The weight of evidence clearly indicates that sanctions caused massive human suffering among ordinary Iraqis, particularly children. We, the US and UK governments, were the primary engineers and offenders of sanctions and were well aware of the evidence at the time, but we largely ignore it and blamed it on the Saddam government. [We] effectively denied the entire population a means to live.
Carne Ross ☀
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US Involvement in Iraq Never Ended ☀
The Obama administration has overseen unusually large “civilian” operations in Iraq. The nation hosts a $730 billion, 104-acre US embassy in Baghdad (the largest in the world; about the size of Vatican City), along with US consulates in Basra, Irbil and Kirkuk and US personnel in other sites scattered throughout the country.
Violence In Iraq Is Not Obama’s Fault, And The Future Of Iraq Is Not Our Responsibility ☀
Not surprisingly,many on the right to lay the blame for the current violence in Iraq on President Obama’s decision to withdraw American troops from Iraq at the end of 2011. What such criticism forgets, of course, is the fact that President Obama was merely following the very timetable that had been laid out by his predecessor, Republican President George W. Bush. Bush, of course, had entered into an agreement with the Iraqi Government several years previously that provided that the United States would gradually hand over security in the nation to Iraqi forces and, then, to leave the country at the end of 2011. As that deadline approached, there were discussions between the United States and the al-Maliki Government about the possibility of the United States leaving behind a garrison force of some size, the primary purpose of which would be to continue training of Iraqi forces and to supplement security as requested by Iraqi authorities. Negotiations for a Status of Forces Agreement that would have accomplished something like that went forward, but ultimately collapsed when al-Maliki was unable to get his own governing coalition to agree to the idea that American forces accused of crimes would be processed via the military justice system rather than Iraqi courts. This is, by and large, a standard part of every Status of Forces Agreement that the United States has in nations where troops are based and which then Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen called an absolute necessity during an early stage of the negotiations. Without such an agreement, the United States had no legal right to keep troops in the country, so we left Iraq, with the last U.S. troops leaving just about two weeks before the December 31, 2011 deadline.
Today, Iraq remains a country (roughly the size and population of Texas) you destroyed, a country where over a million Iraqis, including many children and infants (remember Fallujah?) lost their lives, millions more were sickened or injured, and millions more were forced to become refugees, including most of the Iraqi Christians. Iraq is a country rife with sectarian strife that your prolonged invasion provoked into what is now open warfare. Iraq is a country where al-Qaeda is spreading with explosions taking 20, 30, 40, 50 or 60 lives per day. Just this week, it was reported that the U.S. has sent Hellfire air-to-ground missiles to Iraq’s air force to be used against encampments of “the country’s branch of al-Qaeda.” There was no al-Qaeda in Iraq before your invasion. Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein were mortal enemies.
'The Country You Destroyed': A Letter to George W. Bush ☀
Can Mandela’s Truth and Reconciliation Heal the Middle East? ☀
Contrast all this to Iraq after 2003. There, the Bush administration installed vindictive Shiites like Ahmad Chalabi in a “debaathification commission” (the Baath Party ruled 1968-2003). Some 70,000 Sunni Arabs were fired from government jobs for having been party members, even though many members had joined on a pro forma basis. They were replaced with Shiites. Since Bush’s Iraq was an attempted capitalist revolution in a socialist country, the administration simply closed down all the state factories, maintaining that they were worthless. It was as unwise as nationalizing South Africa’s corporations would have been. The Sunni Arab regions of the center-north and west were swept by massive unemployment. Young men and former Baath army personnel turned to insurgency, were repressed and tortured, creating more insurgency, and the guerrilla war continues to this day, 10 and a half years later, as Channel 7 observes about recent bombings…
Iraq Makes Request for WMDs ☀
Maliki says he’s fighting terrorism. Al Qaeda is in Iraq killing the Iraqi people, he explains. “It has been almost two years since American troops withdrew from Iraq. And despite the terrorist threats we face, we are not asking for American boots on the ground,” he writes. “Rather, we urgently want to equip our own forces with the weapons they need to fight terrorism, including helicopters and other military aircraft so that we can secure our borders and protect our people. Hard as it is to believe, Iraq doesn’t have a single fighter jet to protect its airspace.”
Now if arming a Middle Eastern country with a solid history of sectarian violence sounds vaguely familiar and like an acutely bad idea—it’s because we’ve done it before. In Afghanistan in the ‘80s, we armed the Mujahedeen to aide their fight against the Soviets. And when we invaded the country a decade later, we were met with our own weapons. Poetic.
In many respects, Iraq today looks tragically similar to the Iraq of 2006, complete with increasing numbers of horrific, indiscriminate attacks by Iraq’s al Qaeda affiliate and its network of extremists. Add to that the ongoing sectarian civil war in Syria — which is, in many aspects, a regional conflict being fought there — and the situation in Iraq looks even more complicated than it was in 2006 and thus even more worrisome — especially given the absence American combat forces. As Iraqi leaders consider the way forward, they would do well to remember what had to be done the last time the levels of violence escalated so terribly. If Iraqi leaders think back to that time, they will recall that the surge was not just more forces, though the additional forces were very important. What mattered most was the surge of ideas — concepts that embraced security of the people by “living with them,” initiatives to promote reconciliation with elements of the population that felt they had no incentive to support the new Iraq, ramping up of precise operations that targeted the key “irreconcilables,” the embrace of an enhanced comprehensive civil-military approach, increased attention to various aspects of the rule of law, improvements to infrastructure and basic services, and support for various political actions that helped bridge ethno-sectarian divides.
David Petraeus: How We Won in Iraq ☀
The American Genocide Against Iraq: 4% of Population Dead as result of US sanctions, wars ☀
The US/ UN sanctions on Iraq of the 1990s, which interdicted chlorine for much of that decade and so made water purification impossible, are estimated to have killed another 500,000 Iraqis, mainly children. (Infants and toddlers die easily from diarrhea caused by gastroenteritis, which causes fatal dehydration).
So the US polished off about a million Iraqis from 1991 through 2011, large numbers of them children. The Iraqi population in that period was roughly 25 million, so the US killed or created the conditions for the killing of 4% of the Iraqi population.
Study estimates nearly 500,000 Iraqis died in war ☀
In a study published Tuesday in the journal PLOS Medicine, researchers concluded that at least 461,000 “excess” Iraqi deaths occurred in the troubled nation after the U.S.-led invasion that resulted in the overthrow of President Saddam Hussein. Those were defined as fatalities that would not have occurred in the absence of an invasion and occupation.
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