US slaughter in Falluja
As The Guardian went to press the US had begun a massive bombing offensive on the Iraqi city of Falluja. Although thousands had managed to flee the city in the lead up to the attack, most residents, at least 100,000 remain. Many will be slaughtered by the US forces in an attack that adds to the crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Bush administration and its supporters. Around 15,000 US troops, backed by all the murderous power available to them, are moving into the city for what the US commander in Iraq, General George Casey, called a "major confrontation". The remains of the city's main hospital and railway station are reported to have been taken by US forces. All medical supplies, water and electricity have been cut off. This will multiply the disaster for the residents who have been under attack from US bombing for a number of weeks. The Nazzal Emergency Hospital, in the centre of the city, was completely destroyed last Saturday. This attack is a reaction by the occupying forces who are increasingly desperate in their failure to gain complete control over the country. The extent of their desperation is reflected in the fact that they are willing to wipe out thousands of innocent civilians using massive fire power and ground forces to have a "confrontation" with, in Casey's words, just "3000 insurgents inside the city". Clearly, the occupation of Iraq has now become an exercise to totally cower the population through the use of force. Tony Kevin is a former Australian diplomat currently at the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at the Australian National University. Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald (November 9) he warned of the escalating situation if, as he thought, Falluja insurgents are likely to dig in. "What I believe is then likely to be done to Falluja will be a war crime and a crime against humanity, morally indefensible by any civilized standard or for that matter, by the Statute of the International Criminal Court." He points out that as a military ally with troops in Iraq, Australia is also morally implicated and notes, "While Australian former SAS commanders,the Governor-General Major General Michael Jeffery, and the Australian Christian Lobby's chairman, Brigadier Jim Wallace, moralise about abortions and gay marriage, Australia's military ally is about to destroy a living city and its families."