Apr 19, 2004
On March 31, four mercenaries from the U.S. were killed in the Iraqi city of Fallujah and their burned bodies hung from a bridge. Since that time, the U.S. military has used the killings as an excuse to launch a massive attack against the city. It's obviously a pretext since Marines and mercenaries had already been deployed to Fallujah before the incident. The week before they had invaded homes, shot rockets into buildings from helicopter gunships, and killed 18 Iraqis. It's undoubtedly the reason the mercenaries were killed.
This latest campaign is an attempt to "pacify" Fallujah's population of 200,000. Fallujah has been one of several centers of resistance for a year now. U.S. soldiers had killed at least 15 civilians in a demonstration there in April of last year. And there have been attacks on the population ever since.
The U.S. hopes to squash any resistance in Fallujah and other cities before the June 30 deadline for the handing over of power in Iraq – which everyone knows will simply be a symbolic play for George W. Bush's re-election. The U.S. has deployed 2,500 Marines to Fallujah. In addition to troops, the U.S. has used tanks, attack helicopters, bombers and gunships against the city.
It is estimated that over 600 people have been killed in Fallujah in two weeks of fighting, with more than 1200 wounded. More than half of those killed have been women and children, or in other words, civilians. An Iraqi doctor said, "The Americans claim that all the wounded are fighters and will not let us take them away. Families cannot escape because of their snipers." These attacks will be remembered in the annals of military history alongside the massacre at My Lai in Vietnam and other atrocities.
What the U.S. is doing is terrorism aimed at civilians, in this sense no different than the terrorism of 9/11. But there is one very big difference – the U.S. is using the full power of its military apparatus to carry it out.
The population of Fallujah has not simply rolled over in the face of this attack, it has resisted. There have been several dozen American soldiers killed in the fighting. The uprising in Fallujah has also started to be echoed in other cities. And the plight of the people of Fallujah, a Sunni Muslim stronghold, has even created an uneasy alliance with Shiite Muslims from other cities, which have sent food, medicine, arms and even soldiers to assist them.