Cindy Sheehan: From My Lai to Haditha


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

    The Abominations of War From My Lai to Haditha
    By Cindy Sheehan
    t r u t h o u t | Perspective
    Monday 05 June 2006

This is the most difficult article that I have ever had to write, but I have to 
write it anyway, unfortunately.

I and just about anyone and everyone who criticizes George Bush and this war are
accused of "not supporting the troops." Since my son, Casey, was killed in Iraq 
because of lies and to actually make that country safe for our corporate 
interests, I have been saying the only way we can support our troops at this 
point is to get them the hell out of this illegal and immoral war.

The massacre in Haditha on November 19, 2005, is just another way to underscore 
the fact that our troops are being turned into war criminals in what one article
called: "The Worst War Crime of the Iraq War." (Sydney Morning Herald; May 28, 
2006). In a stunning display of shameless hypocrisy George Bush said of the (not
uncommon) butchering of innocent civilians in Haditha:

Our troops have been trained on core values throughout their training, but 
obviously there was an incident that took place in Iraq ...

Bush also said this following a meeting of his cabinet: The world will see a 
"full and complete" investigation.

Another false piece of propaganda that we are fed is that we need to support the
president, especially when we are "at war." I say, "No, way!" Our kids know the 
difference between right and wrong before they are sucked into a military system
that dehumanizes our soldiers and forces them to dehumanize the "enemy" to the 
point where it is apparently acceptable behavior to kill children and to cover 
up the murders. Can we all assume that little Georgie was never told that 
cold-blooded murder is wrong, seeing that his family has supported wars and 
their inherent crimes for at least three generations?

The double standard that our leaders have set for themselves and the troops is 
amoral and corrupt. I have not seen - anywhere in the discussion of this topic -
acknowledgement that not only is Haditha not the worst war crime committed by 
American or coalition troops but that the entire war is a war crime.

The following list of illegal, immoral, and atrocious behavior is obvious and 
not all inclusive by any means:

€  12 years of devastating sanctions that were responsible for killing over 
500,000 Iraqi children.

€  Destroying antiquities and culture is a war crime and prohibited under Geneva

€  The invasion of Iraq is a preventive war of aggression against a country that
was no threat to the USA or the world and was expressly prohibited by the Geneva

  €  The invasion was not sanctioned or approved of by the United Nations.

  €  "Shock and Awe" targeted civilian centers and killed many innocent people.

  €  Abu Ghraib.

  €  Guantanamo.

  €  "Extreme rendition.

€  Use of chemical weapons, especially white phosphorous enhanced with napalm, 
particularly in the second siege of Fallujah.

€  Targeting hospitals, clinics, and threatening medical doctors with execution 
if they treat "insurgents" (which can apparently include babies and pregnant 

  €  Using highly compensated mercenaries to carry out executions and torture.

€  Forcing a style of government on the citizens and manipulating the outcome of
the elections.

€  Dishonoring the Constitution of the United States by invading Iraq without a 
declaration of war by Congress and by breaking our treaties with the United 
Nations and the ratified Geneva Conventions.

George Bush is correct. A "full and complete" investigation needs to be made 
into the crimes against humanity in Iraq, and if justice prevails, this would in
turn lead to the trial and conviction of George and the rest of the neo-con 
purveyors of torture and murder, for which the maximum penalties should be 

The level of accountability needs to rise higher than Specialist or Private and 
should reach up and down the very blackest bowels of an administration that lied
through its teeth to get our country into a war of aggression and occupation. 
The commander in chief needs to be prosecuted: NOW!

The most difficult part of this writing is in trying to reconcile the fact that 
our soldiers, for one example, in Haditha, could not show conscience and 
restraint, qualities which may have prevented a murderous rampage. When one sees
the pictures of bodies burned beyond human recognition, hears of 2 year old 
children being killed out of revenge, women being shot for failing to stop at a 
checkpoint that is in the middle of THEIR country, prisoners being tortured in 
despicably inhumane ways, ad immoral infinitum, one should be appalled and 
ashamed to call oneself an American. That some of our soldiers would stoop to 
the level of their leaders to commit such atrocities is unspeakable. Bush says 
our troops have been trained in "core values," when he as a so-called born again
Christian can claim that God told him to invade Iraq and it's okay to spy on 
American citizens like he is some kind of sick voyeur with a penchant for death 
and destruction.

War, under any circumstance, is not a "core value" of humanity; in fact, it is 
the ultimate failure of humanity. War turns our mostly normal American youth 
into wanton murderers who have lost their own humanity and love of others. 
Haditha in this war and My Lai in another disgusting war were unfortunately not 
aberrations. War is the abominable aberration.

Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, our troops are forbidden from 
obeying unlawful orders, and Iraq was unlawful before it ever began. Our 
soldiers need to start disobeying the unlawful order to even be deployed to 
Iraq, and not raise their weapons in appeasement to the Bush Regime, and say: 
"This war is the criminal, I am not. Threaten me if you will, but I am not going
to be an accomplice in your crimes against humanity."

We as people working for peace have long held that the people of Iraq did not 
deserve the treatment that they are getting from BushCo, but it is our troops 
who are pulling the triggers and pushing the buttons or flushing the Koran or 
sexually abusing prisoners, and we know about it, so that makes us accessories 
to the crimes, unless we are actively trying to end the severe breach of 
compassion and mercy that is being carried out in the Middle East.

Yes, we have to work to end the war and to hold everyone who commits atrocities 
accountable, from private to president, but we also have to support our soldiers
who do not want to kill. It is a tragic dichotomy in this society that one can 
be executed for killing someone, but also be executed or imprisoned for 
disobeying an order to go and take the life of another human being in war.

There are several ways that our young men and women can be supported in 
resisting the evil of BushCo and Iraq. The GI Rights Hotline is there to help 
soldiers get out of going to an illegal and immoral war, and the War Resister's 
League in Canada needs support to help our soldiers find sanctuary and safety. 
Counter-recruitmentis also a powerful tool to use to prevent our children from 
being sucked into the evil war machine and being used as cannon fodder/weapons 
of mass destruction for profit.

Where can the people of Iraq go to find sanctuary and safety? They have no place
to run to and they have no voice to end this war of terror that is being waged 
on them by the USA.

It is up to us to be the voice of the babies of Iraq and of the other people 
whose only crime was to be born in the wrong place at the wrong time with the 
additional bad luck of living on top of rich oil reserves.

Support the troops? I support only those who are NOT supporting the exploitation
of the Iraqi people, and those who do not allow the war profiteers to carry on 
with their death and destruction all for the sake of an opulent lifestyle. I do 
not support those who are supporting a criminally insane and treacherous foreign
policy. However I, as the mother of a slain soldier, will do anything I can to 
support all of them by working to shorten their stay in an unwelcoming country, 
and bring them home from the quagmire that their so-called commander in chief 
forced them into.

Also, when our troops do come home from the war, they need all of the 
counseling, job training and help they require to transition back to a life 
where most people don't even recognize that there is a war being waged.

BushCo and the war machine killed my baby. They have killed tens of thousands 

BushCo need to be prosecuted and punished like the common criminals that they 

    We owe this to the people of Iraq, the world, and our own soldiers.

    We owe it to ourselves.

Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan, who was KIA in Bush's 
illegal and immoral war on 04/04/04. She is the author of Not One More Mother's 
Child, Dear President Bush and to be released in the fall: Peace Mom, One Mom's 
Journey From Heartache to Activism from Atria Books. Cindy is also founder and 
president of Gold Star Families for Peace.


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