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Ask Petraeus

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On Friday, April 4th, Congressman Robert Wexler sent out a email asking what questions we, the people, would like asked of General Petraeus when he delivers his assessment of the Iraq War to Congress next week, and appears before such committees as the Armed Services Committee and Foreign Relations Committee, beginning next Tuesday, April 8th.

Wexler asks that we submit "short and focused" questions to him at along with a first name, city and state.  He will ask two questions that have been sent by the public.

I received the email on the same day I discovered a report released on April 1, 2008 entitled: "U.S. War Crimes in Iraq 2007-2008", written by Karen Parker, President of the Association of Humanitarian Lawyers and Chief Delegate to the United Nations for the International Education Development/Humanitarian Law Project, along with author/policy analyst Bill Rau, produced by">Consumers for Peace.
The only news article available to date on the release of this report is titled: Report Recommends Petraeus Be Quizzed by Congress on Iraq War Crimes.

The report is the third in a series, with the original being "War Crimes Committed by the United States in Iraq and Mechanisms for Accountability", published in October 2006, and revised in December 2006. 

This original report is endorsed by such honorable scholars and journalists as Howard Zinn, Dahr Jamail, Kathy Kelly, and retired Colonel Ann Wright.

The second report, titled "U.S. War Crimes in the 'Surge' -- 2007: Petraeus Manual and Tactics Flout International Law" is an analysis by Karen Parker of the "Counterinsurgency Field Manual" co-authored by General Petraeus and released in 2007, followed by documentation by Bill Rau of the effects of the policies and tactics of the U.S. military on the Iraqi population.

Both the above reports are notably concise, with lengths of merely 38 pages and 26 pages, respectively, and present significant information we, the people, need to know.

The third report, the one just released, mere 20 pages, is the one you should read immediately.

Even if you only have a few minutes to glean information, this piece is revelatory.

From the first report onward, Parker and Bau have shown that the U.S. military, in its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, has turned its back on international humanitarian law, as well defined by the Geneva and Hague Conventions.

In this third report, the "surge" that has been "successful", according Mr. Bush, Mr. Gates, General Petraeus and others who either have ulterior motives or are drinking the Koolaid, is completely based on statistics that indicate a decrease of Iraqis killing other Iraqis.

However, what they are not reporting is the severe increase in civilian Iraqis killed by U.S. troops, a figure that was already too large to report without public outrage.

The further increase in Iraqis killed by the U.S. military is caused by the switch from troops on the ground to air strikes.  Rather than going door-to-door searching for "insurgents" (otherwise known as 'Iraqis-with-an-internationally-recognized-legal-right-to-resist-the-tyranny-of-an-occupying- force'), more often the U.S. is finding it easier to use helicopters and bombers to blast away at "assumed targets".

This does make for less American casualties, to be sure, but the slaughter of Iraqis is also conveniently less noticeable to the America public, since the Pentagon has made it clear from the beginning that it is not in charge of body count.

Of course, the Iraqis can't help but notice it.

In addition, the report reviews the continuing increase of detention of innocent Iraqis, without charge, as well as the disastrous living conditions, without medical care, drinkable water, schools, and few social services for those trying to survive these frightening times.

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