War Propaganda in Iraq

Controlling Information in the Attack on Fallujah

by Bob Allen

The author, who wrote this on November 12, 2004, is active in the labor and antiwar movements in the Philadelphia area. He reports:

This month’s slide presentation and discussion of the Iraq war organized by the Philadelphia Anti-War Forum will focus on the ongoing U.S. assault on Fallujah. It will be on Thursday, November 18, 7 pm, at The Rotunda at 4014 Walnut Street in Philadelphia.

The first target of the U.S. assault on Fallujah chosen by U.S. commanders was the city’s main health care facility, Fallujah General Hospital. U.S. military officials asserted that insurgents had taken control of the hospital and were “forcing the doctors there to release propaganda and false information.”

Over the past year and a half it has been the doctors and staff of Fallujah General and other clinics in the city that have provided the most authoritative accounting of the dead and wounded from U.S. attacks. In the U.S. offensive of April 2004, correspondents reporting from Fallujah General documented the killing of 800 and wounding of 1,800 in the three-week urban assault. Since July when the Allawi government began “authorizing” U.S. airstrikes against Fallujah, the hospital’s medical staff provided aid to a steady flow of casualties. Their daily accounts and accompanying photos exposed the U.S. war propagandists’ claims of “precision attacks.”

By taking out Fallujah General the U.S. military both denies medical aid to the city’s wounded (a violation of Geneva Conventions), and effectively eliminates from the international media any prospect of a reliable accounting of the ensuing attack.

As the U.S. military forces proceed to “incinerate” entire sections of the city with massive bombing, artillery and ground attacks, the November 11 Philadelphia Inquirer informs us, “Civilian casualties in the attack are not known, though U.S. commanders say they believe the numbers are low.”