The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq has been met with steadily strengthening resistance. Amazingly, for a people who have long suffered under the curse of Western “influence,” even those Iraqis who are not participants in or supporters of direct attacks on the U.S./U.K. occupation forces and its mercenary adjuncts have one key demand: the end of occupation and the removal of all occupation forces.
The Iraqis have already had the misfortune of being used as pawns for decades in the projection of U.S. (and previously U.K.) military power in the region. Saddam Hussein was groomed, advised and materially supported in his most ruthless and bloody campaigns throughout most of his career by U.S. intelligence and military forces with the direct backing of multiple U.S. presidents. In the war encouraged by U.S. and Israeli strategists between Iraq and Iran -- following the overthrow of the U.S.-installed Shah in Iran -- millions of people lost their lives. The populations of both countries suffered devastating destruction and immense losses that were encouraged and facilitated by U.S. ambitions to punish and weaken Iran (for slipping out of U.S. control) at the same time as Hussein was manipulated in order to weaken Iraq.
Once Saddam Hussein was no longer a useful U.S. puppet (after he took a few too many liberties with Kuwait, thinking he had the tacit support of April Glaspie and the rest of the Bush I regime), the Iraqi people again suffered. Over a period of weeks more than 100,000 Iraqi troops were killed in what was at the time aptly described as a “turkey shoot” by massive amounts of high-tech superpower weaponry aimed at a relatively small, defenseless country. Many thousands of Iraqi troops were massacred -- while fleeing after abandoning their own weapons -- by cowardly U.S. pilots who rained death from the air. Thousands of entrenched Iraqi troops were also buried alive in the sand by U.S. Army bulldozers with no chance to surrender offered. In cities throughout Iraq, thousands of civilians were disposed of as “collateral damage” in the mostly indiscriminate air attacks using so-called “smart” weapons wielded to instill “democratic” mass terror. Those who managed to survive the initial attacks faced mass illness, misery and often shortened lives following the deliberate destruction of urban sanitation systems, water purification plants, and health-care infrastructure -- war crimes all.
A decade of U.S.-orchestrated and imposed sanctions against Iraqis followed the first Gulf War massacres. As has been repeated many times, well over half a million children died as a result of these sanctions, to the satisfaction of U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who infamously declared that these half million deaths were “worth the price” in a nationally televised interview. No U.S. administration spokesperson of any rank ever dissented from this Nazi-like evaluation. Nor did any of the subsequent U.S. administrations during these years waver from their determination to put pressure on Saddam Hussein by tormenting and immiserating the entire population of Iraq, a policy which indirectly killed the weakest and least able to defend themselves by the tens of thousands.
In order to gain enough popular support within the U.S. (while failing to gain significant support around the rest of the world) to launch a renewed round of massacres in Iraq, George Bush II and his entire administration (with British Prime Minister Tony Blair playing the role of cheerleader) lied repeatedly and loudly about the infamous “Weapons of Mass Destruction” in Iraq. We were told these weapons were a direct and immediate threat to the people of the U.S. and the U.K., except for the fact that they obviously don’t exist anywhere besides in the imaginations of the leaders, propagandists and their lackeys in both countries. After the lies were repeated several million times by slavishly complicit mainstream media, the new invasion was launched to the cheers of successfully indoctrinated masses. Of course, it was also launched to the jeers of tens of millions who understood too well what was happening. They opposed the war and refused to be fooled, but their voices were extinguished by those same complicit mass media.
Almost two years after the latest invasion the ongoing daily massacres, bombings, mass kidnappings (called “round-ups” or “arrests”) of civilians and random murders continue at the hands of U.S. forces and their mercenary adjuncts. One would never know through the U.S. mass media that since the latest invasion at least 80% of the (non-natural) deaths in Iraq have been administered by U.S. forces. Although the exact number of deaths in a country beset by massacres large and small can’t be known for certain, the only significant survey, reported recently in the respected British medical journal, The Lancet, estimates that 100,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq since the U.S. invasion in 2003, most exterminated by U.S. aerial attacks.
The U.S. Deputy Operations Director for U.S.-led forces in Iraq stated in January: “If you look over the last six months, they have steadily escalated the barbaric nature of the attacks they have been committing.” He was speaking of the Iraqi resistance, of course, and not of the horrors inflicted by the so-called “precision” attacks that have been launched over and over again against targets which have turned out to include women, children, and the elderly along with plenty of civilian men. For the U.S. press the horrific nature of these attacks doesn’t exist. Millions of dead as a direct or indirect result of U.S./U.K. manipulation, funding, arming, bombardment, massacre and terrorism of civilians are ignored.
It is up to the alternative press to remind the people of the U.S. about the true nature of the massive war crimes that have been and continue to be perpetrated in the name of Western-style democracy, and the American and British Peoples.
Stop the Massacres in Iraq! Bring the Murderers Home!
The Alternative Press Review publishes a wide variety of the best essays from radical zines, tabloids, books and magazines -- essays that deserve a much wider readership than they currently enjoy. This editorial appears in the Spring 2005 issue of Alternative Press Review: www.altpr.org.