Paul Craig Roberts / CounterPunch & Chris Hedges / EAW – 2006-10-15 01:17:48
Can We Call it Genocide Now?
“You’re Either With Us or You’re Dead.”
Paul Craig Roberts / CounterPunch
(October 12, 2006) — Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq has cost 655,000 Iraqis their lives. That is the conclusion of a study financed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for International Studies and conducted by physicians under the direction of Johns Hopkins University epidemiologists.
These are deaths over and above the pre-invasion mortality rate. Bush’s illegal invasion raised Iraq’s mortality rate from 5.5 deaths per 1,000 people per year to 13.3 deaths per 1,000 people per year.
The October 11, 2006 study is published by the distinguished British medical journal, The Lancet, and is available on the journal’s online site (http://www.thelancet.com).
The study uses a scientific method known as “cluster sampling.” In 87% of the deaths, the researchers requested death certificates, and more than 90% of the surveyed households produced the death certificates. Violence accounted for 601,000 deaths and disease and destruction of civilian infrastructure accounted for 54,000 deaths. The violent deaths are attributed to gunshot wounds, coalition air strikes, and car bombs.
JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY EPIDEMIOLOGIST GILBERT BURNHAM SAYS, “WE’RE VERY CONFIDENT WITH THE RESULTS.”
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY EPIDEMIOLOGIST RONALD WALDMAN SAYS THE SURVEY METHOD USED IS “TRIED AND TRUE,” AND THAT “THIS IS THE BEST ESTIMATE OF MORTALITY WE HAVE.”
BUSH STATED: “I DON’T CONSIDER IT A CREDIBLE REPORT.”
When asked about the report, President Bush stated: “I don’t consider it a credible report.” Bush, of course, is not reality-based, and he knows that any unfavorable news is ‘enemy propaganda.’ That’s what the neocons who pull his strings tell him, and that is what he believes.
WHAT PERCENTAGE OF THESE 655,000 DEATHS WERE INSURGENTS OR “TERRORISTS”?
Probably 1% and no more than 2%. Bush’s “war on terror” is, in fact, a war on Iraqi civilians. Bush’s invasion has also spawned sectarian conflict or civil war, although the Bush regime denies it.
Even Bush is smart enough to know that “bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq” is not compatible with setting off a civil war in Iraq. Since Bush, the faith-based, believes that he is bringing “freedom and democracy to Iraq,” he cannot accept the fact that he has started a civil war.
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians are not the only innocent victims of Bush’s illegal aggression. The New York Times (October 11) reports that Department of Veterans Affairs documents show that about one in five US soldiers who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan have suffered at least partial disability.
To date, more than 100,000 US troops who are veterans of these wars have been granted disability compensation. Although the US cannot put on the ground in Iraq more than 150,000 troops at one time, 1.5 million troops have served so far and 567,000 have been discharged, of which 100,000 are receiving disability payments.
Paul Sullivan, director of programs for Veterans for America, says that the current rate of injuries will produce 400,000 American veterans suffering 30% to 100% disability. Apparently, one of the severe forms of disability is post-traumatic stress disorder, which does not count as a physical wound.
WHAT IS THE AMERICAN PEOPLE’S REWARD FOR BUSH’S ILLEGAL WARS THAT HAVE KILLED 655,000 IRAQIS, AN UNCOUNTED NUMBER OF AFGHANIS, AND DISABLED AS MANY AS 400,000 US TROOPS?
According to the US National Intelligence Estimate and to practically every Middle East expert, Bush’s invasions have radicalized the Islamic Middle East, created legions of recruits for extremists, undermined America’s puppet rulers, imperiled Israel, and destroyed America’s international reputation.
And we are talking about over one million casualties that have no other cause than blatant lies by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, the bloodthirsty neoconservative cabal that occupies Bush’s subcabinet, and their corporate media propagandists — especially The Weekly Standard, Fox News, National Review, CNN, and the Wall Street Journal editorial page.
The Bush regime deceived America and the world with its lies that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that would be turned against the West by terrorists. By giving misleading speeches that continually mentioned Iraq in the same context as 9/11, the Bush regime created the widespread false impression, still prevalent among Americans, that Iraq was responsible for 9/11.
WHAT KIND OF GOVERNMENT WOULD DESTROY THE LIVES, THROUGH DEATH OR DISABILITY, OF OVER ONE MILLION PEOPLE FOR NO VALID REASON?
The same kind of government that fires its own lawyers for doing their constitutional duty. Navy lawyer Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift was assigned the ignoble task of bringing Salim Hamdan to a guilty plea before the unconstitutional military tribunal that President Bush created for Guantanamo detainees.
Instead, Cmdr. Swift did his sworn duty and defended his client, winning in the US Supreme Court. The Bush administration retaliated by blocking Cmdr. Swift’s promotion, which killed his military career, and sent the chilling message to all US military and government attorneys that constitutional scruples are career-enders in the Bush regime.
IT COULDN’T BE CLEARER: ANYONE WHO STANDS FOR THE US CONSTITUTION IS AGAINST BUSH AND HIS NEOCON REGIME.
THE BUSH REGIME IS PROCEEDING EXACTLY AS THE NAZI REGIME PROCEEDED.
First, eliminate every person of conscience and integrity from the government. Second, redefine duty as service to the leader: “You are with us or against us” — a formulation that leaves no place for duty to the US Constitution.
Hence, patriotism is redefined from “loyalty to country and Constitution” to “loyalty to the government’s leader.” Americans are too inattentive and distracted to be aware of the grave danger that the neoconservative Bush regime presents to both American liberty and world stability.
THE NEOCONSERVATIVE DRIVE TO ACHIEVE HEGEMONY OVER THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THE ENTIRE WORLD IS STRIKINGLY SIMILAR TO HITLER’S DRIVE FOR HEGEMONY.
Hitler used the doctrine of “racial superiority” to justify Germany’s right to ride roughshod over other peoples and the right of the Nazi elite to rule over the German people. Neoconservatives use “American exceptionalism” and “the war on terror.” There is no practical difference.
Hitler cared no more about the peoples he mowed down in his drive for supremacy than the neoconservatives care about the 655,000 dead Iraqis, or the 100,000 disabled American soldiers and the 2,747 dead ones.
When Bush, the Decider, claims unconstitutional powers and uses “signing statements” to negate US laws whenever he feels the rule of law gets in the way of his authoritarian leadership, he is remarkably similar to Hitler, the Fuhrer, who told the Reichstag on February 20, 1938: “A man who feels it his duty at such an hour to assume the leadership of his people is not responsible to the laws of parliamentary usage or to a particular democratic conception, but solely to the mission placed upon him. And anyone who interferes with this mission is an enemy of the people.”
“You are with us or against us.”
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is co-author of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
BUSH’S NUCLEAR APOCALYPSE
Chris Hedges / EnvirosAgainstWar.org
The aircraft carrier Eisenhower, accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio, the guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage, the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason, and the fast-attack submarine USS Newport News, is — as I write — making its way to the Straits of Hormuz off Iran. These ships will be in place to strike Iran by the end of the month. It may be a bluff. It may be a feint. It may be a simple show of American power. But I doubt it.
War with Iran — a war that would unleash an apocalyptic scenario in the Middle East — is probable by the end of the Bush administration. It could begin in as little as three weeks. This administration, claiming to be anointed by a Christian God to reshape the world, and especially the Middle East, defined three states at the start of its reign as “the Axis of Evil.” They were Iraq, now occupied; North Korea, which, because it has nuclear weapons, is untouchable; and Iran.
Those who do not take this apocalyptic rhetoric seriously have ignored the twisted pathology of men like Elliott Abrams, who helped orchestrate the disastrous and illegal contra war in Nicaragua, and who now handles the Middle East for the National Security Council.
He knew nothing about Central America. He knows nothing about the Middle East. He sees the world through the childish, binary lens of good and evil, us and them, the forces of darkness and the forces of light. And it is this strange, twilight mentality that now grips most of the civilian planners who are barreling us towards a crisis of epic proportions.
These men advocate a neocon doctrine of permanent war, a doctrine which, as William R. Polk points out, is a slight corruption of Leon Trotsky’s doctrine of permanent revolution. These two revolutionary doctrines serve the same function: to intimidate and destroy all those classified as foreign opponents; to create permanent instability and fear; and to silence domestic critics who challenge leaders in a time of national crisis.
It works. The citizens of the United States, slowly being stripped of their civil liberties, are being herded sheep-like, once again, over a cliff.
But this war will be different. It will be catastrophic. It will usher in the apocalyptic nightmares spun out in the dark, fantastic visions of the Christian right. And there are those around the president who see this vision as preordained by God; indeed, the president himself may hold such a vision.
The hypocrisy of this vaunted moral crusade is not lost on those in the Middle East. Iran actually signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It has violated a codicil of that treaty written by European foreign ministers, but this codicil was never ratified by the Iranian parliament.
I do not dispute Iran’s intentions to acquire nuclear weapons nor do I minimize the danger should it acquire them in the estimated five to 10 years. But contrast Iran with Pakistan, India and Israel. These three countries refused to sign the treaty and developed nuclear weapons programs in secret. Israel now has an estimated 400 to 600 nuclear weapons.
The word “Dimona,” the name of the city where the nuclear facilities are located in Israel, is shorthand in the Muslim world for the deadly Israeli threat to Muslims’ existence. What lessons did the Iranians learn from our Israeli, Pakistani and Indian allies?
Given that we are actively engaged in an effort to destabilize the Iranian regime by recruiting tribal groups and ethnic minorities inside Iran to rebel, given that we use apocalyptic rhetoric to describe what must be done to the Iranian regime, given that other countries in the Middle East such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia are making noises about developing a nuclear capacity, and given that, with the touch of a button Israel could obliterate Iran, what do we expect from the Iranians? On top of this, the Iranian regime grasps that the doctrine of permanent war entails making “preemptive” and unprovoked strikes.
Those in Washington who advocate this war, knowing as little about the limitations and chaos of war as they do about the Middle East, believe they can hit about 1,000 sites inside Iran to wipe out nuclear production and cripple the 850,000-man Iranian army.
The disaster in southern Lebanon, where the Israeli air campaign not only failed to break Hezbollah but united most Lebanese behind the militant group, is dismissed. These ideologues, after all, do not live in a reality-based universe. The massive Israeli bombing of Lebanon failed to pacify 4 million Lebanese. What will happen when we begin to pound a country of 70 million people?
As retired General Wesley K. Clark and others have pointed out, once you begin an air campaign it is only a matter of time before you have to put troops on the ground or accept defeat, as the Israelis had to do in Lebanon.
And if we begin dropping bunker busters, cruise missiles and iron fragmentation bombs on Iran this is the choice that must be faced — either sending American forces into Iran to fight a protracted and futile guerrilla war or walking away in humiliation.
“As a people we are enormously forgetful,” Dr. Polk, one of the country’s leading scholars on the Middle East, told an Oct. 13 gathering of the Foreign Policy Association in New York. “We should have learned from history that foreign powers can’t win guerrilla wars.
The British learned this from our ancestors in the American Revolution and re-learned it in Ireland. Napoleon learned it in Spain. The Germans learned it in Yugoslavia. We should have learned it in Vietnam.
And the Russians learned it in Afghanistan and are learning it all over again in Chechnya.
And we are learning it, of course, in Iraq. Guerrilla wars are almost unwinnable. As a people we are also very vain. Our way of life is the only way. We should have learned that the rich and powerful can’t always succeed against the poor and less powerful.”
An attack on Iran will ignite the Middle East. The loss of Iranian oil, coupled with Silkworm missile attacks by Iran on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, could send oil prices soaring to well over $110 a barrel. The effect on the domestic and world economy will be devastating, very possibly triggering a huge, global depression. The 2 million Shiites in Saudi Arabia, the Shiite majority in Iraq, and the Shiite communities in Bahrain, Pakistan and Turkey will turn in rage on us and our dwindling allies.
We will see a combination of increased terrorist attacks, including on American soil, and the widespread sabotage of oil production in the Gulf. Iraq, as bad as it looks now, will become a death pit for American troops as Shiites and Sunnis, for the first time, unite against their foreign occupiers.
The country, however, that will pay the biggest price will be Israel. And the sad irony is that the necons who are planning this war think of themselves as allies of the Jewish state. A conflagration of this magnitude could see Israel drawn back in Lebanon and sucked into a regional war, one that would over time spell the final chapter in the Zionist experiment in the Middle East. The Israelis aptly call their nuclear program “the Samson option.” The Biblical Samson ripped down the pillars of the temple and killed everyone around him, along with himself.
If you are sure you will be raptured into heaven, your clothes left behind with the nonbelievers, then this news should cheer you up. If you are rational, however, these may be some of the last few weeks or months in which to enjoy what is left of our beleaguered, dying republic and way of life.
Chris Hedges is former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times and author of the bestseller “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.” His bi-weekly column is published on http://www.TruthDig.com.
PLEASE ALSO READ FOUR EXCELLENT DIRECTLY-RELATED ESSAYS:
•  Michael Carmichael’s must-read 10-13-06 CounterCurrents essay, “World War W” [Still unable to bring themselves to exercise diplomacy, the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Rice administration is now preparing to broaden America’s military activities in the Middle East in anticipation of a wider, more engulfing and, perhaps, even global war – World War W.]: http://countercurrents.org/carmichael131006.htm
•  Jonathan Cook’s 10-13-06 CounterCurrents essay, “Israel’s Plan For A Military Strike On Iran” [The Middle East, and possibly the world, stands on the brink of a terrible conflagration as Israel and the United States prepare to deal with Iran’s alleged ambition to acquire nuclear weapons. Goes on to describe the propagandistic contents of a Israeli warmonger’s film promoting an attack on Iran, which was shown recently on BBC-TV.]: http://countercurrents.org/cook131006.htm
•  Lucian Bohne’s must-read 10-10-06 Online Journal essay, “They Lied About Iraq’s WMD; They’re Lying About Iran’s” [Provides a lucid explanation of the technical issues to prove that the Bush neocons have trumped-up a “nuclear crisis” with Iran on the basis of lies.]: http://onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_1295.shtml
•  Larissa Alexandrovna’s 10-9-06 EnvirosAgainstWar/RawStory article, “Pentagon Moves To Second Stage Planning For Iran Strike Option” [The Pentagon is moving hi-tech military hardware into place for its commencement of another illegal war of aggression, this time against Iran. Scroll down about halfway to f ind this article.]: http://www.envirosagainstwar.org/know/read.php?&itemid=4738