Thursday, May 01, 2003

The massacre at Falluja, where American troops fired on a group of unarmed Iraqi protestors, killing around 15 and wounding at least 75, is of profound historical importance in the moral history of the United States. There are conflicting reports about what actually happened, with the Americans claiming that they were receiving gunfire from within the crowd, some saying that the American attack began with a thrown rock (as al-Jazeera reported), and some saying that the crowd had done nothing to provoke the attack. The American military has lied about every single thing that has happened in Iraq, but it is quite possible that these American troops were fired upon (although some reports note that Iraqis were firing guns in the air to celebrate Saddam's birthday, and that might have been thought by the nervous Americans to be aggressive gunfire; Iraqi witnesses say they did not see any guns in the crowd). The important fact to remember is that the presence or absence of Iraqi gunfire is of no moral significance, and provides no excuse for the American atrocity. The Americans are in an immoral and illegal occupation of a sovereign country, and are thus morally responsible for everything that happens to the people in that country. The American troops are just as responsible for returning fire as they would be for firing on completely unarmed civilians, as these events could not occur if the Americans weren't there. There are no doubt people in Iraq who will fire out of a civilian crowd with the hope that the Americans will retaliate in a civilian massacre, with the ultimate goal that enough massacres will eventually force the Americans out of Iraq. Besides the occupation, the protestors were also protesting the fact that the Americans had taken over a school, another breach of international law. School children were a large proportion of the protestors and victims (and ambulance crews also reported being fired upon). It wasn't just a run-of-the-mill massacre, it was a spectacular attack on women, children, and those who tried to assist the wounded (and was infinitely compounded when the Americans fired on protestors protesting the first massacre, killing 2 and wounding 18, with this time the shooting provoked solely by the throwing of rocks and shoes!!; one American soldier said: "All I know is a couple hundred people gathered out in the streets; they threw rocks, so we shot back, and they all ran down that way."). The American response was completely disproportionate, to the extent that they were using machine guns on a crowd of civilians. The violence of the occupation follows directly from the new American colonialism. The massacre at Falluja is the new My Lai, with the difference being that it took years for American troops to be so brutalized as to be capable of a My Lai, while the brutality shown in Falluja took a couple weeks to achieve, with the first signs of it being the similar massacre in Mosul of a week or so ago (Fallujah has a sad history of being an American victim, with at least two hundred civilian deaths and five hundred injured when the Americans bombed a market during the Gulf War, and then when people ran to help the injured, bombing the rescuers). More to the point, the massacre at Falluja is exactly parallel to the actions of the IDF in the Occupied Territories, where every Israeli is morally responsible for every atrocity committed by the IDF, simply because the IDF has no right to be in the Occupied Territories, and the victims of an occupation have the moral right to defend themselves. The parallels with Israel are frightening:

  1. Military involvment is justified on the basis of defense against terrorists in Israel, and was justified on the basis that Saddam's weapons of mass destruction posed a clear and present danger to the U. S. (which was a laughable proposition when it was made, but now is approaching the surreal);

  2. Small actions of defiance (e. g., stone throwing) by the people in the Occupied Territories is met by massive brutality by the IDF (shooting children in the head, pushing down houses with people still in them, etc.), thus escalating the response by the victims of the occupation, thus causing an increase in the brutality, and so on, a pattern we're starting to see already in Iraq;

  3. The requirement to brutalize innocent civilians, coupled with a good dose of racism, has destroyed the souls of the IDF soldiers, who have lost all respect for human life, and have turned into killing machines, something we've already seen in the American troops;

  4. The self defense of the Palestinians, which is generally known as 'terrorism', provokes even more brutal responses from the Israelis, and we're already seeing that Iraqi response to occupation will be met with similar increases in brutality by the Americans.

What will we see when the Iraqis start killing American soldiers? Will we start to see the same collective punishment that we now identify with the Israelis? Will Americans start to shoot children and journalists in the face? Will they run over protestors with bulldozers? Will they knock down the houses of families of those who attack the Americans, sometimes with the family still inside? Just how Israel is the United States prepared to descend? How much of the blood of innocent Iraqi civilians has to be spashed over the souls of every American before Americans decide it is time to leave Iraq?