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:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
December 09, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nasty As They Wanna Be
Henry Giroux
Trump’s Second Gilded Age: Overcoming the Rule of Billionaires and Militarists
Andrew Levine
Trump’s Chumps: Victims of the Old Bait and Switch
Chris Welzenbach
The Forgotten Sneak Attack
Lewis Lapham
Hostile Takeover
Joshua Frank
This Week at CounterPunch: More Hollow Smears and Baseless Accusations
Paul Street
The Democrats Do Their Job, Again
Vijay Prashad
The Cuban Revolution: Defying Imperialism From Its Backyard
Michael Hudson - Sharmini Peries
Orwellian Economics
Mark Ames
The Anonymous Blacklist Promoted by the Washington Post Has Apparent Ties to Ukrainian Fascism and CIA Spying
Erin McCarley
American Nazis and the Fight for US History
Yoav Litvin
Resist or Conform: Lessons in Fortitude and Weakness From the Israeli Left
Conn Hallinan
India & Pakistan: the Unthinkable
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Nativism on the Left – A Realer Smith
Joshua Sperber
Trump in the Age of Identity Politics
Brandy Baker
Jill Stein Sees Russia From Her House
Katheryne Schulz
Report from Santiago de Cuba: Celebrating Fidel’s Rebellious Life
Nelson Valdes
Fidel and the Good People
Norman Solomon
McCarthy’s Smiling Ghost: Democrats Point the Finger at Russia
Renee Parsons
The Snowflake Nation and Trump on Immigration
Margaret Kimberley
Black Fear of Trump
Michael J. Sainato
A Pruitt Running Through It: Trump Kills Nearly Useless EPA With Nomination of Oil Industry Hack
Ron Jacobs
Surviving Hate and Death—The AIDS Crisis in 1980s USA
David Swanson
Virginia’s Constitution Needs Improving
Louis Proyect
Narcos and the Story of Colombia’s Unhappiness
Paul Atwood
War Has Been, is, and Will be the American Way of Life…Unless?
John Wight
Syria and the Bodyguard of Lies
Richard Hardigan
Anti-Semitism Awareness Act: Senate Bill Criminalizes Criticism of Israel
Kathy Kelly
See How We Live
David Macaray
Trump Picks his Secretary of Labor. Ho-Hum.
Howard Lisnoff
Interview with a Political Organizer
Yves Engler
BDS and Anti-Semitism
Adam Parsons
Home Truths About the Climate Emergency
Brian Cloughley
The Decline and Fall of Britain
Eamonn Fingleton
U.S. China Policy: Is Obama Schizoid?
Graham Peebles
Worldwide Air Pollution is Making us Ill
Joseph Natoli
Fake News is Subjective?
Andre Vltchek
Tough-Talking Philippine President Duterte
Binoy Kampmark
Total Surveillance: Snooping in the United Kingdom
Guillermo R. Gil
Vivirse la película: Willful Opposition to the Fiscal Control Board in Puerto Rico
Patrick Bond
South Africa’s Junk Credit Rating was Avoided, But at the Cost of Junk Analysis
Clancy Sigal
Investigate the Protesters! A Trial Balloon Filled With Poison Gas
Pierre Labossiere – Margaret Prescod
Human Rights and Alternative Media Delegation Report on Haiti’s Elections
Charles R. Larson
Review:  Helon Habila’s The Chibok Girls: the Boko Haram Kidnappings and Islamist Militancy in Nigeria
David Yearsley
Brahms and the Tears of Britain’s Oppressed
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail