FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Revenants of Fallujah

by CLANCY SIGAL

The angry, violent Sunni city of Fallujah in western Iraq was as “iconic” in George Bush’s invasion as Bastogne in World War Two and the siege of Hue in Vietnam.  The Fallujah battles “stood for” something brave, atrocious, brutal, bloody, photogenic and a kind of wrapup for everything wrong we did to a country that had zip to do with 9/11.

The latest round has various “rebel” groups, such as Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS), retaking Fallujah wrongly thought to be “pacified”.  Once again a few days ago Fallujah “fell”, was retaken (by whom?), fell again and now is the target of Shiite boss Nouri al-Maliki’s attempt with U.S. weapons to wipe out the city once again.

Put yourself in the boots of a Marine who survived Fallujah or a mother who lost a soldier son in this city in western Iraq.  Or try to identify with an Iraqi man or woman living in that tormented place forever caught between quarreling Arab factions, either homegrown or volunteer jihadists spilling over from the Syrian civil war, and wondering when lent U.S. Hellfire missiles fired from borrowed U.S. Apache gunships will blast them to hell…again.

What we did in Fallujah in the 2004 and 2007 sieges was a war crime, leaving behind not only hundreds of dead Iraqis and dead and wounded Marines, but many children with what local doctors call “congential birth deformities” due to our use of “Willie Pete” or banned, incendiary white phospherus shells and depeted uranium ammo.  A 2010 pubic health survey found that the forms of cancer in Fallujah are similar to those found among the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb survivors, who were exposed to intense fallout radiation.

In Bush/Çheney/Rumsfeld’s invasion (for which Hilary Clinton voted and has since defended) we “made an example” of Fallujah to teach the ragheads a lesson.  Our military’s basic principle was the 13th century Catholic commandment to troops in the massacre of the rebel Cathar stronghold of Beziers: “Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius – Kill them all for the Lord knoweth them that are His”

 

Thus, Fallujah was the scene of the most intense door-to-door house-to-house combat in which our soldiers were shot by Iraqi snipers and our snipers shot anyone who moved or failed to speak English.  The Iraqi crime, then as now, was that Fallujah, a Sunni town, resisted the Shiite government we imposed on the country.  Anbar province has a very long history of incredibly complicated resistance to…well, just about anybody disliked by tribal chiefs or Sunni religious leaders.  A hornet’s nest of maze-like intrigues over land, oil, honor, theology and last but not least Kurds.

What we did in Fallujah can reasonably be compared to the methodical June 1944 slaughter by SS soldiers in the village of Oradour-sur-Glane in central France where 642 men, women and children were wiped out by shooting or being burned alive.   Oradour’s crime was that some French Resistance guerrillas ambushed an SS doctor on a nearby road.  (A few days ago German prosecutors charged an 88-year-old former member of Hitler’s elite Waffen SS with taking part in the massacre.)

Who do we punish and who do we praise in a war that never had to be fought?

In my view any Marine or trooper who fought at Fallujah deserves to be proud and, perhaps on reflection, depending on afterthoughts, remorseful.  Any general or politician who sent them there deserves indictment as a war criminal.

Meanwhile, lest we forget, this in from a serious analyst:

 

doone1

 

doone2

doone3

doone4

doone5

Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Hemingway Lives

 

Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Hemingway Lives

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Obama Said Hillary will Continue His Legacy and Indeed She Will!
Jeffrey St. Clair
She Stoops to Conquer: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Rob Urie
Long Live the Queen of Chaos
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Evolution of Capitalism, Escalation of Imperialism
Margot Kidder
My Fellow Americans: We Are Fools
Phillip Kim et al.
Open Letter to Bernie Sanders from Former Campaign Staffers
Ralph Nader
Hillary’s Convention Con
Lewis Evans
Executing Children Won’t Save the Tiger or the Rhino
Vijay Prashad
The Iraq War: a Story of Deceit
Chris Odinet
It Wasn’t Just the Baton Rouge Police Who Killed Alton Sterling
Brian Cloughley
Could Trump be Good for Peace?
Patrick Timmons
Racism, Freedom of Expression and the Prohibition of Guns at Universities in Texas
Gary Leupp
The Coming Crisis in U.S.-Turkey Relations
Pepe Escobar
Is War Inevitable in the South China Sea?
Norman Pollack
Clinton Incorruptible: An Ideological Contrivance
Robert Fantina
The Time for Third Parties is Now!
Andre Vltchek
Like Trump, Hitler Also Liked His “Small People”
Serge Halimi
Provoking Russia
David Rovics
The Republicans and Democrats Have Now Switched Places
Andrew Stewart
Countering The Nader Baiter Mythology
Rev. William Alberts
“Law and Order:” Code words for White Lives Matter Most
Ron Jacobs
Something Besides Politics for Summer’s End
David Swanson
It’s Not the Economy, Stupid
Erwan Castel
A Faith that Lifts Barricades: The Ukraine Government Bows and the Ultra-Nationalists are Furious
Steve Horn
Did Industry Ties Lead Democratic Party Platform Committee to Nix Fracking Ban?
Robert Fisk
How to Understand the Beheading of a French Priest
Colin Todhunter
Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU
Franklin Lamb
“Don’t Cry For Us Syria … The Truth is We Shall Never Leave You!”
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
The Artistic Representation of War and Peace, Politics and the Global Crisis
Frederick B. Hudson
Well Fed, Bill?
Harvey Wasserman
NY Times Pushes Nukes While Claiming Renewables Fail to Fight Climate Change
Elliot Sperber
Pseudo-Democracy, Reparations, and Actual Democracy
Uri Avnery
The Orange Man: Trump and the Middle East
Marjorie Cohn
The Content of Trump’s Character
Missy Comley Beattie
Pick Your Poison
Kathleen Wallace
Feel the About Turn
Joseph Grosso
Serving The Grid: Urban Planning in New York
John Repp
Real Cooperation with Nations Is the Best Survival Tactic
Binoy Kampmark
The Scourge of Youth Detention: The Northern Territory, Torture, and Australia’s Detention Disease
Kim Nicolini
Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red In It
Cesar Chelala
Gang Violence Rages Across Central America
Tom H. Hastings
Africa/America
Robert Koehler
Slavery, War and Presidential Politics
Charles R. Larson
Review: B. George’s “The Death of Rex Ndongo”
July 28, 2016
Paul Street
Politician Speak at the DNC
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail