A new study by over thirty NGOs, including some excellent groups like the Transnational Institute, contains a lengthy section on attacks on cities by the occupiers. It outlines some rules of thumb for destroying a city:
1) encircle and close off the city, as in Falluah and Tal Afar, where they built an eight-foot high wall around the entire city before pulverising it: “Coalition troops seize control of all movement into and out of the cities, including goods and supplies, water, food, medicines and emergency assistance of all kinds. This “sealing off” strategy seeks to isolate insurgents and show ordinary civilians the heavy cost of not cooperating.
2) forcefully evacuate those who remain: “In Falluja, a city of about 300,000, over 216,000 displaced persons had to seek shelter in overcrowded camps during the winter months, inadequately supplied with food, water, and medical care.16 An estimated 100,000 fled al-Qaim, a city of 150,000, according to the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS). In Ramadi, about 70 percent of the city’s 400,000 people left in advance of the US onslaught.18 These moments mark the beginning of Iraq’s massive displacement crisis.”;
3) cut off food, water and electricity: “The Coalition has repeatedly denied water to residents of cities under siege, including Falluja, Tal Afar and Samarra, affecting up to 750,000 civilians. Many families have only limited emergency water storage and cannot survive long once the central supply has been cut. Along with water, the Coalition has cut off electricity (which may power pumps and local wells). They also have cut off food and medical supplies, creating a “state of siege” and imposing a humanitarian crisis on the entire remaining urban population.
4) confine reporters and block media coverage: “Preceding US military operations in Najaf in August 2004, Iraqi police encircled a hotel where journalists were staying, ordering them to leave the city and threatening to arrest all those who did not comply with the order. While claiming that the ban was based on concerns for the safety of the journalists, police officers said they would confiscate all cell phones and cameras. In Falluja, the US military banned all non-embedded journalists from the city.
5) conduct a massive urban assault, using sniper fire, and put survivors through violent searches: “The US military has increasingly relied on snipers to back-up infantry patrols. Commanders portray snipers as a precision method to avoid civilian casualties, but in fact sniper teams often fire at anyone moving in the streets, in gardens or even inside of buildings. Everyone is treated in the besieged cities as an enemy. Using night goggles and special high-power scopes, snipers shoot at any moving object, which might be a civilian going out in desperate search for food or water, seeking medical care, escaping a collapsing building, or trying to leave the city.
6) attack hospitals, ambulances and other medical facilities: “Coalition troops have targeted medical facilities during urban offensives, and repeatedly destroyed and confiscated ambulances, making emergency care nearly impossible. In Falluja, US troops “destroyed a civilian hospital in a massive air raid, captured the main hospital and prohibited the use of ambulances.” Medical personnel were arrested and the patients removed. Similarly, as the US prepared to launch a major assault on Najaf, Al-Hakeem Hospital was “taken over as a coalition military base, off limits to civilians.”
Obviously, you have to expect massive civilians casualties and plenty of atrocities along the way – cos’ that’s how it was planned, and destruction of the infrastructure. However, be sure that when you conduct “joint” operations with the security forces you’ve built, trained and indoctrinated, that the puppet government doesn’t start complaining. I do recommend you read the full report, as it’s an exceptional effort, relying for the most part on impeccably mainstream, respectable sources. It has excellent summaries of all the issues, from illegal detention to embezzlement, bases, atrocities and Iraqi public opinion.