[R-G] "The Americans are treating us like animals "
sandinista at shaw.ca
Wed Feb 4 02:20:18 MST 2004
The Americans are treating us like animals
by Dahr Jamail, Information Clearing House
January 29th, 2004
01/29/04: (ICH) Yesterday in Khaldiya, 60 miles west of Baghdad, a powerful
roadside bomb exploded killing US soldiers. Iraqi civilians were killed by
US soldiers gunfire during the aftermath. However, questions about the
conflicting numbers as to the number of dead US soldiers and Iraqi civilians
remain. In a CENTCOM press release for the incident, the US Military claims
that three task force All American soldiers were killed in the blast by
the Improvised Explosive Device (IED), and one Iraqi killed. The press
release also states that one soldier and several Iraqis were wounded.
Witnesses at the scene today told a very different story, as did personnel
at the Ramadi Hospital where the civilian Iraqi casualties were taken.
Mohammed (last name withheld), a 25 year old Iraqi man who lives near the
scene, said, I saw 12 US soldiers killed. Body parts were everywhere. There
were also at least 5 injured.
He and several other witnesses said they watched as the US vehicle was
exploded by the IED, then other soldiers opened up with gunfire, shooting
everything in sight. Hammad Naif Ermil, driving a large truck, was shot and
killed, as were other Iraqis riding in a bus behind him that was riddled
with American bullet holes.
Ali (last name withheld), an Iraqi Policeman who witnessed the incident,
said, I saw 12 dead US soldiers. They put them in black body bags and flew
them out by helicopters. Ali said, We tried to help get the man out of the
bus, but the Americans wouldnt let us. He died because they wouldnt let us
get him out.
A man who also lives near the scene of the incident, Abdul Ahkman, said, I
saw 12 US soldiers killed and flown away by their helicopters. We want the
Americans to leave. They said they would bring us freedom, but they have
only brought us death and suffering. We will kill them all if they stay
Meanwhile, last weekend Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt told AP News, We
believe weve got sufficient capability to maintain a reasonable security
level in the country.
We left the scene after watching young Iraqi boys holding bloody bandages
and IV bags from US medics having done emergency triage on their wounded
comrades. One young boy proudly displayed his US Army watch from a dead US
soldier. The crater from the IED blast was several feet deep, in the median
between the lanes of the highway.
We came upon the funeral procession for the truck driver who had been
killed, his coffin draped in an Iraqi flag carried somberly by many men,
crying as they carried it to the mosque, then up a small hill to the village
cemetery. One man pulls me aside from the procession and says, The
Americans are treating us like animals. They are raiding our homes each day.
They are stealing our money. At least one man from every home here has been
detained. Saddam destroyed us, but the Americans are destroying everything
Another man tells me, We want freedom. We need jobs. I am a teacher, but I
havent worked since the invasion. They promised us freedom, but they are
only giving us prison, killing, and bad treatment. Yet another angered man
The US says they came for weapons of mass destruction and Saddam. They have
found no WMDs, they have Saddam, and we still suffer. We will fight against
them all the way now. They have come because of money. They are insulting
all of us. Iraqi people have the right to resist the Americans because they
are invaders. When they are attacked, why do they always kill others who are
A few of the men tell me that Khaldiya now has one hour of electricity per
day, and a 7pm curfew. Haji, angrily tells me, I expected the Americans to
be better than this. If they are honest, they should pull out now. They have
told us over loudspeakers to stay in our homes after this incident, and have
warned us not to come out after 7pm. Who can live like this?
After the burial of the body, we solemnly carry on to the Ramadi Hospital.
Dr. Rayid Al-Ani, the Assistant Director of the Ramadi Hospital where the
Iraqi casualties were taken, stated that three Iraqi civilians bodies were
brought to the morgue at the hospital, and five wounded Iraqi civilians. Dr.
Al-Ani said, Of the five wounded Iraqis brought here, three have died. One
is now in the operating room, and the fifth man is upstairs suffering from
three gun shots by the Americans.
Mohammed Hammad, 36 years-old, is recovering in the hospital with gun shots
in his face, chest, and right leg. He said, I was riding in a taxi going
from Ramadi to Khaldiya when a US patrol was hit by a roadside bomb. Then
the soldiers just started shooting everywhere.
I ask him if hell try to get compensation from the Americans and he says,
I dont know, but I dont think they will give any compensation to me. They
arent giving it to anyone around here. The driver of his taxi was killed
by American gunfire, according to Mohammed Hammad.
I walk down the hall after talking with Mohammed, and meet a boy, Yas
Hammad, 14 years old, who is recovering from shrapnel wounds in his arm,
chest and foot. US soldiers had raided his parents home, and one of them
left a grenade. The next day Yas Hammad picked it up and it exploded.
Dr. Al-Ani tells me there is a Sheikh upstairs who has been beaten by the
Americans. He takes us upstairs to talk with him. On the way he says that
since his hospital is the highest point in Ramadi, US soldiers have been
occupying the roof. He doesnt mind this, but he does mind that they have
been shooting bottles for target practice, and this upsets his cardio
patients and the elderly in his care.
Sheikh Turlki Muslu lays in his bed, nursing his wounds from being beaten on
the head, chest, shoulders and legs. This on top of also suffering from
diabetes. He sits up with a groan of pain to talk with us:
Two weeks ago the Americans came and asked me to give them names of
resistance fighters. I dont know any resistance fighters. We were always
against Saddam here. They roughed me up some, then said they would come back
in a week and Id better have some names. They came back a week ago, sent my
family outside and locked the door. I told them I dont know any names, so
they tied my hands, put a bag over my head, and took me away in an armored
vehicle. They beat me on my head, neck, shoulders and chest. They kicked my
legs. Then they took me home and told me they could kill me. I told them I
just dont know anyone they are looking for, because Im not in the
resistance. They said they would come back.
The Sheikh has been in the hospital since then, hoping the Americans wont
visit him again. They insist we join him and several other Sheikhs and his
friends for lunch. We sit in the hospital room munching on chicken, rice and
salads, all of them expressing their frustration and concern. The Sheikh is
in charge of 30,000 men. One of his friends says, What are the Americans
thinking? Do they think we will not fight them now? If this happens again,
how will the Sheikh keep his men from fighting? What will his 30,000 people
do when they find out he has been beaten?
The Sheikh says he is angry with the press who he has spoken with, as they
have not told the truth about how his people are suffering, beaten,
humiliated and killed by the Americans. The Assistant Manager of the
hospital expresses this frustration as well.
We are taken to the floor beneath the Sheikhs to visit his cousin, Muhammad
Nassir Ali, who is a Sheikh, also in charge of 30,000 people. His story is
almost exactly the same as that of his cousin-detained, beaten, threatened,
and now seeking refuge in the hospital from the Americans. He lies in bed in
pain, one of his feet broken, bruises on his body.
Sheikh Nassir Ali says, The Americans should not be using force on us. We
would welcome them if they treated us with respect and dignity. Instead,
they are humiliating and infuriating us. Why are they taking our freedom? My
people are ready to do what they need to do here. He receives over 100
visitors a day from men with solemn looks on their faces. When we are there
over 20 men wait for us to finish so they can check on their Sheikh.
We walk down the hall and Dr. Rhami Barki, one of the doctors from the
hospital tells me, The Americans sealed of Khaldiya yesterday. They wouldn
t let anyone leave their house. What about emergency cases? What about heart
attacks? Is it acceptable for Americans to keep people in their homes with
no medical care? The entire city was sealed from 5pm yesterday until this
morning! This is a very big problem. Where are our human rights?
Meanwhile the violence across Baghdad continues. A suicide bomber using an
ambulance detonated near a hotel frequented by westerners, most likely
contractors, just down the road from where I stay. The usual rattling
windows woke me at around 6am as the
huge blast rocked central Baghdad.
Yet the propaganda fest by the US military continues. What weve done in
the last 60 days is really taken them down, a senior military official
said, speaking of the insurgency to the Washington Post on Jan. 23. Weve
dismantled the Baghdad piece. Weve dismantled the Mosul piece. Im not
saying weve taken down the Fallujah-Ramadi piece, but weve hammered it. A
battalion commander in Tikrit said this week in assessing the current
situation. The enemy doesnt have much left. They are desperate and
"The obstacles are ideological rather than political. It is the expression
of patriarchal thought that permeates everything, that makes for a one-sided
vision of society ... Not only is there tremendous ignorance of a feminist
agenda, but when it is addressed it is addressed paternalistically,
condescendingly, in welfare terms. We are lacking in
profound and serious reflection on the subject." -Sofia Montenegro,
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