June 29, 2008

US Kills with Impunity in Iraq... Again

Imagine if one of Vice President Dick Cheney's bodyguards was shot and killed during a Christmas party. Imagine that the trigger-man was known. Do you think it would be big news? Do you think the trigger-man would face some kind of court process? Certainly.

But on Christmas Eve in 2006, a US contractor from Blackwater shot and killed a bodyguard of Iraqi Vice President Adil Abdul-Mahdi. Most Americans probably didn't hear about it in the corporate media and, as of recently, there has been no judicial process.

Now imagine if a relative of President George Bush was killed by a foreign military force conducting a security raid in the United States. Hard to imagine, eh? But the reverse has just happened in the Iraqi state of Karbala. We did hear about this recent incident as the news zipped by in the 24-hour news cycle a couple days ago...

Outraged Iraqi officials demanded an investigation into an early morning U.S. military raid Friday near the birthplace of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki. The [Karbala] governor's brother, Hassanein al Khazaali, said late Friday that the Iraqi killed in the operation was a relative of the U.S.-backed prime minister.

How many times have we heard "demands for an investigation," to be conducted by the fox guarding the hen house (US military)? We rarely hear the results of these investigations, and if we do, they're usually like those of the Haditha Massacre. US Marines involved in Haditha have gotten away with venting their deadly rage on three unarmed college students and a cab driver happening by the site of a roadside bombing that killed a Marine. The Marines also entered two houses and killed most of the occupants, including women and children. By the end of their spree, the Marines had killed 24 apparently innocent Iraqis.

We're supposed to believe the Marines were just following standard procedures. If we take them at their word, the US "procedures" can lead to the massacre of 24 civilians, an incident that is probably more common than we'd like to believe [1]. These very destabilizing "standard procedures" are contrary to the stated "security" mission of the US. This chain of logic justifies the withdrawal of US military forces from Iraq, but you won't hear this analysis voiced in the elite media.

My point? High profile killings by US forces in Iraq go by with little news coverage (more examples below). Countless similar incidents occur without any comment. These killings would cease if the US would leave Iraq. Again, the logic is clear: The US government isn't a force of stability in Iraq, rather it is an arm of corporate colonialism, which is very destabilizing.


McClatchy, Iraqi officials outraged by U.S. raid in prime minister's hometown, Hannah Allam and Sahar Issa.

[1] Given the size of Iraq, most incidents go unreported in the media. We get a glimpse into this by high-profile incidents that do make it into the mainstream, like the April 2003 US killing of journalists in the Palestine Hotel, and the US killing of a senior Italian intelligence official, Nicola Calipari, as he was helping evacuate Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena who had been kidnapped in Iraq. Additional insight can be gained from the testimonials of US soldiers who spoke during the March 2008 Winter Soldier Hearings organized by Iraqi Veterans Against War.

Photo Credit: Relatives mourn near the bodies of children killed in a U.S. raid in Tikrit March 15, 2006. Eleven people, most of them women and children were killed when a house was bombed during a U.S. raid north of Baghdad, police and relatives said. (AP Photo/Bassim Daham).


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