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New York Times report from Ramadi: evidence of US war crimes in Iraq
A front page article in the July 5 New York Times provides a chilling and damning picture of the daily, murderous violence being perpetrated by US forces in occupied Iraq. Written as an on-the-spot report by Times correspondent Dexter Filkins on the activities of US Marines in Ramadi, the capital of the mostly-Sunni Anbar Province, the article begins,
“The Government Center in the middle of this devastated town resembles a fortress on the wild edge of some frontier...”
Noting that much of the area surrounding the government center, the headquarters of the Marine presence in the city, has already been reduced to rubble, Filkins writes:
“In three years there the Marine Corps and the Army have tried nearly everything to bring this provincial capital of 400,000 under control. Nothing has worked.
“Now American commanders are trying something new.
“Instead of continuing to fight for the downtown or rebuild it, they are going to get rid of it, or at least a very large part of it.
“They say they are planning to bulldoze about three blocks in the middle of the city, part of which has already been reduced to ruins by the fighting, and convert them into a Green Zone...”
The methods being employed, and the ethos being promoted among the US troops, are indicated by the following excerpts:
“’We go out and kill these people,’ said Captain Del Gaudio, the commander here.”
“One of the ‘habits of mind’ drilled into the Marines from posters hung up inside: ‘Be polite, be professional and have a plan to kill everyone you meet.’”
“On a sheet of paper hung up in the Government Center, Marines wrote down suggestions for their company’s T-shirt once they go home. Most are unprintable, but here is one that got a lot of laughs: ‘Kilo Company: Killed more people than cancer.’”
Filkins notes that US casualties have been high in the face of a relentless and resilient guerilla resistance. The 800-member Third Battalion, Eighth Marine Regiment has lost eleven Marines since arriving in March, he reports, adding that US commanders refuse to disclose the number of wounded.
As for Iraqi dead, he says, almost in passing: “The number of Iraqi casualties—insurgents or civilians—is unknown...”
The Times’ article is far from a denunciation of the US military in Ramadi. It has more the character of an apologia, repeating uncritically the official US line that the people of Ramadi are “caught in the middle” of a struggle between American troops and insurgents—an absurd contention on its face given the tenacity of the resistance and the well-known tenet of counter-insurgency warfare that partisan guerrillas fighting foreign occupation rely on popular support and sympathy against the overwhelming military superiority of the occupier.