Blogroll Me! How This Old Brit Sees It ...: For Those Who Have Forgotten: The Fallujah Massacre - And More ...

03 November 2007

For Those Who Have Forgotten: The Fallujah Massacre - And More ...

What follows is extracted via 'The New Statesman'
from Dahr Jamail's new book:

"Beyond the Green Zone: Despatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq"

(Published by Haymarket Books @ £13.99, and will be available from this coming Thursday - 8 November 2007.)

Now, first things first.

Let's get something straight, from the outset ... we make absolutely no apologies if this particular post comes across as any kind of promotion, advertisement and/or endorsement. Quite the contrary.

The fact of the matter is that in this instance, it is our own (quite considerably informed), most UN-humble opinion -- that everyone who
can read ... should read this brand new book, especially all genuinely civilised US citizens - regardless of personal political stripes.

The military was maintaining a strict cordon around most of Fallujah. As I could not enter the city, I set out to interview doctors and patients who had fled and were presently working in various hospitals around Baghdad. While visiting Yarmouk Hospital looking for more information about Fallujah, I came across several children from areas south of Baghdad.

One of these was a 12-year-old girl, Fatima Harouz, from Latifiya. She lay dazed in a crowded hospital room, limply waving her bruised arm at the flies. Her shins, shattered by bullets from US soldiers when they fired through the front door of her house, were both covered by casts. Small plastic drainage bags filled with red fluid sat upon her abdomen, where she took shrapnel from another bullet. Her mother told us, "They attacked our home, and there weren't even any resistance fighters in our area."

Victims' testament

Fatima's uncle was shot and killed, his wife had been wounded, and their home was ransacked by soldiers. "Before they left, they killed all our chickens." A doctor who was with us looked at me and asked, "This is the freedom. In their Disneyland are there kids just like this?"

Another young woman, Rana Obeidy, had been walking home in Baghdad with her brother two nights earlier. She assumed the soldiers had shot her and her brother because he was carrying a bottle of soda. She had a chest wound where a bullet had grazed her, but had struck her little brother and killed him.

In another room, a small boy from Fallujah lay on his stomach. Shrapnel from a grenade thrown into his home by a US soldier had entered his body through his back and was implanted near his kidney. An operation had successfully removed the shrapnel, but his father had been killed by what his mother described as "the haphazard shooting of the Americans". The boy, Amin, lay in his bed vacillating between crying with pain and playing with his toy car.


This was the first time I had heard a refugee describing the use of white phosphorous incendiary weapons by the US military, fired from artillery into Fallujah. Though it is not technically a banned weapon, it is a violation of the Geneva Conventions to use white phosphorous in an area where civilians may be hit. I heard similar descriptions in the coming days and weeks, both from refugees and doctors who had fled the city.

Several doctors I interviewed had told me they had been instructed by the interim government not to speak to any journalists about the patients they were receiving from Fallujah. A few of them told me they had even been instructed by the Shia-controlled Ministry of Health not to accept patients from Fallujah.

That night I interviewed a spokesman for the Iraq Red Crescent, who told me none of their relief teams had been allowed into Fallujah, and the military said it would be at least two more weeks before any refugees would be allowed back into their city. Collecting information from doctors in the city, he had estimated that at least 800 civilians had been killed so far in the siege.

The second assault on Fallujah was a monument to brutality and atrocity made in the United States of America. Like the Spanish city of Guernica during the 1930s, and Grozny in the 1990s, Fallujah is our monument of excess and overkill.

Read the rest of the relevant New Statesman article, right here.

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Anonymous RJ Adams said...

The razing of Fallujah was no more than Bush's revenge for the killing in that city of four Blackwater mercenaries. It may one day rank as one of the great war crimes of the era.

Dahr Jamail is doing a terrific job. Unfortunately, few Americans stray far from the conventional media channels. Consequently, he tends to be read by the already converted.

You may find this link interesting:

2:47 am  
Anonymous kiwi said...

"It may one day rank as one of the great war crimes of the era."

I don't know about 'maybe' - it definitely should do simply because it definitely was.

12:31 pm  
Anonymous kiwi said...

I've just had a quick read of that link,rja. Thanks, it's well worth reading.

P.S. I've made the link 'live'.

12:37 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And what will the US soldiers who actually carried out the massacre tell their kids when they're asked:"What did YOU do in the war, daddy?"

12:42 pm  
Anonymous xxx said...

They'll trot out the same old lame excuse - just following orders.

Of course they'll be lying - especially to themselves. Many of those involved will eventually commit suicide - I'd stake my own life on that. Then it will be the turn of their own families to suffer.

2:18 pm  
Blogger Twilight said...

Thanks for introducing me to Dahr Jamail, Richard. I hadn't seen his writing before.

He's one VERY brave guy.

If I can find his birth data somewhere I'll do a blog about him. So far I can only find that he was born in Houston, Texas in 1968....I'll keep searching.

3:43 pm  
Anonymous Charles said...

I've known about Dahr for a long time...and I've worried about him for a long time too.

I hate saying it but when this book of his hits the shelves this week - I'll be worrying about him even more.

3:58 pm  

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