Samstag, 5. Mai 2007

Iraq war strain leads troops to abuse civilians, survey shows

by Ewen MacAskill in Washington, Saturday May 5, 2007, The Guardian.

One in 10 of the US soldiers in Iraq mistreats civilians or damages their property, according to a survey published by the Pentagon last night. The report said the mental health of soldiers and marines deteriorated significantly as a result of extended or multiple deployments.
The study confirms the extent to which the US military is being strained by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The survey into the mental health of the soldiers and marines was requested by US commanders in Iraq and carried out by the office of the surgeon-general in August and October, with 1,300 soldiers and 450 marines interviewed.

The report says:
"Approximately 10% of soldiers and marines report mistreating non-combatants (damaged/destroyed Iraqi property when not necessary or hit/kicked a non-combatant when not necessary).

"Soldiers that have high levels of anger, experienced high levels of combat, or screened positive for a mental health problem were nearly twice as likely to mistreat non-combatants as those who had low levels of anger or combat or screened negative for a mental health problem."

The report also found that fewer than half of all soldiers and marines would report a team member for unethical behaviour, and more than one-third believed torture should be allowed to save the life of a fellow soldier or marine.


The Pentagon this week imposed restrictions on internet postings from war zones, and claimed it was because of the risk of providing sensitive information to insurgents.

Blogs and emails from troops in the field can often be extraordinarily vivid and indiscreet.

One report last weekend from a soldier in Iraq advised a trooper in the US who was about to deploy in Iraq on ways to watch for and detect explosive devices planted by insurgents.

Reacting to the ban, soldiers said that the real reason for the curb was their negative comments about the war, including scepticism about Mr Bush's claims about progress.

Soldiers in the field and former soldiers, in blogs posted on sites such as Black Five, an unofficial site run by former paratrooper Matthew Burden, said the regulations would be inoperable, with most troops obeying the rules but dissidents finding ways round the ban.

Mr Burden, editor of The Blog of War, a book pulling together accounts from the field, criticised the decision: "No more military bloggers writing about their experiences in the combat zone. This is the best PR the military has - its most honest voice out of the war zone.

"And it's being silenced."

Siehe auch:
- General says marines saw Iraqi deaths as routine
- Einsatzrealitäten
- Links zur Illustrierung von Einsatzrealitäten

Donnerstag, 3. Mai 2007

UK and US must admit defeat and leave Iraq, says British general

by Julian Borger, diplomatic editor, Thursday May 3, 2007, Guardian Unlimited.

A retired British army general says Iraq's insurgents are justified in opposing the occupation, arguing that the US and its allies should "admit defeat" and leave Iraq before more soldiers are killed.

General Sir Michael Rose told the BBC's Newsnight programme:
"It is the soldiers who have been telling me from the frontline that the war they have been fighting is a hopeless war, that they cannot possibly win it and the sooner we start talking politics and not military solutions, the sooner they will come home and their lives will be preserved."

Asked if that meant admitting defeat, the general replied:
"Of course we have to admit defeat. The British admitted defeat in north America and the catastrophes that were predicted at the time never happened. The catastrophes that were predicted after Vietnam never happened. The same thing will occur after we leave Iraq."

General Rose is a former SAS commander and head of UN forces in Bosnia. Last year, he called for Tony Blair to be impeached for going to war on "false pretences". He has written a book, entitled Washington's War, which compares the Iraqi rebels to George Washington's irregular forces in the American war of independence.

When he was asked if he thought the Iraqi insurgents were right to try to force the US-led coalition out, he replied: "Yes I do. As Lord Chatham [the politician William Pitt, the Elder, who, in the second half of the 18th century called for a cessation of hostilities in the colonies and favoured American resistance to the British Stamp Act] said, 'if I was an American — as I am an Englishman — as long as one Englishman remained on American native soil, I would never, never, never lay down my arms'. The Iraqi insurgents feel exactly the same way. I don't excuse them for some of the terrible things they do, but I do understand why they are resisting the Americans."