Iraq War Criminality Sustained These 10 Bloody Years
So tell me, as the years have gone by and more and more has become known about the colossal mendacity used to justify and trigger the Iraq War, which some of us knew from the get-go, how come the shock, awe and gratuitous killings, overt and covert, have steamrolled onward within and without Iraq these ten bloody years?
Pretty disgusting watching the mainstream corporate media this week, that dutifully had served as major tools of propaganda for the Bush cabal’s illegal pre-emptive war on Iraq ten years ago and still playing propaganda tools to the Obama cabal’s continuation of the sham GWOT, acknowledge the waging of the Iraq War as a done and over war crime.
“We were tricked ...” they declare "... over those darn non-existing weapons of mass destruction.” That darn Curveball who lied to the intelligence operatives, even though there was plenty of other intelligence to disprove Curveball’s. Those darn detainees who, under torture (excuse me, enhanced interrogation) linked the attack of 9/11 with Saddam Hussein, who was no ally of fundamentalist jihadist bin Laden
The media’s Iraq War anniversary mongering, as if the last ten bloody years of gratuitous violence at the psychopathic hands of the USWarmachine, both Republican and Dem administrations and foreign amoral cronies (in the case of Iraq particularly Great Britain, but as the sham GWOT expanded so did membership in the opportunistic thug mafia of international bullies) had not escalated.
"We all were lied to!" the talking heads -- tv anchors and their history-revising guests -- and major newspaper columnists and their prevaricating interviewees cluck away in acknowledgment of the biggest and bloodiest fraud of the century as if American war criminality was only perpetrated at that given, Bush date and time, ten years ago. Move along now, bloody show’s over? Tenth year anniversary and they have fulfilled their shallow, remorseless acknowledgments of the monumental devastation and carnage and yadda yadda yadda.
Wonder how the survivors of the War in Iraq -- oh hell, all the survivors of the ongoing GWOT -- would feel about the chilling non-mea culpas pouring from the 24/7 mainstream media sources, many the very perpetrators and enablers of the original war?
Ten years ago on CNN we watched those titillating scud missiles light up the Baghdad sky. The violence continued on and on and on and the corporate media bragged at how so few Americans were dying as opposed to Iraqis, American exceptionalism so alive and well and the demonization for 9/11 so handily well done.
The Bush administration stance: “Trust us. We are protecting you after 9/11.”
Robert Taylor sums up the criminality against Iraq, even longer than 10 years ago, efficiently and effectively:
The first President Bush invaded to save the King of Kuwait, but that was just the beginning. A decade of sanctions, blockades, and bombings by President Clinton that deliberately targeted civilian infrastructure and prevented basic commercial goods (even medicine) from entering the country killed an estimated 500,000 children. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright infamously declared these innocent lives "worth it."
I am not quite sure most Americans have come to grips with what has been to done to Iraq by the U.S. government. Numbers alone don't quite capture it, but they help. Not counting the 500,000 Iraqi children killed by the sanctions, over one million Iraqis have been killed. Millions of refugees, widows and orphans were created. Over 5,000 American soldiers died, including nearly 100,000 casualties. Iraq is now littered with uranium-tipped shells and debris, toxic pollution that has caused increases in infant mortality, cancer, and birth defects in Fallujah.
$3 trillion were spent, billions more shoveled around, lost and unaccounted for. The human and monetary toll of the war is truly staggering.
Robert Young also takes a propagandizing media and a torture-instituting administration to task:
The Iraq war was also a perfect example of the lies, propaganda, and corporatism that are a predictable result of large military establishments and an imperial foreign policy.
After 9/11, the Pentagon meticulously saturated the airwaves with former employees that were intertwined in the military-industrial-complex. "Experts" were interviewed on when and how, not if, to invade. Dissenting voices were pushed aside. Every justification that was given for the war — "weapons of mass destruction," spreading freedom and democracy, Saddam's supposed ties to Al-Qaeda and 9/11 — was an outright lie.
The Bush administration knew what they were doing. They knew the secular Saddam was no friend of Osama Bin Laden. That's why the torture program was established. Thousands of detainees were brutally tortured in an attempt to illicit false confessions connecting Saddam to Al-Qaeda. A compliant press and intense fear-mongering were the finishing touches.
Bill Van Auken and David North focus too on the dimensions of devastation in Iraq. The hundreds of thousands killed. The millions made homeless. The 350,000 people of Fallujah bombarded with white phosphorous shells in defiance of international law and triggering high cancer rates today. The many wounded Iraqi prisoners who were summarily executed. The nightmare tip of the iceberg rendition, detention and torture revelations of Abu Ghraib. U.S. military shock and awe death squads. 1 million children under the age of 18 years old who have lost one or two parents. Grievous wounds of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children.
Then there is the infrastructure devastation, depriving Iraqi citizens of clean water, sewerage, electricity and other essentials necessary for basic subsistence. Ten years ago and continuing still for many in the shattered country.
I wish I could remember the name of the woman back then, the lone sane voice at a Charlie Rose or was it the NewsHour round table, who kept protesting about what the destruction of infrastructure would be like. This to the hubristic cheerleaders of an Iraq War, silencing her by insisting on the smartness and economy of it, and how popular it would be among the Iraq population.
So, who has been held accountable under U.S. or international law for the GRATUITOUS carnage from the big lies????
Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice, Blair? How about Thomas Friedman or other writers of The New York Times Van Auken and North ask for giving the myth of WMDs such credence? Richard Cohen and Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post? How about the embedded U.S. journalists who got caught up in the militarized adrenalin and jingoism rush and lost their journalistic objectivity?
Van Auken and North mention how some war criminals have been awarded high posts like Condoleeza Rice at Stanford University. Others simply enjoy their fantastically wealthy retirements. Others serve as well rewarded presences on corporate or government boards or think tanks.
Most of the war-bloviating mainstream media (“administration stenographers” as Glenn Greenwald likes to call them) continue on with war mongering for Iran and Syria.
Talk about a colossal lesson lost. No connecting of moral dots from an amoral corporate media, of course.
According to Rodrigue Tremblay, Iraq had a lot of juicy oil which was a powerful and illegitimate motivator for war. However, as we all should remember, whenever this was mentioned beginning those ten years ago by anti-war activists it was met with righteous outrage by the neocons who shot back with their faux-humanitarian-speak about freedom and women’s rights.
Tremblay also stresses that Iraq was considered an enemy of Israel and to our over-cronied-pathologically-obsequious-to-Israel politicians this alone was covert motivation enough “to topple a country.”
Tremblay offers up the little known specific economic pressures for the Bush-Cheney-Blair war launching:
Indeed, the 2003 American war against Iraq was primarily an economic war, because the government of Saddam Hussein was excluding U.S. and U.K. companies from Iraqi oil resource development. This was in retaliation for these two countries supporting unconditionally Israel’s decades-long oppression of the Palestinians. As a consequence, the Bush-Cheney administration and its vassal Tony Blair in England felt that they had to intervene militarily in order to prevent French, German, Russian, and Chinese oil companies to develop Iraq’s oil, while U.S. and U.K. oil company interests were excluded. Basic economic interests were thus at play and international law was powerless to stop the military onslaught.
Tremblay spotlights the craven conflation of Saddam Hussein with bin Laden:
Another oft-repeated lie by the Bush-Cheney administration was that the government of Iraq had been involved, one way or another, in the 9/11 attack. Not a thread of evidence has ever been produced to that effect, while all indications were to the contrary that secular Saddam Hussein was vehemently opposed to the religiously-bent Al Qaeda terrorist network of Osama bin Laden.
Tremblay also focuses on AIPAC:
The American people and a majority in Congress would probably not have supported the Iraq military invasion had there not have been a barrage of propaganda that originated from the pro-Israel Lobby in the media and the Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-Libby-Perle cabal inside the U.S. government. These two campaigns had a tremendous impact in persuading a passive public still shaken by the 9/11 terrorist attacks that the lies it was fed were facts.
Robert Taylor summarizes what exactly after 10 years of war and occupation the U.S. has left of Iraq:
Democracy? Freedom? The Iraqi government is now dominated by sectarian Shiite parties with abysmal human rights records that recently crushed pro-democracy protests in Baghdad. Torture is common, and deaths squads are used with increasing frequency. Violence, including bombings, is prevalent (though never mentioned in the U.S.). While there was no Al-Qaeda in Iraq before Saddam, Muslim jihadists from around the world now have intense battle experience fighting U.S. Marines in Iraq and when not terrorizing Iraqis have their eyes on Syria.
Iran now has more influence in the region than they could have ever dreamed of. After the first invasion, the U.S. built large military bases on Muslim holy lands in Saudi Arabia, one of the main reasons Osama Bin Laden attacked on 9/11. The mess left after the second invasion will undoubtedly create more blowback for years to come.
Unfortunately, the lessons of that war — indeed, all war — I fear have been lost or swept under the rug. Americans appear to still buy the "war on terror" propaganda as the U.S. beats the drums for war in Iran with the same lies used in Iraq. While Bradley Manning is ignored or vilified, the neocons who promised a "cakewalk" still have the audacity to show their faces on TV and proscribe more war. Democracy and freedom make great slogans, but have nothing to do with the real intent of American policymakers that have little hesitation in supporting some of the most authoritarian regimes around the world.
Alex Lantier has this to say in relation to Iraq TODAY:
Multiple car bombs hit Shiite targets across Iraq yesterday, the tenth anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, killing 65 and wounding 200. It was a bloody reminder of the effects of the neo-colonial US occupation of Iraq, including Washington’s inflaming of ethno-sectarian conflict and of the escalating Syrian war.
Yesterday’s bombings came after a series of anti-Shiite attacks by affiliates of Al Qaeda in Iraq, a group tied to the Al Nusra Front—currently the leading force in the US-backed Syrian opposition fighting to topple President Bashar al Assad.
Against the backdrop of these continuing atrocities, one can only be disgusted by the US media’s deceitful and perfunctory retrospectives on the Iraq war. They present the war as safely in the past, after the election of an Iraqi government and the formal withdrawal of US troops from Iraq in December 2011. The lies and criminality with which US imperialism prosecuted the war—which devastated Iraq, leading to the deaths of an estimated 1.2 million Iraqis and nearly 4,500 American soldiers, and costing $2 trillion—are either ignored or dismissed as “intelligence failures.”
Given the scale of the crimes and the devastation wrought by the Iraq war, the reaction of the American media has an Orwellian character. Ten years after a massive media campaign to pressure the public to support a war of aggression, there is not one serious review of the events that led to this catastrophe. The story is consigned to two-minute news spots and brief articles.
The war bankrupted the United States and devastated Iraq, whose oil fields are now looted by Western firms—including ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, Shell, and Cheney’s firm, Halliburton. Iraq even faces an energy shortage, with many Iraqi civilians still lacking electricity and running water, as 80 percent of Iraq’s oil is exported by foreign firms. They work closely with the massive US embassy, hidden in Baghdad’s still-fortified Green Zone, to oversee Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
US war plans in Iran and Syria flowed inevitably from the initial crime in Iraq. Concerned that its installation of a Shiite regime in Iraq tilted the regional balance of power too far towards Iran, the US let the Persian Gulf monarchies arm right-wing Sunni forces led by Al Nusra against Syria, a key Iranian ally. As yesterday’s bombing showed, Iraq again finds itself in the middle of these war plans.
Ten years after the Iraq war began, US imperialist wars in the Middle East continue, new ones are being prepared, and the political criminals responsible for the wars and their media propagandists go unpunished.
And here we are. After ten years.
Change the “n” to a “q” in the word “Iran” and we are back on a bloody square one. How similar to the Groundhog Day movie, but far from a comedy.
Fool us once blame Bush and Cheney. Fool us ... what time are we on now? BLAME US!!!!
[cross-posted on open salon]