BAGHDAD—The scene would be familiar
to any American frequent flyer. The hum of the aircraft could be
the morning Delta shuttle from Reagan National to JFK; the smell
of mediocre snacks, housed in compact metal containers, fills the
cabin; elevator music playing as flight attendants welcome passengers
and help them to their seats. Businessmen in suits read the morning
paper or shuffle through documents in briefcases.
But this aircraft is a long way from Washington.
There is a distinct tension onboard the plane and it is not out
of fear of a hijacking or terrorism-at least not terrorism as defined
by the Bush administration.
"Allah u Akbar, Allah u Akbar, Allah u Akbar."
God is Great. The pilot's chant is repeated methodically over the
crackle of worn out speakers in the American-made commercial aircraft
as it taxis on the runway. It's 8:30 am and the daily Iraqi Airways
shuttle is about to begin its journey from Saddam International
Airport through the US-imposed no-fly zone in southern Iraq to its
final destination, the port city of Basra.
As the plane begins its ascent, passengers get a rare aerial glimpse
of a locked-down country, where picture taking is extremely limited.
The familiar bell rings on board the plane, alerting passengers
that they are free to move about the cabin. Moments later, the morning
shuttle to Basra crosses the 33rd parallel and enters what Washington
has declared the southern "no-fly zone." The flight's chief steward,
a Kurdish man named Riyadh, walks down the aisle. He says that American
warplanes frequently contact the Iraqi pilots and harass or threaten
them. "Usually, we tell them to shut up," he says.
Since the grounding of Iraqi Airways after the Gulf War, Riyadh
has worked as an international telephone operator at a "Businessman
Center" on Saddoun Street in Baghdad. After 1991, many Iraqi Airways
offices were converted into centers that house multiple international
phone lines and fax machines. For much of the last decade, Iraqi
pilots, flight attendants and plane mechanics have sat on chairs
spending endless hours manually dialing international calls for
customers. Due to the country's severely debilitated international
phone system, a single call can take up to 2 hours or more to get
a connection and often involves dialing the same number hundreds
of times. The receipts for these calls are printed on Iraqi Airways
baggage claim tickets and hotel voucher forms leftover from the
While Riyadh still works as a phone operator most days, today he
is smiling. He is once again wearing his Iraqi Airways uniform.
"It's very good to be back again flying and I hope that I can fly
internationally again on Iraqi Airways. This is our aim and I hope
it will be very soon." As for the presence of American and British
warplanes, Riyadh says, "We have to fly. We have to enter these
zones. It's our country, you know."
For most Iraqis, flying-even within their own country-has become
at best a rare event. A ticket for a trip to Basra is about 18,000
Iraqi Dinars, or $9, the rough equivalent of the average monthly
salary in Iraq. But for the past decade, it's not the price that
has prevented Iraqis from flying.
RETURN TO THE NOT SO FRIENDLY SKIES
After the 1991 Gulf War, Iraq's civilian air traffic was halted.
The US and Britain unilaterally imposed the so-called no-fly zones,
allegedly to protect the Kurds in the north and the Shi'ites in
the south from Saddam Hussein's forces. According to Washington's
interpretation, the sanctions banned international flights to or
from Iraq. To this day, passengers arriving at Queen Alia Airport
in Amman, Jordan will see several Iraqi Airways planes grounded
on the tarmac since 1991.
It wasn't until December 26, 1998 that Iraq very publicly stated
its intent to defend its national airspace against invading aircraft.
Baghdad's declaration came just days after the end of Operation
"Desert Fox"-four days of massive bombing by the Clinton Administration
from December 16-19, 1998.
The Iraqi announcement was preceded by France's complete withdrawal
from participation in the attacks in the no-fly zones following
Desert Fox. The French had ceased participation in Operation "Northern
Watch" in 1996 and had now pulled out of the attacks in the south,
leaving Washington and London to "enforce," as US officials put
it, the "will of the international community" on their own. As of
this writing, however, the Pentagon website for the no-fly zones
continues to list France as a participant.
In late 2000, with the US-led sanctions capping off a decade of
unprecedented suffering among Iraq's 23 million citizens, foreign
governments began increasingly to break ranks with the Washington-led
policy. In August 2000, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez became
the first foreign elected head of state to visit Baghdad since 1990.
This set the scene for the first sanctions-busting flight to Iraq-a
Russian plane that landed at the newly refurbished Saddam International
Airport on August 17, 2000. What was significant is that Moscow
did not apply for permission for the flight at the US-dominated
sanctions committee at the UN. The US and Britain objected to the
flight, but to no avail. France's Ambassador, Jean-David Levitte
said, "For many years now, we have considered that there is no flight
embargo against Iraq."
This opening led to a flood of foreign aircraft into Baghdad, carrying
medicines, food and humanitarian goods, along with foreign dignitaries
all speaking out against the flight bans and the sanctions. It also
gave a tremendous boost to Iraq's successful diplomatic push to
renew relations and trade with its neighbors.
Empowered by this international defiance of Washington's policy,
Baghdad announced that it would resume domestic flights on Iraqi
Airways beginning November 5, 2000. Shortly after the first plane
took off, the Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Al Sahaf said,
"These flights will continue despite the threats, as they aim to
smash the American-British criminal acts of imposing illegal no-fly
Today, Iraqi Airways runs an average of 4 daily flights between
Baghdad, Mosul and Basra. Regular routes on foreign carriers like
Royal Jordanian include Amman, Moscow and Damascus. But the Iraqi
skies are hardly friendly.
"PEOPLE ARE DYING"
Away from the upbeat defiance of the Iraqi Airways crews, once again
flying across their country, on the ground in cities like Basra
lays the harsh reality. With no declaration of war, American and
British warplanes bomb Iraq an average of 3-4 times a week. Baghdad
says over the last decade more than 1,400 civilians have been killed
in the US and British attacks in the no fly zones. While this cannot
be independently verified, UN statistics say that more than 300
civilians have been killed in the raids since December 1998.
"If you want to be very cynical then you say what has in fact resulted
from these zones is death and destruction," says Hans von Sponeck,
the coordinator of the UN Humanitarian Program in Iraq from 1998-2000.
"On average, during the time I was in Iraq, there were bombing incidents
every 3 days. The casualties were in the very areas that they allegedly
established to protect people. How, at a 10,000-meter height, can
you protect a Shi'ite population? That is a fantasy. The cruel reality
is that people are dying as a result of these no-fly zones."
In 1999, von Sponeck began compiling what he called "Air Strike
Reports" on the US and British attacks. He submitted these every
three months to the Security Council and Secretary General Kofi
Annan. He says that in 1999 alone, there were 132 bombings that
caused civilian "casualties."
"The number of people killed were 120, the number of people hurt,
442," von Sponeck said. "That's only in the year 1999."
"I was very severely reprimanded particularly by the British authorities
for having 'strayed off' my mandate," he says. "The reports showed
destruction of civilian property in areas where there shouldn't have
been a foreign air zone established in the first place."
|"I was very severely reprimanded particularly
by the British authorities for having 'strayed off' my mandate,"
says Hans von Sponeck. "The reports showed destruction of civilian
property in areas where there shouldn't have been a foreign
air zone established in the first place."
These zones cover a sprawling chunk of Iraqi territory (more than
60% of Iraq), from the 36th parallel north and from the 33rd parallel
south (in 1996 the southern zone was expanded from the 32nd parallel).
Since 1991, the US has averaged more than 34, 000 military sorties
per year over Iraq, according to the Washington Institute for Near
East Policy. The no-fly zone bombings represent the longest continuing
US bombing campaign since the Vietnam War. The Pentagon estimates
that it carries out an average of 12 "missions" a month in Iraq (other
figures put the number higher) at a cost of $750,000 per mission.
In 2000, the official annual US bill for the southern "zone" alone
was estimated at $1.4 billion.
Since the current Bush administration took power in Washington, there
has been a significant increase in the frequency and intensity of
the bombings, particularly in the south of the country. Over the past
year, the Bush administration has used the zones to preemptively degrade
Iraq's already limited ability to defend against a large-scale US
attack, while not citing a single incident of attempted repression
of Shi'ite or Kurdish populations as justification.
GAMES AND PSY-OPS
The Bush administration now portrays the attacks in the zones as responses
to Iraqi radars tracking US and British planes or to anti-aircraft
fire. Largely, Washington leaves the story about humanitarian justifications
to the obliging media, which continues to report the raids as being
motivated singularly by concern for the rights of Shi'ites and Kurds.
In testimony before Congress in 2001, General Tommy Franks, the commander
of US Central Command said the purpose of the zones is to demonstrate
"a continued and significant troop presence to enhance deterrence
and show the United States' commitment to force Saddam to comply with
sanctions and WMD inspections." He said the zones are designed to
"provide access and interaction with Gulf governments; ensure Iraq
cannot easily repair and improve its anti-aircraft capabilities within
the no-fly zones; and, ensure the ingress and egress routes that would
be necessary to prosecute an expanded war against Iraq remain sufficiently
clear of sophisticated surface-to-air missile systems."
Frank's explanation is far from the reported humanitarian aims of
the zones. As Washington continues its troop build up in the region,
the Pentagon is using the no-fly zones to prepare combat pilots for
a large-scale attack on Iraq. Eliot Cohen, who directed the Air Force
study of the Persian Gulf War bombing campaign said recently the no-fly
zones "have an added benefit in intelligence and training."
An AP dispatch filed November 12, from the USS Abraham Lincoln reports:
"On quiet days, when the Iraqis don't shoot at U.S. fighter jets,
the pilots practice spotting targets of attack, like airfields. It's
an experience that 'makes any potential action infinitely easier ...
to fly over the same territory you're going to attack is a real luxury,'
said Capt. Kevin C. Albright, commander of the USS Abraham Lincoln's
air wing. When the Iraqis do fire - an increasingly frequent scenario
- simulation stops and real bombing begins.
of hitting anti-aircraft and missile batteries - the usual targets
in a decade of coalition patrols - the pilots now more often strike
Iraqi command bunkers, communications stations and radar directing
the attacks. Those costly, hard-to-repair facilities are essential
to Iraq's air defense."
Rear Admiral David Gove, deputy director of global operations for
the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on November 20 that U.S. and British
pilots were "essentially flying combat missions ... Any opportunity
that they have to understand the capabilities and the layout of Iraqi
air-defense weapons systems is useful for their own experience base."
The Associated Press reported in mid-November that the Pentagon has
also changed its targeting in the no-fly zones in recent months, "not
necessarily hitting back at facilities from which the hostilities
originate, but rather planning strikes that will do the most to cripple
Iraq air defenses."
A simple glance at a map of Iraq tells an interesting tale about Washington's
supposed humanitarian motives. The Northern No-Fly zone begins at
the 36th parallel and encompasses Iraq's third largest city Mosul,
which remains under the control of the Iraqi government. But almost
half of the population of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region (not under
Baghdad's control) live below the 36th parallel and therefore "outside"
the "protection" of US and British warplanes.
|Color version of leaflets dropped on southern
Iraq, Fall 2002. See also IraqJournal report dated Oct
On at least five occasions since October 3, 2002, US planes have dumped
hundreds of thousands of propaganda leaflets over areas in southern
Iraq. In late November, the Pentagon said in one run, warplanes had
dropped 360,000 leaflets saying the no fly zones "protect the Iraqi
"Threatening these coalition aircraft has a consequence.
The attacks may destroy you or any location of coalition choosing.
Will it be you or your brother? You decide," said a translation of
the leaflets distributed by the Central Command.
Air Power can strike at will. Any time, any place," added the warning.
Several versions of the leaflets have been dropped over areas of southern
A different version dropped earlier says, "Before you engage coalition
aircraft, think about the consequences." The leaflet has a graphic
of a large cloud of smoke caused by a massive explosion. Debris is
scattered amidst the wreckage. What appears to be the face of an Iraqi
soldier is superimposed over the scene. On the bottom of the leaflet
is a picture of a crouching Iraqi woman in traditional garb and an
Iraqi man holding what appears to be a child. "Think about your family.
Do what you must to survive," the leaflet says.
Another leaflet reads: "The destruction experienced by your colleagues
in other air defense locations is a response to your continuing aggression
toward planes of the coalition forces. No tracking or firing on these
aircraft will be tolerated. You could be next."
After the first reported dropping of leaflets in early October, Pentagon
spokesperson Navy Lieutenant Dan Hetlage told the American Forces
Press Service, "We just want them to get the message, 'Hey, this is
why we keep striking.'"
'MEASURED RESPONSE' OR 'STATE
For much of the past decade, the US and British attacks in the no-fly
zones have been given cursory notice by major corporate media outlets,
if at all. The story, usually with a Washington dateline, reads the
same almost every time: "US warplanes bombed an Iraqi command and
control post in southern Iraq after Iraqi radar locked on allied aircraft
patrolling the No Fly Zone, according to a statement from US Central
Command." The story almost always goes on to inform readers that "The
pilots returned safely to base." Then, of course, the story explains
that the zones were "established after the 1991 Gulf War to protect
minority Kurds and Shiites from Saddam."
Recently, because of the loud beating of the war drum, these attacks
are receiving more attention in the media. But primarily from the
angle of "Iraqi defiance." The Bush administration asserted that Iraq's
firing on US aircraft entering Iraqi airspace constituted a "material
breach" of the November 8 UN Security Council resolution on Iraq.
The charge was quickly, though diplomatically, rebuffed by Secretary
General Kofi Annan and several foreign governments, including Security
Council member China. There are no UN resolutions that prohibit Iraq
from maintaining its military or taking action in defense of its territory.
Hans von Sponeck, a 32-year veteran of the United Nations and a former
Assistant Secretary General, scoffs at the characterization of these
zones by the US media and government officials as having a basis in
the UN charter or Security Council resolutions.
"That's a total misnomer," he says. "There is no UN mandate for the
establishment of these two no-fly zones. There is always a reference
to resolution 688, which deals with an appeal to the Secretary General
to ensure the protection of minorities in Iraq. That is not, by a
wide stretch of the imagination, an agreement that you can establish,
in some other country, airspace that belongs only to you and is blocked
to the national aircraft. It is an illegal establishment of a zone
for bilateral interests of the US and the UK."
|"There is no UN mandate for the establishment
of these two no-fly zones. . .It is an illegal establishment
of a zone for bilateral interests of the US and the UK."
But despite the public protests raised by von Sponeck and a handful
of other UN officials, Washington continues to receive support from
the UN in the form of silence.
Baghdad has consistently criticized the United Nations Iraqi-Kuwaiti
Observation Mission (UNIKOM), which monitors the demilitarized zone
between the Iraq/Kuwait border, for refusing to document the violations
of Iraq's sovereignty by the US and UK warplanes and to properly name
the parties entering the demilitarized zone. In its reports, UNIKOM
refers to the warplanes as "unidentified planes."
In early December, Iraq's Foreign Minister, Naji Sabri, wrote a letter
to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan accusing the US and UK governments
of practicing "blatant state terrorism" by bombing civilian targets
in Iraq. Sabri said that from October 18 to November 17, 2002, the
no-fly zone bombings had killed 10 people and wounded seven others.
He said Baghdad reserves the right of "legitimate self-defense under
the UN Charter and international law."
After the letter was made public, President Bush responded. "A regime
that fires upon American and British pilots is not taking the path
of compliance," Bush said. "A regime that sends letters filled with
protests and falsehoods is not taking the path of compliance."
Shortly after an incident in mid-November in which Iraqi forces fired
on American warplanes that had entered the country's airspace, US
War Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called Iraq's actions "unacceptable"
and alleged that Iraq was the "only place on the face of the earth
where our forces are being fired on and the response is measured."
"I DIDN'T FORGET THAT. NEVER."
For the civilians who live within the zones, Washington's actions
in Iraq hardly seem measured. Throughout the south of the country,
residents report almost daily over-flights by US warplanes. Many people
say the constant rumble of the planes and air raid sirens are causing
psychological problems, especially among women and children. Almost
everyone knows someone who has been killed, injured or affected by
the foreign warplanes over the past decade. Far from feeling comforted
by the planes, residents say they are terrorized.
beginning [when the zones were first established], they said they
wouldn't bomb civilian people and we accepted that," says Ikbar Fartus,
an English teacher at a primary school in Basra. "We went out to school,
to the market because we were sure that the [US] President didn't
lie or something like that. But since then, things proved that they
didn't speak true."
Fartus speaks from direct experience.
Through the winding roads and alleys of the poor Basra neighborhood
of Al Jummhurriya lays a street now known as Missile Street. It was
named after a deadly US no-fly zone bombing on January 25, 1999. According
to UN reports at the time, an AGM-130 satellite-guided cruise missile
slammed into the middle of the residential neighborhood, killing 17
civilians, at least 4 of them small children playing in the streets.
Among the dead was a 6-year-old boy named Haider.
Ikbar Fartus was his mother.
To this day, she bears the name of her dead son. In Iraqi culture,
a woman takes the name of her first-born and is forever known as the
mother of that child. Fartus is known by everyone as Um Haider, the
mother of Haider. She lives every day of her life haunted by that
January morning when her son was taken from her by US missiles. It
tears her apart every time she tells the story, but she says she wants
it to be known.
"Until now, I didn't forget what happened
on that day. At 9:30 in the morning we were sitting and I was teaching
my children," she remembers. They heard the rumble of the warplanes,
"then a big bomb happened. The glasses of the windows and the dishes
and cups, glasses in the kitchen, all of them fell down and broke.
Our faces were full of blood because of the [flying, broken] glass.
Two of my children were with me, Hindu and Hamza. But Haider and my
other son, Mustafa, they were out in the street."
A devout Muslim, she remembers putting on her cover before running
quickly out of the house. "I saw the street is full of smoke and dust
and it was like midnight. Then, I ran quickly and called my children
'Haider, Mustafa, Haider, Mustafa.' I didn't find them."
She begins to cry, but continues the story through her tears. "At
last, I saw a small hill of broken wood and iron and pieces of dust
and then I saw my oldest son, Haider, full of blood, his face-the
blood covered his face and his body. His head and the circle of blood
under his head on the ground. I didn't forget that. Never."
She regains her composure. "He closed his eyes. Then I called him,
touched him, moved him. He didn't answer me."
She then heard her other son, Mustafa, faintly calling "mamma, mamma."
|"I saw him, his eyes full of blood and
all his face and head full of injuries and blood," says Um Haider.
"I tried to carry both of them but I couldn't." Photo by Jeremy
"I saw him, his eyes full of blood and all his face and head
full of injuries and blood," she says. "I tried to carry both of them
but I couldn't."
Knowing that her firstborn son, Haider, was dead, she held Mustafa
in her arms, ran to the road and took a taxi to the hospital. Mustafa
survived the attack. He lost two fingers and lives with shrapnel in
Tragically, Um Haider's story is not rare among the Shi'ite population
of southern Iraq. And these stories cannot be ignored when President
George W Bush or members of his administration speak of the potential
for Shi'ite rebellion against Saddam in concert with a US led attack.
Nor can Washington's history or the Bush family track record with
the Iraqi Shi'ites be cast aside.
PULLING THE PLUG
On August 2, 1990, Iraqi forces entered and swiftly occupied neighboring
Kuwait, a move that ultimately led to the Gulf War. The invading Iraqi
Army was comprised largely of Shi'ite and Kurdish conscripts. At the
onset of the allied ground offensive, many of them deserted their
posts outright; others did so after Saddam ordered a withdrawal from
Kuwait. Unwilling to die for Saddam on the one hand and being sent
into a totally unwinnable war on the other, the retreating soldiers
were prime candidates for a rebellion against the government. Add
to this the repression, misery and suffering experienced throughout
southern Iraq and the ground was ripe for an uprising.
On February 15, 1991, in a carefully crafted and well-publicized statement,
then-President George HW Bush appealed to "the Iraqi military and
the Iraqi people to take matters into their own hands-to force Saddam
Hussein the dictator to step aside." To underscore the point, Bush
repeated it verbatim in another speech that day. In early March 1991,
a massive Shi'ite rebellion swept across southern Iraq from Basra
to the holy cities of Najaf and Kerbala. Ba'athists were tortured
and executed in massive numbers throughout the south; pictures and
portraits of Saddam were smashed to pieces. By mid-March, the Iraqi
government lost control of 14 of the country's 18 provinces."
As the rebellion spread, representatives of the most prominent Shi'ite
cleric in Iraq attempted to contact American forces that were then
occupying parts of Iraq to assess Washington's support. The US Commander
in the region, General Norman Schwarzkopf refused to meet with them.
American and other allied forces, meanwhile, destroyed and confiscated
Iraqi munitions that could have been used by the rebellion. But the
deathblow to the uprising came when the US lifted the over-flight
ban on Iraqi aircraft, allowing the Iraqi government to send in attack
helicopters to mercilessly crush the rebellion in late March. On top
of this, the elite Republican Guard units that General Schwarzkopf
had allowed to retreat to Baghdad at the end of the war led the counteroffensive
on the ground against the rebellion.
This is a history not forgotten in southern Iraq when President George
W Bush, the son, speaks of the potential for rebellion in the south.
Furthermore, Basra and other southern cities and villages have been
the frontline victims of 12 years of economic sanctions and contamination
from the heavy use of depleted uranium munitions by US and UK forces
during the Gulf War. The food supply is poisoned and cancer rates
are out of control. The hospitals of the south are like morgues full
of children with cancer and indescribable birth defects. People live
with air raid sirens, American and British warplanes and regular bombings.
The suffering at the hands of Saddam has been eclipsed by the terror
of the Washington-led policy. Perhaps it could be said that many if
not most Iraqis in the south hate Saddam Hussein. But would President
Bush venture a guess at what they think of him or his father?
'LITTLE' BUSH HAS "NO KUWAIT"
Today, 12 years after the Gulf War, pundits and officials in Washington
speak of the Iraqi Army turning on Saddam and of a Northern Alliance-style
force made up of Shi'ites, Kurds and dissident Sunnis rebelling against
Baghdad. They prefer to ignore history. Iraq, like Iran, is a predominantly
Shi'ite country. Southern Iraq is overwhelmingly Shi'ite and its people
fought on the side of Saddam Hussein during the bloody Iran-Iraq war.
The uprising in 1991 was fuelled by tens of thousands of Iraqis who
had been sent into Kuwait to fight an unwinnable occupation war. Since
then, American policy has been based on the notion that relentlessly
starving, depriving and bombing 23 million Iraqis will lead to a rebellion
against the government. The policy has been an utter failure that
has only strengthened Saddam Hussein and his grip on power. Iraq has
been made the crucifix of the Middle East, but the blame for the unprecedented
suffering has not fallen at Saddam's feet. As one Iraqi official recently
put it, "the current Bush has no Kuwait."
"You see 1990 is not 2002," says Saeed Al Musawi, Iraq's Deputy Foreign
Minister. "Yes, Iraqi troops entered Kuwait. Yes, it was a use of
force against a sovereign country. The situation was rectified and
Iraq paid a heavy price. Now, they say 'we want to change the government.
We don't like the president.' We are a nation of 7,000 years of civilization.
This talk is not only an insult to us but to the dignity of all human
|"You see 1990 is not 2002," says Saeed
Al Musawi, Iraq's Deputy Foreign Minister. "Yes, Iraqi troops
entered Kuwait. Yes, it was a use of force against a sovereign
country . . . [but] the current Bush has no Kuwait." Photo by
Throughout Iraq, and regardless of their political opinions of the
government, people are bracing for a US invasion. More than 500 Shi'ite
clerics, including the Imams at the holy shrines at Najaf and Kerbala
(next to Mecca, the most sacred sites of Shi'ite Islam) recently issued
a fatwa, a religious decree, calling on all followers-Iraqi and non-Iraqi-to
fight a jihad against any invading American forces.
In recent months, Saddam Hussein has taken several moves that seem
intended to show Bush that Iraq's government is stable and unconcerned
with internal strife. He virtually emptied the country's prisons,
even releasing political prisoners. Weapons are being distributed
in areas throughout the country, while most Iraqis already own some
sort of gun. Clearly, the firepower for an uprising is in circulation
and the government in Baghdad seems incredibly unconcerned about this.
What's clear is that Saddam Hussein is banking on the premise that
Iraqis despise Bush and his "crusader army" more than they hate Saddam.
Like no other people in recent history, the Iraqis know what it means
to suffer. A once great civilization has been reduced to what Denis
Halliday, a former UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, called a handout
society. Their collective faces have been pressed into the mud and
rubbed there for 12 years in front of the world's eyes. Like a plague,
US foreign policy has swept through the homes of all ordinary Iraqis,
while leaving the government firmly in power. No assassination or
coup or invasion will erase this from the hearts and minds and memories
of the tens of thousands of Iraqi children who have grown up in pure
misery, watching their parents humiliated, beaten down, killed. Long
after Saddam Hussein is gone, no matter how he goes, America will
be facing the children of Iraq for generations to come. Among them
will be Mustafa and his siblings, whose 6-year-old brother Haider
was killed by a US laser-guided cruise missile during Washington's
undeclared war against Iraq.
Scahill is an independent journalist, who reports for the nationally
syndicated Radio and TV show Democracy Now! He is currently based
in Baghdad, Iraq, where he and filmmaker Jacquie
Soohen are coordinating Iraqjournal.org,
the only website providing regular independent reporting from the
ground in Baghdad.