A former soldier unveils how the US coalition is ‘liberating’ Iraq from the Islamic State through war crimes
Crosspost: Ross Caputi
The US-led war on the ‘Islamic State’ (ISIS/ISIL/IS) has brought the US back into Fallujah. Once again, the stated objective is to root out terrorists — but as with operations in Fallujah during the 2003 Iraq War, it is overwhelmingly civilians who are being killed.
Two weeks ago, the Pentagon announced that US airstrikes had been conducted near Fallujah in coordination with the Iraqi government against ISIS targets. “Four airstrikes struck land features denying ISIL a tactical advantage and destroyed two ISIL buildings, an ISIL VBIED, two ISIL heavy machine guns and an ISIL obstruction,” declared a Department of Defense (DoD) press release.
What the press release didn’t say is that the US-Iraqi targets included civilian structures, and resulted in a civilian massacre.
In this exclusive analysis for INSURGE, Iraq War veteran Ross Caputi — a former US Marine who served from 2004 to 2006 and participated in the second siege of Fallujah in November 2004 — shows how such double-speak is integral to US efforts to control how both soldiers and civilians perceive military operations.
The latest campaign in Fallujah, Caputi reveals, represents a continuation of these little-understood practices: the institutionalized contempt for civilian life in war zones, and the deliberate use of propaganda to conceal this contempt from public consciousness.
On 13th August 2015, the Iraqi government bombed the Fallujah Maternity and Neonatal Hospital, killing 31 people, including 23 women and children.
This incident was widely reported in the Western media; though the coverage was perhaps cursory and even dismissive by labeling it an “IS-held” hospital. Nevertheless, information about this atrocity was available to the Western world, as is information about the many similar atrocities committed by the Iraqi government since the start of their war against the Sunni uprising and the Islamic State in December 2013.
This was in fact the 40th time that the Iraqi government has bombed a hospital in Fallujah, and in Fallujah alone over 4,000 civilians have been killed and 5,200 wounded in the last 20 months of government attack.
The United States has also been complicit in these killings; first by shipping weapons to the Iraqi government to facilitate their internal repression of Sunnis, and then by reinitiating a campaign of airstrikes in the Sunni majority provinces of Iraq in August 2014.
According to Airwars, a nonprofit group monitoring US-led coalition airstrikes against the Islamic State, “publicly-available evidence” alone shows that civilian casualties in Iraq and Syria from these airstrikes are significantly higher than what the US and its partners have claimed.