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The real tragedy of Iraq

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Preacherman, May 14, 2003.

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  1. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    From the Times, London (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,5944-679716,00.html):

    May 14, 2003

    Babylon weeps as grave of 10,000 gives up secrets

    By Steven Farrell

    Our correspondent reports from a burial site where Saddam took revenge after the 1991 uprising


    [​IMG]


    BABYLON has no river beside which to weep any more, but, just a few miles from Nebuchadnezzar’s ancient capital, mourners and seekers of the disappeared are gathering in their hundreds on farm-land that is rapidly delivering up a necropolis of Saddam Hussein’s victims.

    In the largest mass grave uncovered so far, Iraqis claim to have found 3,000 bodies of people thought to have been murdered during the Baathist regime’s brutal suppression of the 1991 post-Gulf War uprising.

    Yesterday, I counted more than 1,000 piles of desiccated remains, some in plastic bags, scattered in half a dozen clusters around the football-sized field 50 miles south of Baghdad and just north of al-Hillah.

    Locals say that they have identified 1,200 victims from identity cards or personal belongings and believe that as many as 10,000 more may still lie in the earth.

    Seven days into the dig, the scene resembles a battlefield of the dead, the loose sandy soil carved into trenches, ditches and foxholes by a bulldozer. All around lie piles of remains: pelvic bones, ribs, femurs and skulls — one still wearing its weave-pattern prayercap, another the blindfold affixed by his killers shortly before death.

    From many protrude the identity cards, amber necklaces, front-door keys and watches used by relatives to identify their brothers, cousins and sons. A plastic artificial leg sticks out of one pile, two crutches from another.

    The bulldozer operator is himself a volunteer, seeking his own relatives. Others are dredging the site with their fingers, moving along a ploughed ditch unearthing piles of remains in a line, akin to reaping a crop of cadavers.

    Some remains have been dug up and put back into plastic bags and covered with loose earth for inspection by others yet to arrive. There were no signs of bullet casings and most of the bodies are too decomposed to bear obvious signs of binding, torture or summary execution.

    Rafid Ali Husseini, from al-Hillah, said that families learnt of the site from a local farmer who knew that Saddam’s forces had used it as a mass grave but had been unable to tell anyone for more than a decade. “When we started a week ago, we expected to find a small number, but as we dug we found graves of about 100 to 200 people,†Dr Husseini, whose brother and father are missing, said.

    “We are finding skulls without bodies, bodies without skulls. It is a miserable and disastrous situation and we want to tell all the world, the United Nations and Arab countries, the US Army and President Bush that these families want the people responsible for these crimes to be brought to justice.â€

    Over 20 years, Amnesty International, the human rights organisation, has collated information on around 17,000 disappearances in Iraq, but it fears that the final figure could be much higher.

    On an exhumed mound beside the most westerly row of desiccated corpses, Ali Abdul Hassan Mekki, 50, sat with a plastic bag between his feet. Thirteen years ago, his brother, Jaffar, disappeared during Saddam’s post-rebellion slaughter. It was, for him, the worst possible outcome — misery without certainty.

    “I think this is my brother,†he said. “This is my pullover, which he always borrowed from me to wear, but it is not enough to identify him.

    “The problem is that I don’t recognise this wallet and the identity card does not have any writing on it.â€

    He paused as the sun went down, casting grotesque shadows over the mounds of dust and ashes, while latecomers on the outskirts still scratch away at the topsoil.

    “My brother was never involved in any political activity,†he said as an afterthought. “Nor was he in the army.â€

    The New York-based group Human Rights Watch has criticised coalition forces for failing to protect such sites, saying that uncontrolled digs contaminate evidence for future war crimes tribunals.

    But, standing on top of a hill, Major Al Schmidt, part of a US Marines investigation team, sighed when asked how many sites were surfacing. “I can’t remember, I have seen so many in the last two days they are running together,†he said. “We are getting more by the day. But this is the biggest I have seen by a long way in terms of exhumed bodies.

    “It’s like a cycle: you turn up to one and people tell you about two more; you go there and they tell you about a couple of others. I haven’t slept for 30 hours.â€

    Near the centre of the field, Badriya Hassan Ali wandered, trying to find traces of her missing son, Akil Abbas Ali, whose photograph she was holding.

    She has been searching for him at different sites for two weeks, to no avail. She will return tomorrow.
     
  2. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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    On another thread I said that even if you believe that the US Gov't is padding the case against Saddam, there is enough there without spin, gloss, veneer, lies, hyperbole, whatever to damn him as a subhuman.

    BTTT.

    Mike
     
  3. Sergeant Bob

    Sergeant Bob Member

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    All the people saying he didn't have WMD's (which we know he had at one time, and probably has hidden somewhere now) think he wasn't a danger to anyone else should take note. If he would kill (by some estimates) a million of his own people, what makes them think he wouldn't kill a million of us (or others) if he had the means and opportunity?
     
  4. SkunkApe

    SkunkApe Member

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    How many died in the United States civil war?
     
  5. moa

    moa Member

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    How many died in the War Between the States? About 600,000. However the vast majority died in combat or from disease.

    They did not die with the hands bound, blindfolded and in some instances with obvious bullet holes in the skull. That is, mass executions. Also, women an children were not usually executed in the USA vs CSA war.

    There is a difference.
     
  6. Ol' Badger

    Ol' Badger Member

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    He didn't look anything like the picture? :evil:
     
  7. bountyhunter

    bountyhunter member

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    You haven't Seen the Tragedy Yet

    The bill for the war in Iraq is only now coming due. Al Quada has sent the message that they are still in business and Bin Laden is still in charge. On the news, they said that the co-ordinated bombings involved at least 30 suicide bombers. I still don't understand how George Bush thinks military action can intimidate people who are totally happy to blow themselves into molecules on the off chance of killing just one of our guys. It's going to be a long and expensive process.
     
  8. Drjones

    Drjones member

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    I'll hold myself back from saying what I want to until you tell us why you bring that up.
     
  9. bountyhunter

    bountyhunter member

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    "All the people saying he didn't have WMD's (which we know he had at one time, and probably has hidden somewhere now) think he wasn't a danger to anyone else should take note. If he would kill (by some estimates) a million of his own people, what makes them think he wouldn't kill a million of us (or others) if he had the means and opportunity?"

    No one with a living brain cell has ever disputed Hussein had chem weapons because he used them back in the 80's. But, as long as sanctions were in place and he was under the UN hammer, he couldn't use them. The big scary was nukes. GWB said he had absolute proof that Iraq had a nuke program which was close to a bomb, and he said it both publicly and repeatedly. The white house spokesperson said "The only proof you people will believe is a mushroom cloud." He used that "imminent threat" of Iraq getting the bomb to justify the war. No such proof has been offered to date, so it stands as pure BS until some kind of proof is "discovered" (or manufactured). The failure to find anything is also the reason that the "spin" was changed to the direction that the war was to "free the Iraqi people", the story now being used by the administration. They are hoping everybody will forget about the "we have proof of nukes" bell they kept ringing. The bottom line is, GWB had a gut feeling that he would be able to find a nuke program when we got there and he bet the farm on it. So far, nothing.

    The "killed a million of his own people" number is bogus and actually reflects a stat originally calculated including the war dead from the Iran-Iraq war, blaming all of those deaths on Hussein. Obviously he's a murderer and nobody disputes that, but putting the whole war on his tab is kind of ridiculous. The number of people Hussein personally had killed could be thousands or even tens of thousands, but not millions. And, in that respect, he is a novice compared to some of the despots the US has backed in latin and South America or are currently backing in Africa.
     
  10. Destructo6

    Destructo6 Member

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    He initiated the Iran-Iraq War, it is on his tab.
    We have some of his former scientists who worked in the weapons program and there's no disputing that they had a nuclear reactor, bought from the French and destroyed by the Israelis, to further that end.
     
  11. DonQatU

    DonQatU member

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    And we (the US) assisted Saddam in the Iran-Iraq War. So are those Saddam killed in that war also on our tab?

    The graves that they are diggin up now are from those who rose up to kick out Saddam in 1991. They were urged to do so by Bush Sr. and then we turned our backs on them and allowed them to be killed.

    Don
     
  12. SkunkApe

    SkunkApe Member

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    DrJones,

    What you've got here is a ("claimed") 3000 bodies that resulted from a (U.S.-encouraged) civil war. No evidence of torture, or executions, or of the gender of the bodies. Just innuendo to that effect.

    The point is, if you have civil war, you're going to have bodies.

    Moa,

    If you think that people "did not die with the hands bound, blindfolded and in some instances with obvious bullet holes in the skull" in the U.S. civil war, do a little research on Andersonville and Libby prisons.
     
  13. moa

    moa Member

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    SkunkApe, I am familar with Andersonville and Libby. Those conditions in those prison camps were not brought about by overarching government policy of massive annililation and terror.

    In fact, during the Civil War prisoner exchanges were common until General Grant realized that with the Confederate rebel's manpower shortage being what it was, that the exchanges were more of benefit to the South than to the North.

    The Civil War, like any war, had numerous atrocities take place, usually on the spur of the moment.

    For example, Quantrill's Confederate paramilitary raiders killed civilians in Lawrence, Kansas. At Fort Pillow, the Confederates killed about 300 black troops they had captured.

    Saddams regime was Stalinist and was based on terror and fear. Slaugtering thousands of people of both sexes and all ages, whether they deserved it or not, was standard operating procedure.
     
  14. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    Not in your names, right?

    All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
     
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  15. SkunkApe

    SkunkApe Member

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    Moa,

    Good response. I'm just finding it increasingly difficult to sort out the truth from the propaganda. It was much easier when the bad guys lied and the U.S. told the truth. I'm also developing a short tolerance for those interpret every news story as further evidence of Hussein's evil/terrorism/weapons of mass destruction, while glossing over every lie told and every wrong committed by the United States government.

    You seem to have a good knowledge of the civil war. Can you direct me to any good reading on that subject?


    "Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

    -Hermann Goering

    "Whenever you find you are on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect."

    Mark Twain
     
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  16. Destructo6

    Destructo6 Member

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    You fail to make the distinction between seller/supplier and user. Saddam took the tools and he acted, not the US. I hope you can make that distinction.
    Blindfolded and bound corpses with bullet holes in the craniums are quite a bit more than innuendo: a lot more than you have.
     
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  17. DonQatU

    DonQatU member

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    Yes, Saddam, took the tools, the intelligence, and advisors we provided him to make sure Iran didn't defeat him.


    Don
     
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  18. SkunkApe

    SkunkApe Member

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    Destructo6,

    From the propaganda, errr, I mean "news article" posted at the top of this thread:

    "...the bodies are too decomposed to bear obvious signs of binding, torture or summary execution."

    Don't exagerate the "news report". That's the job of the government.
     
  19. SkunkApe

    SkunkApe Member

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    I think we have a serious shortage of critical thinking here. Don't they teach this in school these days?

    "Iraqis CLAIM to have found 3,000 bodies of people THOUGHT to have been murdered..."

    "Locals SAY that they have identified 1,200 victims..."

    (Capitilization is mine, I don't know how to make bold text.)

    "There were no signs of bullet casings..."

    "...the bodies are too decomposed to bear obvious signs of binding, torture or summary execution. "

    "uncontrolled digs contaminate evidence for future war crimes tribunals." (And leave the propaganda intact. How convenient.)
     
  20. Thumper

    Thumper Member

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    Yes, Skunk...it's all BS...:rolleyes:

    They probably all died from depleted uranium poisoning courtesy of the horrible Americans.
     
  21. SkunkApe

    SkunkApe Member

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    Or maybe they died during the civil war. Wait, no way! No one dies during a war! They just surrender, then Hussein tortures them to death.

    Besides, if Hussein didn't torture them to death, then what reason would we have invading for his country? Especially now that it turns out there really weren't any WMDs?

    Yeah, you convinced me. I changed my mind.

    You can joke about the horrible Americans all you want, but I haven't seen any Iraqis bombing my house yet. I'll let you if know if they do.
     
  22. Thumper

    Thumper Member

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    Your posts imply that the Hussein regime never engaged in mass murder or torture.

    Is that your position?
     
  23. SkunkApe

    SkunkApe Member

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    Thumper, my position is simple:

    1) The United States government embarked on a propaganda campaign to justify the war in Iraq. The real reason for the war is not clear to me. I see several possibilities, some of which, if communicated honestly, would have been just causes in my way of thinking. The reasons publically advanced by the U.S. government that I think are, at best, minor considerations, and at worst, outright lies, are:

    a) Hussein aids terrorists.
    b) We need to liberate the Iraqi people
    c) Hussein is a bad man that just needs killin' (the evil dictator argument)

    2) The obvious and verifiable lies told by the United States government to justify this invasion (and the first gulf war) make me very suspicious of everything I read that is anti-Iraq. I don't like being played for a fool.

    If I was guessing, I'd say that Hussein did, in fact commit mass murder and torture. As I've said before, its very hard for me to be sure these days. The U.S. propaganda machine is a powerful weapon.

    Like boxing propmoter Bob Arum said when caught in an obvious contradiction:

    "Yesterday I was lying. Today I'm telling the truth."

    I didn't trust we he said, and I don't trust what our government says.
     
  24. Thumper

    Thumper Member

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    There's a difference between "not trusting" and automatically dismissing something as a lie.

    In an earlier day ('91), I was involved in the documentation of the debriefing of Iraqi EPWs. These guys had absolutely nothing to gain by lying to us. Their firsthand accounts, most cross-documented between multiple witnesses, were pretty horrifying.

    Torture was a matter of course in Hussein's Iraq, as was mass murder and rape. As ovewrwhelming evidence shows, we did the right thing in ousting him.

    Your out-of-hand condemnation of the U.S is amusing, but entirely misguided.
     
  25. SkunkApe

    SkunkApe Member

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    Thumper,

    Thanks for the semi-first-hand account.

    Its a sad state of affairs when I can trust an anonymous person from the internet more than I can trust my own government.
     
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