Gabriele Zamparini is an independent filmmaker and freelance writer living in London; he has written American Voices of Dissent (Paradigm Publishers, 2005). -- On Oct. 31, 2006, Zamparini cast a long look over the appalling results of 25 years of interaction between Iraq and the West. -- His remarks recall those made a year ago by Nobel laureate Harold Pinter, when he said: Hundreds of thousands of deaths took place throughout these countries. Did they take place? And are they in all cases attributable to U.S. foreign policy? The answer is yes they did take place and they are attributable to American foreign policy. But you wouldn't know it. It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis. ...
IRAQ IS BURNING? ENJOY THE SHOW!
By Gabriele Zamparini
** Numbers and winners of the so-called Iraq war **
The Cats Blog
October 31, 2006
The Merriam-Webster Online dictionary describes the word genocide as the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group. According to international law genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
What we all call the Iraq war is not a war but the deliberate annihilation of an entire country. If this is not genocide maybe we should create a new word that could summarize the following.
Remember the first Gulf War? Surgical bombings, smart missiles, and a great show on TV. There were between 142,000 and 206,000 Iraqi deaths directly attributable to the Gulf War in 1991. (1)
The U.N. sanctions against Iraq, wanted by the governments of the U.S. and the U.K. and imposed on August 6, 1990, (HIROSHIMA DAY) ended only with the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. In 1996, Madeleine Albright -- U.S. Ambassador at the United Nations and soon to become Secretary of State under President Clinton -- said about half million children murdered by those sanctions: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it." (2) And the sanctions went on.
Those sanctions killed a terrifying number of innocent people. One million? Two millions? Will we ever know? Denis Halliday, former U.N. Assistant Secretary General and Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq (1997-98) said: I had been instructed to implement a policy that satisfies the definition of genocide: a deliberate policy that had effectively killed well over a million individuals, children, and adults. After thirty-four years with the United Nations, he resigned in protest over the effects of the embargo on the civilian population. (3)
Hans Von Sponeck, who had succeeded Denis Halliday as U.N. Assistant Secretary General and Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq (1998-2000), resigned on February 13, 2000. He asked: How long should the civilian population of Iraq be exposed to such punishment for something they have never done? Like Halliday, he had been with the United Nations for more than thirty years. (4)
The Washington Post reported in November 2004: Acute malnutrition among young children in Iraq has nearly doubled since the United States led an invasion of the country 20 months ago, according to surveys by the United Nations, aid agencies, and the interim Iraqi government. After the rate of acute malnutrition among children younger than 5 steadily declined to 4 percent two years ago, it shot up to 7.7 percent this year, according to a study conducted by Iraq's Health Ministry in cooperation with Norway's Institute for Applied International Studies and the U.N. Development Program. The new figure translates to roughly 400,000 Iraqi children suffering from "wasting," a condition characterized by chronic diarrhea and dangerous deficiencies of protein. Well never know how many of those 400,000 babies have survived.
On October 29, 2004, the British medical journal The Lancet published Mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: cluster sample survey: (Making conservative assumptions, we think that about 100,000 excess deaths, or more, have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Violence accounted for most of the excess deaths and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for most violent deaths. (Interpretation) Most individuals reportedly killed by coalition forces were women and children. (Findings)
This study reads: "The researchers found that the majority of deaths were attributed to violence, which were primarily the result of military actions by Coalition forces. Most of those killed by Coalition forces were women and children . . . Eighty-four percent of the deaths were reported to be caused by the actions of Coalition forces and 95 percent of those deaths were due to air strikes and artillery." (Iraqi Civilian Deaths Increase Dramatically After Invasion, October 28, 2004)
Of course the propaganda machine kept repeating the more digestible numbers compiled by Iraq Body Count. You know, the 30,000 more or less . . .
The last Lancet study estimates 655,000 excess Iraqi deaths as a consequence of the war. This study is the best estimate of mortality to date in Iraq that we have, or indeed are ever likely to have, as an international group of twenty-seven academics in the fields of the medical sciences recently wrote in a piece in the Melbourne Age.
Compared to its population, its as if 30 million U.S. citizens (10% of its population) had been slaughtered since 1990. Of course, more or less . . . Is there a word for such a crime? Understandably the butchers we have elected to power in our free and democratic world dont want to talk about numbers and have been doing all they can to discredit even the most serious studies science can give us. Obediently, the usual court of jesters has done a great job to hide the truth behind mountains of lies. Freedom! Freedom! Democracy! Democracy!
And the winner is . . .
Now that Iraq has been completely destroyed (the real mission accomplished), it can be useful to remember one particular event: at 15:55 on June 7, 1981 -- as the Federation of American Scientists website reports, the first F-15 and F-16's roared off the runway from Etzion Air Force Base in the south. Israeli air force planes flew over Jordanian, Saudi, and Iraqi airspace. After a tense but uneventful low-level navigation route, the fighters reached their target. They popped up at 17:35 and quickly identified the dome gleaming in the late afternoon sunlight. Iraqi defenses were caught by surprise and opened fire too late. In one minute and twenty seconds, the reactor lay in ruins. Baghdad reiterated a previous statement that the French atomic reactor was designed for research and for the eventual production of electricity. In a statement issued after the raid, the Israeli government stated that it had discovered from sources of unquestioned reliability that Iraq was producing nuclear bombs at the Osiraq plant, and, for this reason, Israel had initiated a preemptive strike.
The attack raised a number of questions of interpretation regarding international legal concepts. Those who approved of the raid argued that the Israelis had engaged in an act of legitimate self-defense justifiable under international law and under Article 51 of the charter of the United Nations (U.N.). Critics contended that the Israeli claims about Iraq's future capabilities were hasty and ill-considered and asserted that the idea of anticipatory self-defense was rejected by the community of states. In the midst of this controversy, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) came under fire from individuals and from governments who complained that the Vienna-based U.N. agency had failed to alert the world to developments at Osiraq. IAEA officials denied these charges and reaffirmed their position on the Iraqi reactor, that is, that no weapons had been manufactured at Osiraq and that Iraqi officials had regularly cooperated with agency inspectors. They also pointed out that Iraq was a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (informally called the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT) and that Baghdad had complied with all IAEA guidelines. The Israeli nuclear facility at Dimona, it was pointed out, was not under IAEA safeguards, because Israel had not signed the NPT and had refused to open its facilities to U.N. inspections.
Israel, the only nuclear power in the Middle East, is carrying out genocidal policies against the Palestinian people, nuking its neighbors and strongly influencing the empires policies in the region. This superpower has had an important role in the destruction of Iraq and the so-called re-shaping of the Middle East. Of course all this (and much more) is taboo in our Western societies that allowed themselves to be blackmailed by the merchants of the holocaust industry and surrendered any serious critical discussion about the role of this country in the geopolitical order. In its sixty years of existence, Israel has shown over again the deepest contempt for international law, decency, and human values. As a result we have a state arrogantly above the law, above morality, and above critical discussion, which is to say, the only democracy in the region.
In spite of all of that we havent lost our sense of humor. Now that Avigdor Lieberman, the head of the far-right Yisrael Beitenu party, joined the Israeli government, there is a chorus of indignation in the West: someone even sees the perils of fascism . . .
1) Source: U.N. 1991 the Ahtisaari report; Daponte 1993.
2) Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: "We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?" U.S. Ambassador at the United Nations (soon to become Secretary of State) Madeleine Albright: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it." CBS, "60 Minutes", May 12, 1996.
3) Source: The New Rulers of the World, by John Pilger, Verso, 2002.