Tuesday, September 14, 2004


From the BBC's report of this morning's violence in Baghdad, it seems that showing dislike for the Americans has moved up from being punishable by torture in Abu Ghraib to being a death-penalty offence:

A US armoured vehicle caught fire and its four crew members were evacuated with minor injuries.

An American helicopter gunship opened fire with missiles and machine-guns at a crowd swarming around the vehicle who were cheering and throwing stones.

Two children and a journalist for an Arabic TV news channel, al-Arabiyya, were among those killed.

I'd avoided commenting on this until I'd seen some TV footage to see whether it was as bad as it sounds, and it was. No US soldiers were in danger. There were no guns - just a crowd of Iraqis celebrating the destruction of a Bradley. No matter how unseemly, that's not a death-penalty offence in Iraqi law. The crew of that helicopter are nothing more than murderers, and ought to be prosecuted as such. There's no other way to describe people who massacre civilians from the air. If they were British, charges would already be being drawn up - but since they're Americans, I'd be very surprised if they even receive a warning. "Prosecute for killing Iraqis? It's not as if they're people..."