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Dresden II: Bush takes on Falluja

David B. Livingstone/ | 09.11.2004 04:37 | Analysis | Anti-militarism | Repression

Bush's re-election bears blood-drenched fruit with the assault on Falluja.

Amidst the bullshit “objective” “journalism” surrounding Bush’s current Blitzkrieg on the city of Fallujah, an article by Adam Jones in Counterpunch is striking for its intelligence and lucidity, not to mention its outrage. Jones aptly points out that U.S. military policy which simultaneously urges civilians to leave the city while precluding any movement by “men of fighting age” smacks of what he calls “gendercide.” The U.S. stance seems to be simply that whether you’re an “insurgent” or not, if you fall within a certain demographic - male, and between adolescence and senility - it’s your lot to serve as a moving target for the intrepid coalition forces. Jones rightly parallels this policy to similar policies which culminated in the slaughter of men in Srebrenica.

The good little mouthpieces on the networks and the cable news channels have somehow failed to note this particularly odious practice; after all, it’s so much better for ratings to hype the fake drama of Fallujah’s faux-"liberation,” dotting the stories liberally with paens to American bravery and the odd cockpit-cam shot of a precision strike on a “safe house” (or wedding party, or hospital, or kindergarten).

It would be so inconvenient for them to note that they were offering us front-row seats to a massacre. But that’s precisely what they’re doing. We’ve been “softening up” Fallujah with nonstop bombardment for days now, managing to take out homes and hospitals in the process, and it’s a certainty that the coming days will bring a one-sided bloodbath to dwarf the earlier aborted invasion (which was not at all light on civilian casualties - the Iraqi civilian reaction to these being greatly increased support for the insurgency). Now that the city has been sufficiently “softened,” and now that one G.W. Bush no longer has to consider the possible election repercussions of unleashing a wholesale slaughter, we’re going for it.

Over half a century ago, the allies firebombed the German city of Dresden - a militarily-unnecessary exercise in pure barbarism which did its best to equal the savagery of Nazi atrocities, and one which the U.S. didn’t manage to surpass untilit obliterated Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It would have been nice to go on imagining that the years since World War II might have made us just a bit more hesitant to snuff out human life on a grand scale; if Bush’s re-election was the strongest argument to date that the kinder, gentler America mythologized by his father had fallen by the wayside rhetorically as well as in practice, this assault - cynically timed immediately following the election in a nose-thumbing to all who might have hoped for a degree of presidential restraint - serves as proof positive.

Walt Kelly’s Pogo said that “we have met the enemy, and he is us.” We went into Iraq to save the Iraqi people from the supposed barbarism of Saddam Hussein, right? Right? If basically levelling a city of 300,000 amounts to “saving” it, one has to wonder just how awful Hussein’s plans for Fallujah must have been. A 20-megaton surface burst, perhaps?

Just as the WMD excuse for the invasion fell by the wayside, any argument that this was a war waged for humanitarian reasons can now be dismissed. With no other practical justification remaining beyond a quest for oil or empire, what excuse can Bush offer the world now? None. But from his lofty position atop his imaginary mandate, with four more years of unbridled zealotry and warmongering to look forward to, it’s doubtful that he feels compelled to offer one. Being dictator means never having to say you’re sorry.

David B. Livingstone/
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Display the following 2 comments

  1. I can´t believe this... — b. harris
  2. Blinkered ignorance — Joe