US troops tell magazine about 'brutal side' of Iraq war

Date: 07-14-07

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The leftist weekly magazine The Nation has dedicated its entire July 30 edition to the testimonies of 50 US troops shocked by the heavy civilian casualty toll exacted by the US-led occupation of Iraq.

"Just the carnage, all the blown-up civilians, blown-up bodies that I saw ... I started thinking like, 'Why? What was this for?'" said army specialist Jeff Englehart.

The weekly said it was the "the first time so many on-the-record, named eyewitnesses from within the US military have been assembled in one place to openly corroborate ... a brutal side of the war rarely seen on television screens or chronicled in newspaper accounts."

As if to confirm the assessment, only the Los Angeles Times daily had written about The Nation's issue, which on Saturday continued to go unreported by the country's main television stations and newspapers.

The Nation said it spent seven months gathering the testimonials of 50 soldiers, from private to captain, praising their courage of openly telling what they had gone through.

"Many of these veterans returned home deeply disturbed by the disparity between the reality of the war and the way it is portrayed by the US government and American media," said the magazine.

The witnesses stressed that not all troops took part in indiscriminate killings, which were mostly "perpetrated by a minority."

The soldiers, "nevertheless described such acts as common and said they often go unreported -- and almost always go unpunished," the magazine added.

"The war the vets described is a dark and even depraved enterprise, one that bears a powerful resemblance to other misguided and brutal colonial wars and occupations, from the French occupation of Algeria to the American war in Vietnam and the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory," The Nation said.

"I guess while I was there, the general attitude was, 'A dead Iraqi is just another dead Iraqi'," said Englehart, 26, who served in Baquba, northeast of Baghdad, for a year beginning in February 2004.


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