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I want to hurt people

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    I Want To Hurt Somebody By Greg Palast www.gregpalast.com 11/03/06 for The Guardian (London) -- -- It was pure war-nography. The front page of the New York
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 4, 2006
      I Want To Hurt Somebody
      By Greg Palast

      11/03/06 for The Guardian (London) -- -- It was pure war-nography. The
      front page of the New York Times yesterday splashed a four-column-wide
      close-up of a blood-covered bullet in the blood-soaked hands of an
      army medic who'd retrieved it from the brain of Lance Cpl. Colin Smith.

      There was a 40 column-inch profile of the medic. There were photos of
      the platoon, guns over shoulders, praying for the fallen buddy. The
      Times is careful not to ruin the heroic mood, so there is no
      photograph of pieces of corporal Smith's shattered head. Instead,
      there's an old, smiling photo of the wounded soldier.

      The reporter, undoubtedly wearing the Kevlar armor of the troop in
      which he's "embedded," quotes at length the thoughts of the military
      medic: "I would like to say that I am a good man. But seeing this now,
      what happened to Smith, I want to hurt people. You know what I mean?"

      The reporter does not bother — or dare — to record a single word from
      any Iraqi in the town of Karma where Smith's platoon was, "performing
      a hard hit on a house."

      I don't know what a "hard hit" is. But I don't think I'd want one
      "performed" on my home. Maybe Iraqis feel the way I do.

      We won't know. The only Iraqi noted by the reporter was, "a woman
      [who] walked calmly between the sniper and the marines."

      The Times reporter informs us that Lance Cpl. Smith, "said a prayer
      today," before he charged into the village. We're told that Smith had,
      "the cutest little blond girlfriend" and "his dad was his hero." Did
      the calm woman also say her prayers today? Is her dad her hero, too?
      We don't know. No one asks.

      The reporter and his photographer did visit a home in the neighborhood
      — but only after the "hit" force kicked in the door. I suppose that's
      an improvement over the typical level of reporting we get. In
      dispatches home by the few US journalists who brave beyond the Green
      Zone, Iraqis are little more than dark shapes glimpsed through the
      slots of a speeding Humvee.

      Last month there was a big hoo-ha over the statistical accuracy of a
      Johns Hopkins University study estimating that 655,000 Iraqis have
      died as a result of this war.

      I doubt the Iraqi who fired that bullet into Lance Cpl. Smith read the
      Hopkins study. Iraqis don't need a professor of statistics to tell
      them what happens in a "hard hit" on a house. Of civilians killed by
      the US forces the Hopkins team found 46% are younger than fifteen
      years old.

      I grieve for Lance Cpl. Smith and I can't know for certain what moved
      the sniper to pick up a gun and shoot him. However, I've no doubt
      that, like the Marines who said prayers before they invaded the homes
      of the terrified residents of Karma, the sniper also said a prayer
      before he loaded the 7.62mm shell into his carbine.

      And if we asked, I'm sure the sniper would tell us, "I am a good man,
      but seeing what happened, I want to hurt people."

      Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, "Armed
      Madhouse " Visit his website



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