The Abominations of War
From My Lai to Haditha
by Cindy Sheehan
www.zmag.org, June 6, 2006
This is the most difficult article that
I have ever had to write, but I have to write it anyway, unfortunately.
I, and just about anyone and everyone
who criticizes George Bush and this war are accused of "not
supporting the troops." Since my son, Casey, was killed in
Iraq because of lies and to actually make that country safe for
our corporate interests, I have been saying the only way we can
support our troops at this point is to get them the hell out of
this illegal and immoral war.
The massacre in Haditha on November, 19,
2005, is just another way to underscore the fact that our troops
are being turned into war criminals in what one article called:
"The Worst War Crime of the Iraq War." (Sydney Morning
Herald; May 28 , 2006). In a stunning display of shameless hypocrisy
George Bush said of the (not uncommon) butchering of innocent
civilians in Haditha:
"Our troops have been trained on
core values throughout their training, but obviously there was
an incident that took place in Iraq,"
Bush also said this following a meeting
of his cabinet: the world will see a "full and complete"
Another false piece of propaganda that
we are fed is that we need to support the president, especially
when we are "at war." I say, "No, way!" Our
kids know the difference between right and wrong before they are
sucked into a military system that dehumanizes our soldiers and
forces them to dehumanize the "enemy" to the point where
it is apparently acceptable behavior to kill children and to cover
up the murders. Can we all assume that little Georgie was never
told that cold-blooded murder is wrong seeing that his family
has supported wars and their inherent crimes for at least three
The double standard that our leaders have
set for themselves and the troops is amoral and corrupt. I have
not seen anywhere in the discussion of this topic that, not only
is Haditha not the worse war crime committed by American or coalition
troops, but the entire war is a war crime. The Pentagon needs
to be dismantled, cleansed with holy water and purified by incense
and left to lie fallow for generations in atonement for all of
the crimes that have been planned and committed within its walls.
_The following list of illegal, immoral,
and atrocious behavior is obvious and not all inclusive by any
* 12 years of devastating sanctions that
were responsible for killing over 500,000 Iraqi children.
* Destroying antiquities and culture is
a war crime and prohibited under Geneva Conventions.
*The invasion of Iraq is a preventive
war of aggression against a country that was no threat to the
USA or the world and was expressly prohibited by the Geneva
*The invasion was not sanctioned or approved
of by the United Nations .
*"Shock and awe " targeted civilian
centers and killed many innocent people.
*Use of chemical weapons, especially white
phosphorous enhanced with napalm, particularly in the second siege
*Targeting hospitals, clinics, and threatening
Medical Doctors with execution if one treats "insurgents"
(which can apparently include babies and pregnant women).
*Using highly compensated mercenaries
to carry out executions and torture.
*Forcing a style of government on the
citizens and manipulating the outcome of the elections.
*Dishonoring the Constitution of the United
States by invading Iraq without a declaration of war by Congress
and by breaking our treaties with the United Nations and the ratified
_George Bush is correct. A "full
and complete" investigation needs to be made into the crimes
against humanity in Iraq, and if justice prevails, this would
in turn lead to the trial and conviction of George and the rest
of the neocon purveyors of torture and murder, for which the maximum
penalties should be applied.
The level of accountability needs to rise
higher than Specialist or Private and should reach up down the
very blackest bowels of an administration that lied through its
teeth to get our country into a war of aggression and occupation.
The commander in chief needs to be prosecuted: NOW!
The most difficult part of this writing
is in trying to reconcile the fact that our soldiers, for one
example, in Haditha, could not show conscience and restraint,
qualities which may have prevented a murderous rampage. When one
sees the pictures of bodies burned beyond human recognition; hears
of 2 year old children being killed out of revenge; women being
shot for failing to stop at a checkpoint that is in the middle
of THEIR country; prisoners being tortured in despicably inhumane
ways; ad immoral infinitum: one should be appalled and ashamed
to call oneself an American. That some of our soldiers would stoop
to the level of their leaders to commit such atrocities is unspeakable.
Bush says our troops have been trained in "core values"
when he as a so-called born again Christian can claim that God
told him to invade Iraq and it's okay to spy on American citizens
like he is some kind of sick voyeur with a penchant for death
War, under any circumstance, is not a
"core value" of humanity; in fact, it is the ultimate
failure of humanity. War turns our mostly normal American youth
into wanton murderers who have lost their own humanity and love
of others. Haditha in this war and My Lai in another disgusting
war were unfortunately not aberrations. War is the abominable
Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice
, our troops are forbidden from obeying unlawful orders and Iraq
was unlawful before it ever began. Our soldiers need to start
disobeying the unlawful order to even be deployed to Iraq and
not raise their weapons in appeasement to the Bush Regime and
say: "This war is the criminal, I am not. Threaten me if
you will, but I am not going to be an accomplice in your crimes
We as people working for peace have long
held that the people of Iraq did not deserve the treatment that
they are getting from BushCo, but it is our troops who are pulling
the triggers and pushing the buttons or flushing the Koran or
sexually abusing prisoners, and we know about it, so that makes
us accessories to the crimes, unless we are actively trying to
end the severe breach of compassion and mercy that is being carried
out in the Middle East.
Yes, we have to work to end the war and
to hold everyone who commits atrocities accountable, from private
to president, but we also have to support our soldiers that do
not want to kill. It is a tragic dichotomy in this society that
one can be executed for killing someone, but also be executed
or imprisoned for disobeying an order to go and take the life
of another human being in war.
There are several ways that our young
men and women can be supported in resisting the evil of BushCo
and Iraq. The GI Rights Hotline is there to help soldiers get
out of going to an illegal and immoral war and the War Resister's
League in Canada needs support to help our soldiers find sanctuary
and safety. Counter-recruitment is also a powerful tool to use
to prevent our children from being sucked into the evil war machine
and being used as cannon fodder/weapons of mass destruction for
Where can the people of Iraq go to find
sanctuary and safety? They have no place to run to and they have
no voice to end this war of terror that is being waged on them
by the USA.
It is up to us to be the voice of the
babies of Iraq and of the other people whose only crime was to
be born in the wrong place at the wrong time with the additional
bad luck of living on top of rich oil reserves.
Support the troops? I support only those
who are NOT supporting the exploitation of the Iraqi people, and
those who do not allow the war profiteers to carry on with their
death and destruction all for the sake of an opulent lifestyle.
I do not support those who are supporting a criminally insane
and treacherous foreign policy. However I, as the mother of a
slain soldier, will do anything I can to support all of them
by working to shorten their stay in an unwelcoming country, and
bring them home from the quagmire that their so- called commander
in chief forced them into.
Also, when our troops do come home from
the war, they need all of the counseling, job training and help
they require to transition back to a life where most people don't
even recognize that there is a war being waged.
BushCo and the war machine killed my baby.
They have killed tens of thousands more.
BushCo need to be prosecuted and punished
like the common criminals that they are.
We owe this to the people of Iraq, the
world, and our own soldiers.
We owe it to ourselves.
Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey
Austin Sheehan who was KIA in Bush's illegal and immoral war on
04/04/04. Her newest book is Dear President Bush (foreword by
Howard Zinn) published in the Open Media Series by City Lights
Books. She is also author of Not One More Mother's Child (Koa
Books) and Peace Mom, One Mom's Journey from Heartache to Activism
forthcoming from Atria Books. Cindy is also founder and president
of Gold Star Families for Peace.
War and Peace page