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Re: Fwd: [empirenotes] Bush, Iraq, and Demonstration Elections

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  • greg
    Ah, so he s a physics professor, not political science. He would ve been an interesting governor. But unfortunately, he had the curse of Greg: I voted for him,
    Message 1 of 3 , Sep 25, 2004
      Ah, so he's a physics professor, not political science. He would've been an
      interesting governor. But unfortunately, he had the curse of Greg: I voted for
      him, and only once in my four years of voting have I voted for a candidate that
      --- In prezveepsenator@yahoogroups.com, "Ram Lau" <ramlau@y...> wrote:
      > Some background info about Professor Mahajan:
      > www.rahulmahajan.com/bio.htm
      > http://matthew.cavalletto.org/conference/conf-4-Pages/Image14.html
      > I've read one of his articles on CommonDreams.org and was pretty
      > impressed. See below.
      > Report from Fallujah -- Destroying a Town in Order to Save it
      > by Rahul Mahajan
      > FALLUJAH, Iraq -- Fallujah is a bit like southern California. On the
      > edge of Iraq's western desert, it is extremely arid but has been
      > rendered into an agricultural area by extensive irrigation.
      > Surrounded by dirt-poor villages, Fallujah is perhaps marginally
      > better off. Much of the population is farmers. The town itself has
      > wide streets and squat, sand-colored buildings.
      > We were in Fallujah during the "ceasefire." This is what we saw and
      > heard.
      > When the assault on Fallujah started, the power plant was bombed.
      > Electricity is provided by generators and usually reserved for
      > places with important functions. There are four hospitals currently
      > running in Fallujah. This includes the one where we were, which was
      > actually just a minor emergency clinic; another one of them is a car
      > repair garage. Things were very frantic at the hopsital where we
      > were, so we couldn't get too much translation. We depended for much
      > of our information on Makki al-Nazzal, a lifelong Fallujah resident
      > who works for the humanitarian NGO Intersos, and had been pressed
      > into service as the manager of the clinic, since all doctors were
      > busy, working around the clock with minimal sleep.
      > A gentle, urbane man who spoke fluent English, Al-Nazzal was beside
      > himself with fury at the Americans' actions (when I asked him if it
      > was all right to use his full name, he said, "It's ok. It's all ok
      > now. Let the bastards do what they want.") With the "ceasefire,"
      > large-scale bombing was rare. With a halt in major bombing, the
      > Americans were attacking with heavy artillery but primarily with
      > snipers.
      > Al-Nazzal told us about ambulances being hit by snipers, women and
      > children being shot. Describing the horror that the siege of
      > Fallujah had become, he said, "I have been a fool for 47 years. I
      > used to believe in European and American civilization."
      > I had heard these claims at third-hand before coming into Fallujah,
      > but was skeptical. It's very difficult to find the real story here.
      > But this I saw for myself. An ambulance with two neat, precise
      > bullet-holes in the windshield on the driver's side, pointing down
      > at an angle that indicated they would have hit the driver's chest
      > (the snipers were on rooftops, and are trained to aim for the
      > chest). Another ambulance again with a single, neat bullet-hole in
      > the windshield. There's no way this was due to panicked spraying of
      > fire. These were deliberate shots designed to kill the drivers.
      > The ambulances go around with red, blue, or green lights flashing
      > and sirens blaring; in the pitch-dark of blacked-out city streets
      > there is no way they can be missed or mistaken for something else).
      > An ambulance that some of our compatriots were going around in,
      > trading on their whiteness to get the snipers to let them through to
      > pick up the wounded was also shot at while we were there.
      > During the course of the roughly four hours we were at that small
      > clinic, we saw perhaps a dozen wounded brought in. Among them was a
      > young woman, 18 years old, shot in the head. She was seizing and
      > foaming at the mouth when they brought her in; doctors did not
      > expect her to survive the night. Another likely terminal case was a
      > young boy with massive internal bleeding. I also saw a man with
      > extensive burns on his upper body and shredded thighs, with wounds
      > that could have been from a cluster bomb; there was no way to verify
      > in the madhouse scene of wailing relatives, shouts of "Allahu Akbar"
      > (God is great), and anger at the Americans.
      > Among the more laughable assertions of the Bush administration is
      > that the mujaheddin are a small group of isolated "extremists"
      > repudiated by the majority of Fallujah's population. Nothing could
      > be further from the truth. Of course, the mujaheddin don't include
      > women or very young children (we saw an 11-year-old boy with a
      > Kalashnikov), old men, and are not necessarily even a majority of
      > fighting-age men. But they are of the community and fully supported
      > by it. Many of the wounded were brought in by the muj and they stood
      > around openly conversing with doctors and others. They conferred
      > together about logistical questions; not once did I see the muj
      > threatening people with their ubiquitous Kalashnikovs.
      > One of the muj was wearing an Iraqi police flak jacket; on
      > questioning others who knew him, we learned that he was in fact a
      > member of the Iraqi police.
      > One of our translators, Rana al-Aiouby told me, "these are simple
      > people." Without wanting to go along with the patronizing air of the
      > remark, there is a strong element of truth to it. These are
      > agricultural tribesmen with very strong religious beliefs. They are
      > insular and don't easily trust strangers. We were safe because of
      > the friends we had with us and because we came to help them. They
      > are not so far different from the Pashtun of Afghanistan -- good
      > friends and terrible enemies.
      > The muj are of the people in the same way that the stone-throwing
      > shabab in the first Palestinian intifada were and the term, which
      > means "youth," is used for them as well. I spoke to a young man,
      > Ali, who was among the wounded we transported to Baghdad. He said he
      > was not a muj but, when asked his opinion of them, he smiled and
      > stuck his thumb up. Any young man who is not one of the muj today
      > may the next day wind his aqal around his face and pick up a
      > Kalashnikov. After this, many will.
      > Al-Nazzal told me that the people of Fallujah refused to resist the
      > Americans just because Saddam told them to; indeed, the fighting for
      > Fallujah last year was not particularly fierce. He said, "If Saddam
      > said work, we would want to take off three days. But the Americans
      > had to cast us as Saddam supporters. When he was captured, they said
      > the resistance would die down, but even as it has increased, they
      > still call us that."
      > Nothing could have been easier than gaining the good-will of the
      > people of Fallujah had the Americans not been so brutal in their
      > dealings. Tribal peoples like these have been the most easily duped
      > by imperialists for centuries now. But now a tipping point has been
      > reached. To Americans, "Fallujah" may still mean four mercenaries
      > killed, with their corpses then mutilated and abused; to
      > Iraqis, "Fallujah" means the savage collective punishment for that
      > attack, in which over 600 Iraqis have been killed, with an estimated
      > 200 women and over 100 children (women do not fight among the muj,
      > so all of these are noncombatants, as are many of the men killed).
      > A Special Forces colonel in the Vietnam War said of the town, Ben
      > Tre, "We had to destroy the town in order to save it, encapsulating
      > the entire war in a single statement. The same is true in Iraq
      > today -- Fallujah cannot be "saved" from its mujaheddin unless it is
      > destroyed.
      > http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0412-01.htm
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