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beachmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 09:27 AM
Original message
Tragedy for an Iraqi family: Death and School Bombing
Edited on Fri Mar-10-06 10:11 AM by beachmom
I check the Iraqi blogs every day, and many of them don't update that often, but I was stunned to read these words from two blogs who hadn't posted in a week. They come from one family in Mosul who have multiple blogs. I am going to quote from the father and daughter.

First, the father: /

Thursday, March 09, 2006
What happened to me is happenning to many others.

I wrote a post about what happened to me when an American soldier shot at me. That post bring a lot of comments from many Americans, some regret for that action, other tried to find an excuse or to justify it.

But what happened yesterday, (Thursday) afternoon, about 5:00 PM is beyond justification.

My uncle, the only living one from my mother side, is about 80 years old, a healthy, handsome and well looking gentleman. He was in his way to bring his wife home; she was in visit to her parents, when he shot by American soldiers, he was alone in his car, no eye witness, several bullets penetrate his car, three of them penetrate his body, he died immediately.


At the funeral, I heard many similar stories, all of them contain the same subjects but different detailes, innocent Iraqi civilians killed at the hand of American soldiers for no obvious reasons. Or just because a scared boy holding a gun hidding behind his Stryker and protected from the law, this what changed him from a human to a monster.


Also in the post (I don't want to over sample), he states that the American military did say they were sorry. So it was a total mistake without any evil intent. But this is what happens when you have a heavily armed occupation and insurgent terrorists lurking everywhere. Kids get nervous, they err on the side of killing instead of being killed, and an entire family is thrown into grief and loss.

Less angry, and even sadder, was his 17 year old daughter, and how she describes events: /

Uncle S was dad's only uncle from his mother's side. A man in his late seventies, peaceful and young in the heart. Last time I saw him was after Eid, I gave him a kiss on his cheek when I greeted him, and he kissed me on my forehead before we left. There's nothing that would make me happier than a kiss on the forehead, especially from a man like him. (He was happy with his new mobile then, and he really knew how to use it unlike many, and I was impressed that a man his age, could understand such up-to-date thing. )

Yesterday, he was shot by Americans on his way back home, and he died. Like many others, he died, left us clueless about the reason, and saddened with this sudden loss. He was shot many times, only three reached him: One in his arm, one in his neck and one in his chest. But they said they're sorry.. They always are.

When I was reading this post, I thought it was all going to be about her uncle. But then she hits us with this:

It was a bit strange outside the school, it felt strange but I didn't know why. I went in and saw some girls crying. That can be normal sometimes too.. Then I overheard a friend of HNK talking about a bomb in the school's garden. Only then did I have an idea about what was going on. I hurried outside, but it was too late, the driver had left... and the school had been bombed.
(Well, maybe I'm exaggerating, a small part only was bombed, or as we later knew, targeted with a missile. )

I took a peek into the teachers' room, the most damaged room, the windows were broken and the curtains had fallen down. The missile had fallen in the backyard, near the teachers' room, caused the windows to break in the near classes, and as we heard, two girls were injured.


The missile itself didn't scare me, especially that I wasn't there when it exploded. It's the fact that we were targeted that makes me wonder. A girls magnet school, and another for Islamic studies, what the hell do they think they're doing? And who are "they"?

PS: It isn't quite clear if it was a bomb, a missile or something else. But the most trusted sources say it was a missile.

I am no military expert, so I'm not sure if this definitely had to be the Americans (making another error) or whether the insurgency could have done this. But it sounds like the author thinks it was the Americans, although she's not completely sure.

The thing is we always hear about war supporters whining that the media is "liberal biassed" and "against the war" because they share all the bad news coming from Iraq. But my argument with them is that these little stories, of American military errors (inevitable during a counterinsurgency war) and the deaths of innocent Iraqi civilians at the hands of our military are being UNDERREPORTED. Yes, as bad as Iraq sounds, when you delve in a little deeper, it is, in fact, worse . . .

(Just to note, that these blogs were featured in the NYT in January, so I think that we can find their accounts reasonably credible.)

Edited to correct sex of Star in Mosul -- she's a girl (whoops, should have read a few more posts of hers to get that info).

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TayTay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 09:43 AM
Response to Original message
1. Gawd, you know, that Apri 1971 speech
that Lt. Kerry gave before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee could be delivered today, with just a few changes:

Mr. Kerry: Each day to facilitate the process by which the United States washes her hands of Vietnam someone has to give up his life so that the United States doesn't have to admit something that the entire world already knows, so that we can't say that we have made a mistake. Someone has to dies so that President Nixon won't be, and these are his words, "the first President to lose a war."

We are asking Americans to think about that because how do you ask a man to be the last man to dies in Vietnam? How do ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? But we are trying to do that, and we are doing it with thousands of rationalizations, and if you read carefully the President's last speech to the people of this country, you can see that he says, and says clearly:

"But the issue, gentlemen, the issue is communism, and the question is whether or not we will leave that country to the communists or whether or not we will try to give it hope to be a free people."

But the point is they are not a free people now under us. They are not a free people, and we cannot fight communism all over the world, and I think we should have learned that lesson by now.

Just substitute Iraq for Vietnam and the rationale of 'fighting the global war on terrorism' for Communism and it's dead-on. How awful.
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wisteria Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 09:49 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. I was thinking the same thing. n/t
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beachmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 10:02 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Did you watch that Frontline program about the Iraqi insurgency?
I had taped it, but didn't have a chance to view it until last night. I literally couldn't fall asleep afterwards -- I find the Jihadists utterly and completely terrifying. An Iraqi reporter talked about how they are the walking dead, because they only think about dying and going to paradise. Any thoughts toward their families they will leave behind are "thoughts of the devil". I have to be frank here: these guys scare me a hell of a lot more than Communists. The only reason why they haven't killed as much as Mao or Stalin is that they haven't had the means. If they did, they would. I never bought into that phrase "Islamofascists" until I heard their own words -- Hitler could have spoken them. And there were stories of beheading bodies, leaving the bodies in the main part of a town, with a note that anybody who tried to move the bodies would suffer the same fate.

Okay, my point in bringing this all up is that we cannot cede power to these Jihadists in Iraq. They will murder all of the seculars and moderates, and the Shiites as well. And, of course, they will impose extreme Sharia law, where women have zero rights and you can't even listen to music. On the other hand, we can't stay there because we're not exactly capturing hearts and minds when we shoot unarmed 80 year old men. One area for which I don't agree with Kerry is when he said that if the Americans leave, the Iraqis will kick out the Jihadists. This is simply wishful thinking and will NOT happen. Why? Because the terrorists come into towns heavily armed and do literally TERRORIZE the population into submission. Yes, the local Iraqis hate the Jihadists, but they need a real police force and military force to drive the Jihadists out. And, let's also be frank that that simply does not exist in Iraq today. The Americans, who drive the insurgency, are also the ones who can best contain the insurgency. But . . . they are short on forces so they can only control a finite number of towns. As soon as they leave (an exception: Kurdistan and other Iraqi areas where there ARE a decent # of Iraqi forces or militias), the Jihadists go back in and take over again.

Therein lies our Iraqi Catch 22. We both feed AND contain the Jihadists.

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TayTay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. This is what makes it such a tragedy
People will die if we leave. People will die if we stay. This is the utter insanity of the Iraq War.

What will probably happen is that the US will slowly withdraw to Kuwait and leave a force there that can go into Iraq fairly quickly should the oil production line be in dire jeopardy. People will die. The US will stand by as the factions in the major cities around the religious and social fault lines battle it out and winners and losers slowly emerge. People will die. Then, a strongman will emerge and an iron force will come back into Iraq to restore 'order and stability.'

And people will die.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 10:43 AM
Response to Reply #3
8. I don't think Kerry was naive about the jihadists
or that there would be turmoil. He was talking about training Iraqis to help them in their battles, which implies he knows they will face battles. If Bush would have had the countries that offered a year ago to train forces out of Iraq, we could more easily leave. If Kerry would have won, they would now have an army and police and it's possible that his diplomatic efforts would have given all entities a stake.

The Jihadists are a small part of the insurgents and they would have a harder time hiding from the Iraqis than from us. If a majority of the insurgents can be brought back into the community, it would reduce the number of insurgents and would isolate them. Ultimately it may be possible to get them out only after we leave.

Given so many bad decisions, it becomes a question of whether we are really helping or if we are just delaying events that will happen anyway.
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beachmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 11:01 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. I thought that, too (about the Jihadists), but it's worse than we think
Many Iraqis are becoming radicalized by the Jihadists. What it explained in that Frontline documentary is that there are two MAIN branches of the insurgency: Zaqawi and the former Baathists. There are also groups that fall in between. And the power toggles back and forth. For example, in 2004 Zaqawi started running things because he had a LOT of cash (which tells us we need to find more BCCIs and shut them down) and the former Baathists were running out of weapons. Then when the Constitution vote came about, the former Baathists said they wanted to vote (the Zarqawi people were against that but eventually allowed them to do it).

So the point is that there is a melding going on between Iraqi nationals and Jihadists. Another reason why * has made the world LESS safe. The only thing I'm wondering about is if the shrine bombing (I do actually think it was a Zarqawi bombing, because the Wahabbists are specifically against Shiite holy sites and think they should be destroyed) will cause another division in the insurgency. Surely, Iraqi nationalists MUST have been disgusted with this bombing, as the Shrine is well thought of by ALL Iraqis, not just Shiites.

Back to Jihadists, there is a steady supply of them from places like Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, so although their numbers are small, they never seem to go down. And most disturbingly, they're mentoring Iraqis into their extremist ideology.

Anyway, I agree with a lot Kerry has to say, but he did say the Iraqis would kick out the Jihadists in his Georgetown speech, and I remember thinking at the time that that was an absolute best case scenario with many odds against it. I actually think that he would not favor a withdrawal of troops until the Iraqis have a decent military and police operation throughout the country, so that Iraq would have some semblance of law and order, if not total peace. This makes his position unpopular on DU or dKos, but sensible when it comes to the reality of Iraq and the ME as a region.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 10:20 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. The entire speech has that feel
Edited on Fri Mar-10-06 10:22 AM by karynnj
This part also seems current with few word changes:

"We found that not only was it a civil war, an effort by a people who had for years been seeking their liberation from any colonial influence whatsoever, but also we found that the Vietnamese whom we had enthusiastically molded after our own image were hard put to take up the fight against the threat we were supposedly saving them from.
We found most people didn't even know the difference between communism and democracy. They only wanted to work in rice paddies without helicopters strafing them and bombs with napalm burning their villages and tearing their country apart. They wanted everything to do with the war, particularly with this foreign presence of the United States of America, to leave them alone in peace, and they practiced the art of survival by siding with whichever military force was present at a particular time, be it Vietcong, North Vietnamese, or American.

We found also that all too often American men were dying in those rice paddies for want of support from their allies. We saw first hand how money from American taxes was used for a corrupt dictatorial regime. We saw that many people in this country had a one-sided idea of who was kept free by our flag, as blacks provided the highest percentage of casualties. We saw Vietnam ravaged equally by American bombs as well as by search and destroy missions, as well as by Vietcong terrorism, and yet we listened while this country tried to blame all of the havoc on the Vietcong.

We rationalized destroying villages in order to save them. We saw America lose her sense of morality as she accepted very coolly a My Lai and refused to give up the image of American soldiers who hand out chocolate bars and chewing gum.

We learned the meaning of free fire zones, shooting anything that moves, and we watched while America placed a cheapness on the lives of Orientals. "


It's interesting to look at his October plan in light of this - it's obvious why he wanted to get us out of policing and search and destroy. It also may explain his rejection of Bush's goal to elect people who we like. The last line of the first paragraph could be Iraq today.

Yesterday, on a Guess Who thread, one of the clues was:

"A supporter of the Viet Nam war, as Governor he declared "American Fighting Man's Day" in support of Lt. William Calley after his court martial on charges of massacring civilians."

The answer which BLM knew, was Jimmy Carter. The thread though is interesting because some people TODAY find that understandable. Living in the liberal oasis of a college campus, everyone I knew was appalled by My Lai. Kerry was correct here that people, even with evidence, didn't want to give up illusions - and this was at a time when the war was covered with far less spin then now.

The thread was interesting as it was not screaming to which I credit the other person.
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TayTay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 10:39 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. The parallels are truly eerie
between the IRaq situation and what we went through in Vietnam. And some American leaders leanred nothing from this. Nothing at all. That is the most frightening thing of all.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 11:51 AM
Response to Reply #6
14. I wish more people would have reread all of that testimony
It is so powerful and perceptive. Even if he never would have done another public thing in his life, this would have made him a hero.
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beachmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 10:41 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. It's not that simple in Iraq
Some areas are no doubt like the above scenario Kerry talks about in Vietnam. Other areas are largely Kurdish or Shiite, and they are very happy that Saddam is gone (the Kurds are unabashedly pro-American), but we're beginning to get on their nerves. The story I described happened in Mosul, which is part of the Sunni triangle -- they lost power when Saddam fell, so the Americans have a very hard time there. Baghdad has different areas, but strikes me as more cosmopolitan with many people knowing EXACTLY what democracy is and they want it. But, they would like some law and order to go along with that democracy . . .

I just don't know what the solution is to this problem. Because *, Cheney and Rumsfeld are such big, incompetent idiots, I don't know what could have been had Kerry been president. But cede control of Iraq to Jihadists? I don't know. We saw what happened in Afghanistan, and we can't let that happen in the ME. I guess you can't label my views on Iraq. I am neither an anti-war Leftist nor a hawk. I fall into the "I just don't know what to do" category.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 10:49 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. I'll join you in the "I just don't know what to do" group
I think Kerry's various plans have been sensible - and you can see the effect of changes on the ground in them. The last plan was less ambitious in what it leaves behind - likely as he was far more pessimistic on what could be done.

The problem is that in reality, I don't think Bush could fix things now and he isn't really trying.
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TayTay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 10:57 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. I think most of us fall into the category.
Edited on Fri Mar-10-06 10:58 AM by TayTay
We have a moral obligation to that country to try and stop it from sliding into a murderous civil war that will kill thousands and thousands of innocent people, destroy a chance to unify the country and raise the very real possibility of another ruthless dicatorship rising to 'restore order and stability.'

We also have to acknowledge that we can't do this. The time has passed. We had a chance to do this after the initial invasion when Baghdad fell so easily. That time has passed. America doesn't have the credibility to do this. The Iraqis want us out. We are targets for all sides in the civil war. We can't effect change in Iraq any longer.

Both things are true. If we leave, we might just abandon a generation of Iraqi women to a system that will reduce them to second class status. (They will be legally powerless.) We were specifically told during the early part of the war how great the status of women would be in the 'New Iraq.' So much for that. (1/2 a person, under the new Constitution. 1/2 a person.) If we leave the Sunnis and Shia will 'arm up' from their respective allies in Saudi Arabia and Iran. The greater Middle East will be drawn back into the fight, as this fault line goes back hundreds and hundreds of years in history. People, in the hundreds of thousands, will die. Freedom will be on the march alright, marching right out of the Middle East.

Sen. Kerry does have a point when he says that the only sliver of hope is to engage the part of the Islamic world that recoils in horror from this scenario. There are moderate factions within Islam that are trying to prevent this horror from happening. We have to foster that movement. We have no choice in the matter.
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MH1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 11:21 AM
Response to Reply #10
13. 1/2 a person..
Do you have a link to a reputable site with the complete text of the Iraqi Constitution? Annotated would be even better, as long as it seems to be a politically neutral (or conservative, even better) source.

This would be really useful to occasionally email around to a few people I know, who still refuse to admit what a bad mistake it was to invade Iraq.
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MH1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 11:10 AM
Response to Reply #1
12. That was the first thing that came to my mind when I read this, too.
Edited on Fri Mar-10-06 11:18 AM by MH1
The scary thing to me though is, as much as it's the same, it's not the same. What word would you substitute for "communism"? Terrorism?

Should we just "leave that country to the terrorists"? What does it mean, if "we cannot fight terrorism all over the world"?

I am not saying that we should stay...or that we should drop everything and leave ASAP. It seems that there are no good answers. It is even getting to the point, I think, that there are really not "less bad" answers in the way we'd like to think...there are only "barely, marginally, less bad" answers. If that.

And you know, as bad as Saddam was ...warning, extreme political incorrectness coming ... Iraqis had a stable environment to live in. There were really scary awful unjust things, but for the most part, average people knew what was around the corner, and they knew the rules of the game, and could choose to stay within the rules or not. And women were mostly protected from being treated so much as property as some religious extremists would like. But what do they have now? They have been rid of the evil dictator but he has been replaced by days of terror and (apparently) far more risk to the average person of experiencing horror and injustice, and women are being relegated to the status of property more and more. Are they supposed to cheer this? How many Iraqis saying "we are glad Saddam is gone" are really glad that he is gone? And have they - the ones still saying that - been the victims of the horror described in the OP?

On edit: I wrote this before reading all the other I see you all have pretty much covered this ground. What a terrible mess, huh?
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beachmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 05:06 PM
Response to Original message
15. Good God almighty! Listen to this account of Baghdad
This is via Many of you disapprove of him, but I would say he's worth reading 50% of the time, especially frank discussion of what is really going on on the ground in Iraq. Here is an entry from today:

Friday, March 10, 2006
Email from Iraq
10 Mar 2006 01:09 pm

A friend who just landed in Baghdad gives a first-person account of the scene:

"Getting here was far less complicated than I had imagined, but with 48 hours of life on the Tigris under my belt, I feel blessed with the marvelous array of experiences this city offers. Multiple encounters with white Toyota Landcruisers filled with black outfitted AK-47 totting Interior Ministry irregulars (a/k/a death squads), even more encounters with US and South African security contractors, which are even more threatening - each of these is enough to stop your heart. According to some here, the US contractors are the dumbest and the South Africans the meanest - what a hierarchy.

Today I witnessed - from a safe distance - my first car-bomb. Then went back to read reports of 13 judicially sanctioned executions, 32 extrajudicial killings discovered, 50 bodyguards taken hostage ... Westerners talk about their hotels not in terms of spa amenities and availability of Starbucks, but based on the number of blast walls between the building and the street. So imagine where on earth people would think the arrival of a massive sandstorm was a blessing. I was amused to see Condi and Rumsfeld on TV - carried live on a local TV feed. I watched it in a crowded lobby. I'll just say the reaction of those around me was derisive - no difference in that between the locals and the Americans, all of whom (except me and the journos) seem to be DOD contractors. Possibly they're even right about the use of the term "civil war." If that evokes memories of Spain in the 30's or America in the 1860's it would be misleading. What's going on here is something very different from that. It's more a communal disintegration. But 48 hours doesn't turn one into an expert."

Nope. But sometimes, fresh eyes can see things other cannot.

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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 05:41 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. This is a mess
So many of the neo-cons and the Bush administration people still don't show any regret for creating this. How do we get out of this?
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