Online Journal
Front Page 
 Special Reports
 News Media
 Elections & Voting
 Social Security
 Editors' Blog
 Reclaiming America
 The Splendid Failure of Occupation
 The Lighter Side
 The Mailbag
 Online Journal Stores
 Official Merchandise
 Progressive Press
 Barnes and Noble
 Join Mailing List

Commentary Last Updated: Jan 4th, 2007 - 01:08:31

Iraq: Why no outrage?
By Linda Heard
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Nov 22, 2005, 19:15

Email this article
 Printer friendly page

When as a child I watched movies of World War II, I often felt sick to my stomach at man�s inhumanity to man. But in the cosseted world of childhood and at a time when the world was relatively a peaceful place it was easy to believe that those atrocities were born of a different and more brutal age -- one that would never return at least not in the so-called �civilized� West.

Today I am sickened once more at the hurt Western governments force others to endure under the faux banner of democracy and freedom. With horrific stories coming out of Afghanistan and Iraq on almost a daily basis I have come to one conclusion: during the post-World War II and post-Vietnam decades, our politicians and our generals have learned absolutely nothing. And, perhaps even worse, we the public are unwitting conspirators with our culture of acceptance and silence.

Most over-40s will remember the sheer disgust they felt at the picture of a young napalm-inflicted Vietnamese girl with her flesh peeling from her bones. At the time, it was largely credited for swaying public opinion against the war. Napalm is a banned substance, yet the US military has thought nothing of using this against Iraqis, whose country was invaded on the back of a whopping lie.

As early as March 22, 2003 CNN�s Martin Savidge described how Safwan Hill was hit with napalm. And thanks to a documentary �Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre," aired by Italian Public Television, the Pentagon was forced to admit that it had, indeed, used �Shake and Bake� munitions (white phosphorous) during its so-called �pacification� of Fallujah. It further stated that although civilians had not been targeted, it could not guarantee that they had escaped the vicious use of this chemical.

In the same way the Pentagon had earlier denied use of napalm and was made to retract, it initially denied that white phosphorous had been used against insurgents or civilians in Fallujah, insisting �they were fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions at night." Later, it put out a statement, saying it had been incorrect.

Even the phrase �Shake and Bake� conjures up all kinds of ghastly images. Just what or who is being �baked�? According to the documentary, the answer is ordinary people lying in their beds, their skin and flesh having melted away leaving part of their clothing intact.

This is how the Iraqi girl blogger Riverbend reacted after watching the Italian documentary.

�I finally worked up enough courage to watch it and it has lived up to my worst fears. Watching it was almost an invasive experience because I felt like someone had crawled into my mind and brought my nightmares to life. Image after image of men, women and children so burned and scarred that the only way you could tell the males apart from the females, and the children apart from the adults, were by the clothes they were wearing . . . the clothes that were eerily intact -- like each corpse had been burned to the bone, and then dressed up lovingly in their everyday attire -- the polka dot nightgown with a lace collar . . . the baby girl in her cotton pajamas -- little earrings dangling from little ears.�

How are Iraqis supposed to view the occupiers when they witness scenes like this with their own eyes? Just how would Americans or Britons feel if uniformed foreigners were stomping all over their countries incinerating their kids? It�s a stupid question, isn�t it because we all know the answer in advance?

But in this case why are Iraqis expected to put up with these inhuman acts and keep quiet about them, all the while pretending that they are strolling merrily toward some farcical type of democracy, when, in reality, civil war is likelier on the cards?

I am sure I�m going to get e-mails from Americans who believe they are patriots telling me their troops have been legitimately fighting �terrorists� but think about it. There were no terrorists in Iraq prior to the invasion. There were no explosive devices left on roadsides and there were no suicide bombers.

Furthermore, they were no cluster bombs left around for children to pick up thinking they are toys and find themselves without limbs in consequence.

Yesterday, Ben Russell writing in the Independent reported �it is feared that thousands of bomblets lie unexploded in Iraq, capable of maiming or killing innocent civilians." He says, �Tony Blair is facing fresh fury over the use of controversial munitions in the Iraq war,� while a report from the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund notes officials have done �little or nothing to gauge the humanitarian impact of these weapons.� Heck, they haven�t even bothered to count the numbers of Iraqi dead.

Once again, the British government has been forced to admit using cluster bombs in built-up areas, something which the Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram admitted was illegal as far back as 2003.

And isn�t it the height of hypocrisy that while the US and Britain went to war falsely accusing Saddam Hussein of developing WMD, Iraq is now littered with depleted uranium tank shells courtesy of the invaders?

Professor Dough Rokke, former director of the Pentagon�s depleted uranium project, has called the use of depleted uranium �a war crime," noting, the war was about Iraq possessing illegal WMD; �yet we are using weapons of mass destruction ourselves. Such double-standards are repellant."

For those of you unaware of the horrors of depleted uranium, it is thought to be responsible for a massive increase in cancers as well as birth defects, such as digits fused together, deformed skulls and eyes absent from their sockets.

The question I will leave you to mull over is this. Saddam Hussein is an undisputed baddie, who irreparably damaged his own country and his neighbors, but are we the ostensible do-gooders, the sophisticates, the enlightened, the promoters of our democratic way of life actually much better? I, for one, am not only thoroughly ashamed but also downright angry. Why aren�t you?

Linda S. Heard is a British specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She welcomes feedback and can be contacted by email at

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal
Email Online Journal Editor

Top of Page

Latest Headlines
Postscript to �The lessons of Ahmadinejad at Columbia�
An old Zionist dream: the partition of Iraq
No "ghetto pass" for O'Reilly: Time to put Bill on blast
Arrogance and insolence in the Age of Empire
Of happiness
America�s police brutality pandemic
Iraq should refuse to license mercenaries
David and Goliath: Palestinian artist spreads hope
Fishing for evildoers: �Pick up the gun�
The lessons of Ahmadinejad at Columbia
US government won't take 'yes' for an answer
Ahmadinejad, the toast of the Big Apple
Ripe gripes from the Big Apple
Next step to 9/11 justice
The end of the world as we know it: Get Ready
Racism and war: Overcoming "us" and "them"
A conservative's garden of false narratives: Who are you calling a moonbat, anyway?
The demise of the Congressional Black Caucus
Helicopter Ben does it again
The end of America: The police state is right here, right now