U.S. Defends Burying Iraqi Troops Alive

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This is KAFIR MORALITY for you….

Edition Four, July 1992 – ARCHIVE

U.S. Defends Burying Iraqi Troops Alive

Pentagon Cites “Gap” in International Law

Reprinted from the San Francisco Chronicle

The Pentagon said that a “gap” in the laws governing warfare made it legally permissible during the gulf war for U.S. tanks to bury thousands of Iraqi troops in their trenches and for U.S. warplanes to bomb the enemy retreating along the so-called Highway of Death.

An elaborate legal justification was contained in an appendix to the report on the war sent to Congress by Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. The section also accused Iraq of “widespread and premeditated” war crimes and environmental terrorism.

But it absolved U.S. forces on war crime issues raised “by some in the post-conflict environment.”

Newsday disclosed in September that many Iraqi troops were buried alive when the First Mechanized Infantry Division attacked an 8,000-man division defending Saddam Hussein’s front line.

U.S. commanders told Newsday that thousands had been buried during the two-day assault Feb. 24-25, 1991. During the February 27 Iraqi retreat from Kuwait, tens of thousands of vehicles were destroyed by U.S. jets. But most estimates said 1,000 or fewer Iraqis were killed.

According to the new report, the incidents raised questions about the Geneva Convention’s prohibition of “denial of quarter” — refusing to accept an enemy’s offer to surrender. It said:

“There is a gap in the law of war in defining precisely when surrender takes effect or how it may be accomplished. An attempt at surrender in the midst of a hard-fought battle is neither easily communicated nor received. The issue is one of reasonableness.”

At the time the Iraqi front was breached, commanders were still concerned about the threat of chemical, gas and missile attack. “Because of these uncertainties and the need to minimize loss of U.S. lives, military necessity required that the assault … be conducted with maximum speed and violence,” the report said.

“Many Iraqis surrenderd during this phase of the attack and were taken prisoner. The division then assaulted the trenches containing other Iraqi soldiers. Once astride the trench lines, the division turned the plow blades of its tanks and combat earth movers along the Iraqi defense line.

“In the process many more Iraqi soldiers surrendered; others died in the course of the attack and the destruction or bulldozing of their defensive positions.”

Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said the report ignored the Bush administration’s failure to disclose the location of the burial site. “That is a clear violation of Articles 15 and 16 of the First Geneva Convention,” he said.

Pentagon spokesman Pete Williams has said Cheney’s interpretation of the conventions does not require the United States to provide such details.
Roth said the killing of Iraqi troops fleeing Kuwait was another violation of the conventions — specifically the ban on attacking defenseless soldiers: “Those Iraqis were wholly at the mercy of our warplanes.”

But the Pentagon report argued that the fleeing soldiers could have reorganized and resumed offensive operations. “The law of war permits the attack of enemy combatants at any time, whether advancing, retreating, or standing still,” the report said.

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