Sunday, November 14, 2004

Your Sunday Naomi

Naomi Klein is a rare commodity these days - an excellent writer and a true, socially conscious investigative journalist. Her latest column discusses the siege of Fallujah:

With all the millions spent on “democracy-building” and “civil society” in Iraq, it has come to this: If you can survive attack by the world's only superpower, you get to cast a ballot. Fallujans are going to vote, goddammit, even if they all have to die first.

And make no mistake: they are Fallujans under the gun. “The enemy has got a face. He's called Satan. He lives in Fallujah,” Marine Lt. Col. Gareth Brandl told the BBC. Well, at least he admitted that some of the fighters actually live in Fallujah, unlike Donald Rumsfeld, who would have us believe that they are all from Syria and Jordan. And since U.S. army vehicles are blaring recordings forbidding all men between the ages of 15 and 50 from leaving the city, it would suggest that there are at least a few Iraqis among what CNN now obediently describes as the “anti-Iraqi forces"...(more)
When you hear "American commanders report 1000's of insurgents killed or captured in Fallujah" dutifully regurgitated by CNN or Fox, remember this: insurgents carry no identification cards; insurgents aren't wearing uniforms provided Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Any male between 15 and 50 years of age in Fallujah is simply assumed to be an enemy combatant. The operative military response is to kill'em all, and let Allah sort 'em out. So what's happening is, for all intents and purposes, legislated and indiscriminate mass murder.

You know it. I know it. Naomi knows it. But the 51%'ers don't.

There's so much to talk about re: Operation Ethnic Cleansing. A humanitarian crisis of epic proportions is emerging in Fallujah. American troops are apparently now under the command of a foreign dictator. Martial law is declared even as freedom is on the march in Iraq. Up is down. War is peace. Wrong is right.

Take it away in the comments.

Update, 1:35PM: From the comments, reader Bean of Prairie Weather linked through to a nice column from Tom Engelhardt @ TomDispatch. He comes to the conclusion that the U.S. government is fighting a losing battle to exorcise the demons of Vietnam. Engelhardt also expends a lot of cyber energy discussing media complicity in sanitizing the unfolding Fallujah tragedy.

He echoes my own concerns. Many times in the past blogging, I've lamented the need to travel outside the boundaries of U.S. domestic news sources to get any real sense of what's happening in Iraq. While I don't recommend al-Jazeera as your sole source of news on unfolding events in Iraq, when balanced with input from other independent foreign sources (BBC, AFP, etc.), a more complete picture begins to emerge. For example, there are many subplots to the Fallujah siege which do not bode well for any kind of peace process in the near term. But you won't read subplot stories in the NY Times or hear reports about them on CNN, because most such story lines are not nearly as sexy as "shock and awe".

And unfortunately, a vast majority of Americans won't be bothered to take the time to assimilate a very grim picture.