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News :: International
What 15 seconds did to the Hassan family—and to the men of Apache Company
20 Mar 2005
Orphans of Tall Afar
March 28 issue - Army investigators in Iraq have cleared Apache Company's soldiers of any wrongdoing. The men did what they were trained to do under the circumstances. Yet that's small comfort to the Hassan orphans. "If it were up to me, I'd kill the Americans and drink their blood," says Jilan, 14. Her 12-year-old brother, Rakan, was discharged from Mosul General Hospital this month. Doctors said his best hope of walking again is to seek treatment outside Iraq. At least he can move his legs. As far as he knows, his parents are in the hospital, recovering from the shooting. No one dares to tell him the truth.

The Hassan family might have vanished into the war's statistics if Chris Hondros hadn't been at the scene that evening. The Getty Images photographer had spent the day on patrol with Apache Company. Readers have been asking NEWSWEEK about the Hassan orphans ever since we ran their picture in our Jan. 31 issue. We finally managed to find the youngsters in Mosul, sharing a three-room house with a married sister, her husband and at least three members of his family. It's hard to see the Hassan shooting as anything but a horrible accident of war. Nevertheless, the story offers some insight into why Iraq remains one of the most dangerous places on earth two years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, and why the United States has had such difficulty winning Iraqi hearts and minds.

Continued with PHOTOS at:


Political tags—such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth—are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.

- Robert A Heinlein

The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.
- H.L. Mencken


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