FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Nothing New About Haditha

 

What is it that makes the Marine massacre of civilians at Haditha such a big issue, when we had much worse massacres going on before our eyes much earlier?

The biggest of these was the giant massacre that took place over the course of two weeks in the 300,000-population city of Fallujah in November, 2004

Recall that the Marines–the service that, if we are to believe the propaganda coming out of the Pentagon, have such high standards where civilians are involved–surrounded the city and ordered everyone except the fighters to leave.

The plan was to kill everyone who was left, and that’s what they did.

The problem is that they also were extremely loose in terms of how they defined that “everyone.”

At the time, on the eve of the assault that leveled the entire city, New York Times reporter Dexter Filkins reported that troops were stopping every person who was trying to flee the city and checking them for traces of powder on their hands. Those found to have residues were turned around and sent back to what would be the killing ground. But he reported that those males over the aged of 12 were also turned back, whether they had powder traces on their hands or not.

In other words, the Marines encircling the doomed city decided that all males who were teenagers or older were presumed combatants.

The official tally of dead in Fallujah at the end of the slaughter is 6000, but that is surely too low of a figure. Buildings were leveled by intense bombing and shelling, and nobody was sifting through the wreckage afterwards counting bodies. In fact, much of the city was bulldozed by American forces immediately after the assault, meaning that many bodies will never be found.

We also were treated to a video, taken by an embedded ABC cameraman, which showed a Marine entering a house where several alleged Iraqi fighters were lying, badly wounded, on the floow. The Marine executed them all with “two clicks” to the head. He was later located and exonerated by military “justice,” which accepted his lame excuse that one of the wounded men moved, and might have been hiding a weapon under his shattered body.

All of these things that occurred in Fallujah were war crimes. The very invasion of Fallujah was a major war crime, as the assault was at bottom an act of vengeance and retaliation for the attack in that city earlier in the year on four mercenaries working for the U.S., in which the men were killed and their bodies publicly mutilated. Such revenge upon a city in response to an attack from people in the city is banned under international law, and is a gross war crime.

There were accounts from reporters and from residents of Americans shooting fleeing residents as they tried to swim across the river, even when they were holding up white cloths. The marines attacked a hospital, arrested doctors and dragged wounded inmates from their beds. This was also a war crime.

The Pentagon belatedly admitted to using banned white phosphorus incendiary weapons against the city–weapons that burned enemy fighters and innocent trapped civilians alike to horrible deaths. The U.S. military’s own rules say phosphorus cannot be used even against enemy troops. Yet it was used. There is evidence that napalm, also a banned weapon, was used.

The interesting question is why this one massacre in Haditha is now getting such media attention, while the mainstream media and the Congress completely ignored the much grosser Fallujah attrocities that happened less than two years earlier.

Clearly, the massacre at Fallujah, and the many other attrocities and killings that have left tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis, including many babies and children, dead at the hands of U.S. troops, are not, as Haditha is being portrayed, the work of a few monsters or of a few troops who’s flipped from the stress of battle. The scale of the killings is so great it has to be seen as policy–whether overt or encouraged by a wink and a turned head.

The blame, as in the case of torture, must not be allowed to stay at the enlisted level, or even at the middle ranks. It should be traced out to its source, which is the Secretary of Defense and the Commander in Chief, for it is Rumsfeld and Bush who, in trashing the Geneva Conventions and in looking for ways to get around those civilizing rules or war, have made Haditha, and Fallujah, the norm.

For this, both men should be removed from office and tried for war crimes.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff’s new book is “The Case for Impeachment“,
co-authored by Barbara Olshansky.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com

 

 

 

More articles by:

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
Ted Rall
Why Christine Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh is a Train Wreck You Can’t Look Away From
Lauren Regan
The Day the Valves Turned: Defending the Pipeline Protesters
Ralph Nader
Questions, Questions Where are the Answers?
Binoy Kampmark
Deplatforming Germaine Greer
Raouf Halaby
It Should Not Be A He Said She Said Verdict
Robert Koehler
The Accusation That Wouldn’t Go Away
Jim Hightower
Amazon is Making Workers Tweet About How Great It is to Work There
Robby Sherwin
Rabbi, Rabbi, Where For Art Thou Rabbi?
Vern Loomis
Has Something Evil This Way Come?
Steve Baggarly
Disarm Trident Walk Ends in Georgia
Graham Peebles
Priorities of the Time: Peace
Michael Doliner
The Department of Demonization
David Yearsley
Bollocks to Brexit: the Plumber Sings
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail