Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.


by GraceReid Thu Jul 14th, 2005 at 05:57:16 AM EST

Yesterday a suicide bomber targeted an American soldier who was busy distributing candy to Iraqi children during a bomb alert.  The soldier, the bomber and thirty two children were killed.

What is wrong with this picture?

This is the US armed forces, this is not the Red Cross/Red Crescent.  Why would a US soldier be handing out sweets in the middle of a bomb alert?  Why is this going on?  

24 Iraqi children killed by car bomb(Death Toll Now At Thirty Two)

BAGHDAD -- Twenty-four Iraqi children were killed Wednesday by a suicide car bomber targeting American soldiers handing out sweets after entering their Baghdad neighborhood precisely to warn of a possible attack.

Some 20 more children were wounded in the blast, while a US soldier died and three were injured, hospital and US sources said. "A driver approached one of the US Humvees and then detonated his car," said Sergeant David Abrams.

Witness Mohammed Ali Hamza said US forces came to the Al-Jedidah district to warn residents to stay indoors because of reports of a car bomb in the area.


"Children gathered round the Americans who were handing out sweets. Suddenly a suicide car bomber drove round from a side street and blew himself up," he added.

"We have received the bodies of 24 children aged between 10 and 13," said the official in charge of the morgue at Kindi hospital.

Abu Hamed whose 12-year-old son Mohammed was killed, said, "I was at home. I heard the explosion. I rushed outside to find my son. I only found his bicycle."

He was speaking at the hospital, where hundreds of distraught parents mingled in blood-soaked hallways shouting and screaming. He said he had found his son in the hospital morgue. "I recognized him from his head. The rest of the body was completely burnt."

It's not the first time this has happened:

"The last such attack involved a triple car bombing against US troops inaugurating a water treatment plant in western Baghdad on September 30. Forty-three people were killed, including 37 children who had gathered to take candy from the soldiers." -- AFP24 Iraqi children killed by car bomb

Raed In The Middle; July 13, 2005

The attacks that target Iraqi civilians should be condemned whether they're carried out by the US army (like the daily attacks) or by others (like some ethnic attacks against mosques and individuals). Yet, the attacks targeting military convoys that kills Iraqi civilians gathering around them is another story, or at least a more controversial one. Civilians shouldn't be put in danger by sending military troops close to their homes.

What You Can Do:

War is insane, and its record is written in civilian casualties.  

Let's start breaking these numbers down.  The official death toll for Iraq1 civilians is now 128,000 (UnitedPressInternational)  How many of these are children?  Contact the International Committee of Red Cross/Red Crescent.  

Contact your representatives in government and protest the US military practice of distributing sweets to Iraqi children based on this report from today's Oman Times: 61 children dead in two separate incidents.  Handing out sweets when US military personnel are the target of bombs, suicide and otherwise, is criminally negligent.

International Red Cross/Red Crescent

Save the Children: Emergencies, Iraq - Working to Improve ...Save the Children is operating one of the largest private relief efforts in Iraq. Save the Children USA, based in Basra operates a number of programs ... Save The Children

No change in west's policy towards Iraq, despite UN admission of child deaths. The routine bombing of Iraq by the US and Britain, and the UN sanctions kept ... UN, Unicef, Childrens Mortality Iraq

CBC News Indepth: Iraq INDEPTH: IRAQ Casualties in the Iraq war CBC News Online | Updated June 27, 2005 Iraq Childrens Casualties

Humanitarian Consequences of the War and Occupation of Iraq ... The experts conclude that children in Iraq are far more vulnerable to the effects ... Global Public Health Experts Say Failure to Count Iraqi Casualties Is ... Childrens Casualties Iraq

Civilian Casualties In Iraq UN: Iraq fighting 'wreaking havoc' on children. Malnutrition rates have nearly doubled since start of war. Fighting in Iraq is "wreaking havoc" on the ... Children's Casualties Iraq

It's time to stop this insane war.  Let's start with the children.

In my 14 months in Iraq one of the overarching themes was that the fate of that land was ultimately in the hands of the children. That said, at first handing out candy was a natural symapthetic response of the soldier to the plight of the children in Iraq. Many soldiers have children of their own, and would often use interactions with the children as a way to soften the blow of a long deployment. Yet there were immediate and obvious problems with this beneficence:

  1. distraction from the military mission
  2. instigating pandemonium amongst the children, if not policed, the stronger males would often bully the girls for their candy. I experienced this and thwarted it on dozens of occasions. If there wasn't enough candy to go around it created a sense of "injustice" (can beggars be choosers?)
  3. children getting to close to moving military vehicles in hopes of getting candy.

Eventually my division issued an order banning the distribution of candy to children after a traffic accident killed a child. I cannot say with authority how long lasting the ban was or how widespread.

Soldiers simply ignored the ban when not being directly policed by their superiors (chalk one up for human nature!).

Finally, your article was well written and researched, but it smacks of battered-wife syndrome. Occasionally when police intervene in domistic violence, the woman takes the side of the abuser over the police because she calculates that when the police leave she will get an extra dose if she did not visibly side with the husband.

In the case of Iraq, the left, which prides itself on a keen sense of justice (why, I don't yet know), is not displaying enough hatred, pure visceral, vomit-inducing hatred for the bombers. Reflexively, many on the left waste no time in construing death in Iraq as an opportunity to castigate America, American soldiers, American policy, and above all the American people from whom all the above come. What I would like to hear is blood-curdling wails of Jacobin furor at the religious fascists (two wrongs don't make a right) who are the actual murderers of the children. I would like to hear of left-wing forces assembling to independently march upon religious centers where they will by force if need be stop the brain washing of innocent youth. I would like the left to be at the vanguard of the destruction of the Ancien Regime, as it was at least until Viet Nam.

If, after that display of emotion, you also wanted to display some hatred for capitalism, militarism, and any other -ism that you detest, that would be fine too. But first things must be first: the terrorists and their religious impetus must be crushed.

by Coriolanus on Thu Jul 14th, 2005 at 11:39:59 AM EST
I'd like to find an alternative to the word "hatred." Hatred just begats more of the same.

Personally, it's better expressed as feeling compassion for the victims of this war, no matter who has perpetrated the hatred and killing.

Otherwise, I'm pretty much with you on this.

Thanks very much for your insights regarding soldiers and children. That's compassion.

"...psychopaths have little difficulty infiltrating the domains of...politics, law enforcement, (and) government." Dr. Robert Hare

by RubDMC (rubdmc at yahoodotcom) on Thu Jul 14th, 2005 at 12:05:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1.  Soldiers
  2.  Bomber(s)
  3.  Children
  4.  Eyewitnesses (not family members)
  5.  Reporter

I tried only to take the point of view of military command, Geneva, and the children, and above all the reporter.  The evidence from eyewitnesses implies that the bomber intended the soldiers for the target and that he/they were unaware of the presence of the children.

I cannot do the hatred motivation.  I can only do the motivation of one who has worked in hospital with critically ill children.  Infant/child mortality is my only concern here.

But, if you think the story is that good for a start, i will edit it to remove any implication that I think suicide bombers are ok, or understandable.. etc.

My premise is that all war is insane and its insanity is written in the civilian casualties of ANY war.  Suicide bombing is just another step removed from the "normal" insanity of war... in that the perpetrator intends to take him/herself out.  We say this is the glory factor or the religious madness.  I don't know.  I think we have seen this kind of group madness in the Jim Jones cult, we saw this kind of nationalistic/religious madness in some Kamikaze pilots and some hari kari warriors.  But does one need to be mad to understand the mad?

The pathological madness we all have to deal with is that of GWB who conceived of this illegal war of aggression in the first place.  War equals civilian casualties.  This war equals the death of as many as 68,000 children. (We didn't have casualty numbers until today)  So, for no ideology at all (though Bush said he was directed by God) for no decent political purpose (not the spread of Democracy or to liberate a people 'yearning to be free') for no threat (no WMD) and for no retaliation (911 alQaeda) GWB has created the current and ongoing no-exit-strategy insane and criminal war.

I do not hate GWB.  I do not hate anyone.  I hate children getting killed to finance the ambitions of some people who may be criminally insane.  And further, I hate that the American system of government has been perverted and subverted to the extent that this kind of war was allowed to happen.

I welcome your editing.  Take out your red pen after I slash away with mine, OK?

by GraceReid on Thu Jul 14th, 2005 at 12:32:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would be really grateful if you'd crosspost this at http://www.myleftwing.com.


If I can't rant, I don't want to be part of your revolution

by Maryscott OConnor (myleftwing@gmail.com) on Sat Jul 16th, 2005 at 09:53:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you... for the opportunity
by GraceReid on Sat Jul 16th, 2005 at 06:00:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the case of Iraq, the left, which prides itself on a keen sense of justice (why, I don't yet know), is not displaying enough hatred, pure visceral, vomit-inducing hatred for the bombers.

(1) Do you reserve the right for "collateral damage" only to your side in this conflict?

(2) Why do you think we should cheerlead your side? (Or any other side in this feast of werewolves?)

What I would like to hear is blood-curdling wails of Jacobin furor at the religious fascists

(1) Jacobin furor, religious fascism, aren't the two all too much the same?

(2) Which religious fascists do you mean: those in the current "government" (the men Khomeini wanted to install two decades ago but got a freeride from the US instead) or those in the various Iraqi groups outside, or those among the various armed foreigners in the country?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Jul 16th, 2005 at 05:28:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But first things must be first

Why do you think terrorism is the first thing? Small arms trade kills hundreds of thousands. Poverty in debt- and IMF-stricken countries kills millions. AIDS kills millions who can't afford to pay Western prices for medicine. Global warming will kill hundreds of millions.

You see things totally out of proportion my friend. And the Iraq war should have taught you that using military means to 'combat terrorism' will only make the terrorists stronger. Razing whole cities is a very efficient terrorist recruitment method.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Jul 16th, 2005 at 05:36:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I drew upon this bombing for one of my daily diaries.

As noted in the captions, these photos are generally taken by Iraqi stringers on behalf of various wire services. There are anywhere from 25-100 released each day.

Also of note, very few news outlets use the photos - too downbeat, I guess.

"...psychopaths have little difficulty infiltrating the domains of...politics, law enforcement, (and) government." Dr. Robert Hare

by RubDMC (rubdmc at yahoodotcom) on Thu Jul 14th, 2005 at 11:59:42 AM EST

Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]