Rumsfeld Pushes Big Lie on "Human
Shields” in Iraq
[From Wayne Moody: Thank you for sending out this article by Henry Michaels,
forwarded to me by a friend. It reminds me of the wise saying, "The
first casualty of war is the truth"--a statement that has become all too
evident with this administration. We all need to use every front possible
to expose the lies and corruption of this US administration--there is simply
too much at stake to remain silent and passive. I applaud those brave
souls who have decided themselves to become human shields in support of our
Iraqi brothers and sisters as a protest to the Bush Administration's Insane
Policies of War, Lying, Hatred, Fear, Confrontation, and Bullying at
the expense of caring citizens all over the world. Wayne Moody <www.citiesoflight.net>]
By Henry Michaels <firstname.lastname@example.org>
February 24, 2003
Faced by protests against their war plans involving millions of people
worldwide, the Bush administration and the US media are increasingly employing
one of the “big lie” techniques notoriously employed by the likes of Hitler
and Stalin: accusing their enemy of the crimes they are about to commit.
International humanitarian agencies are warning that the coming US assault
on Iraq could cause half a million civilian casualties and create two million
refugees. But the White House and Pentagon, joined by a complicit media,
are seeking to shift the blame for the impending slaughter to the Iraqi government.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ramped up the propaganda effort at a February
19 Pentagon press briefing where, without offering the slightest evidence,
he accused Saddam Hussein of preparing to use civilians as “human shields”
against US attacks.
According to Rumsfeld: “It is a practice that reveals contempt for the norms
of humanity, the laws of armed conflict, and, I am advised, Islamic law,
practice and belief.”
He declared that those responsible would be treated as war criminals. “These
are not tactics of war, they are crimes of war. Deploying human shields is
not a military strategy, it’s murder, a violation of the laws of armed conflict,
and a crime against humanity, and it will be treated as such.”
In a chilling performance, Rumsfeld sought to prepare American and world
public opinion for the widespread civilian deaths that will inevitably be
caused by the Pentagon’s “shock and awe” plan to unleash more than 3,000
missiles on Iraq in the first 48 hours of the invasion.
He charged that Saddam Hussein “deliberately constructs mosques near military
facilities, uses schools, hospitals, orphanages and cultural treasures to
shield military forces, thereby exposing helpless men, women and children
to danger.” This can only mean that mosques, schools, hospitals, orphanages,
cultural treasures and other civilian sites are on the Pentagon’s target
Not one journalist at the Pentagon briefing challenged Rumsfeld to substantiate
In effect, the Bush administration is accusing Baghdad of using the entire
Iraqi population as “human shields.” Washington is preparing to commit war
crimes of monumental proportions by launching an unprovoked war, inflicting
terrible civilian casualties, and then depicting the Iraqi leaders as the
The Iraqi leadership is not the only target of this truly Orwellian logic.
Rumsfeld’s threats followed reports that hundreds of peace activists from
Britain, the United States and other countries are assembling in Baghdad
with the intention of camping near power stations, water plants and other
civilian facilities that the US and its allies bombed during the 1991 Gulf
One group, the Iraq Peace Team, includes US veterans from the Vietnam War.
They have been hanging banners on bridges and power plants that say a US
bombardment of these sites would amount to a war crime. Another group, known
as Human Shields, has stated that its aim is to prevent a US attack.
Rumsfeld, flanked by General Richard Myers, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs
of Staff, indicated that these anti-war volunteers could also be accused
of war crimes. “Those who follow his [Saddam’s] orders to use human shields
will pay a severe price for their actions,” Rumsfeld declared.
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