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Friday, August 13, 2004

Najaf: A war crime

From the WSWS:
The US assault on Najaf is a war crime. The spectacle of the world’s foremost imperialist power unleashing its overwhelmingly superior military might against poorly armed opponents of foreign occupation recalls the most notorious crimes of the twentieth century, including the fascist bombardment of Guernica in Spain, Mussolini’s rape of Ethiopia, and the Nazi blitzkrieg against Germany’s European neighbors in World War II.

The US military, in the name of Washington’s puppet government under Iyad Allawi, is carrying out the slaughter of supporters of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr who have taken up arms against the attempt to turn Iraq into a de-facto American colony.

The coverage by US television networks and the American press conveys none of the true horror of what is being perpetrated by the 11th Marine Expeditionary Force and First Cavalry Division in Najaf. US bombers, helicopter gunships, field artillery and tanks are being unleashed against Iraqi fighters armed only with small arms and grenade launchers that are next to useless against American armored vehicles.

If the US body counts from Najaf are accurate, at least 500 of the Iraqi fighters have been killed, and thousands more wounded, in a week of bitter fighting to drive Sadr’s Mahdi Army militiamen from their defensive positions in the cemetery to the west of the Imam Ali Mosque—one of the most sacred of Shiite Muslim shrines.

Describing the conduct of the US forces, a Marine spokesman told the Associated Press on August 11 that they had “pretty much just been patrolling and flying helicopters all over the place, and when we see something bad, we blow it up.”

No estimate is being given by the US attackers of civilian casualties, but given the massive firepower being thrown against urban centers—including the Shiite slum of Sadr City in Baghdad and other southern Iraqi cities besides Najaf—they must number in the thousands.