[Marxism] A Marine speaks out

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed May 19 08:34:12 MDT 2004


Atrocities in Iraq: 'I killed innocent people for our government'
By Paul Rockwell -- Special to The Sacramento Bee
Published 2:15 am PDT Sunday, May 16, 2004

"We forget what war is about, what it does to those who wage it and 
those who suffer from it. Those who hate war the most, I have often 
found, are veterans who know it."

- Chris Hedges, New York Times reporter and author of "War Is a Force 
That Gives Us Meaning"

For nearly 12 years, Staff Sgt. Jimmy Massey was a hard-core, some say 
gung-ho, Marine. For three years he trained fellow Marines in one of the 
most grueling indoctrination rituals in military life - Marine boot camp.

The Iraq war changed Massey. The brutality, the sheer carnage of the 
U.S. invasion, touched his conscience and transformed him forever. He 
was honorably discharged with full severance last Dec. 31 and is now 
back in his hometown, Waynsville, N.C.

When I talked with Massey last week, he expressed his remorse at the 
civilian loss of life in incidents in which he himself was involved.

Q: You spent 12 years in the Marines. When were you sent to Iraq?

A: I went to Kuwait around Jan. 17. I was in Iraq from the get-go. And I 
was involved in the initial invasion.

Q: What does the public need to know about your experiences as a Marine?

A: The cause of the Iraqi revolt against the American occupation. What 
they need to know is we killed a lot of innocent people. I think at 
first the Iraqis had the understanding that casualties are a part of 
war. But over the course of time, the occupation hurt the Iraqis. And I 
didn't see any humanitarian support.

Q: What experiences turned you against the war and made you leave the 
Marines?

A: I was in charge of a platoon that consists of machine gunners and 
missile men. Our job was to go into certain areas of the towns and 
secure the roadways. There was this one particular incident - and 
there's many more - the one that really pushed me over the edge. It 
involved a car with Iraqi civilians. From all the intelligence reports 
we were getting, the cars were loaded down with suicide bombs or 
material. That's the rhetoric we received from intelligence. They came 
upon our checkpoint. We fired some warning shots. They didn't slow down. 
So we lit them up.

Q: Lit up? You mean you fired machine guns?

A: Right. Every car that we lit up we were expecting ammunition to go 
off. But we never heard any. Well, this particular vehicle we didn't 
destroy completely, and one gentleman looked up at me and said: "Why did 
you kill my brother? We didn't do anything wrong." That hit me like a 
ton of bricks.

Q: He spoke English?

A: Oh, yeah.

Q: Baghdad was being bombed. The civilians were trying to get out, right?

A: Yes. They received pamphlets, propaganda we dropped on them. It said, 
"Just throw up your hands, lay down weapons." That's what they were 
doing, but we were still lighting them up. They weren't in uniform. We 
never found any weapons.

Q: You got to see the bodies and casualties?

A: Yeah, firsthand. I helped throw them in a ditch.

Q: Over what period did all this take place?

A: During the invasion of Baghdad.

'We lit him up pretty good'

Q: How many times were you involved in checkpoint "light-ups"?

A: Five times. There was [the city of] Rekha. The gentleman was driving 
a stolen work utility van. He didn't stop. With us being trigger happy, 
we didn't really give this guy much of a chance. We lit him up pretty 
good. Then we inspected the back of the van. We found nothing. No 
explosives.

full: <http://www.sacbee.com/content/opinion/story/9316830p-10241546c.html>

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