The Iraq War
by Peter Meyer
Illegal Immoral Unjust
A Psychopath's War
US war crimes
Peak Oil and Iraq
Nick Berg beheading
Bush's Inaugural Address
The Chilcot Inquiry and
Tony Blair's 'Good Faith' Defense
The Iraq War has Ended ...
Obama seeks immunity for Bush war crimes
Don't miss the External Links page
The US-led war against Iraq did not begin in March 2003, as many Americans believe. In fact the US and Britain had been waging an undeclared war against Iraq for twelve years, ever since the end of the Gulf Slaughter in 1991 (see John Pilger's The Secret War on Iraq). The aim has been the destruction of Iraqi society enabling the US and Britain to gain control of Iraq's huge oil reserves. As a result of economic sanctions against Iraq, the prevention of the delivery of much-needed medical and other supplies because of US vetoes in the U.N. Security Council, and the carcinogenic effects of depleted uranium left over from the 1991 Gulf Slaughter, over a million people (two-thirds of them children) have died (this figure is over and above the death rate which would have been expected without sanctions). This policy by the US and Britain has truly been genocidal, and no amount of hypocritical moral posturing on the part of George W. Bush and Tony Blair can disguise this.
Within hours of the attacks of September 11th, 2001, on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, which killed over 3000 people, the Bush administration was blaming Osama bin Laden and his alleged Al-Qaeda network, and declaring a so-called war on terrorism. Immediately the Pentagon put into effect its already-prepared plans for massive bombing raids against Afghanistan (with the purpose of furthering American plans for an oil pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan).
At that time no suggestion was made that Iraq was in any way connected with the September 11th attacks. But in September 2002 a US government and US media disinformation campaign was launched to persuade the American people that it was really Iraq which was behind these attacks.
... about 50 per cent of the population now believes that Iraq was responsible for the attack on the World Trade Centre. This has happened since September 2002. In fact, after the September 11 attack, the figure was about 3 per cent. Government-media propaganda has managed to raise that to about 50 per cent. Now if people genuinely believe that Iraq has carried out major terrorist attacks against the United States and is planning to do so again, well, in that case people will support the war. — Noam Chomsky, Iraq is a trial run
The propaganda campaign to make people believe that Saddam Hussein was behind the September 11th attacks was so successful that in mid-2003 the believers had grown to 70%. But in September 2003 George W. Bush admitted that there was no evidence linking Saddam to 9/11 (BBC: Bush rejects Saddam 9/11 link).
In the weeks leading up to the attack on Iraq George W. Bush was to be seen almost nightly on television solemnly declaring in his brain-dead zombie-like emotionless cartoon-Western-sheriff manner that Iraq possessed "weapons of mass destruction" which it was sure either to use directly against the US (a ridiculous suggestion) or to give to "terrorists" to produce more September 11ths on US soil.
Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. — Address to the Nation, March 17, 2003
Bush would lead, he declared, "a coalition of the willing" (consisting in fact merely of the US, Britain and — to its disgrace — Australia), which would "disarm" Iraq and thereby remove an imminent threat to the entire world.
But efforts by warmongers such as former CIA Director R. James Woolsey failed to turn up any credible evidence of links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda or other groups of "Arab terrorists", particularly prior to September 11th, 2001. Investigatons by the CIA, the DIA, and the State Department failed to find any evidence of linkage between Saddam Hussein and the attacks of September 11th.
As for Iraq's alleged "weapons of mass destruction", the problem for Bush was that United Nations inspectors had been scouring Iraq for months and had found no evidence of the existence of any. The Americans tried to concoct such evidence (such as Colin Powell's claim of a "poison factory" in Northern Iraq, later shown to be non-existent, and documents purporting to show that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium from Niger, later shown by the IAEA to be forgeries) but only ignoble and servile lackeys such as the prime ministers of Britain, Australia and Spain pretended to believe this evidence. Nevertheless the Bush administration maintained this rationale for its invasion of Iraq, and continued to do so even after it was clear to all that this was a lie.
But after the regime of Saddam Hussein was overthrown, and US forces were able to inspect any place in Iraq they wished to, where were these "weapons of mass destruction"? None were found. That's because by November 2002 there weren't any, as former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter had already told the U.N. Security Council. The US rationale was a fiction, as was eventually revealed.
Bush administration officials exaggerated the threats from Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and failed to uncover any links between President Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, a private nonpartisan research organization concluded in a report released yesterday [2004-01-08].
The study by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace states that "administration officials systematically misrepresented the threat from Iraq's WMD and ballistic missile program" by treating possibilities as fact and "misrepresenting inspectors' findings in ways that turned threats from minor to dire."
— The Boston Globe
The main reasons for the US invasion of Iraq were to gain control of Iraq's oilfields (so as to keep the oil in the ground and drive up oil prices), to establish military bases in Iraq from which to dominate the Middle East and eventually (by controlling oil supply) to establish control over all countries dependent on oil, and (most important to the neo-cons Wolfowitz, et al.) to remove the threat to Israel posed by Iraq.
Of course there were also other reasons.
After control of the oilfields the next most important reason for the US's takeover of Iraq was that Iraq had begun to accept payment in euros for its oil, opening the way for all major oil producers to do this. Were this to happen then the euro would probably become the world's reserve currency, not the dollar. This would have a major negative impact on the US economy (would, in fact, cause the collapse of the US economy) and would also severely reduce its ability to pour money into its weapons programs. By gaining control of Iraq's oil the US can now refuse payment in euros, thereby maintaining the dollar as the reserve currency (though before many years it will lose this position if the European geostrategists succeed in their plans).
A minor reason was that Bush, obviously a psychopath (or as some would prefer to describe him, a sociopath), delighted in ordering up a war sure to result in the deaths of thousands of people (a big step up for him from his ordering the executions of 152 people while he was Governor of Texas).
And Israel controls America and Israel wanted the removal of the main threat to the hegemony it desires in the Middle East, the threat posed by the Iraq of Saddam Hussein.
It is also remarkable that while in 1996 Israel was to "shape its strategic environment" by removing her enemies, the same individuals [Perle, Feith, and Wurmser] are now proposing that the United States shape the Middle East environment by removing Israel's enemies. That is to say, the United States is to serve as Israel's proxy to advance Israeli interests. — Stephen J. Sniegoski, The War on Iraq: Conceived in Israel
And war is always good for those companies which manufacture weapons (in collusion with governments). For such companies the death and destruction which results is of no concern. In this case there is an extra bonus: the profits to be made from contracts to "reconstruct" Iraq. Even before the war began the Bush administration had awarded contracts worth billions of dollars to large American companies, principally Bechtel and Halliburton (whose chief executive until 2000 was Dick Cheney). And who will pay for this "reconstruction"? The US is hoping that the Europeans and Japanese will pay most of the costs, but more likely it will be the US taxpayer who foots the bills from these American companies.
Some Australians, too, are hoping for a share of the pie. In late April 2003 their politicians and businessmen scurried off to Washington to plead for the award of "minor" contracts (and the continuation of Australian pre-war wheat sales to Iraq), which they believed was due to them as a payoff for the Howard government's disgraceful support of the US aggression against Iraq (support which was both immoral and contrary to the wishes of the majority of the Australian people).
Protest against Bush
during his October 2003
visit to Australia
An invasion of Iraq had been part of the geopolitical strategy of the United States for many years. It was just one element of a strategy designed to gain for the US domination of the world's economic resources. This plan was made public in the "National Security Strategy of the United States of America" which was published in September 2002.
The message of this document, stripped of its cynical euphemisms and calculated evasions, is unmistakably clear: The United States government asserts the right to bomb, invade and destroy whatever country it chooses. It refuses to respect as a matter of international law the sovereignty of any other country, and reserves the right to get rid of any regime, in any part of the world, that is, appears to be, or might some day become, hostile to what the United States considers to be its vital interests. Its threats are directed, in the short term, against so-called 'failed states' — that is, former colonies and impoverished Third World countries ravaged by the predatory policies of imperialism. But larger competitors of the United States, whom the document refers to, in a revival of pre-World War II imperialist jargon, as 'Great Powers,' are by no means out of the gun sights of the Bush administration. The wars against small and defenseless states that the United States is now preparing — first of all against Iraq — will prove to be the preparation for military onslaughts against more formidable targets. — David North, The War against Iraq and America's Drive for World Domination
The wars against Afghanistan and Iraq are thus the initial events in a scenario which will eventually develop into a third world war. What we see in the actions of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz and others (every one of them Zionists or Zionist puppets) is the same sort of greed and madness that drove the Nazis to attack Austria and Czechoslovakia, and later Poland, France and other countries during World War II. The Nazi drive for world domination resulted in the utter destruction of Germany, despite its formidable military might at the start of the war. Similarly the American/Zionist drive for world domination will result (unless the fascist megalomaniacs now running things from Washington and Jerusalem are stopped) in the utter destruction of the U.S.A. and a place in history for it as disgraceful as that now held by Nazi Germany.
Iraq War ReportsThe www.iraqwar.ru website was created by a group of journalists and military experts from Russia to provide accurate and up-to-date news and analysis of the US-led war against Iraq, based on Russian military intelligence reports. That website has now gone, but English translations of the reports which were published daily on that website are available at the link above.
Articles on this website
- A speech delivered in 2002 by Barack Obama
- Joseph Clifford: The Hypocrisy of it All
- Wayne Madsen: Bush's "Christian" Blood Cult: Concerns Raised by the Vatican
Bush has not once prayed for the innocent civilians who died as a result of the U.S. attack on Iraq. ... He makes no mention of the children, women, and old men killed by America's 'precision-guided' missiles and bombs and trigger-happy U.S. troops. In fact, Bush revels in indiscriminate blood-letting.
- John Pilger: War for Truth
Trained in media manipulation ('public relations'), British military spokesmen lie as frequently as the Americans ...
- John F. Burns: Pillagers Strip Iraqi Museum of Its Treasure
- Hsing Lee: Remember 9/11 — Part Three
- Dwight F. Reynolds: Which War Are You Watching? — The View from Spain
America no longer has a "free press" in the true meaning of the term, for in America one is not free to express criticism of the war or of the Bush regime.
- Robert Fisk: Looking Beyond War
- Jeffrey Steinberg: The 'Ignoble Liars' Behind Bush's Deadly Iraq War
For Leo Strauss and his disciples, the ignoble lie — disinformation — was the key to achieving and holding political power.
- Sean Penn: Kilroy's Still Here
- Corporate Suppliers for Iraq's Weapons Programs
- Hal Crowther: Weapons Of Mass Stupidity
How stupid are we, finally, how easy to fool? Fox News ... is not what it seems to be. It's not a news service ... It's a calculated fraud, like the president who ducked the draft during Vietnam, and even welshed on his National Guard commitment, but who puts on a flight suit stenciled "Commander-in-chief" and plays Douglas MacArthur on network TV.
- Daniel Patrick Welch: Our President is a Criminal
... [and furthermore] I'm just plain getting sick of Rumsfeld's smug, arrogant grin on the tube. What the hell is he smiling at all the time? Is it funny, somehow, that thousands of Iraqi civilians are dead after his "precision" bombing? It is ironic, admittedly, another fraud, to be sure — but hardly amusing. Maybe it's just part of what you do when you think you can get away with anything.
- Hsing Lee: The UN Iraq HQ Bombing
When a capital crime is committed, one must always look for motive. I can see no other group who would have a reasonable motive for this attack except for the Bush administration and their corporate cronies.
- John Pilger: The Big Lie
Both Colin Powell, U.S. Secretary of State, and Condoleezza Rice, President Bush's closest adviser, made clear before September 11 2001 that Saddam Hussein was no threat — to America, Europe or the Middle East.
- Andrew Gumbel: What Americans Know
Ignorance, self-delusion, free-floating disregard for the facts and an unswerving belief in its own infallibility: such are the hallmarks of today's America. People don't understand what their government is up to because they don't understand how government works and because the media isn't giving them any clues.
- Andrew McKillop: The Heresy of Growth
... the coming catastrophe for the growth economy and consumer-hedonist lifestyles that Peak Oil and Peak Gas will very surely bring has been negated or deflected through inciting public opinions to colonial war in the oil-rich Middle East and Central Asia. ... The great length of time needed by American and British politicians to 'build a war coalition', with rather few major allies, permitted public opinions in many countries to grope and grapple with a few of the real issues, and become openly disenchanted with, and even fearful of this Oil War. Some journalists, a tiny minority of course, went so far as to give a few simple facts illustrating that there are no military solutions to the geological problem of rapidly depleting world oil reserves.
- The world has lost Iraq's oil
For more on Peak Oil see Peak Oil and Iraq.
- Mark S. Bilk: Why Jared Israel Is Attacking Scott Ritter And Deceiving The 9-11 Truth Movement
- Bob Zimmerman: Withdraw from Iraq Before It's Too Late
To begin on a path toward peace Americans and the Congress must recant Bush fascism and the explosive dynamic it has created. We must immediately withdraw every American soldier and contractor from Iraq. We must reverse the seizure of Iraqi assets by western business interests. And we must pay proper reparations to the families of suffering Iraqis, to orphaned Iraqi children and for reconstruction.
- Susan Sontag: What Have We Done?
The notion that "apologies" or professions of "disgust" and "abhorrence" by the president and the secretary of defense are a sufficient response to the systematic torture of prisoners revealed at Abu Ghraib is an insult to one's historical and moral sense. The torture of prisoners is not an aberration. It is a direct consequence of the with-us-or-against-us ideology of world struggle with which the Bush administration has sought to change, change radically, the international stance of the United States and to recast many domestic institutions and prerogatives. The Bush administration has committed the country to a pseudo-religious doctrine of war, endless war — for "the war on terror" is nothing less than that. ... Endless war is taken to justify endless incarcerations — without charges, without the release of prisoners' names or any access to family members and lawyers, without trials, without sentences. ... This "Global War on Terror" ... inevitably leads to the dehumanizing of anyone declared by the Bush administration to be a possible terrorist: a definition that is not up for debate and is usually made in secret.
- Jonathan Raban: Pastor Bush
As the president said in the closing lines of his acceptance speech at the Republican convention last month, "We have a calling from beyond the stars ..." — a claim that in some societies might lead to a visit from the men in white coats, but in America, among the faithful, is met with rapturous applause.
- Arundhati Roy: Peace and the New Corporate Liberation Theology
Between 2001 and 2002, nine out of thirty members of the US Defense Policy Group were connected to companies that were awarded Defense contracts worth 76 billion dollars. Time was when weapons were manufactured in order to fight wars. Now wars are manufactured in order to sell weapons.
- Xymphora on The Iraqi Election
The real tragedy in all this is that it sets up Bush to continue to use his bogus equation of American warmongering with freedom. In other words, going along with the charade of this election means you are implicitly dooming the next victim of the American Empire, who will receive exactly the same treatment under the guise of the same phony phreedom. ... We will see the mechanics of this phony pharce of phreedom repeated again and again, with staged elections being used to retroactively justify the results of American colonialist violence.
- Galloway v the US Senate: Transcript of Statement
- Greg Palast: The Jerk: Why Saddam had to Go
- Michel Chossudovsky: Fabricating Intelligence as a Justification for War
Antiwar sentiment does not dismantle a war agenda. What is required is a grass roots network, a mass movement at national and international levels, which challenges not only the legitimacy of the main military and political actors, but the broad structures of the New World Order.
To reverse the tide of war, military bases must be closed down, the war machine (namely the production of advanced weapons systems) must be stopped and the burgeoning police state must be dismantled.
The corporate sponsors of war and war crimes must also be targeted including the oil companies, the defense contractors, the financial institutions and the corporate media, which has become an integral part of the war propaganda machine.
- Edward Herman: Iraq: The Genocide Option
By 1967 the level of violence had reached a point where Vietnam scholar Bernard Fall warned that "Vietnam as a cultural and historic entity ... is threatened with extinction ... [as] ... the countryside literally dies under the blows of the largest military machine ever unleashed on an area of this size." In the south, 9,000 out of 15,000 hamlets were damaged or destroyed, along with some 25 million acres of farmland and 12 million acres of forests. One and a half million cattle were killed, and the war left a million widows and 800,000 orphans. ... This was a truly genocidal attack, both in volume and threat to viability and with its demand that the resistance surrender as the condition for termination of the assault. ...
The genocide option threatens Iraq, where the United States is engaged in direct military action against another virtually defenceless population ... Military technology has advanced further, and the complete amorality of the Deciders and their willingness to kill without limit to achieve their goals or save face is clear.
Articles by John Kaminski:
The Testimony of the Chief US Weapons Investigator in Iraq
On 2004-10-06 Charles Duelfer, head of the Iraqi Survey Group, the American team of 1200 assigned to find Iraq's WMD, testified before Congress that there was no evidence that at the time of the US invasion Saddam had any capacity for the use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, and that Saddam's previous WMD capability had mostly been eliminated (as a result of UN weapons inspections) by the mid-1990s. (The full report is on the CIA's website, archived here.) From which we may infer that, contrary to the well-documented claims of Bush and Cheney, and of their servile lackeys Tony Blair and John Howard, Iraq did not constitute any significant threat to its neighbors, still less to the wider world and to the US.
Duelfer did say that in his judgment (a) the value of WMD to Saddam lay in their deterrence of attacks by neighboring countries, in particular Iran (though Israel, already in possession of nuclear weapons, might well have been mentioned also) and (b) Saddam was waiting for the UN sanctions to be lifted, after which he would probably have reconstituted his weapons programs. But so what? Saddam wanted nuclear weapons as a deterrent against nuclear-armed Israel (and Iran if and when it acquired nuclear weapons). If either the presence of, or the intent to acquire, nuclear weapons were sufficient grounds for invading and occupying a country then why hasn't the US invaded Pakistan and India? (Answer: Neither of them has anything worth stealing.) The US was the originator of the doctrine of nuclear deterrence, so how could it object if Iraq adopted the same policy?
But had Iraq developed a nuclear deterrent, it would have constituted a threat to Israel and to Israel's belief that it can do as it wishes in the Middle East (with US support). There are some who believe that American foreign policy is made by those whose first loyalty is to Israel, and say that the US invaded Iraq in order to remove the potential threat to that country. (So which country is next? And at what cost to the people of the US?)
At the end of Duelfer's testimony Senator John Warner (Republican) shamelessly extracted from him the quote he, Warner, wanted, that "the world was a better place" as a result of the removal of Saddam. But firstly it was not Duelfer's remit (as he knew) to make judgements about the state of the world. Secondly, he exhibited his (to put it kindly) willingness to be manipulated by eventually agreeing to utter the words suggested by Warner. Thirdly (to the extent that it makes any sense at all to talk of "the state of the world") Duelfer's statement is false. In Iraq millions of people live without adequate water and electricity, constantly in fear for their lives, which they did not do when Saddam ruled. In Iraq there are more than a hundred thousand young Americans now undergoing a dehumanizing and traumatic experience, many of whom will return to the US (if they return at all) as devastated as the soldiers who returned alive from Vietnam. Civil war threatens. The whole Middle East could become a war zone. The US is hated more than ever before. And Warner has the gall to extract from Duelfer a for-the-media statement that "the world is a better place" — for its effect on those idiots out there who believe everything they hear and see on the nightly "news" — and vote accordingly.
The US has Committed War Crimes in Iraq
Noam Chomsky once said that the definition, in practice, of "war crime" is: Anything (that is, any barbaric act) which they (the enemy) did which we did not do.
This is not, however, strictly true. In the Principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal the term is defined as follows:
Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave-labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war, of persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.
Thus the fire-bombings of Hamburg, Dresden and Tokyo (which produced firestorms and killed a total of about 200,000 people) were war crimes, since they were "wanton destruction of cities ... not justified by military necessity." They were war crimes even though the Nazis did something similar (though causing far fewer deaths) in the fire-bombings of British towns and cities.
The destruction of Fallujah in November 2004 was also a "wanton destruction ... not justified by military necessity" and is thus a war crime.
The US-led war against Iraq, as the Secretary-General of the United Nations has stated, was a breach of the United Nations Charter and hence of international law. In A Supreme International Crime Mark Littman says:
At the Nuremberg trials, the principles of international law identified by the tribunal and subsequently accepted unanimously by the General Assembly of the United Nations included that the planning, preparation or initiation of a war contrary to the terms of an international treaty was "a crime against peace". The tribunal further stated "that to initiate a war of aggression... is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime".
It was for this crime that the German foreign minister Von Ribbentrop was tried, convicted and hanged.
And (after their guilt is established in an Iraq War Crimes Tribunal) for the same crime committed by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Tony Blair and John Howard, the same punishment is appropriate.
Fallujah white phosphorus victim
- Phosphorus was used for Fallujah bombs, admits US
- US admits it used napalm bombs in Iraq
- Nicolas J S Davies: The crime of war: from Nuremberg to Fallujah
- Luciana Bohne: Aggressive war: then and now
- Ghali Hassan: U.S. War Crimes, an International Vow of Silence
The U.S. invaded Iraq on the pretext of hunting down chemical weapons to prevent them from being used and then used them itself. Typical American hypocrisy!
Bush's Inaugural Address
George W. Bush's 2005 inaugural address was remarkable for the number of lies, falsehoods, hypocrisies, deceptions and absurdities that one man could utter within the space of 21 minutes and still keep a straight face (though at times it was difficult for him — the despicable Bush smirk was just under the surface). His speech (written by others, of course, since he is barely literate) was designed to appeal to most Americans' deluded notion that their country is good and noble (and here he was playing his nationwide audience for gullible fools — or if he really believed the fundamentalist Christian claptrap that he was uttering then he is totally insane). At the same time he conveyed to those in the know that he intended to continue his program of dominating all other countires on Earth by the threat and use of military force while (as a consequence of his huge transfers of wealth from the public to the corporations, to the rich and to the military) gutting the already-meagre social programs of his administration in the areas of health, education, housing, child-care, retirement benefits, etc.
He used the word "liberty" 15 times and the word "freedom" 27 times. Since George is such a staunch defender of freedom he presumably supports the freedom of Americans to choose whether or not to enlist in his present and planned (illegal and immoral) wars of aggression (not to mention their freedom to travel by plane, drive a car legally, read what they like without harassment from the FBI, engage in meaningful work, etc.).
In fact, contrary to what Bush would have all American young men and boys believe, no-one is obliged to join the military and thereby lose their freedom. Here are a couple of articles for those who wish to remain free in the (ha!ha!) "Land of the Free":
It might be wise to save these articles to disk in case they should "disappear".
- How To Stay Out of the Military (Draft Resistance)The legal requirement to register for the draft demands a decision: give up your freedom and your conscience, or conscientiously resist.
All the good reasons that would prevent a free man from volunteering for military service, also apply to resisting the draft.
How in a "free country" can the first requirement of a young man, when he comes of age, be to sign up to accept orders to kill for the state in an organized way?
There is never a need to compel a free man to take up a cause that is both necessary and just; but a man who is drafted is never free, and thus his cause can never be assumed to be either necessary or just.
- How To Avoid the Draft Or National Service
No dodging. Just refuse to volunteer. Here's how —
May the U.S. be Defeated in Iraq!
Act Now Against War, Injustice and Tyranny
We ask the reader to consider seriously what your part may be in the international movement against war. This international movement has many faces and the participants many roles and duties. Those who lead the movement are currently found in the resistance to occupation in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Venezuela and many other places on the planet.
We are among the multitudes who will continue to battle this regime with heart, mind, body and soul. Be sure that we will not stand by while the global tyrant in Washington and his entourage continue their doctrine of military dominance, global warfare, racism and their invasions, occupations and colonisations of foreign nations. We will not stand idly by while they continue their corporate empire's attacks on the common worker, their usury and economic violence and their attacks on civil liberties in our country. We will continue to help build the growing international movement against the Bush Regime by protesting in the streets, reporting the truth and educating our neighbors about the real plans for U.S. expansion. We will do so for as long as we breathe — for as long as it takes to bring down this gang of international thieves and killers now holding power in Washington, D.C.
— Les Blough, Axis of Logic
The disparate Iraqi resistance is the legitimate manifestation of a national liberation movement. Its success is imperative to the principles of national sovereignty and self-determination, ideals that are revered in the Declaration of Independence. The toppling of foreign regimes and the destruction of entire civilizations cannot be justified in terms of "democracy" or any other cynically conjured-up ideal. The peace and security of the world's people depends on the compliance of states with the clearly articulated standards of international law and the UN Charter. Both were deliberately violated by the invasion of Iraq. Crushing the insurgency will not absolve that illicit action; it will only increase the magnitude of the crime. Therefore we look for an American defeat in Iraq.
— Mike Whitney, Why America Needs to be Defeated in Iraq
And, yes, finally the U.S. was defeated in Iraq.
The Iraq war is an instructive case. It was marketed to a terrified public on the usual grounds of self-defense against an awesome threat to survival: the "single question", then US president George W Bush and British premier Tony Blair declared, was whether Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein would end his programs of developing weapons of mass destruction. When the single question received the wrong answer [because no "weapons of mass destruction" ever existed], government rhetoric shifted effortlessly to our "yearning for democracy", and educated opinion duly followed course; all routine.
Later, as the scale of the US defeat in Iraq was becoming difficult to suppress, the government quietly conceded what had been clear all along. In 2007-2008, the administration officially announced that a final settlement must grant the US military bases and the right of combat operations, and must privilege US investors in the rich energy system — demands later reluctantly abandoned in the face of Iraqi resistance. And all well kept from the general population.— Noam Chomsky, 'Losing' the world
By "the general population" Chomsky presumably means the U.S. population, most of whom probably still believe that the U.S. "won" the war in Iraq. Sure, just like it "won" the war in Afghanistan — because the United States is "the greatest nation on Earth", so it can never "lose" a war. (Shoosh! — Don't mention Vietnam!)
The Iraq War has Ended
Preparations for World War III Continue Unabated
[In mid-December 2011] President Barack Obama marked the end of the U.S. war in Iraq with a salute to American troops at a military base [Fort Bragg, North Carolina] central to the fight and a pledge to support veterans who are returning home to face a difficult economy. ...
When he took office in January 2009, there were almost 150,000 troops in Iraq. That number has shrunk to less than 8,000 and the number of U.S. military bases in the country has fallen to five from 505. When the pullout is complete, the U.S. presence will be at the embassy in Baghdad, with an array of diplomats, military advisers and contractors. ...
The first bombs began exploding in Baghdad in March 2003, leading to more than 1 million Americans serving in Iraq at some time during military action that Pentagon figures show cost almost 4,500 American lives, with more than 32,000 wounded.
When it passes a fiscal 2012 defense appropriation, Congress will have authorized at least $823 billion for Iraq military operations, $47.6 billion for State Department and Agency for International Development reconstruction and an additional $7.2 billion for Veterans Administration Iraq-related medical issues, according to the Congressional Research Service.
— Obama Hails 'Extraordinary' End of Iraq War
So the American war against Iraq cost 4,500 American lives, 32,000 wounded (with thousands maimed, their lives ruined), and over 877 billion dollars of US taxpayer money (or, according to Joseph Stiglitz, three trillion dollars), plus well over 100,000 Iraqi lives (which the Bloomberg article quoted above doesn't bother to mention), many of them lost in the sectarian violence following the elimination of Iraq's government and army after the invasion. And what was achieved for this cost? Well, according to the article, there's "the sale of additional F-16 jets to patrol [Iraq's] airspace [in addition to the sale of a huge amount of military hardware over the last nine years, a real boon to America's military-industrial complex], an expansion of trade and commerce, [and the] development of [Iraq's] oil reserves, the fifth largest in the world". Oh, well then, it seems the price was worth it.
Here is a less rosy perspective:
The White House has used the imminent withdrawal of all but a handful of US troops from Iraq to promote Barack Obama's reelection campaign. ...And another:
Nearly 4,500 American soldiers and Marines were killed in the nearly nine years of war, while tens of thousands returned home severely wounded and many more suffered psychological and emotional trauma that will last a lifetime.
According to conservative estimates, the war's costs will amount to over $3.5 trillion, a vast expenditure that is being paid for through unending cutbacks in public sector jobs and social programs upon which millions depend.
For the people of Iraq, the costs were far steeper, with an estimated one million lives lost and many millions more wounded or driven from their homes and turned into refugees. The war will forever be associated with horrific crimes such as the "shock and awe" bombing of Baghdad, the siege of Fallujah and the mass torture of detainees at Abu Ghraib, deeds that horrified and repulsed people all over the world, including in the US itself. ...
[In 2008 Obama] pledged that his administration would represent a clean break with the criminal policies of the Bush administration. Nearly four years later, the US military is at war in more countries than under Bush, Guantanamo and its military trials, along with torture, continue, and the police-state measures imposed in the wake of September 11, 2001, have been substantially expanded. ...
[U]niformed troops are being replaced by a new army in civilian clothes. A massive, fortress-like American embassy in Baghdad has been erected in a walled compound of 104 acres — larger than the Vatican — with two similar facilities having been opened as consulates in the southern oil center of Basra and the Kurdish capital of Arbil in the north.
Operating out of these American fortresses will be up to 17,000 personnel. They will include 5,500 armed military contractors. The CIA will maintain its largest station anywhere in the world, and, according to reports, commandos of the Pentagon's Joint Special Operations Command will covertly continue their presence, out of uniform. ...
As troops are pulled out of Iraq, deployments are being beefed up in the surrounding region, above all just across the border in Kuwait, where some 25,000 US military personnel are currently stationed and negotiations are underway to augment their numbers.
Tens of thousands more soldiers, sailors and Marines are deployed in the Persian Gulf and the other monarchical Gulf states — Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Saudi Arabia — which comprise the bastion of Middle East reaction known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Washington is attempting to turn the GCC into an extension of NATO as the US and its Western allies steadily escalate military threats against Iran. ...
The US withdrawal from Iraq does not represent a turn away from militarism. Rather, it is part of the tactical preparations for far more devastating wars to come. The explosive development of US militarism, which gave rise to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is driven by the decline of American capitalism and the crisis of the world capitalist system, which have deepened immensely over the past decade.
For the third time in a century, the threat of world war is emerging ever more palpably from the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
— Bill Van Auken, The Iraq withdrawal and the continuing eruption of US militarism
US President Barack Obama hailed the withdrawal as a moment of success and called the winding down of the conflict "an extraordinary achievement" declaring that US troops "will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high".
Yet in a conservative estimate more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died in a conflict that Obama, campaigning in his first run at the presidency, warned would plunge the US into a "dumb war", some estimates put the figure at more than 1 million.
Obviously, it is Iraqi civilians that have paid the price for this dumb war, and it looks like they will have to continue paying the price as peace in Iraq looks unlikely after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shia, issued an arrest warrant for Vice-President Tariq al-Hashimi, a leading Sunni politician, on terror charges — charges that Hashimi denies. ...
As Obama acknowledged, it is easier to start a war than it is to end one, but clearly it is also politically and economically opportune for the US to walk away from the mess it has created rather than ensuring a more durable power-sharing political structure in Iraq, which is deeply engulfed in a sectarian feud.
In part this is because a united Iraqi authority might not best serve the interests of Washington, which no doubt intends to exert its influence on Baghdad by cozying up to one side while undercutting the other.
According to a survey by Zogby International, a public opinion firm, the majority of Iraqis feel that their country is "worse off" after the US-led war and are concerned about the security situation after departure of US forces, fearing a possible civil war, partition of the country, terrorism, economic woes, and the influence of neighboring countries.
— Healing sectarian rift
In his Fort Bragg speech Obama said:
This is an extraordinary achievement, nearly nine years in the making. And today, we remember everything that you did to make it possible. ... Years from now, your legacy will endure. God bless you all, God bless your families, and God bless the United States of America.
Here is William Blum's judgement of this "extraordinary achievement" (from his Anti-Empire Report):
"Most people don't understand what they have been part of here," said Command Sgt. Major Ron Kelley as he and other American troops prepared to leave Iraq in mid-December." We have done a great thing as a nation. We freed a people and gave their country back to them."
"It is pretty exciting," said another young American soldier in Iraq. "We are going down in the history books, you might say." (Washington Post, December 18, 2011)
Ah yes, the history books, the multi-volume leather-bound set of "The Greatest Destructions of One Country by Another." The newest volume can relate, with numerous graphic photos, how the modern, educated, advanced nation of Iraq was reduced to a quasi failed state; how the Americans, beginning in 1991, bombed for 12 years, with one dubious excuse or another; then invaded, then occupied, overthrew the government, tortured without inhibition, killed wantonly, ... how the people of that unhappy land lost everything — their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean water, their environment, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their health care, their welfare state, their women's rights, their religious tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents, their past, their present, their future, their lives ... More than half the population either dead, wounded, traumatized, in prison, internally displaced, or in foreign exile ... The air, soil, water, blood, and genes drenched with depleted uranium ... the most awful birth defects ... unexploded cluster bombs lying anywhere in wait for children to pick them up ... a river of blood running alongside the Euphrates and Tigris ... through a country that may never be put back together again ...
Ah, yes, "God bless the United States of America." God's gift to humanity. A country that can do no wrong.
Apparently the American attitude to peasant villages during the Vietnam war extends also to entire countries: We had to destroy Iraq in order to save it. And which country is next? Iran? Pakistan? China? Russia? Is the USA, in the memorable words of one of its worst Presidents, Ronald Reagan, "the focus of evil in the modern world"?
In conclusion we quote Mark Littman again:
At the Nuremberg trials, the principles of international law identified by the tribunal and subsequently accepted unanimously by the General Assembly of the United Nations included that the planning, preparation or initiation of a war contrary to the terms of an international treaty was "a crime against peace". The tribunal further stated "that to initiate a war of aggression... is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime".The United States of America is guilty of "the supreme international crime" (in Iraq and Afghanistan and also previously in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia), and this will be remembered by the rest of the world for a very long time.
— A Supreme International Crime
Obama DOJ Asks Court to Grant Immunity to George W. Bush For Iraq WarIn court papers filed today (PDF), the United States Department of Justice requested that George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Paul Wolfowitz be granted procedural immunity in a case alleging that they planned and waged the Iraq War in violation of international law.
Plaintiff Sundus Shaker Saleh, an Iraqi single mother and refugee now living in Jordan, filed a complaint in March 2013 in San Francisco federal court alleging that the planning and waging of the war constituted a “crime of aggression” against Iraq, a legal theory that was used by the Nuremberg Tribunal to convict Nazi war criminals after World War II.
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Seymour Hersh on Iraq, Bush and the Neocons Peak Oil and Iraq The Non-Impeachment of George W. Bush The Iraq War — External Links The Chilcot Inquiry and Tony Blair's 'Good Faith' Defense Serendipity Home Page