US "anti-Arab bomb" graffiti criticised

Chicago: Dec 23 (South News)-A leading US Arab group called on the US military today to discipline soldiers who scrawled disparaging graffiti on missiles dropped on Iraq during Operation Desert Fox.

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee called for an investigation into the incident as indicative of encouraging ``anti-Arab bigotry'' in the US armed forces.

The slogans such as ``Die, You Magets'' (sic), ``This is Gunna (sic) Hurt'' and ``To Saddam, Mery (sic) X-msa ``were evidence of a ``culture of racism in the military towards Arabs,'' the committee said in a statement.

It lambasted the Pentagon's failure to launch an inquiry into the incident and called for a thorough investigation and a program of ``sensitivity training for military personnel.''

In a statement issued today, the Pentagon repudiated the graffiti, which it said was ``thoughtless'' and unrepresentative of US soldiers.

The pentagon was responding to graffiti, as shown on a BBC picture reading: "HERE'S A RAMADAN PRESENT FROM CHAD RICKENBERG." The BBC said "it was scribbled by a sailor on a 907-kilo laser-guided bomb waiting to be loaded onto a fighter jet on board the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise."

The ADC also said the incident was a corollary of the anti-Arab bias in US foreign policy and attitudes ``which demonise and dehumanise Arabs in general and Iraqis in particular.''

These attitudes it charged, were the ``bedrock'' of US policy towards Iraq, leading to ``repeated unjustified bombings of Iraq'' and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis because of economic sanctions.

The US administration needed to rethink its foreign policy on Iraq which had ``mercilessly victimised'' the Iraqi people, it continued.

``The United States deeply respects Islam,'' the Pentagon said. ``We are grateful for our good relations with Arab and Islamic people, and we appreciate the important contributions of Muslim-Americans to the US military and to our nation as a whole.''