RANGER AGAINST WAR: Why Is Fallujah Lost? <

Monday, January 20, 2014

Why Is Fallujah Lost?

The sun shines
People forget
 Come and join the party
Dress to kill
Dress yourself to kill 
--Eminence Front, The Who

 'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed 
--Amazing Grace, John Newton 

'fore they get ya chainsmoking;
pistol loaded
'fore they get ya chainsmoking;
You can go with this
You can go with that 
--Weapon of Choice,
Fatboy Slim

Why was Fallujah won, than lost? It is a fallacy of conceit. Let us see it through the lens of the Geneva Convention (GC), that noble effort to instill rules of conduct into the act of war.

The GC's are not a quaint relic of bygone days but rather the most evolved effort to separate man from beast in perhaps his most brute undertaking. If we ignore them out of spite or expeditiousness, we have taken a decided atavistic turn. If we fail to comport ourselves according to basic standards, then we must ask why we fight in the first place, and we must surely not hide behind a notion of "helping the people." When what we say differs from what we do, the people understand this.

In the first Gulf War, soldiers gave themselves up willingly to the U.S. hoping that they would be accorded the general civilities which the U.S. Army has generally been known to bestow. This perception changed absolutely in our recent Gulf War expeditions, and that law's detour figures into the current response in Iraq.

The GC's require certain basic humanities be recognized. For example, soldiers -- more specifically, the chain of command -- must mark and identify graves and individual enemy dead whenever possible. This is both military and civilized behavior. However, in recent wars from Korea on, the United States has buried enemy dead with bulldozers and little concern for the GC constrictions concerning the dead. Ditto in Fallujah.

Additionally, we barricaded civilian hospitals and denied medical facilities to the insurgents, also a violation of the GC's. The Red Cross has always maintained a space separate from that of the combatants. Hospitals are not to be militarized, targeted  or denied to any wounded person. Once a fighter is severely wounded that person becomes protected, the same as if he were a non-combatant.

By way of background, when Ranger and his fellows were training as SF officers deploying to combat in the Republic of Vietnam, they received a one-hour block of instruction on the GC's, and a GC card to carry on our person, which basically amounted to squat. No one I knew received anything but eyewash training on the subject.

Why is the government of Iraq destroying one of its own cities? Why is the U.S. providing the money and weapons of mass destruction to facilitate these operations?

How is the Iraqi government's suppression of their citizens different from the Syrian government's treatment of their rebels? Why does the U.S. aid the rebels in Syria, yet kill them in Iraq? They are indistinguishable in a police line up. It is a paradox, a bit like a Zen Koan.

--Jim and Lisa

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