Who Will “Punish” Us? Photographs and Testimony about United States’ Use of Chemical Weapons

White Phosphorus

It is extremely interesting to compare the U.S. response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria and its suppression of evidence of similar weapons use by the U.S. and U.K. in Fallujah in March and November of 2004.

We all know about the U.S. reaction to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

In the face of denials by the Syrian government, and on evidence that remains secret and other indications provided by photographs, testimonies of eye-witnesses, accusations of the al-Qaeda-affiliated rebels, and deductions derived from consideration of the delivery mechanisms necessary to launch such weapons, the U.S. government was determined to “punish” the al-Assad government for the heinous crime of using chemical weapons.

Such circumstantial evidence was considered more than sufficient for president Obama and secretary of state Kerry.

In his speech to the nation on Tuesday, September 10th president Obama paid particular attention to the photographic evidence of chemical weapons use by the al-Assad government. Specifically he reminded us of the child victims involved.

The pictures Mr. Obama was referring to included this one:

chemical weapons Syria

And this one:

syria chemical weapons 2

And this one:

Syria chemical weapons 3

But what about the U.S.-inflicted atrocities behind photos like this one?:

Fallujah 1<a

Or this one?:

Fallujah 2

Or this one?:

Fallujah 3

According to a study published in 2010,”Beyond Hiroshima – The Non-Reporting Of Fallujah’s Cancer Catastrophe,” those are pictures of the deaths and birth defects directly resulting from “American” use of depleted uranium and chemical weapons including white phosphorous in Fallujah in 2004.

And it’s not simply a question of birth defects.

According to the same study infant mortality, cancer, and leukemia rates in Fallujah have surpassed the rates recorded among survivors of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Following the Fallujah offensives, the rates in question rose by 60%. Dr Mushin Sabbak of the Basra Maternity Hospital explained the rises as resulting from weapons used by the U.S. and U.K. “We have no other explanation than this,” he said.

And the problem extends far beyond Fallujah. Increased cancer rates and astronomical rises in birth defects have been recorded in Mosul, Najaf, Basra, Hawijah, Nineveh, and Baghdad. As documented by Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an environmental toxicologist at the University of Michigan, there is “an epidemic of birth defects in Iraq.” She writes,

“Sterility, repeated miscarriages, stillbirths and severe birth defects – some never described in any medical books – are weighing heavily on Iraqi families.”

Australian anti-war activist, Donna Mulhearn, who has travelled repeatedly to Fallujah, talking with Iraqi doctors as well as affected families, added to the list:

“babies born with parts of their skulls missing, various tumors, missing genitalia, limbs and eyes, severe brain damage, unusual rates of paralyzing spina bifida (marked by the gruesome holes found in the tiny infants’ backs), Encephalocele (a neural tube defect marked by swollen sac-like protrusions from the head), and more.”

Several highly remarkable aspects of the situation just described immediately present themselves. For one there is the almost total silence of the media about the crimes of the U.S. and U.K. Then there is the lack of outrage by president Obama and secretary of state Kerry. And what about those members of Congress so concerned about damage and pain to unborn fetuses? (I mean, what we have here in effect is a massive abortion operation by the United States in an entirely illegal war which has already claimed more than a million mostly civilian casualties.)

However, what is most remarkable about the contrast between responses to Syria and Iraq is the continued surprise of “Americans” by reprisal attacks by Muslims, which continue to be identified by our media as irrational and evil “terrorist attacks.”

That is, on the one hand, the U.S. feels free to self-righteously rush to judgment and “punish” the suspected perpetrators of the Syrian attacks. But on the other, it hides, classifies, and otherwise suppresses photographs and scientific reports testifying to its own much worse crimes. Once again, those outrages are carried out against unborn fetuses, living children, women, the elderly and male adults – the very same population cohorts that so concern our “leaders” when they are attacked by designated enemies.

The logic is inescapable. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. If the U.S. is outraged by the killing of innocents and feels the need to “punish” the suspected perpetrators, someone else the right to treat the United States in the same way. (We might not know of the crimes of our government and military, but the whole Arab world knows!)

So we shouldn’t be surprised by a Boston Marathon “massacre,” or by militants seizing hotels or malls and killing randomly.

That’s the cost of hypocrisy, double standards, wars of aggression, and the use of outlawed weapons of mass destruction. In war ghastly offensives elicit ghastly counter-offensives.

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Mike Rivage-Seul's Blog

Emeritus professor of Peace & Social Justice Studies. Liberation theologian. Activist. Former R.C. priest. Married for 45 years. Three grown children. Six grandchildren.

3 thoughts on “Who Will “Punish” Us? Photographs and Testimony about United States’ Use of Chemical Weapons”

  1. Hi Mike
    There really is little one can say about this monstrous hypocrisy. And our leaders (Ireland and also Japan) are as bad as the Obamas, Kerrys and our Catholic convert Blair. The church, indeed the pope condemns it with the sound turned w-a-y down. It is expedient that we keep our mouth shut – “in the national interest – and that the whole nation not perish!
    Not sure if you listened to the interview with the editor of The Guardian on democracynow.com yesterday. I guess if more whose voices can be heard do not stand up the Guardian will go the way of national radio…or the “prestigious” Irish Times – lately called the Irish Lies.
    Instead of our being afraid the multinationals who will go elsewhere, which they will anyway, we should be encouraging them to leave. We now have imported from the UK no-contract work conditions. No benefits of any kind unless you turn up when the man says so, work as hard and as long as the man demands , go home when told and wait until you may be called back to join Charlie Chaplin on the line. All for a minimum wage….if the man so deems and without legal address.
    People in the Christian white OECD will go back to the only job that offers stability, easy working conditions, plenty holidays, overseas travel, stop-over free homes to stay in all over the world, lashings of FX friendly stipends to keep one in mammon, top of the line pensions, the best of grub and what ever turns you on to wash it down with, and to top it off the best health and insurance conditions – to the grave , and the keys to the kingdom beyond? oh and free legal council – all this side of the Styx. And one has the comfort of being considered charismatic!!
    No need to be exported in ones old age to a Polish paradise nursing home at affordable prices.
    The present in-thing for Europe for offspring who want to offload Grandma in an acceptable skip!
    Better than being thrown off the train,
    Maybe you an I got off the train too soon.
    I was also struck by the Guardian’s editor remark about the threat social media now is to the corporate product pushers, of many death bearing greed products like medication, chemicals and fast food with no – zero -consideration to the consumer…the more visits to the pill-roller the better. The more ill people the better. Greed is great! We are all white rats in a Monsanto lab! “and loven’ it.” I thought Dan Brown’s “Inferno’ was fiction until I googled “epicyte.”.
    Keep at it Mike. At times it may appear to be preaching to the choir, but we are now told the Facebook et al maybe for the good – that based on physics their is an extra element in a blog group or social media group many times more influential than the size of the group itself.
    An emergent power based on connectivity. Our connectivity. Staring into space is the only alternative.


    1. Speaking of connectivity, Jim . . . I’ve followed your advice and have tried to expand my audience. Just recently I’ve persuaded OpEdNews to publish my Sunday homilies as a regular series on their site. I find OpEd one of the best new sites on the web. Anyway, you’re the one who inspired me to branch out. The audience at OpEd greatly expands my readership. Since retiring I’ve published nearly 40 articles there and the number of views for those 40 is about twice as many as for the 200 entries on my blog site. Thanks, Jim.


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