Tuesday :: Apr 13, 2004

Others See My Lai Also

by pessimist

The other day I wrote a piece that tied the current events in Fallujah to My Lai. With coverage like the following, how could anyone still believe that the US is in Iraq for the good of the Iraqi people? After events such as Fallujah, our official national credibility hasn't been so low since Richard Nixon's and Lyndon Johnson's regimes.

Fallujah is Bush's My Lai Massacre

700 slaughtered, majority children, elderly, women Images of civilian dead, wounded in Fallujah become anti-American rallying point

By Matthew Schofield
Knight Ridder Newspapers
Posted on Sat, Apr. 10, 2004

BushCo America Inc. - bringing freedom from life and the liberty of the dead to a country near you.

In this one week, Fallujah has come to symbolize for Iraqis everything that is wrong with the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq.

"When the four Americans were murdered, almost all Iraqis were horrified, and understood that the reaction must be strong," said Iraqi journalist Dhrgam Mohammed Ali, referring to the killing March 31 of four private security guards whose bodies were then mutilated, dragged through Fallujah and hung from a bridge.

"But now, we see women and children dying, trying to escape and not being allowed to, and many stop remembering the dead Americans. Instead, they wonder why four dead Americans are worth so much, while hundreds of dead Iraqis are worth so little."

Catch any big bass, George?

On television, the children are unmoving, dead in the streets, blood pooling and spreading underneath them. On radio, announcers accuse Americans of attacking helpless civilians, not even allowing them to move for treatment of their bullet wounds. In newspapers, the stories ask if the deaths of perhaps hundreds of innocent civilians is not a greater crime than the horrific deaths and mutilations of four Americans.

For the past week, those have been the images, sounds and words that Iraqis have been taking in as everything here has focused on Fallujah.

There is no official toll of dead and wounded Iraqis in Fallujah since the U.S. Marines began trying to take control of the town four days ago. Estimates range as high as 450 deaths and more than 1,000 wounded.

Saturday, as residents started escaping the city, they told tales that are sure to inflame. The residents refused to give their names, saying that even talking to an American right now could endanger their lives.

But one, a doctor, said: "I was in my home for days, unable to leave, even to treat the sick, for fear of being shot. One morning, I decided I had to make it to the hospital, but just before I left, I saw my neighbor walk from his house. An American sniper shot him, once in the head. I was afraid to go out to him, to treat him. I watched him die."

Another, a young woman, asked why the Americans had to take out their anger on a whole city.

"They are angry, yes, but we were not all guilty, and yet we were all punished. Every time they shot another man, his brother, his father, picked up a weapon and swore to kill Americans."

U.S. officials acknowledge that many of the dead were innocent civilians, and Fallujah, a town of 300,000 according to residents, but only 110,000 according to a year-old medical census, by Wednesday was a cause across much of Iraq.

Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt on Saturday again defended American tactics, saying that Marines had been fired upon from mosques and from crowds containing women and children. He said Marines had tried to avoid civilian casualties, firing back in dangerous situations only in self-defense. Kimmitt denied that the Marines had engaged in collective punishment.

But the damage had already been done.

"On one level, many believe that two groups of foreigners have invaded to ruin a chance for peace, both Americans and the foreign fighters," said Iraqi journalist Abbas Ali Saki. "But also, more commonly, Iraqis are looking at the images of Fallujah, and wondering if they're looking at the future of the rest of Iraq, should we ever anger the United States."

Oderint, Dum Metuant?

[Let them hate as long as they fear]

The Iraqis see us as imperialists through the actions of our official representatives, in this specific case the military. They see that their very lives are subject to our power. We give them ample reason to fear us, and wonder why they hate us. We don't see that our words clash tremendously with our actions.

There's little reason to be shocked when one considers that such death and destruction is a BushCo trademark. H. W.'s invasion of Panama just to nab an out-of-control minion under the pretext of Manuel Norriega was running drugs (we'll ignore that he was only assisting H. W.'s little coup in Nicaragua) cost as many as 4000 Panamanians their lives. Certainly Iraqi citizens suffered mightily under the attacks of H. W.'s Desert Storm when the targets should have been Saddam and his military, legitimate targets all.

Recall the cruise missile that killed 400 women and children during Desert Storm because H.W.'s intelligence thought it was a command and control bunker? It's not the fact that they had such intelligence and acted on it. It's the fact that they felt no remorse over it, falling back on the excuse that their intel was faulty - too bad about all those women and kids, but mistakes happen!

W now carries on the Bush family tradition of kill all the civilians and let Allah sort them out.

Is it so hard to understand that such actions only stiffen resistance to the stated goals of the US (assuming for the moment that they aren't just PR fabrications to gloss over an ugly reality)? Do the leaders of the Bush (mis)Administration not recognize that they are creating an intense desire for revenge against Americans in a region that still carries grudges dating back centuries?

Is this how one protects and defends America from terrorism - by making more of it???

God help us if it is.

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pessimist :: 1:05 AM :: Comments (16) :: Digg It!