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13 November 2004

Eyewitness: Smoke and corpses

The BBC news website is carrying daily eyewitness accounts from inside Fallujah, filed by a journalist who lives there and is trapped inside the city. There is no water, no electricity, no food, no medical care at all. People are burying their children and parents, when they die from stray gunfire, falling buildings or disease, in their gardens, and some bodies are just left out in the street. I got this link from Riverbend of Baghdad Burning, and also this report from aid agencies, all of whom decry the "taking of Fallujah" as an unmitigated human rights disaster. Riverbend calls it genocide and I do not dare to disagree with her.

More on Fallujah: American Samizdat has republished a shocking picture of armed and booted Marines resting between the labours on the "plush red carpet" of a despoiled mosque. Here is what zeynep has to say about that:

Somebody please tell Lt. Brandon Turner that he's insane, that the Pentagon is insane, whoever is allowing the marines or any American soldiers "rest" on that "plush red carpet" with their shoes, uniforms and machines guns is insane. Does anyone understand anything about religious feelings in general or about Islam in particular? Have they spent even half a day watching a documentary or two about Islam and noticed that people carefully and respectfully take their shoes off before entering a mosque, where they will kneel and put their head on that carpet? (Those "plush red carpets", by the way, are prayer rugs, or "sajjade." And you don't step on them with your combat boots, especially inside a mosque, and smile for the cameras unless you really want to fight to the death with up to a billion people.)
Seriously, this is either the most arrogant, incompetent, ignorant occupation, ever, or the most clever, insidious, skillful effort towards bringing about an apocalyptic world war. Are they asleep at the awheel, drowning under their own ignorance, or simply want to end life on earth as we know it?

Jeanne of Body and Soul was also shocked by this picture and her comment on it is tied back to the speech G W Bush made in the National Cathedral days after the 9/11 attacks, in which he claimed a sort of avenging god-hood.
My god is bigger than your god. Beyond that symbolism, can anyone explain what the point of attacking Falluja is? Does control of that city matter if it angers the rest of Iraq?

The liberal blogosphere is pretty united in its shock and horror at this picture, and yet the liberal media in the US (I haven't checked it out but I haven't seen it here) apparently do not see anything noteworthy in it, merely using it as backdrop to more of their tame reportage of the military's view of the war. It's really a case of parallel universes.

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