Daily Archives: April 9, 2006

HOW MASSACRES BECOME THE NORM, by Dahr Jamail

 

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Click here to go to Dahr Jamail's     HOW MASSACRES BECOME THE
    NORM (Yet More Crimes Against
    Humanity & War Crimes Committed
    by the United States Government)

    By Dahr Jamail, Journalist
    t r u t h o u t | Perspective
    Tuesday, 04 April 2006
    [Copyright (c) 2006 in the
    U.S.A. and Internationally
    by t r u t h o u t (.org),
    Dahr Jamail’s Iraq Dispatches
    and/or DahrJamailIraq.com.
    All rights are reserved.]

 

     US soldiers killing innocent civilians in Iraq is not news. Just as it was not news that US soldiers slaughtered countless innocent civilians in Vietnam. However, when some rare reportage of this non news from Iraq does seep through the cracks of the corporate media, albeit briefly, the American public seems shocked. Private and public statements of denial and dismissal immediately start to fill the air. We hear, “American soldiers would never do such a thing,” or “Who would make such a ridiculous claim?”

     It amazes me that so many people in the US today somehow seriously believe that American soldiers would never kill civilians. Despite the fact that they are in a no-win guerrilla war in Iraq which, like any other guerrilla war, always generates more civilian casualties than combatant casualties on either side.

     Robert J. Lifton is a prominent American psychiatrist who lobbied for the inclusion of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders after his work with US veterans from Vietnam. His studies on the behavior of those who have committed war crimes led him to believe it does not require an unusual level of mental illness or of personal evil to carry out such crimes. Rather, these crimes are nearly guaranteed to occur in what Lifton refers to as “atrocity-producing situations.”

     Several of his books, like The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide, examine how abnormal conditions work on normal minds, enabling them to commit the most horrendous crimes imaginable.

     Iraq today is most certainly an “atrocity-producing situation,” as it has been from the very beginning of the occupation.

     The latest reported war crime, a US military raid on the al-Mustafa Shia mosque in Baghdad on March 26th, which killed at least 16 people, is only one instance of the phenomena that Lifton has spoken of.

     An AP video of the scene shows male bodies tangled together in a bloody mass on the floor of the Imams’ living quarters – all of them with shotgun wounds and other bullet holes. The tape also shows shell casings of the caliber used by the US military scattered about on the floor. An official from the al-Sadr political bloc reported that American forces had surrounded the hospital where the wounded were taken for treatment after the massacre.

     The slaughter was followed by an instant and predictable disinformation blitz by the US military. The second ranking US commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, told reporters “someone went in and made the scene look different from what it was.”

 

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OPERATION SWARM OF LIES, by Dahr Jamail

 

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Click here to go to Dahr Jamail's     OPERATION SWARM OF LIES
    (Crimes Against Humanity and War
    Crimes by the U.S. Government)

    By Dahr Jamail
    t r u t h o u t | Perspective
    Monday, 20 March 2006
    [Copyright (c) 2006 in the
    U.S.A. & Internationally
    by t r u t h o u t (.org),
    Dahr …’s Iraq Dispatches
    and/or Dahr Jamail.
    All rights reserved.]

 

     The stated mission of Operation Swarmer, launched late last week in an area just northeast of Samarra, in Iraq, was to “break up a center of insurgent resistance” and to disrupt “terrorist activity,” according to the US military.

     Comprised of over 1,500 US and Iraqi soldiers, 50 US attack and transport helicopters airlifted the bold force into a flat area of farmland filled not with fighters belonging to the “center of insurgent resistance,” but with impoverished farmers, cows, goats and women baking bread. The first drop of soldiers onto the ground from this air-operation doubled the meager population of 1,500 souls living in the 50 square-mile area.

     US troops acted bravely, snatching up 48 “suspected insurgents,” then promptly releasing 17 of them. They were precise in their operations, and did not detain a single cow or goat.

     What did the military say about why no resistance was met?

     “We believe we achieved tactical surprise,” said Lt. Col. Edward Loomis, the spokesman for the 101st Airborne Division.

     Fallaciously hailed as the largest air assault in Iraq since the Anglo-American invasion three years ago, Lt. Col. Loomis said that two days into the operation his forces “continue to move” through the area, and “tactical interviews began immediately.” According to Time magazine reporters:

     “Four Black Hawk helicopters landed in a wheat field and dropped off a television crew, three photographers, three print reporters and three Iraqi government officials right into the middle of Operation Swarmer. Iraqi soldiers in newly painted humvees, green and red Iraqi flags stenciled on the tailgates, had just finished searching the farm populated by a half-dozen skinny cows and a woman kneading freshly risen dough and slapping it to the walls of a mud oven. But contrary to what many television networks erroneously reported, the operation was by no means the largest use of airpower since the start of the war. (“Air Assault” is a military term that refers specifically to transporting troops into an area.) In fact, there were no air-strikes and no leading insurgents were nabbed in an operation that some skeptical military analysts described as little more than a photo op. What’s more, there were no shots fired at all and the units had met no resistance, said the US and Iraqi commanders.”

     Of course, the US military claimed that two local leaders of the group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi were to have been in the area, but alas, they were not to be caught up in Operation Swarmer or any of the “tactical interviews.”

 

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