Tue, 25 Jan 2022

BAGHDAD, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- On a cold winter night after dinner, when Iraqi man Abdullah Ibrahim was chatting with his family members happily as usual inside his home, a reckless U.S. missile strike suddenly turned the joy and conviviality into grief and permanent suffering.

It was in December 2005, more than two years after the U.S. troops illegally invaded Iraq under the pretext of ridding the country of weapons of mass destruction, which were in fact non-existent.

"That evening started with felicity, but the U.S. occupation forces turned it into hell," Ibrahim, 51, told Xinhua in his rebuilt house in the town of Dhuluiya, some 90 km north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

"We were chatting here at home when hearing the sound of American armored vehicles, and we thought there was a raid in the neighborhood," recalled Ibrahim, sitting on the bed next to a wheelchair with an urine bag attached to his bladder.

After hearing the sound, Ibrahim ran upstairs to fetch his ID in the room, assuming that the American soldiers would beat and arrest him if he did not identify himself immediately.

However, instead of staging a raid, the U.S. troops fired a missile recklessly at Ibrahim's house without prior warning. "When I was going upstairs to fetch my ID, we were hit by the missile," he said.

The U.S. strike not only killed Ibrahim's wife, 11-year-old daughter and a cousin in his 20s, but also wounded 12 others including Ibrahim and his mother.

Ibrahim was paralyzed after being thrown to a tree about 20 meters away. At the same time, his mother had her back broken, and two other family members were also paralyzed.

The blast left Ibrahim unconscious for 15 days in a local hospital. With the 6th and 8th vertebras broken, he has since become quadriplegic and lost control of his urine, which forced him to use a urine bag day by day.

"My house was completely destroyed and I had to rebuild it with my money, and I didn't get any compensation or anything from the Americans," Ibrahim said.

Although more than 16 years have passed, the U.S. missile strike still left deep wounds in the body and memory of Ibrahim. Struggling to get on with life, he goes out every morning by motorbike to work in his store, where he sells chicken with his son.

Every morning when Ibrahim sees local girls going to school, he couldn't help thinking of his daughter, who was then a primary school student when killed by the Americans in 2005.

"My daughter was 11 years old, I miss her every day when I see her peers going to school. If my daughter were alive now, she would have graduated from college," he sighed.

Ironically, the U.S. forces later took Ibrahim and his surviving children to one of the U.S. military headquarters, offering them some plastic toys as gifts and telling him they were "sorry."

"My wife and my daughter were killed and I'm disabled, and all they did was saying they were sorry." he said. "Will the word 'sorry' bring back the lives to my wife, daughter, and cousin? Will it recover my health?"

Ibrahim blasted the U.S. government for trying to justify its illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 as part of its efforts to bring democracy to Iraq and protect human rights there.

"They destroyed Iraq and there is no democracy at all. They destroyed Iraq, and stole the antiquities and every valuable thing," he said.

Nadhum Ali Abdullah, an Iraqi expert of the Arab Forum for Political Analysis, said that the U.S. forces often use drones and missiles to target their enemies around the world in the name of fighting terrorism, but in fact they have killed many civilians.

"Washington's use of planes and missiles against its targets raises questions, astonishment and disgust, with many indications of targeting civilians and killing many women and children, especially in the countries it occupied such as Iraq and Afghanistan," Abdullah said.

He noted that the U.S. forces have a long history in Iraq of killing innocent people as a result of wrong targeting, without holding their soldiers accountable.

"During the occupation, the American troops carried out many executions against civilians and their families without mercy or accountability. The U.S. military uses excessive force regardless of whether there are civilians and grants its forces the right of defense while denying such right of others," Abdullah said.

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