Iraqis Are Not Abstractions
by Debra Sweet Today, help on challenging how people in the U.S. are looking at "helping" Iraq: Larry Everest writes in Revolution, More U.S. Killings and War Crimes in Iraq? HELL NO! today:
When you hear the commander-in-chief of the U.S. empire talk about freedom and giving people "the opportunity to forge their own future," here's what that has meant for the people of Iraq:
- Iraqi deaths as a result of the war, directly and indirectly (due to the destruction and disruption of the war, including to water and power systems, to healthcare and food production): 655,000 according to a 2006 Lancetstudy; 1 million according to a 2008 Opinion Research Business study; current estimate: 1.2 to 1.4 million.
- Iraqis injured: 4.2 million.
- Iraqis driven from their homes: 4.5 million.
- A U.S.-installed reactionary Shi'ite fundamentalist government which launched a campaign of ethnic cleansing, indiscriminate bombardments, and torture against Iraq's Sunnis.
- U.S-organized Shi'ite death squads linked to the Maliki government responsible for murdering thousands of Sunnis and unleashing widespread religious sectarianism and ethnic cleansing during the 2006-2008 civil war. Minorities were driven out of areas in which different ethnic and national groups had previously lived side by side.
Ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern holding up the iconic photograph of a six-year-old Iraqi girl who survived the accidental killing of her parents by U.S. troops in 2004. (Photo credit: Stars and Stripes.)
Thanks to Iraq Veterans Against the War for changing a scheduled press conference on the failures of the VA to care for veterans, to one which, last Thursday, called on Obama not to strike Iraq.
Ray McGovern referenced a Washington Post article with the headline “U.S. sees risk in Iraq airstrikes:”
...I thought, “doesn’t that say it all.” The Post apparently didn’t deem it newsworthy to publish a story headlined: “Iraqis see risk in U.S. airstrikes.”Then, in an accompanying article, authors Gregg Jaffe and Kevin Maurerobservednonchalantly that “Iraq and the Iraqi people remain something of an abstraction,” a point that drove me to distraction.
More from Ray in Iraqis Are Not ‘Abstractions’
Ross Caputi also spoke of his experience as a Marine in the 2nd battle of Fallujah in 2004. Earlier on KPFK, Ross was asked about the war:
There's an assumption of the legitimacy of the US occupation, and the occupation as a source of stability in Iraq. But, I understand just the opposite. I recognize that whatever experiences I suffered in Iraq was for the purpose of illegally occupying a sovereign country, and installing an oppressive government. I look at my mission as the source of instability in Iraq. It's invevitable that this government would fall. It never had any legitimacy or popular support. As much as it hurts to know my friends died for nothing, it hurts worse to know how many innocent Iraqis we killed in the course of this imperial misadventure. [The media] tend to ask the question from the perspective of "Was it worth it for us?" and kind of ignore the question of first, did we have a right to do this? And was it worth it for Iraqis?"
Cindy Sheehan has been taking on the war criminals almost daily on her blog and social media. See Intended Consequences: The Imperial Meat Wagon Rolls On:
My son and thousands of other US troops were killed in the bloodiest part of the invasion and occupation starting in 2003, but millions of Iraqi have been slaughtered, injured, displaced, and made desperately ill by depleted uranium and other toxins and poisons delivered by the “freedom bringers” of the US military.