Iraqís Dead Civilians
March 26, 2003
By Jackson Thoreau
Deep in the pit of Hell, Fatima Abdullah screams. Few hear
her. Especially not the pilots in the U.S. and British jets
that have been raining 2,000-lb. bombs, which obliterate everything
within a football field upon impact, on Baghdad since Thursday.
Especially not the U.S. generals who refuse to acknowledge
the lives of kids like Fatehah Abdullah, Fatima Abdullahís
Fatehah is dead, another victim in Bushís and Cheneyís Blood
for Oil, Inc. war. And Bush, Cheney and the generals that
push this massacre could care less. Welcome to the "New" World
U.S. Commander Tommy Franks says they will not tabulate body
counts, especially of Iraqis, in this war that is as illegitimate
as Bushís claim to the White House. The bulk of the U.S. media
will not report on civilian casualties, unless they are so
large that even our corporate-and-Republican-controlled media
cannot ignore them.
But some of us will. I will. Fatehah Abdullah may just be
eight years old. He may be Arab. But he counts for something
in my book.
Heís number 303. And that number of Iraqi civilians killed
by our bombs continues to rise.
Since the outbreak of the latest phase of the war for Iraqi
oil and continued U.S. domination of the planet Wednesday,
I have not slept much. I have paid little attention to the
talking heads on CNN, who like to call themselves the "most
trusted name in news." CNN commentators lied once again about
progressive film maker Michael Moore being booed off the Oscar
stage Sunday. As the British news agency Reuters reported,
many in the Hollywood crowd gave Moore a standing ovation
as he issued his anti-Bush, anti-war remarks. Moore himself
had this to say to reporters: "Don't report that there was
a split decision in the hall because five loud people booed."
Maybe CNN is the "most trusted" name in the U.S. media to
paint pictures the way the Bush administration wants them
I have concentrated on reading international media reports
such as from Londonís Guardian. I have read the reports from
activists like Voices in the Wildernessí Iraq Peace Team who
put their lives on the line to try to protect Iraqis. I have
scanned the reports from alternative media like the United
Kingdomís Independent Media Centre.
And Iím here to tell you what Gen. Franks and CNN and Donahue-less
MSNBC and others will not: More than 300 Iraqi civilians Ė
many of them children, as almost half of Baghdadís population
is under age 14 - have been killed by the U.S.-led massive
aerial bombing campaign, as of early Tuesday. Many more will
probably soon die in hospitals.
At Al Kindi Hospital in Baghdad, Fatima Abdullah screamed,
"Why do you do this to us?" to April Hurley, a physician and
member of the Iraq Peace Team. Not only is one of her sons
dead, but her four-year-old boy and two daughters were wounded
by a missile that hit her uncle's home outside Baghdad, near
a bridge targeted by U.S. bombers.
Nada Adnan, a 13-year-old student at a high school for girls,
is among those with deep wounds who must suffer in anguish
without basic medicines that could at least give her some
temporary relief from the pain. Cheneyís oil company, Dallas-based
Halliburton, could make millions supplying Iraq with oil equipment
after the 1991 Gulf War. But relief workers could not ship
basic medicines to Iraq because that violated the economic
sanctions imposed by the UN on Husseinís regime. To repeat:
Cheneyís company can make millions in oil deals, but Iraqi
kids like Nada cannot get basic medicines.
Want to talk precision bombing? Talk to Nahla Harbi, a passenger
driving away from Baghdad with her two-year-old when a military
school for boys was struck, causing her car to roll. She escaped
with fractures in both legs. Her toddler suffered head injuries.
Talk to the families of the five Syrians who died when a
U.S. missile struck a Syrian passenger bus near the Iraqi
border. Ten other passengers, most of whom were laborers working
in Iraqi oil fields, were injured.
One of the more ludicrous aspects of this war is how U.S.
officials are crying foul when Iraq pulls a few tricks like
pretend surrenders and putting POWs on television. "Iraq is
violating the Geneva Convention," U.S. officials say. These
are the same officials who ignore international laws such
as the UN charter that states one country cannot invade another
without provocation or the blessing of the UN Security Council.
These are the same officials who ignore international treaties
like those governing nuclear weapons and global warming.
So itís unfair for Iraq to put prisoners on television or
use civilians as soldiers or women and kids as shields? Tell
me, whatís fair about one side spending $400 billion annually
on nuclear weapons, high-tech weapons, etc. and the other
spending some $1.4 billion on scud missiles and other low-tech
weapons after years of economic sanctions that has wracked
its strength? Thatís like the NFL Super Bowl champion playing
a junior high team thatís been decimated with the flu and
crying foul when the weaker team pulls a few trick plays.
Iím not condoning Iraqís regime or its tactics. Iím just
trying to explain and understand them. Iím just trying to
explain that there are reasons why many people throughout
the world canít stand narrow-minded Americans who canít, or
wonít, recognize when their leaders are leading them down
a path to Hell. I hate seeing anyone killed. Thatís why I
walked more than 5,000 miles in my youth across the U.S. and
Europe to Russia during the depths of the Cold War.
Itís a sad situation all around that Bushís stupidity and
selfishness have led us into, isnít it? Bushís stupidity with
Iraqi invasion will CAUSE more days like Sept. 11, 2001, not
prevent them. More Arabs will join bin Laden and other terrorist
groups and attack Americans. Wealthy Americans like Bush and
Cheney will fly off to their private islands or stay in their
bunkers until the smoke clears, while the rest of us deal
with their lunacy for the rest of our lives.
Meanwhile, courageous, concerned protesters have to deal
with U.S. radio disc jockeys who urge listeners to run over
peaceful protesters with their vehicles. Americans who question
this mad war are called traitors and told to leave the country
and threatened with bodily harm. Is this the kind of America
our forefathers fought and died for, where closet Nazis tell
thinking Americans to goose-step along with them or leave
the place where they were born?
I donít think so. If there was a real threat to our country,
as Nazi Germany was back in the 1930s, Iíd join the fight
myself. But Iraq is not Nazi Germany Ė itís not even Nazi
Austria. There is no good reason for invading Iraq, not oil,
not personal revenge, not justifying a $400 billion military
budget, not chemical and biological weapons that can be bought
by most anyone on the black market, not world domination.
Americans fought the British empire in the 18th century, and
now the U.S. is the imperialistic British empire. And unless
wiser U.S. leaders take control and really work with the rest
of the world on our serious problems, the U.S. will go the
way of the British empire.
Hussein can be dealt with by a UN-appointed tribunal that
indicts and tries him on crimes. That way, the whole world
through the UN gets involved in stopping whatever threat Hussein
poses. And the UN needs to exert its influence over Bush-Cheney
and not bow down to them. Russia has the right idea in wanting
to get the Security Council back together to confront the
U.S. invasion of Iraq. I still believe a UN that is not beholden
to any so-called superpower Ė which the current UN admittedly
is - can work if enough people support it. Itís our worldís
main chance for survival.
Enough dreaming. Iím back to reality Ė finding another report
of a civilianís death in Baghdad. Number 304.
Itís not a job I like. But someone has to do it. My wife
and I have two young children ourselves to raise, so I canít
stand in harmís way like members of the Iraq Peace Team. But
I can help make sure kids like Fatehah Abdullah do not die
in vain. I can help make them count, even when the U.S. government
and media wonít.
Jackson Thoreau is co-author of We Will Not Get Over It:
Restoring a Legitimate White House. The updated, 120,000-word
electronic book can be downloaded on his Internet site at
Citizens for Legitimate Government has the earlier version
Thoreau can be emailed at email@example.com.