From A World to Win News Service
Revolutionary Worker #1211, August 24, 2003, posted at rwor.org
The following article is taken from A World to Win News Service (August 11, 2003).
As of August 8, the U.S./UK reported about 300 deaths of their soldiers in the war in Iraq, including 119 U.S. soldiers during the first 100 days of the occupation. As of August 4, at least another 827 American troops were reported wounded. An officer in charge of airlifting the wounded back to the U.S. told the London Guardian that the real number is many times higher. Guerrillas attacked the small advance force preparing for the main contingent of Polish troops as soon as it arrived.
In the past week these occupation troops have given more proof of their terroristic mission. They continue to storm into homes by the hundreds, with the pretext that they are looking for the former regime officials they say are leading the fighting against them. Most of the arrested were taken from their own homes, where they were living openly, which argues against the U.S. military's claims. Two men described as captured high-level former officials and resistance commanders actually turned themselves in.
In one raid, American soldiers backed by four tanks and Apache attack helicopters surrounded a Tikrit warehouse that serves as a hotel for day laborers. The main reason for this raid, as for the many others, seemed to be to round up and terrorize as many potential resistance fighters as possible. The men were brutalized, interrogated and photographed. "If you fight against our government, we will hunt you down and kill you," Lt Colonel Russell warned them through an interpreter, before 38 of the 39 were released.
On August 8, U.S. Army snipers stationed on rooftops around a Tikrit market shot five men unloading a car. Two were killed. The commander--Russell again--said that the men "became the enemy" because the snipers saw them unloading arms and ammunition for sale. The men were doing so openly, as is common in Iraqi markets, and were in a large crowd of shoppers. They were not given a warning or a chance to surrender. A least one body was left lying in the market for hours.
Soldiers killed a 75-year-old farmer and wounded his son at a U.S. checkpoint west of Falluja on August 3.
In the southern city of Basra, under British occupation, about 1,000 angry residents held a street demonstration in front of the local U.S.-UK coalition headquarters August 9 over the lack of electricity, water and gas. UK troops shot and wounded two young boys. In Kirkuk, Kurdistan, U.S. soldiers opened fire on a car at a checkpoint, wounding two unarmed civilians.
An article in the August 4 Boston Globe details the killing of a 12-year-old boy in Baghdad, shot by American soldiers as he stood on the roof of his home where he had been sleeping. He bled to death when the soldiers refused to let his family drive him to a hospital.
"The best way to secure America is to get the enemy before they get us, and that's what's happening in Iraq," Bush said that week.
The Washington Post of August 6 describes an incident in Khaldiyah, on the Euphrates River. American troops parked their war vehicles outside the mayor's office for a meeting. Townspeople believed the mayor was giving the soldiers a list of suspected resistance fighters. The vehicles came under RPG fire. In response, the Americans blew up several storefronts. Several hundred people gathered to chant and wave Iraqi flags in a protest as the U.S. soldiers withdrew from town. They shot into the crowd. By the end of the day what was described as "a mob" totally destroyed the mayor's office, drove the mayor and his assistant out of town, and told reporters that the occupiers had better not come back.
On Baghdad's al-Rashid Street, after resistance fighters blew up a U.S. Humvee with a rocket- propelled grenade, American soldiers fired at random into the crowded street around them, killing at least two people (including a small child) and injuring many. The soldiers wouldn't let anyone approach three young women lying wounded in a car to help them. Eventually the Americans surrounded a building where they said fighters were. They attacked with more than 20 Humvees and Bradley fighting vehicles, completely demolishing it. But as usual, they seemed to have made more enemies than they could kill. American troops were attacked on the same street a few days later.
American troops are mounting a thousand patrols a day in Baghdad. This week they reopened the notorious Abu Ghrain prison, with 500 inmates for a start.
Despite plummeting morale in his ranks, the commander of the U.S. troops in Iraq said he expected his forces to be there for at least two more years. A senior Army officer in Washington announced that U.S. troops have been warned to "watch what they say about their leaders," according to the Post , which has carried many interviews with GIs awakening to the truth.
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