“Terrorism is like an iceberg,” said Dominique de Villepin, “with a visible tip and a submerged part.”  The U.S. classifies the resistance forces in Iraq as terrorists. So, it is not surprising that it applies the iceberg analogy to the Iraqi resistance. What is most alarming, however, is the way in which the U.S. plans to get to the bottom of the iceberg.
Having failed to find the submerged part of the iceberg in Falluja, the U.S. has taken to pounding the city. The massive air and ground offensive are intended to bring out the hidden mass of the iceberg by draining Falluja of life, and of the civilian bodies that submerge the members of resistance within the population. Duplicating Israel’s technique of collective punishment against Palestinian civilians, Prime Minister of the proxy government of Iraq, Iyad Allawi, gave the people of Falluja an ultimatum. He warned them that unless they turn over the resistance fighters in the city, they would face a full-scale assault. Allawi’s Orwellian language proposes to massacre the people of Falluja “to defend them from the violence and the terrorists…”  Threatening civilians with violence to gain political objectives is, of course, exactly what all the sub-state groups that use political violence (i.e., the so-called terrorists) are faulted for.
The terrorism of the state against civilians is no different than the terrorism of sub-states, as far as civilians are concerned. Innocent children get killed by both. In Falluja, the U.S. “precision strike” hit a wedding party, killing a father and his seven sons.  It is just that the muscular machinery of the state slaughters a greater number. The overwhelming majority of those who have died as the result of the U.S. attack on Iraq are civilian. The most important study of the mortality rates in Iraq since the invasion puts the number of civilian deaths at 100,000.  More than half the deaths were women and children. The number of deaths in Falluja was so high, even in relation to the rest of Iraq, that the researchers excluded them from the calculation of total fatalities. However, if we were to estimate, from the observed numbers, the casualties in the area around Falluja (which represents only 3% of Iraq) we would expect 200,000 dead.
These numbers should, indeed, shock and awe people around the globe, but particularly in the U.S. Those who claim to own their own system of governance should say loudly and clearly that they do not accept terrorism against the people of Falluja, where relentless bombardments and consequent deaths have resulted in the abandonment of almost half of the household. To threaten innocent civilians with death and destruction is not only against the dictates of ethics and morality, but also contrary to the Geneva Convention relative to Protection of Civilian Persons.
Draining Falluja of its people will not expose the bottom of the iceberg. The thing about the iceberg is that it moves. The iceberg will not be among the abandoned households, only corpses of innocents civilians will be.
 From a speech given on
September 28, 2004, by the interior minister of France, Dominique de
Villepin, at the New York Public Library. Available at:
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