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Baghdad diaries, April 11, 5:30 p.m. Dr. Geert Van Moorter by satellite phone
U.S. occupation forces commit war crimes with impunity
“We’ve heard more horrifying stories today about the U.S.-soldiers’ behavior. The injured are requesting the U.S. army vehicles for a ride to the hospital in vain. Medical personnel doesn’t even dare to ask permission from American checkpoints to bring the wounded to the hospital as any Iraqi who approaches U.S. soldiers risks to be shot. They would rather ask us, the foreigners, to negotiate with the U.S.-troops for patients to be allowed to pass.
A journalist of The London Mail told me he was appalled by the U.S.-troops’ behavior. He had seen how they shot down two Iraqis without any reason. Also somebody who came to their aid was shot in cold blood. “It’s like in Vietnam,” the journalist sighed, “ they take aim at anything that moves.” I also talked about it with an American army doctor. Do you know what he answered? “You got to understand. These guys are still young. When they’re anxious, they easily shoot.” The U.S. troops have blanket impunity here. They can get away with anything and don’t even risk any legal action. “Nobody is perfect,” they say. Or they justify it as a ‘pre-emptive strike’. Just like this whole war is a ‘pre-emptive strike’ against the threat of Saddam’s ‘weapons of mass destruction’—that neither the weapons inspectors, nor the U.S. occupation force have been able to find. Apparently, shooting at an ambulance is also a ‘pre-emptive strike’ because it might contain explosives! Two dead and three heavily injured? ‘Collateral damage’!
The U.S. troops’ arrogance is incredible. We have to restrain ourselves continuously not to argue with them. But we scorn them and snap their heads off. Like those soldiers that were chopping a statue of Saddam in pieces to bring home as souvenirs. I yelled: “Hurrah, you are real heroes! Congratulations, that’s a job well done!” The idiots thought I was serious and looked at me gratefully. “Yeah, really great! You peppered an ambulance with bullets. You made hundreds of civilian casualties. You allow the looting of hospitals, leaving the wounded in agony. Real heroes!” It took them some time to realize that I was actually ridiculing them with their miserable pieces of Saddam’s statue, while scolding them for having blood on their hands. Finally they laughed sheepishly. And I laughed up my sleeve.”
Copyright B de Belder and G van Moorter 2003. For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .