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Shedding No Tears for Iraqi Civilians

by C/O Diogenes Friday, Apr. 04, 2003 at 10:52 AM

On April 2nd, Al Jazeera news network reported that Bartallah, a predominantly Iraqi Christian town north of Mosul, suffered heavy civilian casualties after a night of intense coalition bombing. The local chief surgeon at the hospital reported that there were 120 dead and wounded civilians brought into the hospital within the past week.

Shedding No Tears for Iraqi Civilians

by Firas Al-Atraqchi columnist

April 3, 2003

On March 31st, ten women and children were killed near Najaf when a van they were in was riddled with fire from U.S. Marines who had tried to get it to stop at a military checkpoint. After Saturday's suicide bombing that caused the death of four U.S. Marines at another checkpoint, coalition forces are now instructed to shoot at any vehicle or person that does not stop.

U.S. Marines said they had shouted at the driver to stop but to no avail. They then fired warning shots, but the van ploughed on. The matter is still under investigation.

(According to the BBC, and quoting the Washington Post, there are conflicting reports that the warning shots were fired too late to warn off the van. "You just [expletive] killed a family because you didn't fire a warning shot soon enough!" the paper quotes Captain Ronny Johnson as telling his platoon leader.)

U.S. officials are worried this incident will weigh heavily on their campaign to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people and convince them that this is a war of liberation.

(Professor Des Ball, of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre of Canberra's Australian National University (ANU), believes that the coalition may already be losing the publicity war: "Saddam and his regime will go but the coalition's other war aims, I believe, are in tatters,")

Last week, embedded London Times reporter Mark Franchetti gave the following chilling account of a battle that ensued for a strategic bridge over the Euphrates river:

"Down the road, a little girl, no older than five and dressed in a pretty orange and gold dress, lay dead in a ditch next to the body of a man who may have been her father. Half his head was missing."

Franchetti reports that the U.S. Marines have become disillusioned after nearly two weeks of fierce fighting with Iraqi forces. The fight for the bridge at Nasiriyah will likely be forgotten as just another chapter in the war. However, for Franchetti it brought him face to face with the horrid facade of a war plan gone wrong:

"But it was also the turning point when the jovial band of brothers from America lost all their assumptions about the war and became jittery aggressors who talked of wanting to 'nuke' the place."

While one soldier confided to Franchetti that he was horrified at the civilian toll, other U.S. Marines have taken a different approach to liberating Iraq:

"The Iraqis are sick people and we are the chemotherapy," said Corporal Ryan Dupre. "I am starting to hate this country. Wait till I get hold of a friggin' Iraqi. No, I won't get hold of one. I'll just kill him."

Innocent Iraqis are being killed by the dozens every day in the current phase of the war.

Agence France Presse reported that "20 people including 11 children, were killed Saturday when a nighttime air raid hit a farm in the Al-Janabiin suburb on the edge of Baghdad."

On April 2nd, Al Jazeera news network reported that Bartallah, a predominantly Iraqi Christian town north of Mosul, suffered heavy civilian casualties after a night of intense coalition bombing. The local chief surgeon at the hospital reported that there were 120 dead and wounded civilians brought into the hospital within the past week.

Al Jazeera showed footage of an Iraqi Christian with severe injuries to his face and head. In the bed next to him lay his wife, who miscarried shortly after being brought into the hospital. Local doctors said her face required 200 stitches and will likely be disfigured. The couple did not know at press time that their three-year old daughter had died in the bombing.

By the time there is a cessation of hostilities, thousands of dead Iraqi civilians will have been liberated. Supporters of the war are echoing Madeleine Albright and stating that it is better for Iraqis to be killed and liberated than to be butchered by Saddam. A popular myth making the rounds on the internet is that Saddam butchers many more Iraqis than anyone else, therefore this war is good for the Iraqis.

The dead in Bartallah might disagree. If they could speak, that is.

comments on this article?

send them to backtalk!

[visit backtalk!]

Firas Al-Atraqchi, B.Sc (Physics), M.A. (Journalism and

Communications), is a Canadian journalist with eleven years of

experience covering Middle East issues, oil and gas markets, and the telecom industry.


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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 29 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Of course... Diogenes Friday, Apr. 04, 2003 at 10:53 AM
Diogenes Sheds No Tears for American Soldiers Stop the Bullshit Friday, Apr. 04, 2003 at 12:05 PM
Med. Tech. Bill Friday, Apr. 04, 2003 at 12:29 PM
The old tired canards. Diogenes Friday, Apr. 04, 2003 at 12:30 PM
Wheres My Answer Stop the Bullshit Friday, Apr. 04, 2003 at 2:24 PM
I'm a Communist Diogenese Friday, Apr. 04, 2003 at 2:30 PM
Thank you conformists / enemies of the constitution systemfailure Friday, Apr. 04, 2003 at 2:36 PM
Stop comparing this to Nazi Germany Thats a Rediculous Comparison Friday, Apr. 04, 2003 at 2:44 PM
Don't look under the oven that other guy Friday, Apr. 04, 2003 at 3:00 PM
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO OBEY Pissed Off in Ohio Friday, Apr. 04, 2003 at 3:01 PM
OK, so you think you live under some kind of Nazi Government Your fucking Paranoid, Go jump off a bridge Friday, Apr. 04, 2003 at 3:14 PM
Stop the Bushit systemfailure Friday, Apr. 04, 2003 at 3:18 PM
LIVE NEWS BREAK FROM CNN / FOX systemfailure Friday, Apr. 04, 2003 at 4:06 PM
Hey systemfailure... Eric Friday, Apr. 04, 2003 at 4:46 PM
systemfailure obviously suffers hk Friday, Apr. 04, 2003 at 4:54 PM
OneEyedMan KPC Friday, Apr. 04, 2003 at 4:58 PM
LIVE NEWS BREAK FROM INDYMEDIA TV systemfailure Friday, Apr. 04, 2003 at 5:01 PM
Boring bored Friday, Apr. 04, 2003 at 5:12 PM
Learn to write and spell, K? SYSTEMFAILURE IS A TOTAL FAILURE Friday, Apr. 04, 2003 at 6:42 PM
Either you oppose Evil or You Support it. Diogenes Friday, Apr. 04, 2003 at 7:16 PM
"where were you when the rangers were in Mogadishu systemfailure Sunday, Apr. 06, 2003 at 3:13 AM
Eric, Get a Life ERIC IS ONE ASSHOLE FUCK-UP Sunday, Apr. 06, 2003 at 4:29 AM
Oooooo. I've really got the liberals vexed! Eric Sunday, Apr. 06, 2003 at 9:44 AM
Jesus Dio fresca Sunday, Apr. 06, 2003 at 10:00 AM
Ignorance abounds systemfailure Sunday, Apr. 06, 2003 at 5:00 PM
Not the SIX College program? shagrat Monday, Apr. 07, 2003 at 10:29 AM
communist terrorists pippin Monday, Apr. 07, 2003 at 10:52 AM
Oh no!! fresca Saturday, Jul. 12, 2003 at 9:31 AM

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