Remembering The First Siege Of Fallujah
Remembering The First Siege Of Fallujah
Quare siletis juristae in munere vestro? (Why are you jurists silent about that which concerns you?) â€”Giorgio Agamben
Background: a firefight
The armed forces of the United States of America laid siege to the Iraqi city of Fallujah in April and later in November of 2004. In order to better understand the role of US news media relative to these assaults, we must begin with an undeniable if rarely repeated reality: US assaults on Fallujah did not begin in April 2004. Let us avoid the unpleasant reminder that during the first Gulf War, Fallujah was among the cities with the highest numbers of civilian casualtiesâ€”a distinction indebted to precision laser-guided bombs that struck crowded markets in the city center. We can then date assaults on Fallujah to Iraqi Freedomâ€”which, for those who forget, began with the American invasion so named. A Human Rights Watch Report provides background.
Al-Falluja had generally benefited economically under the previous government. Local residents told Human Rights Watch that many of them had worked for the military, police or intelligence. However, Human Rights Watch did not find overwhelming sympathy for Saddam Hussein following the collapse of his government. Many al-Falluja residents told Human Rights Watch that they considered themselves victims and opponents of his repressive rule.
Before US forces arrived on April 23, 2003, the report continues,
tribal and religious leaders in al-Falluja had already selected a Civil Management Council, including a city manager and mayor. The quickly-formed local government was having success in minimizing the looting and other crimes rampant in other parts of Iraq. Different tribes took responsibility for the city's assets, such as banks and government offices. In one noted case, the tribe responsible for al-Falluja's hospital quickly organized a gang of armed men to protect the grounds from an imminent attack. Local imams urged the public to respect law and order. The strategy worked, in part due to cohesive family ties among the population. Al-Falluja showed no signs of the looting and destruction visible, for example, in Baghdad.
However, according to the same report, the community became somewhat â€œagitated and concernedâ€ when US forces took positions in central Fallujah, including in an elementary school. â€œWorried local leaders met with US commanders on April 24, explaining that al-Falluja was a religious city and requesting sensitivity from US troops.â€ Aggressive street patrols continued, however, and on April, 28, the day before city schools were scheduled to open, a demonstration was held outside of the elementary school where US troops were stationed. In what was described by military accounts as a â€œfirefightâ€ and by the leaders in American journalism as a perhaps excessive response to an attack, US soldiers applied continuous machine gun fire for near ten minutes on the crowd, killing seventeen injuring more than seventy. A ballistics report conducted thereafter could find â€œno compelling evidenceâ€ that a shot had been fired on US forces.[3 ]
But to return to the â€œaggressive street patrolsâ€ that began in Fallujah in April of 2003, one might ask why such safekeeping of a city would antagonize its citizens. But this issue needs no return; in Iraq such patrols and their accompanying detentions and collective punishments are ongoing. To ask why they are bothersome to a cityâ€™s citizens is furthermore presumptive; these patrols, after all, strip men and women of their rights as citizens. For to the extent that Fallujah was safely kept by US authorities, equally so was the citizenship of Fallujans. A January 2004 trip to Fallujah to speak with a law professor eight months after the arrival of occupation forces addressed these issues in an unexpected way.
The man we went to see in Falluja is Sheikh Haji Barakat, who is a law professor. The problem was that the Sheikh was detained by US soldiers three months ago, and remains in Abu Ghraib prison to this day. This, despite the fact that the US Commander of Falluja has already told his family that the Sheikh is innocent. Each time the family has asked for his release, they get the same promise: tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.
â€œSheikh Haji Baraket,â€ explains his cousin Khamis, â€œis a great, honorable man. The Americans accused him of financing the resistance. But even the Sheikh told the Americans his seven sons are involved in the resistance. This doesnâ€™t mean that their father is guilty. But they have detained him illegally anyway.â€
Omar is the 20 year old nephew of the Sheikh, who was detained as well. He tells us of being interrogated. The Americans asked him if he was Sunni, when he had last seen his mother, and other odd questions, then released him. He also tells us that when the Americans came to detain him, the door to the house was smashed, papers and passports were taken, the manifest for the family car, and all the money in the house.
Omar states that while in prison the Americans who questioned him wore civilian clothing, and threatened to release German Shepherd dogs on him.
The images are by now well known. Since April 2003, to Fallujans and other Iraqis Colonial India must seem an idyllic dream; Mohandas Gandhiâ€™s once forceful rejoinder to arrestâ€”on what charge?â€”would in todayâ€™s Iraq elicit only the force of laughter from authorities and their torturers (if Haji Baraket becomes at some point enfeebled enough to blurt it out). For the sake of Iraqi Freedom, in Fallujahâ€”as elsewhere in the countryâ€”it is first the law that has been put away for safekeeping.
For slaughtered sheep
Nonetheless, in the weeks prior to the first siege of Fallujah, US news media could reasonably consider resistance to the US occupation of Iraq as opposition to â€œfree-market capitalism, sexual freedom, and the importing of Hollywood movies.â€ Despite such objections, a New York Times survey of Iraqis found â€œan upbeat sense among mostâ€ that their lives were getting better: â€œIraqis are starting to express satisfaction with how things are going.â€ Unsurprising, then, that in the New York Times one read that Spainâ€™s decision to withdraw troops from Iraqâ€”perhaps linked to the recent bombings in Madridâ€”â€œconstitutes the most dangerous moment weâ€™ve faced since 9/11.â€
On March 31st, a US vehicle traveling through Fallujah was ambushed and its four passengers killed. Who were the passengers? According to US national media, they were â€œconsultantsâ€ or â€œcontractorsâ€ or â€œsecurity contractors.â€ What were they doing in Fallujah? On April 1, the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, â€œfood deliveries around Fallujahâ€; the Washington Post wrote, â€œhelped protect food convoysâ€; the New York Times wrote, â€œproviding security for food delivery in the Falluja areaâ€; while a Chicago Chronicle headline called the passengers simply, â€œcivilians.â€ We found only two articles in the deluge that offered any variation at all from this account. One, published in the Washington Post, introduced the slain men as â€œamong the most elite commandos working in Iraq.â€ The same article explained this fact, however, with a statement from their employer.
Coalition forces and civilian contractors and administrators work side by side every day with the Iraqi people. Our tasks are dangerous and while we feel sadness for our fallen colleagues, we also feel pride and satisfaction that we are making a difference for the people of Iraq.
An article in the Chicago Tribune wrote that the slain passengers worked for a â€œsecurity companyâ€ that issues military-style ranks, uses attack helicopters to train their personnel, deploys for months on end, trains at military installations, and works daily with US commanders in any given war zone. Nonetheless, as the same article concluded, such personnel â€œare not mercenariesâ€ since they perform â€œdefensive security-related work.â€ And this is obvious conclusion to draw, when one remembers that the proper owners of Iraqi land and resources are US companies; accordingly any attempt to guard them is a defensive one, as is any attempt to police the Iraqis ordained to serve these interests. At any rate, such coverage was exceptional; indeed, the men killed on March 31, 2004 in Fallujah who had security clearance (meaning they were above the law to which every Iraqi, if he is lucky, is subject), who were heavily armed, and who even wore military dog tags were ubiquitously to referred in terms that could equally well have described teachers, gardeners, janitors, or aid workers. In the three days which immediately followed their deaths and which immediately preceded the siege of Fallujahâ€”April 1st, 2nd, and 3rdâ€”the men were referred to even as â€œciviliansâ€ with banal regularity: ten times in the Los Angeles Times, nine times in the San Francisco Chronicle, twenty times in the Washington Post, sixteen times in the Chicago Tribune, and twenty-five times in the New York Times. During only these few hours that the US military had time to build support for a retaliatory siege, then, and in only five of the most respected national newspapers, readers read eighty times of the death and mutilation of American civilians in Fallujah.
A natural question to ask might be: how were civilians in Fallujah depicted during this time? Seven of the most circulated newspapers in the United States ran front page photos of Fallujans either congregating in front of the bodies of the dead Americans as they hung from a bridge or of Fallujans beating those bodies while on the ground. The major US news media found themselves reflecting on their respective portrayals of the event. Typical of these reflections were those offered by New York Times, which fell under the heading, â€œIssues of Taste.â€ The question was â€œhow to show what happened without offending viewers and readers?â€ to which the article concluded, â€œshowing kids celebrating while dragging bodies through the street was essential to the report.â€ For the concern centered not on the people of Fallujah, who they were taking great pains to represent, but on the contrary, that the present moment resembled another a decade earlier in Mogadishuâ€”since â€œthat moment shifted public opinion and eventually led to American pullout.â€ But the New York Times could not have put it better than the marine it quoted: â€œthe insurgents in Falluja are testing us. Theyâ€™re testing our resolve. But itâ€™s not like weâ€™re going to leave. We just got here.â€ In the national press, this resolve was more than ample: it was overwhelming. What the New York Times called a â€œbrutal outburst of anti-American rageâ€ was not only a â€œSaddamist Insurgencyâ€ to quote the Chicago Tribune, but also a â€œcelebrationâ€ of â€œcheering, dancingâ€; in the Washington Post, â€œtownspeople went on a rampageâ€; in the Washington Times, â€œcheering crowds reveled in a barbaric orgy.â€ As the San Francisco Chronicle reported, what occurred was â€œan act of savagery shocking even by the blood-stained standards of Iraqâ€™s worst trouble spotâ€â€”â€œsheer bestial violenceâ€ that doubled as â€œa town fete.â€ These were â€œjust random killings of any westernerâ€ with â€œno rhyme or reason to [them] whatsoever.â€ An eyewitness account that circulated nationally recorded that â€œâ€˜The people of Fallujah hanged some of the bodies on the old bridge like slaughtered sheep,â€™ resident Abdul Aziz Mohammed said gleefully.â€ Though in the context that was provided it was hardly necessary, a Fallujan taxidriver assured readers of the New York Times that â€œeveryone here is happy with this. There is no question.â€
The question of how to respond was handled with equal resolve. As the New York Times reported, the event had brought to a halt the â€œAmerican progress toward the establishment of a western-style democratic state.â€ By April 2nd, concerns were being raised in all corners that the lack of a swift military response may be disquieting evidence that Americans have indeed become â€œtolerant of violence.â€ The means available for such a response were implied, perhaps, by statements such as, â€œwhoever did this were less than animals,â€ as a family member of one of the dead Americans was quoted in the New York Times. Other newspapers were less oblique; an unsigned op-ed in the Washington Post questioned whether â€œthis country can be demoralized and defeated by acts of savagery.â€ It went on to state that â€œit is critical that the US commanders respond forcefully to Fallujah and step up the counteroffensive against the Sunni insurgency.â€ We should remember, then, that beside the lives of four American soldiers of fortune killed last Aprilâ€”or, in the language of the timeâ€”slaughtered sheep, were the residents of Fallujah, not quite citizens, not quite sheep for slaughter; they, a cityâ€™s mothers, fathers, babies, and grandmothers were but â€œjubilant localsâ€ who, beasts that they had shown themselves to be, would â€œneed to be defanged.â€ As one newspaper put it, in response to a Fallujanâ€™s words that â€œâ€˜we wish that they would try to enter Fallujah so weâ€™d let hell break looseâ€™â€: â€œThe man will get his wish...only the when and how had yet to be decided.â€
When and how came hours later, in what even the handpicked members of the Iraqi National Council would condemn as collective punishment, and what their Washington masters would call Operation Vigilant Resolve. The purpose, tirelessly repeated again and again was to â€œregain control of the restive cityâ€â€”Fallujah, which, remember, had begun post-Saddam Iraq according to Human Rights Watch as a self-governing city of relative â€œlaw and order.â€ Remember too that the same Human Rights Watch report â€œdid not find overwhelming sympathy for Saddam Husseinâ€ but instead many who â€œconsidered themselves victims and opponents of his repressive rule.â€ Truth, however, posed little obstacle; the US news media ably presented its readers with an entirely different city, one that was not only â€œrestiveâ€ but â€œlawlessâ€ and a â€œhotspotâ€ and â€œflash pointâ€ for violence, as well as a â€œvolatile center of support for [Saddam Hussein].â€ Later in the month, rumors would become findings, New York Times reports straight from the Pentagonâ€™s mouth that Saddam Husseinâ€™s former officers â€œare responsible for the majority of attacks todayâ€ in Fallujah. In the New York Times, fighting on the ground was introduced with the announcement that marines â€œfought block by block to flush out insurgentsâ€ and â€œwere setting up checkpoints and seeking out suspected insurgentsâ€ in the city, its readers were reminded, where â€œAmerican security contractors were killed and their bodies mutilated.â€ This reminder became obligatory both to explain US military presence in Fallujah and to suggest what another New York Times article made explicit: that as a result, the US marines were forced to abandon â€œa friendlier side of the American militaryâ€ in exchange for â€œheavier weapons and tougher tactics.â€
While such â€œtougher tacticsâ€ were unfit to print in the national press, they were apparent to anyone present in Fallujah. While the New York Times reported an April 9th a US pause in fighting â€œto allow residents to bury scores of dead, and to open routes into the beleaguered city for food and urgently needed medical equipment,â€ in fact only three of the sixty trucks with relief supplies that arrived at Falluja were permitted entry into the city; probably not worth mentioning is that several of these trucks were fired upon before being denied entry and dispatched. The report two days later, from the New York Times, that â€œtroops hold fire for negotiations,â€ was again flatly untrue:
three of my friends agreed to ride out on the one functioning ambulance for the clinic to retrieve the wounded. Although the ambulance already had three bullet holes from a U.S. sniper through the front windshield on the driverâ€™s side, the fact that two of them are westerners was the only hope that soldiers would allow them to retrieve more wounded Iraqis. The previous driver was wounded when one of the snipers shots grazed his head.
What I can report from Falluja is that there is no ceasefire, and apparently never was. Iraqi women and children are being shot by American snipers. Over 600 Iraqis have been killed by American aggression, and the residents have turned two football fields into graveyards. Ambulances are being shot by the Americans. And now they are preparing to launch a full scale invasion of the city.
This is difficult for me to see, particularly after being there yesterday and seeing an ambulance with 3 bullet holes in the driverâ€™s side of the windshield. Seeing slain women and children, elderly, unarmed people. All killed and/or wounded by American snipers. In the last week there have been over 600 Iraqis slain in Falluja alone, with thousands more wounded.
The targeting of ambulances by the US military was practiced with enough vigilance in Fallujah that the Iraqi Minister of Health on April 17 publicly pressed Paul Bremer to account for it. Bremer explained that the US authorities believed ambulances to have been used by fightersâ€”offering, as a response, the very definition of collective punishment. Obstructing medical care, however, in some cases may have required more vigilance, as the following two medical accounts demonstrate:
The Americans shot out the lights in the front of our hospital, they prevented doctors from reaching the emergency unit at the hospital, and we quickly began to run out of supplies and much needed medications.
One of my doctors in Falluja asked the Americans there if he could remove a wounded patient from the city. The soldier wouldnâ€™t let him move the victim, and said, â€œWe have dead soldiers here too. This is a war zone.â€ The doctor wasnâ€™t allowed to remove the wounded man, and he died. So many doctors and ambulances have been turned back from checkpoints there.
Such vigilance, too, is substitutable with the right hardware, if used illegally. A widely understood US military practice among the residents of Fallujah was the use of cluster bombs and flechettes. At Fallujah General Hospital, two orthopedic surgeons, Dr. Abdul Jabbar and Dr. Rashid spoke testified to this. Dr. Abdul Jabbar reported that â€œMany people were injured and killed by cluster bombs. Of course they used cluster bombs-we heard them, as well as treated people who had been hit by them.â€ Dr. Rashid agreed, saying, â€œI saw the cluster bombs with my own eyes. We donâ€™t need any evidence. Most of these bombs fell on the families. The fightersâ€”they know how to escape. But not the civilians.â€
He added: â€œNot less than 60% of the dead were women and children. You can go see the graves for yourself.â€ At Noman Hospital in Al-Adhamiya, a doctor there too said of the people who came in from Fallujah from ten days earlier, that â€œmostâ€¦were children, women and elderly.â€ At Yarmouk Hospital, a lead doctor reported that he saw American soldiers killing women and children, calling the situation in Fallujah â€œa massacre.â€ The New York Times preferred the designation â€œtremendously precise.â€ And it was an apt one, according to one Fallujah resident, who after having escaped to Baghdad testified that US warplanes were bombing the city heavily prior to his departure, and that Marine snipers continued to secure residents of the besieged city, shot by shot. â€œThere were so many snipers, anyone leaving their house was killed.â€ In the New York Times, this was called â€œan acute willingness among insurgents to die.â€
A doctor working in a temporary emergency clinic in Fallujah during Aprilâ€™s siege posed a question on Democracy Now!, which he repeated:
When you see a child five years old with no head what can you say? When you see a child with no brain just an open cavity what can you say? When you see a mother just hold her infant with no head and the shells are all over her body?
The doctorâ€™s question is a good one, and for a reason: in April of 2004, as a city was invaded and its residents were fleeing, hiding, or being massacred, there was considerable public awareness in the United States of human beings whose bodies had been mutilated in Iraq, thanks to our news media. But among thousands of references to mutilation in that month alone, we have yet to find one related to anything that happened after March 31st. So, today, we pose the Iraqi doctorâ€™s question once again, this time looking backward: when you saw an Iraqi baby girl with no head, what did you say? Well, that depends on who you are. If youâ€™re the New York Times, you said nothing; if youâ€™re Paul Bremer, you probably said vigilant resolve.
(1) â€œViolent Response: the US army in al-Falluja,â€ Human Rights Watch, June 2003.
(2) See front page accounts in the New York Times et. al. on April 30, 2003.
(3) Ibid; see section 5, â€œBallistic Evidence at the School.â€
(4) â€œIraq Diary-Baghdad Street Sweepers; Collective Punishment and Kabobs in Falluja,â€ Dahr Jamail, January 12, 2004.
(5) â€œKilling Iraq with Kindness,â€ New York Times, Ian Buruma, March 17, 2004.
(6) â€œOne Year Later,â€ New York Times, Unsigned editorial, March 19, 2004.
(7) â€œAxis of Appeasement,â€ New York Times, Thomas Friedman, March 18, 2004.
(8) "Slain Contractors Were in Iraq Working Security Detail," the Washington Post, Dana Priest and Mary Pat Flaherty, April 2, 2004.
(9) â€œIraq violence drives thriving business,â€ Chicago Tribune, Kristen Schanberg, Mike Dorning, April 2, 2004.
(10) â€œ7 of Top 20 Papers Published Front-Page Fallujah Body Photos,â€ E&P News, Charles Geraci, April 1, 2004.
(11) â€œTo Portray the Horrors, News Media Agonize,â€ New York Times, Bill Carter and Jacques Steinberg, April 1, 2004.
(12) â€œ4 From US Killed in Ambush in Iraq; Mob Drags Bodies,â€ New York Times, Jeffrey Gettleman, April 1, 2004.
(13) â€œIraqi Mob Mutilates 4 American Civilians,â€ Chicago Tribune, Colin McMahon, April 1, 2004.
(14) â€œDescent into Carnage in a Hostile City,â€ Washington Post, Sewall Chan, April 1, 2004.
(15) â€œFour Americans Mutilated,â€ the Washington Times, April 1, 2004.
(16) â€œHorror at Fallujah,â€ San Francisco Chronicle, Colin Freeman, April 1, 2004.
(17) â€œ4 From US Killed in Ambush in Iraq; Mob Drags Bodies,â€ New York Times, Jeffrey Gettleman, April 1, 2004.
(18) â€œActs of Hatred, Hints of Doubt,â€ John Burns, New York Times, April 1, 2004.
(19) â€œGeneral Vows to Hunt Killers, Retake Fallujah,â€ Chicago Tribune, April 2, 2004.
(20) â€œFamilies of Men Slain by Mob Focus on Their Lives, Not How They Died,â€ New York Times, Abby Goodnough, Michael Luo, April 3, 2004.
(21) â€œA Response to Fallujah,â€ Washington Post, unsigned op-ed, April 1, 2004.
(22) â€œWhy America Wonâ€™t Cut and Run,â€ Chicago Tribune, unsigned op-ed, April 1, 2004.
(23) â€œGeneral Vows to Hunt Killers, Retake Fallujah,â€ Chicago Tribune, April 2, 2004.
(24) â€œMarines Battle guerrillas in streets of Falluja,â€ New York Times, Eric Schmitt, April 9, 2004.
(25) â€œActs of Hatred, Hints of Doubt,â€ John Burns, New York Times, April 1, 2004.
(26) â€œHusseinâ€™s Agents Behind Attacks, Pentagon Finds,â€ Thom Shanker, New York Times, April 29, 2004. Although not a shred of evidence is provided to substantiate the claim, one might ask all the same why alleged crimes of the former regime against Fallujans or anyone else justify crimes (incidentally, much greater crimes) on the part of US-led forces against those Fallujans.
(27) â€œUp to 12 Marines Die in Raid on Their Base AS Fierce Fighting Spreads to 6 Iraqi cities,â€ New York Times, Jeffrey Gettleman and Douglass Jehl, April 7, 2004.
(28) â€œMarines Battle guerrillas in streets of Falluja,â€ New York Times, Eric Schmitt, April 9, 2004.
(29) â€œWhen do we begin calling this a War again?â€ Dahr Jamail, April 9, 2004.
(30) â€œTroops Hold Fire for Negotiations at 3 Iraqi Cities, â€œ New York Times, John Burns, April 12, 2004.
(31) â€œSlaughtering Civilians in Falluja,â€ Dahr Jamail, April 11, 2004.
(32) â€œNo respite from the Violence,â€ Dahr Jamail, April 12, 2004.
(33) â€œIraqi Minister of Health presses Bremer and IGC to explain U.S. Targeting of Ambulances in Falluja,â€ Dahr Jamail, April 17, 2004.
(34) â€œFallujah Doctors Report U.S. Forces Obstructed Medical Care in April,â€ News Standard, Dahr Jamail, May 21, 2004
(35) â€œCluster Bombs in Falluja, Harassment of Patients by Soldiers,â€ Dahr Jamail, April 19, 2004.
(36) â€œTheir wide â€˜kill radiusâ€™ renders flechettes particularly deadly. Their use in heavily populated areas contravenes two basic principles of the laws of war. The first is the prohibition against indiscriminate attacks, which means that forces cannot use weapons or mount attacks that do not or cannot distinguish between civilians and military objectives. The second is the requirement to take all feasible precautions to avoid or minimize harm to civilians when choosing method and means of attack,â€ from â€œIsrael: Stop Using Flechettes in Gaza,â€ April 29, 2003.
(37) â€œAtrocities Continue to Emerge from the rubble of Fallujah,â€ Dahr Jamail, May 11, 2004.
(38) â€œCluster Bombs in Falluja, Harrassment of Patients by Soldiers,â€ Dahr Jamail, April 19, 2004.
(39) â€œTroops Hold Fire for Negotiations at 3 Iraqi Cities, â€œ New York Times, John Burns, April 12, 2004.
(40) Abu Muher, quoted in â€œFallujah Residents Report U.S. Forces Engaged in Collective Punishment,â€ News Standard, Dahr Jamaril, Apr 23, 2004.
(41) â€œMarines Use Low-Tech Skill to Kill 100 in Urban Battle,â€ New York Times, Jeffrey Gettleman, April 15, 2004.
(42) â€œUS Marines Shoot Ambulances in Fallujah,â€ Democracy Now! April 13, 2004.
(43) This would be incomplete without elaboration. Of the 55 articles in the New York Times covering Fallujah between April 1 and May 11, 2004, there was a lone article devoted to the matter of the US attack of a civilian population. That article was entitled â€œWar Reports from Civilians Stir Up Iraqis Against US,â€ written by Christine Hauser and published on April 14, 2004. A truism from Human Rights Watchâ€”â€œone needs to verify the information directlyâ€â€”is used to deftly make the point that â€œthe chaos of battle complicates the task of those seeking the truth.â€ The complication wasnâ€™t one that the article or the newspaper thereafter cared much to deal with. In the article, General John Abizaid was called as an expert witness: â€œthe Arab press, in particular Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, are portraying [our] actions as purposely targeting civilians and we absolutely do not do that. I think everyone knows that.â€ As the title of the article perhaps indicates, the news was not so much that atrocities were occurring as it was that alleged atrocities may impede the war effort. â€œ[Such] accounts of the American offensive on Falluja, mounted after the ambush and mutilation of American security contractors here, are the ones many Arabs in the region are hearing.â€
It cannot be said, however, the language of international law was lost on the New York Times. On April 7th, Marlise Simons reported that â€œIraqis meet with War Crimes Trial Experts.â€ But there she discussed prospects for bringing Saddam to trial, not his (disappointed) US masters, who at that moment had already embarked on the earliest stage of a massacre. On April 8th, the Geneva Conventions were cited, but as inapplicable to the present situation. On the 9th, US generals used the New York Times to assure readers that US forces in Fallujah have been â€œjudicious in the use of force.â€ In case these messages did not get through, the New York Times reported Fallujans â€œhave changed the landscape of the war dramatically since the ambush and killing last week of four security guards in Falluja,â€ suggesting that there is no longer a clear distinction to be drawn between fighters and civilians in Fallujah: â€œyou never know which are going to come up and kill youâ€ (â€œUnder Falluja Sun, Gun Fire and a GrimTask: Wait it out,â€ John Kifner, Apil 19, 2004) and â€œthe big problem now is that friendlies, civilians and bad guys are all mixed togetherâ€ (â€œA Full Range of Technology is Appled to Bomb Falluja,â€ Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker, April 30, 2004). Indeed, if the same standards are applied to Fallujans as were applied to the four North Carolina men who died in Fallujah on March 31st, not some, but every Fallujan subject to vigilante resolve was civilian.