by Stephen Lendman
March 19 marks its 10th anniversary. Permanent occupation is policy. Killing, destruction, toxic pollution, and human misery remain unabated. Pre-2003 Iraq no longer exists. America’s Iraq war is one of history’s greatest crimes. It followed Gulf War devastation and punishing sanctions.
They caused about 1.5 million deaths. Most were young children. Up to 7,000 died monthly. Former UN humanitarian coordinator Dennis Halliday resigned in protest. He refused to be part of what he called “genocide.” Gideon Polya keeps count. From 1990 – 2011, he estimates 1.7 million violent deaths, 2.9 million avoidable ones (from sanctions, disease, deprivation and displacement), up to six million refugees, and a dysfunctional, repressive occupied nation.
The cradle of civilization was erased. An occupied wasteland cum giant free-trade zone replaced it. Nation-building was reinvented. Chicago School fundamentalists moved in. “Shock therapy” followed “shock and awe.” So did repression, daily killings, deprivation, mass detention and torture. More on that below.
Iraq’s one of history’s greatest terror bombing victims. It’s permanently occupied. It’s afflicted by violence, devastation, repression, corruption and deprivation. In 2010, Refugees International (RI) described “a dire humanitarian crisis that sees huge numbers of (Iraqis) struggl(ing) to survive.” America “bears special responsibility.”
Conditions today are no better. “Overall,” says RI, “Iraq continues to face long-standing large-scale displacement and pressing (unresolved) humanitarian needs.” In 2003, virtually everything needed for normal functioning was demolished. Shock and awe bombing destroyed:
- power plants;
- water purification facilities;
- sewage treatment and disposal systems;
- telephone and other communications;
- thousands of homes, apartments and other dwellings;
- irrigation sites;
- food processing, storage and distribution facilities;
- hotels and retail establishments;
- transportation infrastructure;
- oil wells, pipelines, refineries and storage tanks;
- chemical plants;
- factories and other commercial operations;
- government buildings;
- historical sites; and
- other non-military related targets.
Iraq was the region’s most developed country. The cradle of civilization no longer exists. Dystopian hell replaced it. It’s balkanized. It’s illegally occupied. It’s colonized for capital. It’s victimized by genocide. Vital infrastructure is absent.
Poverty is extreme. So are unemployment, malnutrition, repression, fear and human misery. Squatters struggle to survive. They live under bridges, alongside railroad tracks, and near garbage dumps. Others are externally displaced.
Over eight million Iraqis need humanitarian aid. Child mortality is horrific. Only around half of all primary-aged children attend school. About five million orphans get by best they can. Around 70% of Iraqis have no potable water. Around 80% have no clean sanitation. Millions depend on food aid.
War crimes continue. Daily killing persists. Iraq’s a virtual free-fire zone. Washington bears full responsibility. What Bush began, Obama continues. Permanent occupation is official policy. Thousands of detainees are held without trial. Torture and other human rights violations are commonplace.
On March 18, the BRussels Tribunal said “crippling devastation of Iraq today overwhelms everything else.” Joseph Stiglitz estimates at least $3 trillion spent.
An Indian Strategic Foresight Group report calculated the regional cost over the past two decades. It estimates $12 trillion. Washington waged lawless aggression. It’s America’s forgotten war. It continues out of sight and mind.
Iraq’s a toxic wasteland. Scores of pollutants include depleted uranium, dangerous chemicals and metals, oil, gasoline, pesticides, bacteria, and other poisons. Tigris and Euphrates river waters are contaminated and unsafe. Pollution causes birth deformities, typhoid, dysentery, cholera, hepatitis, cancer, diarrheal diseases, and others.
Bremer laws institutionalized pillage. They remain policy. Mass layoffs followed. Social services eroded or ended. Infrastructure rebuilding’s ignored. Corporate priorities matter most. Iraq’s a giant free-market paradise. It’s colonized for capital. It’s a cutthroat capitalist laboratory. It reflects plunder on a grand scale.
Ordinary Iraqis are shut out. Corporate predators took full advantage. New economic laws instituted low taxes. Foreign asset ownership is 100%. Profits are freely expropriated. Imports are unrestricted. Multi-decade deals are consummated. Iraqis are dispossessed of their own resources. They have no say on policy.
No-bid contracts benefit Big Oil. They take full advantage. Iraq reflects out-of-control cutthroat capitalism. It’s predatory, merciless, corrupt and bankrupt. It’s a weapon of mass destruction. It’s an anti-Marshall Plan. It’s pure pillage. Genocide continues unabated. America’s war on humanity rages. It’s out-of-control. Imperial priorities matter most.
War criminals go unpunished. Coverup and denial suppress vital truths. Managed news misinformation substitutes. What’s most important to know goes unreported. Nothing ahead suggests change. Obama prioritizes war. He has lots more death and destruction in mind. Today is the most perilous time in world history. Humanity may not survive his second term.
A Final Comment
Ahead of the Iraq war, a virtual Noar’s Ark of scam artists promoted it. Media scoundrels featured them ad nauseam. Discredited New York Times columnist, Judith Miller, was a weapon of mass destruction. She promoted war. She wrote daily propaganda pieces. They were front page Pentagon features. She’s an award-winning Pulitzer Prize recipient.
Fouad Ajami lies for power. He’s done so for years. Scoundrel media feature him. In early 2003, he headlined “Iraq and the Arabs’ Future.” He was unapologetic about America’s impending war. “The region can live with and use (its) unilateralism,” he said.
“The considerable power now at America’s disposal can be used by one and all as a justification for going along with American goals.” There’s no turning back, he stressed. “Any fallout of war is certain to be dwarfed by the terrible consequences of America’s walking right up to the edge of war and then stepping back, letting the Iraqi dictator work out the terms of another reprieve.”
On March 18, Ajami headlined “Ten Years Ago, an Honorable War Began With Wide Support.”
Whether or not he had WMDs didn’t matter. “(H)e swaggered and let the world believe” he did. He had to go. War “offer(ed) a new aim: the reform and freedom of Iraq, and the example of a decent Iraq in the ‘heart of the Arab world.’ “
“To Iraq’s east lay the Iranian despotism….To the west in Syria there was the Baath dictatorship of the House of Assad.” War “delivered the Iraqis from a tyranny that they would have never been able to overthrow on their own.”
America’s war on Iraq is one of history’s greatest crimes. Don’t expect media scoundrels or op-ed contributors to explain. Ajami lies for power. He’s one of the worst.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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