Sunday, June 04, 2006

stop the killing of innocent civilians, change the Rules of Engagement at US operated checkpoints

Please support a joint Senate and House resolution to change the Rules of Engagement to stop the unnecessary killing of innocent civilians at US operated checkpoints.

An Iraqi civilian approaching a checkpoint does not know if the checkpoint is manned by the US or the Iraqi Army or Police or one of the sectarian militias. The difference can be a matter of Life or Death by Torture or worse.

If a Sunni is stopped by the Iraqi army or police or a Shiite militia the Sunni has a good reason to fear for his life. Similarly if a Shiite is stopped by a Sunni militia the Shiite has a good reason to fear for his life.

It is a violation of the Laws of War for the US to kill a civilian for failing to stop at a checkpoint when the civilian has a good reason to fear being killed or kidnapped or tortured if he stops.

The Rules of Engagement for the US military should be changed to require the use of a sign with the US flag on it and the word "stop" in English, Arabic and Farsi to clearly identify US run checkpoints and to require the sign be clearly illuminated if the checkpoint is operated at night.

Also the practice of surprise nighttime checkpoints should be prohibited where US soldiers conceal themselves and then flash on their headlights to blind the approaching car and prevent the Iraqi civilians in the car from being able to identify the checkpoint as a US checkpoint.