SCAPEGOATING BLACKWATER - U.S. Soldiers Commit War Crimes at One-Ninth the Price
www.localnewswatch.com, Oct 9, 2007
But it isn‘t just Blackwater. Official U.S. soldiers are no less stupid or vicious or trigger-happy than their private counterparts.
In 2003 U.S. troops manning a checkpoint in Karbala repeatedly fired a 25-millimeter cannon at a Toyota containing 13 people trying to flee the fighting. At least seven people, including five children age five or under, were killed.
Often the "checkpoints" were invisible to Iraqi motorists. American soldiers would hide in buildings near an intersection and fire "warning shots" at the engine blocks of approaching vehicles. Assuming that they were being ambushed by bandits, Iraqi drivers would floor the accelerator. Soldiers then treated them as potential suicide bombers, turning them into Swiss cheese. "Many U.S. officials describe...the military‘s standard practice of firing at onrushing cars from their checkpoints in Iraq," reports The Washington Post.
"We fired warning shots at everyone," said one soldier. "They would speed up to come at us, and we would shoot them. You couldn‘t tell who was in the car from where we were. We found that out later. We would just look in and see they were dead and could see there were women inside."
That‘s what happened to Italian intelligence agent Nicola Calipari. After obtaining the release of a journalist from insurgents who had held her hostage for one month, Calipari accompanied her to a checkpoint near the Baghdad airport. U.S. soldiers opened fire. The warning shot missed the engine block. Calipari died; the reporter was wounded. Though their Iraqi driver insists that he was driving their Toyota Corolla (memo to travelers to Iraq: consider a Honda) under 25 miles per hour, the Pentagon said he was "speeding."
A lot of professional U.S. soldiers have screamed their contempt for Iraqis since the beginning of the war. "For almost a year," reported the East Bay Express in 2005, "American soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan have been taking photographs of dead bodies, many of them horribly mutilated or blown to pieces, and sending them to [a pornographic website]. American soldiers have been using the pictures of disfigured Iraqi corpses as currency to buy pornography."
If you‘ve just eaten, stop reading now.
The Express describes the photos:
Google the Express story. It gets even uglier.
Blackwater‘s hired goons are exempt from prosecution. So, apparently, are real soldiers. Atrocity after atrocity goes unpunished or rewarded with a slap on the wrist.
Specialist Jorge Sandoval, 22, was acquitted of murdering two Iraqis, one on April 27, the other on May 11 near Iskandariyah, south of Baghdad. However, a military court-martial found him guilty of planting detonation wire on the first victim to make him look like an insurgent. If he was innocent, why did he try to cover up the shooting?
Specialist James Barker, 23, of the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, based in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, admitted that he held down a 14-year-old Iraqi girl in 2005 while another soldier raped her, then shot her several times in her Mahmudiya home. He dowsed her with kerosene and set her on fire. According to CNN,
The same crime committed in the U.S. would earn life in prison, or the death penalty.
A Marine Staff Sergeant charged in the massacre of 24 people in Haditha, The New York Times reports, will not face murder charges because investigating civilian deaths isn‘t a military priority.
The 2005 Express piece contains this tragicomic gem:
(Ted Rall is the author of the new book "Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?," an in-depth prose and graphic novel analysis of America‘s next big foreign policy challenge.) Next: ONWARD, CHRISTIAN PANDERERS