Death squads in Iraq
July was the bloodiest month in Baghdad’s modern history – in all, 1,100 bodies were brought to the city’s mortuary; executed for the most part, eviscerated, stabbed, bludgeoned, tortured to death. The figure is secret.
We are not supposed to know that the Iraqi capital’s death toll last month was only 700 short of the total American fatalities in Iraq since April of 2003. Of the dead, 963 were men – many with their hands bound, their eyes taped and bullets in their heads – and 137 women. The statistics are as shameful as they are horrifying. For these are the men and women we supposedly came to “liberate” – and about whose fate we do not care.
The figures for this month cannot, of course, yet be calculated. But last Sunday, the mortuary received the bodies of 36 men and women, all killed by violence. By 8am on Monday, nine more human remains had been received. By midday, the figure had reached 25.
It is clear that death squads are roaming the streets of a city which is supposed to be under the control of the US military and the American-supported, elected government of Ibrahim al-Jaafari. Never in recent history has such anarchy been let loose on the civilians of this city – yet the Western and Iraqi authorities show no interest in disclosing the details. The writing of the new constitution – or the failure to complete it – now occupies the time of Western diplomats and journalists. The dead, it seems, do not count.