Trump's Secretary of Defense Presided Over Slaughter of Civilians in Fallujah

Gen. James Mattis at his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington, July 27, 2010. President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Mattis as his pick for secretary of defense. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski / The New York Times) Gen. James Mattis at his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington, July 27, 2010. President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Mattis as his pick for secretary of defense. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski / The New York Times)

President-elect Donald Trump has selected retired Marine General James Mattis to exercise civilian control over the Department of Defense. Originally known as the Department of War, it was renamed Department of Defense in 1949. But war is precisely what Mattis, known as “Mad Dog,” has enthusiastically done throughout his career.

In 2005, Mattis declared, “It’s fun to shoot some people.” That was one year after he oversaw the Battle of Fallujah in Iraq, which began in April 2004, after four Blackwater Security Consulting mercenaries were killed and their bodies mutilated. In retaliation, US forces attacked the village and killed 736 people. At least 60 percent of them were women and children, according to independent journalist Dahr Jamail, who interviewed doctors at Fallujah General Hospital and at other small clinics inside the city both during and after the April siege.

In November 2004 NBC News correspondent Kevin Sites, embedded with the US Marines, heard Staff Sgt. Sam Mortimer radio that “everything to the west is weapons free.” Weapons Free, explained Sites, “means the Marines can shoot whatever they see — it’s all considered hostile.” The rules of engagement come from the top, and Mattis was in charge.

Collective punishment against an occupied population constitutes a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Yet, according to the Study Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, the US attack on Fallujah in November 2004 killed between 4,000 and 6,000 civilians. Targeting civilians is a war crime.

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