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America at War

Killing Cabbies in Iraq

by DAVE LINDORFF

If you know anybody who still supports Bush’s and Cheney’s criminal war against Iraq, have them watch a short news report aired on July 16 on ABC News titled Exclusive Look at Soldiers on the Front Line. (Note: You will have to go to the page and click on the headline) It will sicken you and anyone who watches it.

The news clip, an all too rare honest look at the war from a reporter allowed to see it first hand-in this case a cameraman named Sean Smith, from the British Guardian newspaper, who was imbedded with the Second Infantry Division’s Apache Company in Baghdad, shows tired and overwrought US troops who are into their fourteenth month of continuous battle, as they respond to a variety of battle situations. In one case, after watching six of their comrades burn to death trapped inside a Bradley Armored Vehicle that a roadside bomb has flipped over and ignited, the soldiers break into a house, looking for weapons, only to find themselves terrorizing an old woman with a walker, who dissolves into hysterical tears. Then, in another scene, the men open fire on a car cruising the neighborhood, which they fear might be a terrorist looking for a target. After killing the driver, they learn from a local woman that it was just a taxi driver she had called, who was trying to locate her address.

A clearly frustrated and angry GI, Specialist Michael Vassell, says, "I challenge anybody in Congress to do my rotation… Because we have people up there in Congress with the brain of a two-year-old who don’t know what they’re doing I challenge the president to ride along with me for 15 months. I’ll do another 15 months if he comes out her and rides along with meThey won’t even have to pay me!"

A day in the life of the US war and occupation of Iraq.

Watch this video and in an instant it becomes clear why the US is losing there. It is a war against the people of Iraq. A war of terror in which the US military is the terrorist organization. And it is a way that pits the US against the people of Iraq.

It is not that these soldiers are evil. They are victims who have been assigned an evil job. Some in the military–people with extreme courage–have resisted, have spoken out, have risked court martials, have refused orders, have deserted, but it is too much to ask most men and women in such a situation to be similarly courageous. Besides, the indoctrination and the restrictions on information inflicted on the troops is so severe that many still believe they are fighting in defense of America, and not simply for this administration’s mad goal of empire, oil, and political power at home.

The ABC report stands out because, sadly, it is so unusual. Most of the time, what we see on our TV news programs are feel-good stories about heroic soldiers, whether defeating a group of outgunned Iraqi fighters or engaging in some kind of do-good activity for the cameras. Rarely do we get to glimpse the daily, routine atrocities that are the real face of American power in Iraq.

Rarely, too, do we get to hear the anger that ordinary American soldiers and Marines are feeling about the situation that they have been placed in.

It makes a horrible joke out of the pathetic efforts that the Democrats and a few dissident Republicans have been making in Congress to bring the Iraq War to an end. With this kind of stuff going on every day in Iraq, the notion that trying to end the war by next April is somehow "doing something" is clearly beneath contempt.

For the sake of the long-suffering Iraqi people, and for the sake of our own troops, this war needs to be ended now, and anyone in Congress or running for the presidency who doesn’t say that is complicit in supporting continued murder and terror.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His n book of CounterPunch columns titled "This Can’t be Happening!" is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff’s newest book is "The Case for Impeachment",
co-authored by Barbara Olshansky.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com