Root and Branch:
American Forces Wipe Out Family
C. L. Cook
March 17, 2006
In a terse statement, American military officials said two women and a child died in the raid. But police and witnesses in Ishaqi, a small town 100 kilometers north of Baghdad, tell a different story. They say, discovered in the rubble of the home were eleven members of a family. Five children, two men, and four women.
Ishaqi police spokesperson, Major Ali Ahmed says helicopters delivered troops onto the roof of a house in the middle of the night. Soldiers entered and shot the family, before destroying the house. Officer Ahmed's colleague, Colonel Farouq Hussein says autopsies were conducted in Tikrit. All eleven of the dead had gunshot wounds to the head; including the youngest, a seven month old infant. Hussein says they were all bound, their bodies found dumped together in one room of the demolished house.
"It's a clear and perfect crime without any doubt," Hussein says.
The story of the executed family, aired on local television, replete with images of the dead infant, its head displaying a "gaping head wound," has outraged the community, and officials there have demanded an explanation from the military. They say the U.S. military has arranged to meet with local leaders sometime Friday.
The entire town attended the funeral. Town administrator, Rasheed Shather expressed shock at the brutality of the attack, saying; "We want the Americans to give us an explanation for this horrible crime."
One man in attendance at the funeral angrily denounced the killings, saying; "They killed these innocent children. Are these considered terrorists? Is a seven-month-old child a terrorist?" Another, while watching wailing neighbours bury the dead, condemned America; "An entire family was killed. It's a barbaric act."
But there is method behind this barbarity.
No less a figure than U.S. Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld has unabashedly referred to the "Salvador Option" for Iraq, a reference to the U.S.-trained and supported death squads that terrorized much of Latin America in the 1980's. Credence was given to claims just such a death squad regime was emerging in Iraq when Ambassador John Negroponte was dispatched to Iraq. Negroponte was the central agent of the United States in Latin America in those dark years, long believed to have been the architect of the death squad policies there.
In conjunction with death squads, both American and British "Black Ops." have been operating in Iraq, their missions and methods classified. Some light was shed on this last September, when two British SAS agents were arrested in Basra after a brief exchange of fire with Iraqi police at a roadblock. The men, disguised as Iraqis, were found to be carrying weapons and bomb-making materials. This is a particularly salient point when considering last month's destruction of the Samarra mosque.
Recent months have seen an escalation in bombings and outrages with little discernible motive, other than to evoke outrage itself. The destruction of the Samarra mosque, one of Shia Islam's most sacred sites was initially ascribed to Sunni's. This despite the fact, the mosque is in the middle of a Sunni neighbourhood and had been co-operatively administered by both sects for decades. Since, suspicion for the bombing has fallen on American allies in the Iraqi National Guard, bent on, the belief is, sparking a sectarian war in Iraq.
Like the British before them, the American plan may now be to start a "civil war" to cover their retreat from Iraq, leaving a destabilized and chaotic country in their wake.
Chris Cook is a contributing editor to PEJ News, and host of Gorilla Radio, a weekly public affairs program, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. You can check out the GR Blog here.
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