Two of the conscientious objectors, charismatic Aidan Delgado (who leans toward Buddhism) and straight-arrow Joshua Casteel (a patriotic, evangelical Christian), are given honorable discharges after they refuse to kill in Iraq.
Delgado, who finds himself incapable of using arms "designed to roast people," honors one rule: "Don't take life." Interrogating an Abu Ghraib jihadist who challenges his commitment to Jesus' teachings, Casteel becomes defensive and self-doubting and finally opts out of the service.
The above is from John Hartl's "'Conscience' a balanced, affecting debate about war" (Seattle Times) review of Soldiers of Conscience the new documentary by Gary Weimberg and Catherine Ryan which examines war resistance. Sam noted the above and saw the documentary which he praises highly. It's playing at various locations this week, use the title link to see if it's in your area.
They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)
Last Sunday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 3839. Tonight? 3849 announced. 1,096,367 was the number of Iraqis killed in the illegal war (not a full count) last Sunday. Tonight? Just Foreign Policy lists 1,099,372.
Since the major outlets are either ignoring violence (no next-day wrap ups in the paper) or all taking part in Operation Happy Talk, Micah asked if it was possible to focus on the violence tonight? Sure.
Turning to reported violence and starting with Sunday.
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports two Baghdad roadside bombings left eight people wounded (six were police officers) and claimed the life of 1 police officer, a car bombing in Tikrit claimed 2 lives (including a child) and left sixteen wounded while, outside Mosul, two car bombs wounded seventeen people (ten were police officers). Dropping back to Saturday, Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing that claimed the life of 1 civilian and left three police officers injured, a Baghdad car bombing that claimed 1 life and left four injured, a Baghdad mortar attack that left two wounded, an Al Mahaweel bombing that claimed the life of 1 police officer (another was wounded) and a Basra bombing targeting "Lieutenant General Mohan Hafidh and Basra police commander Major General Jaleel Khalf" who both survived while Reuters notes a Samarra car bombing that claimed 4 lives and left eleven wounded and they note a Khalis roadside bombing that claimed 1 life (ten more wounded) "outside a mosque."
Over the weekend, from just those two news outlets, that's 11 reported deaths from bombings.
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports the Iraqi Ministry of Finance's Qutaiba Badr Al Deen was shot dead in Baghdad along with his bodyguard and a female school principle, Eman Hussein, was shot dead in Saidiyah. Reuters notes that another "woman principal at Um Qassir school" was wounded (in addition to Eman Hussein whose death they also note) and in an armed clash outside Hibhib, 3 Iraqi soldiers lost their lives with two more left injured. Dropping back to Saturday, Reuters notes that a woman was injured and a man shot dead outside of Baghdad, while a police officer was shot dead outside of Kut. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a second Saturday attack on officials, this one with guns, on Dr. Jabbar Yasir Al Maiyahi who is the president of Wasit University -- three of his guards and the Dr. Jabbar Yasir Al Maiyahi were wounded.
That's 8 who were reported shot dead from those two outlets.
Reuters notes the kidnapping on Saturday in Kut of "the wife of a police officer."
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 corpses discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes 3 corpses discovered in Garma and 3 in Tikrit. Dropping back to Saturday, Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 corpses discovered in Baghdad and 6 in Khalis while Reuters notes 2 corpses discovered in Mosul and 1 "decapitated body" discovered in Abbasi.
That's 23 corpses reported discovered. That's 42 reported deaths over the weekend from just those two outlets.
Meanwhile, Selcuk Gokoluk (Reuters) reports that the eight Turkish soldiers captured by the PKK in October were released today and that the US is crediting the Iraqi government (which, we all know, means that the US applied pressure at the very least -- they always try to 'create' an accomplishment for the central government in Baghdad). And Ross Colvin (Reuters) reports
that while everyone was focusing on the meetings between Turkey and Iraq, Manouchehr Mottaki (Iraq's Foreign Minister) slipped in a plan (at the Condi meet up in Istanbul) that puts on hold the push (puts on hold by two years instead of proceeding next month) to make oil rich Kirkuk part of "Iraq's largely autonomous Kurdistan region" and notes "Analysts have warned that the dispute over the city's status could trigger an explosion of violence and possibly draw in neighbouring Turkey unless it is carefully handled. The city has witnessed frequent bombings and shootings in recent months."
Finally, Pru notes "Shocking evidence of British abuse in Iraq" (Great Britian's Socialist Worker):
Paul Shiner is a lawyer who represented the family of Baha Musa, an Iraqi civilian killed in British custody. He spoke at the Stop the War conference about abuse of Iraqi prisoners
‘We in Britain focus on the abuse committed by US troops in Iraq. But we are uncomfortable with what our own troops have been up to.
There is an "iceberg of disgrace" that starts right at the top of government.
We know that our troops tortured hotel employee Baha Musa to death in September 2003. He died of 93 injuries after being hooded and placed under stress for 36 hours. There were nine other men who were badly tortured in that incident.
This is all known -- the photographic evidence of the beaten and bloody bodies was published in the Guardian newspaper.
However we are now uncovering more disturbing evidence of systematic torture and abuse.
In 1972 the Conservative government of Edward Heath banned the use of hooding, stressing, sleep deprivation, food and water deprivation and the use of noise during interrogations.
All these techniques returned during the Iraq war.
We found that every single British military unit throughout the first part of the occupation was using banned techniques. And when Musa died -- partly because he had been hooded – it would have been obvious that the policy of hooding should stop. But no.
Senior British military figures did not want to appear to insult the Americans.
We did not want to stop hooding, and I don’t believe we did stop it -- this is why I am attempting to get the government to release bundles of evidence from the court martial. This will allow us to understand better what went on.
On 20 May 2003, Nicholas Mercer blew the whistle on the killing of prisoners when he wrote: "There have recently been a number of deaths of Iraqis in custody with various units of theatre."
Defence Secretary Des Browne refuses to allow me to meet with the officer, even though his chain of command say it is permissible.
Despite two high court orders that I should be given the bundles of evidence, the government is trying to suppress them. The reason why is obvious -- they have something to hide.
Think of everything the Americans did -- the iconic pictures of Abu Ghraib. We did everything, absolutely everything the Americans did, and worse.
The evidence I have from medics and on video appears to show that following a fire-fight in al-Amara in May 2004, some 31 Iraqis were captured and 20 hours later 22 of them were dead. In body bags.
The video footage is shocking. It appears to show they have been mutilated. One man had an eye gouged out, one had his penis severed, others had multiple stab wounds.
The government claims that every one of them was killed in combat. But I have evidence that one young man, although he was shot in the foot, was still alive -- and I have a witness who said he heard the man being executed.
Confronted with this evidence the government stance has now changed from "everyone was killed in combat" to "one of them hit his head on a tank".
And finally they put up a former intelligence officer on Channel Four news who claimed that terrorists hijacked a convoy of 50 army vehicles and killed and mutilated the prisoners as part of a propaganda coup.
Where does our government fit into all this?
I have presented Browne with a list of 383 questions that have arisen out of the evidence I have seen, but I am still waiting for an answer.
I have invited Des Browne and foreign secretary David Miliband -- who I had great hopes in -- to review the evidence. But they are putting their fingers in their ears and closing their eyes.
I wonder if there isn't a colonial racist mentality that we need to exorcise.'
The following should be read alongside this article:
» Rose Gentle: 'I hope the truth will come out'
» Stop the War's vibrant annual conference
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and the war drags on
soldiers of conscience
the socialist worker