Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Shooting Schoolboys

 

Tuesday afternoon, April 29, just checking out the news online. MSNBC. Very mainstream, trustworthy reportage.

“US fires on Iraqi crowd, killing at least 13.” In the town of Fallujah, MSNBC reports, U.S. soldiers opened fire on a crowd of demonstrators (boys 5-20 in age) this morning, 10:30 Baghdad time, protesting the troops’ occupation of the school where (according to MSNBC) the boys used to normally study, but now is used as those troops’ headquarters. The story cites al-Jazeera as reporting that the soldiers fired after “someone threw a rock at the school.”

“Dr. Ahmed Ghanim al-Ali, director of Fallujah General Hospital, said there were 13 dead, including three boys under 11 years old. He said his medical crews were shot at when they went to retrieve the injured, which he said numbered 75 people.”

I move on to CNN and peruse their coverage of the event. Here it’s a kind of Rashomon: “Conflicting accounts emerged Tuesday about a clash between the U.S. military and civilians in Iraq that witnesses and Red Cross officials said killed at least 15 Iraqis and wounded up to 53 others.”

Members of the U.S. Army’s 82 Airborne Division, according to the U.S. Central Command (in Kuwait), “fired back in self-defense” after “the protesters fired on the soldiers with AK-47s.” The report quotes an Army sergeant who “shot at what he saw,” and what he saw “was targets. Targets with weapons, and they were going to harm me.” (This strikes me as perfectly understandable, and I feel for the sergeant in this occupying army who has to deal with such consequences of the occupation, which certainly aren’t his fault. He probably just wants to go home, which is of course what the Iraqis are encouraging him to do.) He added: “It’s either them or me, and I took the shot, sir, and I’m still here talking to you.” Someone told CNN that ‘the soldiers fired first; others said residents threw rocks at the troops when tempers flared.'”

“A second U.S. soldier said the clash began when some of the protesters started throwing rocks at the soldiers and others started chanting. ‘Then others joined in throwing rocks, and others brought weapons to the party,’ the soldier said. ‘Then they started firing them — not just into the air but toward the soldiers on top of the buildings.'” But this soldier “said he’s not sure who started shooting first”‘ in a confrontation that “went on for hours.” Hours of confrontation between the 82nd Airborne and angry schoolkids, tempers flaring.

Later, Tuesday afternoon (about 4:35 EST): now CNN says the school (termed “an elementary school”) was taken over because it was thought to house weapons, but says none were found. It repeats the “tempers flared” theme. Little detail, report over in seconds, there being many more significant events to cover.

Just trying to think about what spin will be given this sad Soweto-like story about the chanting, rock-throwing dead boys in the next few days. From Central Command’s point of view, I would expect something along the following lines. Fallujah is a Sunni rather than Shia community, so this exchange can’t and won’t be connected to any nefarious Iranian Shiite interference, but it could be depicted, maybe, as is a city with some diehard Saddam Hussein supporters who for some reason reject the presence of the liberators and so engage in terrorism against them. Some of these teens and pre-teens, with both rocks and AK-47 rifles (one should emphasize the presence, or use, or threatened use of the latter), attacked those liberation forces, obliging them to defend themselves in a manner that, while producing a regrettable loss of life, requires no apology. Indeed, the very occurrence of such incidents shows the need for a strong, positive U.S. presence of two or more years to insure the establishment of democracy in Iraq.

Shooting schoolboys is sometimes necessary, especially when you’ve taken their school, and they want to take it back, and they don’t want you there, and they’re armed with rocks, or whatever’s on hand. And occupation is liberation, and good is bad, and up is down, and Iraq is free.

GARY LEUPP is an an associate professor, Department of History, Tufts University and coordinator, Asian Studies Program.

He can be reached at: gleupp@tufts.edu

 

More articles by:

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa JapanMale Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, (AK Press). He can be reached at: gleupp@tufts.edu

October 18, 2018
Erik Molvar
The Ten Big Lies of Traditional Western Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lockheed and Loaded: How the Maker of Junk Fighters Like the F-22 and F-35 Came to Have Full-Spectrum Dominance Over the Defense Industry
Lawrence Davidson
Israel’s “Psychological Obstacles to Peace”
Brian Platt – Brynn Roth
Black-Eyed Kids and Other Nightmares From the Suburbs
John W. Whitehead
You Want to Make America Great Again? Start by Making America Free Again
Zhivko Illeieff
Why Can’t the Democrats Reach the Millennials?
Steve Kelly
Quiet, Please! The Latest Threat to the Big Wild
Manuel García, Jr.
The Inner Dimensions of Socialist Revolution
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ Over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Adam Parsons
A Global People’s Bailout for the Coming Crash
Binoy Kampmark
The Tyranny of Fashion: Shredding Banksy
Dean Baker
How Big is Big? Trump, the NYT and Foreign Aid
Vern Loomis
The Boofing of America
October 17, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
When Saudi Arabia’s Credibility is Damaged, So is America’s
John Steppling
Before the Law
Frank Stricker
Wages Rising? 
James McEnteer
Larry Summers Trips Out
Muhammad Othman
What You Can Do About the Saudi Atrocities in Yemen
Binoy Kampmark
Agents of Chaos: Trump, the Federal Reserve and Andrew Jackson
David N. Smith
George Orwell’s Message in a Bottle
Karen J. Greenberg
Justice Derailed: From Gitmo to Kavanaugh
John Feffer
Why is the Radical Right Still Winning?
Dan Corjescu
Green Tsunami in Bavaria?
Rohullah Naderi
Why Afghan Girls Are Out of School?
George Ochenski
You Have to Give Respect to Get Any, Mr. Trump
Cesar Chelala
Is China Winning the War for Africa?
Mel Gurtov
Getting Away with Murder
W. T. Whitney
Colombian Lawyer Diego Martinez Needs Solidarity Now
Dean Baker
Nothing to Brag About: Scott Walker’s Economic Record in Wisconsin:
October 16, 2018
Gregory Elich
Diplomatic Deadlock: Can U.S.-North Korea Diplomacy Survive Maximum Pressure?
Rob Seimetz
Talking About Death While In Decadence
Kent Paterson
Fifty Years of Mexican October
Robert Fantina
Trump, Iran and Sanctions
Greg Macdougall
Indigenous Suicide in Canada
Kenneth Surin
On Reading the Diaries of Tony Benn, Britain’s Greatest Labour Politician
Andrew Bacevich
Unsolicited Advice for an Undeclared Presidential Candidate: a Letter to Elizabeth Warren
Thomas Knapp
Facebook Meddles in the 2018 Midterm Elections
Muhammad Othman
Khashoggi and Demetracopoulos
Gerry Brown
Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics: How the US Weaponizes Them to Accuse  China of Debt Trap Diplomacy
Christian Ingo Lenz Dunker – Peter Lehman
The Brazilian Presidential Elections and “The Rules of The Game”
Robert Fisk
What a Forgotten Shipwreck in the Irish Sea Can Tell Us About Brexit
Martin Billheimer
Here Cochise Everywhere
David Swanson
Humanitarian Bombs
Dean Baker
The Federal Reserve is Not a Church
October 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Climate Crisis is Upon Us
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail