Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Collateral Damage: America's War against Iraqi Civilians

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Collateral Damage: America's War against Iraqi Civilians

Article excerpt

Collateral Damage: America's War Against Iraqi Civilians By Chris Hedges and Laila Al-Arian, Nation Books, 2008, hardcover, 122 pp. List: $22.95; AET: $17.

Reviewed by Delinda C. Hanley

It can often take years for news of wartime atrocities to come out. Sometimes courageous soldiers speak out-like the Vietnam veterans who participated in the Winter Soldier Investigation in 1971-but no one listens.

Will Americans hear the painful testimony of the 50 brave soldiers interviewed by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges and co-author Laila Al-Arian and recorded in Collateral Damage? Don't hold your breath.

After seven months of interviews, Hedges and Al-Arian produced a cover story, published in the Nation on July 30/Aug. 6, 2007, entitled "The Other War: Iraq Vets Bear Witness." NBC filmed a piece around the Nation's article that never aired.

Troops battling an insurgency, surrounded by a hostile population, are placed in "atrocity-producing situations," according to Hedges, who should know, after covering wars for 20 years. Soldiers fighting an elusive foe begin to define everyone-civilians and combatants-as the enemy. When American fighters feel afraid or angry after the death of a friend, they kill dozens of Iraqis. …

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