On the Road to Fallujah By William Bowles

6 November 2004

Ship me somewhere east of Suez, where the best is like the worst,
Where there ar’n’t no Ten Commandments an’ a man can raise a thirst.

Mandalay. Rudyard Kipling

In days of ‘yore’ when the Brits had an empire they used to justify their colonial ‘adventures’ with talk of a ‘civilising mission’ with of course, the missionaries bringing up the rear guard armed to their dog-collared teeth with barrels of bibles with which to enlighten the ‘heathen’ or the ‘pagan’, or whatever suitable term justified the enterprise to their alleged Christian values.

Then came the traders with their trade ‘deals’ and if these didn’t work well then there was the Redcoat (or the Black Watch, name your poison, there’s an endless supply of luckless, otherwise unemployed cannon fodder).

Not so remarkable then that attached to a thick piece of historical elastic, after a brief respite called the 20th century (or most of it) that the habits of old should spring back so effortlessly even using the same language – preserving civilisation – you know the score. It’s resurrection time folks, Hallelujah, while the ‘suicide bombers’ – but note, never, ever the resistor, the hero who sacrifices (only selected white people do that) – takes out the odd occupier or two with a DIY bomb.

And whilst I watch the smug mother-fucking managers of the machine, Blair with his alabaster grin, super-glued on to his already pasty, reconstituted countenance, knowing that tonight he’ll eat well and maybe even his missus will let him cop a quick one – will he get off on an image of a Fallujah ground into grey dust I wonder, its former inhabitants, robed cut-outs trudging along dusty lines across the desert watched by squaddies loaded up with incomprehensible bits of technology (even to them) guided by micro-wave whispers, quantum-powered gunsels who in-between forays, no doubt guzzle ice-cold Newcastle ale as they sit mesmerised in air-conditioned inflatable huts, DVDed into a coma scarcely knowing why they are where they are, only thinking to ask when it’s too late to state the question (posthumous ones don’t count).

Death comes as a surprise to the Mall generation, a shock to the system, but really, it’s no worse than piling up your Ford Focus in a head-on on the M-25 (stupid bastard got in the fucking way!). Only ‘ragheads’ die without a headline or becoming the lead story on the six-o-clock news, or rather they don’t actually die as such because they are transformed into a “debatable” statistic by obscene individuals called Hoon, Straw and Blair who argue about how many corpses you can fit onto a silicon chip (no more than 15,000, a convenient number because it’s less than the 100,000 non-people that Saddam is alleged to have tucked away somewhere). And to add insult to injury, laughably use Iraq Body Count numbers (that they have conveniently ignored up until now) to justify their convoluted contestations.

What could better illustrate the pornographic injustice of it all when unknown (uncounted) hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands are returned to the dust from which we are all made whilst the pornographers debate the degree of obscenity involved. Less or more blood and entrails? Is there a handy macro with which to calculate? It’s all just collateral copulation for these murderous manglers of mathematics.

But as with all managers of mayhem, it’s merely an Excel spreadsheet, a Microsoft murder, it’s not real because these are not real people we’re killing, we’re not even sure they actually exist as our intelligence tells us that there’s nobody actually there. Just as well then that it’s non-people we’re pounding into the pavements of Fallujah, but you already knew that didn’t you?

This then is the civilisation of the tie-less Tony Blair, obscenitor extraordinaire who blithely talks of humanity and justice, whose rictus grin makes me grind my molars. But we’ve met them before in a dozen colonial wars, slick phrases oozing from every pore, squeezed like puss from a festering wound called civilisation.

Ah- so by now I assume, you can tell I’m angry, well it’s about bloody time and not a moment too soon as the ‘assault on Fallujah’ begins we are told, today (6/11/04) (though begins is somewhat misleading as, to use that well-worn journalistic phrase, the city has already been well ‘softened up’). I love that phrase, softened-up, it doesn’t quite elicit the vision of a body with every bone broken and the organs displayed like a dissected frog from my school days, but you get the picture. The BBC News used it this morning (6/11/04) but we can’t have that ever such nice lady on BBC News actually saying ‘thousand pound fragmentation bombs, each containing 15,000 bomblets, designed not to kill but to maim most horribly anyone unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, rained down on what’s left of the city of Fallujah’. Much better that the non-people get/got ‘softened-up’, so much politer don’t you think. We don’t want to offend the sensibilities of all those nice people who listen to BBC Radio 4, the benchmark for objective journalism across the world.

And there’s another word to conjure with, ‘bomblets’, sounds like Chiclets doesn’t it? (Chiclets for all you Brits is chewing gum.) But bomblets is to being blown to bits what getting softened up is to eviscerate (disembowel, remove the guts from, fillet). So innocent, so much better don’t you think to imagine cute little bomblets falling like manna from heaven (they even paint them bright colours so non-children will pick them up thinking that they’re toys or sweets).

The upshot of all of this is that just as civilise is a synonym for slavery, injustice and plain robbery with aggravated and extreme violence, so the dirty war of Blair and Bush evacuates language of all meaning at least in the accepted sense, and replaces it with words that have been sanitised so that the awful reality of in all likelihood something like 1,000,000 dead since 1990 in Iraq is really just a 1 that happens to have six zeros after it. For this is how the sleight of mouth is pulled.

Imagine that rather than the newsreader saying ‘Approximately 1 million men, women and children have died in Iraq as a result of bombing, sanctions and the malign neglect of the civilian population by the occupiers’, they were to say ‘1 followed by six zeros of non-people are possibly no longer around to be counted but we can’t swear to this because our governments don’t think they’re non-existence is worth counting in the first place’. For this is what the daily dose of non-news does to our understanding of reality.

However, when three Black Watch soldiers, professionals, paid to kill, get it, the nation goes into mourning for these are real people, they live next door to us, we cut them off on the motorway, they shop at the same supermarket, whereas Mr and Mrs Raghead with their small children are, in actuality, suicide bombers in-waiting. And what’s worse they don’t go to church and they actually believe that ‘God is willing’ (unlike the Christian variety whose God is vengeful, spiteful and not at all a nice person).

But don’t take my word for it, let Rahul Mahajan tell us who has spent time in the city of Fallujah, the city of non-people:

“U.S. forces bombed the power plant at the beginning of the assault [in April]; for the next several weeks, Fallujah was a blacked-out town, with light provided by generators only in critical places like mosques and clinics. The town was placed under siege; the ban on bringing in food, medicine, and other basic items was broken only when Iraqis en masse challenged the roadblocks. The atmosphere was one of pervasive fear, from bombing and the threat of more bombing. Noncombatants and families with sick people, the elderly, and children were leaving in droves. After initial instances in which people were prevented from leaving, U.S. forces began allowing everyone to leave except for what they called “military age males,” men usually between 15 and 60. Keeping noncombatants from leaving a place under bombardment is a violation of the laws of war.

“The main hospital in Fallujah is across the Euphrates from the bulk of the town. Right at the beginning, the Americans shut down the main bridge, cutting off the hospital from the town. Doctors who wanted to treat patients had to leave the hospital, with only the equipment they could carry, and set up in makeshift clinics all over the city; the one I stayed at had been a neighborhood clinic with one room that had four beds, and no operating theater; doctors refrigerated blood in a soft-drink vending machine.”
‘Fallujah and the Reality of War’ by Rahul Mahajan, www.counterpunch.org/

A far cry from Blair’s bleats about humanitarian this and humanitarian that. Note that virtually everyone either old to hold an Ak or too young to be able to carry an AK is de facto, one of Blair’s non-persons, for in Blair’s war there are two kinds of non-persons (dead that is), one kind was unfortunately in the wrong place at the wrong time, the so-called collateral kind and the other (also dead of course) are males between the ages of 15 and sixty, combatants. This is how the feat of magic is performed that reduces 100,000 deaths to a ‘mere’ 15,000 (or so). Yet how does Blair explain that regardless of the number, the great majority of dead non-people, are women and children?

Of course Blair is able in large measure to get away with his kind of bullshit because the media do not challenge him or his capos (and the odd male impersonator) and when challenged, inadequate responses are not called out as ‘it’s time to move on to my next question’ or words to that effect. (For more on playing with the numbers see Medialens – 100,000 Iraqi Civilian Deaths.)

FALLUJA, November 06, 2004 – The fiercest U.S. air and artillery bombardment of Falluja in months destroyed a hospital, a medical warehouse and dozens of homes overnight, residents said on Saturday.

Witnesses said U.S. air strikes and shelling lit up the night sky and shook the east and north of the rebel-held city.

A small hospital funded by a Saudi Arabian Islamic charity in the central Nazzal district was reduced to rubble. Only its facade, with a sign reading Nazzal Emergency Hospital, remained intact. Reuters pictures showed blue surgical cloths and empty medicine boxes amid earth and brick ruins.

A nearby compound used by the main Falluja Hospital to store medical supplies was also destroyed, witnesses said.

Hospital officials confirmed all its contents were ruined.

Such reports as this and from Reuters, and not from some pinko, commie-loving, anti-American, terrorist-loving, faggot fellow traveller are thick on the ground but the sleight of word works overtime, reducing such reports to footnotes or by using the chilling phrase ‘it is alleged that…’ followed by a stock denial from the DoD but with promises that ‘it will be investigated’, end of story. War crimes become part of the ‘unfortunate collateral damage’ to reality and tossed on the garbage dump that passes itself of as civilisation.

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