"Change the channel."
As the cost in Iraqi lives at the hands of US troops briefly hits the headlines again, some of the names that are known, in the perhaps 1.7 million lost, should be remembered. They are not "collateral damage" or "regrettable incidents." Each one is a unique human being, often a small, fledgling one.
In Haditha the victims were:
1. Abdul Hameed Hassin Ali, 76.
2. Khamisa Tuma Ali, 66, wife of Abdul.
3. Rashid Abdul Hamid, 30.
4. Walid Abdul Hamid Hassan, 35.
5. Jahid Abdul Hamid Hassan, middle aged.
6. Asma Salman Rasif, 32.
7. Abdullah Walid, 4.
Injured: Iman, 8 and Abdul Rahman, 5.
Escaped: Daughter-in-law, Hiba, with 2 month old Asia.
8. Younis Salim Khalfif, 43.
9. Aida Yasin Ahmed, wife of Younis Salim, died shielding her youngest daughter, Aisha.
10. Muhammad Younis Salim, 10, son.
11. Noor Younis Salim, 14, daughter.
12. Sabaa Younis Salim, 10, daughter.
13. Zainabl Younis Salim, 5, daughter.
14. Aisha Younis Salim, 3, daughter.
15. One year old girl staying with the family.
Survived: Safa Younis Salim, 13, who pretended to be dead.
16. Ajamal Ahmed, 41.
17. Marwan Ahmed, 28.
18. Qahtan Ahmed, 24.
19. Chasib Ahmed, 27. Brothers.
Taxi: Passengers were students at the Technical Institute in Saqlawiyah:
20 Ahmed Khadir, taxi driver.
21.Ahram Hamid Flayeh.
22.Khalid Ayada al-Zawi
23.Wajdi Ayada al-Zawri
24.Mohammad Battal Mahmoud.
Lance Corporal Roel Ryan Briones, who, seemingly, was not involved, was ordered to photograph the bodies. He picked up a little girl, shot in the head. The contents of her small skull spilled out on to his trousers. "I need immediate help," he said.
What of help for then thirteen year old Safa, pretending to be dead amongst her family's bodies. Of Hiba, lone survivor of her home, and her now six year old daughter?
What of the heroic Taher Thabet al-Hadithi, young journalist and human rights activist, who filmed every minute, every bloody detail the following day, and amassed the truth of what had really happened, as the Defence Department was busy trying to cover their tracks? He fled to Syria in fear of his own life expectancy, should the US military learn of his evidence.
It was his witness materials that made their way into Time magazine, engendering an "inquiry." Evidence that was indisputable..
The reaction of Major General Steve Johnson, Commander of US Forces in the Province was salutary: "It happened all the time ... it was just the cost of doing business ..."
"The renewal of American leadership can be felt across the globe," said President Obama, concluding his address, citing : "... the enduring power of our moral example ... tyranny is no match for liberty."
On the wall of the deserted house of one of the Haditha families, silent witness to this "moral example," is written: "Democracy assassinated the family that was here."
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