The news about the ambassador of Iraq to the UN revealing that US Marines murdered his cousin on June 25 has been swamped by cover of the terrorist bombings in London. The scale of the atrocities cannot be compared, but the moral difference is that the bombings were carried out by demented criminals while the murder was committed by people in uniform who are supposed to be exercising, abiding by, and illustrating by personal example, the laws of democratic societies.
Ambassador Samir Sumaidaie is a Sunni Muslim and a supporter of the United States – although he might be a little less enthusiastic, now – and after he described the killing (first reported in The Times of London, and not by US media), the US military said his account “roughly corresponds to an incident involving coalition forces on that day in that general location.” Then Major General Stephen T Johnson pronounced “We take these allegations seriously and will thoroughly investigate this incident to determine what happened”. And a spokesman for the acting US ambassador to the UN, Anne Patterson, “expressed her heartfelt condolences” to Mr Sumaidaie.
Would there have been a statement by a two star general about the killing if the man who had been murdered wasn’t cousin of a prominent person known to be a supporter of the United States? And would there have been condolences from the US ambassador to the UN if the murdered man had been an ordinary Iraqi?
In a pig’s valise there would. The whole thing would have been just another incident. Only another unreported killing of an inferior “haji raghead” by military barbarians who have forgotten anything they ever knew about acting as human beings.
Nobody knows how many of these atrocities are committed, because the people killed are not cousins of the Iraqi ambassador to the UN. Bombings in London are important news, and justifiably so, because they are detestable and committed by anarchistic lunatics; but casual murders of Iraqis are treated as trivial incidents that do not merit reports (never mind condemnation) in the US media. All the Iraqis who have been murdered by US troops just disappear into nothing. It is, as the Apocrypha has it, “as if they had never been born” – except to their bereft and grieving families, naturally. And if their families are not related to an important Iraqi who has been a valuable ally of the United States they don’t receive apologies and promises of thorough investigations.
Not that anything happens, anyway, after “investigations”. A US Marine can murder a defenseless, wounded, semi-conscious prisoner, with the whole atrocity recorded on video to the horror of the entire world except the blood-loving maniacs of the Cheney-Bush Support Club, and be confident there will be no action taken against him. We are living in what will be known in history footnotes as the Era of Legalized Atrocities.
The weeping families of Iraq must bear their pain alone. There is no publicity for the countless stricken women whose husbands and sons have been murdered, and no expression of “condolences” by clever, elegantly dressed, high mucky-mucks from air-conditioned suites on another planet. There is little wonder the mourning families and their friends detest Americans. There is every reason, in their minds, for them to encourage others to join the guerrillas.
Here is the Ambassador’s account of the murder, as reported by Associated Press:
“Mohammed [al-Sumaidaie, his cousin], an engineering student at the University of Technology in Baghdad, was visiting his family in the village of Al-Shaikh Hadid when the Marines knocked on the door, the ambassador said. The young man rushed to open the door and greeted the group of about 10 Marines and an interpreter who appeared to be Egyptian pleasantly, “happy to exercise some of his English,” said [Ambassador Sumaidaie]. The Marines asked if there were any weapons, and Mohammed said there was a rifle, which only had blanks . . . He then led some of the Marines into his father’s bedroom where it was kept. His father, the local headmaster, was at school. A short time later, his mother, brothers and sisters who were kept in the living room heard a thud but they were generally relaxed because they had nothing to hide, and, “they thought, [had] nothing to fear”. But later a younger brother, Ali, was dragged by the hair into the corridor by a Marine and was beaten. The mother started sobbing. A Marine then went out and returned with a camera and went into the bedroom. After a while, the family went outside and waited on the porch as they were ordered, the ambassador said. More than an hour later, as the soldiers were leaving, the interpreter asked the mother in Arabic if that was her son inside. When she replied “yes”, the interpreter said, “they killed him!”. “The mother let [out] a deafening cry of anguish, but the Marines were smiling at each other as they were leaving,” [Ambassador Sumaidaie] said. “In the bedroom, Mohammed was found dead and laying in a clotted pool of his blood. A single bullet had penetrated his neck.”
“The Marines were smiling at each other as they were leaving.” Great. Just another Haji raghead gone to Paradise. Kills for thrills? Who knows? All that we know is that the boy was murdered. What was the camera for? Do these people get kicks out of taking photographs of murder? Why the smiles? Above all; why the smiles?
The spokesman for the acting US ambassador to the UN, Anne Patterson, “expressed her heartfelt condolences” to Mr Sumaidaie, but it would have been better if the fragrant and tender-hearted Ms Patterson had offered condolences in person (or at least not by medium of a PR dummy) to the mother of the murdered boy. That wouldn’t cross her mind, and it shows us the thinking of these inane, pompous, plastic people; if you are not important you don’t deserve condolences. Grieving mothers are dross and can be ignored but ambassadors whose cousins are murdered must be given sympathy. That’s the mindset of the trash who prosper on planet Cheney-Bush.
The evil suicide bombers who now kill Iraqis (and every week kill many more than were killed in London) are spin-off results of the wide insurrection against US forces whose actions following their invasion were those of conquerors rather than liberators. The illegal invasion was followed by an occupation conducted with triumphal savagery that rapidly created violent reaction. Once it became “them and us” to the US occupation force, so their brutality increased. Then more and more Iraqis began to support the guerrillas fighting against the troops who broke into their houses at midnight and behaved with sadistic cruelty and violence.
The destruction of Fallujah town was a blatant war crime. It is verging on the incredible that in the 21st Century a civilized nation would order its armed forces to reduce most of a town to rubble and deliberately create 300,000 refugees in their own country. It was malevolent vengeance that led to the obliteration of Fallujah. There are countless Marines and soldiers who believe their brutality in Iraq is justified by the 9/11 tragedies because they think they are taking righteous revenge for America being attacked.
So long as America has public figures like Representative Robin Hayes (R- NC), there will be no shortage of true believers that the war on Iraq was warranted because Saddam Hussein, according to Hayes, was “very much involved in 9/11”.
Hayes was interviewed on June 29 by CNN’s Carol Costello, who noted that “there is no evidence that Saddam Hussein was connected in any way with al Qaeda”. But Hayes disagreed with the entire body of evidence that shows Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with al Qaeda. No stone has been left unturned by the Cheney-Bush administration to try to obtain something – anything – that might possibly link Saddam Hussein with 9/11, but they haven’t managed to do that, because there was no link whatever.
Congressman Hayes is, almost unbelievably, Vice Chairman of the Armed Services Terrorism Subcommittee. When Carol Costello stated “But there is no evidence that Saddam Hussein was connected in any way with al Qaeda” Hayes replied;
“Ma’am, I’m sorry, but you’re mistaken. There is evidence everywhere. We get access to it. Unfortunately others don’t. But the evidence is very clear.”
Costello: What evidence is there?
Hayes: The connection between individuals who are connected to Saddam Hussein, folks who worked for him. We’ve seen it time and time again. But the issues are; where are we now? Nobody disputes 9/11. They would do that again, if not prevented. Preventing 9/11 wherever it might happen in America, winning the war overseas, not bringing it here to our shores is the issue in this regard.
Costello: Are you saying that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11?
Hayes: I’m saying that Saddam Hussein – and I think you’re losing track of what we are talking about here – Saddam Hussein and his people and people like him were very much involved in 9/11. Did he make a phone call [trails off. . . ]
Costello: There’s no evidence of that.
Hayes: I’m sorry, you haven’t looked in the right places.
Costello: I must not have. Because I know of no evidence connecting Saddam Hussein to Osama bin Laden or al Qaeda.
Hayes is obviously in need of therapy and counseling. But he is far from being the only American who firmly believes, contrary to all evidence, that Iraq’s former leader was responsible for 9/11. Millions of Americans believe this absurdity. It is amazing that such a fool can be influential; but there are plenty of people who want to be fooled all of the time. He spreads the totally false notion, heartily endorsed by Cheney, that Iraq was an active supporter of the 9/11 attacks, so it isn’t surprising that this sort of rubbish is believed by soldiers and Marines, and that their belief results in vengeful brutality and the killing of people who only want to be get on with what lives are left to them in the chaos that Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush have created in Iraq..
“The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is calling on the United States to investigate three new cases of journalists killed in Iraq over the past week – all of them at the hands of American soldiers. The IFJ in a statement noted that this brings to 17 the number of journalists and media staff killed by US soldiers since the invasion of Iraq. “All of these cases need to be investigated independently because they involve reports of action by US troops,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “We expect the United States to produce credible and exhaustive reports on all of these deaths. It is the least the family, friends and colleagues of the victims expect.”
No chance of that, Mr White. So far as the US is concerned, the three men killed last week were just foreign ragheads who didn’t have cousins in high places. One of the journalists was killed by a single round fired by a US sniper, which was plain murder of an unarmed innocent man. But the killer will never be brought to justice. The only ‘justice’ in Iraq is that dispensed by the US occupation force which is specifically excluded from obedience to Iraqi and international law. Nobody knows on what terms a US soldier can kill an Iraqi civilian. The ‘Rules of Engagement’ are secret.
Iraq is the exemplar of Bush paranoia, where, in the words of the president of the world’s most prominent democracy, “I want justice, and there’s an old poster out West that says, ‘Wanted; Dead or Alive’.” That is Bush justice, in which presumption of innocence is irrelevant. If someone is judged to be guilty by the executioner — then kill him. So it is understandable that his troops behave in the way they do. They are out of control.
(There is a similar disaster in Afghanistan where the slaughter of over a dozen civilians by B-52 bombers on July 1 was called “a very unfortunate situation” by the military. The spokesman said “Our military is second to none in the care that it takes to target those who are fighting against our US forces and avoid any civilian casualties or collateral damage.” No “heartfelt condolences” about the women and children who were blasted to bits by six tons of bombs that landed on their tiny hamlet. But then they are just anonymous ragheads who don’t have a relative who is their country’s ambassador to the UN. And the bomber crew won’t be losing sleep over their atrocity.)
The warped and horrible Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General to Cheney-Bush and eager advocate of torture, paid a quick visit to Baghdad on July 3 and declared; “There are still some high-level crimes, murders and kidnappings that are not being prosecuted. One reason is that the evidence is not available.” He was of course referring to crimes committed by insurgents. This disgusting approximation of a human being, who considers Bush can endorse torture because he is not bound by the Geneva Conventions, ignores the fact that US occupation troops have committed crimes “that are not being prosecuted”, even when there is undeniable video evidence of a deliberate murder.
As new and even worse-trained US soldiers are sent to Iraq, and as others arrive for their second and third tours, desensitized and cynical and even more murderously inclined, the situation will deteriorate further. The credibility of the occupation force is zero, and the guerrillas are gaining more recruits. There will be more murders by US troops, and more lies told about them. There will be initial refusal to acknowledge that murders have taken place, and then there will be arrogant justification of them by rabid lunatics. Shakespeare wrote that “Truth will come to light; murder cannot be hid long”. But Cheney, Bush and Rumsfeld and their cronies are succeeding in the aim of concealing truth and disguising cold-blooded murder.
BRIAN CLOUGHLEY writes on military and political affairs. He can be reached through his website www.briancloughley.com