"Charging a man with murder in this place
was like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500"
-- Capt. Willard from the
movie Apocalypse Now
21-year-old British soldier, Kevin Lee Williams, who
served in Iraq as a trooper with the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, has
been charged by the British government with the crime of murdering a
civilian in Iraq.
This charge is the first of its kind to be
leveled against a British soldier for allegedly killing a civilian in Iraq.
Trooper Williams stands accused of shooting Hassan Said in August of last
year while arresting him in the town of ad-Dayr in southeastern Iraq,
but little has been made public
about the incident. According to the Associated Press, the Ministry
of Defense was reviewing the case because "charges were dismissed by the
soldier's commanding officer. This meant the case could not be tried by
Reuters reported that when asked about this at a news conference, Prime
Minister Tony Blair said he deplored the act but at the same time praised
the work of the British soldiers in Iraq. Blair's statement conjures up
images of the movie Apocalypse Now, Francis Ford Coppola's dark
allegory of the Vietnam War, where a highly decorated U.S. Army Special
Forces Colonel was charged with murder because he had divorced the regular
army in order to fight the war in his own way.
According to The New York Times, American commanders have recently
begun a series of military operations to regain "control" over large
sections of the country that were lost in recent months to the Iraqi
"insurgency" -- an "insurgency" that comprises both Sunni and Shiite
Muslims, who hate the United States more than they hate each other, claiming
sovereignty over their own country.
On Sunday September 12, as many as 110 people were killed in Iraq and over
200 wounded. The worst casualties were in Baghdad where 37 people were
killed, and in Tal Afar where 51 people died. One incident involved a
curious crowd that surrounded a burning American Bradley fighting vehicle
being fired upon by an American helicopter gunship killing at least 15
Iraqis, including a 12-year-old girl and a Palestinian reporter for al-Arabiya,
and wounding 50 more. Another incident occurred on Monday when an American
sport utility vehicle was fired upon and the area was sprayed with bullets
by American soldiers, killing at least one civilian and wounding three more.
www.iraqbodycount.net, at the time of this writing there have been a
minimum of 11,797 civilians killed as a result of military intervention in
Iraq. However, there will never be an official Iraqi body count because
according to the former chief military planner General Tommy Franks, "We
don't do body counts." That certainly shows how much we care, doesn't it?
Since this was a war of choice and not of necessity, there is no absolution
in classifying these casualties as "collateral damage." It is a simple fact
that these people died as a result of the extremely dangerous conditions
created by the United States and Great Britain. There seems to be a
universal human characteristic to be unable to recognize one's own
criminality, which would include U.S. complicity in the massacre of 10,000
Shiites by Saddam Hussein while the U.S. stood idly by after first inciting
Guilt does not sit solely with the insanely violent cabal of ideologues in
the White House and at 10 Downing Street. Those living in America and the
UK who have supported this "preemptive" war can start by looking in the
mirror. It isn't necessary to have personally fired a weapon to be guilty
of murder by bureaucracy. And it is particularly true that in a democracy
where the people supposedly govern themselves and pay taxes to buy bullets
and bombers, there is no such thing as an innocent civilian.
It's no small wonder why they hate us, and why it is almost a certainty that
there will be another terrorist attack in the United States because of U.S.
hegemony in the Middle East.. Think about that if you plan to vote to
re-elect George Bush.
Williamson is a Chicago-based independent scholar. He can be
firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright © 2004, Harold
Articles by Harold Williamson
God Who is Crazy
Trust Anybody Over Thirty
in the Postmodern World
Remember Who The Enemy Is
Obscenity, A Sign of the Times and the Post
Anew: A Do-It-Yourself Project
America's Blind Faith in Government
Tanks and the Brainwashing of America
for the Bush Doctrine: A Natural History Perspective