The Sociocide of Iraq by Bush/Cheney

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.


More articles by:

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

March 21, 2018
Paul Street
Time is Running Out: Who Will Protect Our Wrecked Democracy from the American Oligarchy?
Mel Goodman
The Great Myth of the So-Called “Adults in the Room”
Chris Floyd
Stumbling Blocks: Tim Kaine and the Bipartisan Abettors of Atrocity
Eric Draitser
The Political Repression of the Radical Left in Crimea
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan Threatens Wider War Against the Kurds
John Steppling
It is Us
Thomas Knapp
Death Penalty for Drug Dealers? Be Careful What You Wish for, President Trump
Manuel García, Jr.
Why I Am Leftist (Vietnam War)
Isaac Christiansen
A Left Critique of Russiagate
Howard Gregory
The Unemployment Rate is an Inadequate Reporter of U.S. Economic Health
Ramzy Baroud
Who Wants to Kill Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah?
Roy Morrison
Trouble Ahead: The Trump Administration at Home and Abroad
Roger Hayden
Too Many Dead Grizzlies
George Wuerthner
The Lessons of the Battle to Save the Ancient Forests of French Pete
Binoy Kampmark
Fictional Free Trade and Permanent Protectionism: Donald Trump’s Economic Orthodoxy
Rivera Sun
Think Outside the Protest Box
March 20, 2018
Jonathan Cook
US Smooths Israel’s Path to Annexing West Bank
Jeffrey St. Clair
How They Sold the Iraq War
Chris Busby
Cancer, George Monbiot and Nuclear Weapons Test Fallout
Nick Alexandrov
Washington’s Invasion of Iraq at Fifteen
David Mattson
Wyoming Plans to Slaughter Grizzly Bears
Paul Edwards
My Lai and the Bad Apples Scam
Julian Vigo
The Privatization of Water and the Impoverishment of the Global South
Mir Alikhan
Trump and Pompeo on Three Issues: Paris, Iran and North Korea
Seiji Yamada
Preparing For Nuclear War is Useless
Gary Leupp
Brennan, Venality and Turpitude
Martha Rosenberg
Why There’s a Boycott of Ben & Jerry’s on World Water Day, March 22
John Pilger
Skripal Case: a Carefully-Constructed Drama?
March 19, 2018
Henry Heller
The Moment of Trump
John Davis
Pristine Buildings, Tarnished Architect
Uri Avnery
The Fake Enemy
Patrick Cockburn
The Fall of Afrin and the Next Phase of the Syrian War
Nick Pemberton
The Democrats Can’t Save Us
Nomi Prins 
Jared Kushner, RIP: a Political Obituary for the President’s Son-in-Law
Georgina Downs
The Double Standards and Hypocrisy of the UK Government Over the ‘Nerve Agent’ Spy Poisoning
Dean Baker
Trump and the Federal Reserve
Colin Todhunter
The Strategy of Tension Towards Russia and the Push to Nuclear War
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
US Empire on Decline
Ralph Nader
Ahoy America, Give Trump a Taste of His Own Medicine Starting on Trump Imitation Day
Robert Dodge
Eliminate Nuclear Weapons by Divesting from Them
Laura Finley
Shame on You, Katy Perry
Weekend Edition
March 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Michael Uhl
The Tip of the Iceberg: My Lai Fifty Years On
Bruce E. Levine
School Shootings: Who to Listen to Instead of Mainstream Shrinks
Mel Goodman
Caveat Emptor: MSNBC and CNN Use CIA Apologists for False Commentary
Paul Street
The Obama Presidency Gets Some Early High Historiography