Socialist Worker

Mass murder not liberation

Issue No. 1928

THE “LIBERATION” of Fallujah has been an indiscriminate killing spree by US forces. Wounded prisoners have been executed in cold blood, while fleeing civilians have been shot dead.

Reports filtering out of the city as Socialist Worker went to press demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that George Bush and Tony Blair are responsible for appalling war crimes.

Television footage broadcast by NBC on Monday showed US Marines executing an unarmed Iraqi prisoner in a mosque. “He’s fucking faking he’s dead,” says one Marine. A burst of gunfire is heard. “He’s dead now,” says another.

Other eyewitness reports confirm a systematic pattern of atrocities across the city. Bilal Hussein, a photographer working with the Associated Press, tried to flee Fallujah by swimming across the Euphrates river.

“I decided to swim. But I changed my mind after seeing US helicopters firing on and killing people who tried to cross the river,” he said. He saw a family of five shot dead as they tried to cross.

Dr Ahmed Ghanim is an orthopaedic surgeon in Fallujah. He told the Los Angeles Times of how his clinic in the city centre was bombed and destroyed by the US:

“I was doing amputations for many patients. But I am an orthopaedic surgeon—if a patient came to me with an abdominal injury, I could do nothing. We’d bring the patient in and we’d have to let him die.”

On Tuesday of last week the city’s electricity supply was cut off. The clinic had no water, no food and no fluids—but the patients kept flooding in.

The bombers arrived later that afternoon. Dr Ghanim narrowly escaped the first blast and ran out of the building. A second bomb crashed through the roof, destroying most of the clinic. “At that moment, I wished to die. It was a catastrophe,” he says.

Dr Ghanim believes the bomb killed most of the patients and many of the doctors in the facility. He slowly made his escape from Fallujah, stopping in an empty house for shelter from the constant explosions.

“I saw injured people on the street, covered in blood, staggering, screaming, shouting, ‘Help me!’ But we could not get out and help them, because we would be killed.”

Other reports describe how all men of “military age” attempting to flee Fallujah were stopped by US troops and forced to return to the city.

“A stream of refugees, about 300 men, women and children, were detained by American soldiers as they left southern Fallujah by car and on foot,” reports the Associated Press.

“The women and children were allowed to proceed. The men were tested for any residues left by the handling of explosives. All tested negative, but they were sent back.”

The US used exactly the same tactics in its previous assault on Fallujah last April. It proves that the whole population of the city has been targeted—not just “insurgents” or “terrorists”.

Such collective punishment is specifically forbidden under Article 33 of the fourth Geneva Convention.

The article was passed in 1949 in response to the Nazi policy of attacking entire towns or districts to suppress resistance during the Second World War.

Early last week, Blair stood side by side with George Bush and praised the assault on Fallujah. The two leaders are known to pray together when they meet.

Both now have the blood of a city on their hands. Both deserve to burn in hell for what they have done.

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Sat 20 Nov 2004, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1928
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