Upside Down In Fallujah 

The American media and military are upside down in Fallujah. 

Sam Hamod 

04/28/04: "ICH"
Today, in what was called “a defensive action”, the American troops attacked hospitals, ambulances, schools and homes in the center of Fallujah. This is just another twisting of the language to make attack seem like defense, aggression and occupation to sound like peace and freedom; our media has gone along, unquestioningly, with this—like tame parrots. But this is no different than what has been going on since America entered Iraq. Alfred Korzybski, the famous general semanticist would turn over in his grave if he could hear this abuse of language by our American military and media. 

General Kimmit and Dan Senor keep talking about “insurgents” and “foreign fighters” trying to intimidate the people of Fallujah. Actually, they are upside down, Our Americans are the “foreign fighters” who were not invited to Fallujah or Iraq and it is America who is trying to “capture” the city, to “destroy the fighters”, most of whom are Fallujahans. And, as General Kimmit said again today, “We intend to send in patrols, but we will observe this cease fire truce.” He also sends in Apaches who attack groups of Iraqis from the sky, with no apparent justification. But, of course, this is not breaking the truce—at least none of our correspondents report it that way, even though their cameramen show the Apaches firing into Fallujah and buildings going up in smoke. 

Who does General Kimmit think he’s kidding—actually, most of the American media I guess, because they are the only ones in the world who don’t understand that to send in patrols is to antagonize the people of Fallujah and this behavior is meant to intimidate the people as well. So, the Fallujhans fire at the hostile patrols who have not been invited into their city. And, to the American media, this is hostility and it’s the fault of the Fallujhans, who our media correspondents say, “Are breaking the cease fire.” 

Unfortunately, so much of the picture of this war that our media is giving us is upside down, and the vocabulary has been twisted words so that they are also upside down.

Let’s take for example the aforementioned “foreign fighters.” It implies, nay, it states that the Iraqis are the foreigners and the Americans are the natives. 

Let’s look at “insurgents.” It’s as if the Iraqis are not allowed to defend their homes and cities, that we have the right to declare what is normal and is the law, and those who happen to be the indigenous people are now, “the insurgents.” 

We have Apaches, F16s, and various missiles we use that destroy homes, women, children, schools, hospitals and yet we call those who stand up to stop us from destroying their homes, their families and their culture, “terrorists.” Once again, they have turned the language upside down on its head; of course, our media assists Kimmit, Rumsfeld, Senor and Bush by never questioning them about how they have done this semantic mislabeling. 

Of course, some of the old Kissinger terms are thrown in at times, “’We’re going to pacify this city,” which means, we’re going in to kill those who oppose us, and maybe do some “collateral damage” (meaning many civilians will probably be killed in the process). Our weapons are “surgical”, and “precise”,which means they may hit within 50 to 100 yards of their target—we heard that in the first Iraq war, then later found out that over 60% of our missiles missed the targets by hundreds of yards or even miles.

Why should we expect this war to be any different, or the lies to be any different. 

Anyone who opposes us is “a radical,” and must be done away with. If I were an Iraqi I would fight back if someone came in and tried to take over our country—wouldn’t you?

Of course you would. Then why is it that our media, politicians and military can’t seem to understand this. 

Ah, I’m getting dizzy from all this Alice in Wonderland use of language –I’m sure you are as well. Unfortunately, while our American leaders and our generals are abusing the language, thousands of Iraqis are being killed, and their nation plundered. 

As one Iraqi professor put it, “The Americans are the new Mongols—they want to conquer the world. But, eventually, we drove the Mongols out—even though it took some time to do it.” I hope our leaders, media and generals heard that; but even if they did, I doubt they’d fully understand what it really means. The Iraqis know who the foreigners are, who the terrorists are—and so does much of the world; it will just take time for Americans to wake up and understand how upside down their world view actually is.

Sam Hamod is a former advisor to the U.S. State Department; editor of 3rd World News; and former Director of The Islamic Center of Washington, DC; he may be reached at 

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