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US Media Iraq Reporting: See No Evil

The New York Times retrospective (At Iraq War’s End, Wounds are Still Fresh for Falluja), written by Jack Healy and published on December 14, while focusing on the reopening of a famous kebab restaurant that was targeted and destroyed by American bombs early in the November assault, killing the owner’s sleeping son and two nephews, concedes that there remains much “anger towards Americans,” and notes that there is a “legacy” of the American assaults that “is visible in the concrete walls spangled with bullet holes and shrapnel scars, in apartment buildings still lying in heaps.”

But the article, while alluding to the capture and killing of the four “contractors” (it never refers to the Blackwater employees as the mercenary soldiers they were, though the U.K. Independent newspaper reported that they were all veterans of US Special Forces and were providing armed escort to a military supply convoy), and to the abuse of their corpses, never makes the point that the ensuing two assaults on the city were a military response to that incident, and that as such, they were almost certainly war crimes.

Instead, Healy wrote:
 

The images of the Americans, burned beyond recognition, surrounded by jeering crowds, deepened a growing sense of unease among Americans back home that the occupation was spiraling out of control. The United States military vowed to pacify Falluja. Two battles followed, in April and the end of 2004, that restored control but pulverized the city and left hundreds dead.
 

In fact, those assaults on the city left not hundreds, but thousands dead, but then the Times has consistently low-balled the civilian casualties of America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as FAIR has reported in the past (See FAIR Action Alert, 11/16/20040).

USA Today, for its part, ran an article (Fallujah Kebab House is Testament to Iraqi Renewal), written by Jim Michaels and published on December 6, 2011, that curiously featured the same rebuilt kebab restaurant. In it, Michaels, like the Times’ Healy, cited the March 2004 killing of four US private “contractors,” not mentioning that they were actually armed Blackwater mercenaries. He then draws a direct connection between that incident and the subsequent destruction of Fallujah, writing that the abuse of the four men’s bodies “triggered a large-scale U.S. assault in April.”

But Michaels, while highlighting the causal link between the four mercenaries’ deaths and the assaults more clearly than did Healy at the Times, nonetheless like Healy ignores the war crime aspect of the American military’s response to the incident.



story | by Dr. Radut