Thursday, May 11, 2006

Iraq atrocities

One Excellent Reason Not to Join the Military: You May be Ordered to Kill Civilians (by Paul Rockwell, published on Saturday, April 29, 2006 by
"One particular incident really pushed me over the edge. It involved a car with Iraqi civilians. We fired some warning shots, but the car did not slow down. So we lit 'em up. Well, this particular vehicle we didn't destroy completely, and one gentleman on the ground looked up at me and said, 'Why did you kill my brother? We didn't do anything wrong.' That hit me like a ton of bricks."
I don't know whether to feel despair or hope in response to this article. Despair because so many innocent civilians are being tortured and killed in Iraq, and I don't know what I can do about it, apart from continuing to talk about why the war is wrong; hope because some soldiers have retained their humanity sufficiently to resist killing civilians, to leave the military, and to protest about what is happening.

1 comment:

The Silver Eel said...

There's a book I saw recently called Vietnam Inc.: the synopsis on Amazon reads as follows:

First published in 1971, "Vietnam Inc." was crucial in changing public attitudes in the United States, turning the tide of opinion, and ultimately putting an end to the Vietnam War. Philip Jones Griffiths' classic account of the war was the outcome of three years reporting, and is one of the most detailed surveys of any conflict. Showing us the true horrors of the war as well as a study of Vietnamese folk life, the author creates a compelling argument against the de-humanizing power of technology, and highlights the arrogance and hypocrisy of American imperialistic attitudes. Rare and highly sought-after, the book has become one of the enduring classics of photojournalism. This new edition is a careful recreation of the original, with Philip Jones Griffiths' personal layouts and commentaries, and includes a foreword by Noam Chomsky, who was profoundly affected by the book when it was originally published and now pays tribute to its power and importance in the new edition.

It made me realise that Iraq is our time's Vietnam - also that I can't think of any images which have come out of Iraq, save Abu Ghraib, which have had a real impact on public awareness. They've learned, in that sense.