Revolution #50, June 11, 2006
The Haditha Massacre, and the Bush Regime:
Illegal, Immoral, and INTOLERABLE
In a video taped by ITN news, and available from a link at worldcantwait.org, Eman, a nine-year-old girl in the village of Haditha, Iraq looks at her interviewer with eyes that convey pain that nobody should endure. She says, “I hate the Americans. The whole world hates them for what they have done here.”
And then she describes what happened to her family:
Eman Walid Abdul-Hameed: (as translated in the video): The American soldiers came into our house at 7 in the morning. We were awake but still wearing our nightclothes.
Narrator: Eman said her parents had been worried because a roadside bomb had been detonated close to their home earlier that morning. An American patrol had been hit. She later learned a Marine had been killed. She had decided it wasn’t safe to go to school that day. Her father had gone to his room to pray, as he always did when danger threatened. That’s when the Marines burst through their door.
Eman: I heard explosions by the door. The Americans came into the room where my father was praying and shot him. They went to my grandmother and killed her too. I heard an explosion. They threw a grenade under my grandfather’s bed.
Narrator: These pictures show American forces arriving in Haditha after the roadside bomb. Eman says the Marines that entered her home were angry.
Eman: We were all crying, but the Americans were also screaming. They were shouting at my father before they killed him.
Narrator: Eman shows the shrapnel wounds she suffered that day she’ll never forget, when her parents, grandparents, two uncles, and a cousin died. And her family wasn’t the only one to suffer. We were shown a bullet-riddled neighbor’s house, where two women and four children, the youngest just two years old, were among those killed by Marines. Eman’s account of what happened can’t be independently verified. But the American military has long since abandoned its original story, that shrapnel from the roadside bomb planted 150 meters away killed all the civilians. And bullet holes that suggest forced entry appear to undermine the latest U.S. position, that civilians caught in crossfire were killed accidentally by Marines. Eman and the others have even been offered an apology. She can’t accept it.
Eman: They kill people, then they say sorry. I hate them.
Twenty-four people were murdered in cold blood by U.S. Marines in Haditha in November of 2005. The U.S. covered up the killings by blaming them on “insurgents.”
Why Do They Hate Us?
In a speech to Congress shortly after the September 11 attacks, Bush said:
“Americans are asking, why do they hate us? They hate what we see right here in this chamber — a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms — our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.”
No, Bush. To the extent that people hate Americans, they hate us because they associate us with you. With your torture. With your massacres. With your lies and arrogance. And because of what you did to the village of Haditha on November 19, 2005. And they are going to hate us as long as they don’t see clearly that we, the people in this country, are outraged by, and will not tolerate, any more Hadithas, any more cover-ups. The people of the world need to see that. Now.
The massacre at Haditha is not an “isolated incident.” It is a concentration of what the U.S. occupiers are doing in Iraq every day, unique only in that it got exposed to the world. As we go to press, British news sources are reporting on the murder of eleven civilians by U.S. troops in the Iraqi town of Ishaqi in March. After the murders, U.S. troops blew up the house the victims were in. From the narration of the BBC video about the Ishaqi massacre:
“The Americans say the building collapsed under heavy fire, and four bodies were found in the rubble. But the Iraqi police version is very different. They say the Americans entered the house while it was still standing, and killed all eleven people including the three children. Only then was the house destroyed... A police officer at the hospital where the bodies were taken said all of them, from the 75 year old grandmother to the six-month-old baby, had bullet holes in the head and stomach. Killed first, then bombed, he said.”
Lies, Coverups, and Sending a Message
Bush says he is “troubled” by all the news of U.S. massacres. But that’s only because the cover-up of Haditha is falling apart, and more truth is coming to light. Even in the midst of all the emerging scandals, last week U.S. troops murdered a pregnant woman and her mother who was bringing her to the hospital to deliver her baby. They were both shot to death for supposedly driving in the wrong lane at a checkpoint. No sooner does the White House absolve itself of one massacre or atrocity than another one seeps through the cracks.
Eight U.S. soldiers are reportedly being charged by the military for killing an Iraqi civilian near Baghdad on April 26 (another four are being confined to their base until further instruction). They are accused of dragging the man from his home and shooting him, and then planting a shovel and an AK-47 rifle next to his body to make it appear as if he were an insurgent burying a roadside bomb. Don’t comfort yourself by hoping that the guilty will be punished, or that some “message” other than “keep killing” has been delivered to the U.S. troops. Shortly after the BBC released the video of the massacre in Ishaqi, the U.S. military cleared the troops involved and the commander of that massacre of any wrongdoing.
And June 1, a military court acquitted an Army interrogator—called “Monster” and the “King of Torture” by his fellow troops—of charges of assault, maltreatment, dereliction of duty, using hashish and drinking on duty while torturing and degrading prisoners at the notorious Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. In case the message of this acquittal was too subtle, the court acquitted this solder of charges of drinking on duty even though his attorney admitted that he was guilty of this. The Army dropped charges against the only officer charged with abuse at Bagram, and the only soldier convicted of abuse at that prison was “punished” by having his rank reduced.
When you acquit monsters, torturers, and mass murders, you send a message. That message was crafted by “legal experts” who declared that prohibitions against torture were “quaint.” By Christian fascist military officers who tell the troops they are waging a holy war against infidels and “my god is bigger than his god.” And by a Secretary of Defense who is a gung-ho cheerleader for torture. Former General Janis Karpinski testified at the Bush Crimes Tribunal (www.bushcommission.org) that she saw a memo at Abu Ghraib instructing U.S. troops to use techniques like so called “stress position” (being forced into kneeling or other positions long enough to cause debilitating pain). Next to the memo was a handwritten note, understood to be from Donald Rumsfeld, that read, “Make sure this happens.”
And then, it does happen.
A Truly Evil Empire
What kind of country systematically trains its troops in a culture of brutality, sadism, and mass murder? What kind of system puts its military bases in 130 countries around the world—incurring the hatred of people everywhere it sends its killing machinery?
It is an imperialist system. A system of global plunder. A system that is enforced by a military that is, in turn, fed by that very plunder. A system where exploited, abused people in every corner of the globe have their work and resources stolen from them, and then see the profit that came from their sweat and blood come back at them in the form of bombs, massacres, and Marines singing “From the Halls of Montezuma, to the Shores of Tripoli.”
As our centerspread this issue says: “Right now, Bush, as the president of the United States, is the top leader and acts in the interest of the U.S. Empire. An empire that is a global network of exploitation and plunder. An empire that is constantly expanding and contending with other imperialist powers for strategic position and advantage over regions, markets and resources.” (See “George W— Extreme and Grotesque Expression of the Fundamental Contradiction of Capitalism,” pages 8-9).
This is U.S. imperialism, and it is a horror for the people of the world.
Act With the Burning Urgency that Haditha Demands!
Even as people wrestle over how to understand the systematic atrocities the U.S. is committing in Iraq (and Afghanistan, Guantanamo, and elsewhere), we cannot be silent or acquiescent in the face of the outrages being done in our name. The people of the world must see that WE WILL NOT TOLERATE WHAT OUR GOVERNMENT IS DOING.
Protest the massacre at Haditha now! Find ways for your fellow workers, your neighbors, your classmates (as school lets out for the summer), and everyone to speak out and declare that we stand with the VICTIMS of Bush’s so-called “War on Terror,” and NOT with the U.S. military.
Get this article out—all over the Internet, all over your city or town, and all over the world—so that people see that there are millions of us here who are determined to STOP Bush, and the whole agenda that he is a concentration of.
The poster on the back of this paper must be everywhere, all over the place. Challenge people to step out and step forward to politically resist this now. And to begin building now, with the burning urgency that Haditha demands, for an unbelievably massive show of resistance on October 5, determined to DRIVE OUT the Bush Regime.
The call from the World Can’t Wait - Drive Out the Bush Regime movement says:
On Thursday, OCTOBER 5TH 2006: All day and into the night, across the country, we must decidedly break the paralysis that still grips too much of American political life.
Taking off work, taking off school, shutting down campuses and coming together in mass gatherings, we must let the country and the world know that:
- millions of us reject this illegitimate regime that is as criminal as it is dangerous to humanity & the existence of this planet.
- we refuse to grow accustomed to a political climate that is becoming everyday more frightening & reactionary.
We are what we’ve been waiting for.
This World Can’t Wait call is, indeed, a radical proposition. But the alternative is allowing more Hadithas to be committed in your name.
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