US War Crimes in Fallujah – by Stephen Lendman
Numerous previous articles documented two decades of US war crimes in Iraq, the latest titled, “One of History’s Greatest Crimes,” accessed through the following link:
On August 31, declaring an “end to the combat mission in Iraq,” Obama disgracefully said: “Through this remarkable chapter in the history of the United Stated and Iraq, we have met our responsibility,” infamously displaying his culpability as a war criminal, matching the worst America ever produced. Daily he proves it in Iraq, Afghanistan, and by reckless global marauding.
During its September Geneva session, the UN Human Rights Council’s (HRC) 15th Session issued a report titled, “Testimonies of Crimes Against Humanity in Fallujah: Towards a Fair International Criminal Trial,” citing the deteriorating conditions in the city and saying:
“From the (2003) outset and at the start of the indiscriminate and merciless campaign of collective punishment and willful destruction, undertaken by the occupational troops of the United States of America,” innocent civilians endured an “inhumane siege and indiscriminate killing” during April and May 2004.
“The genocidal massacres” included “sustained and targeted bombing(s), aimed directly at the homes of defenseless civilians,” killing and maiming dozens on the bogus pretext of “pursuing the leaders of the resistance.”
A November/December massacre followed, killing, wounding, and maiming thousands more, many others still missing or displaced. At the time, peace proposals submitted to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan “were summarily dismissed and completely ignored” to let mass slaughter proceed.
It was willful, outrageous carnage, innocent civilians targeted in violation of fundamental international laws, ones America always flouts disdainfully.
Examples of Collective Punishment Killing
On April 1, 2003, US forces opened fire on civilians at a bakery.
On April 23, with Baghdad occupied, Fallujah students protested peacefully against their school taken over for a base. In response, US soldiers “fired indiscriminately,” killing 13 and wounding 75. Medical workers trying to help were also shot. Among the dead were three children under age 11.
On April 30, US forces fired on a funeral, killing two civilians and wounding 14, including children.
On September 11, US and Blackwater forces “opened fire on the office of the mayor of Fallujah.” An Iraqi Fallujah Protection Force (FPF) and two police patrols chased their vehicle until it entered a US camp 3 – 4 km away. They returned later, attacked the FPF, killing eight and wounding two. Ambulance services were also fired at to prevent them from providing aid.
Thereafter, US forces aggressively attacked Iraqi resistance elements, especially in Fallujah. Arbitrary arrests followed, their testimonies revealing acts of “systematic torture (and) humiliation.” Assaults, arrests, killings, and abuse continued to target city residents, some accusing the Americans of systematic brutality.
Neighborhoods were attacked, a woman, trying to protect her baby, said a mad dog bit her. Soldiers also stole “money and jewels of families to prove that it’s a mercenary army before it’s an occupation” one.
On April 4, 2004, the Fallujah US Marine commander told City Council members that military action was coming against “insurgents who presumably killed four contractors,” despite negotiations to resolve the matter peacefully. Fallujah residents were told not to leave the city, or if necessary for food or medicine to wave a white flag for US troops.
However, it was decided to besiege the city, prevent food, medicine and other supplies coming in, “thus violating the Geneva Conventions that explicitly prohibit” starving civilians and preventing them from leaving. The worst followed, including random bombing and rocket firing, (including cluster bombs, white phosphorous, and other illegal munitions), killing and wounding thousands and displacing thousands more. Widespread destruction of homes and property also occurred.
In addition, “collective punishment took the form of American snipers targeting any moving body, killing innocent civilians, young and old,” including men, women, boys and girls. Moreover, sick and wounded civilians “were prevented from reaching the hospital by cutting off the bridge connecting the city to the general hospital. This is an egregious crime under international humanitarian law.”
ICRC doctors and relief experts were prevented from entering the city to provide aid. A November 10 statement said thousands of elderly, women, and children had no food or water for days, besides no access to medical help. To prevent word getting out, US forces kept journalists out of the city during military operations.
Afterwards, the city’s football stadium became a burial ground for thousands of dead, and those losing homes were sheltered in schools.
One of many other incidents was as follows: a US F-16 bombed 30 civilians displaying white flags while trying to escape. The pilot was ordered to kill them.
Between the two Fallujah battles, US forces kept bombing residential and industrial areas with 500 kg and cluster bombs. Negotiations to halt hostilities failed. Pentagon forces spurned peace, chose mass slaughter and destruction instead, innocent civilians their targets.
Thousands of others were arrested, kept in “cages,” some “forced to clean up the city to wipe out any evidence of the American crimes.” Hundreds of those arrested went to Abu Ghraib and Basra’s Boukah Prison. Many died there from torture and ill treatment.
Witnesses “confirmed the wholesale killing of unarmed civilians inside their houses and in mosques. Some were shot after being handcuffed. Others (were) blown up inside their own homes.”
Many children saw their parents shot. Adults also witnessed their spouses and children killed. Both Iraqi National Guards and US Marines participated in looting homes and stores. Thousands of others were destroyed. A government committee found 26,000 houses damaged, another 3,000 completely demolished, including 70 mosques, 50 schools, the city’s power plant providing electricity, 50% of the drinking water distribution system, and 70% of the sewer system.
Overall, indiscriminate slaughter and destruction occurred, followed by looting, mass arrests, torture, and deaths from ill treatment, as well as vast environmental contamination, thereafter causing “a significant increase in the number of cancer cases and congenital malformations.”
Official Fallujah health statistics showed the following:
— in 2006, 5,928 documented cases of “previously unknown or rarely seen diseases;”
— in the first half of 2007, 2,447 seriously ill patients (half of them children) had mostly little known symptoms;
— research studies determined sharp increases of leukemia, other cancers, infant mortality, abnormal deliveries, and injuries similar injuries to Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors, clearly from DU radiation and other toxic chemical exposures;
— a February 2010 field study found cancers had multiplied fourfold, ones similar to Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors;
— over a five year period, a 12-fold cancer rate in 14 year old children was found; infant mortality was 80 per thousand live births, compared to 19 in Egypt, 17 in Jordan, and 9.7 in Kuwait; the gender birth ratio was also affected, dropping from almost even to a three-to-one female weighting over males; and
— in the last six years, birth defects rose over 25%, many hideous from radiation poisoning; congenital heart defects had the highest incidence, followed by neural tube defects, and skeletal abnormalities.
Some Final Comments
Over the past two decades, Washington committed wonton genocide, destruction, terror, occupation, and contamination, causing an epidemic of killer diseases, impoverishment and displacement – a horrendous ongoing criminal combination, causing devastation, deprivation, desperation and despair.
Culpable US officials are unaccountable. As long as enough Middle East oil remains, Iraq will be permanently occupied, its people ruthlessly oppressed. So are Afghgans, both countries victimized by American pillaging, what Fallujah survivors know best, their lives permanently impaired as are millions of others in both countries.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.