War for many of us is an abstract. It is the suffering of others, happening outside our daily worries and triumphs.
I was googling for a completely unrelated purpose for “I saw”, and came across an old article on the war, I saw the head of my two children come off:
An Iraqi mother in a van fired on by US soldiers says she saw her two young daughters decapitated in the incident that also killed her son and eight other members of her family.
The children’s father, who was also in the van, said US soldiers fired on them as they fled towards a checkpoint because they thought a leaflet dropped by US helicopters told them to “be safe”, and they believed that meant getting out of their village to Karbala.
Bakhat Hassan – who lost his daughters, aged two and five, his three-year-old son, his parents, two older brothers, their wives and two nieces aged 12 and 15, in the incident – said US soldiers at an earlier checkpoint had waved them through.
As they approached another checkpoint 40km south of Karbala, they waved again at the American soldiers.
“We were thinking these Americans want us to be safe,” Hassan said through an Army translator at a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital set up at a vast Army support camp near Najaf.
The soldiers didn’t wave back. They fired.
“I saw the heads of my two little girls come off,” Hassan’s heavily pregnant wife, Lamea, 36, said numbly.
She repeated herself in a flat, even voice: “My girls – I watched their heads come off their bodies. My son is dead.”
This war is filled with stories of those who lost, in so many piercing ways. Its long past time we restore sanity and compassion to our foreign policy, and end this damned war.