Iraq: Bush shows contrition; DoD reveals civilian killings

At a joint news conference with Tony Blair in Washington, Bush said he regretted saying “bring ’em on” when responding in July 2003 to a question about the Iraqi insurgency. Bush now says the remark was “kind of tough talk, you know, that sent the wrong message to people… I learned some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated manner, you know. ‘Wanted, dead or alive’; that kind of talk. I think in certain parts of the world it was misinterpreted.” He also cited the Abu Ghraib prison abuse as “the biggest mistake that’s happened so far, at least from our country’s involvement in Iraq … We’ve been paying for that for a long period of time,” he said. (Reuters, May 26)

A real change for Bush, who has heretofore considered himself above all error—but “misinterpreted”? As what? It really is bellicose rhetoric, of course! No need to “misinterpret” it. This show of contrition is just in time for the latest revelations of atrocities by US forces. From The Jurist, May 26:

An ongoing investigation into the November 2005 deaths of two dozen Iraqi civilians in the city of Haditha has yielded concrete evidence indicating that the US Marines may have committed unjustified murders, according to a senior military officer speaking to AP Friday on condition of anonymity. The investigation was launched in March after a TIME magazine report alleged that the soldiers may have killed civilians without warning after a roadside bomb killed Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas. The soldiers may have violated the US law of war and international law of armed conflict if they committed murder and/or failed to positively identify the enemy and determine whether there was hostile intent before firing on civilians. Though the AP source did not disclose the nature of the evidence, a piece may be a video aired by an Arab television station that allegedly shows pictures of the aftermath of the killings, including the bodies of women and children.

A congressional aide said Friday that members of Congress were briefed on the investigation Thursday, and both the House and Senate armed services committees plan to hold hearings on the incident. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is conducting the investigation and is expected to issue a report within 30 days. Top Marine General Michael W. Hagee said Wednesday that the Marines involved in the incident will face charges, and on Thursday he took the unusual step of flying out to Iraq to stress to his troops the importance of avoiding war crimes [Washington Times report]. AP has more.

See our last post on Iraq.

  1. OWFI statement on Haditha
    From the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), June 2:

    In the aftermath of Haditha

    End the Daily Massacre of Women and Children in Iraq
    US Occupation Has to Leave Immediately

    They roam our streets day and night claiming to eliminate the so-called “terrorism.” They only succeed in enforcing their own terrorism which is loaded with heavy machine guns, hatred and indifference to Iraqi life. Haditha massacre demonstrated only one example of their ability to [kill] innocent children, women, disabled elderly, and accidental passers by.

    Haditha massacre of 24 civilians which happened on the 15th of November and [revealed] lately, was only a reminder of the deadly and terrifying reality we live in Iraq under a merciless US army which does not waver before mass-killing innocent civilians inside their own homes. Their mass-killing could not exclude a two-year old baby and many children who they found responsible of “insurgency.”

    In the following chapter, the head of the state of terrorism and genocide [Bush] speaks for mass media shrinking the issue mechanically into a need for knowledge of “core ethics” and “rules of engagement.” It only took him a few minutes to shift to another gear, i.e. campaigning to start another war of genocide on neighboring Iran. Moreover, he started to pressure his allying bourgeois super powers and the collaborator UN to support his “democratic” endeavor for genocide before finishing the one at hand.

    We had witnessed the occupation implanting seeds for sectarian war in Iraq and empowering political Islam inside and outside the government in disregard of their discrimination against freedoms. We watched them supervise a constitution of division, sectarianism and women’s oppression. Moreover, we are pressured now to acknowledge and “understand” their crimes of mass-terminating women and children in Iraq as a lawful and justified right of the criminal marines in Iraq.

    We have lost all our opportunity for safe and decent life under this occupation. Haditha massacre is a daily occurring in all Iraqi cities by the occupation or as a result of it. We have no choice but to struggle to end this occupation.

    We call out to all women and libertarians to join our campaign: “Women against Occupation,” which will be part of a mass anti-occupation movement working towards the freedom of Iraq.

    Join us and raise your voices demanding the immediate unconditional ending of occupation. We do not want our lives trampled daily by human mass-killing machines. As for our future, we can only build it after we are liberated from all pressures of the US war-machine and the forced guardianship of Bush’s right wing government.

    Another American atrocity had scarred the face of humanity.

    Long live the people of Iraq free and safe.

    Down with the state terrorism machine launched from Washington.

    Yanar Mohammed

    Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, president