An Eye For An Eye
Is New US Policy

By Linda S. Heard
Online Journal
Contributing Writer

George W. Bush said that he prays every day for the American casualties in Iraq to be reduced. Perhaps, if he altered his vengeful policies and began treating the lives of Iraqis on a par with Americans, his prayers would be answered sooner. Since "mission accomplished" last May, the United States occupiers haven't even bothered tallying up how many Iraqi civilians have been killed in the conflict.
After four American security guards were killed in Fallujah, and Bush demanded heads should roll, more than 600 heads have done just that in this Iraqi town alone. That works out at 1,200 Iraqi eyes dimmed forever, some belonging to women and children. A similar number have been injured, including 243 women and 200 children.
To most reasonable people these numbers sound totally disproportionate. One such person is former British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd, who said: "You don't win hearts and minds by filling hospitals and mortuaries."
In fact, many weren't "lucky" enough to reach hospitals and mortuaries. Five international non-governmental organisations, NGOs, have reported ambulances being prevented from reaching the injured and decomposing bodies strewn all over the streets. Some victims had to be buried where they fell, or in a garden.
When asked whether there was an end in sight to the conflict, Bush replied: "It's hard to tell." He added,"I just know thisóthat we're plenty tough." I guess in this New World Order, men who kill women and children from the safety of Apache helicopters, F-16s and tanks, and using state-of-the-art weapons, are considered "plenty tough." Call me old-fashioned, but I call them cowardly.
America's harsh tactics are already being compared to those used by the Israelis in the West Bank and Gaza, which isn't surprising, since US special forces are being trained in counter-insurgency techniques by members of the Israel Defence Force.
An article in The Guardian, dated December 9, 2003, reads: "Israeli military 'consultants' have visited Iraq." One of the strategists behind the Pentagon's new counter-insurgency unit called Task Force 121 is Lieutenant General William "Jerry" Boykin. He became a controversial figure last October when he told a church congregation that the US was battling Satan, who "wants to destroy us as a Christian army."
Britain's formerly pro-war newspaper, The Telegraph, quotes senior British commanders having condemned US military tactics in Iraq as "heavy-handed and disproportionate," with one senior army officer alleging America's aggressive methods were causing friction among allied commanders.
US troops viewed Iraqis as sub-humans, he said, complaining of America's "shoot first, ask questions later" policy. The Pentagon's revengeful tactics have resulted in newly recruited Iraqi soldiers refusing orders to fight in Fallujah, and growing support for the insurgents throughout the country.
There have been several resignations from the Iraq Interim Governing Council as well as condemnation of the US. Adnan Pachachi, a former foreign minister of Iraq and a respected member of the council, called the US operations in Fallujah "unacceptable and illegal."
He said it wasn't right to punish all the people of Fallujah likening this kind of collective punishment to that regularly carried out by the Israelis. Sunnis and Shiites are displaying a united front by praying together in the same mosques, and, according to some reports, joining forces to fight the coalition.
The rise in anti-coalition feelings has led to a spate of kidnappings about which an Iraqi blogger comments: "The hostage situations are a mess. I watch television and its feels like I'm watching another country. All I can think is, 'We've become one of those countries' . . . you know, the ones where hostages are taken on a daily basis and governments warn their civilians from visiting or entering the country.
"It is especially sad because even during those long years during the blockade and in between wars and bombings, there were never any attacks on foreigners. Iraqis are [a] hospitable, friendly people who always used to treat foreigners with care . . . now, everyone is treated like a potential enemy."
Yet both Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair are in denial. As far as they are concerned, the insurgency is made up of Baathist remnants, foreign extremists and militant followers of the young firebrand Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr. Both insist that Iraqis are better off than they were a year ago under Saddam and that they will stick to the end of June deadline for the hand-over of sovereignty.
The problem is ordinary, moderate Iraqis now have serious doubts about the hand-over. There have been complaints that the interim council is not representative and many of its members are in the pockets of the Bush administration. Hurd said power should be given to Iraqis who have real influence in the country and not just those who have "curried favour" with the Pentagon.
To make a bad situation worse, US Secretary of State Colin Powell admitted last Friday that Iraqi forces would remain under US command even after June 30. America will also continue directing the economy. It looks as though June 30 will be a day for pomp and fanfare but as far as substance goes, little will have altered.
In other words, Iraq will get the name without the game. While Iraqis call for the coalition to quit, Blair says if that happened "dictators would rejoice, fanatics and terrorists would be triumphant."
That's one interpretation. As long as innocents are being slaughtered, there are no winners and definitely no celebrants.
- Linda S. Heard is a specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She welcomes feedback and can be contacted by email at
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