Iraq War as Video Game


The Associated Press reported that Major General Richard Natonski, commander of the 1st Marine Division in Falluja, “described a small room with no windows and just one door. Inside were two thin mattresses, straw mats covered in blood. There was also a computer, computer disks, and a wheelchair where “we believe [captives] were bound and moved around in”.” He also said that “US forces found and freed an Iraqi who had been chained to a wall and beaten by his captors.” Horrible.

Just like Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib and countless other torture chambers round the world that are run by faceless savages in the name of Bush freedom.

And here is another revelation: “An estimated 600 insurgents have been killed since the start of the battle of Fallujah on Monday night, the U.S. military said Thursday . . . . The military had no information on the numbers of civilians killed or wounded.” (AP November 11). Well why the hell not? Haven’t we had enough of this crap from the military about “We don’t do body counts” ? They boast about the numbers they kill, but they don’t include civilians, of course. But here is one reason why they don’t do civilian body counts:

“He watched horrified as a family of five was shot dead [by a US helicopter gunship crew] as they tried to cross [the river to escape from Falluja].”

No doubt the mom, dad and kids who were murdered in the river were included in the body count of guerrillas killed in Falluja. But that first-hand on-the-spot description was from a terrified AP photographer on the river bank. It wasn’t from an embedded reporter whose every word is scrutinized by army censors (not because he or she might betray vital military secrets, but because they might get the truth out to the world – although sometimes the truth does emerge).

The AP guy saw the killings, the atrocity, because he was about to try to swim across the river himself to escape from the hell-on-earth that was created by the US blitzkrieg that has destroyed the city of Falluja. Then he saw the effects of the cool, collected, deranged US military snipers and said “I could still see some US snipers ready to shoot anyone who might swim”.

Now that is ANYONE, anyone “who might swim” who was desperate to escape from the destruction of their homes by the gallant jet-jockey video-gamers who hurl bombs around like explosive confetti. These sniper supporters of Bush freedom will shoot and kill anyone at all – it doesn’t matter whether they are old or young, fit or crippled, male or female. These people kill anyone who moves.

Here is an item from Tuesday’s British Daily Telegraph newspaper, a paper that fervently supports Bush and the Bush-Blair war on Iraq but does have the decency to carry reports by its correspondent watching the destruction of Falluja:

“Capt Kirk Mayfield, commander of the Phantoms, called for fire from his task force’s mortar team. But Sgt Anyett didn’t want to wait. “Dude, give me the sniper rifle. I can take them out – I’m from Alabama.”
Two minutes tick by. “They’re moving deep,” shouted Sgt Anyett with disappointment. A dozen loud booms rattle the sky and smoke rose as mortars rained down on the co-ordinates the sergeant had given.

“Yeah,” he yelled. “Battle Damage Assessment – nothing. Building’s gone. I got my kills, I’m coming down. I just love my job”.”

He just loves his job? “I got my kills”? He loves killing people? Is this real? Is he a real person? Can he be a human being?

I wore army uniform for 36 years and served in three places in which there was a certain amount of disturbance and even a modest amount of firing on the two-way range : Cyprus, during the ‘Emergency’ ; Borneo in Malaysia when Indonesia was trying to invade it ; and Vietnam, where nationalist patriots were trying to unite their country. And during my entire service I never heard a soldier say that he loved killing people. Apart from anything else (I mean such weird things as morality, dignity and decency), it would have been considered bizarre that anyone could think such a thing. If someone had said he loved killing people he would have been put very swiftly into the hands of the shrinks, the psych team, who would have ensured that he was removed from the army and given intensive treatment in a quiet and caring hospital until he regained his sanity and was fit to rejoin the human race.

The purpose of soldiers (and those who serve in the air and naval forces) is to defend their country. In order to do this they sometimes have to kill their country’s identifiable enemies, and the military ethos requires that this be done efficiently and dispassionately and in accordance with the Geneva Conventions and Protocols. Killing a fellow human being is contrary to all tenets of civilisation, so soldiers are to an extent torn between indulging in natural compassion and the legal exercise of terminal brutality. It is essential that a soldier does not shrink from his duty – and in any case, if someone is shooting at you it is only normal to shoot back. But this is done only in circumstances of extraordinary and extreme crisis, and when it happens it is not a cause for pleasure or rejoicing. The only rejoicing comes later, when you realise that you are still alive. (You then, if you are normal, get extremely drunk and behave like a happy idiot for a short while.) But for a soldier to rub his hands in glee about having killed someone is obscene. Terrorists are happy about killing people : the more people they kill, the more ecstatic they are. And they love their job. But they are terrorists, not soldiers of the world’s greatest democracy.

“I JUST LOVE MY JOB” ? – What sort of killer robots is the US military system producing in its Marines and its Army?

The ‘Daily Telegraph’ report continued: “Lt Jack Farley, a US Marines officer, sauntered over to compare notes with the Phantoms. “You guys get to do all the fun stuff,” he said. “It’s like a video game”.”


These people are seriously insane. They need treatment, urgently. They are not real soldiers, for real soldiers have a proud spirit that encompasses compassion. These cretins are blood-lusting fanatics whose commander-in-chief, a despicable draft-dodger who avoided combat when his country was at war, encourages them to commit war crimes.

Lieutenant Farley says it is all “like a video game”. Well, perhaps it is to him.

Only a few of the US atrocities in Falluja have been recorded at first hand. This description of one is from ABC pool video footage. It’s not made up ; it couldn’t be fabricated. “A bit of bright color stood out on one of the city’s gray, rubble-strewn streets – a pink dress on the body of a small child crumpled next to the curb.” Of course it was only one little girl. So she was worth the destruction of a city. But we were told by Rumsfeld and all the generals that there would be no harm done to civilians. Oh dear me no. Families were told to get out of the city – as if they could do that, when every father aged between twenty and forty was not allowed to leave by US forces. But it played well for the people who watch Fox.

* * *

On November 16 the Washington Post recorded that “On the video, as the camera moved into the mosque [in Falluja], a Marine can be heard shouting obscenities in the background, yelling that one of the men was only pretending to be dead. The video then showed a Marine raising his rifle toward a prisoner lying on the floor of the mosque. The video shown by NBC and provided to the network pool was blacked out at that point and did not show the bullet hitting the man. But a rifle shot could be heard. The blacked out portion of the video tape, provided later to Associated Press Television News and other members of the network pool, showed the bullet striking the man in the upper body, possibly the head. His blood splatters on the wall behind him and his body goes limp.”


Hideous things are happening in Iraq in the name of Bush ‘freedom’ and Bush ‘liberation’ and Bush ‘democracy’. We know about a few of them because someone with a conscience was on the spot when some atrocities were committed. These are war crimes, but they will never be punished, because conquerors always escape justice. The terrifying but only too believable thing is the attitude of marines who justify the action of the animal who murdered the wounded Iraqi. There is no question of shame and no evidence of even a spark of humanity. To the contrary. Michael Gregory of Reuters reported the words of Marine Sergeant Nicholas Graham, 24, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania : “I would have shot the insurgent too. Two shots to the head. You can’t trust these people. He [the killer] should not be investigated. He did nothing wrong.”

Little wonder the US military are loathed, feared and despised throughout Iraq and by much of the rest of the world.

And when we hear about the next Iraqi being murdered we can shrug our shoulders and say of the criminal lunatic who killed him “Oh well, he loves his job. It’s like a video game.”

BRIAN CLOUGHLEY writes on military and political affairs. He can be reached through his website



Brian Cloughley writes about foreign policy and military affairs. He lives in Voutenay sur Cure, France.