Tag Archives: Iraq deaths

US Air Strike In Iraq Kills Children

A U.S. helicopter srike north of Baghdad resulted in the death of several children when airmen were supposedly targeting al-Qaida forces. Associated Press TV news footae shod the bodies of three children n blod-drenched clothes, along with the bodies of five men,at the hospital in Beiji where the dead were taken. Beiji police Colonel Mudhher al-Qaisi said the children and eight civilian farmers were killed, the farmers were fleeing from an area where US forces were engaged in fighting. He said the helicopter became suspicious of the men and opened fire.

The American forces fired at the vehicle because it displayed what someone said was “hostile intent.” No explanation was offered by the military why the vehicle aroused suspicion or what exactly was the “hostile intent” of the car. Spokesman Colonel Jerry O’Hara said, the United States “sincerely regrets when any innocent civilians are injured, resulting from terrorists locating themselves in and around them. We take every precaution to protect innocent civilians and engae only hostile threats.”

There is no question that terrorist groups use civilians, but that does not mean every time an American unit kills civilians it was due to them being among terrorists. In any war, mistakes are made. The American armed forces, when guilty of mistakes, should acknowledge them and stop trying to explain away the error by claiming it was the fault of terrorists.

Fallujah Killings Described In Court

A Marine charged with murdering an Iraqi detainee captured during fierce house-to-house fighting in Fallujah, said his squad leader asked for help in killing captives after weapons were found in their house. Sgt. Jermaine Nelson told investigators that his squad leader, Jose Nazario became furious after AK47s were found upstairs in the house and took a man into the kitchen and shot him through the eye. “So Nazario come up, he says, ‘I just did one. I’m not doing all of them myself so you’re going to do one. So I’m thinking I didn’t want to get shot myself.” Nelson is charged with a single murder count because at some point he decided o go along with the unlawful conduct of Nazario. His defense attorney argued the Marine should not be held responsible for obeying a direct order in combat.

Nazario’s defense attorney has argued the entire case rests on evidence supplied by Nelson and there is no forensic evidence to support claims against his client. In a separate case, a different squad was charged with killing 24 people n Fallujah but charges have been dropped aganst the squad leader. Four officers were charged with failing to invstigate the deaths, but the charges have been dropped against two of them.

War is definitely hell and humans do things in war the would not do in ordinary life. There is a difference between understanding emotional and physical dangers an individual faces during combat and condoning such illegal behavior. A persistent pattern in abuses in Iraq has been failure to ever bring charges against top level officers who were derelict in carrying out their responsibilities as leaders.

Iraq Death Figures Contradict Bush Claims

According to President Bush, his “surge” has produced dramatic reductions in the level of violence in Iraq and the number of dead people. However, recent figures released from the Iraq Body Count(IBC) which has extensive experience working in that country, concludes that violence outside of Baghdad actually rose until September. its figures recognize a significant drop in violence within the Baghdad area due to the presence of more American soldiers in the city. IBC states that between 22,586 and 24,159 civilians died in 2007, the majority being from the period of January through August. The number of civilian deaths involving US forces rose from between 544-623 in 2006 to between 868 to 1,326 in 2007. Most of these were linked to air strikes which led to the deaths of 88 children.

There is little question placing thousands of additional American soldiers within the Baghdad area has led to a reduction in violence. Of course, what no one knows is will violence zoom again once American troops leave or will it require the presence of those forces for a long term basis in order to ensure security within the Baghdad area? After all, militants are not stupid, why not lie low and wait for the Americans to depart?