What Happened to Fallujah?

When Bush gives his state of the union address in a few days, he will probably talk about Iraq and the “surge”, but he probably won’t mention Fallujah.

In 2004 Fallujah, Iraq, a city of 600,000 persons was attacked by the US after a handful of mercenaries from the firm Blackwater were killed while transporting refrigerator supplies to a military base.  There was a news blackout about the siege, but there were reports of many civilian deaths and the use of illegal weapons by the US.

Now,three years later, the situation in Fallujah is still bleak. A correspondent for the Independent entered the city and reported for the paper.  He must be a long term resident, because the city is still under siege. There are 27 checkpoints along the road to Fallujah making it the most difficult city to enter in the world.

What does one find when they arrive?

Its streets, with walls pock-marked with bullets and buildings reduced to a heap of concrete slabs, still look as if the fighting had finished only a few weeks ago.

Besides the devastated buildings, is anything working? Are the utilities functional?

Others confirmed that Fallujah was getting one hour’s electricity a day. Colonel Feisal said there was not much he could do about the water or electricity though he did promise a man that a fence of razor wire outside his restaurant would be removed.

But the radio station is working; the US made sure that it is.

“My name is Sarah and I am in psychological operations,” said another US officer and proudly showed us around a newly established radio Fallujah.

And the city still has a hospital.

When I asked what the hospital lacked Dr Kamal said wearily: “Drugs, fuel, electricity, generators, a water treatment system, oxygen and medical equipment.” It was difficult not to think that American assistance might have gone to the hospital rather than the business development centre.

Colonel Feisal said things were getting better but he was mobbed by black-clad women shouting that their children had not been treated.

“Every day 20 children die here,” said one. “Seven in this very room.”

The doctors said that they were tending their patients as best they could. “The Americans provide us with nothing,” said one mother who was cradling a child. “They bring us only destruction.”

Someone should superimpose a dollar ticker over the video of Bush’s state of the union address that ticks off in real time  the amount  of money spent in iraq while Bush talks about his meager successes there and our faltering economy.

Cross posted at http://silencedmajority.blogs….

33 comments

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  1. Can you believe that was our policy?  I’m still shocked.

    • pfiore8 on January 28, 2008 at 5:05 am

    and this tragedy has America’s name all over it…

    • Alma on January 28, 2008 at 5:28 am

    The whole thing enrages me.

    Thanks for the update kayakbiker.  I was wondering the other day how they were doing there, and in Hilla too.  I wish it was better news.

  2. out how much we’re spending to kill Iraqis, which is a large amount for every American. Roughly speaking, it will probably end up costing us $1 trillion or $2 trillion for this war, according to the various estimates that have been made.

    So let’s take $1 trillion as our figure.

    That’s a lot of money for America, true.

    But think of how much money that is for Iraq. To put that in perspective, Iraq’s economy is about $100 billion per year. And that’s a generous estimate. So the money we’re gonna spend is enough to double the standard of living of everybody in Iraq for an entire decade.

    Of course it is buying nothing but death and destruction and a horrible humanitarian crisis that makes Sudan look like a Sunday picnic.

    If this show wasn’t being run by greedy war criminals, it would be enough money to realize any dreams that Iraqis might have had for their society, no matter how grandiose. But for that to have happened you’d have to have let the Iraqis run their own reconstruction, rather than turning it over to disaster capitalists from BushCo Inc.

  3. if bush came clean in this last SOTU?  I know, I know… but wouldn’t it ust be the moment to remember in all of our lives?

    He could single-handedly save this country. In one speech.  Just open up the curtains.

    • Tigana on January 28, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    http://preview.tinyurl.com/245cl7

    • Edger on January 28, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    “First, I think it should be a stated goal of United States policy to not melt the skin off of children. As a natural corollary to this goal, I think the United States should avoid dropping munitions on civilian neighborhoods which, as a side effect, melt the skin off of children.

    You can call them ‘chemical weapons’ if you must, or far more preferably by the more proper name of ‘incendiaries.’ The munitions may or may not precisely melt the skin off of children by setting them on fire; they do melt the skin off of children, however, through robust oxidation of said skin on said children, which is indeed colloquially known as ‘burning’…

    “And I know it is true, there is some confusion over whether the United States was a signatory to the Do Not Melt The Skin Off Of Children part of the Geneva conventions, and whether or not that means we are permitted to melt the skin off of children, or merely are silent on the whole issue of melting the skin off of children…[However] I am going to come out, to the continuing consternation of Rush Limbaugh and pro-war supporters everywhere, as being anti-children-melting, as a matter of general policy.”

    Meanwhile, in the Guardian, Mike Marquesse pounded home the reality of the overarching atrocity of the attack:

    “One year ago this week, US-led occupying forces launched a devastating assault on the Iraqi city of Falluja. The mood was set by Lt Col Gary Brandl: ‘The enemy has got a face. He’s called Satan. He’s in Falluja. And we’re going to destroy him.’

    “The assault was preceded by eight weeks of aerial bombardment. US troops cut off the city’s water, power and food supplies, condemned as a violation of the Geneva convention by a UN special rapporteur, who accused occupying forces of “using hunger and deprivation of water as a weapon of war against the civilian population”. Two-thirds of the city’s 300,000 residents fled, many to squatters’ camps without basic facilities…

    “By the end of operations, the city lay in ruins. Falluja’s compensation commissioner has reported that 36,000 of the city’s 50,000 homes were destroyed, along with 60 schools and 65 mosques and shrines. The US claims that 2,000 died, most of them fighters. Other sources disagree. When medical teams arrived in January they collected more than 700 bodies in only one third of the city. Iraqi NGOs and medical workers estimate between 4,000 and 6,000 dead, mostly civilians — a proportionately higher death rate than in Coventry and London during the blitz.”

    The atrocity-breeding mindset behind the attack was evident from the very first, as I noted in a Moscow Times column of November 18, 2004:

    — Fallujah:The Flame of Atrocity, Chris Floyd, Empire Burlesque (video documentary)

  4. There should be much more exposure on this issue!

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