WASHINGTON -- November 12 -- Greens warn that the Fallujah offensive, with heavy civilian casualties and destruction of infrastructure, has completed the transformation of the Iraq invasion into the Vietnam War.
"The insistence that Iraq is better off without Saddam Hussein while killing between 10,000 and 100,000 Iraqi civilians has turned President Bush's rationale for the invasion into a grotesque joke," said Tony Gronowicz, a member of the International Committee of the Green Party of the United States and author.
Greens said that heavy civilian casualties in Fallujah will turn more Iraqis against the U.S., especially in other Sunni cities, leading to a longer occupation and destroying hopes for democracy in Iraq.
"Even if Operation Phantom Fury succeeds in suppressing the insurgency in Fallujah, the result may be more sympathy for the Iraqi resistance throughout Iraq, which can hardly be called a victory," said Justine McCabe, Connecticut Green and member of the International Committee.
Greens noted the silence of Sen. John Kerry and other Democrats on the Fallujah operation. The Green Party has strongly opposed the invasion of Iraq, demanded an immediate end to the occupation, and called for support for U.S. troops by removing them from harm's way and returning them home.
Greens also noted that:
Estimates of Iraqi civilian deaths range from 10,000 (the British Foreign Secretary) to 14,000 <http://www.iraqbodycount.com> to 100,000 (The Lancet).
The U.S. occupation forces have prohibited Iraqi men between ages 14 and 60 from fleeing the city, a policy in violation of international law.
The U.S. attack has destroyed one emergency hospital; U.S. military forces now occupy the city's only remaining hospital, blocking civilians from receiving medical attention. Bombs have been dropped on civilian neighborhoods and mosques targeted and destroyed.
The attitude of invasion apologists suggests a dangerous mindset similar to "In order to save the village, we had to destroy it" in Vietnam. "Even if Fallujah has to go the way of Carthage, reduced to shards, the price will be worth it" -- former military officer and neo-con ideologue Ralph Peters, The New York Post, November 4, 2004 <http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/33310.htm>.
A major Sunni Muslim political party, the Iraqi Islamic Party, quit the interim Iraqi government and revoked its sole cabinet minister to protest the attack on Fallujah. Party head Mohsen Abdel-Hamid explained, "We are protesting the attack on Fallujah and the injustice that is inflicted on the innocent people of the city." <http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/international/AP-Iraq-Sunni-Protest.html>
In having announced the Fallujah attack well in advance of the operation itself, the Bush Administration gave insurgents time to prepare sufficient defense to place U.S. military personnel at great risk; the publicity for Operation Phantom Fury began before the attack -- especially before Election Day -- suggests that one of the operation's chief purposes was homeland political propaganda.
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld continues to depict insurgents as extremists loyal to Saddam Hussein, when in fact the Iraq resistance ranges from Islamic groups that opposed the ousted dictator to Iraqi civilians who lost their businesses and jobs under the U.S. occupation after administrator Paul Bremer opened up Iraqi businesses and resources to foreign corporate ownership.
"There's no doubt that decapitation of hostages by insurgents is atrocious, but the Iraqi people understandably don't see the mass killing of civilians by U.S. bombs as any less barbaric," said Peter LaVenia, chair of the Albany County, New York, Green Party and president of the Green Alliance.