Monday, December 06, 2004

ID Cards: You Too Can Have the Fallujah Experience

The Boston Globe reports on the frankly sinister plan for the inhabitants of Fallujah now that "it's over". The US Marine Corps is apparently going to bring back the 300,000 or so people who fled the city in time for the elections. So they can fully enjoy the benefits of democracy, certain special arrangements have been made.
"One idea that has stirred debate among Marine officers would require all men to work, for pay, in military-style battalions. Depending on their skills, they would be assigned jobs in construction, waterworks, or rubble-clearing platoons.

"You have to say, 'Here are the rules,' and you are firm and fair. That radiates stability," said Lieutenant Colonel Dave Bellon, intelligence officer for the First Regimental Combat Team, the Marine regiment that took the western half of Fallujah during the US assault and expects to be based downtown for some time.

Bellon asserted that previous attempts to win trust from Iraqis suspicious of US intentions had telegraphed weakness by asking, " 'What are your needs? What are your emotional needs?' All this Oprah [stuff]," he said. "They want to figure out who the dominant tribe is and say, 'I'm with you.' We need to be the benevolent, dominant tribe."
The militarisation of labour, eh? Leon Trotsky would have been pleased. The whole thing's worth reading, especially for connoisseurs of stupidity ("Suhad Molah, a young woman in a veil that showed only her eyes, was indignant that a translator said she might be Syrian because of her accent, implying she was the wife of a foreign fighter. "I am Iraqi," she said, adding that she and her children had been trapped in their house for weeks."), but this is a point that really stands out:
"Under the plans, troops would funnel Fallujans to so-called citizen processing centers on the outskirts of the city to compile a database of their identities through DNA testing and retina scans. Residents would receive badges displaying their home addresses that they must wear at all times. Buses would ferry them into the city, where cars, the deadliest tool of suicide bombers, would be banned."
I feel a slogan coming on. Perhaps "David Blunkett - Bringing Fallujah to a high street near you."

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