Life Under Attack by Mattis-Led Forces
In this moment, as we countenance Mattis’ planned ascension as secretary of defense, I’d like to share an excerpt from my book Beyond the Green Zone. Taken from a chapter about the April 2004 US siege of Fallujah, this report offers a clear view of the war crimes over which Mattis presided, including the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians, widespread collective punishment and more:
We rolled toward the one small clinic where we were to deliver our medical supplies. The small clinic was managed by Maki al-Nazzal, who was hired just four days ago. He was not a doctor. The other makeshift clinic in Fallujah was in a mechanic’s garage. He had barely slept in the past week, nor had any of the doctors at the small clinic.
Originally, the clinic had just three doctors, but since the US military bombed one of the hospitals and were currently sniping at people as they attempted to enter or exit the main hospital, effectively, there were only these two small clinics treating the entire city.
The boxes of medical supplies we brought into the clinic were torn open immediately by the desperate doctors. A woman entered, slapping her chest and face, and wailing as her husband carried in the dying body of her little boy. Blood was trickling off one of his arms, which dangled out of his father’s arms. Thus began my witnessing of an endless stream of women and children who had been shot by the US soldiers and were now being raced into the dirty clinic, the cars speeding over the curb out front, and weeping family members carrying in their wounded. One 18-year-old girl had been shot through the neck. She was making breathy gurgling noises as the doctors frantically worked on her amid her muffled moaning. Flies dodged the working hands of doctors to return to the patches of her vomit that stained her black abaya.
Her younger brother, a small child of 10 with a gunshot wound in his head from a marine sniper, his eyes glazed and staring into space, continually vomited as the doctors raced to save his life while family members cried behind me. “The Americans cut our electricity days ago, so we cannot vacuum the vomit from his throat,” a furious doctor tells me. They were both loaded into an ambulance and rushed toward Baghdad, only to die en route.
Another small child lay on a blood-spattered bed, also shot by a sniper. The boy’s grandmother lay nearby, shot as she was attempting to carry children from their home and flee the city. She lay on a bed dying, still clutching a bloodied white surrender flag. Hundreds of families were trapped in their homes, terrorized by US snipers shooting from rooftops and the minarets of mosques whenever they saw someone move past a window.
Blood bags were being kept in a food refrigerator, warmed under running water before being given to patients. There were no anesthetics. The lights went out as the generator ran dry of fuel, so the doctors, who had been working for days on end, worked by light provided by men holding up cigarette lighters or flashlights as the sun set. Needless to say, there was no air-conditioning inside the steamy “clinic.”
One victim of the US military aggression after another was brought into the clinic, nearly all of them women and children, carried by weeping family members. Those who had not been hit by bombs from warplanes had been shot by US snipers. The one functioning ambulance left at this clinic sat outside with bullet holes in the sides and a small group of shots right on the driver’s side of the windshield. The driver, his head bandaged from being grazed by the bullet of a sniper, refused to go collect any more of the dead and wounded.
Standing near the ambulance in frustration, Maki told us, “They [US soldiers] shot the ambulance and they shot the driver after they checked his car, inspected his car, and knew that he was carrying nothing. Then they shot him. And then they shot the ambulance. And now I have no ambulance to evacuate more than 20 wounded people. I don’t know who is doing this and why he is doing this. This is terrible. This has never happened before. And I don’t know who to call because it seems that nobody is listening.”
The stream of patients slowed to a sporadic influx as night fell. Maki sat with me as we shared cigarettes in a small office in the rear of the clinic. “For all my life, I believed in American democracy,” he told me with an exhausted voice. “For 47 years, I had accepted the illusion of Europe and the United States being good for the world, the carriers of democracy and freedom. Now I see that it took me 47 years to wake up to the horrible truth. They are not here to bring anything like democracy or freedom.
“Now I see it has all been lies. The Americans don’t give a damn about democracy or human rights. They are worse than even Saddam.” I asked him if he minded if I quoted him with his name. “What are they going to do to me that they haven’t already done here,” he said.
Another car skipped over the curb outside and a man who was burned from head to toe was carried in on a stretcher. He surely died shortly, as there was no way this clinic could treat massive burns. Maki, frustrated and in shock, said, “They say there is a cease-fire. They said 12 o’clock, so people went out to do some shopping. Everybody who went out was shot and this place was full, and half of them were dead.”
More than 20 dead bodies had been brought to this clinic during the last 24 hours of the “cease-fire.” Shortly after this, another car skidded to a stop, and a man hit with cluster bombs was unloaded. “The Americans have been using cluster bombs often here,” Maki tells me somberly. “And of course they love their DU [depleted uranium].”
It is clear that Trump’s secretary of defense selection of Mattis, an unprosecuted war criminal, is yet another egregious act against justice and the rule of international law. http://ift.tt/2gz9teM
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