An early photo from the Iraq war, taken in April 2003, shows a wounded girl at a hospital in Basra, in southern Iraq.
Truthdig contributor Chris Hedges teamed up with Laila Al-Arian for The Nation’s shocking report “The Other War: Iraq Vets Bear Witness,” in which American vets describe, in graphic detail that will challenge even the least fainthearted readers, “the disparity between the reality of the war and how it is portrayed by the US government and American media.”
We heard a few reports, in one case corroborated by photographs, that some soldiers had so lost their moral compass that they’d mocked or desecrated Iraqi corpses. One photo, among dozens turned over to The Nation during the investigation, shows an American soldier acting as if he is about to eat the spilled brains of a dead Iraqi man with his brown plastic Army-issue spoon.
“Take a picture of me and this motherfucker,” a soldier who had been in Sergeant Mejía’s squad said as he put his arm around the corpse. Sergeant Mejía recalls that the shroud covering the body fell away, revealing that the young man was wearing only his pants. There was a bullet hole in his chest.
“Damn, they really fucked you up, didn’t they?” the soldier laughed.
The scene, Sergeant Mejía said, was witnessed by the dead man’s brothers and cousins.