This Is War
an unblinking look—in words and images—at the reality of warfare

Dead Iraqi soldier in Gulf War. © Kenneth Jarecke


"When our troops enter a bombed village the pariah dogs are already at work eating the corpses of the babies and old women who have been killed. Many suffer from ghastly wounds, especially some of the younger children who...are covered with flies and crying for water."

—Colonel Osburn of Britain, quoted in a May 1935 issue of the Manchester Guardian. Reprinted in A History of Bombing by Sven Lindqvist (The New Press, 2001), p 68.


Soldiers who survived WW I. From War Against War!


"I could watch a burned infant trying to nurse from its dead mother's breast, see young men with their faces blown away, witness a boy deliberately gutted...and never protest."

—reporter Richard Boyle in Vietnam. The Flower of the Dragon: The Breakdown of the US Army in Vietnam by Richard Boyle (San Francisco, 1972), p. 22. Reprinted in An Intimate History of Killing by Joanna Bourke (Basic Books, 1999), p 199.


Al-Jazeera screenshots of US's post-9/11 attack on Afghanistan


"But [bombings] arouse a completely personal hate that no one can really understand who has not huddled in a cellar or burrowed his face in a field to escape dive bombers or seen a mother search for her son's torn-off head or smelled the stench of burning schoolchildren."

—Reporter Edgar Snow in Chunking, China. Quoted in A History of Bombing, p 75.


Nagasaki, Japan, 10 August 1945. © Yosuke Yamahata


"Those poor bastards sat in the air-raid shelters of 16,000 apartment buildings that burned down. Those who followed instructions and dutifully sat there, as I myself would have done, were all killed. They were suffocated when the shelter filled with smoke or when the firestorm had consumed all the oxygen. Only their bodies could testify as to how they had died.

The corpses often lay crowded into heaps near the barricaded exits. Other bodies were stuck in the hardened black mass of their own fat, which had melted and run out onto the floor.

The infants lay in rows like grilled chickens. Other corpses had vanished completely; nothing was left but a fine layer of ash on the tables and chairs.

Most of those who left the shelters burned to death out on the street instead. Many lay facedown, with one arm over their heads, as if to shield themselves. Many had shrunk to the size of dwarves; others had blown up like balloons. Some seemed completely unharmed but were naked—all of their clothes except their shoes had disappeared. Others lay with outstretched arms and blank faces, like mannequins. Still others were totally charred. Their skulls had burst at the temples where the brain pushed out, and their intestines bulged out under their ribs."

—Sven Lindqvist, describing the British firebombing of Hamburg, Germany in 1943. From his book A History of Bombing.


Associated Press photos of US's post-9/11 attack on Afghanistan. © AP


"Nothing but parts of bodies, arms, legs, heads, hands and torsos, being shoveled into a big heap... Then petrol was poured over it and the whole heap was burnt. Lorries came all the time and brought more of these dismembered people. I became incapable of walking away. The only thing I could think of was, could it be that Mother is among these mutilated things? Mesmerized I stared at the heaps of human remains... Mentally, I started to put together these parts of bodies in order to see whether they could be any of my family."

—Eva Beyer, after the firebombing of Dresden, Germany. In The Bombers: The RAF Offensive Against Germay, 1939-1945 (1983). Quoted in A History of Bombing, p 103.


Scenes from Napoleon's Peninsular War (1807-14) from the series Disasters of War by Francisco Goya.


"My force was standing knee-deep in mutilated bodies, surrounded by the guttural moans of dying people, looking into the eyes of children bleeding to death with their wounds burning in the sun and being invaded by maggots and flies. I found myself walking through villages where the only sign of life was a dead goat, or a chicken, or song-bird, as the people were dead, their bodies being eaten by voracious packs of wild dogs."

—quoted in A People Betrayed: The Role of the West in Rwanda's Genocide (Zed Books, 2000), pp 174-5.


Rwanda, 1994. © James Nachtwey


"A member of Doctors Without Borders told of rescuing an eleven-year-old boy and his nine-year-old sister from a gang of Hutus, who were laughing at them and spitting on them. By that time, both children had already been raped, and their father's severed penis had been stuffed into the girl's mouth."

—from a review of A People Betrayed: The Role of the West in Rwanda's Genocide by L.R. Melvern (Zed Books, 2000). Reviewed in Everything You Know Is Wrong, edited by Russ Kick (The Disinformation Company, 2002), p 329.


Vietnam, 8 June 1972. Photo of Kim Phuc. © Nick Ut


"I became a fucking animal. I started fucking putting fucking heads on poles. Leaving fucking notes for the motherfuckers. Digging up fucking graves. I didn't give a fuck anymore. Y'know, I wanted—. They wanted a fucking hero, so I gave it to them. They wanted fucking body count, so I gave them body count."

—unnamed Vietnam Veteran, quoted in Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character (New York, 1994). Reprinted in An Intimate History of Killing.


Iraq during Gulf War I. © Peter Turnley


"Sergeant Michael McCuster recalled one time when his Marine platoon went into a village [in Vietnam] and gang-raped a woman (the last man to rape her, shot her). He recalled that their sergeant 'took no part in the raid. It was against his morals. So instead of telling his squad not to do it, because they wouldn't listen to him anyway, the sergeant went into another side of the village and just sat and stared bleakly at the ground.'"

—from An Intimate History of Killing, p 200. McCuster's quote is from Vietnam Veterans Against the War, The Winter Soldier Investigation (1972), p 29.


Reuters photos of US's post-9/11 attack on Afghanistan. © Reuters


"Over by the...gate lay five civilian victims on stretchers, waiting for their coffins to arrive. They were terribly mutilated and very dirty, for the force of the explosion had tattooed their flesh with gravel and sand. Beside one corpse was a brand-new, undamaged straw hat. All the bodies looked very small, very poor, and very dead, but, as we stood beside one old woman, whose brains were soaking obscenely through a little towel, I saw the blood-caked mouth open and shut, and the hand beneath the sack-covering clench and unclench."

—poets W.H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood, describing a 1937 bombing attack on China by Japan. From their book Journey to a War (1939). Quoted in A History of Bombing.



"In front of us a curious figure was standing a little crouched, legs straddled, arms held out from his sides. He had no eyes, and the whole of his body, nearly all of which was visible through the tatters of burned rags, was covered with a hard black crust speckled with yellow pus.... He had to stand because he was no longer covered with skin, but with a crust-like crackling which broke easily."

—BBC correspondent Rene Cutforth, describing the Korean War for the Manchester Guardian (1952). Quoted in A History of Bombing.


Northern Alliance soldier removing gold teeth


"In the Pacific theatre of war, men collected breasts from the bodies of killed (or captured) Japanese women.... The tendency to collect human trophies escalated during the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam when the bodily parts most favoured were ears, teeth, and fingers, but the collection of heads, penises, hands, and toes were all reported."

—From An Intimate History of Killing, PP 26-7


The My Lai massacre, 16 March 1968

"By the time Calley and men sat down to lunch, they had rounded up and slaughtered around 500 unarmed civilians. Within those few hours, members of Charlie Company had 'fooled around' and laughed as they sodomized and raped women, ripped vaginas open with knives, bayoneted civilians, scalped corpses, and carved "C Company" or the ace of spades onto their chests, slaughtered animals, and torched hooches. Other soldiers had wept openly as they fired on crowds of unresisting old men, women, children, and babies."

—description of the My Lai massacre (16 March 1968). From An Intimate History of Killing, p 160.

The My Lai massacre


"We heard then what sounded at first like a little girl crying, a subdued, delicate wailing, and as we listened it became louder and more intense, taking on pain as it grew until it was a full, piercing shriek. The three of us turned to each other, we could almost feel each other shivering. It was terrible, absorbing every other sound coming from the darkness. Whoever it was, he was past caring about anything except the thing he was screaming about."

—reporter Michael Herr in Vietnam. Dispatches (Avon, 1978), p 150


Execution by the Northern Alliance


"[Sergeant Bruce F. Anello] describes the grotesque pranks played upon corpses, the rapes, and the way platoons were 'willing to kill any body' simply in order to beat another platoon's 'kill record.'"

—from An Intimate History of Killing, p 205


From the series Disasters of War by Francisco Goya.


"A jeep pulled up to the dump and a Marine jumped out carrying a bunched-up fatigue jacket held out away from him. He looked very serious and scared. Some guy in his company, some guy he didn't even know, had been blown away right next to him, all over him. He held the fatigues up and I believed him."

—reporter Michael Herr in Vietnam. Dispatches, p 118.


Al-Jazeera screenshots of US's post-9/11 attack on Afghanistan


"[Former Marine William Broyles] described what his men had done to a North Vietnamese soldier whom they had recently killed. The had propped the corpse against some C-rations, placed sunglasses across his eyes and a cigarette in his mouth, and balanced a 'large and perfectly formed' piece of shit on his head."

From An Intimate History of Killing, p 3


Iraq during Gulf War I. © Peter Turnley


"Fight, rape, war, pillage, burn. Filmic images of death and carnage are pornography for the military man.''

Jarhead: A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles by former sniper Anthony Swofford (Scribner, 2003).



All images and quotes are copyrighted by their original owners. They are used here—on a 100% noncommercial Website—for the purpose of education.

posted 10 March 2003 | copyright 2003 Russ Kick

So... You Want to Go to War? - Introduction
Introduction by Jackie Patru
"Are you sure? You're willing to risk your life for. . . what? For whom? Your country needs you? To do what? To massacre innocent, defenseless people? Why? Is your country at risk? Or do you have your country confused with the corporation in Washington, D.C... the U.S. Government, Inc.? Are you willing to forfeit your life and possibly your soul in blind obedience to the government? Are you willing to become a human guinea pig to the Military/ Industrial/ Pharmaceutical complex? You will ... if you go to war.

Watch out for this school note: Grades 9, 10, 11, 12
It is a wide and deep river of paper, and in the currents it would be easy to miss the school notification required under Sec. 9528 of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Think of this notification as the dangerous undertow in the river of paper from your local schools. It is the one required under the "Armed Forces Recruiter Access to Students" section of the "No Child" law.

We have assembled the items below into two categories. Those that are now a part of human history, and those incidents that fathers, mothers, sons, daughers, brothers, and sisters are currently living. Our purpose is to compare the abuses of our men and women in uniform from the past, to the present day reality that nothing has changed.

Think long and hard about whether to send your children off to war. For whom, and what purpose, will you allow your children to spill their blood?

Throughout History

An unblinking look — in words and images — at the reality of warefare. From an excellent website called the Memory Hole.

U.S. Admits It Tested Nerve Gas on It's Sailors
The Guardian — "The US has admitted that it deliberately sprayed nerve gas on its sailors in the 1960s as part of a series of tests... The Pentagon started releasing the previously classified information... after being pushed by a Democrat congressman from California, Mike Thompson. [who said] "We now know that our military personnel were exposed to Sarin gas and VX nerve agent, which are both lethal, and other agents that are known carcinogens."

Hundreds Died of Cancer After DU Bombing
ABC News — "Cases of cancer have been reported among Italian, Belgian, French, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese soldiers who served a peacekeepers in Bosnia and Kosovo... Some of the victims had worn flak jackets made from shells with depleted uranium (DU), he told Reuters in an interview."

USS Liberty - Did Israel Commit One War Crime to Hide Another?
By James M. Ennes, Jr. - Survivor: "When the Liberty was attacked, Captain Joseph Tully in the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga received the ship's call for help and immediately sent jet aircraft to her assistance. Tully's jets were recalled almost immediately by orders from Washington. As a result, American jet fighter support was withheld for more than 90 minutes. By then the damage was done and 34 men were dead or dying."

Refusal To Investigate Israel's 1967 Attack on USS Liberty
Wisconsin state legislator, Marlin Schneider, was very naive when he agreed to sponsor a resolution calling for an investigation into the murder of U.S. sailors on orders of the Israeli government. He was sacked as assistant Democratic leader, removed from a leadership position and warned to: "beware of massive political contributions against me and even potential assassination."

Female Sergeant Dead From Anthrax Shot
Retired Air Force LTC Redmond Handy, who resigned his officer's commission rather than participate in what he calls a "terrible crime against our men and women in uniform," warned "there are others currently at risk because of this flawed vaccine. I'm afraid SGT Larson's death won't be the last," he told "When will the Pentagon end this madness?"

Korean "Police Action" - American Soldiers Betrayed
From our How Wars Are Made section
"The enemy then contacted and relayed these battle plans to their communist forces in the field. The enemy knew when to move from an area and when to attack our smaller fighting forces. They knew beforehand when we were coming and how many of us there were. They knew everything about us all the time – 24 hours a day!!!"

It continues today

Pentagon Eyes Mass Graves (for U.S. Soldiers)
From our Iraq section.
Denver Post:
"The bodies of U.S. soldiers killed by chemical or biological weapons in Iraq or future wars may be bulldozed into mass graves and burned to save the lives of surviving troops, under an option being considered by the Pentagon."

Talk of War No Deterrent for Some Looking to Military
NY Times — "Mr. Moran's former school friends also had something else to say in light of the military buildup in the Middle East: They said, "'Oh yeah, you're going to go die over there,' " he recalled. "But I was going to die over here, too, So it doesn't really matter. As a teenager, it's more of a risk to be in the streets."

"U.S. Undergoes Rapid Military Expansion" - Who Will Protect America?
USA Today — "The United States is rapidly increasing its military ties with nations large and small, thanks to the war on terrorism. . . "Overall, the American military global presence is more pervasive today than at any point in American history,": John Pike, military analyst in Washington. . . A recent Pentagon paper identifies vital American security interests in almost every part of the globe, with the notable exception of Africa.

Soldier Sues Military Over Extended Service Order
"This lawsuit seeks to stop the forced retention of men and women who have fulfilled their service obligations. When their period of enlistment ends, they should be entitled to return to their families", said attorney Michael Sorgen. The "stop loss'' order means soldiers who otherwise could leave when their commitments expire will be compelled to remain until the end of a year-long overseas deployment and up to another 90 days after returning to their home base.

Maimed in Iraq, then mistreated, neglected, and hidden in America
Go ahead, guys and gals, sign up! Join the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, or Air Force. Join the National Guard so you can be sent to Europe to disarm the Bosnians. Become an Iraqi 'Liberator', so you can kill and die for the New World Order.

Unfit Soldiers Returned to War
Guardian, UK
"A stretched Pentagon is sending unfit soldiers back to Iraq long before they are ready to serve again. Soldiers went to war with chronic illnesses such as coronary disease, mental illness, arthritis, diabetes and the nervous condition, Tourette's syndrome, or after undergoing recent surgery."

Soldier Suicides in Iraq Increase
Associated Press
"A U.S. commander warned troops Thursday to watch their friends because suicides are on the rise."

Army to Recall Former Military Members
From our Iraq section
"The Army is preparing to notify about 5,600 retired and discharged soldiers who are not members of the National Guard or Reserve that they will be involuntarily recalled to active duty for possible service in Iraq or Afghanistan...."

US Army forces 50,000 soldiers into extended duty
The U.S. Army has forced about 50,000 soldiers to continue serving after their voluntary stints ended under a policy called "stop-loss," but while some dispute its fairness, court challenges have fallen flat. ...With yearlong tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, some soldiers can be forced to stay in the Army an extra 18 months.

Thousands of US troops evacuated from Iraq for unexplained medical reasons
From our Iraq section
September 2003

"At no point in the last six months have the American people been told that for every soldier who has been killed in Iraq, at least another 15 have fallen so ill that they had to be flown back to the United States."

Iraq War Vets Struggle to Adjust to Lost Limbs, Flashbacks
"Unlike the young draftees of earlier wars, many of these men and women are older, with families. For them, this morphing from a fighting machine ducking bullets into a mommy or daddy packing school lunches presents a special challenge. This time the government tapped the National Guard and the Reserve to augment regular forces. Some returnees-proportionately many more than in Vietnam-have left limbs and slices of sanity on an urban battlefield as strange as the Iraq war itself."

Depleted Uranium: Dirty Bombs, Dirty Missiles, Dirty Bullets
"...eight out of 20 men who served in one unit in 2003 U.S. in Iraq now have malignancies. ... 40% of the soldiers in that unit have developed malignancies in just 16 months. targets the DNA. Marion Fulk, a nuclear physical chemist retired from the Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab and formerly involved with the Manhattan Project, interprets the new and rapid malignancies in soldiers from the 2003 war as 'spectacular ... and a matter of concern'."

Google Video: Veteran Who Served in Iraq Tells of U.S. Atrocities
Jesse McBeth is with a group called Iraq Vets Against the War. In this video, he tells of the horrors being committed against the Iraqi people. Jesse says the people being called "insurgents" and "the enemy" in Iraq are only trying to protect their families against the invaders.

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