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

Fallujah Gulag

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:
October 23, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
The Middle East, Not Russia, Will Prove Trump’s Downfall
Ipek S. Burnett
The Assault on The New Colossus: Trump’s Threat to Close the U.S.-Mexican Border
Mary Troy Johnston
The War on Terror is the Reign of Terror
Maximilian Werner
The Rhetoric and Reality of Death by Grizzly
David Macaray
Teamsters, Hells Angels, and Self-Determination
Jeffrey Sommers
“No People, Big Problem”: Democracy and Its Discontents In Latvia
Dean Baker
Looking for the Next Crisis: the Not Very Scary World of CLOs
Binoy Kampmark
Leaking for Change: ASIO, Jakarta, and Australia’s Jerusalem Problem
Chris Wright
The Necessity of “Lesser-Evil” Voting
Muhammad Othman
Daunting Challenge for Activists: The Cook Customer “Connection”
Don Fitz
A Debate for Auditor: What the Papers Wouldn’t Say
October 22, 2018
Henry Giroux
Neoliberalism in the Age of Pedagogical Terrorism
Melvin Goodman
Washington’s Latest Cold War Maneuver: Pulling Out of the INF
David Mattson
Basket of Deplorables Revisited: Grizzly Bears at the Mercy of Wyoming
Michelle Renee Matisons
Hurricane War Zone Further Immiserates Florida Panhandle, Panama City
Tom Gill
A Storm is Brewing in Europe: Italy and Its Public Finances Are at the Center of It
Suyapa Portillo Villeda
An Illegitimate, US-Backed Regime is Fueling the Honduran Refugee Crisis
Christopher Brauchli
The Liars’ Bench
Gary Leupp
Will Trump Split the World by Endorsing a Bold-Faced Lie?
Michael Howard
The New York Times’ Animal Cruelty Fetish
Alice Slater
Time Out for Nukes!
Geoff Dutton
Yes, Virginia, There are Conspiracies—I Think
Daniel Warner
Davos in the Desert: To Attend or Not, That is Not the Question
Priti Gulati Cox – Stan Cox
Mothers of Exiles: For Many, the Child-Separation Ordeal May Never End
Manuel E. Yepe
Pence v. China: Cold War 2.0 May Have Just Begun
Raouf Halaby
Of Pith Helmets and Sartorial Colonialism
Dan Carey
Aspirational Goals  
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Weekend Edition
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
John Laforge
White House Radiation: Weakened Regulations Would Save Industry Billions
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
NAFTA 2.0 Will Help Corporations More Than Farmers
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail