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Tuesday, March 25, 2003

More Iraqi War Crimes:
(Cross-posted from the Command Post)

Excerpts from a Slate article posted this morning on

In the wee hours of Monday morning, Iraqi fighters shot down a U.S. helicopter near Baghdad and forced 30 more to retreat. A U.S. commander called the attack ?asymmetrical warfare. ? You have 10 guys lying on top of a building firing [rocket-propelled grenades] and small arms.? If the U.S. were to bomb the building, the commander explained, civilians would die. So, the Iraqis blasted away, knowing that for moral reasons, the Americans couldn?t.

[I]n Umm Qasr, near Kuwait, some Iraqis fought in civilian clothes, making it hard to distinguish them from noncombatants. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Iraqi leaders ?put their communications systems in downtown Baghdad and commingled ? civil activities with military activities ? in very close proximity to large numbers of innocent men, women and children.? According to The Washington Post, ?Allied troops poised to seize the key port city of Basra were stalled at the city?s perimeter by defenders who stationed heavy weapons in civilian neighborhoods.?

Excerpts from an article on the Islamic Republic News Agency (don't EVEN tell me this is biased western/conservative reporting):

Baghdad, March 25, IRNA -- The ruling Ba'ath Party of Iraq has warned its people not to evacuate the city or their houses and property or these would be confiscated by the government. According to IRNA correspondents, the Baghdad government has announced that those who leave the city will not be allowed to return.

Now they know darn right well attacks are coming, and are threatening thier own people with confiscation of property unless they stick around. Gee, I wonder why would they do this.

What do the Geneva Conventions say about this? From Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions:

Article 48. Basic rule

In order to ensure respect for and protection of the civilian population and civilian objects, the Parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives and accordingly shall direct their operations only against military objectives.

Article 51, Paragraph 7
7. The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favour or impede military operations. The Parties to the conflict shall not direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield military operations.

And this is notable:
IRNA correspondents quoted a foreign reporter as saying the US-led coalition forces have set a number of days for civilians to leave Baghdad after which they will announce the city as a military region.

Why? Again, from Protocol I:

Art 57. Precautions in attack
2. With respect to attacks, the following precautions shall be taken:
c) effective advance warning shall be given of attacks which may affect the civilian population, unless circumstances do not permit.

It is extremely clear the Coalition is taking great pains to distinguish civilian and military personnel, and the Iraqis are deliberately trying to pose as civilians, locate thier arms in civilian areas, and force thier own population - on pain of banishment and confiscation of property - to remain in a war zone so as to be human shields for the Iraqis. We're telling civilians to get out of the way, the Iraqis are telling them to stay home and get bombed.

If the Coalition wanted to win without worrying about civilian casualties, they could simply start dropping bombs at one end of Baghdad or Basra or Umm Qasr or wherever, walk the bombs indiscriminately across the city, and there isn't one blessed thing the Iraqis would be able to do about it. Attacks like these would make the bombings of Dresden and Hamburg look like precision guided attacks by comparison.

So before the liberal left starts screaming about Coalition war crimes, start pointing out this and other evidence of the perfidy of the Iraqi regime.

"Today's report confirms that, despite White House scare tactics, Social Security remains sound for decades to come.."

-? Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (NV) upon hearing reports that the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds will go bankrupt even earlier than predicted.

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