Highway of Death: 22 Years Later (What We’re Up Against)
Persons taking no active part in hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, color, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
- Common Article 3 to the four 1949 Geneva Conventions of 1949 (excerpt)
High above a swamp, over 60 miles of coastal Highway 8 from Kuwait to Iraq, a division of the Iraq’s Republican Guard withdrew on Feb. 26-27, 1991.
Baghdad radio had just announced Iraq's acceptance of a cease-fire proposal and, in compliance with UN Resolution 660, retreating Iraqi troops were ordered to withdraw to positions held before Aug. 2, 1990.
Nonetheless, President George H.W. Bush derisively called the announcement “an outrage” and “a cruel hoax.”
The Home of the Brave™, it seems, wasn’t quite ready to stop the massacre…
February 20, 2013 "Information Clearing House" - Highway of Death
“U.S. planes trapped the long convoys by disabling vehicles in the front, and at the rear, and then pounded the resulting traffic jams for hours,” says Joyce Chediac, a Lebanese-American journalist.
“It was like shooting fish in a barrel,” one U.S. pilot said.
Randall Richard of the Providence Journal filed this dispatch from the deck of the U.S.S. Ranger: “Air strikes against Iraqi troops retreating from Kuwait were being launched so feverishly from this carrier today that pilots said they took whatever bombs happened to be closest to the flight deck. The crews, working to the strains of the Lone Ranger theme, often passed up the projectile of choice… because it took too long to load.”
“When you see the battlefield littered with dead bodies as far as you can see and there’s smoke swirling around, and the smell of the dead bodies, the ammunition, the fuel, the explosions; it’s very overpowering,” said Paul Sullivan, a combat veteran from Operation Desert Storm who went on to create the National Gulf War Resource Center. Sullivan later described the so-called “Highway of Death” as “miles and miles and miles of charred trucks, tanks, blown up buildings, pieces of arms, pieces of legs every which way.”
“Many of those massacred fleeing Kuwait were not Iraqi soldiers at all,” adds U.S. Attorney General-turned-peace activist, Ramsey Clark, “but Palestinians, Sudanese, Egyptians, and other foreign workers.”
We interrupt this flashback with a little
For example, in 2006, during the minor scandal caused by the atrocities at an Iraqi town called Haditha, then Secretary of Defense (sic) Donald Rumsfeld gave the following public assurance: "We know that 99.9 percent of our forces conduct themselves in an exemplary manner. We also know that in conflicts things that shouldn't happen do happen."
One needn't be a math major to recognize that even a passing knowledge of American military history would produce enough war crimes and atrocities to surpass Rumseld's 0.1% solution... but, in classic corporate style, perhaps we should outsource such inventory work.
We could hire residents of Southeast Asia to tell us what percentage of U.S. troops commit atrocities. Even better, let's really go multi-culti and include some Koreans, Iraqis, Afghanis, Somalis, Filipinos, Japanese, and Panamanians (to name but a few options).
That might raise Rumseld's ratio a wee bit, huh?
However, for the sake of broadening the scope here, let's assume that Rummy got it right. Let's take him at face value that 99.9 percent of American military personnel "conduct themselves in an exemplary manner."
This begs the question: If only one-tenth of one percent “make things happen that shouldn't happen,” what is everyone else doing to get us standing and singing "God Bless America" during the seventh inning stretch at Yankee Stadium?
How exactly does the home of the brave define "exemplary manner"?
By Rumfeld's reckoning (and the standard company line of most every politician, pundit, and peon) "exemplary" includes the use of Daisy Cutters, cluster bombs, and predator drones. One-tenth of one percent bad apples slaughter non-combatants without orders... but the other 99.9% are the heroes deploying depleted uranium, napalm, and white phosphorus.
"Exemplary" warriors launch cruise missiles into crowded cities, blow up dams to deliberately flood rice paddies and starve civilians, and destroy villages in order to save them.
"Exemplary" heroes volunteer to be paid as part of the most violent and environmentally toxic institution on the planet: the U.S. Department of Defense (sic).
We now return to my regularly scheduled history lesson…
“No survivors are known or likely”
“At one spot,” Bob Drogin reported in the Los Angeles Times, “snarling wild dogs had reduced two corpses to bare ribs. Giant carrion birds picked at another; only a bootclad foot and eyeless skull are recognizable.”
“Even in Vietnam I didn't see anything like this. It's pathetic,” said Army intelligence officer and eyewitness, Major Bob Nugent.
Reality Check: When you’re talking about America, it’s not pathetic… it’s policy.
Never forget, comrades: This is what we're up against.
This article was originally posted at World News Trust
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