Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Fallujah is worse than Haditha.

I find it interesting that the media is now, all of a sudden, all over this story about a unit of Marines massacring 24 Iraqi civilians last November in Haditha. People are shocked, shocked, that our soldiers would murder 24 unarmed men, women and children. Investigations must be held, we have to get to the bottom of this! Many commentators are likening this to the Abu Ghraib scandal and predicting another anti-American backlash in the Iraq and in the Muslim world.

So far, it hasn't happened and I don't think it will. This is small potatos compared to the daily killings of hundreds, if not thousands, of Iraqi civilians since the war began by trigger happy soldiers at check points trying to keep themselves from getting blown up. Just today, American soldiers killed two woman who were rushing to the hospital because one of the woman was about to have a baby. It's pretty much old news to the Iraqis.

What has had, and will have, a far more lasting impact in the eyes of Iraqis and Muslims is the attack on Fallujah in November of 2004. The ruins of that city, the destruction of the mosques there, will serve as a monument to our occupation of Iraq for decades to come. To this day there still isn't much recognition of what we did there. Fallujah used to be a city of 300,000 people, now it's a wrecked shadow of it former self.

And to this day no one still knows how many civilians died at our hands --- and apparently, nor does the media or anyone else particularly care to know. We do know that the city was subjected to a full spectrum bombardment that saw the use of pretty much every piece of ordinance (except nuclear) at our disposal including White Phosphorus, which has the same effect as napalm on human beings.

Back then, the media was pretty much on board with the raising of Fallujah, because the military said our new bogyman Abu al-Zarqawi might have been there; which, I guess, was justification enough to destroy an entire city the likes of which no one had seen since Groznyy. The memory of those four Blackwater contractors hanging from the bridge was still in everyone's minds, so revenge played a part too.

But, of course, the problem with this whole scenario was that al-Zarqawi wasn't there and neither were most of the insurgents we supposedly went in to clear out. Remember, they had already redeployed, what the media called "fled," to Mosul, which came under insurgent attack almost the minute the Marines were "mopping up" Fallujah. And back then, as well, there was some momentary outrage over a video showing a Marine in Fallujah shooting an injured Iraqi to death after he had surrendered, but that passed pretty quickly, as I'm sure all this hubbub will soon enough, because all this outrage isn't directed at the root cause of why things like Haditha keep happening.

To me, it seems like until we stop dropping 2000 lbs bombs on "insurgent hideouts" that kill civilians and call it "collateral damage," keep sending the same finite group of people back into that slaughter house again and again, we're going to keep seeing stories about young 18-year olds losing their shit and going medieval on innocent people. It's horrible to say, but it’s completely understandable. People can only take so much killing, especially people so young.

Obviously, those that pulled the trigger should be charged with murder, but the people who really have blood on their hands are W. and Rummy. They put these kids in the awful position they’re in and they should be held ultimately responsible.


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