posted on Apr, 11 2006 @ 04:13 PM
"As for this documentary, this guy entered the city ten days after the siege, and then wrote about what things were really like before and during the
siege. Something ain't right there. Fallujah may have seen more action than was reported on the news, but then why do we need a Japanese person to
tell us about it more than a week after the fact?"
The reason we need a Japanese person to tell us this stuff is that our journos aren't doing their job. They sit in the Green Zone, talk to US
government and military sources, and NEVER talk to the civilians who have to bear the brunt of this dreadful mess. The US and (puppet) Iraqi
governments have forbidden journalists to get details of civilian deaths from the morgue in Baghdad. Robert Fisk - who went down there on a regular
basis before the ban came into effect - managed to take a peek at the morgue computer records thanks to his good relations with the guys down there,
and saw that in one month (January this year? I forget) there were over a thousand deaths in Baghdad alone. That's 12,000 a year just for Baghdad,
never mind the rest of the country. Many of them are cable-tied and shot in the head.
Secondly, Fallujah is by no means the only town that has been wrecked in order to 'root out insurgents' (who from other perspectives might be called
patriots). We just don't hear about them. Reporters have been killed at an alarming rate across Iraq. One AP stringer was investigating the links
between the death squads that are killing people (in a striking parallel to El Salvador and Guatemala and Colombia and Argentina and Brazil and... oh,
you probably get the picture by now) and he was killed by a US sniper. Funny, that.
While so many of you are basking smugly in the idea that 'your boys' have 'liberated' Iraq, the life of the average Iraqi has become far less
tolerable than it ever was under Saddam. At a time when prices are rising steeply there is massive unemployment, and more and more people are being
robbed or kidnapped at gunpoint. US soldiers are (not unnaturally, from their point of view) somewhat trigger-happy and have been accused, over and
over, of looting/confiscating goods whenever they are involved in the house-to-house searches that are involved in 'sweeping' for 'insurgents'.
So what does the film tell us happened at Fallujah? I'll watch it for you, shall I?
28 April 2003 - US soldiers kill 17 civilians at a demonstration in Fallujah. The demonstration was to protest the US occupation of a local school.
The occupation had gone on for weeks and children could not be taught. When the demonstrators refused to leave the street, US troops opened fire. On
unarmed civilians. When some tried to take the wounded to hospital, their car was shot up, killing one civilian instantly. The US troops also shot
at an ambulance that arrived on the scene. Eight civilians died subsequently.
The situation worsened. There are a lot of guns around in Iraq. The civilians need them to defend themselves against robbers and kidnappers who roam
freely in the anarchy the US has brought. Now, however, they began to resist the US military. Eventually, almost a year later, 31st March 2004, four
Americans were killed as they arrived in Fallujah. I don't know how many Iraqis were killed in that year, though I suspect that even after the
original massacre it was more than four. Many had been detained and disappeared.
The bodies of the Americans were dismembered and set on fire as an act of revenge for the massacre outside the school and the subsequent
Four days later US troops surrounded the town. For 28 days the town was under attack. The film interviews a 34-year-old Iraqi, Juma Hassan, who lost
his wife and two daughters (aged 4 and 6) when their house was struck by a missile. An Iraqi woman describes how her son and daughter were both shot
by a US sniper as they tried to evacuate their house during a bombardment. Both head shots. Very accurate.
It's hard not to use the words 'baby-killers' at this point.
I'd bet that none of the gung-ho types who are so pro-war have seen the movie, or have the guts to watch the Iraqi mother grieving for her dead
children. Better the insurgents remain faceless and guilty rather than individuated and innocent. This might be 'propaganda' you couldn't laugh
Mosques were also targeted, guaranteeing that Muslims all over the world would be appalled. Imagine the reaction of Christians if the Chinese invaded
and occupied the US and destroyed churches. Several districts were almost levelled.
A family of 41 who had retreated to what they thought was a safer place away from the fighting had 29 of their number killed when their house was
bombed by a US plane. Women and children included. When people came to try and rescue the bodies they too were strafed. Bodies were identified by
scraps of hair and clothing, except for one pregnant woman whose back had been blown away and her unborn child had slipped out of her abdomen.
Cluster bombs - illegal in the civilised world - caused more civilian casualties.
A family farmhouse several miles outside town was bombed with more civilian casualties. Later US soldiers came to search the wrecked buildings and
one stole money and the ID card from the wallet of the farm owner's brother, who was dead. One of the family members and his two children tried
fleeing to a nearby stream for shelter. Cluster bombs were dropped all around him and he was killed. A woman who had come to get away from the
fighting in Fallujah was sleeping on mattresses with her four children in the courtyard of the farmhouse. All were killed. You can see the
US forces occupied the hospital and so the doctors created a makeshift clinic elsewhere in the city, treating people as well as they could without
water or electricity, which had been cut off by the besiegers. According to the doctors who worked there, most of the patients were women, children
and the elderly. 731 dead people passed through the makeshift hospital in the period of the siege, 25% being women and another 25% children. There
were 2847 wounded.
US troops also attacked the makeshift clinic and its ambulances. "They know that this is a hospital, they know that we have patients here... but
they shoot..." There is also photographic evidence and testimony to suggest that US troops mutilated people after shooting them.
Later we visit the hospital, now abandoned by the US military. We see footage of a 12 year old boy shot by a US sniper four days after the siege was
lifted and a truce supposedly came into effect. His genitals were completely shot away when he stepped out of his house because he wanted to play
Everyone still feeling proud?
In response to the question, did Al-Qaeda fight in Fallujah, one interviewee says that the people of the town - teachers, labourers and doctors at the
hospital - fought. I'm hoping he was wrong about the doctors, who should have been pretty busy. But there are other witnesses who back him up in
his story that the people of the town rose up to fight against the occupiers. One old boy makes the telling point that if there were all these
foreign fighters as the US claims, why haven't they arrested one to show to the world?
As people couldn't get to the cemetery to bury their dead due to the fighting, the soccer stadium became a mass grave. We see mourners grieving and
the graves of women and children.
The film was shot in April 2004. In November the US went back and killed (according to the Red Crescent) over 6000 people. The destruction of the
city was far greater than is shown in the film: and that's when chemical weapons were used against the Iraqi residents of Fallujah.
Remind anyone of the old Vietnam saying "we had to destroy the village in order to save it"?
So: just to recap, we have here lots of evidence of war crimes, lots of evidence suggesting a heavy-handed occupation, and very little actual evidence
of foreign fighters. I dare say that many of the gung-ho posters on this bulletin board would get together to defend their own towns from a foreign
occupier. Why would Iraqis be any different?
And who among the gung-hos has the courage to watch this film and bear witness to the suffering of the Iraqi people?
And, oh, yeah... at the risk of going off-topic, anyone care to remember WHY US troops are there in the first place? Was it
b) WMD or
c) to liberate the Iraqis and bring them freedom and democracy?
Because all of the above are looking PRETTY THIN.