FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Do Arabs Cry For Their Children Too?

Rennes, France.

Once more tragedy befalls America. But this time the tragedy is even more bitter due to the fact that such a large number of young children were involved. A gunman, identified as Adam Lanza, shot and killed 26 people, 20 of them children – all between the ages of 5 and 10 – at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on the 14th of December. The attack ended with the gunman committing suicide. It was the Nation’s second deadliest school shooting.

Most people can’t imagine the evil and insanity needed to drive a person to commit such a heinous act. The murder of innocent people is reprehensible, but it is even more so when carried out on the most vulnerable elements of our society, children. Most disturbing of all is the well planned, deliberate and determined manner in which the murders appear to have been carried out. Early reports state that the gunman was highly accurate, leaving only one wounded survivor alive at the school.

President Obama, reading a prepared statement, was overcome with emotion. “Our hearts are broken,” he said. The victims were “beautiful little kids. They had their entire lives ahead of them: birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.” It was at this moment that the President reached up to the corner of one eye, touching an apparent tear.

On April 3rd, 1991, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 687, imposing sanctions on Iraq as a result of its invasion of Kuwait. This resulted in Iraq being economically isolated from the rest of the world community. But by the end of 1995 there were reports that the sanctions were having a devastating effect on the populace. A study in The Lancet, the journal of the British Medical Association, reported that up to 576,000 Iraqi children may have died since the end of the first Gulf War as a result of the sanctions imposed by the Security Council. UNICEF, in 1999, estimated that at least 500,000 children died who would have otherwise normally lived had it not been for the sanctions in place. The Security Council, led by the United States, rejected numerous appeals by Iraq to lift the sanctions.

In 2003 the US invaded Iraq for a second time. The second Gulf War was a bloody and brutal affair, costing the lives of over 4,400 US soldiers, with almost 32,000 wounded. But these figures pale in comparison to the suffering experienced (once more) by the Iraqi people. A study released in 2006 found that there were 655,000 more deaths in Iraq than normally would have been expected had coalition forces not invaded in March 2003. This figure was more than 20 times higher than a figure that then President George Bush was using. The study found that most victims were between the ages of 15 and 44.

Nowhere was the fighting more intense in Iraq than at the battle of Fallujah (I & II). The American attack was in response to the murder of 4 Blackwater contractors, who also happened to be ex-special forces. The first battle lasted from April 5 to April 30, 2004, and was primarily a Marine operation. It was some of the most intense fighting that US soldiers had seen since the battle of Hue City in Vietnam. A local Iraqi official reported that at least 600 civilians were killed, with 1,250 more wounded.

The second attack on Fallujah involved seven Marine battalions, plus two Army battalions, and was a multi-phased affair. Combat operations started on November 7, 2004, with fighting lasting until the end of December that same year. An estimated 3,000 insurgents were killed or captured, with 70 US soldiers killed in action (a total of 151 US soldiers died in both battles).

But disturbing revelations came out after the fact. There were reports that the US had used chemical weapons, a war crime. A documentary by RAI, the Italian state broadcaster, entitled “Fallujah: the Hidden Massacre” provided troubling evidence to support these claims. Photographs, videos and interviews with US soldiers who were part of the attack on Fallujah purported to show that phosphorus bombs were used on the city. There were also accusations that incendiary bombs known as Mark 77, a type of napalm, were also used. One US soldier is quoted as saying, “I heard the order to pay attention because they were going to use white phosphorus on Fallujah. Phosphorus burns bodies, in fact it melts the flesh all the way down to the bone … I saw the burned bodies of women and children.”

More damning was an article in the March – April 2005 edition of Field Artillery Magazine. In it, officers of the 2nd Infantry’s fire support team reported that “White phosphorous [WP] proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE [high explosive]. We fired ‘shake and bake’ missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out.” A reporter with California’s North County Times, who was embedded with the Marines during the Battle of Fallujah in April 2004, reported seeing the same thing.

There were also reports that Coalition forces relied heavily on rounds comprised of depleted uranium (DU). DU is a by-product of the process used to manufacture enriched uranium for nuclear reactors and weapons. DU has 40 percent less radioactivity than natural uranium, but it has the same chemical toxicity and contains ionising radiation.

A medical study conducted on Fallujah after the battles (Busby et al 2010) confirmed anecdotal reports of an increase in infant mortality, birth defects and childhood cancer rates. It found that Fallujah had almost 11 times as many major birth defects in newborns than world averages. A prime suspect in all of this is what the report calls “the use of novel weapons,” possibly those containing “depleted uranium.” The increases in infant mortality, cancer and leukaemia in Fallujah are greater than those reported in the survivors of the US atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

The US has now been fighting in Afghanistan for over 11 years (longer than the Soviet Union). A key component of US strategy in the Afghanistan / Pakistan theatre, or “AfPak” as the region is commonly known, is targeted drone strikes. America’s drone policy has reportedly killed between 474 and 881 civilians in the region, including 176 children. But apparently the targeted killing of children is now accepted military practice. Army Lt. Col. Marion Carrington of 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, and who is assisting the Afghan police, is quoted as saying, “It kind of opens our aperture. In addition to looking for military-age males, it’s looking for children with potential hostile intent.”

We watch the horrible images of pain and suffering coming out of a small town in Connecticut where 20 children were murdered less than 2 weeks before Christmas. We have no choice but to collectively mourn and take part in the families’ grief. That someone would engage in the systematic and premeditated murder of children is unfathomable and an abomination against everything it means to be human.

But the misery and torment that befell Newton can be multiplied a thousand fold across the Arab world. American policy and actions have resulted in the deaths (i.e. murder) of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent children. The deaths of these children can be considered as war crimes and a crime against humanity of the highest order. They should shock and outrage us, compelling us to demand an immediate change in American foreign policy.

But in order for that to happen one must first believe that Arabs cry for their children too.

Tom McNamara is an Assistant Professor at the ESC Rennes School of Business, France, and a Visiting Lecturer at the French National Military Academy at Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan, France.

More articles by:

Tom McNamara is an Assistant Professor at the ESC Rennes School of Business, France, and a former Visiting Lecturer at the French National Military Academy at Saint-Cyr, Coëtquidan, France.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
November 14, 2019
Laura Carlsen
Mexico’s LeBaron Massacre and the War That Will Not Cease
Joe Emersberger
Oppose the Military Coup in Bolivia. Spare Us Your “Critiques”
Ron Jacobs
Trump’s Drug Deal Goes to Congress: Impeachment, Day One
Paul Edwards
Peak Hubris
Tamara Pearson
US and Corporations Key Factors Behind Most Violent Year Yet in Mexico
Jonah Raskin
Love and Death in the Age of Revolution
Robert Hunziker
Climate Confusion, Angst, and Sleeplessness
W. T. Whitney
To Confront Climate Change Humanity Needs Socialism
John Feffer
Examining Trump World’s Fantastic Claims About Ukraine
Nicky Reid
“What About the Children?” Youth Rights Before Parental Police States
Binoy Kampmark
Incinerating Logic: Bush Fires and Climate Change
John Horning
The Joshua Tree is Us
Andrew Stewart
Noel Ignatiev and the Great Divide
Cesar Chelala
Soap Operas as Teaching Tools
Chelli Stanley
In O’odham Land
November 13, 2019
Vijay Prashad
After Evo, the Lithium Question Looms Large in Bolivia
Charles Pierson
How Not to End a Forever War
Kenneth Surin
“We’ll See You on the Barricades”: Bojo Johnson’s Poundshop Churchill Imitation
Nick Alexandrov
Murder Like It’s 1495: U.S.-Backed Counterinsurgency in the Philippines
George Ochenski
Montana’s Radioactive Waste Legacy
Brian Terrell
A Doubtful Proposition: a Reflection on the Trial of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7
Nick Pemberton
Assange, Zuckerberg and Free Speech
James Bovard
The “Officer Friendly” Police Fantasy
Dean Baker
The Logic of Medical Co-Payments
Jeff Mackler
Chicago Teachers Divided Over Strike Settlement
Binoy Kampmark
The ISC Report: Russian Connections in Albion?
Norman Solomon
Biden and Bloomberg Want Uncle Sam to Defer to Uncle Scrooge
Jesse Jackson
Risking Lives in Endless Wars is Morally Wrong and a Strategic Failure
Manuel García, Jr.
Criminalated Warmongers
November 12, 2019
Nino Pagliccia
Bolivia and Venezuela: Two Countries, But Same Hybrid War
Patrick Cockburn
How Iran-Backed Forces Are Taking Over Iraq
Jonathan Cook
Israel is Silencing the Last Voices Trying to Stop Abuses Against Palestinians
Jim Kavanagh
Trump’s Syrian See-Saw: From Pullout to Pillage
Susan Babbitt
Fidel, Three Years Later
Dean Baker
A Bold Plan to Strengthen and Improve Social Security is What America Needs
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Trump’s Crime Against Humanity
Victor Grossman
The Wall and General Pyrrhus
Yoko Liriano
De Facto Martial Law in the Philippines
Ana Paula Vargas – Vijay Prashad
Lula is Free: Can Socialism Be Restored?
Thomas Knapp
Explainer: No, House Democrats Aren’t Violating Trump’s Rights
Wim Laven
Serve With Honor, Honor Those Who Serve; or Support Trump?
Colin Todhunter
Agrarian Crisis and Malnutrition: GM Agriculture Is Not the Answer
Binoy Kampmark
Walls in the Head: “Ostalgia” and the Berlin Wall Three Decades Later
Akio Tanaka
Response to Pete Dolack Articles on WBAI and Pacifica
Nyla Ali Khan
Bigotry and Ideology in India and Kashmir: the Legacy of the Babri Masjid Mosque
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail