Monday, November 15, 2004

We Always Know Just What To Say

Can there ever be any reason for declaring victory over an area, and then refusing to allow an aid agency to enter? I mean, I don't know the fine points of international law and the conventions on treatment of a defeated civilian population, but can there ever be a justification for this?:
"US military chiefs said yesterday that they saw no need for the Iraqi Red Crescent to deliver aid inside Falluja because they did not think any Iraqi civilians were trapped there.
"There is no need to bring [Red Crescent] supplies in because we have supplies of our own for the people," said Colonel Mike Shupp of the marines.
A convoy of food and medicine brought by the group on Saturday was not allowed into the city"
One moment they say there's no need for aid, and the next they say they have aid for them and that's enough. Further into The Guardian article there's this:

" The Red Crescent believes at least 150 families are trapped, with many people in desperate need of food, blankets, water and medicine.
Some residents still inside the city, contacted by Reuters yesterday, said their children were suffering from diarrhoea and had not eaten for days.
Asked what he would do about the families and other non-combatants in the city, Col Shupp said: "I haven't heard that myself and the Iraqi soldiers didn't tell me about that. We want to help them as much as we can. We are on the radio telling them how to come out and how to come up to coalition forces.(snip)
Red Crescent trucks and ambulances stopped at Falluja's main hospital, outside the city.
There is almost no one at the hospital for doctors to treat because most residents were too scared to leave their homes amid the fighting. The Red Crescent has said the only way it can help is to go into the city."
The article goes on to cite even more resentment and anger at US forces building within and without the city among the Sunnis. Altogether, this has been a (predictably) very bad effort. No one doubted we could mow down the city with our weaponry. But as anyone who had experience of Vietnam could tell, this war will not be won with weapons alone.

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