Operation Iraqi Freedom is the name the U.S. military uses to describe the occupation and attempted colonization of Iraq.
Some 4,331 American soldiers have died as a result of this blunderbush attack and 31,156 wounded – many severely, amputations, blindness, paralysis. A trillion dollars have been spent financing this offensive (good word), more than universal health care would cost for ten years of coverage.
A few weeks ago, a couple foreign oil companies won the rights to the biggest oil field in Iraq, and the Iraqi government has been buying arms from European countries. So, we didn’t do it for oil or business, unless you count Haliburton contracts, GE infrastructure work, and kisses from the Saudis, who really, really hated Saddamy.
The battle, we learned some years ago from George Bush, the spokesperson to fire up our support, was to bring freedom and democracy to Iraq. Bush was also supported by votes from Blue Dog Democrats and the New Democrat Coalition. Women could go to school (they did under the old regime), and people could enjoy peace, prosperity and the pursuit of happiness.
It seems that goal has fallen a little short.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said today that Iraqi militias are increasingly torturing and executing men suspected of homosexuality, and authorities in Baghdad are doing nothing to stop the violence.
HRW documents a “campaign of violence against men in Iraq who are suspected of being gay or who simply don’t act masculine enough in the eyes of their killers.”
Scott Long, director of HRW’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Programme, said hundreds of men have been kidnapped, tortured and killed this year. This wave of violence began in the Sadr City stronghold of Shiite cleric MIraqoqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia in Baghdad.
The report said it is almost impossible to calculate how many men were killed, but estimated the figure in the hundreds, according to AFP.
Mahdi Army spokesmen said that violent action was the remedy for the “feminisation” of Iraqi men. Survivors are quoted as saying militiamen invade homes and interrogate victims before killing them in order to identify other potential victims.
The report said Iraqi doctors and morgue employees have records of grotesque torture marks on the bodies of men, including mutilation. Motives for the murders include “fears that Iraqi men’s masculinity is under threat,” HRW said.
Some of the murders were “honour killings”, carried out by victims’ family members “because ‘unmanly’ behaviour threatens the reputation of the family or tribe.”
Some Iraqis interviewed by the rights group said that in some cases members of the security forces had colluded and even joined in the killing.
One man recounted the night his partner of 10 years was abducted and killed in April: “It was late one night, and they came to take my partner at his parents’ home. Four armed men barged into the house, masked and wearing black.
“They asked for him by name; they insulted him and took him in front of his parents… He was found in the neighbourhood the day after. They had thrown his corpse in the garbage. His —- were cut off and a piece of his throat was ripped out,” the report said.