Saturday, November 20, 2004

Photos from Falluja

Kevin Sites, the freelance reporter who, while working as an embedded reporter for NBC News, filmed the execution-style killing of a wounded Iraqi, has a blog. His photos and description of a day in the battle for Falluja are worth a look.

In the wake of the killing of the wounded Iraqi, Amnesty International USA issued this statement:

The deliberate shooting of unarmed and wounded fighters who pose no immediate threat is a war crime under international law and there is therefore an obligation on the US authorities to investigate all such reports and to hold perpetrators of such crimes accountable before the law. Such investigations should be open and transparent and the findings should be made public. Any potential witnesses should be protected.

Also worth reading is Dexter Filkins' story in the New York Times about the battle for Falluja. Filkins notes that the eight days that it took to take Falluja constituted "the most sustained period of street-to-street fighting that Americans have encountered since the Vietnam War." He also states, in what is--for newspaper reporters--a rare self-referencing comment, "For a correspondent who has covered a half dozen armed conflicts, including the war in Iraq since its opening in March 2003, the fighting seen while traveling with a frontline unit in Falluja was a qualitatively different experience, a leap into a different kind of battle."

Filkins reports that, so far, 51 Americans have been killed and 425 have been wounded in the battle for Falluja. There are, of course, no reports available concerning the number of insurgents or civilians killed in Falluja.

Finally, Tom Friedman's column on Iraq offers some helpful perspective and a bit of optimism.