When President George Bush was reelected on 2 November 2004, describing it as a tragedy for the entire world, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Dr. Helen Caldicott expressed her fears that she wasn’t sure if mankind would survive another four years.
Justifying her fears only five days after his re-election, Bush bombed and incinerated the Iraqi city of Fallujah, with a population of 300,000, in November 2004. Using latest napalm bombs, poisonous gas and banned chemical weapons during the holy month of Ramadan, Bush bombed fasting Muslims who were looking forward to celebrate Eid Al Fitr. Their only crime was that they opposed the US occupation of their country.
American forces dropped cluster bombs and used phosphorous weapons that caused severe burns in the US military’s most intense urban fighting since the days of Vietnam. Within ten days Fallujah has been laid waste, a hell on earth of shattered bodies and destroyed buildings. The head of Turkey’s Parliamentary Human Rights Committee said this genocide surpassed those of Pharaoh, Hitler and Mussolini.
Bush and his team didn’t want the world to know this well-planned genocide and destruction. So days before commencing the genocide, they bombed and destroyed hospitals and killed their staff, including doctors and nurses, to prevent body counts as details of body counts, during the previous massacre of Fallujah Muslims in April 2003, were disclosed to the world by doctors, nurses and others in the hospitals. Journalists were completely kept out and clerics were killed.
Families fleeing Fallujah for protection were blocked by American soldiers who forced them back to their homes. Most of them were later slaughtered, and those who managed to survive were deprived of electricity, water, food and medical aid, while the injured were left to die.
American soldiers on house to house patrols, kicked open doors, and grabbed men in the presence of petrified, screaming and starving women and children trapped inside their houses. Most of the abducted were never seen again.
American troops raping Fallujah following a week of bombardment and wholesale destruction of the city in November 2004 (Courtesy Patrick Baz)
An eyewitness account stated that US forces used artillery barrages, air strikes with 2,000-pound bombs and air-to-surface missiles together with volleys of tank fire against civilian targets. Homes, apartment buildings and nearly half of the city’s 120 mosques were destroyed or severely damaged. Human corpses, bloated and rotting, littering the streets where they fell were gnawed at by starving dogs while parents were forced to watch their wounded children die and buries their bodies in their gardens. They not only shot women and elderly men in the streets but also shot anyone who tried to retrieve their bodies.
The world will never know the exact number of civilians slaughtered by Bush’s forces. Recalling the many US atrocities, one Iraqi who escaped from the carnage said he watched US soldiers roll over wounded people in the street with tanks so many times, and they often used tanks to pull bodies to the soccer stadium to be buried. There were dead bodies on the ground and nobody could bury them because of the American snipers. They dropped some of the bodies into the Euphrates River. People who attempted to swim across the Euphrates to escape the siege were shot by American soldiers from the shore and these included civilians, including an elderly woman, who were holding white flags or white clothes over their heads to indicate they were not fighters. US troops machine-gunned an entire family of five to death when they tried to escape the fighting by swimming across the Euphrates River. They even killed the wounded.
All over Fallujah, there were bullet-ridden mosques with blood-stained carpets inside, where unarmed worshippers had been shot dead by US soldiers.
Summing up the savagery, a Western reporter observed as follows: “Some districts reeked from the sickening odour of rotting flesh, a stench too powerful to be swept away by a brisk breeze coming in from the sandy plain surrounding the city forty miles west of Baghdad. A week of ground combat by US and Iraqi surrogates, supported by tanks and attack helicopters, added to the destruction in a city where the homes and businesses for about 300,000 people are packed into an area, a little less than two miles wide and a little more than two miles long…cats and dogs scamper along streets littered with bricks, broken glass, toppled light poles, downed power lines, twisted traffic barriers and spent cartridges. Walls are full of bullet holes. US troops have blown holes in walls and knocked down doors to search homes and shops. Dead Iraqis still lay out in the open”.
According to reports, North Carolina-based mercenary firm Blackwater was employed to commit the Fallujah massacre.
Oppressive dictators in the region sided with the US and left the innocent people in Fallujah to face the merciless US war machine.
- Refugees who fled Fallujah before the attack: thousands line up for food outside the military base at Habbaniya, Iraq (Photo: Shawn Baldwin/New York Times)
- Doctors at Fallujah General Hospital were handcuffed and pushed to the floor when U.S. troops seized the facility (New York Times)
There has been nothing like the attack on Fallujah since the Nazi invasion and occupation of much of the European continent—the shelling and bombing of Warsaw in September 1939 and the terror bombing of Rotterdam in May 1940. All the talk about precision bombing in Iraq is dust thrown in the public’s eyes.
One report asked “what have the people of Fallujah and the rest of Iraq done to deserve such homicidal cruelty? What could conceivably justify the US military killing Iraqis for the ‘crime’ of living in their own country?”
It’s difficult to believe that in this day and age, when people are e-mailing and communicating at the speed of light, a whole city was destroyed and genocide was committed – and the whole world was unaware and silent. The Fallujah offensive virtually disappeared from the news cycle within weeks. But history – if written by Iraqis – may well enshrine it as the new Guernica.
George Bush is still around enjoying his life. Where is international justice?