"Ain't Gonna Study War No More"

My Photo
Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Right-To-Life Party, Christian, Anti-War, Pro-Life, Bible Fundamentalist, Egalitarian, Libertarian Left

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Will the Anti-War Movement Stand Up This Time?

Fallujah and the Reality of War

11/06/04 "CounterPunch.org" The assault on Fallujah has started. It is being sold as liberation of the people of Fallujah; it is being sold as a necessary step to implementing "democracy" in Iraq. These are lies.

I was in Fallujah during the siege in April, and I want to paint for you a word picture of what such an assault means.

Fallujah is dry and hot; like Southern California, it has been made an agricultural area only by virtue of extensive irrigation. It has been known for years as a particularly devout city; people call it the City of a Thousand Mosques. In the mid-90's, when Saddam wanted his name to be added to the call to prayer, the imams of Fallujah refused.

U.S. forces bombed the power plant at the beginning of the assault; for the next several weeks, Fallujah was a blacked-out town, with light provided by generators only in critical places like mosques and clinics. The town was placed under siege; the ban on bringing in food, medicine, and other basic items was broken only when Iraqis en masse challenged the roadblocks. The atmosphere was one of pervasive fear, from bombing and the threat of more bombing. Noncombatants and families with sick people, the elderly, and children were leaving in droves. After initial instances in which people were prevented from leaving, U.S. forces began allowing everyone to leave except for what they called "military age males," men usually between 15 and 60. Keeping noncombatants from leaving a place under bombardment is a violation of the laws of war. Of course, if you assume that every military age male is an enemy, there can be no better sign that you are in the wrong country, and that, in fact, your war is on the people, not on their oppressors,, not a war of liberation.

The main hospital in Fallujah is across the Euphrates from the bulk of the town. Right at the beginning, the Americans shut down the main bridge, cutting off the hospital from the town. Doctors who wanted to treat patients had to leave the hospital, with only the equipment they could carry, and set up in makeshift clinics all over the city; the one I stayed at had been a neighborhood clinic with one room that had four beds, and no operating theater; doctors refrigerated blood in a soft-drink vending machine. Another clinic, I,m told, had been an auto repair shop. This hospital closing (not the only such that I documented in Iraq) also violates the Geneva Convention.

In Fallujah, you were rarely free of the sound of artillery booming in the background, punctuated by the smaller, higher-pitched note of the mujaheddin's hand-held mortars. After even a few minutes of it, you have to stop paying attention to it and yet, of course, you never quite stop. Even today, when I hear the roar of thunder, I,m often transported instantly to April 10 and the dusty streets of Fallujah.

In addition to the artillery and the warplanes dropping 500, 1000, and 2000-pound bombs, and the murderous AC-130 Spectre gunships that can demolish a whole city block in less than a minute, the Marines had snipers criss-crossing the whole town. For weeks, Fallujah was a series of sometimes mutually inaccessible pockets, divided by the no-man's-lands of sniper fire paths. Snipers fired indiscriminately, usually at whatever moved. Of 20 people I saw come into the clinic I observed in a few hours, only five were "military-age males." I saw old women, old men, a child of 10 shot through the head; terminal, the doctors told me, although in Baghdad they might have been able to save him.

One thing that snipers were very discriminating about every single ambulance I saw had bullet holes in it. Two I inspected bore clear evidence of specific, deliberate sniping. Friends of mine who went out to gather in wounded people were shot at. When we first reported this fact, we came in for near-universal execration. Many just refused to believe it. Some asked me how I knew that it wasn't the mujaheddin. Interesting question. Had, say, Brownsville, Texas, been encircled by the Vietnamese and bombarded (which, of course, Mr. Bush courageously protected us from during the Vietnam war era) and Brownsville ambulances been shot up, the question of whether the residents were shooting at their own ambulances, I somehow guess, would not have come up. Later, our reports were confirmed by the Iraqi Ministry of Health and even by the U.S. military.

The best estimates are that roughly 900-1000 people were killed directly, blown up, burnt, or shot. Of them, my guess, based on news reports and personal observation, is that 2/3 to were noncombatants.

But the damage goes far beyond that. You can read whenever you like about the bombing of so-called Zarqawi safe houses in residential areas in Fallujah, but the reports don't tell you what that means. You read about precision strikes, and it's true that America's GPS-guided bombs are very accurate when they,re not malfunctioning, the 80 or 85% of the time that they work, their targeting radius is 10 meters, i.e., they hit within 10 meters of the target. Even the smallest of them, however, the 500-pound bomb, has a blast radius of 400 meters; every single bomb shakes the whole neighborhood, breaking windows and smashing crockery. A town under bombardment is a town in constant fear.

You read the reports about X killed and Y wounded. And you should remember those numbers; those numbers are important. But equally important is to remember that those numbers lie in a war zone, everyone is wounded.

The first assault on Fallujah was a military failure. This time, the resistance is stronger, better-armed, and better-organized; to "win," the U.S. military will have to pull out all the stops. Even within horror and terror, there are degrees, and we and the people of Fallujah ain't seen nothin, yet. George W. Bush has just claimed a new mandate the world has been delivered into his hands.

There will be international condemnation, as there was the first time; but our government won't listen to it; aside from the resistance, all the people of Fallujah will be able to depend on to try to mitigate the horror will be us, the antiwar movement. We have a responsibility, that we didn't meet in April and we didn't meet in August when Najaf was similarly attacked; will we meet it this time?

Rahul Mahajan is publisher of the weblog Empire Notes, with regularly updated commentary on U.S. foreign policy, the occupation of Iraq, and the state of the American Empire. He has been to occupied Iraq twice, and was in Fallujah during the siege in April. His most recent book is Full Spectrum Dominance: U.S. Power in Iraq and Beyond. He can be reached at rahul@empirenotes.org

The Psychopaths and Fallujah Resistance

11/06/04 "ICH" -- As the hubris of the American election is passed, the people of Fallujah are under new massive US assault. The world “only” superpower is posed to flatten the city of 300,000 people in order to pacify (kill) its citizens because of their opposition to US Occupation. This new massacre is sold by the Bush Administration and mainstream Western media as a “necessary step to hold election” in Iraq.

The US took over the main hospital and converted to a military hospital. In other words, the people of Fallujah no longer have a hospital to treat injured men, women and children. The US Occupation forces are currently preventing men of age 14-60 years from leaving the city. It is a crime against humanity to massacre unarmed civilians. US forces are also preventing journalists from entering the city to report on the ongoing massacre of innocent civilians.

As I write, the BBC reports that the US strikes on the centre of Fallujah have completely destroyed the Nazzal Emergency Hospital in the centre of the city. There are no reports on casualties of a criminal attack on a hospital in the centre of the city. Can you imagine this happening in Manchester or Boston?

In April 2004, the first US massive attacks on Fallujah killed more than 1300 Iraqis, mostly innocent women and children, reported by AFP. The heroic Iraqi Resistance forced the Marines to capitulate, and Fallujah became the symbol of Iraqi Resistance to US Occupation.

According to Rahul Mahajan of Empire Notes, who was in Fallujah at the time of the siege in April 2004, “[o]f 20 people I saw come into the clinic I observed in a few hours, only five were "military-age males." I saw old women, old men, a child of 10 shot through the head; terminal, the doctors told me, although in Baghdad they might have been able to save him”.

Since then, the city has been under constant aerial bombardments by US forces killing many more innocent civilians. Reuter’s news agency reported on September 02, 2004, the US killed 17 people, including 3 children, a woman and an elderly man. Reuters reported on the night of September 07, 2004, US warplanes and helicopters “pounded Fallujah all night and killed ‘up to 100 militants’ according to US military; though local hospital sources reported ‘only’ 6 dead and 23 wounded”.

The new assault comes even as Iraqi Muslim Scholars denounced the aerial bombardments as “terrorist acts”. In a statement to Aljazeera, they pointed out that the victims of the US air strikes were “women and children, most of them less than 10-years old”. They urged the international community to earnestly work for an end to the US acts of aggression in Iraq.

The Fallujah community leaders tried to negotiate a peaceful solution, but the US forces refused any negotiation. Instead, the US forces through their spokesman, Iyad Allawi, tried to paint a distorted picture of the people of Fallujah and opted for “military solution”.

The pretext for this barbarity is that the US intended to kill a “terrorist” by the name of al-Zarqawi. According to the people of Fallujah, “al-Zarqawi does not exist. He is a made-up figure”. The US Occupation forces in Iraq have been claiming that al-Zarqawi and his Arab and non-Iraqi Muslim fighters are hiding out in Fallujah. Dr Muhammad al-Hamadani, a Fallujah resident told Aljazeera News that he had no knowledge about any non-Iraqi fighters in the town.

It appears that al-Zarqawi is replacing the old and elusive pretext of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Unlike the WMD pretext, the al-Zarqawi pretext is dangerous because the one-leg elusive man can move site. In other word, if al-Zarqawi is not found in Fallujah, the Bush Administration can say that he run to another city.

However, according to Article 50 of the Geneva Conventions, “[t]he presence within the civilian population of individuals who do not come within the definition of civilians does not deprive the population of its civilian character”. The Bush Administration is committing war crimes in violations of international law.

The Iraqi Resistance has revealed the limits of the US superpower. Fallujah is the symbol of resistance to US hegemony. Fallujah is an example the Bush and his gang of terror are obsessed with and they want to destroy it. Bush and his gang of terror naïvely think that if they succeed in Fallujah, they will succeed in the rest of Iraq. Fortunately, they proved to be dead wrong.

The election hubris is over, but the fight must continue to get the Bush and his gang of terror out of Iraq. A true progressive and anti-war movement must not allow these crimes to continue. The aims should be to stop the war and the true liberation of the Iraqi people from the Bush tyranny.

Ghali Hassan lives in Perth, Western Australia. He can be reached at e-mail: G.Hassan@exchange.curtin.edu.au

The American Century Is Over

On Nov. 2, Americans blew their only chance to redeem themselves in the eyes of the world.

The entire world is stunned by the Bush administration's abandonment of a half century of U.S. diplomacy in favor of misguided, unilateralist, "preemptive" naked aggression on totally false pretenses against Iraq. America's allies are amazed at the ignorance manifested by the Bush administration. They are resentful of Bush's "in-your-eye" attitude toward friends who warned Bush against leading America into a quagmire and giving Osama bin Laden the war he wanted.

The world was waiting hopefully for the sensible American people to rectify the ill-advised actions of a rogue neoconservative administration. Instead, Americans placed the stamp of approval on the least justifiable military action since Hitler invaded Poland.

In the eyes of the world, Bush's reelection is proof that Ariel Sharon's neoconservative allies in the Bush administration speak for America after all.

The world's sympathy for America that followed the Sept. 11 attacks has been squandered. If the U.S. suffers terrorist attacks in the future, the world will say that America invited the attacks and got what it asked for.

Europeans and Asians will never be able to comprehend that Bush was reelected because Americans were voting against homosexual marriage and abortion.

The world is simply unable to believe that Americans, so enamored of family values, would vote to send their sons, fathers, husbands, and brothers to unprovoked war unless Americans valued empire and control over oil as more important than their family members.

The crude propagandistic Republican campaign against John Kerry is shocking to Europeans. The childishness of American conservatives scares them.

America's French friends, seeking to save America from making the same mistakes that France made in the past, advised Bush not to rush into an Iraqi invasion. American conservatives instantly and blindly perceived French words of wisdom as proof that France was in the "against us" camp. Conservatives announced a boycott of French fries. Everything French was denigrated for no other reason than the French tried to warn us.

Conservatives quickly produced a "revisionist" book, Our Oldest Enemy: A History of America's Disastrous Relationship with France, "proving" that France has always been America's worst enemy.

America's European allies cannot differentiate the immaturity of American conservatives from the ignorance of the National Socialists.

As hearts harden and minds close against America, Americans will have to go it alone.

The U.S. invasion of Iraq has proved to be a disaster – exactly as the French and everyone with a mere modicum of sense said in advance. Eight of ten U.S. divisions are tied down by a few thousand insurgents.

U.S. troops do not control towns, cities, roads, or even the fortified Green Zone.

The American impulse is to smash cities, thus killing women and children and destroying the homes and livelihoods of noncombatants, while the insurgents regroup elsewhere. The top American generals, who were ridiculed by the Secretary of Defense and his deluded neoconservative deputy for forthrightly stating that occupation of Iraq would require a larger army than was available, stand vindicated.

The price of the Bush administration's delusion is 10,000 dead and maimed American troops – more than three times the casualties caused by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Bush's declared policy of "continuing to the end" will swell this number and bring back the draft.

The world is amazed that Americans do not care that they have been deceived, lied to, and incompetently led and that Americans have chosen to continue along this path.

Bush's reelection has ended forever respect for America. New and unflattering sobriquets for Americans are emerging. The American century is over.

Paul Craig Roberts

Ashcroft vs. Supreme Court

At the end of its last term, the U.S. Supreme Court brought some much-needed balance into America's handling of terrorism suspects.

It roundly rejected the Bush administration's claims that the president had sole authority to handle so-called enemy combatants however he saw fit. The prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay were entitled to at least some constitutional rights, according to the court. In particular, access to the courts to assert their claims of wrongful imprisonment. And, as to Americans held as enemy combatants, they would be entitled to significant due process, including the right to counsel, said the court.

But as the enemy combatant cases - in which the full contours of the prisoners' rights are being determined - wend their way through the lower federal courts, the Bush administration is essentially acting as though the Supreme Court has not spoken. In filings by the Justice Department, the administration is making some of the very arguments expressly rejected by the court.

Most notably, in the cases involving Guantanamo detainees, the administration is arguing that the prisoners have "no cognizable constitutional rights," including no right to a lawyer, on the grounds that they are noncitizens held off American soil. On that basis, the administration says, they should not even be allowed to challenge the constitutionality of their detentions.

But in the case of Rasul vs. Bush, the court clearly recognized the rights noncitizens held in Guantanamo to challenge the legality of their continued confinement. "Aliens held (in Guantanamo), no less than American citizens, are entitled to invoke the federal courts' authority," Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the majority.

Either the department under Attorney General John Ashcroft is incompetent or it is purposely dissembling in its court filings.

Also, in the case involving the sole remaining American enemy combatant, Jose Padilla, the department is asserting that he has no right against self-incrimination, no right to have an attorney present during interrogations, and no right to challenge as "cruel punishment" any abuses that might occur during questioning.

This posture runs sharply contrary to our constitutional values. Last term, the high court was clearly deeply troubled at the lack of due process afforded Americans held as enemy combatants. "A state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens," Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote. But the administration is pretending otherwise.

The Bush administration has demonstrated contempt for the Constitution, international law and the separation of powers in its handling of the war on terrorism. Its current disregard for Supreme Court admonitions is little surprise.

A Times Editorial

[Last modified November 4, 2004, 00:41:23]

For Shame, America

Revelations contained in last months final report on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction should make every American shudder in shame.

According to this report, written by Charles Duelfer, Saddam Hussein's regime destroyed their entire stockpile of WMD and their prohibited missiles over a decade ago.

While Hussein once valued these arms as a deterrent to Iran, Duelfer maintains he eliminated them by 1992 so that the United Nations Security Council would lift economic sanctions on his country, as explicitly called for in Resolution 687, section 22.

From the beginning, however, that effort was strenuously blocked by American officials who insisted that Iraq still possessed banned arms. Even with UN inspectors repeatedly announcing they could find no hard proof of existing WMD, the first Bush and Clinton administrations continually thwarted Security Council action on the issue, saying, Saddam was "not disarming."

Was Saddam to blame for the deadlock? On this point Duelfer, who never actually interviewed Iraq's former President, speculates that Hussein was being purposefully ambiguous about his capabilities to keep regional enemies off balance.

Yet several of Saddam's top Deputies, including Tariq Aziz and Hussein Kamal (who defected in 1995) repeatedly declared that all banned weapons had been eliminated. Saddam himself was said to have issued written directives that any remaining WMD were to be destroyed on pain of death.

Some observers note that Saddam blocked UN inspection teams from peering into his Presidential sites. In their view, Hussein was guilty of either hiding weapons at those locations or pretending as much.

Such claims ignore the fact that U.S. intelligence was actively listening in on the inspection teams internal communications. Rightfully fearing an attempt on his life if his whereabouts ever became known, can anyone blame Saddam for keeping the inspectors at arms length?

Throughout the nineties, while Iraq's leadership was falsely accused of concealing weapons, Iraq's people were suffering from one of the most rigid economic embargoes in history. A ban on chlorine resulted in less than half
the population having access to drinkable water. Agricultural imports such as seeds and fertilizer were also prohibited, causing steep drops in food output. Chronic malnutrition occurred in poorer sections of the country while thousands of nursing mothers struggled to bring forth adequate milk for their children.

Most painful were the sanction's effects on Iraq's health care system. With vehicles and spare parts also on the embargo list, the regime found it difficult to distribute medical supplies on a timely basis. The result: severe outbreaks of typhoid, cholera and dysentery in outlying regions.

By 1998, some 100,000 to 227,000 Iraqis had lost their lives due to sanctions, according to an exhaustive study by Dr. Richard Garfield of Columbia University. (Morbidity and Mortality Among Iraqi Children from 1990 Through 1998: Assessing the Impact of the Gulf War and Economic Sanctions).

Intensely frustrated, the Iraqis reached out to French and Russian officials at the UN, offering them lucrative financial incentives to help terminate the embargo. The Clinton administration obstructed all efforts, however, leading UN humanitarian figures involved with Iraq to resign in disgust, denouncing the sanctions as "genocidal."

By the time the second Bush administration came on the scene in 2000, international support for sanctions had all but vanished. Several nations and human rights groups openly flouted the embargo, sending food and supplies directly to Baghdad. Washington was finding it increasingly difficult to maintain its hard-line position.

Then came 911. Even though devastation from the sanctions was cited by Osama bin Laden as a key motivator for the attack, the Bush administration not only refused to reexamine its policy on Iraq, but used post-911 outrage, along with more false statements on Iraqi WMD, to justify a full-fledged invasion. Only after Hussein's government was illegally deposed did American officials at the UN finally vote to lift the embargo.

How many Iraqi's died from the sanctions? Somewhere between 300,000 and 550,000, according to Dr. Garfield's latest estimates.

Though many in Washington will protest to the end, the assertions contained in Charles Duelfer's report add up to this: since 1992, our leaders, Republican and Democrat alike, maintained a completely unjustified policy on Iraq that led directly to the deaths of well over a quarter of a million innocent people.

Mark Gery is an Iraqi Analyst and Researcher affiliated with EPIC -The Education for Peace in Iraq Center in Washington D.C. Email him at

http://informationclearinghouse.info/article7179.h ...

Pro-Life Democrats Urge DNC to Modify Abortion Position

Kerry Loss Highlights Need for Pro-Life Leadership

Washington, DC Nov 04, 2004 Democrats For Life of America urged the Democratic National Committee to concede it's pro-abortion position today on the heels of one of the worst Election Day performances in recent memory.

In addition to election results, Democrats For Life of America point to a poll that shows that Democratic Party insiders are out of touch with the rank-in-file Democratic voter across America. A CBS News poll showed that delegates to the DNC convention were twice as likely as Democratic voters to support abortions in all cases.

"The good news is pro-life democrats are winning campaigns. Pro-life Democrats win because they withstand the pressure of the national party and represent the values of their local communities. Evidence of this is in West Virginia. We won the governor's race in West Virginia despite the fact that President Bush carried the state. We also won legislative races in states all over the country including Iowa, Missouri, Michigan and made the run- off in two separate congressional contests in Louisiana. When Democrats take a stand and protect the rights of the unborn, we win elections. When Democrats campaign on a pro-abortion platform, they lose," said Kristen Day, Executive Director of Democrats For Life of America.
"We are hopeful the national Party will reassess its pro-abortion stance after the disastrous results of Tuesday night. They are costing us elections and abandoning our founding values of protecting and advocating for those who need a helping hand. At the top of that list should be helping protect the rights of the unborn."

Learn more...

Democrats For Life of America was founded in 1999 to mobilize Democrats at the local, state, and national levels. Their primary mission has been to elect pro-life Democrats, support pro-life elected officials, promote a pro-life plank in the Democratic Party platform and achieve legislation that fosters respect for human life.

Democrats For Life of America currently has 32 state chapters with plans to expand the group into additional states by the end of they year. In addition to the grassroots support across America, the group has several Members of Congress who are actively promoting the group's mission.

Kristen Day
Executive Director, DFLA
email: kristen@democratsforlife.org
phone: 703-281-3781