The Vultures are Circling

Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Sometimes people make me want to puke. I mean that. Just plain sick to my stomach. Those soldiers have been all but forgotten in that land of fun and sun Iraq, but now when it looks like there might be an oppurtunity to exploit a bad situation the self righteous, the ghouls, the useless naysayers who thrive on, revel in and feed off the suffering of others are doing a little jig.

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Courtesy of Hugh Hewitt :

This Guardian article, written in August 2005, describes Haditha as it was a couple months before the incident. It is not pretty:
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The executions are carried out at dawn on Haqlania bridge, the entrance to Haditha. A small crowd usually turns up to watch even though the killings are filmed and made available on DVD in the market the same afternoon.

One of last week's victims was a young man in a black tracksuit. Like the others he was left on his belly by the blue iron railings at the bridge's southern end. His severed head rested on his back, facing Baghdad. Children cheered when they heard that the next day's spectacle would be a double bill: two decapitations. A man named Watban and his brother had been found guilty of spying.

With so many alleged American agents dying here Haqlania bridge was renamed Agents' bridge. Then a local wag dubbed it Agents' fridge, evoking a mortuary, and that name has stuck.

A three-day visit by a reporter working for the Guardian last week established what neither the Iraqi government nor the US military has admitted: Haditha, a farming town of 90,000 people by the Euphrates river, is an insurgent citadel.

That Islamist guerrillas were active in the area was no secret but only now has the extent of their control been revealed. They are the sole authority, running the town's security, administration and communications.

A three-hour drive north from Baghdad, under the nose of an American base, it is a miniature Taliban-like state. Insurgents decide who lives and dies, which salaries get paid, what people wear, what they watch and listen to.
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Scroll through this casualty list to meet the 20 Marines who lost their lives in August in this insurgent stronghold. They died in two separate attacks: 14 died "when a roadside bomb exploded beneath their Amphibious Assault Vehicle during combat operations south of Haditha, Iraq, on August 3, 2005," and six "sniper team members killed by enemy small-arms fire in an ambush outside Haditha, Iraq, on August 1, 2005."


I have no idea what happened there but it would be nice if these young men could get the same oppurtunity to defend themselves that Saddam Hussein is getting. People do crack, it happens. If charged with a crime these soldiers will have to face military justice.

I hope the people who oppose the liberation of Iraq will try to restrain themselves from using this incident for political posturing. But I suppose that is asking too much. It just amazes how some crackpot dictator can use his own population as target practice without a peep out of these people, but by God if the oppurtunity comes along to champion terrorists, defame the US military and criticize Bush they are never hesitant to jump right in there. And if they can inspire some more hatred, get a few more people killed, make the job of stabilizing Iraq that much more difficult..well I guess that is just icing on the cake.

20 comments:

chuck said...

The strange thing is that I expect many of these folks actually *want* atrocities to be committed. Just grist to the propaganda mill.

terrye said...

chuck:

too true. But I have wondered, after Abu Ghraib and three years of fighting, does it have the same effect?

I suppose we will find out.

chuck said...

terrye,

Another thing: this action doesn't bother me as much as Abu Ghraib. Partly I have become hardened, but where Abu Ghraib struck me as mindless perversity, panties on head and all, the Haditha incident is understandable. As such things go the numbers of dead are not even that high. Coming under assault after an IED and losing comrades is bound to enrage folks beyond control at some point. The miracle is that there have not been more such incidents. It is not as if such things are a rarity in war, indeed, they are rather common.

Discipline must be enforced; strict discipline is required to prevent more such incidents. But it just strikes me as part of the tragedy of war. Shit happens.

Coisty said...

I hope the people who oppose the liberation of Iraq will try to restrain themselves from using this incident for political posturing

I want these soldiers to get a fair trial and not having been in their shoes I hesitate to criticise. But what about those warbloggers who went on about Saddam putting people into paper shredders (that most now agree never existed)? Those who went on and on about Saddam's atrocities (often claiming that opponents of the war were pro-Saddam) are no different from those who would salivate over Haditha. Both are gloating over atrocities to justify their own political goals and to portray their opponents as evil.

The warbloggers wanted an invasion they thought would be a cakewalk and they resorted to all kinds of propaganda to convince others that their goal of turning Arab Muslims into secular Western liberals was not only attainable but also justifiable. They even said sceptics of their plans were racists. Now they are complaining (have you watched Neil Cavuto lately?) that the media is responsible for everyone in the world seeing the implementation of the policy they advocated as a failure.

If Haditha had just been discovered as a Saddam atrocity the warbloggers would be having orgasms right now. They'd also be using it to shame war opponents. Yup, people make me sick too.

Buddy Larsen said...

Cloisty, you see no difference between a lunatic sadist million-killing dictator with two worse sons waiting to take over the heart of the mideast and dedicate it to the destruction of the West, and the people who toppled him from power and are making great sacrifices trying to prevent a new world war over scarce resources from sparked off by a proven world-domination-crazed death cult?

No difference between a one-off crime being committed in the heat of battle by men who will be punished for it, and the same sort of thing multiplied by the tens of thousands being routinely done legally by order of the state, as a matter of policy?

And, minor note, why bring up paper-shredders--just look at the history and the numbers. But, since you did bring them up, where have you read that "most people" no longer believe that some of them were used to kill people?

truepeers said...

War is evil, and the rhetoric in support of it always full of lies and half truths; what serious person advocating for the war would ever have denied this Coisty? No doubt, the quantum of necessary evil and bad decisions could have been smaller, as we reflect on prosecution of the war in hindsight (even then, the estimates I've seen suggest the war is killing fewer, per annum, than did Saddam). But the essential question remains, was it a war of choice, matters of timing and the official casus belli aside? I have seen no serious argument that it was. Saddam and the sanctions were anything but stable and acceptable regimes, even from the perspective of a cynical realpolitik.

But of course there is much about the Middle East and present-day Islam that is unacceptable to the west if we are to prosper in the long run, and it may well be that any possible outcome in our relations with that part of the world was going to be far from ideal for a long time to come. Our choice was likely always between bad or worse. That's no excuse for not trying to change things by engaging the problem somewhat on one's own terms.

Arab Muslims are capable of increasing the degrees of freedom in their societies, step by step - this is indeed a human universal; the necessity of increasing freedom is one of the few principles of history; over the long run, if not always in the short, all societies must become freer or they implode and die (often at a cost to others), or they are defeated in war - and it would be insane not to encourage the growth of freedoms, just as it would be crazy to ever expect Arab Muslims to become like ordinary American republicans without assimilation in America. But it's always rather hard to paint a picture of what any people can become, until they have become it, or to understand how long the road to a change must be; so the situation, in anticipation of the war, and the predictions it endgendered, inevitably entailed false hopes and analogies. That's the nature of war, which is not a reason to outlaw war when it promises to be less evil than evil appeased and war postponed.

I once had my palm read by a man who claimed he was a Gypsy, as I'm sure he was. His predictions were forgettable, both for me and I'm sure by him. But I was impressed when, about five years later, he recognized me on the street, said hi and reminded me that he had read my fortune in a specific restaurant in the company of a woman whom he adequately described. It's funny the things we remember and the predictions that should be forgettable.

Like Chuck, I too am generally impressed by the discipline of the American soldiers and that there have not been more such killings.

terrye said...

Coisty:

One time I came across a rant by some modern day Nazi and he sounded very much like George Galloway and here you sounding a lot like Michael Moore. Strange bedfellows.

Coisty Saddam was every bit as bad as anyone ever said he was, he was in violation of dozens of mandatory UN resolutions, he had turned the food for oil program into his personal slush fund and he was refusing to comply, he tried to kill a president, he offered Osama sanctuary.

I wonder if by the end of WW2, in which literally millions of civilians died if people still believed that it was necessary to take out Hitler and the Emporer of Japan? But the difference was in cities like Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden, Hamburg and Berlin the numbers of civilian dead were in the hundreds of thousands...not the dozen.

Al Gore said, back before he lost his ever loving mind, that sooner or later we would have to have a day of reckoning with Saddam and his regime. and for once, he was right.

BTW, Saddam killed more Muslims than the Crusaders did and the truth is people will probably never know the extent of his brutality...but he left behind him a dysfunctional society and that gives you a clue as to just how vicious he was. I remember after he was taken and he was doing his radio messages and he promised a thousand suicide bombers to be unleashed in Iraq. A nice gift for his people.

Coisty said...

Just time for a quick response.

On the paper shredder story from Labour Party leftist Ann Clwyd Brendan O'Neill of Spiked-Online, the Spectator and occasionally the Guardian has written about it. He pointed out how the story was used by the pro-war crowd. I'm not suggesting Saddam wasn't a killer but then so are most leaders in the Third World. He was worse than most but most of his killing occurred a long time ago when he was fighting rebellions. His power was consolidated some time ago. But with a crippled state he wasn't much of a threat to anyone outside his borders.

War and lies go to together true peers but the original post was about how low anti-war people will sink. I merely pointed out that the pro-war side are no better.

UN resolutions? I don't care too much about what passes for international law (IL). I took one course on it at university level and came away concluding IL is either power politics given legal cover or a tool utilised by transnational elites to enhance their own power. Besides look at all those resolutions against Israel that have not been enforced. If the US turned against Israel would the subsequent mandatory resolutions pushed by the Third World against Israel carry moral authority just because the UN had put its stamp on them?

Syl said...

CNN had a report on this yesterday. I was surprised, but they interviewed two of their correspondents (and read something by another) who had been embedded at various times with these very men.

They had only good words to say about them.

Coisty said...

Randall Parker of Parapundit.com July 2004:

The neoconservative neoimperialists do not even want to consider the possibility that that there are intractable obstacles in the way of their plans to democratically reform and remake the Middle East. Yet sex ratios, polgamy, consanguineous marriage, and other obstacles are quite intractable unless the United States wants to impose a nearly totalitarian regime and rule ruthlessly for decades while banning some marriage practices, preventing the selective abortion of female fetuses, and imposing liberal curricula upon schools and regulating the content of sermons in mosques.

Of course the United States isn't going to do all that. Yet a sustained effort to remake societies that radically would only begin to remove the obstacles in the way of liberal democracy in the Middle East. By failing to even consider the underlying conditions that cause the Middle East to have no liberal democracies the neoconservatves have launched the US into an intervention in Iraq that is hopelessly naive. The US intervention in Iraq is actually causing Iraq to develop in a directon that lowers the status of women.



There is no evidence to back up the Western secular leftist and liberal argument that there are univeral values.

Nor is there evidence to back up the assertion that ethnic groups or nations must become freer or they will die. Sometimes the freer and more affluent they become the more suicidal they also become. When Irish and Quebec Catholics were under the heel of the Church they reproduced at higher rates than almost any other group. They also preserved their culture and passed it on. Today both those much freer nations have low birthrates and are being slowly replaced by outgroups on their own soil whilst the people are becoming so cosmopolitan they are losing their identity. I laughed at the quip by C Caldwell of the Weekly Standard in last week's Spectator (UK) that the Irish were becoming the Canadians of Europe. How true!

Coisty said...

Randall Parker of Parapundit.com July 2004:

The neoconservative neoimperialists do not even want to consider the possibility that that there are intractable obstacles in the way of their plans to democratically reform and remake the Middle East. Yet sex ratios, polgamy, consanguineous marriage, and other obstacles are quite intractable unless the United States wants to impose a nearly totalitarian regime and rule ruthlessly for decades while banning some marriage practices, preventing the selective abortion of female fetuses, and imposing liberal curricula upon schools and regulating the content of sermons in mosques.

Of course the United States isn't going to do all that. Yet a sustained effort to remake societies that radically would only begin to remove the obstacles in the way of liberal democracy in the Middle East. By failing to even consider the underlying conditions that cause the Middle East to have no liberal democracies the neoconservatves have launched the US into an intervention in Iraq that is hopelessly naive. The US intervention in Iraq is actually causing Iraq to develop in a directon that lowers the status of women.



There is no evidence to back up the Western secular leftist and liberal argument that there are univeral values.

Nor is there evidence to back up the assertion that ethnic groups or nations must become freer or they will die. Sometimes the freer and more affluent they become the more suicidal they also become. When Irish and Quebec Catholics were under the heel of the Church they reproduced at higher rates than almost any other group. They also preserved their culture and passed it on. Today both those much freer nations have low birthrates and are being slowly replaced by outgroups on their own soil whilst the people are becoming so cosmopolitan they are losing their identity. I laughed at the quip by C Caldwell of the Weekly Standard in last week's Spectator (UK) that the newly affluent and freer Irish were becoming the Canadians of Europe. How true!

Buddy Larsen said...

This is pretty dense material, Coisty. It basically amounts to a declaration that the Occident and the Orient are "East is East and West is West, and never the Twain Shall meet".

I hope you're wrong, there's evidence to both propositions, but if you're right, and "they' persist in trying to kill us, and we in the end have to go Roman on them, here's the question: Should we or should we not THOROUGHLY test the liberal proposition--*first*?

Knucklehead said...

I've made a quick attempt to get some of the summary sorts of facts. I'm sure it is somewhere I haven't looked but I don't know yet if the number of US marines directly involved in the action that began with the blown up hummvee was a squad, a company, or a regiment. There are articles using each of those terms but those are very different sized units.

Is anyone aware of an article that presents a reasonable summary of who is alleged to have done what or is the level of public knowledge about this incident really so paltry that we don't know if we're talking about a squad, platoon, or company sized action here? I presume it was not even a batallion let alone a regiment.

My ignorant guess is that this was a squad with possibly one or two of its fire teams gone amuck. Any attempt at a coverup probably wouldn't get beyond the batallion level.

Buddy Larsen said...

I'll keep a lookout--

terrye said...

Well actually most of the material pertaining to Saddam's atrocities against his own people were documented long before Bush came to office by human rights groups and asylum seekers.

No one doubted it then. No reason to doubt it now.

And as soon as I see neocon neoimperialist my eyes glaze over. Heard it all over and over and over and over again.

In short isolationism is best. I thought so too for awhile. The 90's cured me of that.

terrye said...

Coisty:

The UN resolutions brought against Israel were not force or mandatory resolutions and yes, there is a difference. It is also true that the one man who did not stand trial for the first bombing of the WTC was in Iraq, 60 Minutes actually inteviewed him.

As for what can be done with these cultures? Who knows for sure..but I think that after years of trying and failing with everything else it is worth a try. The oil in the region allows these countries an access to wealth and power that could be very dangerous in the wrong hands.

truepeers said...

There is no evidence to back up the Western secular leftist and liberal argument that there are univeral values.

-well, without getting into a discussion over what we mean by values, there are indeed universal human traits. What society, for example, does not prescribe murder within its fold? What culture in the world is so different from the rest that it would provide evidence that we don't all descend from - and retain the marks of - a common human origin, an original language and religion?

Now, what we all share may be something minimal, but to deny the universal simply because one sees the great and growing import of diversity, or what have you, is just polemical, and robbing one of of the full picture.

My original point was that all cultures must progress in the direction of greater freedom over the long term, or die. History surely is an expansion, not a contraction, no? This is not to say that all cultures are equally modern or expansive, however.

Canadian culture is in trouble. But even we can turn things around. I'd say we are better off than some of the Europeans, of whom the Irish are surely not in the worst situation, are they?

Buddy Larsen said...

Actually Ireland is enjoying a terrific economic boom. I don't know exactly why, but if I were to look into it, I bet I'll find that it isn't a result of greater statism.

gumshoe1 said...

Re: IRL

i've heard some combination of
Microsoft /IBM invesment
and infusions from the EU
"Leveling" boards.

but don't quote me,
it's likely 5 to 10 yrs back-dated.

Buddy Larsen said...

Har! Two of the first three articles: Ireland's Boom Has Caused Wealth Disparity, and, Ireland's Boom Has Caused Increased Smoking.

Back in the Great Famine, when one million people starved to death, there was more equality and less smoking!