Thursday, July 12, 2007

"We have to kill them over here so I don't have to kill them back in Colorado"

The Nation is carrying a very disturbing report by Chris Hedges and Laila al-Arian on the brutality of US forces towards Iraqi civilians, and the effect this is having on some US soldiers once they return home and reflect on what they have seen and done.

In Iraq, Specialist Middleton said, "a lot of guys really supported that whole concept that, you know, if they don't speak English and they have darker skin, they're not as human as us, so we can do what we want."
According to some US vets, this involved the indiscriminate shooting of civilians, running civilian vehicles off the road and running down pedestrians, including children, firing on civilian cars and families at checkpoints and planting IEDs on civilian dead to make it look as if they were combatants. A soldier described a riot at Abu Ghraib prison:
Nine prisoners were killed and three wounded after soldiers opened fire during the riot, and Specialist Delgado's fellow soldiers returned with photographs of the events. The images, disturbingly similar to the incident described by Sergeant Mejía, shocked him. "It was very graphic," he said. "A head split open. One of them was of two soldiers in the back of the truck. They open the body bags of these prisoners that were shot in the head and [one soldier has] got an MRE spoon. He's reaching in to scoop out some of his brain, looking at the camera and he's smiling. And I said, 'These are some of our soldiers desecrating somebody's body. Something is seriously amiss.' I became convinced that this was excessive force, and this was brutality."

See also:
Haditha massacre (Wikipedia)

US Soldier Atrocities in Iraq (CNN)