There is so much wrong both in fact and malicious intentions to this story, its difficult to decide where to begin examining the insidous right-winger that we'll call Captain Propagandista. Captain Propagandista, titles his post: John Kerry: American Soldiers Are Terrorists. I'm not linking to him I found the post referenced on Blogniscient
. This is the part of the transcript from FACE THE NATION, Sunday, December 4, 2005.
SCHIEFFER: All right. Let me shift to another point of view, and it comes from another Democrat, Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. He takes a very different view. He says basically we should stay the course
because, he says, real progress is being made. He said this is a war between 27 million Iraqis who want freedom and 10,000 terrorists. He says we're in a watershed transformation. What about that?
Sen. KERRY: Let me--I--first of all, there is so much more that unites Democrats than divides us. And Democrats have much more in common with each other than they do with George Bush's policy right now.
Now Joe Lieberman, I believe, also voted for the resolution which said the president needs to make more clear what he's doing and set out benchmarks, and that the policy hasn't been working. We all believe him when you say, `Stay the course.' That's the president's policy, which hasn't been changing, which is a policy of failure. I don't agree with that. But I think what we need to do is recognize what we all agree on, which is you've got to begin to set benchmarks for accomplishment. You've got to begin to transfer authority to the Iraqis. And there is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking sort of the customs of the--of--the historical customs, religious customs. Whether you like it or not...
Sen. KERRY: ...Iraqis should be doing that. And after all of these two and a half years, with all of the talk of 210,000 people trained, there just is no excuse for not transferring more of that authority.
( Oliver Willis provides his take on Captain Props here
I would have worded it differently, but all Senator Kerry said was that women and children have felt terrorized by the troops entering their homes. That does at least leave it to Captain Propagandista to make the two cases, that the Senator was calling the troops terrorists or was simply stateing that the actions of the troopsterrorized or produced profound fear in the women and children whose homes were entered. The second case Captain Propagandista would have to make is that it has never been the case that the women and children of the homes that were entered never felt terror or its synonym, profound or deep fear. Cap says that John Kerry called the troops terrorist: Terrorist
is defined by the US Department of Defense as "the unlawful use of -- or threatened use of -- force or violence against individuals or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious, or ideological objectives."
It seems for then a lttle far fetched for a rational person to believe that Senator Kerry was calling American troops terrorists based on the DoD defintion. So as far as semantics go Captain Propagandista has sunk to tabloid levels of reporting, puffing up the head-line about proported two=headed aliens that do not in fact exist, though judging from some of the comments found on his site, it seems he tells the boys the choir what they want to hear. The word " traitor " drops easily from the hypocrits that were recently making excuses for Scooter Libby.
So that leaves enquiring minds with one question left, or at least one. Have ay anytime, Iraqi women or children been , terrorized, frightened, or fearful of American troops?
Let me step first to a not unimportant side issue. In urban warfare house to house searches are standard operating procedure. They are a neccessary too; in fighting the insurgency and finding foreign fighters (ie. terrorists). I believe that it is far from the deliberate intention of the troops to terrorize innocent people. The fact is most of the US forces in Iraq have little previous combat experience, they are under tremendous stress. U.S. Military: Good Morning, Baghdad!
During these interviews, I could clearly see signs of the internal struggle these soldiers are going through, especially when seeing their comrades injured or killed during ambushes by Iraqi resistance.
Many U.S. soldiers told me they are proud to have come to liberate Iraq from Saddam, and restore social order. But acknowledged that many Iraqis do not like them. Anthony Parrish is from task force 1st Battalion, 37th Armored Division and he says daily attacks in Iraq against U.S. soldiers are common. Parrish is a native of England who migrated to the United States, joined the army and became a tank driver. He came to Iraq from Germany in May. He says about his first couple of days in the base: "we got shot, we got rounds coming at us, every time we went out, there's somebody yelling [at us], everywhere people hanging chicken wire across the street, dropping grenades off the bridges, shooting at you, even children. We saw thirteen, fourteen-year-old children with weapons - AK-47s, rifles, handguns."
Parrish recalls two of his friends from the base who were killed recently, "The soldiers who died … two people from the 1/36 [Armored Division] … one was in Charlie company driving a Humvee and other one was a scout ... and both got killed two weeks apart, and it was from ambushes and sniper fire ... there's nothing we can do about that … I mean, we miss them, they were good soldiers, both of them. But, that was part of the job when you sign up."
Back to the question at hand, have any Iraqi women or children ever felt fear or terror because of these necessary house to house sweeps/searches: Riot Chases Troops Out of Iraqi Town
‘They were terrifying the women and children,' one protester says after U.S. soldiers search homes for weapons.
In the third straight day of Iraqi violence against the U.S. military occupation of the country, residents of Hit, Iraq enraged over house-to-house searches in this western town ransacked the police station, stoned U.S. armored military vehicles and set police cars on fire Wednesday.
This situation may well have been and probably was unavoidable for US forces who's intent was to both root out insurgents and to secure this area. The troops intentions are not in question, its just a fact that some Iraqis felt "terrorized" by these events.
Residents here said U.S. troops had provoked anger Tuesday when they searched houses in an outlying neighborhood and arrived shortly after dawn Wednesday to set up a checkpoint at the entrance to the town. They then began searching homes with the help of local police.
When the searches continued despite what residents called a peaceful protest, a second, angrier, protest formed in the late afternoon that quickly turned violent. Both the U.S. troops and the police immediately withdrew from the town once the riot started, residents said.
"They forced women and children to leave their houses!" shouted Esmael Rabee, a construction worker who made his voice heard above the shouts of those who had crowded around the lone foreign reporter on the scene. "They violated the dignity and honor of our women. We won't accept this violation.
Any military personnel that have been stationed in Saudi Arabia will be happy to tell the Captain about the cultural sensitivity training that had to undergo. It considered immoral for Muslim man to touch a woman not of hos family, and yes they consider it especially humiliating for a foreigner to do body searches. What did Senator Kerry refer to, " women, breaking sort of the customs of the--of--the historical customs, religious customs". These searches may very well be called for, for security reasons, nevertheless the local population, according to their customs have very strong feelings about it, up to and including feeling terror-extreme fear.
"The people will do more of this if the Americans come in here again," he added, shaking his fist as those around him shouted approval. "They showed no respect for our way of life." Taxi driver Jumaa Khalif declared: "They were terrifying the women and children." Hit, a town of about 20,000, is 100 miles west of Baghdad in an area whose inhabitants are mainly conservative Sunni Muslims.
Mahmoud Saleh an Iraqi civil servant has said in an Associated Press report, “We are terrified by the violent approach used by the Americans to subdue the city. My wife and children are scared to death and they have not been able to sleep since last night. I hope the fighting ends as soon as possible.” Rahim Abdul-Karim, a retired schoolteacher, commented to the Independent: “There has been a lot of deaths, and they have been of ordinary people... They are killing us to save us.”
I think Mr. Saleh is mistaken in asserting these intentions or motivations to coalition troops, but one can understand where there is a langauge and cultural gap, some Iraqis might fill the gap with their perceptions. If someone is firing a gun in your direction they might be aiming at the criminal next to you, that doesn't mean you don't feel the fear that its you or your family might be hit. This report from Global Security
foes a good job of describing the scope of one operation:
Task Force 1-15 and Iraqi soldiers went door to door looking for weapons and known terrorists, as well as explaining to the residents that the search was related to recent attacks by terrorists. More than 30 attacks against coalition forces have been reported in the area during the past two months, officials said.
Many residents willingly turned over weapons to help facilitate the search. An overnight curfew in the city was met with little resistance. Shops and businesses voluntarily closed, which officials said helped accelerate the operation. By Nov. 15, the mission was completed and the units returned to Forward Operating Base Wilson. In another operation, Iraqi and U.S. forces detained dozens of terror suspects during searches in south Baghdad to clear neighborhoods of terrorist activity.
"Operation Clean Sweep was intended to clean out an area that was known to be used as a way for terrorists to come towards Baghdad from the south, as well as an area that a lot of vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices and IEDs were coming from," said Lt. Col. Everett Knapp, commander of 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment.
In anticipation of the Dec. 15 nationwide elections, the battalion's soldiers, as well as Iraqi forces from the 4th Public Order Brigade and 1st Commando Brigade, raided about 350 homes and detained 49 suspected terrorists. Military officials said 10 of the suspects were forwarded to detention facilities.
This swept obviously produced some good results and they tried to explain the situation to residents. John kerry in his interview did not assign notorious motivations to the troops, only that these things happen and that it is another unfortunate consequence of war, no matter how noble the intent. Sometimes things don't turn out as well as that swept in Baghdad.Confusion Reigns as U.S. Raid Misses Target in Iraq November 23, 2004 by Reuters
It began with U.S. troops busting through the doors of the wrong house.
Dozens of soldiers rammed the white gates of a well-to-do home in central Mosul early on Tuesday, detaining three Iraqi men, only to discover their target was a house with black gates.
"Four houses down," said the elderly homeowner patiently, his hands bound behind his back by yellow plastic cuffs.
"You've got the wrong people," he told the officer leading the operation in good English, his wife, daughter and two pajama-clad grandchildren cowering alongside him, trying to avoid the glare from the spotlights on the soldiers' guns.
For the past 19 months, U.S. forces have carried out raids across Iraq, sometimes netting big targets and gathering key intelligence to help them combat the sort of mounting insurgency that swept through Mosul this month, routing the police force.
But Iraqis say the targets are often wrong, and heavy-handed tactics have created resentment and alienated ordinary people.
"Squad Two, get to the house three doors down with the black gates," Captain Robert Lackey ordered over the radio. Several heavily armed men with night-vision scopes attached to their helmets trotted out into the rain.
At the wrong house, the search went on, with soldiers overturning every room for evidence to link the family to Iraq's insurgency.
They turned up at least one AK-47 assault rifle -- common to nearly all Iraqi homes and generally permitted by U.S. forces -- and around $3,000, according to a U.S. investigator.
"That's a lot of money right there," he said, shaking his head, although wealthy Iraqis often keep sums of much more than $3,000 at home because banks are not trusted.
Down the road, soldiers were ramming open the gates of an upscale house. They were about to burst through the door when it opened. Inside were seven young women and six dazed children.
The men of the house were in a village outside Mosul for a few days, one of the women said in fluent English. The soldiers were looking for her father, a Mosul university professor.
"Is he a member of the Baath party?" Lackey asked her. "The Baath party that still exists?"
She replied that he wasn't any more, "that was ages ago." She pointed out her father was detained by U.S. troops in a previous raid and held for five months without charge.
The fact that these kinds of incidents are reported, that many patriotic Americans like decorated veteran John Kerry are concerned about them and the efectts that thses incidents have on our troops is not a liberal bias, it a matter of facts and the very understandable feelings that follow. Witnesses Say U.S. Forces Killed Unarmed Civilians
Allegations of widespread abuse by US forces in Fallujah, including the killing of unarmed civilians and the targeting of a hospital in an attack, have been made by people who have escaped from the city.
They said, in interviews with The Independent, that as well as deaths from bombs and artillery shells, a large number of people including children were killed by American snipers. US forces refused repeated calls for medical aid for injured civilians, they said.
Some of the killings took place in the build-up to the assault on the rebel stronghold, and at least in one case - that of the death of a family of seven, including a three-month baby - the American authorities have admitted responsibility and offered compensation.
The refugees from Fallujah describe a situation of extreme violence in which remaining civilians in the city, who have been told by the Americans to leave, appeared to have been seen as complicit in the insurgency. Men of military age were particularly vulnerable. But there are accounts of children as young as four, and women and old men being killed.
The American authorities have accused militant sympathizers of spreading disinformation, and have also claimed that people in Fallujah have exaggerated the number of casualties and the level of damage in the air campaign that preceded the assault.
Two hard truths, something that Captain Propagandista and company would probably have a difficult time digesting all at once, if at all. Its true that innocent people were killed by the military and its also probably true that militants exagerate these events for their own purposes.
Sadly America and the world will never forget Abu Ghraib, about which Republican Senator Lindsay Graham said,
"The American public needs to understand, we're talking about rape and murder here. We're not just talking about giving people a humiliating experience. We're talking about rape and murder and some very serious charges."
and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld:
"First, beyond abuse of prisoners, there are other photos that depict incidents of physical violence toward prisoners, acts that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel, and inhuman."
I include the quotes about Abu Ghraib because I think its important to understand how the Iraqi people see us, by us I mean the troops. The Iraqi people are aware of Abu Ghraib, they are aware of the lotting by their own people, they're aware of the house to house searchers in which militants have been found and in which innocent people have dissappeared, they have seen the troops risk their lives to hand out school supplies, candy,water, and food to children. They see the good and the bad. I was going to "borrow" some pictures from Kos, but I'll link to them instead, that's probably the best as far as blogtopia protocol. Bloodied Faces Of Iraqi Children
The 3rd picture down has a picture of a "terrorified" Iraqi child with a soldier standing nearby, I see him almost as much of a victim as the child. The child has just lost the center of his/her world, while the soldier is probably cursed to have dreams of that child for the rest of his life. The fifth picture down a soldier is tending to the wounds of a boy. The boy terrorized despite the soldiers' best intentions. I think its the 8th picture down is a soldier helping carry one child to an emergency room.
When John Kerry talks about letting the Iraqis take over the swepts and security as much as possible he's also talking about taking some of the weight and pain off the backs of our troops, bring in respect for the local cultural norms, and lessons the opportunity for militants to manufacture more disinformation. That to me seems like true patriotism.