Thursday, December 13, 2007

Stray Bullets Kill Hearts and Minds

The following story is hardly new news. It is an event that has been repeated a thousand times since the US invaded and occupied Iraq. The details may be moderately different in each case but the result is usually the same. American GI's are attacked by some insurgent or militia group or individual and has one or more of their comrades killed or wounded. Then the human desire for revenge takes over and in their rage to seek justice for their fallen comrade they invade Iraqi homes, based some sort of intel, or hunch, or whatever. that the attacker may be at. As intel in a war zone is often notoriously lacking the result in too many cases ends with Innocent Iraqi's getting killed. Sometimes by adrenaline juiced soldiers and sometimes by the bad guys they seek. Who's to blame? Everybody and nobody. Unless you go to people who started this nightmare, the neocons, Bush, and Cheney.

Stray bullets

Leila Fadel

December 13, 2007 9:38 AM

McClatchy Newspapers


BAGHDAD - Suheila Hammad held her daughter in her arms before dawn on Tuesday. Outside she heard the U.S. Special Forces and the Iraqi army in her area just south of Fallujah.

First they raided a home two doors down, blew the doors out and went in looking for their target. The soldiers pulled the family out of the home and the second floor was destroyed, the family said. A picture shows a burned-out room and shattered glass.

The soldiers progressed to the second house, searching for their target, an al-Qaida in Iraq member who was believed responsible for attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces.

At the second house in this place, once an al-Qaida bastion, they blew the doors off and pulled the residents from the house. The Iraqi soldiers toyed with them, telling them to raise their arms up, drop their arms and raise them again.

A few soldiers walked away speaking a language the families didn't understand. It was then that a bullet pierced the window where Suheila held her daughter Hadil. The bullet pierced Hadil's neck and passed through her, embedding in the wall of the room. No one came into the house and Suheila was too afraid to call out for help, she said.

Hadil bled to death in her mother's arms. Three men were detained, two were later released. The U.S. military said the man detained is an al-Qaida in Iraq member. There were no reports of Hadil's death, they said.

Last month a child and two men were killed as they rushed through a military checkpoint while the U.S. military were conducting an operation in Bayji. A U.S. military official estimated the child was about 3 years old. In Baghdad up to four people were killed, including three women, when a minibus ended up on a road meant only for car traffic. Bank employees on the bus were killed when soldiers fired warning shots that fragmented and hit the bus.

These deaths were not deliberate. But Suheila does not have her daughter, a 3-year-old was shot as he huddled in the back of a car and two young people forever associate Americans with the fear they felt in the middle of the night when foreign soldiers burst into their home.

When will this misbegotten war end?

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