How the U.S. kept most of its crusade quiet
People who used to live in Fallujah are scattered to refugee camps or presumably somewhere around the bombed-out, shot-up city. How many? We don’t know. How many people who used to live in Fallujah are now dead? We don’t know. How many got dead-checked to make sure they wouldn’t return? We don’t know.
We won’t even have a good estimate for months, because our government, despite embedding reporters (most of whom have been “Bush’s Bitches”), doesn’t want us to know. For the most part, the details of what happened in Fallujah last month are murky and mysterious. How did this happen? Read Naomi Klein‘s December 4 column in The Guardian (U.K.), a follow-up to the protest raised by David T. Johnson, acting ambassador to the Court of St. James’s, to this sentence in her November 26 column, “Smoking While Iraq Burns”:
“In Iraq, U.S. forces and their Iraqi surrogates are no longer bothering to conceal attacks on civilian targets and are openly eliminating anyone—doctors, clerics, journalists—who dares to count the bodies.”
The U.S. ambassador objected to the use of the word “eliminating” and demanded “evidence.” Klein’s December 4 column is a reply to Johnson, detailing incident after incident of exactly how the U.S. is keeping the lid on info by bombing, shooting, muffling, banning—even blowing up hospitals and seizing doctors’ cell phones. Klein concludes:
“We don’t do body counts,” said General Tommy Franks of U.S. Central Command. The question is: what happens to the people who insist on counting the bodies—the doctors who must pronounce their patients dead, the journalists who document these losses, the clerics who denounce them? In Iraq, evidence is mounting that these voices are being systematically silenced through a variety of means, from mass arrests, to raids on hospitals, media bans, and overt and unexplained physical attacks.
It will take months for organizations like Iraq Body Count, which painstakingly tallied the carnage from last April’s attack on Fallujah, to rummage around the shards of collateral damage and give the public some estimates.
In the meantime, check out the results of the press censoring itself, detailed in this piece from watchdog FAIR: “New York Times Rewrites Fallujah History.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 4, 2004