Déjà vu in Ramadi
"Come and see the blood in the streets.
" Pablo Neruda, ‘Selected Poems’
By Mike Whitney
-- -- We’ve seen this before. An Iraqi city is
surrounded by troops and armored vehicles; the artillery is
wheeled into place, the roads are blocked, a giant wall of sand
is piled up around the perimeter, and everything goes silent
before the final onslaught.
We’ve seen it in Falluja, al Qaim, Husbaya and Tel Afar; the
same persistent refrain over and over again; Rumsfeld’s lone
mantra; “surround, isolate and destroy”.
This time it’s Ramadi, next time somewhere else; what difference
does it make? Iraq is being decimated city by city, town by
town; ravaged by invaders who see an opportunity to fatten their
wallets or enhance their reputations. They’ll level everything
before they’re done.
Ramadi is just another dot on the map; another set of
mud-buildings in a vast ocean of oil; another convenient
testing-ground for the War Department's next generation of
high-tech weaponry. To hell with the people; their lives mean
The strategy for Ramadi is the same as everywhere else; “search
and destroy”; identify all areas of resistance and crush them
with an iron fist. We don’t do diplomacy, we don’t do
negotiations, we don’t do “body counts”.
No one defies the new boss.
Ramadi is a teeming city of 400,000 people. Now it is under
siege by Rumsfeld’s legions. The water lines have been blown up,
medical supplies have been blocked, electricity has been cut
off, and tens of thousands of people are fleeing into the
countryside without shelter or food.
This is what is taking place in Ramadi right now. It’s not a
video game; its real, and its being executed by the United
States under the cover of “liberation” or some other such
According to Times correspondent Megan Stack:
"The image pieced together from interviews with tribal leaders
and fleeing families in recent weeks is one of a desperate
population of 400,000 people trapped in the crossfire between
insurgents and U.S. forces…U.S. and Iraqi forces had cordoned
off the city…Air-strikes on several residential areas picked up,
and troops took to the streets with loudspeakers to warn
civilians of a fierce impending attack.”
“Air strikes on residential areas”?
Not our areas, their areas. Areas where “hajis” and rag-heads
live. Ramadi is just another “terrorist sanctuary” to be
“democratized” with laser-guided weapons and firebombs. Who
cares that thousands of lives will be lost in another barbarous
assault on a civilian population? Who cares that property and
infrastructure will be reduced to rubble?
The “free press” will paper it over. They always do.
1500 fresh troops have been deployed to Ramadi for the
offensive. Residents are afraid of a Falluja-style battle where
vast swathes of the city will be left in ruins and thousands of
people killed or injured.
The city has been cut off from all sides and American patrols
have announced on loudspeakers that civilians should evacuate
immediately. Independent journalists are reporting that “fierce
fighting” has already broken out between occupation forces and
resistance fighters. Air strikes and helicopter raids have
intensified. American soldiers are forcing their way into homes
in residential areas and snipers have taken positions on the
city’s roof tops.
On Saturday, June 10, accounts from inside the city confirmed
“A full-scale American attack on Ramadi has commenced and fierce
fighting is taking place in most of the districts…American
fighter planes are now taking part in the offensive.”
Silence from the American media. Silence from the congress.
Silence from the United Nations.
Another colossal war crime is taking shape and the world averts
its eyes once again.
Thousands of the city’s residents have refused to leave because
they either have no money, no means of transportation, or no
place to go. They'll probably be caught in the crossfire just as
others were in Falluja.
It’s a good day for Rumsfeld; another chance to spread misery
across the pock-marked landscape; another opportunity to
experiment with the Pentagon’s latest lethal gadgetry, another
occasion to reduce a major Iraqi city to Dresden-type wreckage.
He is completely free to work his magic. No one will notice
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