Falluja: Burning Questions
The Independent today has two important stories looking into claims that the US used chemical weapons including White Phosphorous during the Falluja Massacre. The lead story claims that:
WP shells were fired at insurgents, that reports from the battleground suggest troops firing these WP shells did not always know who they were hitting and that there remain widespread reports of civilians suffering extensive burn injuries...Dahr Jamail has a follow-up story with eyewitness accounts:
It is also clear that elements within the US government have been putting out incorrect information about the battle of Fallujah, making it harder to assesses the truth.
"They used these weird bombs that put up smoke like a mushroom cloud," he said. He had seen "pieces of these bombs explode into large fires that continued to burn on the skin even after people dumped water on the burns"...Jamail also reports on claims of a US cover-up following the assault:
A doctor from Fallujah working in Saqlawiyah, on the outskirts of Fallujah, described treating victims during the siege "who had their skin melted".
He asked to be referred to simply as Dr Ahmed because of fears of reprisals for speaking out. "The people and bodies I have seen were definitely hit by fire weapons and had no other shrapnel wounds," he said.
Burhan Fasa'a, a freelance cameraman working for the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC), witnessed the first eight days of the fighting. "I saw cluster bombs everywhere and so many bodies that were burnt, dead with no bullets in them," he said. "So they definitely used fire weapons, especially in Jolan district."
Some saw what they thought were attempts by the military to conceal the use of incendiary shells. "The Americans were dropping some of the bodies into the Euphrates near Fallujah," said one ousted resident, Abdul Razaq Ismail.In the Guardian, George Monbiot shows how the question of whether the USA has used chemical weapons in Iraq has already been proven. He quotes several passages from the US Military's own publications and concludes:
Dr Ahmed, who worked in Fallujah until December 2004, said: "In the centre of the Jolan quarter they were removing entire homes which have been bombed, meanwhile most of the homes that were bombed are left as they were."
He said he saw bulldozers push soil into piles and load it on to trucks to carry away. In certain areas where the military used "special munitions" he said 200 sq m of soil was being removed from each blast site.
Saddam, facing a possible death sentence, is accused of mass murder, torture, false imprisonment and the use of chemical weapons. He is certainly guilty on all counts. So, it now seems, are those who overthrew him.Sad that this important debate once again is being played out in the foreign press, not in US newspapers, where baseball and Bruce Springsteen are more important stories.