FALLUJAH - When Amir Hussain and Awfa Abdullah got married in Fallujah in 2004, they could not think that their offspring will suffer from the weapons that shelled their city during two deadly US onslaughts in this year.
"It is our bad luck," Hussain told Reuters.
Maybe because we got married in the wrong time and in the wrong place.
Waiting their first child, he was born in 2006 with a brain damage and died last year.
The second, a baby girl who was born in 2007, suffers from severe skin rashes and has one leg longer than the other.
"We've decided to stop having babies," Hussain lamented.
We don't want any more, because it means new suffering and a new battle against new diseases. Fallujah, in the desert province of Anbar, witnessed two major US onslaughts in 2004.
The US occupation forces launched in March of 2004 an abortive operation to control Fallujah, which went down in history as the country's resistance command base against the occupation at the time.
Eight months later, the US occupation staged a devastating operation following the killing and mutilation of four US Blackwater contractors by locals, recapturing the resistance hub.
The November onslaught left much of the city in ruins and up to 1,300 killed, including children and women. Thousands were maimed for life.
US forces have admitted using white phosphorous, a chemical that can cause severe burns but is not legally considered a chemical weapon.
Today, the city's streets look as if the fighting had finished only a few weeks ago.
At Fallujah hospital, pediatrician Samira al-Ani said the most insidious legacy of the war is seen every day in a startling increase in deformed newborns since 2005.
"Unfortunately, we don't have documentation. But before the war, we used to receive two or three cases in a week," said Ani, who has worked at the hospital since 1997.
"On October 11 alone, we had 12 different types of deformed births."
Like other Iraqi cities, Fallujah's residents await the US withdrawal by year-end to close the deadly chapter in their lives.
"At last they are leaving," said English teacher Thar Abdulkhaleq, 39, as he smoked shisha in a cafe.
"For all these long years, I have asked myself the question: 'What crime have we committed in Fallujah to suffer such an ordeal?'"
Last May, US President Barack Obama announced the withdrawal of all American troops from Iraq by the end of the year, putting an end to a nine-year war in the oil-rich country.
US troops have already withdrawn from all urban centers in the summer of 2009 and redeployed to bases outside, including one in the province near Fallujah.
As US forces leave their country, some Iraqi officials were seeking compensation against the suffering caused by American troops and weapons.
"What US forces did in Fallujah can never be forgotten, said Abdullah Muhammad, a 45-year-old tailor.
They must compensate Fallujah," he said.
However, other Fallujans rejected such calls, saying that no compensation would return the loved ones they lost.
"What compensation could be paid to those who lost their loved ones? Let them go, we want nothing, just let them go," Abdulkhaleq said.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net