FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Fallujah Gulag

by DOUGLAS LUMMIS

The U.S. Military, the newspapers tell us, has conquered Fallujah. But here you must read the news carefully. It seems that the U.S. military is in control of (most of) the area of Fallujah, and of (what is left of) its buildings, but not of its people. The people, some 300,000 of them, are outside the city, waiting to go home.

So the U.S. Military is facing a dilemma. The point of the Fallujah operation was to make it possible to hold elections in January. To carry out elections in Fallujah, the U.S. Military will have let Fallujah’s residents return home. But what if, after they return home, they start fighting against the U.S. occupation, as they did before?

According to a December 5 article by Ann Barnard in the Boston Globe, the U.S. military has devised a plan to solve this dilemma. They are going to “funnel Fallujans to so-called citizen processing centers on the outskirts of the city to compile a database of their identities through DNA testing and retina scans.” Then they will give each person a nametag, which they will be required to wear at all times. Presumably people not wearing nametags will be in danger of being seen as guerrilla fighters, and shot.

The Military also wants to organize all Fallujan men into “military-style battalions”, and force them to work, cleaning up and rebuilding the destroyed city.

It seems the U.S. military is still under the illusion that in Fallujah there are two types of people, “terrorists” and “ordinary residents”. So if you can distinguish which is which, and allow only the “ordinary residents”, clearly marked, back into the city, peace will be achieved. But when the “ordinary residents” return to the city, some of them will surely resume guerrilla operations ­ especially after they see what has been done to their homes.

To prevent this, they will be organized into work battalions, probably under U.S. or Iraqi military commanders.

So this is the point to which these American Bringers-Of-Democracy have been driven to? Where can we find a parallel for the kind of social organization they are planning? In German history, the concentration camp. In U.S. history, the relocation centers of World War II. In Russian history, the gulag.

I think this mad “Fallujah plan” will, or should, go down in history as one of those perfect, crystalline moments when imperial domination shows its true nature. During the Vietnam War we had the immortal words, “We had to destroy the village to save it.” That summed it all up beautifully. The Fallujah Plan expresses the same contradiction. To save Fallujah’s “freedom” it has to be destroyed as a city and turned into a prison.

But is it possible to transform an entire city of angry people into a prison? Is it possible to “process” 300,000 people, “process” meaning, transform them from citizens into prisoners in their own city, all in a couple of weeks to be in time for the election? This sounds less like a plan than a mad fantasy dreamed up by a group of people frustrated and driven to the wall. The U.S. military assault on Fallujah succeeded. It was, Pentagon officials boast, a great military victory. The U.S. Military did everything a military can do. They shot the people they could shoot, wrecked the buildings they could wreck, and took control of the city. If the city of Fallujah is its land and buildings, they have won it. But if the city is its people, they have not won it. When they let the people back in, they will be back where they started. They won, and yet they lost. No wonder they are beginning to show neurotic symptoms.

DOUGLAS LUMMIS is a political scientist living in Okinawa and the author of Radical Democracy. Lummis can be reached at: ideaspeddlers@mpd.biglobe.ne.jp
 

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
February 23, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Richard D. Wolff
Capitalism as Obstacle to Equality and Democracy: the US Story
Paul Street
Where’s the Beef Stroganoff? Eight Sacrilegious Reflections on Russiagate
Jeffrey St. Clair
They Came, They Saw, They Tweeted
Andrew Levine
Their Meddlers and Ours
Charles Pierson
Nuclear Nonproliferation, American Style
Joseph Essertier
Why Japan’s Ultranationalists Hate the Olympic Truce
W. T. Whitney
US and Allies Look to Military Intervention in Venezuela
John Laforge
Maybe All Threats of Mass Destruction are “Mentally Deranged”
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: an American Reckoning
David Rosen
For Some Reason, Being White Still Matters
Robert Fantina
Nikki Haley: the U.S. Embarrassment at the United Nations
Joyce Nelson
Why Mueller’s Indictments Are Hugely Important
Joshua Frank
Pearl Jam, Will You Help Stop Sen. Tester From Destroying Montana’s Public Lands?
Dana E. Abizaid
The Attack on Historical Perspective
Conn Hallinan
Immigration and the Italian Elections
George Ochenski
The Great Danger of Anthropocentricity
Pete Dolack
China Can’t Save Capitalism from Environmental Destruction
Joseph Natoli
Broken Lives
Manuel García, Jr.
Why Did Russia Vote For Trump?
Geoff Dutton
One Regime to Rule Them All
Torkil Lauesen – Gabriel Kuhn
Radical Theory and Academia: a Thorny Relationship
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: The Work of Persuasion
Thomas Klikauer
Umberto Eco and Germany’s New Fascism
George Burchett
La Folie Des Grandeurs
Howard Lisnoff
Minister of War
Eileen Appelbaum
Why Trump’s Plan Won’t Solve the Problems of America’s Crumbling Infrastructure
Ramzy Baroud
More Than a Fight over Couscous: Why the Palestinian Narrative Must Be Embraced
Jill Richardson
Mass Shootings Shouldn’t Be the Only Time We Talk About Mental Illness
Jessicah Pierre
Racism is Killing African American Mothers
Steve Horn
Wyoming Now Third State to Propose ALEC Bill Cracking Down on Pipeline Protests
David Griscom
When ‘Fake News’ is Good For Business
Barton Kunstler
Brainwashed Nation
Griffin Bird
I’m an Eagle Scout and I Don’t Want Pipelines in My Wilderness
Edward Curtin
The Coming Wars to End All Wars
Missy Comley Beattie
Message To New Activists
Jonah Raskin
Literary Hubbub in Sonoma: Novel about Mrs. Jack London Roils the Faithful
Binoy Kampmark
Frontiersman of the Internet: John Perry Barlow
Chelli Stanley
The Mirrors of Palestine
James McEnteer
How Brexit Won World War Two
Ralph Nader
Absorbing the Irresistible Consumer Reports Magazine
Cesar Chelala
A Word I Shouldn’t Use
Louis Proyect
Marx at the Movies
Osha Neumann
A White Guy Watches “The Black Panther”
Stephen Cooper
Rebel Talk with Nattali Rize: the Interview
David Yearsley
Market Music
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail