Fallujah: One Year Later

FALLUJAH — Last week, I was in Fallujah working on a story about how the city is one year later. Well, here it is.

A note on this embed: Someone asked me if I had to “clear” this story with the U.S. military. No, I did not. They had absolutely no input on this story. i didn’t show the copy to anyone but my editors and they didn’t show it to anyone else.

As for media events to show me how great Fallujah was going, I can’t speak for what CNN saw a while back, but I was shown several things that were obviously pre-packaged media showcases, and I refused to write about them — with one exception. One such event was the delivery of supplies to the hospital. This was the first supply drop to the hospital since the invasion of November 2004 and it consisted of blankets and kerosene heaters. Nice enough, I suppose, but good equipment and medicine would have been better. It was also a clumsily staged event with the Marines taking their own camera people and showcasing themselves. The Marine major who was providing security took me aside and apologized because, as he said, “I thought this was going to be something real.” His embarrassment was evident.

I wrote about that in my file, but because of space restrictions, it didn’t make it in. That’s life in the magazine business.

Now, as for me being a shameful excuse for a human being — and I’m talking to you, “Susan” — get over yourself. My story was hardly cheerleading and I’m sick and tired of people who think any coverage of the military is somehow being complicit with war crimes. The Marines I met committed no crimes, wanted to get home and realized they were doing an often pointless task, a feeling I tried to convey in my story. If my reporting doesn’t fit your preconceived notions of what’s happening, tough. I’m right and you’re not. Referencing Dahr Jamal, who came over here with an agenda to “document atrocities,” is not journalism — it’s activism. And if that’s what you want, go to another damn blog.