line for the Marine Corps Sept 6, 2001. To Djinns’ point, yes, I would say, a 18 yr old joining the Marines this very moment is doing so under very different circumstances. But I believe it’s a problem of institutions, not people. We need to attack the military as an institution, not as a group of people. Same with the IDF – it’s sucks, I know – but we can’t put limits on our own humanity because we don’t like what we see in others….And again, I am talking about just regular soldiers/marines etc – not anyone charged with or convicted of crimes.

      • Mooser
        December 18, 2011, 12:21 pm

        “However if you don’t know at 18 that bombarding a civilian town in a nation that posed no threat to yours is 100% wrong then you’re probably a sociopath. “

        Now, you have probably just watched a lot of TV and movies, and gotten no moral or ethical instruction from your parent (if you are lucky enough to have that many) beyond “make money”
        You probably think the gas they light on fire on sets is real HE, and you think that bullets follow a script.

      • Woody Tanaka
        December 19, 2011, 5:00 pm

        “My personal view is that anyone who just wants to point the finger at the enlisted members of the military – any military- and say, ‘they’re to blame’ is taking the easy way out.”

        I think that my point is merely to say that anyone who is saying that the 18 year old is not to blame is also taking the easy way out.

      • Dan Crowther
        December 19, 2011, 6:42 pm

        that’s a fair point. well taken.

      • Robert Werdine
        December 21, 2011, 12:46 pm

        I quite agree that we do owe the Iraqis an apology, though not for removing Saddam from power. We owe them an apology for the breathtaking incompetence of our post-war administration and lack of foresight, and our failure to protect the Iraqi people from both the chaos that ensued following the military operation, and the murderous depredations of Al-Zarqawi and his like. However, there is a moral distinction between trying and failing to protect, and deliberately planning and executing acts of indiscriminate mass-murder in the tens of thousands, and the attempts, aided and abetted by Iran, Syria and Al-Qaeda, to openly and unabashedly foment wholesale sectarian civil war and an even greater orgy of mass slaughter.

        Said Bin-Laden in 2005: “Anyone who participates in these elections…has committed apostasy against Allah…their blood is permitted. They are apostates whose deaths should not be prayed over.”

        Said Al-Zarqawi of the Sh’ia: “They are the lurking snakes and the crafty scorpions, the spying enemy, and the penetrating venom, the most evil of mankind.”

        To cite just a few of literally dozens of examples attacks on Sh’ia civilians in 2005 alone proudly claimed by AQI and other Sunni insurgent groups: the police recruiting center in Al Hillah, on Feb. 28, 2005 where 127 were killed, the marketplace in Musyyab on July 16, 2005 where 100 Sh’ia worshipers returning from evening prayers were killed, the bombings in Baghdad on Aug 17 and Sept 14 which killed 203, and the suicide attacks on two Sh’ia mosques in Khanaqin Nov.18 in which 74 were killed.

        The overwhelming number of these attacks were aimed at Iraqi civilians, not coalition troops. The worst follies of the Americans and the coalition simply have nothing to compare with the nakedness of these acts of nihilistic and unearthly evil, and it is nothing less than shameful that not one person here has a single word to say about this. The murderers of tens of thousands of innocents are not only excused here from the crimes whose responsibility they so loudly and proudly claimed as their own, but are themselves given an ennobled status under the euphemistic obscenity of “resistance,” while those who, however imperfectly, fought and sacrificed to thwart the designs of these monsters, are portrayed as thuggish, imperialistic, racist grunts who would happily slaughter whole families in a fit of pique just to emphasize their displeasure. The moral myopia that informs this viewpoint is simply beyond belief.

        We do not know exactly what happened in Haditha on November 19, 2005. An interview with Chief Warrant Officer K. R. Norwood of Kilo Company has him answering a question posed to him whether civilian deaths were out of the ordinary, to which he responded,

        “Not out of the ordinary, sir, because, I mean, we had 24 major operations in Huseba, you know, insurgents using houses with civilians in the basement with not knowing. Insurgents utilizing children as shields for implanting IEDs, I mean these–I mean , we had this everyday . And as the Ground.Watch Officer, I mean, I was so engaged. I mean, it just happened, and I don’t think you get sensitized to it, but it happened everyday, sir.”

        Norwood was thus not talking here of coalition inflicted deaths, but of all civilian deaths. Col. John Ledoux similarly commented the tactics of insurgents, and their contempt for the lives of civilians,

        “But to have, like I’m saying, just thousands of incidents, thousands of noncombatant deaths as well as, you know, enemy. It’s just that there is a pretty tough mix out there. You’re being—and the guys that are trying to do it in such a way that it does put you in a difficult position where you’re being ambushed and your enemy really has no concern about the Iraqis, and in fact, you know, is trying to create situations, even through their IO (Intelligence operations) campaigns with fake videos where you’d have things come up, or Marines killed so many guys and they are at this hospital or that hospital, and then all of a sudden, you know, you see the same picture thing over and over again where you allegedly, you know, it’s like the MEU-SOC (Marine Expeditionary Units-Special Operations Capable training) playbook, where they pull out the Marines kill, you know, forty civilians and innocent people, you know, and start playing that. That’s all bullshit, but you know, it gets people spinning arid it’s just part of their game. And I think part of their game too, is, you know, to try to put you in a tough spot where it is hard to distinguish the insurgent from the, you know, from the civilian. Your guys got to make hard calls all the time out there.”

        An interview with Col. S. Davis,

        “Q. But here you’ve got specific allegations, whatever the source, however suspect–however suspicious you are of the source, that your Marines killed guys in ways that they shouldn’t have killed them.

        A . Okay, what do we have here? All right. Let’s go back and review the story boards. We reviewed the story boards, talked to Chessani (Commander of 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines) and there is no meat here. If I am not mistaken, McGirk’s (Time magazine reporter’s) allegations are that he had been contacted by the mayor of Haditha, that the Americans had slaughtered people and that there was a video of that. Now I have never seen this video but I’ve been told it’s films of the deceased in a morgue or something along that line. Haditha is a special place for the insurgents. It was the center of their information operations.

        When we did Operation River Gate we overran a facility, captured it, ten stack computers, each one capable of producing ten CD’s simultaneously. So if you have a beheading, and IED incident, within ten minutes you get 100 CDs out in the nukes. And this is all part of the murder intimidation campaign. We to this day don’t know why, outside of the obvious strategic nature of Haditha, why Haditha is so important to the enemy. I mean, it figures greatly in their history, the revolt against the British of 1920. Quite clearly, it is very strategic terrain for them for other than just the geographic reasons. They don’t want us in that town. We are well aware of that. The mayor, if he is not an insurgent himself, he is clearly an insurgent sympathizer, which Colonel Chessani dealt with routinely through out that time. In my mind this was all part of a play. They could not get what they wanted through Chessani, this was never hidden, this was never covered up, so they go outside to let the press come in and try to work it as an angle to move us out of there.”

        These sentiments do not indicate a casual indifference to civilian deaths; they indicate the stresses typical of young men living daily with the specter of combating a shadowy enemy ruthlessly indifferent to human life, let alone rules of engagement, and whose sole objective is to maximize confusion between civilians and combatants and wreak the greatest possible havoc to spur along a war of sectarian bloodletting.

        Perhaps no form of warfare puts more strain on those who wage it than counterinsurgency. The confusion between civilian and combatant, the stress of knowing that today’s friendly civilian could be tomorrow’s assailant or terrorist, sap nerves and morale sometimes to breaking point. Almost all anti-guerilla and anti-insurgent campaigns in history—the Peninsular War in Spain in 1808-1814, where Napoleon’s Grand Armee slowly bled to death under the blows of Spanish guerillas and Wellington’s army (and immortalized in Goya’s “The Third of May,1808”), the Philippines in the 1890’s, and, of course, Vietnam, have incidents where soldiers have been involved in the deaths of civilians or prisoners of war. My Lai is merely the most famous.

        One particularly famous example occurred in the Second Boer War (1901-1902) between the British and the Boer Guerillas of South Africa, which was one of the more brutal insurgent wars of the century. Australian Lt. Harry “Breaker” Morant, upon learning his commanding officer, Capt. Hunt, had been murdered in cold blood by Boer guerillas and his body savagely abused, determined to avenge his murder. Morant responded “like a man demented, and…vowed there and then that he would give no quarter and take no prisoners.”

        Morant then led a contingent and set about to the farm where Hunt had been killed in search of the perpetrators, only to find they had fled. After one engagement with guerillas, they captured a Boer insurgent named Visser, who was found to have clothes on resembling those of a British officer, thought to be of Capt. Hunt (They weren’t. In fact, it later turned out that Hunt had been killed in action, not murdered). Morant then ordered that Visser be shot; there were objections voiced by some, but one soldier carried out the shooting, botching the job and leaving him alive. Morant then had a subordinate carry out the coup de grace with a revolver. This was only the beginning. Morant then rampaged about killing some 20 Boer prisoners, including a German missionary who had witnessed the killings.

        At his court martial, there was much talk about the brutality of the conflict, the stresses on the soldiers, and the savage behavior of the Boer guerillas. As with Calley at My Lai, the defense argued justification for Morant’s actions on orders from a superior officer. Again as with Calley, no such orders given could be proven to exist. George Ramsdale Witton, a fellow officer of Morant’s whose sentence was commuted, and who later published the book “Scapegoats of the Empire” (1907), which portrayed Morant’s conviction and execution as unjust and Moran himself as being sacrificed for behavior that was widespread and rampant throughout the conflict (and which formed the basis of the famous film “Breaker Morant”), had this to say:

        “War is calculated to make men’s natures both callous and vengeful, and when civilised rules and customs are departed from on one side, reprisals are sure to follow on the other, and the shocking side of warfare in the shape of guerilla tactics is then seen. At such a time it is not fair to judge the participants by the hard and fast rules of citizen life or the
        strict moral codes of peace. It is necessary to imagine one’s self amidst the same surroundings–in an isolated place, with the passions of war aroused, men half-starved, dangers constantly threatening from all quarters, and responsibilities crowding one upon another–to enable a fair decision to be reached.”

        This is of course all true. But Lord Kitchener, the Commander in Chief of the British Army in South Africa, in a letter to the Australian government, touched also upon a truth not to be overlooked,

        “In reply to your telegram, Morant, Handcock and Witton were charged with twenty separate murders, including one of a German missionary who had witnessed other murders. Twelve of these murders were proved. From the evidence it appears that Morant was the originator of these crimes which Handcock carried out in cold-blooded manner. The murders were committed in the wildest parts of the Transvaal, known as Spelonken, about eighty miles north of Pretoria, on four separate dates namely 02 July, 11 August, and 07 September, 1901. In one case, where eight Boer prisoners were murdered, it was alleged to have been done in a spirit of revenge for the ill treatment of one of their officers – Captain Hunt – who was killed in action. No such ill-treatment was proved. The prisoners were convicted after a most exhaustive trial, and were defended by counsel. There were, in my opinion, no extenuating circumstances. Lieutenant Witton was also convicted but I commuted the sentence to penal servitude for life, in consideration of his having been under the influence of Morant and Handcock. The proceedings have been sent home.”

        Kitchener was right. These were cold blooded executions that no “fog of war” or extenuating circumstances in the heat of battle, could ever justify. To have condoned or ignored such atrocities would have been a moral travesty. Kitchener here upheld both the sentence and the principle that none are above the law, and that one man’s savagery can never be another man’s alibi for murder when his own life is not even threatened. When a prisoner avails himself to the custody of his captors, his life and security are inviolable under every custom of law and morality. Period.

        (An appeal to the British Crown to review and overturn Morant’s court-martial and conviction last year was rightly rejected.)

        These principles are sacrosanct, as all regarding non-combatant immunity must always be. The difference between Morant’s crime and the killings at Haditha is that Morant’s guilt was never in question and the circumstances at Haditha are still unclear. According to all of the evidence, it would seem that the Marines of Kilo Company took fire after their vehicle hit an IED, and responded by promptly seeking out the source. This would be plausible: insurgents would often conduct ambushes by planting an IED, then smothering the vehicle (and those in the vicinity) with direct and indirect fire. (Hezbollah also used this tactic on the Israelis in the 2006 War.)

        In the course of seeking out four dwellings, the Marines killed 24 Iraqis, 8 of whom they said were armed insurgents. Whether the 16 civilians killed was accidental, a deliberate slaughter of innocents, or a criminally negligent killing, we do not know. If this was a deliberate killing, nothing can excuse it. All we do know is that Marines subject to combat stresses and strains beyond what most of us can imagine were involved in an engagement that involved the deaths of 24 Iraqis.

        And those strains are real, lasting long after shots are fired in anger. A U.S. Naval Medical Bulletin report examining combat fatigue in Marines on Guadalcanal in November 1942 said,

        “Many of these patients reported being buried in foxholes, blown out of trees, blown through the air…Many who had no anxiety in the daytime would develop a state of anxiety and nervous tension at night. These were shadow troops. They were the young ancients, the old young, staring with a fixed thousand yard stare out of eyes that were red-rimmed and sunken. Their bodies were taut rags of flesh stretched over sticks of bone. They had come to Guadalcanal muscular and high spirited young men, but now their high fervor had ebbed and nearly flowed away. They were hanging on by habit only, fighting out of the rut of an old valor.”

        General Alexander Vandegrift, commander of the 1st Marine Division at Guadalcanal, had no illusions about the price of that valor. He had seen too many brave men whose nerves and physique could no longer bear the strain of explosions and flying shrapnel. One officer came to him and said, “I am awfully sorry, sir, but I know I cannot stand another shelling and I do not want to crack up in front of my men.” Vandegrift sent him to the hospital, where, rested and apparently cured, he once again braved open combat, only to collapse again in a fit of nerves. The doctor who treated the officer did not understand, but Vandegrift did. “I did not ask because I knew,” he wrote. “It is not a matter of physical build, stamina, faith, courage, or what have you. It is a matter of man, and thus fortune…’There but for the grace of God go I.’”

      • Woody Tanaka
        December 21, 2011, 1:13 pm

        And Werdine word-vomits the thread, and not a word for the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, which we killed with “sanctions” on Iraq before the war, or even acknowledgment of the fact that all of the insurgent killings only occurred because we decided to play Empire.

        Oh, but we wear white hats and white skins, so I guess that is our burden.

    • Citizen
      December 16, 2011, 8:23 pm

      Dan Crowther, I agree with you. I served in the Army as a grunt (combat engineer, MOS 120 Pioneer) during the Nam Era, and I went to college after it during that Era. I saw it all. No question the Draft and deferment policy was classic class war. It’s not fun to come home to be spit upon by righteous kids about your same age. Nobody I served with came from well-off families or from families “who knew somebody,” and this was so regardless if they were volunteers (“RA”) or draftees (“US”). The volunteer Army today still comes from mostly the same socio-economic and cultural class. The switch is today our young combat troops do not get spit on–they get the ritualistic “Thank you for your service.” I always get the feeling the truth is those military bodies dump in pits and the lack of photos or videos of our dead coming home to that. Nobody I know personally these days knows any of our young troopers or their families. Their civilian peers are big on war simulation video games. Our military today reminds me of Hessians. Who can ignore the fact that so little of our congress and media has served in the military? And we’ve been at war for decades, with no end in sight–nobody but Ron Paul even asks us to take a hard look at our war business foreign policy. I keep hoping for the day they need combat troop volunteers and nobody volunteers. A WW3 resulting from an Israel attack on Iran might eventually lead to such a situation. That would also be interesting in terms of female “opportunity.” With rights, duties are also suppose to come. Yay Michelle Bachmann!

      • American
        December 17, 2011, 1:28 pm

        “I always get the feeling the truth is those military bodies dump in pits and the lack of photos or videos of our dead coming home to that. “….

        Of course it is. Why do we think Bush outlawed even pictures of the caskets of the dead being returned home?
        Hear Obama’s speech to departing Iraq troops?….blah,blah blah, great cause, ad nauseum…..more lipstick for the war lies.
        There is a POLITICAL blackout on the reality of war..and it’s purpose is to keep it out of the public’s consciousness.
        Should most people be able to figure this out by now?…yea…but many don’t. A lot of citizens are walking around unconscious about most things in the USA.

      • Mooser
        December 18, 2011, 12:24 pm

        Excuse me, Citizen, but can we lay the “spitting” canard to rest? As far as I know, the only “spitting on returned Viet Nam vets” incidents were American Legion guys who spit on returning vets because they “lost” the war
        If you have a cite for any spitting by peaceniks on vets, I’d love to see it.
        It just makes no sense; a guy who has sat at home smoking dope and tripping is going to spit on a fit, returning vet who might be full of rage and frustration? In a public place?
        Let’s just lay that “spitting on vets” bullcrap to rest, huh?

    • dahoit
      December 17, 2011, 10:24 am

      I disagree that we are all culpable.Plenty of us unwashed protest everything done since 9-11 but as we hold no power we are like the tree that falls in the forest with no sound.
      But unfortunately our self made enemies around the world will hold US all culpable,as we allegedly live in freedom and democracy.They must also read the MSM to believe that horsehockey,but things are what they are.

  11. Kathleen
    December 16, 2011, 2:59 pm

    Annie “When I think of what my country has done to Iraq since our invasion in 2003,”

    Sanctions against Iraq. How many children died

    When the US invaded Iraq in the early 90’s I was listening to NPR with my three daughters and my husband and we all started crying when we heard the sounds of bombs dropping on Baghdad. We headed to DC like so many others who were against this action. Spent many hours trying to get information about how many Iraqi people were killed during these bombings. Our MSM would never hardly whisper. The US has killed and meddled in Iraq for a very long time

    George Galloway says it better than anyone when he slammed Norm Coleman and other US senators for their complicity in Iraqi crimes against humanity. I watched this live. I thought I had died and gone to heaven I had never heard anyone describe the truth about what had and was taking place in Iraq. Galloway rips through the lies and tells the truth like no one can or has since.

    Watch it all six segments. you will not be sorry

    If you have never watched the Winter soldier hearings where American soldiers who served in Iraq and AFghanistan who testified in front of Congress another must watch. Just went to look for the complete hearing link and the IAVA is redoing

    Winter Soldier testimonials


    • Annie Robbins
      December 16, 2011, 3:28 pm

      thanks kathleen. yes, i am aware of the decade of sanctions. there is a reason why i limited my post here to the departure of american troops from iraq.

      perhaps i will address that reason later on, or not.

    • American
      December 16, 2011, 5:55 pm

      I saw Galloway do that too kathleen.
      I got a vicarious chest swelling just watching him lay into those politicians.

  12. eee
    December 16, 2011, 3:01 pm

    Asking for forgiveness without offering reparations is BS. Annie, if you want forgiveness commit to giving billions of dollars to rebuild Iraq and allow Iraqis that want to the right to live in the US, for example the millions of Iraqi Christians that can’t go home. But of course, you do not support that. All you support is hot air, nothing that would really help.

    • Kathleen
      December 16, 2011, 3:10 pm

      And put those responsible for the invasion and the war crimes committed on trial at the Hague. How many years has it taken to hold many Nazi war criminals accountable? Hopefully the Iraqi people are as persistent as many family members of those exterminated during WWII have been

      Bush,Cheney, Woflowitz, Feith, Condi “mushroom Cloud” Rice beware

      • droog
        December 16, 2011, 5:15 pm

        there are so many to list, Rumsfeld, IMHO really should be prominent, and Blair.

      • Citizen
        December 16, 2011, 8:38 pm

        Yeah, they all make me wanna puke. And those GOP candidates I saw and heard on TV the other night at the Iowa debate? As Ron Paul directly to Michelle Bachmann, “That’s dangerous talk!” They were all absolutely convinced Paul was a traitor and didn’t care about defending America. They thought it absurd when he asked the audience to at least bother to look at it from Iran’s position, and consider the cost to all in both blood and diversion of resources needed at home. Scary country. Scary knowing Americans are as easily led by Fear as any country. Goering said that was the trick in any country and he specifically included every democracy.

    • Woody Tanaka
      December 16, 2011, 3:45 pm

      “Asking for forgiveness without offering reparations is BS.”

      And, somewhere in the vast expanse of existence, the platonic ideal of “Irony” — an object as bright as a thousand suns — was briefly outshone by a Zionist complaining that an American did not go far enough in making up for the harm and oppression that her people had unleashed on another.

    • Walid
      December 16, 2011, 3:58 pm

      “the millions of Iraqi Christians that can’t go home. But of course, you do not support that. All you support is hot air, nothing that would really help”

      That’s an important point you raised there, eee, the Iraqi Christians that were made to flee because of America’s plan to redraw the Middle East, especially Iraq. This plan involved emptying the 1.5 million Iraqi Christians because they became the unwanted players in the 3-way split that US wanted to make out of Iraq.

      On the other hand, since Israel played a major role in having the US invade Iraq, you shouldn’t be moralizing anybody over what the US did to Iraq.

    • Annie Robbins
      December 16, 2011, 4:42 pm

      But of course, you do not support that

      we can place this in the pile of garbage posts of yours for which you have no supporting evidence. none, zilch. they only serve to ratchet up the discourse.

    • Mooser
      December 16, 2011, 5:00 pm

      “All you support is hot air, nothing that would really help”

      Well there’s my MDR for the day, all I need and more. The only way I could get any more into my poor blood is sprinkle irony filings on my corn-flakes.

    • American
      December 16, 2011, 5:51 pm

      “eee says:
      Asking for forgiveness without offering reparations is BS. Annie,”

      Are you and Israel going to pay reparations to Palestines?
      How about to the family of the Palestine you just shot in the head and killed?
      And all the others?

    • john h
      December 16, 2011, 6:25 pm

      the millions of Iraqi Christians that can’t go home.

      Ah yes eee, you do care so much for those who are homeless that way. Your heart of granite could never comprehend your own hypocrisy; what about all those Palestinians that can’t go home and haven’t been able to for the last 60+ years?

      But of course, you do not support that. All you support is hot air

    • Charon
      December 16, 2011, 6:56 pm

      eee isn’t a very good mind reader. I’m not a mind reader either but i reckon my intuition works better. Let’s dissect your comment:

      “Asking for forgiveness without offering reparations is BS.” Why? Firstly, this is an individual apology written by Annie and not the US government. The current US government would never apologize. Unless you’re a billionaire, an individual can’t give reparations to an entire country. Secondly, I didn’t realize apologies had rules. Pretend the US government apologized to Iraq. A few things could happen. Iraq might accept the apology or reject the apology (“sorry isn’t good enough”). Then the US could say “how about some reparations?” Again, either accept or reject (“we don’t want your blood money”). What difference does it make? You think they’re going to be offended? ex. “Why didn’t you offer that with the initial apology?” Only in your mind maybe.

      “Annie, if you want forgiveness commit to giving billions of dollars to rebuild Iraq” Who says she isn’t? You’re not a mind reader

      “and allow Iraqis that want to the right to live in the US, for example the millions of Iraqi Christians that can’t go home. But of course, you do not support that. All you support is hot air, nothing that would really help.” Again, you’re not a mind reader. Why do you assume she doesn’t support any of this? Because your intent was probably just to cause trouble. As for the ‘millions of Iraqi Christians that can’t go home’ comment. I’m pretty sure that’s supposed to stir up some sort of anti-Muslim sentiment.

    • libra
      December 16, 2011, 7:19 pm

      eee: “Asking for forgiveness without offering reparations is BS…”

      Your turn will come eee. Start saving now.

    • Mooser
      December 16, 2011, 7:39 pm

      “Asking for forgiveness without offering reparations is BS. Annie, if you want forgiveness commit to giving billions of dollars to rebuild Iraq and allow Iraqis that want to the right to live in the US, for example the millions of Iraqi Christians that can’t go home.”

      Wow, you really got us that time “eee”. I mean, you’re home safe. There’s no way anybody could turn that around and apply it to the Palestinians and Israel. No sir, you really “oh, snap!”ed us that time.

      • eee
        December 17, 2011, 12:01 pm

        Ah, so through the haze you see the similarity to the Palestinian issue. But of course you do not think it through. What right do you have to ask Israel to pay reparations or accept refugees if you are not willing as Americans to do that in the case of Iraq? Is there one American group whose activism is aimed in that direction? Not than I know off.

        So keep holding Israelis to different standards than you hold yourself. You know what these kind of people are called.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 17, 2011, 12:35 pm

        What right do you have to ask Israel to pay reparations or accept refugees if you are not willing as Americans to do that in the case of Iraq?

        eee, again, you keep making allegations sans any statement or even an implication any of us have eluded to rejecting either of these suggestions.

        Is there one American group whose activism is aimed in that direction? Not than I know off.

        well, why don’t you point us to an american group (who i suppose you think represent us) whose activism is directed towards ‘paying reparations or accept palestinian refugees’ (accepting refugees outside of palestine that your reference to iraqi christians). to make your point about our alleged hypocrisy.

        fyi, i would be totally down with both paying iraq reparations and accepting refugees. ( in fact i have donated to a group who settles iraqi refugees inside the US)

        it seems like your participation here continues to be along the lines of ‘gotcha’ moments sans any evidence to base your claims on besides your own bloviations. chomp chomp chomp, you’re behaving like a troll.

      • eee
        December 17, 2011, 2:39 pm


        It is good to know that you yourself stand for reparations. But though it is your right to care about whatever you want, the fact is that your activism is focused on Israel and not at your own country’s wrongdoing. Yes, you gave money to the Iraqi Christian cause but you have devoted much more money and time to the Palestinian cause. The Iraqi Christians you are directly responsible for as an American, yet you choose not to focus on them. It is your right of course, but it is also my right to question your priorities.

      • Talkback
        December 17, 2011, 3:55 pm

        Called from whom, eee? Rascist bigots like Nathan Sharansky who don’t hold back delegitimizing and demonizing Palestinians?

      • American
        December 17, 2011, 4:25 pm

        “The Iraqi Christians you are directly responsible for as an American, yet you choose not to focus on them. It is your right of course”…..eee

        Any reason you are limiting yourself to concern about the Christians?
        And you don’t know what anyone here may have done about trying to get the US to let Iraqis in danger into the US or what we have personally said and or done to get justice for Iraq families….or Afghans either.

      • Mooser
        December 18, 2011, 12:16 pm

        “What right do you have to ask Israel to pay reparations or accept refugees if you are not willing as Americans to do that in the case of Iraq?”

        There’s a very simple answer to your question, and here it is: Tough S–t, fella, that’s what I’ve decided to do, and you are the last person in the world who I would ask for a moral judgement on it. Do you have that clear, chump?
        And you are going to call me a hypocrite? Okay, so now I know I’m doing the right thing.
        Oh, and one more thing, dodo- try and stop me. Save your breath, you’ll get nowhere. The more you condemn me, the more right I’ll think I am.
        And I have a funny feeling I’m not the only one who feels that way.

      • eee
        December 18, 2011, 9:19 pm

        Why would I want to stop you Mooser? You are a great help to show the true face of anti-Zionists. You are against racism but constantly generalize about Israelis, blaming them of being drugged. You constantly claim you are against harming Israelis, but support most ideas to hurt us. You claim you are objective, but clearly you are a hypocrite who is not prepared to demand from his own country what you demand of Israel. When confronted by arguments like “Tough S–t, fella, that’s what I’ve decided to do” you whine that this is basically the “might makes right argument”, and then you turn around and then make the exact argument yourself!

        Not only that, you are proud of your inconsistency and irrationality. So please, do not let anyone stop you.

  13. tombishop
    December 16, 2011, 3:04 pm

    With his look forward, not back mantra, Barack Obama is as guilty of war crimes as anyone in the Bush administration. He is complicit in the coverup of the war crimes. Can you ask the people of Fallujah not to look back? They have to live with the consequences of U.S. crimes every day of their lives!

    • Kathleen
      December 16, 2011, 3:16 pm

      Not as guilty but complicit…indeed. And Pelosi took “impeachment off the table”

  14. Kathleen
    December 16, 2011, 3:19 pm

    al jazeera has a great spread up about Iraq

  15. seafoid
    December 16, 2011, 3:21 pm

    Get your war on

    The best of the best commentary on the FUBRfest that was the Iraq war

    Modern elite man doesn’t say sorry. Nobody said sorry for the Financial crisis .

    • Citizen
      December 16, 2011, 8:48 pm

      Last I heard, Madoff didn’t say he was sorry either; he’s too bush living like a Mafia Don in his feathered prison. And did you get a gander at his wife when interviewed on TV a month or so ago? She’s not sorry either; except the got caught.

  16. Walid
    December 16, 2011, 3:32 pm

    There will be more in the years to come. We thought that it would stop after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but it didn’t. We thought it would stop after the carpet bombing, agent orange and My Lai in Vietnam, but it didn’t. We thought it would stop in what was Yugoslavia, but it didn’t. It will never stop and there will be more.

    And the US still refuses to recognize that it has hundreds of thousands Iraq veterans that are seriously sick for having come into contact with or handled the depleted uranium shit. There are hundreds of thousands other ones that are mentally ill because of what they had done in Iraq. In another 5 years, it will be 10 years since the Israeli forces also played with depleted uranium over Lebanon and Gaza and they’ll start experiencing the same problems as the Americans are now having.

    • Citizen
      December 16, 2011, 8:50 pm

      I should take a few Americans to the VA hospital I go to every six weeks or so, but nobody’s interested.

      • Annie Robbins
        December 16, 2011, 9:17 pm

        really citizen? you’ve asked people to accompany you and no one is interested?

    • eee
      December 17, 2011, 12:12 pm

      Israel used uranium depleted shells already in 1982 in Lebanon. It is the standard armor piercing shell of the Israeli tanks. There are no side effects either in Israel and the IDF has been tracking this extensively. Furthermore, because Israelis do reserve duty together for many years, it is easy for us to know if people in our unit are suffering more from a certain disease. So the culprit is something less, not the depleted uranium.

      • Walid
        December 19, 2011, 4:58 am

        eee, here’s another secret Israeli issue that you hadn’t heard about that dates back to 60 years or so that Israel has been hush-hush about; from today’s Haaretz; some day, you will be hearing about Israelis claiming damages from depleted uranium:

        “… The examination in Petah Tikvah’s District Court of claims by 44 employees of the Dimona Negev Nuclear Research Center (NNRC ) has shed light on what occurs behind the scenes at one of the country’s most secret facilities. After two weeks of open hearings, many details have surfaced pertaining to safety procedures and monitoring of radioactive materials at the center.

        The reactor workers claim that they incurred cancer and other diseases as a result of extended exposure to radiation at work. It bears mention that about half of those mentioned in the case are no longer alive. Members of their families regularly attend the proceedings, where they are amazed to learn about the conditions their relatives faced, which have been kept under wraps until now. ”

      • eee
        December 19, 2011, 10:17 am


        If you think that illness in the many IDF units exposed to depleted uranium could be hushed up in Israel, you don’t know anything about Israel or the IDF.

  17. Kris
    December 16, 2011, 4:07 pm

    And now we’re being prepared to do the same to Iran.

    • Citizen
      December 16, 2011, 8:55 pm

      Oh yeah, Kris–it’s coming, all the flags are there. When the Iranian central bank really feels the pinch, the price at our gas pump will go up $5 to $10 a gal. That should be a big help to us all. Well, that would curb unrest here and in Iran, a win-win of double solidarity, and the bonus left on the table will be nice for Israel too.

  18. DICKERSON3870
    December 16, 2011, 4:14 pm

    RE: “Beloved Iraq, I am sorry.” ~ Annie

    MY COMMENT: Frankly, I regret having lived to see the U.S. perpetrate such horrors as the Haditha massacre. I hate to be morbid, but it and other such instances of “the cost of doing business”* (the business of the U.S. empire) weigh very heavily upon me.


    (excerpt)…General Johnson, the commander of American forces in Anbar Province, said he did not feel compelled to go back and examine the events because they were part of a continuing pattern of civilian deaths.
    “It happened all the time, not necessarily in MNF-West all the time, but throughout the whole country,” General Johnson testified, using a military abbreviation for allied forces in western Iraq.
    “So, you know, maybe — I guess maybe if I was sitting here at Quantico and heard that 15 civilians were killed I would have been surprised and shocked and gone — done more to look into it,” he testified, referring to Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia. “But at that point in time, I felt that was — had been, for whatever reason, part of that engagement and felt that it was just a cost of doing business on that particular engagement.”

    SOURCE –

    • Charon
      December 16, 2011, 7:19 pm

      A while back I wrote a facebook status about the unofficial-but-probably-true civilian death toll in Iraq. A heavily politically-minded person on my friend list repeated the ‘collateral damage’ and ‘cost of war’ cliche. Then they said ‘why do you care, they’re mostly terrorists anyways?’ After that I stopped making political-ish statements on fb.

      The old Star Trek quote ‘the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few’ is just IMO. But that’s not how the West conducts their warfare. There is little, if any, distinction between ‘terrorist’ and civilian. Soldiers are trained to kill children in certain instances because children can be used to deliver messages between terrorists. Children are innocent though! This is insanity! This is evil!

      If a deadly and incurable virus broke out in NYC and the entire city was quarantined, the just thing to do would be to make every effort to save all of the people who were not affected by the virus. Not just blow the whole city. There shouldn’t even be any debate on the financial aspects involved for a rescue plan. Because human lives are priceless, they are worth more than all of the money in the world. All of the money in the world cannot bring somebody back to life. Blowing the whole city should only be considered when there are no other options. When there is either no way to rescue anybody or nobody to rescue. And if people could survive long enough for a cure to be made, you don’t blow it up either.

      Human lives are not currency. Deaths are not a ‘price’ or collateral damage. People who say otherwise would change their mind if they were staring death in the face.

      • Citizen
        December 16, 2011, 9:13 pm

        I agree Charon. People buy the spiel that’s implicit in our “Defense” Dept. And that’s it better to fight “over there, than over here.” And better to preempt or prevent than wait until your home is bombed. Our GOP candidates all belt that stuff out like a song, and they also use it in behalf Israel. Only Ron Paul says, “walk a mile in their shoes before you jump the gun, and non-intervention or nation building, being the police of the world is not the way to go, nor is it Constitutional.”
        they dismiss him as an “isolationist.”

        “How’d you like it, Mr Paul, if your home was bombed by a pipe and manure burning?

        Does Paul even wear one of those little American flag pins? The last time Cain was still going strong he went on stage with a whole bunch of American flags standing behind him–they still had the spanking new fold creases in them. Each time he appeared, there were more flags behind him.

        So yes, it will go on. The US needs a taste of what Europe got in WW2 and it looks like, eventually, we are bound and determined to get it. Those little bamboo pointed and often poisoned sticks in the ground really hurt when you step on them or fall in. And they are cheap.

      • Djinn
        December 17, 2011, 1:22 am

        There were no ‘terrorists’ fighting the US in Iraq in the same way there are no ‘terrorists’ fighting the IOF in the OPT. There are people exercising their legal right to oppose the occupation of their land.

      • Mooser
        December 18, 2011, 12:18 pm

        “A while back I wrote a facebook status about the unofficial-but-probably-true civilian death toll in Iraq. A heavily politically-minded person on my friend list repeated the ‘collateral damage’ and ‘cost of war’ cliche. Then they said ‘why do you care, they’re mostly terrorists anyways?’ After that I stopped making political-ish statements on fb.”

        Thanks for vindicating my decision that nothing good comes out of facebook.

  19. CloakAndDagger
    December 16, 2011, 4:23 pm

    As a nation, we are highly allergic to apologizing – after all, we are exceptional. Our politicians chastise each other if they perceive someone as apologizing for America’s action. “My country, right or wrong” has mostly been wrong for most of my life, and the world has suffered for it.

    Obama excited me in his Cairo speech post-inauguration when, for the first time, an American president stood before the world and acknowledged that we had done something gravely wrong to Iran by toppling its freely elected leader in 1953 and put in our puppet Shah, and that we were going to take a more even-handed approach to solving the Middle East problems.

    Unfortunately, that was not allowed to stand and Obama had to retreat from what was to herald a bold change to our foreign policy.

    Pretty soon reality set in and campaign promises vanished into thin air. Shortly after the election and prior to inauguration he met with Bush and Shrub, Clinton, and Carter at the White House. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for that discussion. I have a feeling that he was given his marching orders at that meeting. The press did not mention who else was there.

    In my childhood, I could never have imagined that a shadow government could run my country – although it certainly has done so from long before I was born. I certainly never thought that the Bill of rights would be shredded in the short span of a single decade.

    And now we have the NDAA.

    • Citizen
      December 16, 2011, 9:19 pm

      CloakAndDagger: Yep. It’s like we’re in a Weimar Cabaret and the audience is not there.

  20. kapok
    December 16, 2011, 4:39 pm

    VJ day, it ain’t.

  21. dumvitaestspesest
    December 16, 2011, 6:57 pm

    a song

  22. Annie Robbins
    December 17, 2011, 1:10 am

    Reidar Visser has a really good (and sad) op ed @ nyt: “An Unstable, Divided Land”

    thanks to helena cobban

  23. CloakAndDagger
    December 17, 2011, 2:36 am

    Rape of Iraqi Women by US Forces as Weapon of War: Photos and Data Emerge (Warning Graphic)

    December 16, 2011 by Johnny Narcoe
    Filed under Featured Stories, Iraq

    (ASIAN TRIBUNE) In March 2006 four US soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division gang raped a 14 year old Iraqi girl and murdered her and her family —including a 5 year old child. An additional soldier was involved in the cover-up.

    The leaked Public Affairs Guidance put the 101st media team into a “passive posture” — withholding information where possible. It conceals presence of both child victims, and describes the rape victim, who had just turned 14, as “a young woman”.

    One of the killers, Steven Green, was found guilty on May 07, 2009 in the US District Court of Paducah and is now awaiting sentencing.

    This is very graphic and sickening. You have been warned.

    No heroes here and no one that I want to support for anything.

    On a side note, there is some controversy if these specific photos are fake or not. However, the circumstances are very real.

    • Annie Robbins
      December 17, 2011, 12:00 pm

      C&D, mar 06 ..her name was abeer. i mentioned her in my response to to dan here.

      this was originally covered up by the military. the story, once it came out was so horrific it is almost beyond comprehension. after they raped her and executed her family they set her on fire.

      it happened to be one of the few that came to our attention just like the rape and burned charred body of abeer and execution of her family came to our attention because after getting blown off by the military the people who cared about that crime kidnapped members of our military in the same unit and then of course that brought attention..the kidnappings. otherwise the american public never would have heard about that

      and this was how we learned about how numerous times the iraqi village appealed to the military to investigate this matter because they knew who did it. because they had troops standing guard outside the house in broad daylight while this henious crime was taking place and the house was near the checkpoint the same troops worked and they knew who abeer was and they taunted her. it was covered up and the official story is still a lie. wiki:

      On 16 June, a checkpoint manned by soldiers in the perpetrator’s unit was attacked and overrun. Specialist David Babineau was killed and Pfcs Thomas Lowell Tucker and Kristian Menchaca were captured, tortured, and killed. When Yribe heard this, he told Pfc Justin Watt that Green was a murderer. On June 22, 2006, the rape and the murders came to light when Watt revealed them during a psychological health counseling session. Watt stated that he asked to speak with a mental health counselor because he wanted to bypass what he thought would be a skeptical command structure and get an audience with Army investigators. [16]

      Green had been honorably discharged from the Army on May 16, 2006, before the crime was recognized, due to an “antisocial personality disorder”.[17] The FBI assumed jurisdiction for the crime committed by Green under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act[18] and charged him with the killings.[17]

      the military knew who did it, they discharged green and shipped him back to the states and washed their hands of him so by the time this info was made public (which i am sure they never intended to make public) he was a civilian and was tried in a civilian court.

      there was massive press when the 2 soldiers were kidnapped and a huge manhunt and nobody mentioned in that manhunt the two soldiers from the same unit as the rape and murder of abeer and her family. it was bloggers who made that connection before it was publicly stated one such example here . and still the wiki pages of the soldiers who were killed from the unit make no mention it was in retaliation

      all the msm at the time framed this as an ‘al qaida’ thing

      so, only after the manhunt when the bodies were discovered did this ‘revelation’ of abeer come out the next if the military is completely stupid and did not put 2 and 2 together that the kidnapping of the soldiers from the checkpoint 200 meters from abeer’s house was related to her murder. had the military not tried to cover that up and sent green back to the US and held someone accountable the soldiers probably would not have been kidnapped and murdered. but they did nothing and blew the iraqis off. had the iraqis not kidnapped and murdered the soldiers we never would have heard about abeer. and how many rapes of iraqi women by soldiers were there in iraq, we will never know.

      from the moa link re the accusations of ‘al qaida’ being responsible (the go to phrase explaining everything to stupid americans about iraq):

      Something else which should have given the colonel or whoever pause is that payback isn’t a right, it is a duty and the bigger and more powerful your clan is the important it is that the duty is seen to be fulfilled. Now the young girl’s full name was Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi.

      al-Janabi or ‘of the Janabi clan’. The Reuters article says “. . . the family were Sunni Muslims from the powerful Janabi tribe.”

      Anyone interested in exactly how connected the victims of this massacre were should do a google on Janabi. As well as being a substantial sunni family who have achieved in most sectora of 20th and 21st century arabic society, the al-Janabi’s appear to be intelligent and humane which is why the continual bleating by the US that the dismemberment of two members of the 101st tribe is totally unconnected with this massacre hasn’t provoked further attacks on members of the 101st.

      Because if the mutilation was tribal justice yet is denounced as not being such, denounced so much that people believe that it wasn’t, then in many cultures that would mean further justice would have to be exacted; until it became accepted by all that messing with al-Janabis carries a heavy price.

      • CloakAndDagger
        December 17, 2011, 1:46 pm

        Thanks for the background details, annie. I hadn’t made the connection from your response to Dan. I won’t soon forget the name, Abeer, now.

        As I mentioned in an earlier post, the amount of bad karma that we have stirred up will haunt our souls for many generations.

        I think Obama is doing a huge wrong by covering up these photos. We need to be confronted with all these atrocities committed in our name. They need to leave such indelible impressions on our minds that whenever the thought of pre-emptive war comes up, these are the nightmares that haunt our sleep.

        Without that, we are desensitized to the fact that there are real people suffering real harm because of our choices. War has become no different than a video game. Young kids behind computer consoles that guide unmanned drones to blow up nameless, faceless “enemies” without having to look in their eyes – then go off to have a beer with friends.

        I get passionate about Ron Paul, and can even ignore some of his points that I disagree with it, because this one issue overrides all other issues by such a wide margin that everything else becomes inconsequential by comparison. There is no other candidate – certainly not Obama – for whom stopping these wars is a priority. Ron Paul’s entire financial strategy is derived from stopping these wars and bringing our troops home – and keeping them there. For me, anything less than that is show-stopper.

        Everyone has their pet issues that guide their votes. We have allowed the MSM to change our humanity is such a way that for so many, stopping this brutality is not their highest priority.

        Whither America?

  24. FreddyV
    December 17, 2011, 8:36 am

    What is wrong with our politicians? The US, UK and Israel cause so much suffering and they have the nerve tell our people that it’s radical Islam who are the bad guys.

    We are the bad guys.

    • dahoit
      December 17, 2011, 10:38 am

      Well we sure as hell aint the good guys.
      Are we the only bad guys,no, as humanity is universal,but any other bad guys out there haven’t the muscle we have,or they do it internally,unlike our catholic approach.

  25. yourstruly
    December 17, 2011, 9:17 am

    the iraq war?
    something we americans should be proud of?
    despite the collateral damage?
    (euphemism for assorted crimes against humanity)
    despite the total devastation of cities turned into rubble with their people buried alive
    despite mothers being afraid to have babies for fear that they’ll be born deformed from the effects of depleted uranium
    but what the heck
    america kept its promise, didn’t it?
    so forget your losses, iraqis
    hasn’t freedom and democracy been installed along with a market economy?
    same as putting up a big box store in some urban wasteland
    who and what was there before?
    does it matter?
    bottom line, you got your country* back
    much better than before
    how could it not be?
    america can do no wrong

    *albeit, with a puppet government

    • yourstruly
      December 17, 2011, 6:11 pm

      not to mention those weapons of mass destruction

      nor to fault president george bush the younger for this lie (er, error) since his info may have come from his alleged conversaions with god

      god a liar?

      or merely misinformed?

      but isn’t she all knowing?

  26. Theo
    December 17, 2011, 12:54 pm

    17,000 at the US embassy:

    Heck, most of our diplomats can cause a lot of damage to our country single handed, just imagen what 17,000 can do?!

    • Walid
      December 17, 2011, 1:26 pm

      Not being discussed, is the assassination of Iraq’s and the world’s history in Iraq. It started with the American invasion of 1991 and was repeated with the second invasion in 2003 when the US invaders chose to protect the oil ministry with its obsolete records while it left the Baghdad museum totally unprotected during the looting. The US was there for the oil and for nothing else so it didn’t give a damn about the ongoing destruction of Iraq’s patrimony.

      In 2007, Robert Fisk wrote about the 1991 and 2003 looting. A small part of it:

      “… In a long and devastating appraisal to be published in December, Lebanese archaeologist Joanne Farchakh says that armies of looters have not spared “one metre of these Sumerian capitals that have been buried under the sand for thousands of years.

      “They systematically destroyed the remains of this civilisation in their tireless search for sellable artefacts: ancient cities, covering an estimated surface area of 20 square kilometres, which – if properly excavated – could have provided extensive new information concerning the development of the human race.

      “Humankind is losing its past for a cuneiform tablet or a sculpture or piece of jewellery that the dealer buys and pays for in cash in a country devastated by war. Humankind is losing its history for the pleasure of private collectors living safely in their luxurious houses and ordering specific objects for their collection.”

      Ms Farchakh, who helped with the original investigation into stolen treasures from the Baghdad Archaeological Museum in the immediate aftermath of the invasion of Iraq, says Iraq may soon end up with no history.

      “There are 10,000 archaeological sites in the country. In the Nassariyah area alone, there are about 840 Sumerian sites; they have all been systematically looted. Even when Alexander the Great destroyed a city, he would always build another. But now the robbers are destroying everything because they are going down to bedrock. What’s new is that the looters are becoming more and more organised with, apparently, lots of money.

      “Quite apart from this, military operations are damaging these sites forever. There’s been a US base in Ur for five years and the walls are cracking because of the weight of military vehicles. It’s like putting an archaeological site under a continuous earthquake.”

      Of all the ancient cities of present-day Iraq, Ur is regarded as the most important in the history of man-kind. Mentioned in the Old Testament – and believed by many to be the home of the Prophet Abraham – it also features in the works of Arab historians and geographers where its name is Qamirnah, The City of the Moon.

      Founded in about 4,000 BC, its Sumerian people established the principles of irrigation, developed agriculture and metal-working. Fifteen hundred years later – in what has become known as “the age of the deluge” – Ur produced some of the first examples of writing, seal inscriptions and construction. In neighbouring Larsa, baked clay bricks were used as money orders – the world’s first cheques – the depth of finger indentations in the clay marking the amount of money to be transferred. The royal tombs of Ur contained jewellery, daggers, gold, azurite cylindrical seals and sometimes the remains of slaves.

      US officers have repeatedly said a large American base built at Babylon was to protect the site but Iraqi archaeologist Zainab Bah-rani, a professor of art history and archaeology at Columbia University, says this “beggars belief”. In an analysis of the city, she says: “The damage done to Babylon is both extensive and irreparable, and even if US forces had wanted to protect it, placing guards round the site would have been far more sensible than bulldozing it and setting up the largest coalition military headquarters in the region.”

      Full article:

      Link to about 50 different articles about the looting in Iraq:

      • CloakAndDagger
        December 17, 2011, 1:52 pm

        The Sumerians (including the legend of Gilgamesh) may well have been the origin of the entire Abrahamic mythology from which Judaism, Christianity, and Islam may have been derived. Noah’s Ark and the great flood, and many such biblical stories have parallels in Sumerian mythology – preceding these latter day retelling of these tales.

        Much of the human heritage has been lost in this last decade, and with them the treasures of our lost origin, and perhaps destiny.

      • Walid
        December 17, 2011, 4:00 pm

        Sumer is reportedly where history was first recorded. The Gilgamesh cuneiform tablets were not looted although a mask depicting one of the gods described in it was stolen but was located and returned to the museum 6 months later. The International Foundation for Art Research describes part of what was looted:

    • Walid
      December 17, 2011, 3:34 pm

      It won’t be an easy job for the 17,000, Theo; Jazeera yesterday said:

      “… The billion-dollar complex, finished in 2009 after long delays and cost overruns, is the largest and most expensive American embassy in the world. It will eventually house some 17,000 employees.

      The compound occupies 104 acres, twice the size of the White House compound in Washington, and includes not just an embassy building, but also housing for thousands of employees, cafeterias, a gym, a swimming pool and other facilities.

      … Triple Canopy, for example, a company headquartered in Virginia, won a $1.5bn contract to protect diplomatic officials. The firm has been accused of numerous abuses in Iraq, including one incident in which a supervisor told his men, “I want to kill somebody today”, and later started shooting at an Iraqi vehicle. But no employees have ever been prosecuted, either in Iraq or in the United States.

      Not all of the 17,000 personnel have arrived yet; around 8,000 are in-country, with more scheduled to begin their tours in 2012. But the planned expansion has already sparked a backlash in Iraq. Moqtada al-Sadr, the populist Shia cleric, issued a statement last month calling for “resistance” against US personnel at the embassy.

      “If they stay in Iraq, through a military or non-military [presence]… we will consider them an occupation, and we will resist them whatever the price will be,” he said in an interview on Al Arabiya television. “Even a civilian presence, we reject it.”

      Various armed groups have threatened to kidnap American diplomats in Baghdad, a plot Jeffrey described as credible. “Whoever it is seems to be putting some effort into it,” he said.”

      Price tag for the first year of operations: $3.8bn.

      • yourstruly
        December 17, 2011, 6:32 pm

        when the iraqi resistance topples this u.s. installed puppet regime, are there going to be enough helicopters on the embassy heliport for the afghan puppets to make their escape?

        said toppling to take place when?

        within six months, as per how long it took after u.s. troops left vietnam for the resistance there to topple south vietnam’s puppet regime

        and following this, with the halls of congress resounding with the question “who lost iraq?”

        the answer?

        because iraq has always belonged to the iraqi people it never was america’s to lose. besides, since when does temporary possession by dint of theft constitute ownership?

        but couldn’t the same thing be said about the zionist occupation of palestine?

        as of all colonial enterprises

  27. gazacalling
    December 17, 2011, 1:48 pm

    GREAT article Annie, thank you.

    • Annie Robbins
      December 17, 2011, 2:05 pm

      oh, thank you gazacalling. i didn’t think it was so great or anything but it felt very necessary. obviously it is not enough for nothing would ever be enough after what we did. i’m so ashamed of my country.

      • gazacalling
        December 18, 2011, 7:09 pm

        Yeah, it’s not a great feeling.

        But honestly I get so much comfort from this site and the things you post. There’s other people working for justice, for truth in the face of things. That virtue is something to hold onto!

  28. atime forpeace
    December 17, 2011, 5:58 pm

    Ron Paul is not a bad place for the left and right to meet.

    TYT the young turks steps up to the line.
    There are others.

  29. atime forpeace
    December 17, 2011, 6:04 pm

    Annie that was a most excellent article, beautiful sentiment.

  30. Walid
    December 18, 2011, 6:50 am

    Annie, appropriate closing words of wisdom from today’s Haaretz editorial:

    “Beyond the issue of Iraq’s future, the war taught the United States and region a harsh strategic lesson. Iraq and Afghanistan became the military trauma after Vietnam. That trauma should be at the front of the mind of anyone seeking a war against Iran. ”

  31. kassakhoon
    December 19, 2011, 11:56 am

    Dear Annie,
    A million thanks for your words that chilling out Iraqis’ hearts. I hope we, the Iraqis, will continue hearing such words. We are in dire need for such people like you during this hard time. Many thanks also to all who left comments that support you and Iraqi people. Please continue standing by us.
    Baghdad’s Kassakhoon

    • Annie Robbins
      December 19, 2011, 12:14 pm

      just crying reading this kassakhoon, i responded further at your blog. that my apology found its way to you in baghdad..omg i am so grateful for your words, your generosity. you melt my heart today like butter in july sun.

Leave a Reply