In the release by WikiLeaks of its batch of Iraq war logs Friday, and a quick, rapid look-see, the biggest sense is of frustration, and a tightening of the conscience, in the horror and misery caused by a small group of arrogant assholes who will never, ever receive true justice in this life.
(Illustration found here).
Just in the little bit of reading, a real non-surprise-surprise is the killing of Iraqi civilians — apparently by the bus-full, and apparently indiscriminately, and apparently without any kind of official remorse.
And also, just as apparent, one can see why the staggering cases of PTSD and other kinds of bad shit have fallen upon US GIs who lived through the carnage — and not once or twice, but maybe even three tours of that America-made meat-grinder.
Ordinary Iraqi peoples were sucked into the conflict.
From the NYT:
In all, the five-year archive lists more than 100,000 dead from 2004 to 2009, though some deaths are reported more than once, and some reports have inconsistent casualty figures.
A 2008 Congressional report warned that record keeping in the war had been so problematic that such statistics should be looked at only as â€œguideposts.â€
In a statement on Friday, Iraq Body Count, which did a preliminary analysis of the archive, estimated that it (the WikiLeaks dump) listed 15,000 deaths that had not been previously disclosed anywhere.
The archive tells thousands of individual stories of loss whose consequences are still being felt in Iraqi families today.
And this strange little anti-civilization-advance stat in the last graph of the Times story:
Civilians have borne the brunt of modern warfare, with 10 civilians dying for every soldier in wars fought since the mid-20th century, compared with 9 soldiers killed for every civilian in World War I, according to a 2001 study by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
A study now a dreadfully-bloody decade old.
One Iraqi death-genre within the WikiLeaks material was the terror-confusion at military check points and roadblocks: Nearly 700 civilians were killed in more than 14,000 violent incidents at those stops.
A terrible example from Aljazeera English:
Nabiha Jassim was 35 years old when she was killed in the town of Samarra, 110km north of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. She was being rushed to hospital by her brother, Khalid, when their car approached a US military checkpoint and observation post that had recently been set up. It was a journey the family would never complete.
The Iraq war files reveal that US troops manning the checkpoint believed that Nabiha’s car posed a threat. As the vehicle carrying the family approached the checkpoint, the soldiers opened fire.
Nabiha was killed in the hail of bullets that ripped through the car, shattering the windscreen and leaving Khalid badly cut.
Her cousin, Saliha Hassan, 57, was also shot dead in the incident, which left the road covered in blood and broken glass.
Nabiha’s body was rushed to the hospital in an effort to save her baby, but the unborn child died in her womb.
Had she reached the hospital safely, she would have given birth to a boy.
After Nabiha’s death, the military said that the vehicle had entered a “clearly defined prohibited area” when they opened fire on it.
The war log makes no warning of any warning given to Khalid as he drove his sister and cousin towards their deaths, and he has said none was given.
“I was driving my car at full speed because I did not see any sign or warning from the Americans.
It was not until they shot the two bullets that killed my sister and cousin that I stopped,” he told the Associated Press news agency, shortly after the incident.
A brief statement was issued by military authorities in the aftermath of the incident that said: “US forces killed two women by mistake… when they were heading to a maternity hospital.”
At the time of Nabiha’s death, US soldiers in Iraq were facing intense and regular attacks on the country’s roads.
Checkpoints had been targeted by gunmen and suicide bombers on a regular basis.
There is no suggestion that her killing was anything other than a deadly mistake.
The mistake lay with George Jr., the Dick and a host of others — official even: “Unfortunately, our Committee has concluded that the Administration made significant claims that were not supported by the intelligence,â€ Rockefeller said. â€œIn making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent. As a result, the American people were led to believe that the threat from Iraq was much greater than actually existed.â€
So the question now from the WikiLeaks leak: Will there be war-crimes justice?