Sunday, January 15, 2012

Civilians will be targetted

From Killing hope, Iraq 1990-1991 Desert holocaust:

" On 12 February, the Pentagon announced that "Virtually everything militarily ... is either destroyed or combat ineffective." Washington Post, 13 February 1991, p. 22, citing Rear Admiral Mike McConnell, intelligence director for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Yet the next day there was a deliberate bombardment of a civilian air raid shelter that took the lives of as many as 1,500 civilians, a great number of them women and children; this was followed by significant bombardment of various parts of Iraq on a daily basis for the remaining two weeks of the war, including what was reported for the 18th in The Guardian of London as "one of [the coalition's] most ferocious attacks on the centre of Baghdad." : The Guardian (London), 20 February 1991, p. 1, entitled: "Bombs rock capital as allies deliver terrible warning"

What was the purpose of the bombing campaign after the 12th? The United States said it thought that the shelter was for VIPs, which it had been at one time, and claimed that it was also being used as a military communications center, but neighborhood residents insisted that the constant aerial surveillance overhead had to observe the daily flow of women and children into the shelter. Western reporters said they could find no signs of military use. An American journalist in Jordan who viewed unedited videotape footage of the disaster, which the American public never saw, wrote:

They showed scenes of incredible carnage. Nearly all the bodies were charred into blackness; in some cases the heat had been so great that entire limbs were burned off. ... Rescue workers collapsed in grief, dropping corpses; some rescuers vomited from the stench of the still-smoldering bodies: Laurie Garrett (medical writer for Newsday), "The Dead", Columbia Journalism Review (New York), May/June 1991, p. 32.

Said White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater after the bombing of the shelter: It was "a military target ... We don't know why civilians were at this location, but we do know that Saddam Hussein does not share our value in the sanctity of life."

More from '91:

" The civilian population suffered in the extreme from therelentless bombing. Middle East Watch, the human-rights organization, has documented numerous instances of the bombing of apartment houses, crowded markets, bridges filled with pedestrians and civilian vehicles, and a busy central bus station, usually in broad daylight, without a government building or military target of any kind in sight, not even an anti- aircraft gun."

Again and Again:

"Those who tried to escape the bombing horror in Iraq by fleeing to Jordan were subjected to air attacks on the highway between Baghdad and the Jordanian border -- buses, taxis, and private cars were repeatedly assaulted, literally without mercy, by rockets, cluster bombs and machine guns; usually in broad daylight, the targets clearly civilian, with luggage piled on top, with no military vehicles or structures anywhere to be seen, surrounded by open desert, the attacking planes flying extremely close to the ground ... busloads of passengers incinerated, and when people left the vehicles and fled for their lives, planes often swooped down upon them firing away. ... "You're killing us!" cried a Jordanian taxi driver to an American reporter. "You're shooting us everywhere we move! Whenever they see a car or truck, the planes dive out of the sky and chase us. They don't care who we are or what we are. They just shoot." His cry was repeated by hundreds of others. ... The US military, it appears, felt that any vehicle, including those filled with families, might be a cover for carrying military fuel or other war materiel, some perhaps related to Scud missiles; and even carrying civilian fuel was a violation of the embargo."

This was a scene that repeated itself again and again in 2003. Not even the Wikipedia could spin this one:

"At 4:30 am the morning of 13 February, two F-117 stealth fighter/bombers each dropped a 2,000 pound GBU-27 laser-guided bomb on the shelter. The first cut through ten feet of reinforced concrete before a time-delayed fuse exploded. Minutes later the second bomb followed the path cut by the first bomb. People staying in the upper level were incinerated by heat, while boiling water from the shelter's water tank killed those below. At the time of the bombing there were hundreds of Iraqi civilians in the shelter. More than 400 people were killed; reports vary and the registration book was incinerated in the blast. The dead were overwhelmingly women and children because men and boys over the age of 15 had left the shelter to give the women and children some privacy. The blast sent shrapnel into surrounding buildings, shattering glass windows and splintering their foundations. The shelter is maintained as a memorial to those who died within it, featuring photos of those killed. According to visitors' reports, Umm Greyda, a woman who lost eight children in the bombing, moved into the shelter to help create the memorial, and serves as its primary guide."

That shelter features in this documentary:

Comprehensive post-World War II government studies had concluded that "the dread of disease and the hardships imposed by the lack of sanitary facilities were bound to have a demoralizing effect upon the civilian population", and that there was a "reliable and striking" correlation between the disruption of public utilities and the willingness of the German population to accept unconditional surrender. In the Iraqi case there was a further motivation: to encourage desperate citizens to rise up and overthrow Saddam Hussein. Said a US Air Force planner: 

Big picture, we wanted to let people know, "Get rid of this guy and we'll be more than happy to assist in rebuilding. We're not going to tolerate Saddam Hussein or his regime. Fix that, and we'll fix your electricity."

Civilians have always been targeted and nothing is going to change that. They will die by the millions like always. There are currently over 2 Million Iraqi war widows. Anyone who cavalierly proposes that there was "oh about 100,000 dead give or take" is a lying shit and deserves to be sent to the next war zone dressed as a civilian. Let's see how much shit they talk then.

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