There is a misconception when people speak of Iraq and its genocide, or ‘war’ (a misconception in itself but we’ll discuss that later). The genocide of Iraq and its people didn’t begin 8 years ago in 2003 with George W. Bush’s attempt to “disarm Iraq, to free its people, and to defend the world from grave danger” of course not to mention the infamous Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) aspect. It didn’t start with September 11, 2001 when the WTC towers were destroyed, it didn’t start with George W. Bush accusing Saddam Hussein of cooperating with ‘Al-Qaeda’ without having any evidence, but the genocide of Iraq started in early August in 1990, its first blow being the economic embargo followed by mandatory UN sanctions after Saddam Hussain’s invasion of Kuwait. Before I go any further it should be known that Saddam too had his role in burning Iraq. From his mass homicidal an-Anfal campaign against Kurds in Northern Iraq, to the ethnic cleansing of Marsh Arabs in southern Iraq, there is no denying of his despotism. But coming back to his war on Kuwait, it left Iraq having to give 5% of its oil revenues into a UN reparations fund, which has so far paid out $34.3 billion to claimants, of which around $25 billion went to Kuwait. Baghdad is required to pay a further $18 billion, the bulk of it to Kuwait. Since Saddam’s overthrow in the US-led invasion of 2003, Iraq has repeatedly appealed to Kuwait and other countries to waive tens of billions of dollars in compensation and debt payments. Two decades later a broken Iraq still owes Kuwait not only compensation money enforced by the UN, but $16 billion in loans for which Saddam took out to fund his 1980-1988 war against Iran that was largely bankrolled by the oil-rich Arab states of the Gulf. Members of the Iraqi parliament reported that Kuwait has even taken over 16 oil wells in the southern border area of Safwan and additional Iraqi territory and agricultural land.
Iraqi invasion of Kuwait lasted for 6 months – US invasion of Iraq? 9 years. Yet Iraq must suffer even more so than it did under Saddam after his topple. They must be subject to compensate 6 month Kuwait war whilst nobody compensates their decade long physical occupation and eternal psychological effects. Many Iraqi’s will tell you that life was good under Saddam compared to after his demise. The evil they knew was better than the evil they didn’t. Saddam’s tyranny was a convenient for the West to use as a selling story to the world in order to pursue its pre-planned agenda from as long as 30 years ago- regardless of the fact Saddam had been a CIA and U.S. ally during the 1980 Iraq-Iran war to combat Iranian ayatollahs and with serious aid from Russia, France, Britain and U.S.
The sanctions was a crushing manoeuvre upon the people of Iraq rather than of its regime, the US wanted regime change, and regime change it would get at any cost. From producing 3/4′s of the worlds dates with 630 different varieties in 150 date factories down to 6 after the invasion, it was by far one of the most advanced countries of its region. Iraq was completely self sufficient during the 1980′s in the agricultural sector allowing a flourishing economy, but come the sanctions, previous wars, poor management, the economy slumped into one commodity, oil. This commodity became even more precious when the multinational oil companies with properties in Iraq were confiscated to nationalise the oil and keep its profits in Iraq to build various welfare projects (in which Saddam won Iraq an UNESCO prize for). Many years later, with the successful foreign occupation of Iraq; Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Exxon Mobil and Total returned to Iraq in 2008 to claim its vast oil reserves, which account for 80% of Iraq’s economy. In fact back in the 1940s the Middle East was described by Eisenhower as a stupendous source of strategic power, the most strategically important area in the world, and though the U.S. remained an oil exporter into the 1970s it still pursued the same policies. To control that massive resource, is in effect a source of world control. The West knew this. If it can’t buy the oil, it must control it, because its the control that matters. The profit made from it matters, and having bases there that allow you to organize the region in your own interests, definitely matters.
We all know, (I hope we all know) that the entire WMD, 9/11, Al-Qaeida and other unrelated stories of propaganda, used to justify and legitimise the invasion of Iraq was nothing more than a pretext to its real motive. Of course, we’ve heard ‘oil’ too many times before, and in this instance, it would be naive to conclude it as only oil. The 1991 phase of the invasion, both Operation Desert Storm and Desert Sabre was particularly appealing to the U.S. for a number of reasons. First, the U.S. military hegemony would be demonstrated to the world (though this was done through Hiroshima and Nagasaki a reminder seemed good), then, the arms factories would keep running with a new range of hi-tech weapons could be tested in field rather than through computer stimulations, in 2002 it was known that the U.S. manufactured a new generation of cruise missiles, the Tactical Tomahawk it wanted to test, as well as atomic-cale thermobaric bombs. The incessant military activity would keep the arms factories (such as Lockheed Martin) running with corporate shareholders happy and the large defence budget justified, useful data could be collected in areas of electronic surveillance and computer gaming, profits to corporate America would be boosted, the U.S. grip on regional oil could be strengthened, increased oil prices could benefit U.S. producers and British energy corps, and last but not least, any hint of Arab unity against Israel (who bombed Baghdad in 1981), especially stemming from Iraq who remained hostile to the Jewish theft of Arab land, would be destabilised.
To think of it, why would the US would even try to win a ‘war’? In essence, war is an assembly line of death that is highly profitable for politicians, weapons manufacturers and foreign multinational contractors alike. An ongoing war is a conveyer belt of cash. Once the ‘war’ is won, the assembly line has stopped and the big money is gone. Exiting Iraq can mean one thing. A land sucked dry, leaving desolate hope. Iraq didn’t need to be destroyed at first, because Iraq was worth owning. Noam Chomsky described Iraq as the “last corner of the world in which there are massive petroleum resources pretty much unexplored, maybe the largest in the world or close to it”.
In a NATO summit of 2004, Condoleezza Rice passed Bush a note informing him the handover of power to an interim Iraqi government. “Iraq is sovereign,” the note said. Sovereign here meaning a US territory manned by US policies. Bush scribbled back “Let freedom reign”. What Bush meant here was, let our freedom reign, and a year after the summit, the WMD search was brought to an end. “We were all wrong”, they said. But it takes them 8 years to ‘withdraw’ from the ‘war’. The Iraq War. One of the most misleading terms alongside the ‘War in Afghanistan’, and the Israeli-Palestinian ‘conflict’. I say this many times, and I say this again. A war needs substantial defence. Insurgents (which is what the Iraqi rebels are called instead) are not substantial defence, by any means. When a foreign force comes to occupy your land with a stronghold of 184,000 soldiers at its peak why are ‘insurgents’ fought off? Why is it a shocked when a British soldier is killed by them? Armed resistance in the face of occupation is only right. Yet Libyans become ‘rebels’, Afghans become ‘insurgents’ and Palestinians in Gaza become ‘Islamist Jihadist Militants’ (which by the way, doesn’t even make sense). And along comes Obama in late October 2001, announcing to the world that American troops ‘will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads high. We’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self reliant Iraq”. I’m not even going to address the absolute myth of sovereignty here or the empty hollow pride the US gloats on. The physical occupation may have withdrawn a handful of its military, but the U.S. retains a considerable amount of political, economic and security control over Iraq. And yes, we can call this imperialism. The imperialism is reflected in the ‘Strategic Framework’ agreement and other unpublicized accords, and with the gigantic US embassy, the world’s biggest US embassy, with a declared 15,000 personnel. There are even reports that the US will retain secret military bases. Obviously, how can we expect an empire to spend almost a decade in a foreign land with streams of money spent to extract its resources and install its domination in the Middle East not to?
In December 2001 alone, some 15,000 Iraqis died as result of the sanctions pushed by the U.S. and enforced by the UN, more than 7,000 children under the age of 5 died through (otherwise curable) diseases such as diarrhoea and pneumonia. In 2002 Baghdad informed the UN that ‘1.6 million Iraqis had died from diseases that could not be treated because of the embargo‘. The sanctions on Iraq were the most comprehensive in history; in reality, it was a blockade of the country, enforced by military means that was to last for 13 years. Through the presidencies of George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush up to the 2003 invasion, Iraq was bombed several times per week, with several periods of intense assault. There were numerous coup attempts organized by the CIA. And the death toll from the blockade was relentless, as U.S. officials were well aware. The total mortality figure of 1,614,303 included 667,773 children under 5. If over a million Iraqi’s died as a result of sanctions, why are we told that the death toll of the so called ‘Iraq War’ is
still over a million? Over a million was dead. And so they give us pie charts, 6 figures and statistics of dead civilians. To desensitise us, to keep us apathetic and indifferent. And yet we must know the names, the faces and lives of the dead British and American soldiers. We must hear their relatives tell us that they were good men on a foreign land serving the country. Who cares about the Iraqi people they killed rotting away without headstones?
I wish it were possible for me to describe each and every event that occurred in the demise of Iraq to you, but I cannot. Books could try, documentaries could show, but let us be honest. We will read and close the books. We will watch the documentaries and switch off the TV. Haven’t we already forgotten the wikileaked ‘Collateral Murder‘ video? Haven’t we already have already forgotten the sadistic American soldiers smiling, posing next to shacked and humiliated prisoners of Abu Ghraib? Stripped naked, bagged, bound, tied, tortured, tormented, raped, sodomised and treated inhumanly as possible?Haven’t we already forgotten the ringleader of the US military guards in Abu Ghraib, Charles Graner, who photographed their vile abuse of Iraqi’s served 6-and-a-half years of a 10-year sentence? Haven’t we forgotten that we were barred from seeing the 2000 images from Abu Ghraib? Haven’t we already forgotten the US marine of the Haditha Massacre receiving a plea deal of 3 months confinement and pay drop? Yes. A 3 month confinement and pay drop whilst rioters in London receive 4 years sentences for promoting riots on their Facebook statuses.Haven’t we already forgotten the US soldiers Airborne Division gang rape of a 14 year old Iraqi girl murdering her and her family —including a 5 year old child in 2006? Haven’t we already forgotten the Fallujah Massacre, the depleted uranium and white phosphorus? Haven’t we already forgotten the 5 million orphans, 2 million widows? These aren’t just figures but millions of real life stories, each worse than the other, and that if told, you would have reoccurring nightmares, both of horror and guilt. We failed to prevent it and we failed to remember it. So at least let us call Iraq what is was. A mass genocide carried out by foreign military under the illusion of ‘war’ for global hegemony.
We must never forget Iraq. And I need not say why.