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Remembering Fallujah, Iraq

The Suffering of Fallujah

by Robert C. Koehler

Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Fallujah . . .

“And so it turns out that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, though not until we arrived and started using them.

Along with whatever else we did to Fallujah – exacted collective punishment on a defiant city (a war crime) in November 2004, killed thousands of civilians, shattered the infrastructure (nearly six years later, the sewage system hasn’t been repaired and waste flows in the streets) – we also, apparently, nuked the city, leaving a legacy of cancer, leukemia, infant mortality and genetic abnormality.

Freedom isn’t free. Remember when that was the go-to phrase of the citizen war zealots among us, their all-purpose rebuttal when those of us appalled by this insane war cited civilian casualty stats? Discussion over. Thought stops here.

This is the power of language. Call it “war” and along come glory, duty, courage, sacrifice: the best of humanity writ large. The word is impenetrable; it sets the heart in motion; God makes an appearance, blesses the troops, blesses the weapons. Operation Iraqi Freedom: They’ll greet us with open arms.

At what point do we learn our lesson, that “war” is a moral cesspool of horrific consequences, especially, and most troublingly, unintended ones?”

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