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May 13, 2004

Accounts of Atrocities Emerge from the Rubble of Fallujah

by Dahr Jamail

Yesterday at the General Hospital of Fallujah, doctors spoke of atrocities that occurred during the month-long siege of the city in April.

Dr. Abdul Jabbar, an Orthopedic Surgeon, said that it was difficult to keep track of the number of people they treated, as well as the number of dead, due to the lack of documentation. This was caused, primarily, by the fact that the main hospital, which is located on the opposite side of the Euphrates as the city, was sealed off by U.S. Marines for the majority of April.

Another Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Rashid, said that during the first 10 days of fighting, the U.S. military did not allow any evacuations at all. He said, "Even transferring patients in the city was impossible, you can see our ambulances outside. They also shot into the main doors with snipers of one of our centers."

In the parking lot of the hospital several ambulances are parked. Two of them have bullet holes in the windshields; one of these is riddled with bullet holes, and the tires had been shot out as well.

Ambulance in the parking lot of Fallujah General Hospital, shot several times by U.S. snipers.

Ambulance in the parking lot of Fallujah General Hospital, shot several times by U.S. snipers. Both doctors said they had not been contacted by the U.S. military, nor was any aid delivered to them from the military. Dr. Rashid said, "They send only bombs, not medicine."

Mr. Jabur Khani Raad was sitting in a waiting room in the hospital with a splint device on his arm. He told a horrid story of how he and his two brothers were shot by US Marines on April 11th. He said, "We were in the military quarter going to visit some relatives near the Al-Hassan mosque, and they opened fire on us from the rooftops of the houses they occupied."

His 44 year-old brother who was driving, Jabul Nezzar Raad, was killed. Jabur and his other brother were detained and taken to a U.S. base outside the city. His downcast eyes spoke of terror while he said, "They didn't treat me as bad as the others since I was wounded. With the others, they dug holes in the ground and kept them there. I heard their screaming whenever they were being interrogated."

He told of an old man who was unable to walk after being tortured, and added, "Please publish this. People need to know how the Americans are treating Iraqi prisoners. We were starved, given very little food. The soldiers took the better food out of the bags, and gave us what little was left. Then they burned the good food in front of us."

He said he'd had a bag over his head much of the time. Wearily he recounted, "Sometimes I couldn't breathe because of the bag over my head. Even when I was in their hospital they left the bag on."

We went to see the car near his home which is riddled with so many bullets it is apparently a miracle any of them survived the attack.

Car shot multiple times by U.S. soldiers in Fallujah, killing the driver and wounding his two brothers who were passengers.

Car shot multiple times by U.S. soldiers in Fallujah, killing the driver and wounding his two brothers who were passengers. Then over at where the attack occurred, a man who witnessed the incident said that the body of Jabur's brother was left in the street for a week. He said, "After several days dogs began eating off of it. Then on the 7th day, the soldiers dumped fuel on it and burned it. We were trapped in our house, or we would have tried to bury it; but anyone leaving their homes was shot by them. They knew these men were civilians, because after they had shot up their car, they began stopping other cars that tried to come to the area."

He added that an ambulance had attempted to collect the body on the 5th day, but was shot at by the snipers who occupied the rooftops.

One of the neighbors, seeing that I was a journalist, came out to tell yet another horrific tale.

His brother, Hussein Mohammad Jergi, was a 43 year-old man who had a mental disability. He wandered out of his home on the same day the car was shot up, only to be shot and injured by the snipers himself.

With tears in his eyes, his brother angrily told the rest of the story. "He was shot and ran into the house. They followed him into our home, took out a big knife and chopped off his feet. Then they shot him in the head. After destroying much of our furniture, and putting shit around my house, they left. This is how they behaved all over Fallujah. We buried my brothers' feet with his body."

View out window of home at a nearby roof used by Marines during the siege of Fallujah.

View out window of home at a nearby roof used by Marines during the siege of Falluja. As I walked back to the car, another man tugged my arm and yelled, "The Americans are cowboys; this is their history! Look at what they did to the Indians! Vietnam! Afghanistan! And now Iraq! This does not surprise us."

Along with the daily publication of photos documenting the atrocities occuring in Abu Ghraib, stories like these underscore what most people in Iraq now believe – that the liberators have become no more than brutal imperialist occupiers of their country.

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  • Dahr Jamail is the Baghdad correspondent for The NewStandard. Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, Dahr writes about the effects of the US occupation on the people of Iraq, since the mainstream media in the US has in large part, he believes, failed to do so.

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