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Dahr Jamail is an independent journalist currently
stationed in Iraq. Mr. Jamail submits his work to various
publications around the world, and also has a web site at http://dahrjamailiraq.com
Slash and Burn
lays dazed in the crowded hospital room, languidly waving her bruised arm at the
flies. Her shins, shattered by bullets from US soldiers when they fired through
the front door of her house, are both covered by casts. Small plastic drainage
backs filled with red fluid sit upon her abdomen, where she took shrapnel from
Harouz, 12 years old, lives in Latifiya, a city just south of Baghdad. Just
three days ago soldiers attacked her home. Her mother, standing with us says,
“They attacked our home and there weren’t even any resistance fighters in our
area.” Her brother was shot and killed, and his wife was wounded as their home
was ransacked by soldiers. “Before they left, they killed all of our chickens,”
added Fatima’s mother, her eyes a mixture of fear, shock and rage.
doctor standing with us, after listening to Fatima’s mother tell their story,
looks at me and sternly asks, “This is the freedom…in their Disney Land are
there kids just like this?”
young woman, Rana Obeidy, was walking home with her brother two nights ago. She
assumes the soldiers shot her and her brother because he was carrying a bottle
of soda. This happened in Baghdad. She has a chest wound where a bullet grazed
her, unlike her little brother who is dead.
in a bed near Rana is Hanna, 14 years old. She has a gash on her right leg from
the bullet of a US soldier. Her family was in a taxi in Baghdad this morning
which was driving near a US patrol when a soldier opened fire on the
father’s shirt is spotted with blood from his head which was wounded when the
another room a small boy from Fallujah lays on his stomach. Shrapnel from a
grenade thrown into their home by a US soldier entered his body through his
back, and implanted near his kidney.
operation successfully removed the shrapnel. His father was killed by what his
mother called, “the haphazard shooting of the Americans.” The boy, Amin, lies in
his bed vacillating between crying with pain and playing with is toy
one case after another of people from Baghdad, Fallujah, Latifiya, Balad,
Ramadi, Samarra, Baquba…from all over Iraq, who have been injured by the
heavy-handed tactics of American soldiers fighting a no-win guerilla war spawned
from an illegal invasion based on lies. Their barbaric acts of retaliation have
become the daily reality for Iraqis, who continue to take the brunt of the
frustration and rage of the soldiers.
front of the hospital three Humvees pull up as soldiers alert the hospital staff
that some of the wounded from outside of Fallujah will be brought there. One of
the staff begins to yell at the soldier who is doing the talking, while a
soldier manning a machine gun atop a Humvee with his face completely covered by
an olive balaclava and goggles looks on.
don’t need you here! Get the fuck out of here! Bring back Saddam! Even he was
better than you animals! We don’t want to die by your hands, so get out of here!
We can take care of our own people!”
translator with the soldiers does not translate this. Instead he watches with a
face of stone.
survivors of those killed and wounded by the US military in Iraq, as well as
those who care for them, are left with feelings of bitter anguish, grief, rage
afternoon at a small, but busy supply center set up in Baghdad to distribute
goods to refugees from Fallujah, the stories the haggard survivors are telling
are nearly unimaginable.
kicked all the journalists out of Fallujah so they could do whatever they want,”
says Kassem Mohammed Ahmed, who just escaped from Fallujah three days ago, “The
first thing they did is they bombed the hospitals because that is where the
wounded have to go. Now we see that wounded people are in the street and the
soldiers are rolling over them with tanks. This happened so many times. What you
see on the TV is nothing-that is just one camera. What you cannot see is so
Kassem speaks of the television footage, there are also stories of soldiers not
discriminating between civilians and resistance fighters.
man, Abdul Razaq Ismail arrived from Fallujah last week.
distributing supplies to other refugees he says, “There are dead bodies on the
ground and nobody can bury them. The Americans are dropping some of the bodies
into the Euphrates River near Fallujah. They are pulling the bodies with tanks
and leaving them at the soccer stadium.”
is another man in tears as he listens, nodding his head. He can’t stop crying,
but after a little while says he wants to talk to us.
bombed my neighborhood and we used car jacks to raise the blocks of concrete to
get dead children out from under them.”
refugee, Abu Sabah, an older man wearing a torn shirt and dusty pants tells of
how he escaped with his family while soldiers shot bullets over their heads, but
killed his cousin.
used these weird bombs that put up smoke like a mushroom cloud,” he said, having
just arrived yesterday, “Then small pieces fell from the air with long tails of
smoke behind them. These exploded on the ground with large fires that burnt for
half an hour. They used these near the train tracks. You could hear these
dropped from a large airplane and the bombs were the size of a tank. When anyone
touched those fires, their body burned for hours.”
comparison of Iraq to Vietnam is becoming more valid by the day here.
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Posted August 02,
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