Thursday, November 18, 2004

Fallujah roundup

A U.S. marine commander has said that we've “broken the back of the insurgency.” Which is obviously untrue. Must our army lie to our face? There is no way these cowards ever had a spine to break in the first place.

But, metaphorically speaking, I guess maybe he might have a point, because the terrorist stronghold of Fallujah has been liberated:

Such is the fear that the heavily armed militants held over Fallujah that many of the residents who emerged from the ruins welcomed the US marines, despite the massive destruction their firepower had inflicted on their city.

A man in his sixties, half-naked and his underwear stained with blood from shrapnel wounds from a US munition, cursed the insurgents as he greeted the advancing marines on Saturday night.

"I wish the Americans had come here the very first day and not waited eight months," he said, trembling. Nearby, a mosque courtyard had been used as a weapons store by the militants.

Another elderly man, who did not want his name used for fear the rebels would one day return and restore their draconian rule, said he was detained by the militants last Tuesday and held for four days before being freed. He described how he had then sought refuge in a friend's house where they had huddled together clutching Korans in silent prayer for their lives as the massive US bombardment put the insurgents to flight.

"It was horrible," he told an AFP reporter. "We suffered from the bombings. Innocent people died or were wounded by the bombings.

"But we were happy you did what you did because Fallujah had been suffocated by the Mujahidin. Anyone considered suspicious would be slaughtered. We would see unknown corpses around the city all the time."

The same story of arbitrary executions was told by another resident, found by US troops cowering in his home with his brother and his family.

"They would wear black masks, carry rocket-propelled grenades and Kalashnikovs, and search streets and alleys," said Iyad Assam, 24. "I would hear stories, about how they executed five men one day and seven another for collaborating with the Americans. They made checkpoints on the roads. They put announcements on walls banning music and telling women to wear the veil from head to toe."

It was not just pedlars of alcohol or Western videos and women deemed improperly dressed who faced the militants' wrath. Even residents who regard themselves as observant Muslims lived in fear because they did not share the puritan brand of Sunni Islam that the insurgents enforced.

One devotee of a Sufi sect, followers of a mystical form of worship deemed herectical by the hardliners, told how he and other members of his order had lived in terror inside their homes for fear of retribution.

"It was a very hard life. We couldn't move. We could not work," said the man sporting the white robe and skullcap prescribed by his faith. "If they had any issue with a person, they would kill him or throw him in jail."

Some say Iraqis will choose a fundamentalist religious rule through democracy, but, according to this, that doesn't seem too likely.

The article also contains this anecdote, courtesy of al-Jazeera:

"Of the 22 bodies, five were found in one house as well as two children whose ages did not exceed 15 and a man with an artificial leg," Mohammed Farhan Awad said."Some of the bodies we found had been eaten by stray dogs and cats. It was a very painful sight."
This anecdote is specifically designed to inflame Muslim passions against the US. The part about being eaten by a stray dogs was inserted because Muslims find dogs to be unclean animals, and ritual cleansing is required before a person can pray if a dogs saliva gets on a him.

Thanks, al-Jazeera, for that. Think you can milk a few American dead off that one?

Speaking of trying to harm US soldiers through propaganda, al-Reuters, the news organization that refuses to call Bin Laden a terrorist and has such a fetish for objectivity that they place America on the same moral plane as terrorists… er, I mean militants,” had the chutzpah to accuse AMERICA of being entirely responsible for the death of its JOURNALISTS.

Now, journalists provide a vital function, and, as with every other innocent human, deserve to live, but if they are in a war zone trying to get man on the street interviews with insurgents or take pictures of them loading rockets (as they have been doing) then its not the US soldiers fault if they catch a stray bullet. That’s war.

Speaking of journalists acting as the propaganda arm of the insurgents, the story of the Marine shooting the terrorist that faked being dead, is now being played on basically a nonstop loop on Arab networks, in graphic slo-mo:
While U.S. networks declined to air the actual shooting [they’ve aired it now –ed.], Arab networks such as al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya broadcast the entire incident, with graphics and narration illustrating the sequence of events. At times, the images were frozen. The gunshot splashed blood against the wall behind the Iraqi's head, and the man's body went limp.
But all you really need to read about this is right here. So make with the clicky clicky.


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