The US military and possibly Coalition partners have in many cases taken women and children hostage in order to force their male relatives among the guerrillas to surrender. Since this practice is a form of collective punishment and was undertaken while the Coalition occupied Iraq, it is a war crime.From Der Spiegel:
IRAQ: US soldiers are said to have abused arrested children.
More than hundred children have been detained in Iraqi prisons--including the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, according to information provided by the international red cross. According to the TV magazine show "Report" Coalition troops are may also have abused children and young people. "Between January and May we registered altogether 107 children, during 19 visits at six different prisons", the spokesman of the International Red Cross (IKRK), Florian Westphal, said in a Geneva interview with the SWR magazine "Report Mainz". She said that these places of detention were controlled by coalition troops. The number of the children imprisoned held could also be higher, according to Westphal. In addition, the TV magazine reported references and testimonies, according to which US soldiers in Iraqi prisons also abused children and young people.
I'd seen mention of this as an aside earlier. Guerilla's fight from home, and frequently fight as a family. They may even consider such tactics to be harsh, but rational.
For the rest of us though, war crime sounds about right.
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