Sunday, November 14, 2004

The New York Times reports on the invasion of Fallujah by U.S. Marines in an article headlined: "U.S. Armored Forces Blast Their Way Into Rebel Nest in Falluja." Note that word: NEST. These are not human beings our Marines are killing. They are bees, wasps, red ants, or maybe birds. In any case, they are not people. People do not reside in nests.

Donald Rumsfeld is very pleased with events in Fallujah. He notes that large numbers of terrorists have been killed or captured, "and that is a good thing for the people of Iraq."

For a different point of view on that, check out Riverbend's post today in her blog, Baghdad Burning. "People in Faloojeh are being murdered ... People being shot in cold blood in the streets and being buried under tons of concrete and iron...where is the world?"

News services and media outside the United States are also describing conditions in Fallujah in terms rather different from the accounts in the U.S. media. Reuters in the UK reports that aid agencies are calling Fallujah a "big disaster" and asking the U.S. military to let them in to Fallujah to bring food, medicine, and other humanitarian supplies to the people there. The article also describes horrendous casualties, including children, like the 9-year-old boy who died because he was hit in the stomach by shrapnel and his parents could not get him to the hospital because of the fighting, so he bled to death. They buried him in the garden of their home because they could not risk going into the streets. Another resident who fled the city with his wife and children, told journalists that there was no clean water and people were drinking contaminated water and getting sick as a result, of course. The only food many people have is flour, so that's what they eat.

BBC News posts the dispatches of Fadhil Badrani, an Iraqi journalist who lives in Fallujah. They paint quite a different picture of what it feels like to be an Iraqi in that city than Donald Rumsfeld did. No water or electricity. Growing numbers of corpses on the street, creating a "stench" that is "unbearable."

"It is hard to know how much people outside Falluja are aware of what is going on here," Badrani writes.

I want them to know about conditions inside this city - there are dead women and children lying on the streets.
People are getting weaker from hunger. Many are dying from their injuries because there is no medical help left in the city whatsoever.
Some families have started burying their dead in their gardens.

And here in a northern New Jersey suburb, I sit and read the news about what is being done to Iraqis in Fallujah, in my name and on my dime. What do I feel? I feel

  • shame
  • anger
  • outrage
  • grief
  • overwhelming sadness
  • horror
  • helplessness -- powerless to affect my government's actions in any way

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