The Battle for Fallujah

“U.S. Urges Civilians to Flee Targeted Falluja,” reads a headline (Reuters dispatch, November 5). Not true, as the article subsequently indicates: “U.S. troops sealed all roads to Falluja and urged women, children and non-fighting age men to flee, but said they would arrest any man under 45 trying to enter or leave the city.”

We see here the 100-percent equation of “women, children and non-fighting age men” with the “civilian” population, and the corresponding totalizing depiction of males aged 18-45 as legitimate targets for arrest, detention (perhaps in Abu Ghraib-like conditions) and destruction.

Can someone please explain how to square this with the Geneva Conventions, Article 3? “Persons taking no active part in the hostilities … shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, *sex*, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.”

The blanket designation of “battle-age” males as participants in military activity is a standard prelude to the gendercidal (gender-selective) slaughter of men of this age-group. Denial of the right of “battle-age” men to flee a besieged city and find safe refuge occurred at Srebrenica in Bosnia in 1993, paving the way for the massacre of Muslim males in July 1995, Europe’s worst massacre since the Second World War. U.S. forces are already deeply complicit in one major act of gendercidal killing in recent years, the murder by Northern Alliance forces of thousands of Taliban prisoners-of-war in Afghanistan in 2001. (See my article for Counterpunch, “America’s Srebrenica“.)

U.S. estimates of the number of active rebels in Falluja range between 1,500 and 3,000. Most observers claim that between 60,000 and 100,000 people remain in the city, overwhelmingly, it seems, “battle-age” men. Let us take the high-end estimate for the rebels, and the low end for the population as a whole: 3,000 rebels, 60,000 people total. If this is accepted, only about one in twenty — five percent — of those in the city are combatants.

Of course, many of the remaining (mostly adult male) civilians could be providing support services for the rebels. But that could be no less true of women, children, and old men, who are being allowed to leave the city unmolested. No-one has suggested the resistance in Falluja is anything but popularly-based.

Anyone who is concerned that all human and civilian rights be protected in conflict should be outraged by the imposition of this gender-selective policy, which is preparing thousands or tens of thousands of civilian men in Falluja for a brutal death at U.S. hands.

ADAM JONES is executive director of Gendercide Watch, a Web-based educational initiative that confronts gender-selective atrocities worldwide. He is editor of “Genocide, War Crimes & the West: History and Complicity” (Zed Books, 2004).


More articles by:

Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael Duggin
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
Mel Gurtov
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid
Thomas Knapp
Lame Duck Shutdown Theater Time: Pride Goeth Before a Wall?
George Wuerthner
The Thrill Bike Threat to the Elkhorn Mountains
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Selfhood and Her Ability to Act in the Public Domain: Resilience of Nadia Murad
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
On the Killing of an Ash Tree
Graham Peebles
Britain’s Homeless Crisis
Louis Proyect
America: a Breeding Ground for Maladjustment
Steve Carlson
A Hell of a Time
Dan Corjescu
America and The Last Ship
Jeffrey St. Clair
Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2018
David Yearsley
Bikini by Rita, Voice by Anita