You are hereBlogs / War Criminals Watch's blog / THE U.S. ISN'T LEAVING IRAQ. IT'S REBRANDING THE OCCUPATION


By War Criminals Watch - Posted on 11 August 2010

For most people in Britain and the US, Iraq is already history. Afghanistan has long since taken the lion's share of media attention, as the death toll of Nato troops rises inexorably. Controversy about Iraq is now almost entirely focused on the original decision to invade: what's happening there in 2010 barely registers.

That will have been reinforced by Barack Obama's declaration this week that US combat troops are to be withdrawn from Iraq at the end of the month "as promised and on schedule". For much of the British and American press, this was the real thing: headlines hailed the "end" of the war and reported "US troops to leave Iraq".

Nothing could be further from the truth.



Why, in the name of god, is this a surprise? Really? You had no idea whatsoever? When my husband was stationed at LSA Anaconda aka Mortaritaville in 2004, and reported back to me about how the US military was painting curbs and building communities on post, it was clear that permanent bases were underway. Even as members of Congress were fighting to prevent it - I know, wierd, huh? Or maybe not. The evidence has been there for years, had anyone cared to read it or pay attention. God forbid that military family members should know what they're talking sbout, since, after all, we have an all-access pass. At this point, the only surprise is your surprise.

They provide articles about all of the Middle East, and other topics. Iraq's not forgotten about there and I mean real news, updates about the ongoing situation in Iraq.

There are several articles listed in the home page now about Iraq, though none I'd particularly refer to; except, perhaps, one that is about something like the US asking Ayatollah al-Sistani to try to bring a conclusion to the present political stalemate or stagnancy for the formation of the new govt, a situation that evidently has made no progress since it started in March. After this many months, they still haven't formed the new govt and I think article referred to is about or does say that the US is asking al-Sistani to try to bring a conclusion to this situation.

Other than for that piece of news, the several articles don't really tell us much after reading the above article, here.

But there are good articles on Iraq now and then. is worth checking for articles on Iraq, and many other topics. I just checked their section for articles on Middle East news and there are four articles that look like they may be worth reading.

"Iraq establishes special court to prosecute journalists"

by Jordan Shilton, July 31, 2010


Iraq is seeking to extend the powers of the state over the media, with the announcement earlier this month of the creation of a special court to try journalists.

On July 11, the Supreme Judicial Court stated that the new institution would focus solely on charges such as defamation, libel and violations of press freedom.

Little further detail has been made available, but a spokesman said the new court was in line with the Judicial Organisation Law which allows for the Supreme Judicial Court to “establish special courts in accordance with the public interest.” However, critics have pointed out that its establishment could violate Iraq’s own constitution, article 95 of which states that “Special or exceptional courts may not be established.”

The announcement of the new court has led to protests from journalists. The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, which is an Iraqi-based organisation that monitors media freedom, noted that government claims to be seeking to protect the media were not credible, particularly since many of the laws which restricted freedom of speech under the Saddam Hussein regime remain in force. This referred especially to the 1969 penal code, under which journalists, editors and publishers can still be charged and imprisoned.

... (snip)

Indeed, journalists in Iraq continue to suffer harsh repression. Since the US-led invasion of 2003 at least 77 journalists have been kidnapped, resulting in 24 deaths. Reports also document frequent and persistent attacks on the media by the state security forces.

"Cancer rate in Fallujah worse than Hiroshima"

by Tom Eley, July 23, 2010

Read, and weep! It's an excellent article, albeit the first one, above, also is, and this is quite standard of or for wsws articles. However, this second one is very important about the current cancer rate in Fallujah, Iraq, as well as excellently providing a good look back at the US assaults there in 2003 and 2004.

I'll excerpt some of it.

The Iraqi city of Fallujah continues to suffer the ghastly consequences of a US military onslaught in late 2004.

According to the authors of a new study, “Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005–2009,” the people of Fallujah are experiencing higher rates of cancer, leukemia, infant mortality, and sexual mutations than those recorded among survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the years after those Japanese cities were incinerated by US atomic bomb strikes in 1945.

The epidemiological study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Studies and Public Health (IJERPH), also finds the prevalence of these conditions in Fallujah to be many times greater than in nearby nations.

... (snip)

In a study of 711 houses and 4,843 individuals carried out in January and February 2010, authors Chris Busby, Malak Hamdan, Entesar Ariabi and a team of researchers found that the cancer rate had increased fourfold since before the US attack five years ago, and that the forms of cancer in Fallujah are similar to those found among the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb survivors, who were exposed to intense fallout radiation.

In Fallujah the rate of leukemia is 38 times higher, the childhood cancer rate is 12 times higher, and breast cancer is 10 times more common than in populations in Egypt, Jordan, and Kuwait. Heightened levels of adult lymphoma and brain tumors were also reported. At 80 deaths out of every 1,000 births, the infant mortality rate in Fallujah is more than five times higher than in Egypt and Jordan, and eight times higher than in Kuwait.

... (snip)

The research is the first systematic scientific substantiation of a body of evidence showing a sharp increase in infant mortality, birth defects, and cancer in Fallujah.

In October of 2009, several Iraqi and British doctors wrote a letter to the United Nations demanding an inquiry into the proliferation of radiation-related sickness in the city:

“Young women in Fallujah in Iraq are terrified of having children because of the increasing number of babies born grotesquely deformed, with no heads, two heads, a single eye in their foreheads, scaly bodies or missing limbs. In addition, young children in Fallujah are now experiencing hideous cancers and leukemias.…

... (snip)

The Pentagon responded to this report by asserting that there were no studies to prove any proliferation of deformities or other maladies associated with US military actions. ... (snip)

According to the authors of “Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah,” the Iraqi authorities attempted to scuttle their survey. “[S]hortly after the questionnaire survey was completed, Iraqi TV reportedly broadcast that a questionnaire survey was being carried out by terrorists and that anyone who was answering or administering the questionnaire could be arrested,” the study reports.

The article continues and the whole of both of the above articles is definitely worth reading.

"Obama hails Iraq war in “withdrawal” speech"

by Bill Van Auken, Aug. 3, 2010

In a speech to a disabled veterans group in Atlanta Monday, President Barack Obama claimed credit for winding down the US war in Iraq, even as tens of thousands of troops remain there, and his administration continues to escalate the war in Afghanistan.

The speech appeared calculated to divert rising opposition to the Afghanistan war, particularly in the wake of the WikiLeaks ... (snip)

... (snip)

“As a candidate for president, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end,” Obama told the veterans audience. The “responsible end” formulation was employed by Obama as a clear signal to the US ruling elite that his antiwar rhetoric in the presidential campaign would be quickly discarded ... (snip) for US imperialism.

Obama continued: “Shortly after taking office, I announced our new strategy for Iraq and for a transition to full Iraqi responsibility. And I made it clear that by August 31, 2010 America’s combat mission in Iraq would end. And that is exactly what we are doing—as promised, on schedule.”

These targets were, in fact, set by Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, in a 2008 status of forces agreement negotiated with the US-backed regime in Baghdad. The incoming Democratic president quickly jettisoned a pledge he had made to pull out all US troops more rapidly, ... (snip).

In his speech, Obama extolled the feats of the US military in overrunning Iraq and waging a one-sided war against its civilian population.

“They took to the skies and sped across the deserts in the initial charge into Baghdad,” he declared. “When the invasion gave way to insurgency, our troops persevered, block by block, city by city, from Baghdad to Fallujah,” he continued.

One would never know from this lyrical description that the US had waged a criminal war of aggression that has cost the lives of over a million Iraqi men, women and children and left an entire country in ruins.

Nor, for that matter, would one guess from his words that the speaker was a candidate who won the Democratic nomination less than two years ago by proclaiming that the Iraq war “should never have been authorized and never been waged.” One could be excused for thinking instead that it was George W. Bush.

The article continues with important information, while the above excerpt is to draw a reference to what's said or reported in the article entitled "Iraq establishes special court to prosecute journalists" linked in my above post. That article provides an illustration of ongoing US criminality of imperialist kind in Iraq that's good to know about when reading the above excerpt from Bill Van Auken's article.

Now I'll excerpt from the above article for what it provides about another Obama lie, this time regarding the war on Afghanistan.

In extolling the supposed withdrawal from Iraq, Obama hailed the military for “moving out millions of pieces of equipment in one of the largest logistics operations that we’ve seen in decades” and bringing “90,000 of our troops home from Iraq since I took office.”

He failed to add, however, that these millions of pieces of military hardware and tens of thousands of troops aren’t being brought home, but are instead being shipped to Afghanistan. While reducing the US troop level in Iraq by two thirds, the Obama administration has tripled the size of US forces in Afghanistan, while spreading the war across the border into Pakistan.

He defended the US war in Afghanistan, however, using the same pretext as his predecessor, claiming that US forces are there to fight al Qaeda and foil terrorist attacks. This, even as US and military and intelligence officials acknowledge that there are less than 100 al Qaeda members in the entire country.

Obama lies about where the troops and military equipment in Iraq was being withdrawn to and pretends he can legitimately continue a war of aggression on Afghanistan because of what he says or certainly and clearly infers is a huge number of Al Qaeda members in that country when there, well, when "there are [less] than 100" there. A war aggression is maintained on Afghanistan because of [less] than 100 Al Qaeda members being there?

Well, like Bill Van Auken said in the first part of his article that I excerpted from, above, it is clear that Obama was always working for the US imperialist elites; and of course he can't just come out and honestly admit this to the public. He knows "better" than to ever do that. And, so, he's a hit man for the imperialist elites; hit man, sort of like learned about in "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" by John Perkins, say. The difference between the two types of hit men is that Obama is President of the country and that's a much more powerful position.

Oh well, he has a "good" State Dept to back him up.

Bill Van Auken on what the purpose of the two wars (of aggression) is.

In reality, Obama has appropriated the Bush administration’s rhetoric even as it pursues the same strategic goals laid out at the beginning of the century — the assertion of US hegemony over the geostrategically vital and oil-rich regions of Central Asia and the Persian Gulf by means of military aggression. The continued pursuit of this policy, which enjoys the support of decisive layers of America’s ruling financial elite, ensures the continuous escalation of war in both regions and beyond.

Indeed a "hit man" President for the imperialist elites!

Bill Van Auken on the US military draw-down (of sorts) in Iraq and whether or not the US will be withdrawing before years from now.

The claim that all US “combat troops” will be out of Iraq by August 31 is fraudulent. Units previously classified as “combat” troops are merely being relabeled as “advice and assist” brigades, with their mission supposedly restricted to training and “advising” the Iraqi security forces.

US military commanders, however, have made it clear that the remaining troops will continue to carry out “counterterrorism” operations, which are combat missions, and will be prepared to directly intervene against any major challenge to US domination of the oil-rich country.

“I would say that 50,000 troops on the ground is still a significant capability,” Maj. Gen. Stephen Lanza, a US military spokesman, told the media. “There is still a lot we can do with the capability we have, and we will still have influence here,” he added in a considerable understatement.

There is little reason to believe that the remaining US troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of 2011. Senior military officers have repeatedly stressed that US forces will remain in the country for many years to come, and Washington has continued to build up and retain control of giant military bases, such as those at Balad, Al Asad and Tallil.

... (snip)

There is no plan to have a self-sufficient Iraqi military by 2011. The American military will remain in strategic control, with the US Air Force controlling Iraq’s skies, the US Navy its Persian Gulf coastline and US Army tanks and artillery backing under-equipped Iraqi units.

For its part, the US State Department is reportedly preparing to field its own private army of “security contractors,” i.e., private mercenaries. As McClatchy Newspapers reported, the top US commander in Iraq, Gen. Raymond Odierno flew back to Washington last week to discuss plans for deploying this force. The news service reported that the State Department has already asked the Pentagon for “Black Hawk helicopters; 50 mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles; fuel trucks; high-tech surveillance systems; and other military gear.

I added the bold-type for emphasis.

Bill Van Auken then refers to Obama having recently said that violence supposedly being "near the lowest it's been in years" and describes to readers what the situation really is; and it's been very violent this month, last month, and maybe the month before. He provides important statistics and describes some of the violence.

It's apparently related to the failure of forming the new govt and Bill Van Auken says that if this failure continues, then:

The resulting tensions pose a serious threat that sectarian violence can erupt on a scale even greater than the bloodbath that swept the country in 2007.

It's one strong example of lack of progress in Iraq that he describes, and he then explains the other strong example, which is that conditions clearly have not progressed for Iraqis, who are no better off today than they were during the last year or two of the Bush administration.

When and if Bush, Cheney, et cetera are ever indicted and prosecuted for their war crimes, it should not be forgotten that Obama, Biden, and so on should also be indicted and prosecuted. It's irrefutably clear that these have always been wars of aggression, so the Obama administration's criminality for continuing these wars is on par with the prior administration's criminality for having started the wars. The former crime is not really less than the latter crime.

There's no way that they do not know that these are wars of aggression.

Biden too? Sure.

"Biden’s Baghdad mission: Securing “long term strategic” US interests"

by Bill Van Auken, July 7, 2010

Part of what I excerpted from a recent article by Bill Van Auken in my above post, for which I used "Two more important wsws articles" for subject, already states what he said about whether, or not, the US will be withdrawing before years to come. But I believe the following earlier article by him says the same thing, while providing some additional information.

"Biden’s Baghdad mission: Securing “long term strategic” US interests"

by Bill Van Auken, July 7, 2010

There is ample physical evidence that the US is not about to end its military presence in Iraq. This includes the sprawling US embassy in Baghdad. With its $700 million price tag and 104 acres of grounds, it is ten times bigger than any other US embassy in the world.

Meanwhile, the military is consolidating its forces in four massive US bases — Joint Base Balad in the north, Camp Adder in the south, Al Asad Air Base in the west and the Victory Base Complex adjacent to the Baghdad airport. The Pentagon spent $496 million on base construction in Iraq in 2009 — after the agreement to withdraw US troops was signed. This was the largest amount allocated for this purpose since the war began. Another $323 million has been allocated for base construction this year.

Substantial numbers of US troops have been ordered out of Iraq, with most of them and their equipment being transferred to the escalating war in Afghanistan. The reality, however, is that Washington is preparing to maintain a permanent, colonial-style occupation of the oil-rich Arab country.

That's excerpted from the end of the article and preceding that part is a brief explanation of what Iraqi political leaders are and will be doing to try to get the US to keep its forces in Iraq well beyond the end of 2011. I only wanted to excerpt the physical proof that the US will be there for a VERY LONG TIME; many, very many years to come.

If and when the US empire totally collapses, economically, then maybe the US will be forced by this circumstance to fully withdraw from Iraq; but, perhaps the US elites will just borrow a lot more money from China [again] to keep their imperialist war going.

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