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By flacafina - Posted on 11 November 2010

A couple of months ago as I returned home on my bike from our U.S. Boat to Gaza fundraiser, I was hit by a car in a pedestrian crosswalk at a cronically treacherous intersection woefully in need of law enforcement. Fortunately, I suffered only a jammed wrist and a scraped leg. My bike, sad to say, was totaled. So, today when I went to my nearby Perfomance Bike shop to pick-up it's replacement, the cost close to $400, to my dismay, military personnel were there receiving 20% off of their purchases. To "honor" their service the ad stated. I asked the attendant, Corey, when will I receive 20% off as a peace activist, children's advocate and librarian? He shook his head and replied, "You'll have to ask the folks who are smarter than me about that." Smarter? I doubt it!

I do NOT honor the service of the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan! I am so sick of hearing people "honor" the service of our military, giving them recognition, discounts, preferred treatment and gifts. The same military responsible, YES, responsible for the rapes and murders of many of our young women in the SAME military. The military responsible for the gang rape of 14 year old Abeer Qassim al Hamza, her murder and mutilation of her body. The execution of her parents and little sister and hundreds of thousands of other Iraqis and Afghanis the ENTIRE WORLD knows were INNOCENT "collateral damage" at best or deliberately targeted at worst, as if they were simply images on the screen of a video game.

There is no honor in following these orders. It didn't work for those on trial at Nuremberg and nor does it in Iraq, Afghanistan.

Let us HONOR those who chose NOT to participate in these wars of choice and continued occupation. Let us recognize THEM and THEIR families, today!


The execution of her parents and little sister and hundreds of thousands of other Iraqis and Afghanis the ENTIRE WORLD knows were INNOCENT "collateral damage" at best or deliberately targeted at worst, as if they were simply images on the screen of a video game.

First, a little commentary:

I agree that people who opposed this war from the start and before the actual start of it, and people who woke up to reality later and became firmly opposed to the continuation of these wars, as well as regretting having ever given any support for them, merit recognition. And the people who opposed the idea of this war before it was officially launched merit to be thanked for having at least tried to prevent these wars. It happened much more clearly for the war on Iraq than it did for the war on Afghanistan, but there were greatly honorable people who excellently opposed supporting that war's launch, as well. The people who opposed both wars before they were actually launched are the ones who acted most honorably and if everyone was like them, then the USA finally would be able to be justly recognized as a great country, but [most] Americans faultered and the US, therefore, never has been and still isn't a great or honorable country.

Re. military forces:

Washington and the military commanders are the ones to be held most accountable, but you are right about there being nothing honorable in having served in these criminal wars; although, or however, I'll state one or some exceptions.

Troops who had and retained real conscience during the tours served in these wars and did not commit what clearly could only be crimes because of their consciences acted honorably. Pat and evidently Kevin Tillman, both, are examples, and there are others. It's sad that they mistook lies for truth at first, but they didn't lose their consciences and simply acted a little hastily in accepting to believe Washington, at first; until they learned for themselves the harder way that they and we were all lied to.

There are soldiers who've acted honorably after returning from tours in these wars and speaking out publicly against these wars and criminal Washington, and Mike Prysner is one example. He's accurately denounced Washington as our "greatest enemy" and there are videos at Youtube of him speaking excellently.

I recall having read at the start or very early into the war that there were some US troops whose consciences could not permit them to tolerate serving in this war and they went to military chaplains to express their conscientious inability to continue. That was an honorable thing to do and it permitted readers of these articles to learn of how [evil] these military chaplains were and therefore are; priests of Satan and not of God! Hell will be receiving their souls.

Some soldiers honorably testified about having been members of units that [deliberately] killed, murdered Iraqis, including driving large military vehicles over Iraqi civilians, who included [children]. These soldiers who testified weren't the drivers and didn't agree with these acts, so these extreme and disgusting crimes can't be held against them; and they honorably provided their public testimonies.

So I don't agree that none of the troops acted honorably. However, the whole of these wars has been hellishly dishonorable and the greatest to blame are Washington and military commanders, as well as cold-bloodedly murderous sergeants and officers directly responsible for troop units.

There nevertheless are many of the troops who committed extreme crimes that no one could commit without realizing that these were indeed extremely criminal acts. And the following two-part article by the excellent Felicity Arbuthnot gives some examples that are very important, and rather horrific.

"Toppling a country: from Statue to Legality"
by Felicity Arbuthnot, Oct. 21st, 2010

Throughout Iraq, Americans bringing "freedom from tyranny", with their British auxillaries, and their few arm twisted "coalition", largely morphed in to tyrants overnight. As with Saddam Hussein's statue, the U.S., simply covered legality with an American flag - and toppled it. And as across the country, indiscriminate, unaccountable killing sprees started early on - and continue still.

U.S., wickednesses in Fallujah, the district by district liquidations, have probably been documented in more detail, than any other city, town or village, in deaths, injuries and deformities, so serves one tragic service - as an invaluable test case for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Iraq. Whilst the recent, chilling Report by Busby, et al., (1) in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, has received deserved publicity, and been presented to the U.N., another, presented to the 15th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva (13th September-1st October) has received less so.

"Testimonies of Crimes Against Humanity in Fallujah - Towards a Fair International Criminal Trial" (2): "... pleads and implores", the United Nations in : ".. respect for the memory (of the) victims, to investigate the crimes and violations", in the document, and all that: "has been inflicted upon Iraq, placing the country at the top of the world's daily list for deaths, displaced persons, both internally and externally, the ensuing savage corruption, child molestation, rape, rampant kidnapping, contrary to the noble goals and (founding aspirations) of your Organisation."

After the invasion and fall of Baghdad, the document records, Fallujah remained calm, escaping the turmoil engulfing the rest of Iraq. Exactly two weeks after the toppling of the statue, on 23rd April 2003, when a group of students peacefully demonstrated outside Al Quds school, for its return by the U.S., soldiers, who had - without consultation - taken it over as a base, so they could resume studies. The response was massive violence.

The troops fired "indiscriminately" killing thirteen and wounding seventy five.Three of the dead were children under eleven. In a depressingly familiar story, according to Dr Ahmed Ghanim Al-Ali, the then hospital Director, they also fired on the medical staff who came to rescue the injured.

A week later, troops fired on a funeral, the first such occurrence in Iraq, which, with Afghanistan, along with wedding parties and mourning gatherings, have become a disgraceful litany. Two were killed and fourteen wounded, including children.

In the early hours of the second anniversary of the falling of the Twin Towers, a group driving a blue BMW, fired on the offices of the Mayor of Fallujah. Chased by the Fallujah Protection Force, the car disappeared in to a U.S., camp just outside the city. Returning, they came under heavy fire, eight were killed and two wounded. Again the ambulances were fired on and prevented assisting.

Those marking an atrocity at home, with executions abroad, transpired to be both U.S., forces and allegedly, with much substantiating evidence, mercenaries of the notorious Blackwater Security (now XL.) It took repeated demands by Fallujah's Mayor and others for the U.S., military to finally hand back the bodies (which: " ... had been left in the back of crushed vehicles in the burning sun") and two traumatised injured.


The revenge April retaliation, came in spite of attempts by the City Council to mediate and negotiate. "U.S., troops rejected the intervention of and presence of the U.N." A tape recording of their refusal to negotiate and stated determination to strike the city, is witness to their lawless rejection.

U.S., troops gave orders that no one was to leave the city.The population was trapped, .... ...


Instructed by the troops to hold a white flag if they ventured out, sickeningly, U.S., snipers, then targeted heads of those who dared, in desperation, for help, food, water, medical aid, water and telephones having been cut, in contravention to the Geneva Convention. Also in contravention, is fact the forces had anyway, prevented essential foodstuffs and medicines from coming in.


The above excerpt is only to give an idea of what part I is about. The last part of it is about DU, some important information about it that perhaps many people are still unaware of, but, and up to that point, part I provides plenty of additional important information on what clearly were [obvious] and extreme crimes committed by the US troops.

"Toppling a Country : From Statue to Legality (Part Two.*)"

by Felicity Arbuthnot, Nov. 8th, 2010

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the latest, vast cache of documents from Wikileaks, is that anyone was surprised at the revelations. For Iraqis, Aghans and the region, and Iraq and Afghanistan watchers across the globe, countless millions of words have been written and eye witness reports sent since day one of the highly questionable legality of the Afghan invasion the absolute illegality of that of Iraq.

Soldiers have put "trophy" photographs of the dead, mutilated, tortured on the internet. In August the BBC's documentary: "The Wounded Platoon", aired interviews with soldiers who admitted shooting Iraqi civilians and "keeping scores." (1) ...


Reaction in Iraq to the woeful litany of crimes documented in some 400,000 U.S., files is encapsulated by Baghdad Political Science Professor Saadi Kareem, who commented: " Iraqis know all about the findings in these documents. The brutality of American and Iraqi forces was hidden from Americans and Europeans, but not for Iraqis ... Iraqis are totally aware of what happened to them."

President of the London-based Arab Law Association, Sabah al-Mukhtar, told Al Jazeera that: "Frankly there is no surprise .." The Middle East knew from day one.

The Independent's Robert Fisk ("The Shaming of America", 24th October 2010) commented: "As usual, the Arabs knew. They knew all about the mass torture, the promiscuous shooting of civilians, the outrageous use of air power against family homes, the vicious American and British mercenaries, the cemeteries of the innocent dead. All of Iraq knew. Because they were the victims."

The U.S., soldiers knew too of the illegalities they were committing, at every level. These were not aberrations that needed a crash course in international law, or the laws of war, they were crimes, which would have been just that, anywhere on earth. (my emphasis added)


Theft was seemingly a way of life for soldiers from early on, recorded in a litany of reports and numerous documents.


One report to the Human Rights Council is of the raid on the home of, and arrest of, Mohammed Khamis Saleh Ali al-Halbusi, in Fallujah, during the night of 2nd November 2003. Beaten in front of his family, he alleges that thirty seven thousand U.S., dollars were stolen, with a quantity of gold - an important cultural possession, passed down from generation to generation.


One Iraqi who "knew" only too well what happened in Fallujah, was Dr Salam Ismael. He had worked as a doctor in Fallujah during the April 2004 siege. He finally gained entry with aid in January 2005, two months after the November assault. (2) He records:


"A wave of hate had wiped out two-thirds of the town, destroying houses and mosques, schools and clinics. This was the terrible and frightening power of the US military assault. The accounts I heard over the next few days will live with me forever. You may think you know what happened in Fallujah. But the truth is worse than you could possibly have imagined."

Dr Ismael found Hudda Issawi (17) in a nearby makeshift refugee camp. She said that on 9th., November, American marines came to her home. Her father and a neighbour went to the door: "We were not fighters, we had nothing to fear", she ran to the kitchen to cover her hair. She and her brother (13) heard the shots that killed her father and his friend - they hid behind the fridge. Her older sister was caught, beaten and shot. Troops left with the two undiscovered, but: "(they) destroyed our furniture and stole the money from my father's pocket."

Trapped, Hudda tried to comfort her gravely wounded sister, who died a few hours later. For three days she and her brother stayed in the house with their dead father, sister and friend.

Fearing discovery, they finally decided to try to escape. A sniper shot her in the leg, she recounted. When her little brother ran, he was shot in the back, dying instantly. In a seemingly rare act of human decency, a female U.S., soldier found her and took her to hospital. It is possible to speculate that her bleak, near emotionless recounting, indicated a young person still in near catatonic shock.

On the same day, it transpired, in the same district, people had been ordered to leave their homes, carrying white flags, bringing only essential belongings with them, and gather near the Jamah al Furkan Mosque in the town centre of the famed, ancient "City of Mosques."

Eyad Latif described how, with eight member of his family, including a baby of six months, they walked in single file, to the Mosque: "U.S., soldiers appeared on the roofs of surrounding houses and opened fire." Eyad's father and mother "died instantly." Two brothers were hit, one in the head and one in the neck, one woman in the hand, one in the leg.

The wife of one brother was killed: "When she fell, her five year old son ran and stood over her body. They shot him dead too."


The article goes on to describe plenty of important and horrific examples of extreme crimes that [no] could have mistaken for anything else. The whole of both parts is important reading.

It's [clear] that many troops committed crimes that could not be mistaken for anything else; cold-blooded murder, other extreme crimes, and serious theft. Commanders are to be held accountable, if that is ever possible, but troops definitely committed crimes that they could not credibly have thought to be anything else. They'd all know damn well that many of their acts in Iraq would get them life sentences of prison and possibly death penalties if they committed crimes at all similar in the US. They wouldn't get such sentences for material and financial theft, but they'd still be subject to serious sentences for these crimes.

Heck, there are a couple of American women who've been in prison for I believe 15 years, now, for a meager theft of $11.

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