Revolution #199, April 18, 2010

Statement by Carl Dix:

12 Iraqi Civilians Murdered By U.S. Troops Firing From Apache Helicopter


The video recently released by WikiLeaks cries out for a response of outrage and condemnation. This video shows U.S. forces in Iraq launching an unprovoked assault from an Apache helicopter on a group of Arab men in July, 2007. After the attack one of the men tries to crawl to safety, and the helicopter fires at him again! Then a van pulls up and tries to pick up the dead and wounded, and the helicopter fires a missile at it, killing and wounding more people, including two children! U.S. ground troops arrive and pick up the children to take them to a hospital. The helicopter relays orders to leave the children to be picked up by Iraqi police, if they survive till the Iraqi police arrive. In all, 12 people die in this murderous assault.

The initial U.S. response to complaints over this assault was: "There is no question that coalition forces were clearly engaged in a fire fight with hostile forces." "The actions of the soldiers were in accordance with the rules of engagement." And "No innocent civilians were killed on our part deliberately. Our forces took great pains to prevent that. We did everything we could to help them. We don't know how the children were hurt." These are all lies aimed at keeping those who did not witness the assault in the dark about what really happened.

Two of the men attacked were carrying cameras and none carried weapons of any kind. No one took any hostile action against the U.S. forces, even after the unprovoked assault. The soldiers in the helicopter acknowledged that the people in the van were picking up bodies right before they hit the van with a missile. And in the video you can clearly see the children in the van before the helicopter fired at it.

This was mass murder carried out at a safe distance, firing at people who were in no way threatening the U.S. forces. And the soldiers were calm and upbeat as they went about this murderous deed in a callous and uncaring way. They lie that the men have weapons and have fired at them and joke as they kill people for no good reason! Another thing that stands out is how eager they are to kill. They plead several times, "Let us shoot," as they await the OK to kill the defenseless people below them. When someone in the helicopter says they have wounded children, another soldier replies, "It's their fault for bringing their kids to a battle!"

The statement that the troops' actions were in accordance with the rules of engagement only serves to underscore that the war in Iraq Afghanistan are unjust and immoral. As does the reported response to the leaking of the video. Craig Considine writes that a secret report from the Army Counterintelligence Center, also leaked by WikiLeaks, says "WikiLeaks represents a potential force protection, counterintelligence, operational security and information security threat to the U.S. Army." This report also suggests that those responsible for leaking this report be hunted down and prosecuted.

As a Vietnam era veteran and war resister from inside the U.S. military, this assault brought back bitter memories. Of the My Lai massacre. Of U.S. warplanes bombing irrigation facilities in farming areas and dropping napalm on defenseless villagers. Of earlier cover ups and lying justifications. Of attempts to prosecute those who exposed war crimes, not those who ordered them or carried them out.

None of this—the murderous assault or the official response should surprise anyone. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are unjust, immoral wars, wars in which whole cities like Falluja have been flattened, in which wedding parties have been bombed at least six times! And the U.S. has perpetrated war crimes like these since its very beginning, a beginning which has at its foundation genocide against the native inhabitants and theft of their land. This is why the Revolutionary Communist Party says in its Statement, The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have that this capitalist-imperialist system "brings horror upon horror, a nightmare seemingly without end, for the vast majority of humanity...wars, invasions and occupations...assassinations and massacres...planes, missiles, tanks and troops of the USA bombarding people in faraway lands while they sleep in their homes or go about their daily lives, blasting their little children to pieces, cutting down men and women in the prime of life, or in old age..."

Everyone with an ounce of conscience needs to think about this latest outrage perpetrated by this rotten system. Think about the 12 people killed in this unprovoked, murderous assault. Think about the two children who were severely wounded. Think about the sense of loss this caused for their loved ones and friends. Think about all this, and respond to it with outrage and condemnation, and with a sense of urgency.

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