are circulating about the second seige of Fallujah:
- "One story is of a young girl who is 16 years old," he
says of one of the testimonies he video taped recently, "She stayed
for three days with the bodies of her family who were killed in their
home. When the soldiers entered she was in her home with her father,
mother, 12 year-old brother and two sisters. She watched the soldiers
enter and shoot her mother and father directly, without saying
The girl managed to hide behind the refrigerator with her brother and witnessed the war crimes first-hand.
"They beat her two sisters, then shot them in the head," he
said. After this her brother was enraged and ran at the soldiers while
shouting at them, so they shot him dead.
"She continued hiding after the soldiers left and stayed with her
sisters because they were bleeding, but still alive. She was too
afraid to call for help because she feared the soldiers would come
back and kill her as well. She stayed for three days, with no water
and no food. Eventually one of the American snipers saw her and took
her to the hospital," he added before reminding me again that he had
all of her testimony documented on film.
Another story is of families being ordered to leave their homes
carrying white flags -- and then being cut down by snipers in cold blood.
And another is of soldiers deliberately attacking hospitals.
That last one is known to be true. At least twice
As to the rest -- you'd like to reflexively disbelieve that Americans
would do anything like that. Just like at Abu Ghraib.
But it's worth noting that the avowed
purpose of the force seizing one hospital was "to end its use as a
source of anti-U.S. propaganda." Which is to say, anything that would contradict
their own propaganda line, which has proven to be less than entirely reliable. That hospital was left structurally
intact. The other was razed
to the ground, ending its use for just about anything -- including
medical treatment. If you'd like to believe that they scrupulously
observed the Geneva conventions in all other respects, you're
welcome to your view. I'm sure it helps you sleep easier at night
than I do these days. But it was an American general that said that
"It's a hell of a lot of fun" to shoot people down. And another that
said "War is hell."
And remember, while you're at it, that the official position of Dubya's
crew is that it wouldn't matter. That the President can order any
action, regardless of laws or treaty obligations, let alone basic human
decency. Patriot Act coauthor John Yoo recently explained it to Jane
Mayer like so:
- As Yoo saw it, Congress doesn't have the power to "tie the
President's hands with regard to torture as an interrogation
technique." He continued, "It's the core of the Commander-in-Chief
function. they can't prevent the President from ordering torture."
If the President were to abuse his powers as Commander-in-Chief, Yoo
said, the Constitutional remedy was impeachment.
And the odds of that, from a Congress run on strict party loyalty,
The founding fathers had a lot to say, in the Federalist papers and
elsewhere, about the danger of politicians driven by a "spirit of
faction." Yet one of their deliberately chosen models was the Roman
Republic. There would be some irony if the Republic they built goes
the same way, gaining the world at the cost of its soul, so
that one day people might say of them both: Ubi solitudinem faciunt,
via King of Zembla
Then again, as a reminder that you can't believe
everything you see on the web, I offer this report which says
it's quoting a French official document, then gives the translation.
A translation which is remarkably exact, as the purported French
original contains the English words "community", "coupled", "is",
"it", and "the" -- evidently in places where some second-rate
automated English to French automatic translator didn't know what to
do with them...