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MLive eulogizes another War Criminal: Norman Schwarzkopf

December 30, 2012

On Friday, MLive wrote a short article about the passing of Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf.

The brief eulogy was mostly about a 1995 visit to Grand Rapids by Schwarzkopf, where he criticized then President Clinton on his Bosnian policy.Slide1

The MLive story then states, “But those misgivings did not stop “Stormin Norman” from calling for “100 percent” support for the American troops in harm’s way.” Such a statement is meant to elicit the belief that Schwarzkopf always had the best interests of US troops in mind. This is a nice sentiment, but it has nothing to do with reality.

Norman Schwarzkopf was born into a military family. His father was in the military and involved in the first CIA coup in Iran in 1953 (see Stephen Kinzer’s All the Shah’s Men).

Schwarzkopf had a military career, but was not know to the American public until the US war in the Persian Gulf, known by its military designation as Desert Storm.

Schwarzkopf was in charge of major military operations during the US invasion of Kuwait and then Iraq. This war was supposed to be about defending the sovereign nation of Kuwait, even though Kuwait is a monarchy, but it was primarily about oil and US hegemony in the Middle East. The timing of such an invasion is important to note, since it took place right around the time that the Soviet Union was collapsing, making it the first real post Cold War intervention.

Like in most wars, the US was using a new generation of weapons, weapons that we all learned a great deal about from the US news media particularly the new 24 news network, CNN.

One outcome of the use of such weapons was a very low US troop casualty rate, which we were told about repeatedly during the 6 weeks the war lasted. What we didn’t hear a great deal about in US news coverage, was the brutality done to Iraqi soldiers and civilians.300px-Demolished_vehicles_line_Highway_80_on_18_Apr_1991

Iraqi troops were no match for the US military arsenal, especially since the US used a massive aerial assault early on that pretty much devastated the Iraqi Defense Forces.

Knowing they were outmatch, the Iraqi military began to retreat and surrender, but this did not deter the US military’s intent to send a strong message to the rest of the world about what happens when you defy the US.

On February 13 a US bomb killed 1,500 civilians in a Baghdad bomb shelter, and two days later President Bush urged the Iraqi people to overthrow Saddam Hussein. On February 21 Soviet diplomats announced that Iraq had agreed to withdraw unconditionally from Kuwait. The US gave them two days to do so before starting the ground attack. On February 26 as Iraqi troops tried to retreat or surrender along the Basra road, thousands were slaughtered during the “turkey shoot” on the “highway of death.” Two days later Iraq and the US agreed on a cease-fire; but two days after that, thousands of Iraqi soldiers were killed in another battle that did not kill a single American.

Some of those Iraqi soldiers were killed, not by bullets, but because they were buried alive in the sand. The US military put snowplows on tanks and push thousands of pounds of sand on top of Iraqi soldiers who were in ditches. This was reported in the US, but months later, like this New York Times article.torched

At the time some of us in Grand Rapids had been reading independent news and found out about the death of Iraqi soldiers from being buried alive in the sand. When then President George Bush came to Grand Rapids to celebrate July 4, 1991, we laid down in front of the very tanks that were used to bury Iraqi soldiers alive in the sand, since those tanks were part of a July 4 parade in downtown Grand Rapids.

Iraqi civilians were also targeted by the US military. Besides some of the largest bunker buster bombs that hit bomb shelters, the US also targeted the following:

Hospitals, health clinics, schools and kindergartens were bombed, education eradicated so totally that the stores for educational materials, in buildings separate from the schools (usually in a central distribution point some miles away) were also bombed. Agriculture in all forms was deliberately targeted. Chicken farms bombed, flocks of sheep and goats, broadly half of all buffalo were killed, dairy farms obliterated. Crops, food processing factories reduced to rubble.

The US military also bombed the countries water filtration plants, as has been well documented by Thomas Nagy. In addition, the US used depleted uranium in the weapons, which continues to irradiate Iraq and the region, the people, flora and fauna -and will continue to do so for four and a half billion years.

All of these actions described here by the US military are violations of international law and constitute war crimes. Such war crimes were well documented by a team of legal experts, led by Ramsey Clark.

Thus thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians were killed during Operation Desert Storm, most of it led by Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf. Such crimes were omitted from the MLive eulogy of Schwarzkopf, readers were instead told about his visit as a motivational speaker at a 1995 business conference in Grand Rapids. Now that is truth in journalism.

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