Crime Politics war World

Winning Hearts and Minds

. . .if you find something, then you’ll detain him. If not, you’ll say, ‘Sorry to disturb you. Have a nice evening.’ So you’ve just humiliated this man in front of his entire family and terrorized his entire family and you’ve destroyed his home. And then you go right next door and you do the same thing in a hundred homes.

That’s an extract from an article in The Nation magazine, where fifty American military veterans of Iraq are interviewed.

I guess while I was there, the general attitude was, ‘A dead Iraqi is just another dead Iraqi’ … Spc. Jeff Englehart

There was a little boy … about 10 … with three donkeys. A military convoy … killed them all … Judging by the skid marks, they hardly even slowed down. Sgt. Kelly Dougherty.

Every good cop carries a throwaway (weapon), If you kill someone and they’re unarmed, you just drop one on them. Cavalry Scout Joe Hatcher

We’re approaching, and they had a family dog. And it was barking ferociously because it’s doing its job, and my squad leader, just out of nowhere, just shoots it. The family is sitting right there with three little children, and a mom and a dad, horrified. Spc. Philip Chrystal

You go up the stairs. You grab the man of the house. You rip him out of bed in front of his wife. You put him up against the wall. You have junior-level troops, PFCs, specialists will run into the other rooms and grab the family, and you’ll group them all together.
Sgt. John Bruhns

I just remember thinking to myself, ‘I just brought terror to someone else under the American flag’. Sgt. Timothy Westphal

I’ll tell you the point where I really turned. I go out to the scene and there was this little, you know, pudgy little 2-year-old child with the cute little pudgy legs, and I look and she has a bullet through her leg. An IED went off, the gun-happy soldiers just started shooting anywhere and the baby got hit. And this baby looked at me, wasn’t crying, wasn’t anything, it just looked at me like–I know she couldn’t speak. It might sound crazy, but she was like asking me why. You know, Why do I have a bullet in my leg?… I was just like, This is — this is it. This is ridiculous. Spc. Michael Harmon (medic ).

Read the whole article here:

The Nation

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