Finland’s Keskisuomalainen published an article (18.1.07) in its foreign news section; “Pelko ajaa amerikkalaissotilaat terrorisoimaan siviilejä / Terrified Soldiers Terrifying People“, written by Dahr Jamal, Ali al-Fadhily / IPS. The article tries to present US soldiers as being so “traumatized” by their daily battles with Iraqi insurgents/al-Qaida fighters ect., that they are killing Iraqi civilians left and right due to their “stress level”.
There is an element of truth to the notion, that “some soldiers” do react differently to stress while under combat, and some civilian tragedies may have in fact resulted because of it. The trial of the Haditha incident, where 24 people were killed is far from being over, so it’s too early to render a judgement. But even in the event that some or all are convicted of that atrocity, it cannot be used in any meaningful way to detract from the courageous and honorable behavior of the overwhelming percentage of the US armed forces in Iraq.
But when reading through the article, one can’t help but notice that the claims being made, take on the form of propaganda, where the US military is guilty of every imaginable crime, looking as/or more guilty than the regime it removed. That this type of crappy reporting appears on the pages of the Keskisuomalainen doesn’t surprise me one bit, because they have been against the US/Bush policy in Iraq from the beginning. But this article takes their antagonistic “news” reporting to a whole new level completely. Its not surprising that the same article has been popping up in all the most likely of places.
The team of Dahr Jamal, Ali al-Fadhily interviewed Sunni (most likely insurgent friendly) Iraqis who level all kinds of charges at the US, such as the chasing of a 12yr. old kid because he said “bang bang” to a passing truck of soldiers, who end up beating not only little Yassir, but his uncle as well, while cussing and swearing as they trash their house, using “the foulest of language”. So, we should trust this semi-anonymous source who lives in an insurgent stronghold, that his story is true? OK. Lets’ move on to the next guy, a 35 yr. old nameless man (most likely insurgent friendly or one himself):
“American officers asked me a hundred times how the fighters obtain weapons,” a 35-year-old resident who was detained together with dozens of others during a U.S. military raid at their houses in the Muallimin Quarter last month told IPS. “They (American soldiers) called me the worst of names that I could understand, and many that I could not. I heard younger detainees screaming under torture repeating ‘I do not know, I do not know’, apparently replying to the same question I was asked.”
Then Heckle and Jeckle write the following: “U.S. soldiers have been reacting wildly to attacks on them.” Wildly, really? I guess all the soldiers are so demoralized and traumatized by the powerful insurgency/jihadists, that they’re just shooting hither and thither in every which direction. Gee, when reading H & J’s stuff one could conclude that the back of American troops are indeed broken, all they need to do is yell BOO, for them to start shooting every man woman and child in sight…plus the cursing!
Then there is the unnamed source (most certainly an insurgent) who is quoted as follows: “They are punishing civilians for their failure to protect themselves,” a resident of Thubbat quarter told IPS. “I defy them to capture a single sniper who kills their soldiers.”
What nonsense. This is all pure propaganda from the mouths of those who are more than likely, “insurgent friendly”. This is highly reminiscent of the propaganda during the height of the Vietnam war, which saw North Vietnamese and/or sympahtizers being used as stringers for the Western media. Nothing new here.
The very same team of H & J wrote another story back in Dec of 2006. “No Safety for Women in Iraq” featured the following nonsense: “Few women like to talk about what they have to go through. “I was taken by Americans for three days recently,” Um Ahmed said in Baghdad. “They told me they would rape me if I didn’t tell them where my husband was, but I really didn’t know.” So the Americans are now threatening rape of women, much like Saddam’s regime…..ok, I got the picture. Out of curiosity, I wonder what Um Amed’s husband was up to anyway?
Then there is H & J’s “things were better under Saddam” point-of-view that comes across loud and clear:
“Women in Iraq used to go to work, participate in social activities and even take part in politics,” sociologist Shatha al-Dulaimy said in Baghdad. “Iraqi women studied and worked side by side with men, and they formed at least 35 percent of the national working power in various fields of work until the U.S. occupation came. The occupation has brought nothing but suffering, death or kidnapping to women here now.”
After the Gulf War–particularly after crushing the Shiite and Kurdish uprisings of 1991–Saddam reverted to tribal and “Islamic” traditions as a means to consolidate power. Iraqi women paid the heaviest price for his new-found piety. Many women were removed from government jobs and were not allowed to travel without the permission of a male relative. Men were exempted from punishment for “honor” killings–killings carried out on female relatives who had supposedly “shamed” their family. An estimated 4,000 women died from honor killings in the ensuing years. By 2000, Iraqi women, once considered the most highly educated in the Middle East, had literacy levels of only 23%.”
“The revisionist history offered by those opposed to the Bush administration–whether it comes from bad judgment, a lack of information or a desire for political advantage–has grave consequences. A brutal dictator who tortures his own people cannot be a champion of women’s rights. To pretend otherwise is to dishonor the memory of the thousands of innocent Iraqi women who died in a senseless brutal reign of terror. It also does a grave disservice to the men and women of this country who died or were injured to liberate Iraq.”