On May 26, journalist John Pilger published a piece at the Guardian called ‘We’ve moved on from the Iraq War, but Iraqis don’t have that choice’. Indeed; they are reaping the results in hideous measure, and will continue to for many generations to come, if not…forever.
The title I chose for this was a considered one, in that it’s been my wont to say both ‘We’ when we speak of our nation’s global military and policy depradations, and that ‘they’ve done it in our names’. I witnessed some strong pushback to both those themes at Ian Welsh’s website not long ago; at the crux was whether or not ‘we’ should accept responsibility for not stopping the War Machine, or reject owning their deeds. You decide, but I’m trying this framing for now. Karmically (as in: causes reap effects) speaking, we will all be the recipients when and if the vast array of heinous deeds committed by our ruling class boomerang back on us, those ‘chickens coming home to roost. Perhaps the karma is already killing us; who’s to say? Karma is at its core, the law of cause and effect.
Pilger quoted Nick Carraway saying in the Great Gatsby, “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made…”
How apt a quote it is, in this case especially, given his mockery of Bush and Blair’s current activities. We see a few headlines here and there about Iraq and burgeoning civil war, nothing much about Libya, really, except that something like 152 different militias are making life hell there. We exported democracy, ‘protected’ and left, or were kinda asked to leave in the case of Iraq. Pilger laments that one murdered soldier in Britain gets so much ink spent, but in contrast, the 57 Iraqis killed in a week of increasing sectarian violence was a non-event in media circles.
Pilger brought a lot of horrid news:
Their “mess” is a crime of epic proportions, wrote Von Sponeck, referring to the Iraqi ministry of social affairs’ estimate of 4.5 million children who have lost one or both parents. “This means a horrific 14% of Iraq’s population are orphans,” he wrote. “An estimated one million families are headed by women, most of them widows”. Domestic violence and child abuse are rightly urgent issues in Britain; in Iraq the catastrophe ignited by Britain has brought violence and abuse into millions of homes.
He also brought further news on the massive damage that was done to humans by the use of depleted uranium coatings on the bombs and missiles that were used to ‘shock and awe’ Iraq during the Gulf Wars. You can read some of the particulars about DU in this post of mine from a year ago here, including the history of why Fallujah was targeted in extra ways.
After writing of the devastating increases in cancer and genetic birth defects in newborns, he writes about the ongoing cover-ups and failures to investigate the results of these war crime effects. He quotes a British oncologist working at the World Health Organization as saying, “We were specifically told [by the WHO] not to talk about the whole Iraq business. The WHO is not an organisation that likes to get involved in politics.” Then this:
Recently, Hans von Sponeck, former assistant secretary general of the United Nations and senior UN humanitarian official in Iraq, wrote to me: “The US government sought to prevent WHO from surveying areas in southern Iraq where depleted uranium had been used and caused serious health and environmental dangers.” A WHO report, the result of a landmark study conducted with the Iraqi ministry of health, has been “delayed”. Covering 10,800 households, it contains “damning evidence”, says a ministry official and, according to one of its researchers, remains “top secret”. The report says birth defects have risen to a “crisis” right across Iraqi society where depleted uranium and other toxic heavy metals were used by the US and Britain. Fourteen years after he sounded the alarm, Dr Jawad Al-Ali reports “phenomenal” multiple cancers in entire families.”
Not just careless; outright ongoing evil cover-ups. We heard similar, but not officially verifiable, stories about DU coating on missiles rained down upon Libya. The ‘other’ toxic heavy metals included white phosphorus and mercury in Iraq.
Curious about any new statistics and information on birth defects and other resultant ongoing destruction, I found this March interview with journalist Dahr Jamail at Democracy Now, who had just returned from Iraq. Please understand that you will see grievous and heart-searing images of some of the most hideous neuroblastomas and other birth defects you’ll ever see. And yet, should we not be willing to bear witness to this? Knowing what to do about it, or preventing more catastrophes like them is hard, yet stop them somehow, we must. Or realize that outside forces may try to stop them instead.
Lest any of us harbor the illusion that the DOD didn’t realize the dangers of DU, I ran into this video which proves that they damned well did know:
This link will take you to Dahr Jamail’s ‘”Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq”.
Not because I can, but because I must:
(cross-posted at my.fdl)
And DU wafts around The WORLD in undiminished toxicity for the rest of our and its history (another 4 BILLION Years!)
A few years ago, I looked up statistics for terrorist incidents in Iraq, before the Bush/Blair criminal invasion. ( they both say they are devout believers in god; If they’re right about that, they will be spending eternity in hell for their evil acts)
It had one of the lowest number of terrorist incidents in the world. repeat, once of the safest places in the world re terrorism. It was basically non existent there.
They must be so thankful to Bush, Blair, and the American and British forces.
Both of those people should go over there and walk around without protection, to receive the thanks of the people of Iraq.
I have tried to find it again, and I can’t. Maybe it’s been “disappeared”
The first thing the Bush-Blair criminal attack went after, was water and electricity supply.
The water and electricity supply has not recovered, not to this day. People there have to run generators to supply their homes. One can only imagine the misery of the old, young and infirm, when the temperature hits 56 Centigrade, as it did a few years ago.
The oil that was pumped while America occupied Iraq, was UNMETERED, for years. Wonder why?
How much oil was stolen? many billions of dollars worth.
Truly one of the most evil episodes in modern history.
Well worth frequently remembering.
Pilger is a very powerful writer.
Thanks a lot.
I also recall that when some of the torture that went on, under American supervision, and with written approval of some of the highest officials in that Nation, was revealed, it was said by people that were investigating, that there were things that were much worse, than what was revealed, that there were things that were so vile, that they were not able to release the information.
I can easily imagine the atrocities that were committed.
We’ll never know the half of it.
But, let’s just skip on past that. As Obama and Clinton both said, America has given a great gift to Iraq.
Can’t let the folks at home know what they pissed away a few trillion dollars and thousands of lives on, can we?
Calm yourself a little bit, here’s Leonard Amuedo ..
that’s a long, long time, bruce. and welcome back to the cafe babylon. i wondered where you’d gotten to. do we know you in another incarnation, or is that private?
in any event, what horrors DU has wrought. Fallujah: worse than hiroshima. remember reading that the kids were playing on the waste dumps full of toxic materials, too?
no wonder congress doesn’t want anything to do with the military contractors. they might get drones laid on em if they did.,
yes, pilger seriously went after blair, and good on him. the kissinger quotes were too toxic to reproduced, to say the truth, plus i’d alread clipped the permitted number of paragraphs,
‘i wonder if it’s been disappeared?’. argh, no wonder…you wonder.
remember the jerks on CODELS would brag about how safe they were in the markets? ‘Look, no flack jackets, ma!’ and they;d be surrounded by blackwater thugs? or in the Green Zone?
yes, i keep reading they have 4 hours of electricity most places. there can’t be any truly potable water left, can there?
madeline albright thought it was worth it, though. the good reverend jeremiah wright…had it right, though.
lovely music; you must have felt my craziness through the boards… thank you; i’ll keep the tab open, mafr.
this paragraph from a 2008 robert fisk piece isn’t precisely on point, but i found it through a link from a counterpunch piece also talking of the iraq war not being over for iraqis. but it does seem to echo what you’d mentioned about suicide bombing beginning during the gulf war:
“But is there a rational pattern to the suicide bombings in Iraq? The first incidents of their kind took place as American troops were actually advancing towards Baghdad. Near the Shia town of Nasiriyah, an off-duty Iraqi policeman, Sergeant Ali Jaffar Moussa Hamadi al-Nomani, drove a car bomb into an American Marine roadblock. Married, with five children, he had been a soldier in Iraq’s 1980-88 war with Iran and had volunteered to fight the Americans after Saddam’s occupation of Kuwait. Shortly afterwards, two Shia Muslim women did the same.”