The Legacy of Horror for Children in Iraq

by HOWARD LISNOFF

Children are innocent and often the innocent victims of U.S. warfare. Despite protections, most written after the carnage of masses of civilians during World War II, the U.S. quickly jettisoned its commitment to the protection of civilians and children by the rules of international and U.S. law as soon as the burning embers of war cooled. Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Nicaragua, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan are among the places most notable for the murder of children in wars in which the U.S. has waged. From conventional weapons to nuclear weapons and on to drone warfare, we do it all!

Just ten years ago I stood along with my wife and hundreds of other protesters in front of the federal building in Providence, Rhode Island wearing a rubber mask of George W. Bush with a sign hanging from around my neck that read “War Criminal.” The sign gained the attention of a reporter from the Associated Press and the interview she conducted with me reached around the world. I noted that reports had already been cited in the media that children had been killed in the bombardment of Baghdad. As I expected, some of the postings on the Web about my observations at the beginning of the Iraq War drew the contempt of those who naively believed that Iraq possessed so-called weapons of mass destruction and that the government of Iraq had links to Al-Qaeda. As usual, the masses marched in step to the beat of the warmongers!

When a person counters militarism in the U.S., or puts his or her feet on the ground in protest to U.S. wars, there’s a price to be paid. That’s a given. But absolutely nothing could prepare me for the airing on Democracy Now of the segment “Ten Years Later, U.S. Has Left Iraq with Mass Displacement & Epidemic of Birth Defects, Cancers” (March 20, 2013). Al Jazeera’s Dahr Jamail reports in that segment of the program that congenital birth defects in the city of Fallujah, the site of some of the heaviest fighting of the war, has surpassed those recorded in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki following the use of nuclear bombs in those cities at the end of World War II. The culprit in these grotesque birth defects is the suspected use of depleted uranium munitions by the U.S.

The Geneva Conventions are clear that the targeting of civilians by these types of munitions, including weapons such as white phosphorous, are clearly banned. But the U.S. has long noted that these casualties are known as collateral damage and of no real interest to the so-called imbedded reporters from major media outlets who served as cheerleaders during the years of war in Iraq and who in any case have long since left the scene.

The images of Iraqi babies with horrific birth defects are too awful to describe, except that the world needs to know the graphic results of the evil of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and others! Innocent infants are seen with the single eye of a cyclops, with heads so enlarged as to hardly be recognizable compared to a normal child, and with limbs and internal organs scattered across what should be a human body in ways that are impossible to imagine!

And cancers increased in the general population from 40 out of 100,000 people in 1991 in Iraq to 1,600 out of 100.000 in 2005!

When I became a war resister against the Vietnam War, I knew that I was risking my freedom. Images of children with the burnt skin of napalm attacks, bodies of men, women, and children massacred in ditches at My Lai, and the dead and wounded of my own generation at Kent and Jackson State were very powerful and moved me to action and resistance. It was said that the U.S. war against the Vietnamese was immoral because this nation had never been attacked by Vietnam. How different are the innocent of Iraq, where the U.S. inflicted unspeakable horrors on an entire people in the name of regime change and oil?

Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer. He can be reached at howielisnoff@gmail.com.

Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
September 01, 2015
Mike Whitney
Return to Crisis: Things Keep Getting Worse
Michael Schwalbe
The Moral Hazards of Capitalism
Eric Mann
Inside the Civil Rights Movement: a Conversation With Julian Bond
Pam Martens
How Wall Street Parasites Have Devoured Their Hosts, Your Retirement Plan and the U.S. Economy
Jonathan Latham
Growing Doubt: a Scientist’s Experience of GMOs
Fran Shor
Occupy Wall Street and the Sanders Campaign: a Case of Historical Amnesia?
Joe Paff
The Big Trees: Cockburn, Marx and Shostakovich
Randy Blazak
University Administrators Allow Fraternities to Turn Colleges Into Rape Factories
Robert Hunziker
The IPCC Caught in a Pressure Cooker
George Wuerthner
Myths of the Anthropocene Boosters: Truthout’s Misguided Attack on Wilderness and National Park Ideals
Robert Koehler
Sending Your Children Off to Safe Spaces in College
Jesse Jackson
Season of the Insurgents: From Trump to Sanders
August 31, 2015
Michael Hudson
Whitewashing the IMF’s Destructive Role in Greece
Conn Hallinan
Europe’s New Barbarians
Lawrence Ware
George Bush (Still) Doesn’t Care About Black People
Joseph Natoli
Plutocracy, Gentrification and Racial Violence
Franklin Spinney
One Presidential Debate You Won’t Hear: Why It is Time to Adopt a Sensible Grand Strategy
Dave Lindorff
What’s Wrong with Police in America
Louis Proyect
Jacobin and “The War on Syria”
Lawrence Wittner
Militarism Run Amok: How Russians and Americans are Preparing Their Children for War
Binoy Kampmark
Tales of Darkness: Europe’s Refugee Woes
Ralph Nader
Lo, the Poor Enlightened Billionaire!
Peter Koenig
Greece: a New Beginning? A New Hope?
Dean Baker
America Needs an “Idiot-Proof” Retirement System
Vijay Prashad
Why the Iran Deal is Essential
Tom Clifford
The Marco Polo Bridge Incident: a History That Continues to Resonate
Peter Belmont
The Salaita Affair: a Scandal That Never Should Have Happened
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Cycle of Crises
Andrew Levine
Viva Trump?
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Behind the Congressional Disagreements Over the Iran Nuclear Deal
Lawrence Ware – Marcus T. McCullough
I Won’t Say Amen: Three Black Christian Clichés That Must Go
Evan Jones
Zionism in Britain: a Neglected Chronicle
John Wight
Learning About the Migration Crisis From Ancient Rome
Andre Vltchek
Lebanon – What if it Fell?
Charles Pierson
How the US and the WTO Crushed India’s Subsidies for Solar Energy
Robert Fantina
Hillary Clinton, Palestine and the Long View
Ben Burgis
Gore Vidal Was Right: What Best of Enemies Leaves Out
Suzanne Gordon
How Vets May Suffer From McCain’s Latest Captivity
Robert Sandels - Nelson P. Valdés
The Cuban Adjustment Act: the Other Immigration Mess
Uri Avnery
The Molten Three: Israel’s Aborted Strike on Iran
John Stanton
Israel’s JINSA Earns Return on Investment: 190 Americans Admirals and Generals Oppose Iran Deal