FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Embellishing the Iraq War

Someone ought to let mainstream news producers know that the nearly 4,500 US soldiers killed in the Iraq war were not the only victims. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have also been killed as a result of the unwarranted US invasion, and many more have been wounded and/or forever maimed.

Chances are, all of these Iraq war victims would still be alive today were it not for former President George W. Bush and his band of neoconservatives. Demonstrating a bizarre mix of evangelical ambition, cowboy bravado and the pathological desire to ‘keep Israel secure’, Iraq was destroyed over and over again.

A short report by WTKR, a CBS affiliate television station in Virginia, cited in an online report in the Los Angeles Times on December 16, broadcast images of a US flag being furled at a small US military base in Baghdad. At the ceremony, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta reiterated US sacrifices and rationalized one of the most destructive wars in recent memory. Numerous news reports also declared that the Iraq war was over, although some expressed doubts that the Iraqis – presented as historically, if not genetically fated to be violent – would be able to handle their own affairs now that the US has ended their ‘humanitarian’ intervention.

Just a quick recap:  The Lancet survey determined that between March 2003 and June 2006, 601,027 Iraqis died violent deaths. The Opinion Research Business survey found that 1,033,000 died as a result of the conflict from March 2003 to August 2007. In one single revelation, WikiLeaks stated that “its release of nearly 400,000 classified U.S. files on the Iraq war showed 15,000 more Iraqi civilians died than previously thought.” This is in addition to the hundreds of thousands of lives lost in the decade long Iraq siege, and the hundreds of thousands more who were killed during the first Iraq war between 1990-91.

Numbers aside, the media spin-mongers are busy redrawing the parameters of the discussion through omission, lies and outright racism. Take, for example, Loren Thomspon’s article in Forbes. Thompson thinks that the war was a mistake – not due to any illusions about immorality or illegality – but purely because of practical mistakes involving resources, lack of resolve, Iraq’s sectarianism and military inconsistency, and the like. Despite these mistakes, “our intentions were good,” Thompson stated. To ensure that no one would mistake him for an antiwar ‘leftist nut job’ – the rightwing media’s perception of anyone who opposes US war for any reason – he made an interesting assertion:

“What policymakers and a majority of the U.S. electorate now know is that Iraq never should have been a country in the first place, so trying to make democracy work there is likely to be a thankless task” (Forbes, December 15).

Such intransigence and lack of sensitivity (destroying a sovereign country, then denying its right to have ever existed in the first place – a logic reminiscent of Israeli behavior in Palestine) – are overriding characteristics of the American mainstream media’s representation of the Iraq war.

In their Los Angeles Times article on December 15, David S. Cloud and David Zucchino did acknowledge, albeit belatedly, that Iraqis were killed. However, they also cited the lowest figure they could find (from the Iraqi Body Count website), and resorted to sweeping generalizations that inadvertently laid the blame of the violence on Iraqis themselves. “With the Americans gone, it is up to (the Iraqis) to help control the country’s endemic violence,” they wrote.

Yes, “endemic”, meaning “natural to or characteristic of a specific people or place” (Dictionary.com). If Iraqis are prone to violence because of their cultural, religious or even genetic makeup, why did the daily body counts of Iraqis begin in March 2003, the date of the US invasion? Who made the decision to go to war, turning violence into an “endemic”? Certainly not the Iraqi people.

And it wasn’t the Iraqis who sowed the seeds of their own sectarian conflict either. This was also part of a strategy aimed at redefining the US military role from locating (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction to fighting terrorism, while concurrently putting out the fire of sectarian violence.

In crude military terms, the Iraq war might be over, but as far as the Iraqi people are concerned, it is not. The experiment, which began nearly nine years ago with a “shock and awe” bombing campaign, will manifest itself in future US policies. The entire region has grown to become the backbone of an American empire on the decline.

In her influential book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Naomi Klein described how the war on Iraq was meant to construct a model for the Middle East. It was an experiment, the success of which could influence the

geopolitics of the whole region. In the chapter entitled, “Erasing Iraq: In Search for a ‘Model’ for the Middle East,” Klein describes the attempt at destroying and then resurrecting the country to fit the mould sought by those who administered its fall. She concluded Part 6 with the following statement: “So in the end, the war in Iraq did create a model economy…it was a model for privatized war and reconstruction — a model that quickly became export ready.”

Writing in the FoxNews website under the title, ‘Iraq: Victory or Defeat’, Oliver North, had little space for empathy, and certainly none for the Iraqis. “Who won?” he asked. “Short answer — America’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, Guardsmen and Marines and the American people whose sons and daughters served in Iraq.”

It is this type of irrational patriotism, and intellectual hooliganism that made the war possible in the first place. And it will continue to facilitate future wars, followed by false victories.

As for the millions of Americans (and many more around the world), who fearlessly and courageously objected to the war, they will continue to do so. If the US is to redeem any iota of credibility in the world, it must cease perceiving war as a mere strategic opportunity. War is brutal and inhumane. It is costly on many levels, and its terrible consequences are likely to prevail through generations – as the future of Iraq will surely, and so sadly, reveal.

Ramzy Baroud is editor of PalestineChronicle.com. He is the author of The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle  and  “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story” (Pluto Press, London). 

More articles by:

Dr. Ramzy Baroud has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author of several books and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London). His website is: ramzybaroud.net

Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
Ted Rall
Why Christine Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh is a Train Wreck You Can’t Look Away From
Lauren Regan
The Day the Valves Turned: Defending the Pipeline Protesters
Ralph Nader
Questions, Questions Where are the Answers?
Binoy Kampmark
Deplatforming Germaine Greer
Raouf Halaby
It Should Not Be A He Said She Said Verdict
Robert Koehler
The Accusation That Wouldn’t Go Away
Jim Hightower
Amazon is Making Workers Tweet About How Great It is to Work There
Robby Sherwin
Rabbi, Rabbi, Where For Art Thou Rabbi?
Vern Loomis
Has Something Evil This Way Come?
Steve Baggarly
Disarm Trident Walk Ends in Georgia
Graham Peebles
Priorities of the Time: Peace
Michael Doliner
The Department of Demonization
David Yearsley
Bollocks to Brexit: the Plumber Sings
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail