|News and opinions on situation in Iraq|
|21/05/04||“The Seeds Have Been Sown” weblog entry by Dahr Jamail|
Lots of new, original Iraq content at The NewStandard, including a Dahr Jamail weblog entry included below. If you were ever going to forward one of our announcements to a friend, this is the one. As usual, subscription options can be found at newstandardnews.net/iraqdispatches
Be sure to visit The NewStandard's “Iraq in Crisis” page: newstandardnews.net/iraq/
“U.S. Cuts Chalabi's Funds, Raids Home and Offices; Rumors Abound” by Brian Dominick, NewStandard Middle East Editor Major new developments suggest a sour and murky climax to the once-cherished relationship between Washington and repatriated Iraqi Ahmed Chalabi, but tight lips have already sparked significant speculation. newstandardnews.net/content/?action=show_item&itemid=386
“Records show US failing to keep promises in Iraq” by Chris Shumway, NewStandard Associate Editor Government records and recent news reports show that the US is falling short on promises to rebuild Iraq's crumbling infrastructure and stabilize the country's economy by hiring Iraqis for important jobs. newstandardnews.net/content/?action=show_item&itemid=385
“Fallujah Doctors Report U.S. Forces Obstructed Medical Care in April” by Dahr Jamail, NewStandard Iraq Correspondent Fallujah – Horror stories continue to rise from the rubble of Fallujah as Marines continue to deny claims that their forces caused prohibited emergency care and attacked civilian ambulances during the April siege. newstandardnews.net/content/?action=show_item&itemid=384
We've also posted several important news briefs, including:
Report: Iraqi prisoners were tortured to death newstandardnews.net/content/?action=show_briefs§ionID=5#381
U.S. reportedly kills more than 40 Iraqis in airstrike newstandardnews.net/content/?action=show_briefs§ionID=5#379
Journalists report being abused by US troops newstandardnews.net/content/?action=show_briefs§ionID=5#370
Newsweek: White House okay'ed program that led to torture newstandardnews.net/content/?action=show_briefs§ionID=5#369
“The Seeds Have Been Sown”
Haditha, May 21 – “Iraq is sitting atop a volcano,” says a school teacher in Haditha. “The Americans are aggravating people here, trying to get a reaction. Everyone in this province is against them now!”
Most Iraqis I speak with nowadays are seething with rage towards the occupiers of their country. With their mosques being raided, damaged or destroyed on what has become a nearly daily basis, they have had enough.
Then, as if the unremitting stream of horrendous photographs documenting the widespread torturing of Iraqis within Abu Ghraib prison (among other detention facilities throughout Iraq) are not enough, the recent wedding party massacre has brought the fury to an entirely new level.
The continuing cultural insensitivity and unwillingness to take responsibility for the slaughter by the U.S. military is not helping ebb the rage felt by Iraqis about the incident.
While Arabic media has shown footage of the mangled bodies of the 25 women and children killed by U.S. helicopters, Marine General James Mattis in Fallujah responded:
“Ten miles from Syrian border and 80 miles from nearest city and a wedding party? Don't be naïve. Plus they had 30 males of military age with them. How many people go to the middle of the desert to have a wedding party?”
Someone should inform General Mattis that most of Iraq just happens to be located in a desert, and that celebrations of all kinds in the desert are not uncommon here.
On the banks of the Euphrates River inside a humble home in Haditha, Mr. Tahrir, a manager of one of the local schools, is unable to contain his anger while discussing the countless atrocities committed by the U.S. and British militaries as of late.
“So a few soldiers get court-martialed for abusing Iraqis. They get a fair trial, then maybe a year in jail. Is this fair? Iraqi civil rights lawyers, human rights organizations, and released detainees who were tortured weren‚t even allowed inside of the show trial!”
Mr. Tahrir, and all of the other men and women I am drinking tea with, is unable to accept the incongruity of justice as applied to soldiers vs. detained Iraqis. Most detained Iraqis have never been charged with anything, have no access to a lawyer or their families, no phone calls, and as we can see every day now, are being treated horrendously.
How would people in the US react if shown pictures of Americans imprisoned by a foreign military that showed the detainees being forced to simulate degrading sex acts, being covered in feces, ridden like animals, handcuffed to their beds with underwear on their heads and being attacked by guard dogs?
The signs of continued violent resistance to the occupation are obvious even as one drives out of the quiet town of Haditha, beautifully set amidst palm trees, green fields of vegetable crops and the mighty Euphrates flowing past. For the road just outside of the city has huge craters along the sides, blasted by Improvised Explosive Devices detonated while U.S. convoys passed.
Iraqis aren‚t the only people suffering. Just in the last two days, five more U.S. soldiers have been killed, and at least twice that number wounded. Heavy fighting rages throughout southern Iraq, which of course is claiming even more civilian casualties than fighters on either side.
Driving back to Baghdad finds the usual delays from military convoys and checkpoints. Iraqis are not getting used to being delayed by the foreign militaries in their country, as cars honk and tempers rise with each passing minute. In Baghdad, according to General Kimmitt, currently 76 roads are blocked for “security reasons.” Snarled traffic in the capital is a daily fact of life, people sitting in their cars, their anger rising along with the 100 degree temperatures.
West of Fallujah on the main highway, while racing towards Baghdad alongside the setting sun, there are countless military vehicles sitting sporadically along the sides of the road.
We pass a few small cemeteries, which oddly enough have Humvees and soldiers sitting beside them. Not good PR with the Iraqis.
Even though the military claims that an “attacker fired on the patrol from a cemetery” north of Baghdad in Miqdadiya recently, most Iraqis are unaware of this; only seeing Humvees parked atop the bodies of their dead; Humvees from the same military that is regularly damaging and raiding mosques in Baghdad and southern Iraq. Humvees from the same military which just slaughtered 40 people at a wedding celebration.
Shortly after passing these, Fallujah is on our right — along with the token US checkpoint on the main street that enters the city from the highway. While members of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps actually operate the checkpoint, a few Humvees are parked off to the side under camouflage netting, discreetly incognito.
The checkpoint maintains the US military illusion of control over the one truly liberated city in occupied Iraq, as their patrols no longer enter inside.
Recently Mr. Bush said, “And I believe the Iraqi people don't want to be dominated by anybody. They want the United States to be a friend, but the United States to not dominate.”
His quote reminds me of something Mr. Tahrir told me earlier in Haditha whilst speaking of the US occupation of his country. “They promised prosperity, yet they have destroyed everything. They said they‚d bring real freedom; but we see our people in prison, tortured, looted and homes raided.”
Tassin Awad, sitting nearby, nodded in agreement and added, “I would like to see Mr. Bush and tell him that Saddam is better than he is.”
Dahr Jamail is Baghdad correspondent for The NewStandard. He is an Alaskan devoted to covering the untold stories from occupied Iraq. You can help Dahr continue his crucial work in Iraq by making donations. For more information or to donate to Dahr, visit newstandardnews.net/iraqdispatches .
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