by Gilles d'Aymery
(Swans - March 26, 2007) Keeping in mind that Iraq did not attack the USA in the first place (and never has);
Keeping in mind that Iraq had no Weapons of Mass Destruction;
Keeping in mind that Iraq had no nuclear weapons program, and no mushroom cloud was ever likely to explode over New York City from an Iraqi non-existent nuclear device;
Keeping in mind that Iraq had no biological weapons, including but not limited to anthrax, and no missiles to deliver whatever they did not have to American shores;
Keeping in mind that the Iraqi regime was a resolute opponent of the al Qaeda ideology and had no proven relationship with the al Qaeda network;
Keeping in mind that the Iraqi regime had nothing to do with 9/11 -- nothing;
Keeping in mind that the UN WMD inspection system was working;
Keeping in mind that according to Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, the Iraqi regime was pretty much boxed in -- that is, until the US administration decided otherwise and both Powell and Rice joined the hunt;
Then we are privileged to bring you some of the remarkable achievements that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq have occasioned in the past four years, or some 1,640 days -- a record every American should be proud of and delighted by:
- Possibly the most outstanding success, aside from the human tragedy, has had to do with the national treasures of that ancient land, once known as Mesopotamia. As the former US Defense Secretary once quipped, "stuff happens." Indeed, stuff happened: Iraq, the cradle of civilization, 7,000 years old, saw its heritage looted, bulldozed, and burnt into ashes. The Baghdad archaeological museum has been gutted. The National Library and the Library of Korans were torched, losing at least a million books and ten million documents through fires that began on April 14, 2003, and were left smoldering (the US invading/occupation forces were too busy holding the fort of the Oil Ministry).
In Ur, the location of one of the most ancient centers of civilization, Burger King and Pizza Hut -- staples of our "civilization" -- replaced ancient monuments. On 4,100-year-old walls, Marines spray-painted their "semper fi" motto.
We are Americans and stuff happens. Indeed.
(For more incalculable losses of this patrimony of humanity, proud achievers can read an excerpt of Chalmers Johnson's latest book, Nemesis, and get a sense of our collective triumph.)
- Wasted/sacrificed lives: From a conservative 400,000 excess deaths (the Lancet and John Hopkins) to possibly one million, if one can endure the analysis of Dr. Gideon Polya, an Australian Scientist ("Using the most comprehensive and authoritative literature, and UN demographic data yields an estimate of one million post-invasion excess deaths in Iraq."), this is another remarkable achievement.
- Displaced lives: Over 2 million Iraqis have fled their country and are now hunkering down in the neighboring countries -- mostly Syria and Jordan, or as far as Iran, Egypt, France, and Britain (but not in America as the country's "generosity" has its limits).
Close to another 2 million Iraqis are now internally displaced.
To provide some perspective: Four million people in a country of 28 million are currently uprooted. That's about 14.28 percent of the entire Iraqi population. Related to the USA with its 300 million population, it would mean that about 42.8 million American people would either have left the country or been internally displaced.
Indeed, a remarkable achievement.
- The overwhelming majority of the professional and managerial classes (doctors, engineers, professors, et al.) have left the country. The middle classes no longer exist. The extreme, most backward elements of the society have taken over.
Another great achievement.
- The Iraqi Christian minority has been decimated.
The US Christian Right rejoices in that achievement.
- The city of Fallujah -- 200,000+ inhabitants -- lays in rubbles.
- The country is covered with Depleted Uranium fallout and unexploded ordnances. "In five billion years," writes John Williams, "our sun will explode into a white dwarf and envelope the earth, according to NASA projections. The half-life of uranium 238 is 4.5 billion years. This means that by the time the Earth ceases to be a planet, only a little more than half of the depleted uranium (DU) that the United States Army is firing into Iraq and other countries around the world will be gone. The rest of the radioactive material will still be poisoning the Iraqi people."
An achievement worthy of the Guinness Book of World Records.
- Electricity production: A quarter of pre-war production.
- Oil production, the lifeline of Iraqi society: Below pre-war production.
- According to the latest UN High Commissioner for Refugees report, "approximately 70 per cent of the population lacks access to adequate water supplies, while 80 per cent does not have effective sanitation. Almost a quarter of children are chronically malnourished, and the unemployment rate hovers at over 50 per cent."
- The despicable, obscene, and inhumane lynching of Saddam Hussein in the midst of his most sacred prayer. The barbarity of the death penalty applauded by barbarians.
A value of death that can only compete with Hollywood. Oscar anyone?
That's truly an immense achievement and a great echo of our compassionate culture.
- Civil war, ethnic and religious mayhem. Four in five Iraqis want the US troops out. Two-thirds of the Iraqi population consider that life under Saddam Hussein was better than the current situation. Fear everywhere, abominable fear everywhere.
That's only some of the few achievements that the good people of these United States of America should be particularly proud of, as they themselves live in their paranoid universe of fear-mongered delusions, all the while having produced a humanitarian, cultural, and ecological disaster of historical proportion.
Meanwhile, and without getting into the regional side effects (Lebanon, the Palestinian Occupied Territories), or the Afghan sink hole, the consequences for Uncle Sam are also quite substantial.
American Collateral Damages
Where to begin, where to end?
>> Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo, extraordinary renditions...the American legalization and practice of torture. The Geneva conventions disregarded, trashed. Torture turned into American law.
>> A country loathed and feared by the entire world, its reputation in tatters, its cynicism for all to see.
>> Civil liberties a ghost of its already poor self. FBI spying on us, our phone calls, our e-mails, our letters. Homeland Security militarizing the entire country and building a proliferation of detention centers. Habeas Corpus denied to legions of legal immigrants (like myself). An apathetic public calling for more authoritarianism in the name of safety.
>> Demonization of war opponents, the ostracism toward entire American communities of Arab descent or Muslim religion.
>> Five hundred billion dollars (some estimates run up to one trillion) thrown down the hellhole of corporate profits and military waste. Our entire social system (healthcare, education, infrastructure, etc.) in deepening disrepair. Red ink spread beyond generational horizons.
>> Wasted/sacrificed lives: 3,300 soldiers lost; an additional 800 private contractors (aka, mercenaries) gone into the hellhole; 25 to 30,000 injured and poorly taken care of (cf. Walter Reed scandal); no end in sight.
>> A government of, by, and for the liars.
And where are the intellectuals and the pundits, all the guard dogs of the bien-pensants, now that the results are in? Writing more books, I suppose. Going after Iran. Preparing for China. They help create deserts and move on to new fertile pastures that need desertification, enamored with wars and certitudes, destroyers of life and humanness.
When shall this epic tragedy be ended?
There are no right wars.
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