FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Sociocide of Iraq by Bush/Cheney

by RALPH NADER

Ten years ago George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, as war criminals, launched the sociocide of the people of Iraq – replete with embedded television and newspaper reporters chronicling the invasion through the Bush lens. That illegal war of aggression was, of course, based on recognized lies, propaganda and cover-ups that duped or co-opted leading news institutions such as the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Wars of aggression – this one blowing apart a country of 25 million people ruled by a weakened despot surrounded by far more powerful adversaries – Israel, Turkey and Iran – are major crimes under international law and the UN Charter. The Bush/Cheney war was also unconstitutional, never declared by Congress, as Senator Robert Byrd eloquently pointed out at the time. Moreover, many of the acts of torture and brutality perpetrated against the Iraqi people are illegal under various federal statutes.

Over one million Iraqis died due to the invasion, the occupation and the denial of health and safety necessities for infants, children and adults. Far more Iraqis were injured and sickened. Birth defects and cancers continue to set lethal records. Five million Iraqis became refugees, many fleeing into Jordan, Syria and other countries.

Nearly five thousand U.S. soldiers died. Many other soldiers committed suicide. Well over 150,000 Americans were injured or sickened, far more than the official Pentagon under-estimate which restricts nonfatal casualty counts only to those incurred directly in the line of fire.

So far the Iraq War has monetarily cost taxpayers about $2 trillion. Tens of billions more will be spent for veterans disabilities and continuing expenses in Iraq. Taxpayers are paying over $600 million a year to guard the giant U.S. Embassy and its personnel in Baghdad, more than what our government spends for OSHA, whose task is to reduce the number of American workers who die every year from workplace disease and trauma, currently about 58,000.

All for what results? Before the invasion there was no al-Qaeda in Saddam Hussein’s secular dictatorship. Now a growing al-Qaeda in Iraq is terrorizing the country with ever bolder car bombings and suicide attacks taking dozens of lives at a time and spilling forcefully over into Syria.

Iraq is a police state with sectarian struggles between the dominant Shiites and the insurgent Sunnis who lived together peacefully and intermarried for centuries. There were no sectarian slaughters of this kind before the invasion, except for Saddam Hussein’s bloodbath against rebellious Shiites. The Shiites were egged on by President George H.W. Bush, who promptly abandoned them to the deadly strafing of Saddam’s helicopter gunships at the end of the preventable first Gulf War in 1991.

Iraq is a country in ruins with a political and wealthy upper class raking off the profits from the oil industry and the occupation. The U.S. is now widely hated in that part of Asia. Bush/Cheney ordered the use of cluster bombs, white phosphorous and depleted uranium against, for example, the people of Fallujah where infant birth deformities have skyrocketed.

As Raed Jarrar, an Iraqi-American analyst observed: “Complete destruction of the Iraqi national identity” and the sectarian system introduced by the U.S. invaders in 2003, where Iraqis were favored or excluded based on their sectarian and ethnic affiliations, laid the basis for the current cruel chaos and violence. It was a nasty, brutish form of divide and rule.

The results back home in our country are soldiers and their extended families suffering in many ways from broken lives. Phil Donahue’s gripping documentary Body of War follows the pain-wracked life of one soldier returning in 2004 from Iraq as a paraplegic. That soldier, Tomas Young, nearing the end of his devastated life, has just written a penetrating letter to George W. Bush which every American should read (http://www.truthdig.com/dig/item/the_last_letter_20130318/).

The lessons from this unnecessary quagmire should be: first, how to stop any more wars of aggression by the Washington warmongers – the same neocon draft dodgers are at it again regarding Iran and Syria. And second, the necessity to hold accountable the leading perpetrators of this brutal carnage and financial wreckage who are presently at large – fugitives from justice earning fat lecture and consulting fees.

In the nine months running up to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, at least three hundred prominent, retired military officers, diplomats and national security officials publically spoke out against the Bush/Cheney drumbeats to war. Their warnings were prophetically accurate. They included retired Generals Anthony Zinni and William Odom, and Admiral Shanahan. Even Brent Scowcroft and James Baker, two of President George H.W. Bush’s closest advisors strongly opposed the invasion.

These outspoken truthsayers – notwithstanding their prestige and experience – were overwhelmed by a runaway White House, a disgraceful patsy mainstream media and an abdicatory Congress. Multi-billionaire, George Soros was also courageously outspoken. Unfortunately, prior to the invasion, he did not provide a budget and secretariat for these men and women to provide continuity and to multiply their numbers around the country, through the mass media and on Capitol Hill. By the time he came around to organizing and publicizing such an organized effort, it was after the invasion, in July 2003.

Nine months earlier, I believe George Soros could have provided the necessary resources to stop Bush/Cheney and their lies from stampeding the government, and country, into war.

Mr. Soros can still build the grassroots pressure for the exercise of the rule of law under our constitution and move Congress toward public hearings in the Senate designed to establish an investigative arm of the Justice Department to pursue the proper enforcement against Bush/Cheney and their accomplices.

After all, the Justice Department had such a special prosecutors’ office during the Watergate scandal and was moving to indict a resigned Richard Nixon before President Ford pardoned him.

Compare the Watergate break-in and obstruction of justice by Nixon with the horrendous crimes coming out of the war against Iraq – a nation that never threatened the U.S. but whose destruction takes a continuing toll on our country.

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition.

 

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Mel Gurtov
Donald Trump’s Lies And Team Trump’s Headaches
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
Wayne Clark
A Reset Button for Political America
Chris Welzenbach
“The Death Ship:” An Allegory for Today’s World
Uri Avnery
Being There
Peter Lee
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
Patrick Hiller
Guns Against Grizzlies at Schools or Peace Education as Resistance?
Randy Shields
The Devil’s Real Estate Dictionary
Ron Jacobs
Singing the Body Electric Across Time
Ann Garrison
Fifty-five Years After Lumumba’s Assassination, Congolese See No Relief
Christopher Brauchli
Swing Low Alabama
Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones
La Realidad: the Realities of Anti-Mexicanism
Jon Hochschartner
The Five Least Animal-Friendly Senate Democrats
Pauline Murphy
Fighting Fascism: the Irish at the Battle of Cordoba
Susan Block
#GoBonobos in 2017: Happy Year of the Cock!
Louis Proyect
Is Our Future That of “Sense8” or “Mr. Robot”?
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
David Yearsley
Manchester-by-the-Sea and the Present Catastrophe
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail