Fallujah: liberated or obliterated?

The best way to make a terrorist is to violate basic human rights and U.S. actions in Fallujah are doing just that.

On Nov. 9, the Central Health Centre in Fallujah was bombed at 5:30 a.m. Dr. Sami al-Jumaili, who was on duty at the time, told The Nation that 35 patients and 19 staff members were killed. His account is confirmed by Fadhil Badrani, a journalist for the BBC. The U.S. military has dismissed their claims as "unsubstantiated."

Under international law, a hospital is a protected institution. This small health center was known to be functioning as a hospital; the Fallujah General Hospital had been stormed by occupation troops because it was alleged to be a center of propaganda, disseminating evidence of civilian casualties. In other words, since this hospital was telling the world how many innocent civilians were dying, neutralizing the source of those unfavorable reports was a key goal for the occupying forces.

We are helping to fuel the fire of the insurgency by our barbarous tactics. Before the latest onslaught of Fallujah began, women and children were permitted to leave, but all men of military age were kept within. The water was shut off. And then we bombed the shit out of that city, which had no electricity, water, or functioning hospital. Any passive Iraqi who was not actively fighting against the occupation at that time became a member of the insurgency, willing or no.

Severe outbreaks of diarrhea have been reported, and the accompanying dehydration is slowly killing off the young and old alike. Some rations of food and water are handed out by U.S. forces, but nowhere near enough to sustain a city. The humanitarian groups and supplies waiting outside Fallujah, with teams of surgeons, physicians, anesthesiologists, and general practitioners have all been denied entry.

According to Jim Welsh of Amnesty International, under the Geneva Conventions "medical personnel cannot be forced to refrain from providing healthcare which they believe is their ethical responsibility." Louise Arbour, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, is investigating "violations of the rules of war designed to protect civilians and combatants" in Fallujah.

What will these investigations do? Can the U.S. military, the U.S. government, or the Defense Department be found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity? The evidence is there, but the international framework for checking America’s might is not.

The International Criminal Court would try and sentence the leaders of many other countries if they did what America has done. But America did not sign on to the ICC, and has even written a law known as the "Hague Invasion Act." Should any American leader or soldier be tried in the ICC, the seat of which is in the Netherlands, the Marines will invade the Hague to get our war criminals out.

What can an oppressed Iraqi do, in the face of such overbearing might? He cannot change our laws, he cannot protect his home, he cannot survive in the wasteland we are turning Mesopotamia into; the most he can hope for is killing a few soldiers. It is the only option we are leaving for the occupied people. We are cornering them into fighting against us.

George W. Bush and his closest advisers make money off of two things: oil and war. They will keep this quagmire going as long as they can, no matter how many crimes against humanity they must commit. It’s just good business.

When war criminals are making money off of perpetual war, comparisons with Hitler are no longer farfetched. But who will invade this Fourth Reich, to keep us from spilling our armies across the globe? Can anyone stop this spree of liberation by obliteration?

Only the terrorists can. It is why they still fight – because they are the only ones with a chance.

Chaelan MacTavish can be reached at [email protected].