The Mother of All War Crimes

The Mother of All War Crimes, an excerpt from Damn Yankee Buttons—-a book of short stories I am working on.


There was a belief that the situation in the Middle East got better after “we” bombed Iraq’s infrastructure back to a primitive condition, via “shock and awe.”

Iraq had occupied Kuwait and were doing some horrible things to people. China was doing horrible things to people in Tibet and to the Tienanmen square prisoners, but China doesn’t have oil compared to Iraq and does have a huge military with nuclear weapons.

The “mother” of all war crimes happened on the highway between Kuwait City and Basra. The retreating convoy was bombed at the front of the column. Thousands of people in the stalled, trapped convoy were incinerated by “our” planes. Fuel bombs sucked the air out of the lungs of people as they burned alive. The retreat became a ghostly line of burnt-out vehicles, with charred people inside.

An initial show of force could have caused the convoy to surrender. It was premeditated murder.

About Sam's Branch

I joined the Peace Corps in 1961 as West Virginia’s first volunteer. Go to to order my book Imagonna: Peace Corps Memories. I am the eighth generation of my family born in the Big Coal River Valley of West Virginia. My father and grandfather were underground coal miners. I have a chemical engineering degree from West Virginia University (WVU). After training to make sidewinder missiles, I joined the Peace Corps and taught chemistry and coached the track team at a secondary school in Nigeria. Since that time, I was WVU’s first full time foreign student advisor and worked in urban outreach, organic farming, construction labor, and high school teaching. I recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy (, and recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Kanawha State Forest Foundation ( I am still on the board of the Labor History Association and the West Virginia Environmental Education Association and recently joined the board of the West Virginia Civil Liberties Union. I am active in the campaign to stop the destructive practice of mountain top removal strip mining in the Appalachian Mountains. You may contact me at or my blog samsbranch.wordpress.
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