Thinking of Mosul

This blog is primarily about the babies in Fallujah…but only because they are what moved me to try to understand the horrible effects of the US occupation in Iraq.  So I focused on the situation in Fallujah, but really all of the people of Iraq have suffered from our misguided war. It saddens me so to read about the latest US atrocity, the bombing of civilians in Mosul”

Of course the US will do everything in its power to avoid taking full responsibility. When will this end?  We must continue to oppose those who perpetrate these war crimes. My thoughts go out to all of the families. NO ONE deserved this. Peace…


What About the Babies?

It’s been a while since I posted in my blog.  Fallujah was in the news in June, with the battle to “re-take” the city.  My fundraiser for the refugees fleeing the city raised over $700. I thank the Norwegian Refugee Council for being there,  for offering aid. I hope that my meager effort helped a few families find shelter.

But as always in this media-driven world we live in, news headlines faded. Summer came and I retreated to my personal life. I got married and traveled and focused on my job and my life. But, as always, Fallujah remained somewhere in the back of my mind. What is happening there, I wondered. Where are the families?

I was out of the country when this piece appeared on PBS.

I’m not sure about the framing of the piece…things in the mainstream media often spin reality, especially the complicated political world in the middle east. But politics aside, the voices speak for themselves. A city ruined…a people lost. What about the babies? Where are they? I started this blog because I was outraged that my country wasn’t accepting responsibility for causing birth defects in innocent children. And now, I feel even more hopeless, and sad. I can only hope that somehow the people of Fallujah survive the unspeakable horrors that have been put upon them.  All I can do is offer my…I don’t know what to say. What can I offer? My hope? I’m not sure I have any left.  There is no easy answer. I pray for the babies…


Civilians Fleeing Fallujah Overwhelming Aid Agencies


fallujah refugee camp

I searched Google this morning, as I try to do every day, to check on the latest news form Fallujah.  I read several articles that included statements by the Iraqi government that ISIS, or Daesh, had retreated and that the Iraqi army was in control of 70% of the city:

This passage from this article  caught my eye:
Recent army advances have allowed large numbers of civilians to escape, overwhelming aid agencies.

“Thousands of civilians from Fallujah are right now heading towards displacement camps in a dramatic development that is overwhelming emergency aid provision and services,” said the Norwegian Refugee Council, which is running camps for the displaced near Fallujah.

Though the bulk of ISIS’ leadership and fighters may have fled the city, the escape route is still dangerous for civilians with many being killed or wounded by roadside bombs.

and there was this from the CBC:

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), which has been providing aid to displaced people, said escapees reported a sudden retreat of IS fighters at key checkpoints inside Fallujah that had allowed civilians to leave.

Humanitarian needs were expected to increase dramatically in the coming hours, swamping the resources of foreign aid groups and the government as they struggle with funding shortfalls.

“Aid services in the camps were already overstretched and this development will push us all to the limit,” said NRC country director Nasr Muflahi.

It is good news that more and more families and children are no longer trapped inside the city with no food and dirty water.  But now they need our help. All of us, all over the world, can help by donating to the Norwegian Refugee Council. The people of Fallujah have been though so much…so much war and destruction…the least we can do, especially those of us who live in the US and other rich countries in the west, is to give what we can. And I hope that the people of Fallujah will know peace some day…

Click here to donate:

We Have a “Moral Obligation”…To Bomb?

This is what I am asking as I read and listen and try to wrap my head around the news that my President has sent bombs to  Iraq and Syria. I have been almost paralyzed by the news…horrified that we are being led down this path yet again.The story always goes something like this: “Well, we have to do SOMETHING! We are the superpower, we can’t just sit by and let ISIS (or whoever) carry out  horrible crimes”. It’s a popular sentiment it seems. I heard on the “liberal” NPR (HA)  that our president feels justified because poll numbers show that the majority of likely voters want us to “take action”. Never mind that those likely voters know only what little the mainstream media tells them, of course there is no time or space for nuance and history, only black and white and “good’ vs. “evil”. But, ok, let’s assume for a minute that we do “have to do something”; that it is our moral obligation to help stop this terrible group of individuals who kill in the name of God. OK, I can appreciate that sentiment, and perhaps we should do “something”. But, why why why is the answer, almost always, to bomb? Why do we never, ever seem to try to solve things through every means of diplomacy possible? Why don’t we try over and over again to seek the least harmful outcome?

I totally agree with this, from an article by William Rivers Pitt in Truthout: “…by my calculations, every time we drop bombs on a problem that was caused by us dropping bombs, we wind up dropping more bombs to try and solve it, and nothing ever gets fixed, but some people get paid, so the impetus to drop more bombs on the bombs we already dropped increases by order of magnitude, especially when we get the ratings-happy “news” media involved in the show. “

I am dismayed at the course taken by this president, the one who promised us that he’d stop the war. Instead, we have a constitutional scholar as president justifying why it’s ok to disregard the constitution when it comes to who gets to decide when we go to war. I could understand it when it was Dick Cheney doing it…the very same Dick Cheney who has crawled out of his hole and is once again “beating the drumbeat for war”.

Surreal, really. Because no matter what they say, our bombs do kill innocent people. And yes, I understand that ISIS/ISIL kills innocent people too. But I don’t want to be responsible for the killing and maiming of innocents, do you? I will even go as far to say that I don’t want to be responsible for the killing of ANYONE. I want us to fight for a solution that doesn’t involve more bombs. And what’s even more maddening, I truly believe, as do many others, that more bombs will only make things worse.

As I’ve written over and over in this blog, bombs and other weapons caused this when we invaded Iraq over Dick Cheney’s and the rest of the neocon’s lies:

From FGH

I also want us to take responsibility for cleaning up the mess that we created. I want the people of Fallujah and other cities to know peace. I want the children to receive medical care. I believe that we are all responsible for helping to make things right. Because we are responsible for those children.

And there are ways to live up to that responsibility. One is to protest and do everything in our power to stop the new round of bombing and march to war, to prevent more victims. Press your representatives to press for diplomacy. Seek out alternative media and learn about the roots of the sectarian violence that is at the root of this crisis. Remember to question what the mainstream media says…because you can be sure that they are not telling the whole story.

And remember the babies. Help them and their families by embracing this cause:

“ISLAH offers people of conscience an opportunity to put into action the words we speak and the goodwill we feel when we think about our position in the global order and the violence wrought to sustain that position. Our goal is to mobilize reparations in the form of aid to the communities that our societies have harmed, and we ask all people of conscience to participate in giving reparations to start a healing processes.

Our most pressing goal is to offer IMG_2372reparations to internally displaced Iraqis. Amidst spreading chaos and violence in Iraq, so many of our friends have become internally displaced.

Some are trapped: doctors in Mosul are calling for urgent supplies to continue life saving surgeries, and trauma care. People in Fallujah and Ramadi still witness daily killing.”

And you can help the babies by supporting this speaking tour on Iraq’s public health crisis. Dr. Muhsin Al-Sabbak, a gynecologist at Basra Maternity Hospital, and Dr. Mozhgan Savavieasfahani, an independent public health researcher, will be visiting major U.S. universities this coming October to discuss the public health crisis in Iraq. Dr. Samira Alaani, a pediatrician at the Fallujah General Hospital, will be joining them via Skype. These doctors have been amongst the few to research Iraq’s public health crisis. They are seeking partners in the US scientific community and they need our help.

Please, give what you can so that displaced Iraqis, babies like those in pictured in this blog, receive needed medicine and clothing. And please help to bring the brave doctors who are trying to help under unimaginable circumstances to the US, so that they can go back and help their people. Above all, let’s not forget the consequences of our previous march to war. Please help me to keep these babies in the minds and hearts of the people who caused their suffering.


No. More. War.

I don’t know where to start this post or what to say. I have been wanting to write something for this blog for weeks. Months. Ever since the Birth Defects in FGH (Fallujah General Hospital) stopped posting Facebook updates on the birth defects, because of the fighting there. Instead, a doctor in Fallujah has been posting a running total of the casualties, which I follow on the Facebook page of Muhamad Al-Darraji (a native of Fallujah who was in the documentary featured earlier in this blog, here).

Like this one from June 13th: The total civilian casualties of Fallujah people since the beginning of war against Anbar people so far, were 1657 wounded civilians and 443 killed.

The hospital was damaged in the fighting. A hospital…


I wondered about the families, and all those babies whose pictures are in these pages. What was happening to them? I tried to keep up the best I could, but I felt overwhelmed and helpless.  And ignorant. What could I possibly do to help, what could I say about a situation that I know so little about, despite caring about deeply?

And now, I feel all of those things, plus anger, and great sadness.  I am saddened that my President, the Nobel peace prize winner, announced today that he is sending troops to Iraq, ostensibly to protect US citizens, even as he says that the troops will be combat ready. I am distressed at the statement by my Secretary of State that we are considering sending drones. More of our bombs to kill innocent men woman and children.  Bombs kill indiscriminately, as much as they would like us to believe that they will only kill the “terrorists”. And as this blog attests, weapons cause damage way after the fighting stops.

I am angry that the same cabal of war mongering neocons who started this mess with their lies is being brought out of the closet by our brain dead media and being asked “what should we do now”.  Really appalling.  (See here) What we should have done is prosecute them for war crimes. They wanted to occupy Iraq, for political power, money, empire, and greed, all of the above.  And look at it now…this is on their hands.

But I agree with the few sane talking heads who are saying that US intervention will only cause more harm, more bloodshed, and more upheaval.  I wonder what would have happened had the events after 9/11 had played out in a different way, had we prosecuted the perpetrators of the bombings through the judicial system, rather than militarily? (and of course Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11). We can’t change history but we can decide the future.

And once again mainstream media plays a role in deciding that future, just as they did in the march to the initial invasion. Painting pictures of black and white, good vs. evil, us against the “terrorists”, the same memes that paved the way for the occupation. I have seen it over and over in my work and now in this, we are woefully mislead by our media elites. Uninformed.

What can we do? Become educated for one thing.  I have read everything I could find from the non-mainstream press and have tried to become informed on what is really happening.  Listen to this interview on Democracy Now with Raed Jarrar. Read this article by my friend Ross Caputi.  And this one by Falah Alwan , President of the Federation of Workers’ Councils and Unions in Iraq. Both good analyses of the causes of the current sectarian violence as well as possible solutions that don’t involve drones and US troops.  Seek out these alternative voices. Don’t believe what your government and your mainstream anchors tell you. Call our representatives, protest.

And remember the babies. I can only hope that they are safe. Remember that our bombs caused this (the only posting from the Birth Defects in FGH since the beginning of the year. I can’t believe that they are the only ones)

june babies 2

No. More. War. No more bloodshed on our hands. Fight for a peaceful solution to the violence. It’s the only way…