Slandering the Dead: The American Massacre at al-Khalis
by Chris Floyd
Wednesday, 27 June 2007
As Glenn Greenwald, among others, has pointed out, the new Bushist line is that everyone killed by American forces in Iraq is “al Qaeda” – a transparent falsehood belied by the Pentagon’s own assessments but now mindlessly adopted by almost every corporate media venue, with the honorable exception (as always) of McClatchy Newspapers. Of course, the Invader-in-Chief and his multitude of bootlickers in traditional media and the blogosphere have always vastly inflated the numbers and importance of those elements in Iraq that are associated with al Qaeda in some way, however tenuous. Indeed, we know, again from the Pentagon itself, that the exaggeration of al Qaeda’s influence in Iraq has been part of a deliberate, well-funded “psy-ops” scheme. (See “Hubub in Hibhib: The Timely Death of al-Zarqawi.”) But now they have decided to dispense with the subtleties of psy-ops and simply repeat “al Qaeda” with every breath, in an effort to demonize all resistance (both in Iraq and at home, both violent and non-violent) to Bush’s murderous boondoggle.
But while this deceit is peddled for domestic consumption – avidly gobbled up and regurgitated by the bootlickers, and spreading the intended misinformation among casual consumers of the news (i.e., the vast majority of Americans) – Iraqis have to deal with the brutal reality of the war. And they know that everyone killed there by the invading forces is not “al Qaeda.” They know that many Iraqis being killed by the Anglo-American coalition are innocent civilians. And they are increasingly embittered at the American slander of their dead.
This slander is being applied even to those Iraqis who have taken up arms against the very “al Qaeda” terrorists that the American military is purportedly protecting them from, Iraqis who are cooperating with the American-backed government and its American-trained military and security forces. The BBC reports about an horrific massacre of Iraqi civilians last week – an air attack with missiles and gunships that literally ripped to shreds the bodies of village guards who had just returned from a raid with Iraqi government forces on a suspected terrorist hideout. These men were then accused of being “al Qaeda gunmen” in Pentagon press releases trumpeting this magnificent feat of arms – accusations then duly (not to mention dully) parroted in the press.
But the people in the village of al-Khalis tell a different story. (And for all the bootlickers out there who have fully entered into the spirit of the sectarian bloodbath unleashed by Bush and resolutely reject any contradiction of Pentagon propaganda by Sunni victims, al-Khalis is a largely Shiite village, on the side of the American-backed Iraqi government.) The BBC, which acknowledges that it too simply repeated the Pentagon line in its first reports on the “triumph,” has gone back to the village to dig up the truth – and to do what the Bush Regime never does, and what the American press does only with the most extreme rarity: give names to the “collateral damage” of Bush’s aggression.