Political Prisoners

Haditha: ‘Massacre? What massacre?’

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

The calendar has shed weeks and many months since the name, Haditha, stirred so many people in Iraq, the U.S., and around the world.

Within days of its announcement came the horror of recognition; it reminded us all of the carnage of Vietnam’s My Lai massacre, where women, babies, dogs and chickens shared the sleep of death in a tropical ditch.

It differed from Vietnam only in its scope, and number, but, in every sense of which the word “massacre” may be used, this was it.

For here, in the Iraqi city of Haditha, women, children, old men and young, were swept away from life, by the automatic weapons fire of American guns, held in American hands; an apparent retaliation for an IED blast which killed an American soldier several hours earlier.

Here, U.S. soldiers entered Iraqi homes on free fire, unloading on anything moving, or not moving quickly enough.

Well, the U.S. military justice system has finished its work, and—voila! Except for a few letters of censure (the military form of reprimand) no one has been punished for the Haditha Massacre.

Indeed, one might ask, albeit facetiously, “What massacre?” For it seems that no U.S. military rules of engagement were violated, and if U.S. military judges are to be believed, no war crimes occurred.

Of the dead Iraqi women and children? They were not victims of American killers in uniform; they were victims of the nebulous “fog of war.”

In war, stuff happens.

Let’s move on.

One military prosecutor said he declined to punish the soldiers further because to do so would “harm unit morale.”

That’s U.S. justice, for all the world to see—the “law” of the Occupier.

If ever we engaged in the illusion that the puppets in government in Iraq were little more than U.S. stringed mannequins, their silence on Haditha is evidence enough.

Dozens of Iraqi civilians were slain in their homes, under their beds, while holding their babies, unarmed, and the U.S. Imperial Government issues its final ruling.

“No harm, no foul.”

We are looking at something that will mark the world for a generation; it is the poisoning of Imperialism, which warps the mind and stains the soul with the semblance of superiority.

“Massacre?” “What massacre?”

Only some Arabs were killed.

To the Empire, they don’t count.

—, September 6, 2007