Stuck on Iraq

From Holden:

I seem to be stuck on the topic of Iraq this week. And why not, with the U.S. military doing everything it can to serve up a Dien Bein Phu-style defeat while our media averts its gaze?

Here is an interesting interview of unembedded journalist Dahr Jamail. A couple of snippets:

On his impressions of U.S. soldiers in Iraq:

I’ve had a fair amount, but not so much this trip. I make it a point to avoid them now since they are such constant targets. They are being attacked at least 100 times a day as of late. But when I interacted with them my last two trips I found most of them to be quite scared, and morale depended on how long they’d been here. The newer folks were keeping a stiff upper lip and staying on message. The folks who’d been here 6, 9 or 12 months were angry, aiming their guns at everyone, and sometimes high on drugs. Not to generalize – not all were like this. But I saw many who were, and it reminded me of everything I’ve read about what happened to the psyche of US soldiers in Vietnam.

I do support Kevin Sites’ decision to film what he did of the execution of the old, unarmed Iraqi man in the mosque. 100% I support this. People need to see that this is what is occurring here – and this is NOT an isolated incident. Nearly every refugee from Fallujah I’ve interviewed has spoken of mass executions, tanks rolling over the wounded in the streets, bodies being thrown in the Euphrates by the military, and other atrocities.

The footage of the execution in the mosque is akin to the photos that came out of Abu Ghraib. They are only the tip of the iceberg of atrocities that have been occurring here from the beginning. Atrocities that are occurring right now.

Indeed, those soldiers just got caught. This is not news, however – because we’ve even had military commanders come out in the media and admit that they gave orders to soldiers to shoot anything that moved in Fallujah. What we will see in Fallujah is that it has been a genocide.

On what the future holds, particularly if the U.S. comes to its senses and pulls out:

The long term – that depends on how long the US stays here. It is rare when I speak with an Iraqi who wants the US to stay-they say, “Civil war? It can’t possibly be worse than this – so the US should leave. Then we’d at least have the chance to run our own country.”

Another man pointed out that if there were a civil war, no Shia or Kurdish attack on Fallujah could ever possibly compare to the devastation the US military has caused there. I think he makes a good point.