High Court Hears of ‘Terrifying Acts of Brutality’ by British Troops in Iraq

US troops have their own wretched stories of murder and torture of innocents in Iraq

British troops that fought the US-led war in Iraq were accused in a High Court inquiry of “terrifying acts of brutality” against Iraqi civilians in a potentially “systematic” way.

Lawyers representing 192 Iraqis asking for a public inquiry into British detention practices in Iraq between 2003 and 2008 submitted an 82-age document detailing the numerous allegations of abuse, including extra-judicial killings and torture.

“The court heard of an eight-year-old girl shot dead as she played in a street with her friends in daylight,” reports the London Evening Standard. “A man was also shot dead as he queued for petrol, a teacher was hooded and abused in front of his son and his subsequent death was officially described as “natural causes” and there were a number of drownings.”

In a sense, it’s amazing it has taken this long for the crimes of British forces to be revealed and highlighted. US troops have their own wretched stories of murder and torture of innocents.

A State Department cable released by WikiLeaks in 2011 revealed that one man, four women, two children, and three infant Iraqis were summarily executed by US forces in 2006. The “autopsies carried out at the Tikrit Hospital’s morgue revealed that all corpses were shot in the head and handcuffed,” read the cable.

Iraqi civilians were also ruthlessly murdered in the Haditha massacre, “where Marines killed 24 Iraqis, including a 76-year-old man in a wheelchair, women and children, some just toddlers.”

“Iraqi civilians were being killed all the time,” read a recent New York Times report. Maj. Gen. Steve Johnson, the commander of American forces in Anbar, in his own testimony, described it as “a cost of doing business.”

Iraqis suffered torture and murder in Abu Ghraib and other prisons in Iraq as well. In a prison run by US-supported post-Saddam government, “a joint US-Iraqi inspection discovered more than 1,400 detainees in squalid, cramped conditions,” many of whom were illegally detained. Prisoners “displayed bruising, broken bones, and lash-marks, many claimed to have been hung by handcuffs from a hook in the ceiling and beaten on the soles of their feet and their buttocks.”

British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond has announced plans to investigate claims being made in the High Court. No US court has conducted such a comprehensive inquiry into war crimes by US troops in Iraq.

Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.