Twenty-four young special-needs orphans were discovered by U.S. soldiers June 10, naked, starving and laying in their own excrement. Some of the emaciated little boys were chained to cribs in a government orphanage. The Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Mahmoud al Sheikh Radhi, was outraged according to Iraqiya State Television after the images of these abused boys were aired on CBS. Who wouldn't be outraged to see emaciated children treated like this, when in a locked closet there were shelves of new clothes and food?
However Radhi's outrage was with U.S. troops, according to state television. State television reports that the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs wants to sue the U.S. military for "slandering" Iraqi children.
In a press conference earlier this week the minister told reporters that U.S. soldiers put "terror into the souls" of the abused boys by rescuing them at the Al Hanan orphanage at 2 a.m., according to Iraqi news outlets.
"I believe that those who conducted this raid deserve to be tried," he was quoted in Iraqi news outlets as saying. "Can a reasonable person accept horrifying these sons and putting terror into their souls at such a late time."
He said the boys were naked because of the summer heat. He didn't explain why they had been beaten and starved.
In an interview with state television Ahmed, one of the little boys, tells a reporter that he was beaten and stripped.
"Majed is a dog. He hit me with a stick," he tells the reporter, referring to one of his caretakers. "We didn't do anything. He hit me in my heart, hit me in my heart with a stick."
Last month the United Nations Children Fund issued a report saying that the situation of children in Iraqi is at a "critical point" with lack of healthcare, education and money for them. About 50 percent of displaced people both inside and outside Iraq are children.
Iraqis are outraged by the comments, calling them insulting.
An Iraqi blogger asks for accountability, something Iraqis rarely see.
"Oh Mr. Minister it is so exposed and it is a big crime against these innocent children. You don't need justifications ... Why do you blame your mistakes on media and the American troops. You say the images were fabricated and the truth is something else. Stop the excuses and justifications...please your highness Mr. Minister, expect that every failure from your governmental establishments will harm the structure of the state and the Iraqi government. Because if the state with it's president and prime minister and parliament and staff knew what was going on it is a disaster. If they didn't know it is a bigger disaster."