War Crimes in Falluja
By Joseph Arrieta
Media outlets around the world are filled with stories about
the war crimes perpetrated in Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad
by US forces, but it's abundantly clear a new war crime investigation
will have to be initiated soon: allegations on the slaughter
of Iraqi civilians during the siege of Falluja.
After four US "contractors" we brutally killed
and their crisped corpses hung from a bridge, US Marines were
orders to take the city and bring the perpetrators of that
crime to justice. Very soon after the battle in Falluja had
killed hundreds of "foreign fighters" numerous reports
began to surface in the mainstream media with elements of
04/14/08: "Suddenly a young boy was brought in. He had
been shot in the head by an American sniper while his family
had tried to leave their house waving a white flag."
Post, 04/18/04: "He wept as he recalled his 8-year-old
daughter, who he said was killed by a U.S. sniper in Fallujah
a week ago." [Washington Post removed this article
Press 04/18/04: "Haqi Ismail was shot dead by an
American sniper just after leaving his house for prayers at
a nearby mosque, said his cousin Ismail Hamada."
04/23/04: "Dr Obaidi and Ms Wilding described cases
of women, children and old men who appeared to have been shot
by US soldiers. Dr Obaidi said he had seen the bodies of two
men, one aged about 70, the other about 50, both shot in the
forehead, in an area controlled by the US."
Bee 05/16/04: "I keep hearing reports from my
Marine buddies inside that there were 200-something civilians
killed in Fallujah. The military is scrambling right now to
keep the raps on that. My understanding is Fallujah is just
littered with civilian bodies."
Desperate to bury the bodies, citizens of Fallujah simply
obliterated a soccer field and turned into a cemetery. USA
Today reported 04/11/04 that "Some headstones
bore the names of women; others had markings indicating the
dead were children."
"The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 was specifically
drafted to protect civilians in international armed conflicts.
The convention regulates the treatment of civilians in occupied
territories and forbids "grave breaches," including
the "willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment"
The US now faces two choices: it can attempt to ignore the
widespread allegations of war crimes in Fallujah, or it can
thoroughly investigate what happened in Falluja, make the
findings public and prosecute any of those possibly responsible
for alleged war crimes.
It should be obvious to anyone that an investigation is
urgently needed—that citation from the Sacramento Bee is from
a US Marine and is imminently credible. All of the Middle
East and indeed the whole world is now extremely suspicious
that US Marine forces slaughtered civilians in Fallujah indiscriminately.
Not only that, it appears Marine snipers did a lot of killing.
This is not some errant bomb or missile that created "collateral
damage," it's the alleged deliberate, careful sighting
of civilian targets with spotters targeting men, women, children
It's abundantly clear that war crimes have occurred at Abu
Ghraib prison in Baghdad. It's also abundantly clear that
US Marine forces are under extreme suspicion for committing
them in Fallujah.
Should the Bush Administration and the Pentagon attempt
to ignore these allegations it will be yet another heinous
aspect of this ruinous war in Iraq. The Bush Administration
seems to think that not being held accountable in the press
or to Congress leaves them guiltless and responsible for nothing,
but make no mistake: the US and all of its citizens will pay
an extremely heavy price if the Fallujah allegations of slaughtering
civilians are ignored.
Hatred against US forces in Iraq will fester and kill more
of our troops. US credibility as an enforcer of justice and
righteousness will suffer yet another devastating blow. Many
terrorists will be spawned by these allegations, driven by
revenge. Morale among the troops who take the Geneva Conventions
seriously will be shattered.
Most damaging of all will be the knowledge among Bush Administration
officials and the Pentagon that, despite overwhelming evidence
that heinous war crimes may have occurred, they can simply
skate and not be held accountable. It leaves the door wide
open for extremely dangerous future military operations—if
they can get away with Fallujah and no oversight, what might
they attempt in the future if they know there will be no accountability?
Joseph Arrieta is a writer and web producer living in San
Jose, California. Special thanks to Steve Soto of The
Left Coaster for the Sacramento Bee link.