M Bloomington Peace Action Coalition M 6

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

“Haditha is Happening Every Day in Iraq !”
Demonstration and March

5:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Monroe County Courthouse Square

corner of Kirkwood Ave. and Walnut Street
Bloomington, Indiana

Haditha brings home to the people of this country the savage immorality of the war against Iraq.

On November 19 th , 2005, Marines allegedly entered three homes in Haditha after an explosion had killed a Marine. The Marines killed 19 people at close range . They also killed another five , four students and the taxi driver, in a taxi approaching the scene.

Among the victims were Abdul Hamid Hassan Ali, a 76-year-old amputee in a wheelchair; Abdullah Walid, age 4; Aisha Younis Salim, age 3; Zainab Younis Salim, age 5; Aeda Yasin Ahmed, woman, 41; and Sabaa Younis Salim, age 10. (For a complete list with the names and ages of all who were killed in Haditha on Nov. 19 th , 2005, see below).

It is not enough to condemn the killing of the Haditha civilians and to ask that the Marines who perpetrated this war crime be brought to justice.

On June 1st, Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki condemned the Haditha massacre, saying U.S. troops who “do not respect the Iraqi people” were responsible for making violence against civilians a “daily phenomenon.”


That the Haditha massacre is not an isolated event, and that savagery at the hands of U.S. soldiers is happening in Iraq on a daily basis, is no surprise to anyone who knows about the reality of war.

Therefore, as long as the U.S. occupation of Iraq continues, crimes like the Haditha massacre, and the random killing of large numbers of civilians by U.S. soldiers, will continue as well.

On June 21st , Bloomington Peace Action Coalition , and the I.U. student group “Against the Occupation of Iraq” will lead the community in Bloomington, Indiana in a Demonstration and March to mourn and protest the killing of civilians in Haditha and throughout Iraq .

This demonstration is part of a nationwide Call-to-Action initiated by United For Peace and Justice , http://www.unitedforpeace.org/article.php?id=3285

The demonstration will begin at 5:00 p.m . at the Monroe County Courthouse Square with a reading of the names and ages of the victims of the Haditha massacre. the reading of the names of the Haditha victims will be followed by a march along Walnut Street to the office of Congressman Mike Sodrel , 812 S. Walnut Street, to protest the Congressman's support for the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Our demands to Congressman Sodrel, as well as to Indiana Senators Evan Bayh and Richard Lugar, are:

  • An immediate end to the illegal and blatantly immoral U.S. Occupation of Iraq!
  • To bring all those responsible for the invasion of Iraq and the resulting atrocities to justice, starting with the highest levels of government and military leadership, down to the soldiers who committed the murders!

The highest levels of government and military leadership are implicated in the war crimes that happened in Haditha , and in the killings of civilians that are happening in Iraq on a daily basis:

· Anti-Arab/anti-Muslim hatred, strengthened in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks , has played a major role in fostering this kind of behavior. Remarking on the propensity of U.S. troops to use massive return fire in civilian areas, a British officer who observed U.S. soldiers in action remarked: “They don't see the Iraqi people the way we see them. They view them as untermenschen.“ (Untermenschen means “ below human ”)


· President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Condolezza Rice, and Dick Cheney set the conditions for such hatred and the resulting atrocities. By grossly fabricating or exaggerating the threat that Iraq posed to the United States, and by falsely linking Saddam Hussein with al-Qaeda and the Sept. 11 attacks, the leaders of this country not only created support for their illegal invasion of Iraq among the American public, but their message apparently sank in with U.S. soldiers as well.

A poll of 944 U.S. military personnel in Iraq – taken in January and February 2006 – found that 85 percent believed the U.S. mission in Iraq was mainly “to retaliate for Saddam's role in the 9/11 attacks.” Seventy-seven percent said a chief war goal was “to stop Saddam from protecting al-Qaeda in Iraq.”


Obviously, the U.S. military leadership, in preparing U.S. soldiers for their mission in Iraq, has not done anything to correct this hatred- and revenge- inducing misinformation.

· Just as happened during the Vietnam war, the occupation of Iraq has created an atrocity-producing situation . During war and under occupation, crimes like the Haditha massacre are all but inevitable , as can be learned from Vietnam.

“Some men could not withstand the stress of guerilla fighting: the hair-trigger alertness constantly demanded of them, the feeling that the enemy was everywhere, the inability to distinguish civilians from combatants created emotional pressures which built to such a point that a trivial provocation could make these men explode with the blind destructiveness of a mortar shell.” This is from a former Marine, Philip Caputo, who committed atrocities in Vietnam himself. Caputo testifies in his memoir "A Rumor of War " , that "atrocities were as common to the Vietnamese battlefields as shell craters and barbed wire."


· U.S. soldiers in Iraq are now exposed to very similar “atrocity producing” situations, as evidenced in the following articles:


· According to the Nuremberg Charter, those who initiate a war of aggression, as did President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Condolezza Rice, and Dick Cheney, do bear individual criminal responsibility not only for waging unprovoked war, but for the war crimes which inevitably flow from such an aggression. Those war crimes also include the destruction of public infrastructure and hospitals in Iraq.

See the following articles on war crimes:

In the meantime, the U.S. military leadership is responsible for ordering its soldiers to use “overwhelming force” at checkpoints, during house searches and patrols, and with air attacks on so-called “safe houses” that are usually located in densely populated areas. It is at checkpoints , during house searches , patrols, and bombings of houses from the air, that U.S. soldiers kill large numbers of Iraqi civilians on a daily basis.

· The following quotes detailing those daily killings of civilians are from an article by Michael Schwartz that can be accessed at: http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0922-32.htm


“First, there are the hundreds of checkpoints around Baghdad and in other contested cities , sites of numerous violent incidents. Because of the danger created by the threat of suicide bombers, those guarding the checkpoints are ordered to fire at suspicious activity… With some 600 checkpoints in Baghdad alone, and as many as 100 cars approaching each checkpoint during a non-curfew daylight hour, there are upwards of 250,000 chances each day for an Iraqi driver to fail to slow down soon enough, or, distracted, fail to see the checkpoint in time, or do something to make jumpy soldiers jump.”


“American troops are constantly patrolling contested areas in Iraqi cities under instructions to use "overwhelming force" in firefights with actual or suspected resistance fighters . If they encounter sustained resistance, the rules of engagement call for demolishing buildings occupied by snipers, and treating all inhabitants of such buildings as the enemy.”

House Searches:

A third staple of the occupation is entering houses in search of suspected insurgents, either because they have been identified by informants, or as part of house-to-house searches after IED or other guerrilla attacks. U.S. statistics indicate that no fewer than 75% of all entered houses do not contain an insurgent, but the army rules of engagement require that soldiers enter without knocking and by crashing through doors in order to retain the element of surprise, and thus prevent either an ambush or an escape by suspects. Lethal force is used at the first sign of resistance or attempted escape -- to preempt attacks with weapons that suspected insurgents might have hidden nearby . (The army argues that, while more humane treatment might create less anger among the tens of thousands of non-resistant families whose homes are invaded, such restraint would also expose the soldiers to many more casualties from the occasional resistance fighter. Military philosophy in this and other settings is to protect the lives of American soldiers "even if those methods do not always win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi populace.")

American Air Power:

“When American patrols, large or small, encounter violent resistance, their rules of engagement call for the use of overwhelming fire power to eliminate the enemy. Where their immediate response fails to destroy the enemy, an air assault is often ordered, with either gunships or bombers. Air assaults are also ordered against suspected insurgent "safe houses."

Although they are rarely reported, such air assaults are the most terrifying and ferocious forms of American violence . Virtually all of these strikes occur in highly populated areas, sometimes destroying whole houses, or even whole groups of houses, and (where the inhabitants haven't fled) they sometimes kill whole families in the process.

American officials do concede that they average about "50 close air support and armed reconnaissance missions every day." These occur at all of the familiar urban hotspots: Baghdad, Falluja, Mosul, Tal Afar, Ramadi, Samarra, as well as numerous smaller towns.”

· The brutality of the U.S. occupation has also been noted by the British chain of command:

"My view and the view of the British chain of command is that the Americans' use of violence is not proportionate and is over-responsive to the threat they are facing. They don't see the Iraqi people the way we see them. They view them as untermenschen. They are not concerned about the Iraqi loss of life in the way the British are. Their attitude towards the Iraqis is tragic, it's awful.

The U.S. troops view things in very simplistic terms. …. It's easier for their soldiers to group all Iraqis as the bad guys . As far as they are concerned, Iraq is bandit country and everybody is out to kill them."  …

The officer explained that, under British military rules of war, British troops would never be given clearance to carry out attacks similar to those being conducted by the U.S. military, in which helicopter gunships have been used to fire on targets in urban areas.

British rules of engagement only allow troops to open fire when attacked, using the minimum force necessary and only at identified targets.

The American approach was markedly different: "When U.S. troops are attacked with mortars in Baghdad, they use mortar-locating radar to find the firing point and then attack the general area with artillery, even though the area they are attacking may be in the middle of a densely populated residential area.

"They may well kill the terrorists in the barrage but they will also kill and maim innocent civilians. That has been their response on a number of occasions. It is trite, but American troops do shoot first and ask questions later.”


See also an article in the New York Times from June 17, 2006, mentioning U.S. rules of engagement: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/061706A.shtml

In light of this daily carnage that Iraqis endure at the hands of U.S. soldiers, it is not surprising that:

· 82% of Iraqis are "strongly opposed" to the presence of coalition troops in Iraq , and

· Less than 1% of Iraqis believe coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security .

Any pretense that U.S. forces cannot leave Iraq because they have to protect Iraqis from civil war is shattered by polls like this. In light of the killings of Iraqi civilians and the atrocities perpetrated on a daily basis by U.S. occupation forces , it is a cynical joke that the U.S. president and his supporters claim the U.S. military now has an obligation to stay and “complete the mission”. The civilian casualties have largely been hidden from the U.S public . While the U.S. military is keeping track of U.S. soldiers killed and wounded, it has steadfastly refused to take civilian casualty counts , thus hiding the terrible toll the Iraqis are paying for their unprovoked “liberation”.

Most members of the U.S. Congress, including 9 th District Congressman Mike Sodrel , and Senators Richard Lugar and Evan Bayh , have refused to call for the swift withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. They, therefore, are also morally responsible for the ongoing killings at the hands of U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

Bloomington Peace Action Coalition (BPAC) and the I.U. student group “Against the Occupation of Iraq” (AOI) are calling on the residents in Bloomington, Monroe County and surrounding counties to join the demonstration and march on June 21st to state publicly their outrage at the ongoing U.S. occupation of Iraq, and their revulsion at the killings of civilians that are resulting from it.

BPAC and AOI are calling on the American Public to stand in solidarity with the people of Iraq, and to speak out and take action to STOP THE KILLING OF THE CHILDREN OF IRAQ.

As long as the U.S. occupation of Iraq continues, crimes like the Haditha massacre, and the random killing of large numbers of civilians by U.S. soldiers, will continue as well.

Therefore, the U.S. Occupation of Iraq Must END NOW!

Demonstration and March:
“Haditha is Happening Every Day in Iraq”

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Time: 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Location: Monroe County Courthouse Square
corner of Kirkwood Ave. and Walnut Street, Bloomington


Send calendar info to BPACpeace@hotmail.com

If your announcement is
for immediate release, please put 'Peace Alert'
in the subject line.


Regularly scheduled events:

Regular BPAC meetings and events:

1st Monday of every month 6:00 pm
BPAC meeting in Room 1-C of the Monroe County Public Library, 303 E. Third Street, Bloomington, Indiana

every Wednesday - 5:00 pm Peace Vigil at the Monroe County Courthouse Square, Bloomington, Indiana

Related events:

every Saturday - 6:00 pm Peace Vigil at the Nashville, Indiana Courthouse.

On the first Wednesday of each month, 5:30 pm: Cubamistad meets. Open to all interested in normalizing relations with Cuba. For info email Cyndi Roberts-Hall. Location: Monroe County Public Library, Room 1A.

On the last day of each month, 7:00-8:00 am.: Prayer For Peace. People from all over the world have decided to get together and pray on this date and time (12:00 PM GMT). This event is nondenominational, all are welcome! First United Church, 2420 E. Third Street, Bloomington. Email Aase with questions.


Sept. 24 - 26, 2005 -
The D.C. Mobilization to "End the War on Iraq!"

was historic as The People marched, spoke out, lobbied, and acted against war. With approximately 300,000 people involved, the "End the War on Iraq!" national mobilization was Washington D.C.'s largest anti-war demonstration since the March 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.
See details of the weekend at D.C. Mobilization.

See News Coverage of the "End the War" Mobilization
Feedback, stories, photographs, and assessment from activists and organizers are available at
Mobilization Reports



Click on the pic!



































































Dear Mr. Ashcroft,

I have taped the duck. Please let me know what else I can do to keep my family safe.