News and opinions on situation in Iraq

Blood Of The Innocents By Grace Reid



US Soldier Handing Out Sweets

July 14, 2005

US give out sweets
What is wrong with this picture?

Yesterday a suicide bomber targeted an American soldier who was busy distributing candy to Iraqi children during a bomb alert.  The soldier, the bomber and twenty four children were killed.

This is the US armed forces, this is not the Red Cross/Red Crescent.  Why would a US soldier be handing out sweets in the middle of a bomb alert?  Why is this going on? 32 Iraqi children killed by car bomb
BAGHDAD — Twenty-four Iraqi children were killed Wednesday by a suicide car bomber targeting American soldiers handing out sweets after entering their Baghdad neighbourhood precisely to warn of a possible attack.

Some 20 more children were wounded in the blast, while a US soldier died and three were injured, hospital and US sources said. “A driver approached one of the US Humvees and then detonated his car,” said Sergeant David Abrams.

Witness Mohammed Ali Hamza said US forces came to the Al-Jedidah district to warn residents to stay indoors because of reports of a car bomb in the area.


“Children gathered round the Americans who were handing out sweets. Suddenly a suicide car bomber drove round from a side street and blew himself up,” he added.

“We have received the bodies of 24 children aged between 10 and 13,” said the official in charge of the morgue at Kindi hospital.

Abu Hamed whose 12-year-old son Mohammed was killed, said, “I was at home. I heard the explosion. I rushed outside to find my son. I only found his bicycle.”

He was speaking at the hospital, where hundreds of distraught parents mingled in blood-soaked hallways shouting and screaming. He said he had found his son in the hospital morgue. “I recognized him from his head. The rest of the body was completely burnt.”

It’s not the first time this has happened:

“The last such attack involved a triple car bombing against US troops inaugurating a water treatment plant in western Baghdad on September 30. Forty-three people were killed, including 37 children who had gathered to take candy from the soldiers.” ˆ AFP 24 Iraqi children killed by car bomb

And there‚s this: Raed In The Middle; July 13, 2005
The attacks that target Iraqi civilians should be condemned whether they’re carried out by the US army (like the daily attacks) or by others (like some ethnic attacks against mosques and individuals). Yet, the attacks targeting military convoys that kills Iraqi civilians gathering around them is another story, or at least a more controversial one. Civilians shouldn’t be put in danger by sending military troops close to their homes.

What You Can Do:

War is insane, and its record is written in civilian casualties.

Civilian Casualties:

World War I:  16%
World War II:  65%
All wars since  95+%

This is the efficiency of modern warfare.

(source: Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War; 1998; An ALA Notable Book. A New York Times Notable Book. By: Barbara Ehrenreich)

Let’s start breaking these numbers down.  The official death toll for Iraq1 civilians is now 128,000 (United Press International)  As many as half that number are children. How many children have died in the war on Iraq?  Contact the International Committee of Red Cross/Red Crescent.

Contact your representatives in government and protest the US military practice of distributing sweets to Iraqi children based on this report from today’s Oman Times: 70 children dead in two separate incidents.  Handing out sweets when US military personnel are a target of bombs, suicide and otherwise, is criminally negligent.

It’s time to stop this insane war.  Let’s start with the children

References: International Red Cross/Red Crescent

Save the Children: Emergencies, Iraq – Working to Improve …Save the Children is operating one of the largest private relief efforts in Iraq. Save the Children USA, based in Basra operates a number of programs … Save The Children

No change in west’s policy towards Iraq, despite UN admission of child deaths. The routine bombing of Iraq by the US and Britain, and the UN sanctions kept … UN, Unicef, Children‚s Mortality Iraq

CBC News Indepth: Iraq INDEPTH: IRAQ Casualties in the Iraq war CBC News Online | Updated June 27, 2005 Iraq Children’s Casualties

Humanitarian Consequences of the War and Occupation of Iraq … The experts conclude that children in Iraq are far more vulnerable to the effects … Global Public Health Experts Say Failure to Count Iraqi Casualties Is … Children’s Casualties Iraq

Civilian Casualties In Iraq UN: Iraq fighting ‘wreaking havoc’ on children. Malnutrition rates have nearly doubled since start of war. Fighting in Iraq is “wreaking havoc” on the … Children’s Casualties Iraq


27) [(27) p.1012] In a 1952 trial (’ USA v. Schultz ‘) the United States Court of Military Appeals decided that mere negligence did not constitute a universally recognized basis for criminal responsibility (cf. B.M. Carnaham, “The Law of War in the United States Court of Military Appeals”, XX 3-4, ‘ RDPMDG ‘ 1981, pp. 343-344). Article 15 of the Swiss Military Penal Code provides that “commet un crime (continues in French). Translation:(anyone who, as a result of criminal negligence, acts without realizing or taking into account the consequences of his act is committing an offence. Such lack of foresight is criminal when the perpetrator of the act has not used precautions required by the circumstances and by his personal situation (translated by the ICRC)). For examples relating to the air force, see J.M. Spaight, op. cit., p. 58;

(vi) An Occupying Power’s Duty to Provide Security

An Occupying Power has an immediate duty to restore and ensure public order and safety in the territory under its authority – Hague Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land art. 43 and Fourth Geneva Convention, art. 27. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Commentary on the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Convention becomes applicable as soon as troops are in foreign territory and in contact with the civilian population there. Therefore the duty to provide security by the occupying power commences at the earliest possible moment.

Military Law: Protection of Civilians; re: Geneva
Compliance with Laws of War Necessary for Protection of Civilians and Prisoners of War in Iraq

The 1949 Geneva Conventions and 1977 Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions form the basis of protections afforded to civilians (Geneva IV) and prisoners of war (Geneva III) during armed conflict and occupation. The most fundamental protection to be afforded to civilians and POWs at all times and in all circumstances is the right to humane treatment.

The Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols stipulate that civilians may never be targeted for attack; attacks may only be directed against specific military objectives. In directing attacks against military objectives, the law requires precautions to be taken to ensure that civilians are protected against the effects of the attacks. If an attack against a military target is expected to result in civilian harm despite precautionary measures, the attack must be cancelled if the incidental harm caused to civilians or civilian objects would be disproportional (excessive) to the direct military advantage anticipated. Military objectives are combatants or objects which, by their nature, location, purpose, or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose destruction or neutralization offers a definite military advantage. Anything else constitutes a civilian object, which cannot be the object of attack.

Occupying Power: (see especially Geneva IV, art 6 and referenced articles; Protocol I, arts 69-71)
The Occupying Power is bound for the duration of the occupation to ensure that civilians are protected from violence to life and person or outrages upon personal dignity; women are to be especially protected from rape or any other form of sexual assault.

Occupied territory is territory placed under the authority of a hostile army. Occupation only extends to territory in which authority can be established and exercised. The Occupying Power must take all appropriate measures to restore and ensure public order and safety while respecting as far as possible, the laws in force in the occupied territory. (1907 Hague IV, Annex, Regulations on Laws and Customs of Land Warfare, arts 42-43).

(ii) Urban Warfare
* To maximize the protection of civilians near any military target, the Parties should provide effective advance warning of an attack- Protocol I, art. 57(2)(c)
* The Parties should also consider measures that allow Iraqi civilians to voluntarily and safely leave urban areas where military objectives are targeted for attack, and all parties should be prepared to call on third parties to negotiate passage to non-military areas – Fourth Geneva Convention, art. 15.They must also negotiate passage for medical personnel and equipment and religious personnel to and from besieged or encircled areas- Fourth Geneva Convention, art. 17.

(iii) Dual-Use Targets
* A dual-use object may be a legitimate military target but if the harm to the civilian population is disproportionate to the military advantage gained, the attack is rendered impermissible – Protocol I, art. 51(5)(b). (In weighing potential targets, military planners must examine carefully how immediate the military advantage of destroying dual-use facilities is, as well as the long-term cost to civilian welfare and economy, including environmental consequences – Protocol I, art. 55)
* Under customary humanitarian law and Protocol I, there are only very limited circumstances in which food, water, medical supplies, and other objects essential to the survival of the civilian population may be attacked. When these resources are used directly or indirectly in support of the military, they may not be attacked if such action would produce starvation or forced displacement of civilians – Protocol I, art. 54(2) and .Protocol I, art. 54(3)(b)

(iv) Targeting Decisions – Indiscriminate Attacks and Proportionality
* International Humanitarian Law requires the Parties to the conflict to distinguish at all times between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives. Attacks that target military and civilians without distinction violates a basic principle of the Fourth Geneva Convention . Art 48 Protocol
* Belligerents have a duty to take all feasible steps, including choosing the means and methods of attack, that will minimize injury to civilians and civilian objects – Protocol I, art. 57(2)(a)(ii).

Main Index >> Iraq Index