The harsh beating of Iraqi youths by British soldiers two years ago in the southern city of Basra was a heinous act.
Prime Minister Tony Blair's government has rushed to investigate the incident after Sunday's [Feb. 12] News of the World newspaper showed pictures of British troops abusing Iraqi youths.
The Royal Military Police are reported to have already arrested at least on serving soldier.
However, that will not satisfy many Iraqis, who wonder when the abuses in Iraq are going to end.
The pictures are but the tip of iceberg of abuses, which have accumulated since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
In the nearly three years since the invasion, it is extremely difficult if not impossible to provide a comprehensive accounting of these abuses.
One in fact doesn't know where to begin. Shall we start with the abuses and atrocities at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, in which Iraqis were humiliated and tortured on grounds of suspicion and a rejection of the occupation?
Perhaps one should begin with the scores of murdered Iraqi doctors, scientists and academics, whose killers still walk the streets.
Or the scores of mutilated bodies dumped at the sewage treatment plant in Rustamiya southeast of Baghdad every now and then. Some of these bodies are left mutilated beyond recognition.
Or the secretive jail of Jadiriya, where prisoners were skinned – that might be a good starting point.
The tragedy is that after each atrocity, there is talk of investigation and the need to bring the perpetrators to justice. That was said after the revelations of Jadiriya late last year. But nothing ever happened.
We may remember the bombing of Falluja, which was tantamount to extermination. Nearly 36,000 houses were destroyed and the city was turned into a wasteland, sending at least 200,000 inhabitants into internal exile.
The list of crimes, abuses and atrocities is too long to recount.
We might recall the bombing of the sacred cemetery in the Holy City of Najaf, under the pretext that "terrorists" were hiding there.
And one can't forget the daily victims of U.S. armor and vehicles as they ply Iraqi streets. Passengers in civilian cars are crashed to death or shot at with total impunity.
What about the raids carried under the cover of darkness by what are said to be unidentified gunmen, who leave the bodies of their victims in the middle of street in densely populated areas.
In the face of these horrific atrocities, the beating and kicking of Iraqi youths by British soldiers looks like a joke.
Iraqis would be the happiest people in the world if they were only beaten and kicked.