Sunday, November 28, 2004
Susan Madrak of Suburban Guerrilla links to an Aaron Brown interview with Michael Ware, a Time magazine correspondent who was present at Fallujah:
WARE: I'm sure the planners weren't deluding themselves to the degree that this would be the final crunch in the insurgent war in Iraq, but there certainly was a sense that this would be the great showdown.From our distinguished colleague Joe Wezorek of American Leftist, the account of a Russian doctor stranded in Fallujah, translated from the newspaper Zavtra:
And it wasn't. And there was some surprise at that. And that struck me. Because I don't understand why they were surprised. I mean, we have seen this, not only from the Iraqi insurgents, but from the al Qaeda-inspired insurgents and the jihadis. We saw it in the battle of Shah-i-Kot in Afghanistan, in the battle against Ansar al- Islam in Halabja in northern Iraq during the invasion. We even saw it in Samarra four or five weeks before Falluja.
This is a guerrilla war. They're never going to confront you head on. They're always just going to wither away and come back to fight you another day, from the flank, from the behind, from above, from below. That's the nature of this war . . . .
BROWN: Just one final big-picture question. You've been in and out of there for two years. You'll be back in there probably sooner than you want. Do you have a sense that, on the military side, progress is being made?
WARE: To put it simply, no. No, I don't. I mean, I don't have any sense of victory or a sense that the coalition, that the West is winning right now.
I mean, it seems to me we're losing ground, figuratively and literally. Just from my own example, six -- nine months ago, I could travel the breadth of Iraq. Sure, it was dangerous, it was risky, but it was calculated. Then that ceased. And I was restricted to Baghdad itself. And the only way I could leave Baghdad was if the insurgents took me and guaranteed my safety.
Now I can't leave my compound. Kidnap teams circle my house. And even in my compound, they mortar, drop bombs on our house. And in parts of Baghdad itself, the U.S. military has lost control. The terrorists of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi control entire quarters of suburbs. One of them, Haifa Street, the most famous, is within mortar range of the U.S. Embassy itself. And every day, we're creating more recruits for the insurgents, and every day more young men from outside Iraq, from the Muslim world agree, the disenfranchised, they're rising up and coming to join the fight, to blood themselves.
Right now, we are the midwives of the next generation of jihad, of the next al Qaeda. So the very thing that the administration says it went there to prevent, it is creating. And despite the honor and the bravery and the uncommon valor that I see among the American boys there in uniform who are fighting this grinding war day to day, when I see them dying in front of me, I can't help but think that perhaps they're dying in vain, because we're making the nightmare that we're trying to prevent.
BROWN: It's good to see you. Have a good holiday.
The flies are everywhere. In the hospital wards, operating rooms, canteen. You find them even where they cannot be. In the "humanitarian" plastic bottle with warm plastic-stinking water. The bottle is almost full, simply someone opened it for a second and made a gulp, but this black spot is already floating there...Wezorek also links to a Sunday Mirror report that Tony Blair is facing serious heat from Parliament over the coalition's alleged use of napalm in the assault on Fallujah:
It is a general crisis with water. There are simply no clean sources. The local residents fetch water from the river, muddy, gray and dead. You can buy anything for water now. The sewage system is broken, the water supply is broken, and electricity is absent in the city.
I am afraid to imagine what will happen in two weeks. Hepatitis will take toll of thousands. They say already that people at the outskirts are in fever with the symptoms of typhus. But one cannot verify it. They prohibited moving in the city . . . .
But the most terrible has begun already on the first day. The wounded started to come into the hospital like a flow. One of the doctors tuned in to BBC by his pocket radio. The news announcer mumbled something about the precision weapons and high professional level of soldiers, about collateral damage reduced to minimum.
I do not know in which place they employed their precision weapons, we had an endless stream of wounded children, women, and elders. Not dozens - hundreds! On the third day the medicines started to come to the end. Especially anesthetics and antibiotics. But the stream did not exhausted. Only on the fourth day we have had a less number of wounded. But it was not because the storm calmed down. On the contrary, now the fights raged in the streets. Simply Americans captured the hospital quarter.
Americans. I have the impression that there are no other words except "fuck" and "shit". Each communication, each order is accompanied by a flow of 'fucks', 'shits' and 'bullshits'. I look at Americans with a pity. The Russian language is much more powerful with emotional expressions.
And last night Tony Blair was dragged into the row as furious Labour MPs demanded he face the Commons over it. Reports claim that innocent civilians have died in napalm attacks, which turn victims into human fireballs as the gel bonds flames to flesh.
Outraged critics have also demanded that Mr Blair threatens to withdraw British troops from Iraq unless the US abandons one of the world's most reviled weapons. Halifax Labour MP Alice Mahon said: "I am calling on Mr Blair to make an emergency statement to the Commons to explain why this is happening. It begs the question: 'Did we know about this hideous weapon's use in Iraq?'" . . . .
A 1980 UN convention banned the use of napalm against civilians - after pictures of a naked girl victim fleeing in Vietnam shocked the world.
America, which didn't ratify the treaty, is the only country in the world still using the weapon.