10 Responses to The second siege of Fallujah, 2004 (Stories of engagement)

  1. Beth Balaban says:

    I’m really excited to see the results of all the hard work that Ross is doing. Dr. Malley-Morrison really seems to have had a positive impact on many of her students, Ross included. It’s encouraging to be a part of and a witness to what seems like a burgeoning awareness for the need to act against troubling forces in the world.

  2. chari tsatsaroni says:

    Dear Ross, thank you for sharing your experience!
    I recently watched a documentary file about Hiroshima and reading your post I realized even more the long term devastating consequences that lethal weapons have on their victims, and especially on the future of this planet; the children.
    I feel an ache in my psyche realizing that human beings continue to choose war as the way to resolve conflicts. On the other hand, your example to take personal responsibility and transform this into action raising people’s awareness, is a ray of light that fills me with hope.
    Thank you for your courage!


  3. kathiemm says:

    Hi Ross.
    We are truly honored to have your contribution to the engagingpeace blog.
    Your story is the story of thousands, if not millions, of GIs going back through history–young men and women who went off to war thinking that they were doing something wonderful and necessary for their country, only to discover that war as they learned to know it was not the glorious undertaking that had been sold to them. Your efforts on behalf of the small–but we hope growing–anti-war movement in the U.S. today are extremely important. Please keep up your good work.
    kathie mm

  4. Pingback: What our country did to Fallujah | Engaging Peace

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  6. Blaine Bart says:

    Hi Ross,
    I am also a veteran of the second siege of fallujah but currently a student at EWU. I question the validity of the article you are basing your opinions on and also question whether or not you actually played a part in the fight and here is my main reason: there were no weapons containing depleted uranium used in fallujah. Anyone who was actually involved in the assault knows that only one weapon type, the M1 Abrams SABO round uses uranium in its ammunition. However, given that a sabo round is built for extreme penetration it was unsafe to use in an urban setting where a single round could potentially travel four or five city blocks before stopping if fired into a house. Instead, the ammunition used were heat rounds made to explode on impact. Heat rounds contain no uranium. If you were really there then good for you but in the future I’d suggest getting your facts straight about military munitions. Secondly, this post in no way condones what occured in fallujah in November of 2004, as I can personally attest to the fact that it was a horiffic scar on the face of all human kind. But I think your post also neglects one major aspect of the siege, the fact that there were also thousands of combatants contained within the city limits, executing civilians as they saw fit. Again, this is something any soldier/sailor/marine/airman who had actually been there would have known. I hope your efforts to raise awareness for the people in fallujah who are no doubt still recovering from the war are highly succesful, but moving forward I hope you morally reengage and tell both sides of the story.


  7. Ross Caputi says:

    Dear Blaine, since I wrote this post a lot more information has come out about the health crisis in Fallujah. Here is a recent article I wrote summarizing most of it: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/25/fallujah-iraq-health-crisis-silence

    I believe you that no depleted uranium was used in Fallujah. Hair, soil, and water samples were taken from Fallujah and they showed no trace of depleted uranium–rather, they found “undepleted uranium” (see the links in my article for more information on this). There is good reason to believe that thermobaric weapons use uranium (though we don’t know this for certain), and thermobaric weapons were used during the 2nd siege of Fallujah.

    We should be careful not to jump to conclusions about what has/is causing this health crisis in Fallujah (which is real and indisputable). But we I feel strongly that we have an obligation to find out. If some US weapon system does cause lingering health effects, then it needs to be banned.

    As to your comment about the combatants in Fallujah executing civilians: Did you see this with your own eyes? I didn’t see it. And I know of no reliable report indicating that this happened. It is pretty well documented that the resistance in Fallujah was 90% local and widely supported by Fallujans. The resistance in Fallujah emerged after an Army unit fired into crowds of peaceful protesters on two separate occasions during the spring of 2003, killing dozens of civilians. After that incident, US forces killed an additional 40 civilians over the next 6 months. This is the historical context of the resistance in Fallujah that I was completely unaware of while I was with 1st Battalion 8th Marines. I, like you, assumed that the resistance oppressed civilians, hated democracy, and wanted to kill Americans because of some distorted ideology. But the fact of the matter is that we were the aggressors and the resistance was defending their city from us. I encourage you to read this 10 part blog post that I put together, where I cite a lot of material in support of these conclusions that I’ve come to: http://thefallujahproject.org/home/Blog

  8. Blaine Bart says:

    I apologize for taking so long to reply to your post, I can assure you that this was very important for me to attend to. First, I would like to apologize to you for the tone of my previous posting. My intention was to have an adult dialogue but it was painfully obvious that I allowed myself to become too emotional. My tone was accusatory and extremely unprofessional. I’m sure you can relate to the difficulty I have in talking about these things while remaining objective enough to maintain a discussion. Either way, I had no right to throw around accusations like that in such a petty manner and for that I am sorry.
    Second, in regards to the execution of civilians, no I did not see any directly executed. However there were instances when clearing houses along the eastern border of the city (I was Army, 2-2 in bn) where we came upon the bodies of several people who had been killed long before we arrived by small arms fire. I can’t say for sure but I’d gather between days and weeks. This is what led me to believe there were civilians being killed before we arrived, as there seemed to me to be no way we could have been responsible for these particular deaths. However, I realize in saying that, that I am neglecting to mention the many, many deaths that we were responsible for aside from those few that we stumbled upon along the way. But no I do not have definitive evidence of resistance executions of civilians.
    Third, I wanted to tell you that I am most definitely going to be learning all that I can about the crisis that continues to affect the citizens of fallujah and the larger population of Iraq that we as americans have seemed content to forget about since troop removal. I will read over the articles you have provided for me. Are there any other resources I can use for research on this topic?
    And lastly, I recently watched your public speaking videos on the Justice for Fallujah webpage and found them to be very eye opening in hearing how one soldier/sailor/airman/marine’s viewpoint of the siege differs from another. Thank you for your insights.


  9. Ross Caputi says:

    Dear Blaine, I understand completely, and I can assure you that I’ve been there myself. There are so many perspectives to take into consideration here that it’s hard to believe in a single truth. In my opinion, the perspective of Marines, soldiers, and sailors has been pretty adequately reported in the media; but the perspective of Iraqis has been shamefully neglected. So this is the perspective that I try to highlight.

    I think Nir Rosen’s book “In The Belly of the Green Bird: The Triumph of the Martyrs in Iraq” is an exceptional insider’s view of Iraq in 2004. It’s not nearly as radical as the title sounds, but Nir Rosen gives a pretty nuanced account of the resistance in Fallujah. Also, Dahr Jamail’s “Beyond the Green Zone” is a must read. And Ahmed Mansour’s “Inside Fallujah” is essential as well. A couple documentaries are worth checking out too: http://www.theroadtofallujah.com/index.php and http://www.meetingresistance.com

    All of the most current research on the health crisis is on my website, and I’ll continue to update it as new studies come out. Feel free to contact me there if you want to discuss anything.

    • kathiemm says:

      Thank you Ross and Blaine for keeping this valauable dialogue going. I believe many readers will find your exchange of information and views to be extremely valuable.

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