Friday, December 22, 2006
Dr. Waleed Al-Obeidi, 41, the director-general of Haditha hospitalTahseen Al-Hadithi, 51, cleric and imam of the Haditha mosque
“If they plan to implement justice, then we welcome this step to refer the eight marines to the court, but we have our doubts in American justice. The verdict will be life sentences for four of them and the other four will be released, according to what we heard in the media. They blamed one soldier in the killing of a whole family, while it was carnage. The Iraqi government should have summoned those soldiers and executed them.”Mr. Hadithi said this was not the only crime committed by American forces in Haditha, and noted that charges had been brought in similar incidents elsewhere in the country:
“I prefer they won’t be executed, and to be handed over to Haditha people to get the punishment they deserve.”
“This is the culture of the occupying marines in our country. If we go back and remember the funeral, and if President Bush could see the family, the children and the women and how the soldiers were moving from one house to another, killing them, what would his comment be? Execution is insufficient punishment to them, and I think they won’t be executed.”
INITIAL POST: Wonder why it is so hard to get out of Iraq? Let's look at the perspective of Virginia congressperson Virgil H. Goode:
We should not make the mistake of believing that Goode expresses the opinion of a small, intolerant fringe. First of all, he was elected to the House of Representatives, and, second, public opinion is, shall we say, mixed when it comes to their acceptance of Arabs and Muslims:
Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr. (R-Va.) on Thursday stood by his demand for strict immigration controls that he said would prevent Muslims from being elected to Congress and using the Koran during swearing-in ceremonies.
Islamic groups in the United States called on Republicans to repudiate Goode's remarks, which he first made in a letter attacking the use of the holy book in a ceremonial oath-taking next month by the first Muslim elected to the House.
"I do not apologize, and I do not retract my letter," Goode said emphatically during a session Thursday with reporters in the southern Virginia town of Rocky Mount.
Questioned later on Fox News Channel's "Your World," he said, "I am for restricting immigration so that we don't have a majority of Muslims elected to the House of Representatives."
We need not look far to discover the consequences of such bigotry, indeed, we only have to turn the pages of today's newspaper to find it:
In a study to determine how much the public fears terrorism, almost half of respondents polled nationally said they believe the U.S. government should -- in some way -- curtail civil liberties for Muslim Americans, according to a new survey released today (Dec. 17) by Cornell University.
About 27 percent of respondents said that all Muslim Americans should be required to register their location with the federal government, and 26 percent said they think that mosques should be closely monitored by U.S. law enforcement agencies. Twenty-nine percent agreed that undercover law enforcement agents should infiltrate Muslim civic and volunteer organizations, in order to keep tabs on their activities and fund raising. About 22 percent said the federal government should profile citizens as potential threats based on the fact that they are Muslim or have Middle Eastern heritage. In all, about 44 percent said they believe that some curtailment of civil liberties is necessary for Muslim Americans.
Conversely, 48 percent of respondents nationally said they do not believe that civil liberties for Muslim Americans should be restricted.
For the gruesome facts associated with the massacre in Haditha, go here and here. Curiously, according to the article: None of the Marines was ordered confined for the upcoming preliminary hearings. Predictably, they are contending that they were just following the rules of engagement:
Four Marines were charged with murder Thursday in connection with the deaths of 24 men, women and children last year in the Iraqi town of Haditha, and four officers were charged with failing to make accurate reports and thoroughly investigate the deaths.
The Nov. 19, 2005, incident in the insurgent stronghold in the Euphrates River valley is one of several in which U.S. troops face criminal charges in the deaths of Iraqi civilians.
But the Haditha case is regarded as the most serious because of the number of victims and Marines involved, and because the Marine Corps initially said the slain civilians had been caught in the crossfire between insurgents and U.S. forces.
The most serious charges were leveled against a squad leader, Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich, who is accused of killing 12 people and ordering Marines under his command to "shoot first and ask questions later" in a sweep of homes that resulted in six deaths.
The Marines are accused of going on a rampage after a roadside bomb exploded under a Humvee in their convoy, killing Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas and injuring two others.
The Marines initially reported that 15 civilians had died in an explosion and eight others had been killed in a gunfight.
Only after Time magazine published a story in March suggesting that the Marine account was false did the military start an investigation.
Such a contention is not implausible when one considers the indiscriminate violence of a related aspect of the occupation, the the air war, as it is expressly conducted with an emphasis upon disregarding the risks of death or injuries to Iraqis to protect Americans against any perceived danger, whether reasonable or not.
Neal Puckett, Wuterich's lawyer, expressed confidence that his client would be cleared. Civilians died in Haditha, he said, but Wuterich acted in accordance with his training.
"Everything he did that day was in an effort to protect his fellow Marines after that [improvised explosive device] went off," Puckett said at a news conference after the charges were announced at Camp Pendleton.
Defense lawyers have said the Marines were following established rules of engagement by tossing fragmentation grenades into homes where insurgents were suspected of hiding, and then opening fire with their M-16s.
Wuterich and three other Marines face charges of unpremeditated murder, which brings a maximum penalty of life in prison.
While in Washington, the purpose of the war and occupation remains the perpetuation of US hegemony in the Middle East and Central Asia, it is something different for many in the US and on the ground in Iraq. It is about gratifying a desire to punish the Iraqis for the refusal of people throughout the Middle East to accept their subordination to the US.
For them, US dominance is based upon a belief, as expressed by Goode, that Americans are racially and culturally superior to Arabs and Muslims. Physically and emotionally abusive treatment of Iraqis in detention is apparently an especially delightful way for them to drive this point home.
The massacre in Haditha, and the the infamous rape and killing in the farmhouse, represent even more grotesque, sadomasochistic aspects of this phenomenon. Hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis to date aren't enough to satiate their appetite for vengence.