By Kilian Colin
I was few years old. I only remember snapshots of the war on Iraq in 1991.
I remember my parents and other families in the shelter rushing out of the shelter after hearing another shelter was bombed by a U.S. airstrike. People were crying and yelling while fleeing for their life. When we left the shelter that night, the sky looked like there was a firework show with a strong bombing sounds.
As a child, I smiled while watching the fireworks and wished it will continue forever. It really wasn’t a fireworks show; it was the U.S. airstrike and the Iraqi defense shooting each other like in a Star Wars movie. I didn’t understand what was going on until a few years later.
On February 13, 1991, a U.S. airstrike targeted the Ameriyya shelter, where hundreds of civilians were seeking a refuge from the non-stop bombing of civilians homes in Baghdad as a retaliation for the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
408 civilians lost their lives in that shelter. Hundreds more lived with permanent physical and psychological injuries. This disastrous attack on the Ameriyya shelter was a serious violation of the international laws of war.
The attack on the Ameriyya shelter began around 4:30 am, most people were still asleep. Two F-117 stealth bombers each dropped a 2000 lb. GBU-27 Laser-Guided bombs.
The first one was meant to cut through the 10 feet of reinforced concrete before a time-delayed fuse exploded. It caused all the emergency gates to shut down, locking hundreds of civilians inside the shelter.
A second bomb exploded a few minutes later, coming through the hole in the shelter ceiling. Civilians staying in the upper level were incinerated by the heat. Steam from the shelter’s water supply finished off the rest of the civilians.
Pictures of the burned bodies looked worse than those found after the infamous volcano that erupted by Pompeii burned. Many people turned to ashes.
Many foreign governments condemned this act, asking the U.S. to stop bombing Baghdad and focus on the liberation of Kuwait. There was also an international investigation. Some relatives of the victims filed lawsuits against the White House, but all got dismissed.
The U.S. admitted it had mistaken the shelter for an Iraqi military agency based on erroneous intelligence information. I guess the U.S. hadn’t improved its intelligence much when it invaded the same country 13 years later, looking for non-existent Chemical weapons in Iraq.
The reason I am writing today is to show the world the other face of wars our country has waged in the name of democracy. You can not bomb democracies into other nations.
The Ameriyya shelter attack is a genocide that will remain bitter in the heart and memories of the Iraqi people. The victims’ families will never forgive the fact that they never saw justice for their loved ones.
The Ameriyya shelter remains unfixed and is considered a national Iraqi memorial to honor the victims and remind people the U.S. didn’t bring anything to Iraq but the smell of death and blood.
No more wars in the name of democracy, please.