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The First Casualty of War is: the Casualty Figures

by : Yamin Zakaria
Friday November 12, 2004 - 21:16

“And when it is said unto them: Do not make mischief in the earth, they say, we are only peacemakers” (Al-Koran 2:11)

by Yamin Zakaria

In the name of peace they have been terrorising the innocents, committing mass murder and pillaging their resources as billions of oil revenue are still unaccounted for. In occupied Palestine, the same story, the ones who constantly cries wolf about being victims and desiring peace have been busy ethnic cleansing the natives to pave the way for God’s ‘chosen’ people. Indeed making mischief has been their primary occupation. Occupation in more than one sense as inch by inch more and more land is confiscated and countries invaded under false pretexts! Likewise they shout ‘peace’ but what they mean is ‘piece’: a piece of Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, and Jordan etc.

So what is happening in Fallujah now? The accuracy of the answer lies in getting independent information directly from the town itself. One of these independent sources is the medical doctors. As they deal with the victims of the US ‘precision’ bombings, verifying if they are Iraqi freedom fighters or women and children. This is what they did during the previous US incursion into Fallujah back in April.

The hospitals and the mass graves provided the facts as to how many innocent women and children perished by the ‘surgical’ US strikes. No analysts or spin doctors are required as the victims are physically there. Even the reporters from Fox-TV, BBC, Reuters and CNN would find it difficult to conceal these facts, of course that is only if they were there in the first place instead of being embedded within the US forces - literally. Perhaps by now they have even attained military ranks!

The US claimed the figures were inflated but never attempted to substantiate their claims by verifying the dead victims lying in the graves of Fallujah. Therefore, in order to prevent independent verification of the Iraqi casualty figures, in addition to gagging independent media outlets, this time the US raided the main hospital, destroyed other health centres and prohibited the use of ambulances before launching the full scale attack. Electricity and water supplies have also been cut off making it impossible to treat the wounded ones that are already in the hospitals. This is clearly a violation of the fourth Geneva Convention and the world is silent once again in the face of sheer US-hypocrisy and brutality.

Another source of independent information is acquiring multiple eyewitness accounts from the Iraqi civilians which would make the story impossible to be fabricated. Many eyewitnesses reported the burning of many Abram tanks, Bradleys and other US vehicles; even a Reuter’s reporter witnessed and reported a helicopter being turned into a fireball after it was hit by a rocket. It was denied by the US and none of this information got the same level of amplification as the Pentagon press releases, which is aired by the pro-US mass media as undisputed facts.

Even a cursory scan of the pro-US mass media shows the inconsistency and the blatant propaganda. All the pictures of the US troops shown on TV yesterday were in the outskirts of Fallujah but all the main stream press reported that the US forces have taken control of the centre of the city. Bearing in mind part of the resistance strategy is to draw the US forces into the urban areas for a close combat where they have a better chance as some of the technological and the overwhelming US firepower is rendered less effective.

Then comes the issue of US casualties, the number of daily attacks launched by the Iraqi freedom fighters has gone up from around 50 a day to over 100 a day, yet according to the official figures US casualty has declined or remained steady at best! On the 9th of November, according to Reuters [1], a US Marine reported that 50 of his comrades coupled with the 5 US marines witnessed by a Reuter’s reporter were taken wounded but the overall wounded reported today is less than 55!

Similarly AFP reported [2] that the US casualties are mounting but how can that be when according to the same news source US forces only lost around 12 men. Insignificant, when you consider it has 15,000 troops in this operation. Hence, maybe reports like that are trying to tell us something but it is unable to reveal the whole truth. Moreover, whilst the battle in Fallujah raged none of the mainstream TV channels reported the US retreat in Ramadi after facing a fierce attack launched by the Iraqi resistance.

Discrepancy between the words of the ordinary US soldiers and the PR mouthpieces of the Pentagon conveyed by the likes of Reuters, CNN, BBC and others are blatantly obvious. The latter reported the easy capitulation of the Iraqi resistance in Fallujah yet the US soldiers on the ground admit facing fierce resistance in other reports. Al Jazeera in fact reported [3] that after they had entered the city around 12.00 midnight, facing ferocious resistance they withdrew to the northern part of the city. A report corroborated with other independent news sources. Perhaps that is also the reason for the absence of US media coverage from inside Fallujah.

No one is denying the US penetration into the city, sooner or later but what is in dispute is: how and why that is talking place. Mujahideen wants the US forces deeper into the city for close combat, making their air power and heavy artillery less effective. If the casualty figures are as low as what the US claims how is it that for the for the last six months, many of the US military experts and independent analysts have commented on the shortage of US troops to deal the situation within Iraq.

There are possibly two reasons for this and they are complementary not mutually exclusive. The Iraqi resistance is popular and growing, not confined to a fringe minority. Indeed how could they survive along with their brothers (not foreign fighters) from other Muslim countries without the support of the masses? And the US in reality has incurred much larger levels of losses than what has been stated publicly. The officially touted figure of around 1100 killed with 8000 injured from the entire contingent of 130,000. This is not even 10% however there is a shortage of troops.

To answer the initial question, what is happening in Fallujah is sheer barbarism and Israeli style collective punishment. News of US forces using chemical weapons against the Iraqi resistance has also coming through the independent media (www.islamonline.net), so that is where the WMDs are. Perhaps this is why there has been little mass media coverage from inside Fallujah. Thus, the US soldiers have once again exposed their cowardice despite the numerical, technological advantage coupled with the overwhelming firepower. Only cowards attack a civilian population and the basic civilian infrastructure indiscriminately using massive air power, artillery and now chemical weapons. A trait of a coward is to torture prisoners whose hands are tied like we saw in places like Abu-Ghraib.

On the contrary, how many US soldiers would stand and fight against the Mujahideen without their night vision, heavy armour and total air domination? The media is so desperate to match its inflated image of the GI-Joes with the reality; they have even resorted to lies as the Private Jessica Lynch fiasco proved to be the case.

The latest spin is that the US forces have found a hostage slaughter-house in Fallujah, laughable when the whole town and country has been turned into one big slaughter-house by the US forces and their collaborators. Any American with an ounce of humanity in them should be hiding their faces in shame, even if they see only part of the reality in Iraq.

With Al-Jazeera and other independent media outlets out of the way, hospitals demolished, medics killed, no one will be there this time to verify the scale of the slaughter of the US forces. Truth indeed is the first casualty of this war, and part of this is the distortion of the casualty figures. But the truth always surfaces sooner or later. To cover the truth you need to generate heaps of lies, so the spin-doctoring machine churns out: WMDs, 45 minutes, Niger connection, Dodgy dossier, denial of torture and execution, and so on.

Yamin Zakaria

London, UK

Copyright © 2004 by Yamin Zakaria.

[1] http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml

[2] http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/....

[3] http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/...



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