Another horrifying war crime was committed by US troops yesterday who opened fire on a car at a checkpoint in Najaf. The soldiers claimed they shot the women and children as a last resort.
The US Central Command in Qatar has admitted the incident this morning, claiming that “as a last resort, the soldiers fired at the passenger compartment of the vehicle. Inside the vehicle, they found 13 women and children. Seven were dead. Two wounded. Four unwounded”.
Seven dead. Two wounded. Four unwounded.
The soldiers claimed that the car failed to stop at a checkpoint and that they opened fire because they were afraid of a suicide bombing. Evidently, they were too stupid or gung-ho to imagine that the car probably did not stop because the driver was too frightened, or did not speak English. Anyway who gives the orders in Iraq are Iraqis, not Americans.
Is this the “hearts and minds” campaign of the coalition forces? Is this the war that the bulk of the American people supposedly support (according to opinion polls)? This war is illegal under international law. Those party to any act of killing are guilty of war crimes and those supporting war crimes are guilty of aiding and abetting them.
When an illegal war is waged, it has to be started and finished before public opinion can be mobilised. If this war had finished after six or seven days, and a new regime installed in Baghdad with a massive humanitarian effort and an immediate pull-out of the coalition forces, it would still have been illegal but at least more acceptable in the minds of countless millions of people around the world.
However, this was not the case. A plan involving people of the calibre of Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush was bound to fail. Two weeks on, not a single city has been taken, not even Um Qas’r on the frontier with Kuwait – British military sources claimed last night that there was still fighting in the city. Two weeks on, the Pentagon continues to spew out lies which are so obviously the result of desperate attempt to cover up the horrendous truth as it dawns upon the military strategists: Rumsfeld steam-rollered his generals into accepting a politician’s war.
The result is a quagmire. The heavy fighting and continued Iraqi incursions into enemy lines in Najaf and Kerballah negates the claims by the US military authorities that the Iraqis are about to buckle and fold. Far from it, they are putting up a fight and there are independent claims, impossible to substantiate, that the US forces are suffering heavy losses.
Rumsfeld and Bush are cold-blooded, callous murderers without any regard for human life. They are responsible for murdering Iraqi civilians, they are responsible for sending their own troops to their deaths and they are responsible for the murder of their allies’ troops in numerous “friendly fire” incidents.
Those who support this illegal act of butchery are as guilty as those perpetrating these acts of evil. It is the United States of America which will suffer the consequences as public opinion around the world turns from luke-warm to cold, to freezing point.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru