Military officials and media pundits are telling the American people that any U.S. bombing would target Iraq’s military capacity and not its people, but we’ve been told that before. Seven years ago tonight, the U.S. public began to hear reports that smart bombs had successfully targeted a military bunker in a suburb of Baghdad. Then the news broadcast the image of a missile cleanly hitting its target — shot from the airplane above, shown with graphic precision on computer screen.
Gradually the facts emerged, February 13th, that the bunker turned out to be a public shelter, packed with local civilians from the neighborhood of Ameriyeh. To many in the United States, the Ameriyeh shelter bombing was a turning point in the war. News footage gave a glimpse of civilian grief and as the death toll rose to between 200 and 400, mostly women and children. US Military spokespeople began suggesting that the civilians had been put in harm’s way intentionally by their President in an effort to gain international sympathy.
Laura Flanders, whom listeners may know from CounterSpin, the weekly media report of which she is the executive producer and host, is here with us in the studio. She’s one of the producers of Democracy Now these days, but seven years ago, she travelled to Baghdad and visited the survivors of Ameriyeh. The voices you will hear next are those of the men and women who live across the street from the shelter. Laura interviewed them on July 7, 1991.
- Laura Flanders, host and executive producer of CounterSpin, the weekly media report. She’s one of the producers of Democracy Now! these days, but seven years ago, she traveled to Baghdad and visited the survivors of Ameriyeh. Ms. Flanders will play a tape of interviews she did with men and women who live across the street from the shelter. Laura interviewed them on July 7, 1991.
- Eric Gustafson, Gulf war veteran who traveled to Iraq in September 1997 with “Voices in the Wilderness”. He’s currently on a speaking tour organized by Global Exchange in San Francisco.