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Issue No. 1845

British soldiers jailed for telling truth about war

AT LEAST two British soldiers are facing a court martial and imprisonment because they do not want to fight in a war that kills innocent civilians. They have been sent back to Colchester to await disciplinary action and a possible two years imprisonment.

Other British soldiers have confirmed that US marines are butchering civilians. One US soldier boasted last week, 'The Iraqis are sick people and we are the chemotherapy.' The slaughter which Bush and Blair have ordered is designed to impose US domination in Iraq without the slightest pretence of democracy. They want a US-led occupation with a puppet Iraqi alongside them-Ahmed Chalabi, who has not been in Iraq for 47 years.

The daily reality for people in Iraq is shooting, brutality and harassment from an invading army. US troops killed women and children who were trying to flee the fighting near the city of Najaf on Monday. A platoon from the US's Third Infantry Division fired machine-guns and cannon fire into a van filled with Iraqi civilians.

The Washington Post reports, 'Fifteen Iraqi civilians were packed inside the Toyota, along with as many of their possessions as the vehicle could hold. Ten of them, including five children who appeared to be under five years old, were killed on the spot when the high explosive rounds slammed into their target. Of the five others, one man was so severely injured that medics said he was not expected to live.' One of the wounded women sat in the vehicle holding the mangled bodies of two of her children.

An article in the Sunday Times by journalist Mark Franchetti exposed the sheer brutality of US troops towards civilians. He expressed his shock at how the US marines fighting near Nassiriya had assaulted and murdered civilians. He describes one incident: 'Some 15 vehicles, including a mini-van and a couple of trucks blocked the road. They were riddled with bullet holes. Amid the wreckage I counted 12 dead civilians. All had been trying to leave the town, probably for fear of being killed by the US.'

He goes on to describe how 'one man's body was still in flames' and how the corpse of a little girl lay next to that of a man with 'half his head missing'. He then records remarks by one US marine in Alpha Company, which admitted to slaughtering them. Corporal Ryan Dupre said, 'I am starting to hate this country. Wait till I get hold of a friggin Iraqi. No, I won't get hold of one. I'll just kill him.' Franchetti describes several attacks, which US troops inflicted on civilians on the same day.

In one incident 'a truck came down the road. Again the marines fired. Inside, four men were killed.' Franchetti describes US troops opening fire with machine guns in the middle of the night. 'Next morning I saw the result of this order-the dead civilians, the little girl in the orange and gold dress. Suddenly, some of the young men who had crossed into Iraq with me reminded me now of their fathers' generation, the trigger-happy grunts of Vietnam.'

This is the horror that Bush and Blair have unleashed. We say, get the troops out now.

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Sat 5 Apr 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1845
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