Modal close

Dear Democracy Now! visitor,

You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for in-depth stories that expose corporate and government abuses of power. Democracy Now! brings you crucial reporting like our coverage from the front lines of the standoff at Standing Rock or news about the movements fighting for peace, racial and economic justice, immigrant rights and LGBTQ equality. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation—all without ads, government funding or corporate sponsorship. How is this possible? Only with your support. If every visitor to this site in December gave just $10 we could cover our basic operating costs for 2017. Pretty exciting, right? So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in 2017.

Non-commercial news needs your support.

We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.

Please do your part today.


Civilian Casualties Mount in Iraq: We Talk with Iraq Peace Team Member Cliff Kindy Who Just Left Baghdad

StoryApril 02, 2003
Watch iconWatch Full Show

Cliff Kindy

a member of the Iraq Peace Team and the Christian Peacemaker Team who was recently expelled from Iraq.

US forces have begun a major attack against Iraqi Republican Guard divisions surrounding the Iraqi capital.

The Associated Press reports B-52 bombers carpet-bombed Karbala throughout the night. 3rd Infantry units surged past the strategic city without entering it.

In the nearby farming town of Hilla, the local hospital director said 33 people were killed and more than 300 wounded in a bombing raid yesterday.

A spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross told the Agence France Presse: "There were dozens of smashed corpses" at the hospital.

The London Guardian reports unedited TV footage from the Babylon hospital showed horrifically injured bodies heaped into pick-up trucks. Relatives of the dead accompanied them for burial. Bed after bed of injured women and children were pictured along with large pools of blood on the floor of the hospital.

An Edinburgh-trained doctor at the hospital Nazim al-Adali, told the Guardian: "All of these are due to the American bombing to the civilian homes." He said there were not any army vehicles or tanks in the area.

One stunned man who lost his whole family said: "God take our revenge on America."

An AFP reporter saw what appeared to be the component devices from cluster bombs covering a large area in the town.

This comes as the Washington Post reports today U.S. military commanders have shed their early caution in striking some targets in Baghdad and have embarked on more aggressive air attacks that run the risk of larger numbers of civilian casualties. The change in tactics appear to reflect a judgment that winning the war against Iraq will require more aggressive air attacks.

An AFP reporter also encountered a civilian sitting among 15 coffins at the Babylon hospital. Razek al-Kazem al-Khafaji said the coffins contained the bodies of his wife, six children, his father, his mother, his three brothers and their wives. They were killed Monday night when a US helicopter gunship fired on the family’s pickup truck. The family was fleeing fierce fighting in Nasiriyah. US Central Command said it is investigating the report.

A survivor of the Iraqi family who lost 11 members when U.S. soldiers opened fire on their vehicle at a checkpoint near Najaf said his family was fleeing toward U.S. lines because they thought a leaflet dropped by US helicopters suggested they do so. This according to Knight Ridder.

Bakhat Hassan lost his daughters, ages 2 and 5, his son, 3, his parents, two older brothers, their wives and two nieces, ages 12 and 15.

Hassan’s wife Lamea recalled: "I saw the heads of my two little girls come off." She repeated herself in a flat, even voice: "My girls — I watched their heads come off their bodies. My son is dead."

The Hassan family fled from Karbala, which has come under heavy US bombing. Helicopters dropped leaflets on the town: a drawing of a family sitting at a table eating and smiling, with a message written in Arabic. Sgt. 1st Class Stephen Furbush said the message read: "To be safe, stay put."

But Hassan said he and his father thought it just said, "Be safe." To them, that meant getting away from the helicopters firing rockets and missiles.

The family of 17 packed into its 1974 Land Rover, so crowded that Bakhat, was hanging on to the backdoor outside on the rear bumper. Everyone else was piled on one another’s laps in three sets of seats.

Hassan said US soldiers at an earlier checkpoint had waved them through as they drove away from their home village. As they approached another checkpoint, they waved again at the US soldiers. Hassan said through an Army translator: "We were thinking these Americans want us to be safe." The soldiers didn’t wave back. They fired.

Hassan’s father, in his 60s, wore his best clothes for the trip through the American lines: a pinstriped suit. Hassan said he wanted to look American. But Hassan’s father died at the Army hospital later, bringing the death toll to 11.

Navy Capt. Frank Thorp said initial reports indicate the soldiers at the checkpoint had acted properly.

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Myers yesterday expressed "regrets" to the families of the dead Iraqis. But then he blamed the Iraqis, adding: "The climate established by the Iraqi regime contributed to this incident."

US marines today shot dead another unarmed driver and badly wounded his passenger at a roadblock in the southern town of Shatra, south of Baghdad.

Well to talk about the latest in Iraq, we are joined by Cliff Kindy who was recently expelled from Iraq.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.

Make a donation