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Monday, April 12, 2004
 
What We Did in Fallujah

From the BBC:

A group of five international charities estimated that about 470 people had been killed, while hospital officials put the death toll at about 600.

Reuters television footage from Falluja showed corpses of children, women and old men lying in the street beside body parts no one has had time to collect.

"Hospitals and medical staff are overwhelmed," the five charities said.

They added that they were "asking desperately for blood, oxygen and antiseptics".

The group said that at a conservative estimate, about 1,200 had been wounded, according to Reuters, which did not name the aid agencies involved.

Residents of Falluja have reportedly been burying the dead in their gardens and a football field because it is too dangerous to go to the cemeteries on the outskirts of town.

Ok, fine. We're in a war, and killing is a part of war. But what were we going to get out of the operation in Fallujah? We were told the objective was to punish those who mutilated the bodies of 4 U.S. contractors last month, and deter them from additional attacks on our forces. Sounds good.

But somehow, I don't think that indiscriminately killing up to 600 people and wounding 1,200 more, many of them civilians, was the way to go about it. Especially given that it was our treatment of them in the role of occupier and peacekeeper that incited them to attack our forces in the first place.

American behaviour had helped provoke ordinary people to join the resistance, she said, adding that even she and her older sister wanted to join the fighters.

A New York Times report corroborates her claims.

The US newspaper says that many people - perhaps tens of thousands - who did not consider themselves full-time resistance fighters were now prepared to join the insurgency.

Khalif Juma, a 26-year-old vegetable seller, told the newspaper he was angry about the US treatment of radical Shia religious leader Moqtada Sadr, for whom an arrest warrant has been issued.

"To be honest, we weren't like this before. But we're religious people, and our leader has been threatened," he told the newspaper.

"We would be ashamed to stay in our houses with our wives at a time like this," he added.

He and his cousins have bought a crate of Kalashnikov rifles, he said.

We can't be that stupid. What are we really trying to accomplish?