Many More Hadithas

From Holden:

Should surprise no one.

An Iraqi doctor who was in Haditha during a deadly U.S. raid last year says there are many more stories like that in Haditha that are yet untold.


“There are many, many, many cases like Haditha that are still undercover and need to be highlighted in Iraq,” Dr. Salam Ishmael, projects manager with the organisation Doctors for Iraq, and former chief of the junior doctors in Baghdad’s Medical City Hospital told IPS.

In Haditha itself, he said, the U.S. military cut electricity and water to the entire city, attacked the hospital and burned the pharmacy.

“The hospital has been attacked three times. In November 2005 the hospital was occupied by the American and Iraqi Army for seven days, which is a severe breach of the Geneva Conventions,” he said.

“In one of these attacks, the U.S. soldiers used live ammunition inside the hospital. They handcuffed all the doctors and destroyed the entire contents of the medical storage. It ended with the killing of one of the patients in his bed.”

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From Holden:

The Pentagon has responded to allegations of a massacre at Haditha by withdrawing the concerned soldiers from Iraq and investigating them for criminal misconduct. Authorities also say they will launch a new round of “ethical training” for American troops before they are sent overseas.

Joseph Hatcher served in the western Iraqi town of Dawr from February 2004 until March last year. He said his cultural training before deployment consisted of a three-hour class and a pamphlet he was given.

“It’s just here’s where you are on a map, because you’d be surprised how many people don’t know that,” Hatcher told IPS. “The only language training we received was a hand-out flip book type flyer which was how to say things like ‘go down on your hands and knees’ and ‘don’t resist’. We didn’t learn how to make any kind of conversation.”

During his time in Iraq, Hatcher took part in many house-to-house raids similar to the one in Haditha. He said none of the members of his unit spoke Arabic, and usually they went in without a translator.

“We would use very little language at all in house raids,” he said.. “You point a barrel of a gun at somebody and pull them to the ground. It’s fairly standard. There’s no way to know if you’re getting anyone of value.. You just arbitrarily raid an entire block.”


[Translator Salam al-Amidi] said the U.S. military relies mostly on paid informants in deciding which houses to raid.

“Maybe that person wanted revenge on that family and came and told us that he saw someone selling weapons. We would just go to that house at three in the morning, we’d break the door, and break everything in the house.”