Letters from the liberators
Lots of US soldiers serving in Iraq have been emailing Michael Moore.
“It’s hard”, writes one correspondent, “listening to my platoon sergeant saying, ‘If you decide you want to kill a civilian that looks threatening, shoot him. I’d rather fill out paperwork than get one of my soldiers killed by some raghead.'”
“I was guarding some Iraqi workers one day”, writes another. “Their task was to fill sandbags for our base. The temperature was at least 120. I had to sit there with full gear on and monitor them. I was sitting and drinking water, and I could barely tolerate the heat, so I directed the workers to go to the shade and sit and drink water. I let them rest for about 20 minutes. Then a staff sergeant told me that they didn’t need a break, and that they were to fill sandbags until the cows come home. He told the Iraqis to go back to work.
After 30 minutes, I let them have a break again, thus disobeying orders. If these were soldiers working, in this heat, those soldiers would be bound to a 10-minute work, 50-minute rest cycle, to prevent heat casualties. Again the staff sergeant came and sent the Iraqis back to work and told me I could sit in the shade. I told him no, I had to be out there with them so that when I started to need water, then they would definitely need water. He told me that wasn’t necessary, and that they live here, and that they are used to it.”
Lots more in the same vein in a Guardian excerpt from Moore’s collection of these dispiriting letters.