News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: NY Times Whitewashes Fallujah

Monday, November 21, 2005

NY Times Whitewashes Fallujah

The NY Times today is taking the administartion's stance on the use of chemical weapons in the Iraqi city of Falluja. The Times article does not provide the timeline and required context for undertsanding the lies behind the US military's 1) denial of using white phosphorus 2) acknowledgement of using it, and finally 3) the notion that it was used but not on civilians.

The Times seems to take the approach that, while some mistakes were made, the REAL mistake were in the military's PR response to the first reports:

While he said he could not rule out that white phosphorus hit some civilians, "U.S. and coalition forces took extraordinary measures to prevent civilian casualties in Falluja."

However, George Monbiot provides a balanced analysis of both the timeline of lies coming out of the Pentagon, but also the moral implications of having used these weapons not just on civilians, which are proven, but also "human beings" in general.

The ramification of the US attack on Fallujah may never come to light, since the US military will never admit that its commanders and soldiers used every means possible to expedite the destruction of insurgents. As many within and outside the Pentagon wioll argue, "war is hell, mistakes are made in the heat of the moment, and no one can be held responsible for doing what was needed to kill and keep from being killed."

As embedded journalist Darrin Mortenson of California, who was at the attack on Fallujah, notes, however, the ramifications of this devastating attack on Fallujah perahps served as the one major source for the growth of the Iraqi insurgency:
The latest revelations that U.S. forces used white phosphorus, however legal or however justified in military terms, could not have helped staunch the flow of new blood to the cause. Nor could the appearance that the U.S. tried to deny it.

In Iraq, the troops say they have had a hard time trusting the Iraqis. It's equally hard to trust that a tactical military victory will translate into a strategic one.

And as the world outside America continues to shake its head over the use of force in Fallujah, it's fair to ask again whether the assault really broke the back of the insurgency or gave it wings to fly.

The question continues to dog those of us sitting here back home with out loved ones put into circumstances where they must kill or be killed. What terror must they see, must they be forced to commit by nerves, fear, or accident? What innocence is lost on both sides--civilains and soldiers--in body and soul?

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