Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Surgical Strike in Falluja

A report by Miles Schuman in The Nation, dated November 24, gives new meaning to the term "surgical strike." US forces reportedly killed "scores of patients" and health care workers in a bombing raid on a health center in the early hours of November 9:
Although the US military has dismissed accounts of the health center bombing as "unsubstantiated," in fact they are credible and come from multiple sources. Dr. Sami al-Jumaili described how US warplanes bombed the Central Health Centre in which he was working at 5:30 am on November 9. The clinic had been treating many of the city's sick and wounded after US forces took over the main hospital at the start of the invasion. According to Dr. al-Jumaili, US warplanes dropped three bombs on the clinic, where approximately sixty patients--many of whom had serious injuries from US aerial bombings and attacks--were being treated.

Dr. al-Jumaili reports that thirty-five patients were killed in the airstrike, including two girls and three boys under the age of 10. In addition, he said, fifteen medics, four nurses and five health support staff were killed, among them health aides Sami Omar and Omar Mahmoud, nurses Ali Amini and Omar Ahmed, and physicians Muhammad Abbas, Hamid Rabia, Saluan al-Kubaissy and Mustafa Sheriff.

Schuman appropriately includes the names of the health care workers: real people doing work like ours. Besides destroying the health center, the strike leveled an adjoining warehouse where medical supplies were stored.

James Ross of Human Rights Watch was quoted as saying
the onus would be on the US government to demonstrate that the hospital was being used for military purposes and that its response was proportionate. Even if there were snipers there, it would never justify destroying a hospital.
This is only for starters. Read the whole article. It'll make you retch.

Update: More bad casualty news here (via DailyKos). See also Iraq Veterans Against the War and Iraq Coalition Casualty Count links on the left sidebar for depressing updates.