Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Total inhabitance of the governorate = 2637327
The number of governmental hospitals = 14. Only 9 inside Mosul city and the other are in the related rural areas.
The total number of beds in those hospitals = 2712
There are 3 private hospitals in the city (not included in this statistic)
The statistic is for the year 2005.
The figures which interested me are:
1- Number of patients consulted the out patient departments during the year 2005= 1254905, and = 3438/day
2- Number of cases to the ERs for different causes = 314619, = 861/day
3- Free of charge operations (including the casualties from military activities) = 161 per day.
4-The number of born baby = 88916, that’s mean 243 new born baby per day,
Two third of them were in the Hospitals and one third at homes.
5-The number of deaths from different causes = 10180 per year, that is 28 per day.
6- The born/death ratio is = 9 (very high figure)
This figure, the born/death ratio is very high, in the developed country it is around 1. The cause is unknown, but I have an opinion in my mind that it may has some relation to the general situation of the city.
The "curfew", force people to stay at homes from the early evening.
The "no electricity" force people to go to bed too early.
The "no heating feul" keep the people close to each other to get some warm.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
The report include the following
"AT THE MOSUL DAM, Iraq -- The largest dam in Iraq is in serious danger of an imminent collapse that could unleash a trillion-gallon wave of water, possibly killing thousands of people and flooding two of the largest cities in the country, according to new assessments by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other U.S. officials.
Even in a country gripped by daily bloodshed, the possibility of a catastrophic failure of the Mosul Dam has alarmed American officials, who have concluded that it could lead to as many as 500,000 civilian deaths by drowning Mosul under 65 feet of water and parts of Baghdad under 15 feet, said Abdulkhalik Thanoon Ayoub, the dam manager. "The Mosul dam is judged to have an unacceptable annual failure probability," in the dry wording of an Army Corps of Engineers draft report.
Water rushes down a spillway at Mosul Dam. As engineers monitor the structure to determine leakage, machines constantly pump grout deep into its base.
Water rushes down a spillway at Mosul Dam. As engineers monitor the structure to determine leakage, machines constantly pump grout deep into its base. (U.s. Army Corps Of Engineers)
At the same time, a U.S. reconstruction project to help shore up the dam in northern Iraq has been marred by incompetence and mismanagement, according to Iraqi officials and a report by a U.S. oversight agency to be released Tuesday. The reconstruction project, worth at least $27 million, was not intended to be a permanent solution to the dam's deficiencies.
"In terms of internal erosion potential of the foundation, Mosul Dam is the most dangerous dam in the world," the Army Corps concluded in September 2006, according to the report to be released Tuesday. "If a small problem [at] Mosul Dam occurs, failure is likely."
The Iraqi media and other media spread the report, it made a terror in the city,, some people even planed to leave the city!. why not if a wave of 65 feet will cover the city?.
Next day, Abdulkhalik Thanoon Ayoub, the dam manager, said :"There is no danger from the dam!!".
How can we believe him, while the report said " 3 trillion gallons of water" may cover the city at any time ?
I wrote to my cousin, an engineer who have enough knowledge, asking him for advice.
He wrote to me:
"I hope all is OK with you and all the family.
There is a possibility of the dam failure. I don't thing it is imminent. Also if it fails the danger to the city of mosul and Baghdad is minimal. That is because Mosul is higher than the river channel and baghdad is too far for the wave to reach it before it is flatened.
I will get the technical report and read it as soon as I can. I will let you know what I find.
Best wishes to all.
The next day he send me another e.mail:
"I have done more research about Mosul Dam. I found out that there is no danger to Mosul or Baghdad in the event that the dam has a catastrophic failure. That is a sudden total col laps. The reason that the reservoir now only holds 3 billion cubic meter. The dam was designed to hold 11 BCM.
With only 3 BCM the dam will not fail and if it fails there will be no danger of flooding.
OK, now we can sleep comfortably thinking only in the home raids, roadside bombs, and bombed cars. At least those may kill only few tens of people, while the flood my kill more than 500 000 people.
One question in my mind. What is the purpose of this article? Is there any hidden objective?
May be I became very suspicious about any thing come from the American side.
Friday, November 02, 2007
Yesterday, we received an official warning from the directorate of health.
They send us a note with a piece of paper written in the upper line "Top Secrete".
This warning came through the governorate of Nineveh from the Ministries of Intern and Health.
They inform our hospital as well as other hospitals that there are some drugs used for the treatment of some patients with Diabetes, are found to be contaminated with AIDS virus.
They give a description of the containers.
The drug is Insulin, written on the label of the container "made in Iran"
I my self prefer a thing like this should be announced publicly, and written on all the News papers Magazines and broad casted all over the country through the Radio and TV. and a signs put on every hospital and pharmacy in the country.
The question!, why this subject regarded as a top secret, has no answer till now.
Any body has an idea?.. please let me know.
Friday, October 19, 2007
يا صبر أيوب
للشاعر العراقي عبد الرزاق عبد الواحد
(من مأثور حكاياتنا الشعبية، أن مخرزاً نسي تحت الحمولة على ظهر جمل..)
قالوا وظلَّ.. ولم تشعر به الإبلُ
يمشي، وحاديهِ يحدو.. وهو يحتملُ..
ومخرزُ الموتِ في جنبيه ينشتلُ
حتى أناخ َ ببابِ الدار إذ وصلوا
وعندما أبصروا فيضَ الدم جَفلوا
صبرَ العراق صبورٌ أنت يا جملُ!
وصبرَ كل العراقيين يا جملُ
صبرَ العراق وفي جَنبيهِ مِخرزهُ
يغوصُ حتى شغاف القلب ينسملُ
ما هدموا.. ما استفزوا من مَحارمهِ
ما أجرموا.. ما أبادوا فيه.. ما قتلوا
وطوقـُهم حولهُ.. يمشي مكابرةً
ومخرزُ الطوق في أحشائه يَغـِلُ
يا صبر أيوب.. حتى صبرُه يصلُ
إلى حُدودٍ، وهذا الصبرُ لا يصلُ!
يا صبر أيوب، لا ثوبٌ فنخلعُهُ
إن ضاق عنا.. ولا دارٌ فننتقلُ
لكنه وطنٌ، أدنى مكارمه
يا صبر أيوب، أنا فيه نكتملُ
وأنه غُرَّةُ الأوطان أجمعِها
فأين عن غرة الأوطان نرتحلُ؟!
أم أنهم أزمعوا ألا يُظلّلنا
في أرضنا نحن لا سفحٌ، ولا جبلُ
إلا بيارق أمريكا وجحفلـُها
وهل لحرٍ على أمثالها قَبـَلُ؟
واضيعة الأرض إن ظلت شوامخُها
تهوي، ويعلو عليها الدونُ والسفلُ!
وكان ما كان يا أيوبُ.. ما فعلتْ
مسعورة ً في ديار الناس ما فعلوا
ما خربت يد أقسى المجرمين يداً
ما خرّبت واستباحت هذه الدولُ
هذي التي المثل العليا على فمها
وعند كل امتحان تبصقُ المُثُلُ!
يا صبر أيوب، ماذا أنت فاعلهُ
إن كان خصمُكَ لا خوفٌ، ولا خجلُ؟
ولا حياءٌ، ولا ماءٌ، ولا سِمةٌ
في وجهه.. وهو لا يقضي، ولا يكِلُ
أبعد هذا الذي قد خلفوه لنا
هذا الفناءُ.. وهذا الشاخصُ الجـَلـَلُ
هذا الخرابُ.. وهذا الضيقُ.. لقمتُنا
صارت زُعافاً، وحتى ماؤنا وشِلُ
يا صبر أيوب.. إنا معشرٌ صُبًُرُ
نُغضي إلى حد ثوب الصبر ينبزلُ
لكننا حين يُستعدى على دمنا
وحين تُقطعُ عن أطفالنا السبلُ
نضجُّ، لا حي إلا اللهَ يعلمُ ما
قد يفعل الغيض فينا حين يشتعلُ!
يا سيدي.. يا عراق الأرض.. يا وطناً
تبقى بمرآهُ عينُ اللهِ تكتحلُ
لم تُشرق الشمسُ إلا من مشارقه
ولم تَغِب عنه إلا وهي تبتهلُ
يا أجملَ الأرضِ.. يا من في شواطئه
تغفو وتستيقظ الآبادُ والأزلُ
يا حافظاً لمسار الأرضِ دورته
وآمراً كفةَ الميزان تعتدلُ
مُذ كوّرت شعشعت فيها مسلّته
ودار دولابه، والأحرُفُ الرسلُ
حملن للكون مسرى أبجديّته
وعنه كل الذين استكبروا نقلوا!
يا سيدي.. أنت من يلوون شِعفتَه
ويخسئون، فلا والله، لن يصلوا
يضاعفون أسانا قدر ما قدِروا
وصبرُنا، والأسى، كل له أجلُ
لكنهم، ما تمادوا في دناءتهم
وما لهم جوقةُ الأقزامِ تمتثل
لن يجرحوا منكِ يا بغداد أنمُلةً
ما دام ثديُك رضاعوه ما نَذلوا!
بغدادُ.. أهلُك رغم الجُرحِ، صبرهمو
صبرُ الكريم، وإن جاعوا، وإن ثـَكِلوا
قد يأكلون لفرط الجوع أنفسهم
لكنهم من قدور الغير ما أكلوا!
شكراً لكل الذين استبدلوا دمنا
بلقمة الخبز.. شكراً للذي بذلوا
شكراً لإحسانهم.. شكراً لنخوتهم
شكراً لما تعبوا.. شكراً لما انشغلوا
شكراً لهم أنهم بالزاد ما بَخَلوا
لو كان للزاد أكّالون يا جَملُ!
لكن أهلي العراقيين مغلقةٌ
أفواههم بدماهم فرط ما خُذِلوا
دماً يمجّون إمّا استنطقوا، ودماً
إذ يسكتون، بجوف الروح، ينهملُ!
يا سيدي.. أين أنت الآن؟ خذ بيدي
إني إلى صبرك الجبارِ أبتهلُ
أيا هذا العراق الخصيبُ دما
وما يزال يلالي ملأه الأملُ
قل لي، ومعذرةً، من أي مبهمةٍ
أعصابُك الصمُ قُدت أيها الرجلُ؟!
ما زلت تؤمن أن الأرض دائرةٌ
وأن فيها كراماً بعدُ ما رحلوا
لقد نظرت إلى الدنيا، وكان دمي
يجري.. وبغدادُ ملءَ العين تشتعلُ
ما كان إلا دمي يجري.. وأكبرُ ما
سمعتُهُ صيحة ً باسمي.. وما وصلوا!
وأنت يا سيدي ما زلت تومئ لي
أن الطريق بهذا الجبِّ يتصلُ
إذن فباسمك أنت الآن أسألُهم
إلى متى هذه الأرحام تقتتل؟
إلى متى تترعُ الأثداء في وطني
قيحاً من الأهل للأطفال ينتقلُ؟
إلى متى يا بني عمي؟.. وثابتةٌ
هذي الديارُ.. وما عن أهلها بَدَلُ؟
بلى... لقد وجد الأعرابُ منتـَسَباً
ومائة ملةً في دينها دخلوا!
وقايضوا أصلهم.. واستبدلوا دمهم
وسُوّي الأمر.. لا عتبٌ، ولا زعلُ!
لقد غدا كُلُ صوت في منازلنا
يبكي إذا لم يجد أهلاً لهم يصلُ!
يا أيها العالم المسعورُ.. ألفُ دمٍ
وألفُ طفل ٍ لنا في اليوم ينجدل
وأنت تُحكِمُ طوقَ الموت مبتهجاً
من حول أعناقهم.. والموت منذهلُ!
أليس فيك أبٌ؟.. أمّ ٌ يصيح بها
رضيعُها؟؟ طفلةٌ تبكي؟ أخٌ وجِلُ؟
يصيح رعباً، فينزو من توجّعه
هذا الضميرُ الذي أزرى به الشلل؟
وأنت يا مرفأ الأوجاع أجمعها
ومعقلَ الصبر حين الصبرُ يُعتقلُ
لأنك القلب مما نحن، والمُقـَلُ
لأن بغيرك لا زهوٌ، ولا أمل
لأنهم ما رأوا إلاّك مسبَعةً
على الطريق إلينا حيثما دخلوا!
لأنك الفارع العملاقُ يا رجلُ
لأن أصدق قول فيك: يا رجلُ!
يقودني ألفُ حب.. لا مناسبةٌ
ولا احتفالٌ.. فهذي كلها عللُ!
لكي أناجيك يا أعلى شوامخها
ولن أرددَ ما قالوا، وما سألوا
لكن سأستغفر التاريخَ إن جرحت
أوجاعُـنا فيه جرحاً ليس يندمل
وسوف أطوي لمن يأتون صفحته
هذي، لينشرها مستنفرٌ بطلُ
إذا تلاها تلاها غيرَ ناقصة
حرفاً... وإذ ذاك يبدو وجهك الجـَذِلُ!
يا سيدي؟؟ يا عراقَ الأرض.. يا وطني
وكلما قلتها تغرورقُ المقل!
حتى أغصّّ بصوتي، ثم تطلقه
هذي الأبوة في عينيك والنـُبـُلُ!
يا منجمَ العمر.. يا بدئي وخاتمتي
وخيرُ ما فيّ أني فيك أكتهلُ!
أقول: ها شيبُ رأسي.. هل تكرمُني
فأنتهي وهو في شطيك منسدلُ؟!
ويغتدي كلّ شعري فيك أجنحة
مرفرفاتٍ على الأنهار تغتسلُ!
وتغتدي أحرفي فوق النخيل لها
صوتُ الحمائم إن دمع ٌ، وإن غـَزََلُ
وحين أغفو... وهذي الأرض تغمرُني
بطينها... وعظامي كلُها بلل
ستورق الأرضُ من فوقي، وأسمعُها
لها غناءٌ على أشجارها ثملُ
يصيح بي: أيها الغافي هنا أبداً
إن العراق معافى أيها الجملُ!
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
My blog has been "hacked" by vandals, the URL has been change without my knowledge to a new address; "moslawi9.blogspot.com"
The old URL address opens the site of the hacker now.
It is an example of freedom of speech brought to us with the occupation.
The blogger team advice a impossible steps to regain the real address. So I will accept the change temporarily till I create a new blog with different title and URL address.
The bolog is back at it's rightful URL at http://moslawi.blogspot.Tcom
Thanks to all who help to restore it back.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Why does the war in Iraq go on and on?
One reason is that it is immensely profitable for the Bush family and its friends.
These four minutes from the documentary "Iraq for Sale" were specifically banned by from being shown during a Congressional hearing by concerted action from Republican politicians.
See the Video
Monday, June 11, 2007
Another professional assassinated in Mosul and the toll of death rises in Nineveh.
Monday 11 June 2007
A body of an American soldier was found slaughtered in Mosul.
According to eyewitnesses the body of an US soldier was seen slaughtered today Monday 10/6/2007 near Mosul Al-Jadeeda district near to Abou A-Yassi roundabout (circle) west of Mosul. US forces imposed a seal on the area blocking all roads leading to the scene.
Car bomb at Tel Kaif Garage
A car bomb went off this morning 10/6/2006 inside Tel Kaif Garage, Mosul. Large number of civilians were killed and wounded.
Assassination of Mr Khairuldeen Sabri, Manager of Al-Mosul Branch of the Central Bank of Iraq in Mosul.
The manager of the Central Bank branch in Mosul, Mr Khairuldeen Sabri, was assassinated this morning with two of his aids in front of his residence which is situated in Al-Hadbaa' district in Mosul.
A Katyusha rocker fell on a house in Bab Al-Saraei region in Tellaafer. A man and his wife were killed and 5 more were injured.
An explosive device in Tellaafer
An explosive device went off on a police patrol in the Al-Ayadhiya region neat Tellaafer wounding 2 policemen.
Two civilians murdered in Mosul on the night of 9/6/2007
Two civilians killed last night (Sunday 9/6/2007) in Al-Quds district, left bank of Mosul by unknown gunmen.
For the latest news from Mosul, Iraq click
AL-Mosul website News Desk
Courtesy of Iraqiyoun News Agency, Mosul
This and the previous two posts are just a simple example about the current situation in Mosul.
Mosul is a very safe city in comparison to Baghdad.
Baghdad is living it's worst days since the invasion of Holako.
Baghdad is a smashed city, the title of an email sent to Dahir Jamail from one of his friend after visiting Baghdad. He describe the situation in better English than mine.
"Baghdad is a smashed city..."
Below is an email I have just received from my close friend and translator Abu Talat. While he has fled Baghdad with his family and is now a refugee in Syria, he recently had to return to Baghdad in order to try to salvage what is left of his former life (his car, belongings from his house, etc.) before returning back to Syria. His note is instructive as to the current living conditions in the capital city of Iraq. Here is the full text of his message:
Baghdad is a SMASHED city…no roads to drive on…most of them are closed off by concrete obstacles with concertina wire. In addition, the presence of the Iraqi military, who cover their faces with black masks and hold their guns in such a way that when you see them you will definitely be afraid that they will shoot you.
The shops in most of the area I went to see are closed. I asked one of the shop owners I know, 55-year-old Abu Fadhil, since I heard that his shop was robbed. I found his door closed and locked and he was nowhere to be found.
Later, on my way to Sadr City, I found that two of the three roads which lead all the way from south to north Baghdad are either partially or totally closed in some places. You still remember the highways in Baghdad…well now most of them are closed, or at least fenced off with obstacles, yet they say there is some progress in the security situation inside the city! Everyday two or three cars explode across Baghdad, killing big numbers of civilians.
When I returned to my neighborhood of al-Adhamiya, I couldn’t get in unless the soldiers checked my ID and my car, even though the guards are from the same neighborhood and they know me personally. But they had to check it to ensure that no car bombs might happen. Nevertheless, daily mortars shell my neighborhood and those are out of control, despite this concrete wall placed by the Americans which now surrounds our neighborhood. Despite all that they do, they cannot bring security to our small neighborhood.
Needless to say, Baghdad has been changed into THE CITY OF GARBAGE. You can find it everywhere. You can smell the stench of dead bodies wherever you go.
Talking of electricity, there is now only one hour daily. That’s it. From where we’re staying in the city center, in Bab al-Muadham, I can see from the balcony that people sleep nearly naked on their rooftops because it is so hot and there is no electricity to run fans or air conditioners. Thank God that there are two large generators that maintain electricity in our building.
Everyday by 2-3 pm the buildings where we are staying are closed so that noone can leave or enter. That way it is kept secure, and this is how it remains until the next morning.
As far as my family life in this condition, we are as though we are in jail from 2-3 pm until the second morning where the doors are opened at 7 am.
My son goes to the hospital to work, but for the last two days he finds it without any running water. [His son works in Baghdad Medical City, the largest hospital in Iraq] For the last 2 weeks, as he told me, the hospital has been without any air conditioning and almost without patients, although it’s the biggest hospital in Iraq.
My sons wife, who is also a doctor, has to go to another hospital just to try to assist since there is a drastic lack of Gynecologists. She stays in her hospital for three days continuously before my son picks her up with his car on the fourth day to bring her home, in order to insure her safety so she doesn’t have to take a bus or taxi.
As for my daughter, she has not passed out the doorway of this apartment where we are staying for the last week except for one time for some work she had to accomplish.
My wife left here only once, when she went to her job (which she has been on leave from since we left to Syria) in order to apply for a full year vacation. Thank God she got it.
As for me, I found my car ruined, so I had to repair it. For that I called the mechanic to come to my home and repair it, since I couldn’t take the car to him since all the mechanics shops are closed and there is no place to have a car repaired. All of those shops are totally closed.
When I saw the mechanic he said, “We cannot live anymore, and there is no job we can find.”
Dahr, this short letter gives you just a glance of the current situation in Baghdad. With the next letter I will tell you some more."
What you feel about this?, is it the price of liberty?, of democracy? or the price of the imported freedom?
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Every day there are new news, more explosion, more killing and less security.
No body know what will be the end of this situation.
The following news were taken from official and neutral source.
Saturday 9 June 2007
Iraqi forces killed two suicide bomber and blow up the car carrying them
An official source in Nineveh Police announce that the Police succeeded in killing two suicide bombers and destroying their car which was loaded with a bomb today Saturday 9/6/2006. The car was targeting the headquarters of the Third Regiment of the Fourth Division of the Iraqi Army in Al-Intisar district, west of Mosul. The civilian casualties reported from the explosion was 2 dead, 7 injured.
A car bomb driven by a suicide bomber exploded today Saturday 9/6/2007 in Al-Karama district roads, east of City of Mosul near Abdul-Rahman Al-Ghafiki School. Several casualties and considerable material losses were reported.
The Iraq Flag flies on North Kurdistan once again.
According to informed sources at the Iraqi Turkish borders that the Local Kurdish Authorities has brought down the Kurdistan Flag and replace it with the Iraqi Flag. It has been thought that this was an attempt by the Kurdish Authorities to regain Iraq's support to stop Turkey from penetrating deep into the Kurdish territories. Turkish Authorities had doubted whether the Iraqi Flag will ever be flown again in the Norhtern Iraqi territories.
Two explosive devices exploded in Mosul today 9/6/2007
One of the devices exploded on s on a National Guard patrol unit near the railway in Bab Sinjar, right bank of Mosul. The score of the casualties in not known yet as a result of the security seal of the area. A second device exploded on a police patrol without causing any casualties.
Mortar attack on Aden (Eden) road crossings in Mosul today 9/9/2007
A mortar attack was reported today in Mosul. The missile fell on Eden crossings, left bank of the City killing 2 people, one of whom was a policeman. Six more were injured in the attack among whom were to policemen.
Friday, June 08, 2007
Wednesday 6 June 2007
Three bodies found by the police in Mosul
Nineveh Police found today 3 bodies in different parts of Mosul. One was for an Army Lieutenant and the others were unidentified.
Two civilians injured in MosulTwo civilians were wounded accidentally from as a result of random shooting in Al-Arabi district, north of Mosul according to a source from the Accident and Emergencies Hospital in Mosul.Mortar missiles falls of Mosul Radio & TV Station
Four mortar missiles fell today on the building of Mosul Radio & TV Station in Naynawa (Nineveh) district of Mosul. No information available yet on the number of casualties and the extent of the damage caused by the attack.
Thursday 7 June 2007
Four dead bodies found in Mosul today 7/6/2007
Brigadier Saied Ahmed AL-Jubouri, Director of Information in Nineveh Police stated that Police found today 7/6/2007 4 bodies
One of the bodies was of a policeman and was found in Al-Intisar District, east of Mosul. The other 3 were unidentified and were found in Al-Hay Al-Sinaie, south east of Mosul
11:04 and follow up at 18:32
Two car bombs in Rabi'a District, Nineveh. Five British nationals dead
Two car bombs exploded on the district of Rabie'a 120km north west of Mosul on the Syrian borders. The first bomb targeted the District's police directorate and the second a US military barracks. Preliminary number of casualties in this accident was estimated to be 8 injured civilians, according to Brigadier Mohamed Al-Waggaa', Commander of Nineveh's Police in Mosul.
A later statement by Brigadier Al-Waggaa', stated that 5 British nationals workings of a foreign construction contractors were killed in the car bomb
were killed in theemployee of a foreign construction contactors.
Saher Al-Haidari, a woman journalist killed in Mosul today 6/6/2007
Saher Al-Hidari, a journalist was killed in Al-Hadbaa' district, north east of the City of Mosul. The worked for Voices of Iraq News Agency.
Friday 8 June 2007
Explosion wounds 4 policemen and one civilians in Mosul today 8/6/2007
In a statement by Brigadier Abdul Kareem Al-Jubouri, Head of Operations in Nineveh Police, an explosive from a device in Al-Arabi district, targeted a joint Iraqi Army/Police patrol unit north of Mosul wounded 4 police personnel and a civilians.
As you see there is no 24 hour pass without a blood shed in the city, the same is at all regions of Iraq.
There is a very important question: Why all these happened in the past four years and not before?
Does the democracy which brought to us by the occupation causes this?
Does the freedom (US style) is the cause?
Are all the Iraqi people terrorist?
Or there is another cause for this chaos?
In my opinion, the occupation is the only cause, and the chaos will not end unless the last foreign soldier leave Iraq.
Friday, May 25, 2007
Sick Strategies For
The murderous fools are not trying to end the war -
they're trying to keep it going as long as they can.
By John Kaminski
The cat is out of the bag now.
It happened quite by accident, as most revelations do. And it is seen by most of the world as the most revolting of the American/Israeli atrocities in the past few years, although it's hard to prioritize that claim because of the level and frequency of barbaric acts that are committed on a regular basis by those affluent automatons who call themselves the good guys.
Yet everyone but the comatose American populace - blinded by its Orwellian media and stupefied by its demented diet of physical and mental poisons - can see it.
So permit me to spell it out for those cowardly people who say they're living in the freest country on Earth, but absolutely refuse in their silent ignorance to see the blood they're spilling. No country that condones deliberate torture for any reason can ever be trusted.
The first hint came in Imad Khadduri's "A warning to car drivers" written in Arabic and posted on www.albasrah.net on May 11. The dispatch was quickly picked up by two of the most realistic and reliable news sites on the Web, www.uruknet.info, which I try to read every day, and www.globalresearch.ca, which I try to read every week, since it offers less breaking and more analytical news. I consider these two sites essential to keeping up with the real news of the world, and highly recommend that you monitor them, too.
Khadduri recounted a scam that opens up a clear window to seeing who is perpetrating all this inexplicable violence in Iraq. Beyond the American attempt to pacify an outraged and abused nation through demonic destruction, and beyond the Iraqi attempt to resist this totalitarian takeover by a foreign conqueror, there are more than numerous acts of violence that simply can't be understood by straightforward explanations.
I mean, when a mosque blows up and Americans blame Islamic terrorists, whether Sunni or Shiite, it makes no sense. Muslims never blow up their own houses of worship. Or when reporters sympathetic to either the Iraqi cause of freedom, or even just general principles of international justice, are suddenly assassinated and the blame is placed on often imaginary Islamic extremists whose perspective is supported by these writers, how can anyone believe that Muslims did it, even thought this is what the Zionist American press and government continue to insist.
So who's doing all these demented deeds? As if we didn't know ....
Khadduri's report went like this:
"A few days ago, an American manned check point confiscated the driver license of a driver and told him to report to an American military camp near Baghdad airport for interrogation and in order to retrieve his license. The next day, the driver did visit the camp and he was allowed in the camp with his car. He was admitted to a room for an interrogation that lasted half an hour. At the end of the session, the American interrogator told him: 'OK, there is nothing against you, but you do know that Iraq is now sovereign and is in charge of its own affairs. Hence, we have forwarded your papers and license to al-Kadhimia police station for processing. Therefore, go there with this clearance to reclaim your license. At the police station, ask for Lt. Hussain Mohammed, who is waiting for you now. Go there now quickly, before he leaves his shift work".
The driver did leave in a hurry, but was soon alarmed with a feeling that his car was driving as if carrying a heavy load, and he also became suspicious of a low flying helicopter that kept hovering overhead, as if trailing him. He stopped the car and inspected it carefully. He found nearly 100 kilograms of explosives hidden in the back seat and along the two back doors.
The only feasible explanation for this incident is that the car was indeed booby trapped by the Americans and intended for the al-Khadimiya Shiite district of Baghdad. The helicopter was monitoring his movement and witnessing the anticipated "hideous attack by foreign elements".
The same scenario was repeated in Mosul, in the north of Iraq. A car was confiscated along with the driver's license. He did follow up on the matter and finally reclaimed his car but was told to go to a police station to reclaim his license. Fortunately for him, the car broke down on the way to the police station. The inspecting car mechanic discovered that the spare tire was fully laden with explosives."
If this were the only example of this type I heard, I might have let it pass as just a story. But it wasn't.
There was also the sorry tale of the Iraqi man who saw American soldiers plant a bomb which shortly thereafter exploded, and when he said so out loud for all to hear, he was hauled away, never to be seen again.
This story was reported on arguably the most authentic and riveting source of news from Iraq, the heart-rending "Baghdad Burning: Girl Blog from Iraq," which is compiled by someone known only as Riverbend or Iraqi Girl . Again, recommended reading.
She recounts, "the last two weeks have been violent ....
The number of explosions in Baghdad alone is frightening. There have also been several assassinations - bodies being found here and there. It's somewhat disturbing to know that corpses are turning up in the most unexpected places. Many people will tell you it's not wise to eat river fish anymore because they have been nourished on the human remains being dumped into the river. That thought alone has given me more than one sleepless night. It is almost as if Baghdad has turned into a giant graveyard.
The latest corpses were those of some Sunni and Shia clerics - several of them well-known. People are being patient and there is a general consensus that these killings are being done to provoke civil war. Also worrisome is the fact that we are hearing of people being rounded up by security forces (Iraqi) and then being found dead days later - apparently when the new Iraqi government recently decided to reinstate the death penalty, they had something else in mind.
But back to the explosions. One of the larger blasts was in an area called Ma'moun, which is a middle class area located in west Baghdad. It's a relatively calm residential area with shops that provide the basics and a bit more. It happened in the morning, as the shops were opening up for their daily business and it occurred right in front of a butcher's shop. Immediately after, we heard that a man living in a house in front of the blast site was hauled off by the Americans because it was said that after the bomb went off, he sniped an Iraqi National Guardsman.
I didn't think much about the story - nothing about it stood out: an explosion and a sniper - hardly an anomaly. The interesting news started circulating a couple of days later. People from the area claim that the man was taken away not because he shot anyone, but because he knew too much about the bomb. Rumor has it that he saw an American patrol passing through the area and pausing at the bomb site minutes before the explosion. Soon after they drove away, the bomb went off and chaos ensued. He ran out of his house screaming to the neighbors and bystanders that the Americans had either planted the bomb or seen the bomb and done nothing about it. He was promptly taken away.
The bombs are mysterious. Some of them explode in the midst of National Guard and near American troops or Iraqi Police and others explode near mosques, churches, and shops or in the middle of sougs. One thing that surprises us about the news reports of these bombs is that they are inevitably linked to suicide bombers. The reality is that some of these bombs are not suicide bombs - they are car bombs that are either being remotely detonated or maybe time bombs. All we know is that the techniques differ and apparently so do the intentions. Some will tell you they are resistance. Some say Chalabi and his thugs are responsible for a number of them. Others blame Iran and the SCIRI militia Badir.
In any case, they are terrifying. If you're close enough, the first sound is a that of an earsplitting blast and the sounds that follow are of a rain of glass, shrapnel and other sharp things. Then the wails begin - the shrill mechanical wails of an occasional ambulance combined with the wail of car alarms from neighboring vehicles and finally the wail of people trying to sort out their dead and dying from the debris.
Then there was this one.
On May 13, 2005, a 64 years old Iraqi farmer, Haj Haidar Abu Sijjad, took his tomato load in his pickup truck from Hilla to Baghdad, accompanied by Ali, his 11 years old grandson. They were stopped at an American check point and were asked to dismount. An American soldier climbed on the back of the pickup truck, followed by another a few minutes later, and thoroughly inspected the tomato filled plastic containers for about 10 minutes. Haj Haidar and his grandson were then allowed to proceed to Baghdad.
A minute later, his grandson told him that he saw one of the American soldiers putting a grey melon size object in the back among the tomato containers. The Haj immediately slammed on the brakes and stopped the car at the side of the road, at a relatively far distance from the check point. He found a time bomb with the clock ticking tucked among his tomatoes. He immediately recognized it, as he was an ex-army soldier. Panicking, he grabbed his grandson and ran away from the car. Then, realizing that the car was his only means of work, he went back, took the bomb and carried it in fear. He threw it in a deep ditch by the side of the road that was dug by Iraqi soldiers in preparation for the war, two years ago.
Upon returning from Baghdad, he found out that the bomb had indeed exploded, killing three sheep and injuring their shepherd in his head. He thanked God for giving him the courage to go back and remove the bomb, and for the luck in that the American soldiers did not notice his sudden stop at a distance and his getting rid of the bomb.
"They intended it to explode in Baghdad and claim that it is the work of the 'terrorists', or 'insurgents' or who call themselves the 'Resistance'.
I decided to expose them and asked your reporter to take me to Baghdad to tell you the story. They are to be exposed as they now want to sow strife in Iraq and taint the Resistance after failing to defeat it militarily.
Do not forget to mention my name. I fear nobody but God, as I am a follower of Muqtada al-Sadir."
The background and admission of guilt for such satanic shenanigans was clearly outlined in Frank Morales' piece on globalresearch.ca: "The Provocateur State: Is the CIA Behind the Iraqi 'Insurgents' - and Global Terrorism," by Frank Morales clearly demonstrates how Donald Rumsfeld said he was going to do exactly what these three sorry episodes show he actually did.
Back in 2002, following the trauma of 9-11, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld predicted there would be more terrorist attacks against the American people and civilization at large. How could he be so sure of that? Perhaps because these attacks would be instigated on the order of the Honorable Mr. Rumsfeld. According to Los Angeles Times military analyst William Arkin, writing Oct. 27, 2002, Rumsfeld set out to create a secret army, "a super-Intelligence Support Activity" network that would "bring together CIA and military covert action, information warfare, intelligence, and cover and deception," to stir the pot of spiraling global violence.
We never got the full story on those ghastly beheadings of Nick Berg and others. Nor have we ever understood who killed the American mercenaries in Fallujah that eventually precipitated one of the great slaughters in history. Nor have we ever been able to discern if Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is actually a real person or just another bin Ladenesque boogeyman. Nor if the al-Qaeda website which claims responsibility for various atrocities is not really run by the CIA.
Provoking this type of violence also further conceals the sinister genocide the Israelis continue to perpetrate on the hapless Palestinians, which is exactly its point, as is the entire Iraq invasion and destruction, and as was the inside job mass murder on 9/11 in New York City. The purpose of all these despicable acts is to conceal what the Israelis and the Americans have been doing all along to the entire Arab world, namely enslaving and destroying it.
There is not now nor ever was an Arab terror threat. That was all invented by Rothschild, Rockefeller, Kissinger, Brzezinski, Bush, Cheney, Sharon, Zakheim, Perle, Wolfowitz, Feith, Abrams and Warren Buffett. These people are all traitors to not only their countries but to humanity in general, and should all be slammed and RICOed into Guantanamo immediately.
And so should the government officials, media lackeys, and ordinary citizens who, by their complicity or their ignorance, support them.
The main point in understanding these deliberate provocations to prevent peace is to understand how the American capitalist system, now hijacked by billionaires with no trace of conscience, thrives on war and profits from the misery of others.
The neocon murder menace has been for months ratcheting up the hyperbole about why we need to invade Iran - which some predict will happen in June - and just this week, rumors of troop movements in the Caribbean and lockdowns at Florida military bases appear to augur an imminent invasion of oil-producing Venezuela.
The overall plan is to create hell on Earth, and we are succeeding. By our silent complicity and cowardly reluctance to oppose and stop this homicidal behavior in the name of profit, we are all accessories to mass murder and the destruction of human society, not to even mention the extinction of individual human freedom and the God-given right to be safe and secure in the homes of our choice.
So now that you know, what are you going to do about it? You know if you do nothing, these same things will one day happen to you.
John Kaminski is a writer whose Internet essays are seen on hundreds of websites around the world. These stories have been compiled into two anthologies, "America's Autopsy Report" and "The Perfect Enemy." In addition, he has written "The Day America Died: Why You Shouldn't Believe the Official Story of What Happened on September 11, 2001," a booklet written for those who still believe the government's cynical lies about that tragic day. All three books are available at http://www.johnkaminski.com/
Thursday, May 03, 2007
May 01, 2007
AS the conflict in Iraq has worsened, most Americans have come to realise that the war was a mistake. Many Australians feel much the same way. There were no weapons of mass destruction to seize. There was no operational relationship with al-Qa'ida to disrupt. There was no cohesive, democratic Iraqi nation to reclaim.
Nevertheless, President George W. Bush claims: "To protect our citizens at home, we must defeat the terrorists." Prime Minister John Howard has taken much the same position. Yet it was the invasion of Iraq that unleashed the domestic insurgents and foreign terrorists he now says we must suppress. Indeed, the war is making the problem of terrorism worse across the world.
Too many Americans apparently believe that Osama bin Laden and others hate them because they are so free and prosperous. Others ascribe to Islamic jihadis an ideology of world domination akin to that of Soviet communism.
If these arguments were true, Islamic jihadis should be targeting the entire world, hitting Europeans especially hard since they are even more morally licentious than Americans. But as historian Thomas E. Woods Jr notes: "I don't see anyone flying planes into Big Ben or the Eiffel Tower." Indeed, in one of his videotapes, bin Laden scoffed: "Contrary to Bush's claim that we hate freedom ... why don't we strike Sweden?" Because the US, not Sweden, is an interventionist superpower, routinely acting well beyond its own borders.
The Madrid and London bombings (as well as the Bali bombings in Indonesia, largely directed against Australia) responded to decisions by other nations to join the US.
Terrorism became a common tactic throughout the 20th century, used to achieve specific geopolitical objectives. The Islamists who have focused their transnational attacks on the US and its allies are no different.
To state the obvious in no way justifies terrorism. But it is important to understand why terrorists act as they do. Michael Scheuer, a former CIA analyst, points to the US's earlier military presence in Saudi Arabia, support for Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands, sanctions against Iraq and support for a variety of corrupt, undemocratic Arab governments. Because of these policies, bin Laden said in his October 2004 video: "It entered my mind that we should punish the oppressor in kind and that we should destroy the towers in America in order that they taste some of what we tasted, and so that they be deterred from killing our women and children."
Many of the most celebrated strikes against US forces were retaliation for US intervention. For instance, the 1983 bombing of the marine corps barracks in Lebanon followed US support for the minority Christian government in a civil war, in which US warships bombarded Muslim villages. Other attacks, such as 9/11, were a response to broader US Middle Eastern policies.
Unfortunately, the invasion and occupation of Iraq have made the problem worse. Daniel Benjamin of the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, warns that "the invasion of Iraq gave the (jihadis) an unmistakable boost".
London's Royal Institute for International Affairs, or Chatham House, similarly concludes that the Iraq conflict "gave a boost to the al-Qa'ida network's propaganda, recruitment and fundraising".
What the US Government has done does not justify terrorism but it has helped motivate people to become terrorists.The US and its allies must kill and capture those who would kill Americans. But, in the longer term, grievances should be addressed when possible and, more important, not created in the first place.
The continued occupation of Iraq guarantees more terrorists and more terrorism across the world.
To defeat terrorism, the US (and its coalition partners) must withdraw from Iraq.
Doug Bandow, a former special assistant to president Ronald Reagan, is author of Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire (Xulon Press, 2006)
Friday, April 27, 2007
Dear IVAW Supporter,
IVAW Will Launch New Strategy to End the War in Iraq
Dear IVAW Supporter,
After months of intensive planning and training of over one hundred of our members nationwide in a series of strategy retreats, IVAW is preparing to launch our “Bring the War Home” campaign – a series of actions that will galvanize the national movement to end the war and convince everyday Americans that to support the troops, we must end the war now. IVAW members, along with the invaluable help of our allies, have the unique power to debunk the myth that to support the troops, you must support the war. We will be organizing within the military and veteran communities to send a message loud and clear: Members of the military are not supporting the war in Iraq. Our “Bring the War Home” campaign consists of the following elements:
- IVAW will support active duty men and women who refuse orders to deploy to Iraq. We will put ourselves on the line to protect these brave men and women of conscience and use the media to dramatize their decision not to go to Iraq. The Pentagon estimates that there are 40,000 soldiers who have gone AWOL since September 11th, 2001.
- IVAW members will bring our truth-in-recruiting campaign to military recruiting centers, schools and college campuses around the country to let potential recruits know about the realities of military service and the Iraq war. Thousands of recruits don’t know they can change their mind even after signing their military contract.
- IVAW will kick off a summer bus tour visiting military bases and their surrounding communities to recruit new IVAW members and inform servicemen and women about their rights and ability to oppose the Iraq war. A 2006 Zogby poll of the troops in Iraq showed 72% supported withdrawal within a year.
We Found a New Office – Your Financial Support Desperately Needed!
IVAW is growing faster than ever. We receive on average 10 new members each week, and we have developed 4 new IVAW chapters in a little over one month. IVAW held 4 strategy retreats between January and early April and are preparing to launch a compelling series of highly publicized actions this summer. And all of this from a tiny 9 foot by 19 foot shoebox of an office! As you can imagine, it has become physically impossible for our 4-person team to function effectively in these tight quarters. We have finally secured a new larger office that can accommodate our need for growth, but we won’t be able to make this move without knowing we have the funds to pay rent. Please click here to make a donation today to support this critical need.
IVAW is Growing Fast – 4 New Chapters in 5 Weeks!
We are happy to announce the formation of our first chapter on an active-duty military base – Ft. Drum, NY. Other recently formed chapters include Philadelphia, PA; Burlington, VT; and Denver, CO. This brings the total number of IVAW chapters to sixteen.
IVAW Members Use Art to Tell Their Stories
Last weekend, IVAW members participated in the Warrior Writers project which brings together Iraq vets to do creative writing about their military and war experiences. The project was launched at the opening of an art exhibit at Green Door Studio in Burlington, VT which featured an exhibit of work by and about IVAW members. For photos and interviews from this event, check out this link: www.sevendaysvt.com/features
Up-Coming IVAW Events, April 27-29
This weekend, there will be two events in Watertown, NY near Fort Drum featuring IVAW member and Marine Corps veteran, Liam Madden, organizer of the Appeal for Redress and Anthony Arnove, author of Iraq, The Logic of Withdrawal. For more information on these events, go to: www.ivaw.org/ivawevents.
Also, IVAW has been invited by the band, Rage Against the Machine to appear at the Coachella Music Festival, where Rage will re-unite for the first time in seven years. IVAW will speak from the stage and have a table set up in Rage’s tent, reaching a potential audience of the over 180,000 people expected to gather for this annual three-day event in Indio, CA.
As always, I thank you for your on-going support. As friends and allies of IVAW, you are the ones truly supporting the troops.
Former Sergeant, Army National Guard
Iraq Veterans Against the War
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Feb 7, 2007 By JOSHUA KEY. Excerpt from The Deserter’s Tale, published by House Of Anansi
Joshua Key, 28, was a poor, uneducated Oklahoma country boy who saw the U.S. army and its promised benefits -- from free health care to career training -- as the ticket to a better life. In 2002, not yet 24 but already married and the father of two , Key enlisted. He says his recruiting officer promised he'd never be deployed abroad, but a year later he was in Iraq.
Only 24 hours after arriving, as Key recounts in The Deserter's Tale (Anansi), he experienced his first doubts about what he and his fellow soldiers were doing there:
In December 2003, Key went home on a two-week leave. He never returned to Iraq. Instead, Key went into hiding. The following March, he and his family crossed the Canadian border at Niagara Falls.
I was scared out of my wits that first day in Ramadi.
Our own air force had just finished bombing these people, but as soon as we got out of our vehicles we began patrolling their streets, on foot. With nearly 100 lb. of weaponry, equipment and clothing on my back, I was about as mobile as a cow.
It was just my platoon, 20 guys, walking single file through streets full of Iraqis. I could not stop thinking that anywhere, at any time, some half-starved sniper on a roof could have taken me out in no time flat. Iraqi kids surrounded me in swarms, hands out, asking for water and food.
I kept hearing the last words (my wife) Brandi said to me before I flew out: "Don't you let those terrorists near you, Josh. Even if they are kids. Get them before they get you."
I was awakened at 3 a.m. that first night and told to get my ass up quickly because in one hour we were going to raid a house full of terrorists.
Capt. Conde and some sergeants showed me and my squad mates a satellite photo of a house and a drawing of the layout of the inside. Our assignment was to blow off the door, burst into the house, raid it fast and raid it good -- looking for contraband, caches of weapons, signs of terrorists or terrorist activity, then rounding up the men and getting out damn fast. The longer we stayed in any one location, the longer somebody would have to put us in the sights of a rocket-propelled grenade or lob mortars at us.
I had no idea what to expect.
Would I charge through the door, only to be blown to bits by a grenade? Would somebody with an AK-47 knock my Oklahoman ass right back out that door?
Would some six-year-old terrorist with two days of gun training be waiting to put me in his crosshairs?
The minutes ticked on, and I wanted the hour to speed forward so we could get on with it. One or two guys did push-ups to pump themselves up. I borrowed Mason's portable CD player and bombed out my eardrums to the beat of Ozzy Osbourne. It got me going.
High and ready for action. I checked my watch, wished it would accelerate, and stuck some dip -- Copenhagen, bourbon flavor -- behind my lip. You can't manage a cigarette when you've got an M-249 automatic weapon on your arm. So dip was best. Makes your mouth black as sin, and rots the roots right out of your gums, but dip was my nicotine hit of choice going into that raid.
I committed our instructions to memory. I knew the angles of the house, what door I would help blow down, how many floors were in the house, and who would do what when we busted inside.
I would be third in the door, which means I was the second most likely to get shot if anybody had a mind to take us down, and I'd head to the left. Always, for every raid, I would be third in, heading left.
I gripped my M-249. Yes, it could belt out 2,000 rounds a minute but only in theory. You couldn't really hold your finger down that long. When you were blazing away like that, the bullets turned the barrel as hot as Hades. And if you held your finger down too long, it would warp the barrel.
It took thirty seconds for Jones and me to put the charge of C-4 plastic explosive on the door.
Then we dashed around to the side of the house so we wouldn't blow ourselves up. You'd be fried meat if you were anywhere near the explosion. I set off the blast, and then the six of us charged in. Jones went first -- that skinny, red-haired Ohio boy was always hot to trot. With Jones leading the way we burst into the house, armed to the hilt. Kevlar helmets, flak jackets, machine guns, combat boots, the whole nine yards.
I'd never been inside an Iraqi's house before.
We charged through a kitchen. I had been told by squad leader Padilla to check everything, so I even opened the fridge. Perhaps, I thought, I would find guns or grenades hidden inside. No such luck.
In the fridge, all I saw was a bit of food. In the freezer I found big slabs of meat, uncovered. No wrapping. No plastic. Frozen, just like that. We ran into a living room with long couches, one along each wall.
In this room with the couches we found two children, a teenager, and a woman. We also found two young men in the house. One looked like a teenager and the other was perhaps in his early 20s -- brothers.
We hollered and cussed. I spat dip on the floor and screamed along with the other soldiers at the top of my lungs. I knew they didn't understand, but I hollered anyway.
"Get down," I shouted. "Get the f--k down. Shut the f--k up."
They didn't know what "get down" meant, so we knocked the two brothers to the floor, face down.
We put our knees on their backs, pulled their hands behind them, and faster than you can bat an eye we zipcuffed them.
Zipcuffs are plastic handcuffs that lock on tight. They must have bit something fierce into those young men's skin. There was no key, nothing -- the only way to get them off was to slice them with cutters.
We pushed the brothers outside, where 12 other soldiers from our platoon were waiting.
The Iraqi brothers were taken away to an American detention facility for interrogation.
I don't know what it was called, and I don't know where it was. All I know is that we sent away every man -- pretty well every male over five feet tall -- that we found in our house raids, and I never saw one of them return to the neighbourhoods we patrolled regularly.
Inside, we kept on ransacking the house.
The more obvious it became that we would find no weapons or contraband, the more we kicked the stuffing out of the house.
We knocked over dressers, sliced into mattresses with knives, kicked our way through doors, raiding the three bedrooms on the second floor, then raced up to the third floor.
We turned over everything we could and broke furniture at random, searching for contraband, weapons, proof of terrorist activity, or signs of weapons of mass destruction.
We found nothing but a CD.
Soldiers initially said it showed proof of terrorist activity, but it turned out to have nothing on it but a bunch of speeches by Saddam Hussein.
Once we had everybody outside the house and had done our initial job of ransacking, another squad took over inside.
They kept raising hell in there, breaking and turning over more furniture, looking for weapons that we might have missed.
Outside, under a carport, I was assigned to watch the women and children. We weren't arresting them, but we weren't allowing them to go anywhere either. The family members couldn't go back inside, and they couldn't wander off into the neighbourhood. They had to stay right there while we tore the hell out of their house.
A girl in the family -- a teenager -- started staring at me. I tried to ignore her.
Then she began speaking to me. Inside, when we had been screaming at her and the others, I'd assumed that nobody understood a word of English. But this young girl spoke to me in English, and her eyes bored holes right through me.
She was skin and bones, not even 100 lb., not yet a full-grown woman, but something about her seemed powerful and disturbing.
I feared that girl, and I wanted to get away from her as fast as I could, but it was my job to stay right there and make sure she didn't move. I had my weapon ready. She was wearing a blue nightgown and had a white scarf covering her hair. She had no veil, so I could see her face perfectly. Her eyes were coal black and full of hatred.
In English, she asked me, "Where are you taking my brothers?"
"I don't know, Miss," I said.
"Why are you taking them away?"
"I'm afraid I can't say."
"When are you bringing them back?"
"Couldn't tell you that either."
"Why are you doing this to us?"
I couldn't answer that.
I hoped she would not raise a fuss. I didn't want her to start screaming, which could attract the attention of my squad mates. One or two, I feared, would be more than happy to use a rifle butt to knock out her teeth.
I hadn't been in Iraq more than 24 hours and already I was having strange feelings.
First, I was vulnerable, and I didn't like it.
Even with all these soldiers and all this equipment, I knew that anywhere, at any time, any Iraqi with a gun, a wall to hide behind, and one decent eye could pick me off faster than a hawk nabs a mouse.
Second, with hardly one foot into the war, I was also uneasy about what we were doing there. Something was amiss.
We hadn't found anything in this girl's house, but we had busted it up pretty well in 30 minutes and had taken away her brothers. Inside, another squad was still ransacking the house. I didn't enjoy being stuck guarding this girl under the carport, in the cool April air before dawn in Ramadi.
Her questions haunted me, and I didn't like not being able to answer them -- even to myself.
Busting into and ransacking homes remained one of my most common duties in Iraq. Before my time was up, I took part in about 200 raids.
We never found weapons or indications of terrorism.
I never found a thing that seemed to justify the terror we inflicted every time we blasted through the door of a civilian home, broke everything in sight, punched and zipcuffed the men, and sent them away.
One raid was far worse.
It was a handsome two-storey house and quite isolated.
As usual, I put the charge of C-4 explosives on the door and we blew it in. As we rushed into the house, women were staggering out of their rooms. Three teenage girls screamed when they saw us.
Some of my squad mates grabbed them and held them at gunpoint, and the rest of us ran through the house. We found no men at all, just six more women in their 20s and 30s. The guys in my squad couldn't find a thing, not even any guns -- and it seemed that the more incapable they were of locating contraband, the more destructive they became. They smashed dressers, ripped mattresses, broke cabinets, and threw shelves to the floor.
Outside I found Pvt. 1st Class Hayes with a woman under an empty carport. He pointed his M-16 at her head but she would not stop screaming.
"What are you doing this for?" she said.
Hayes told her to shut up.
"We have done nothing to you," she went on.
Hayes was starting to lose it. I told her that we were there on orders and that we couldn't speak to her, but on and on and on she bawled at Hayes and me.
"You Americans are disgusting! Who do you think you are, to do this to us?"
Hayes slammed her in the face with the stock of his M-16. She fell face down into the dirt, bleeding and silent. The woman lay still on the ground. I pushed Hayes away.
"What are you doing, man?" I said to him. "You have a wife and two kids! Don't be hitting her like that."
He looked at me with eyes full of hatred, as if he was ready to kill me for saying those words, but he did not touch the woman again.
I found this incident with Hayes particularly disturbing because during other times I had seen him in action in Iraq, he had showed himself to be one of the most level-headed and calm soldiers in my company. I had the sense that if he could lose it and hit a woman the way he had, any of us could lose it too.
Then something happened that haunts my dreams to this day.
All the women were led back inside the house and our entire platoon was ordered to stand guard outside it. Four U.S. military men entered the house with the women. They closed the doors. We couldn't see anything through the windows. I don't know who the military men were, or what unit they were from, but I can only conclude that they outranked us and were at least at the level of first lieutenant or above.
That's because our own second lieutenant Joyce was there, and his presence did not deter them.
Normally, when we conducted a raid, we were in and out in 30 minutes or less. You never wanted to stay in one place for too long for fear of exposing yourself to mortar attacks.
But our platoon was made to stand guard outside that house for about an hour. The women started shouting and screaming. The men stayed in there with them, behind closed doors. It went on and on and on.
Finally, the men came out and told us to get the hell out of there.
It struck me then that we, the American soldiers, were the terrorists.
We were terrorizing Iraqis.
Destroying their homes.
Probably raping them.
The ones we didn't kill had all the reasons in the world to become terrorists themselves.
Given what we were doing to them, who could blame them for wanting to kill us, and all Americans?
A sick realization lodged like a cancer in my gut.
It grew and festered, and troubled me more with every passing day.
We, the Americans, had become the terrorists in Iraq.