Thursday, March 20, 2008

Entering the Second Half of the Seventeenth Year of Our Iraq War

Our war against Iraq began on July 25, 1990, when our Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, upon written instructions from her boss, Secretary of State James Baker - instructions that have since disappeared - told Saddam Hussein, "We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait."

A week later, as Baker hoped, Saddam invaded Kuwait. Soon afterward, American and allied airpower began bombing Iraqi forces. Early in 1991 the allied forces invaded Iraq and cleared Kuwait of Iraqi forces. From then until March, 2003, American and British air forces continued to bomb Iraq. On March 19, 2003, the present phase of this longest American war began.

The United States Air Force, in FY 1992 budget battles with our other armed forces, bragged to congress that we had killed "a quarter million Iraqis" during the 1990-1991 phase of the war. Between the end of ground hostilities then and the beginning of the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, the United Nations claims a further 500,000 or more Iraqis died from health problems brought about by the initial and continued bombing of Iraqi public health infrastructure. Most of these civilians died during the Clinton administration.

Additionally, a further 250,000 Iraqis were killed by Saddam's forces after they rebelled in reaction to George Bush I's treacherously false promise to come to their aid.

In the present phase of the Iraq War, which began five years ago yesterday, almost 1,200,000 Iraqis have died. At least that many have been severely injured. Two million Iraqis are internally displaced, and almost that many Iraqis have left the country.

That's 7.4 million casualties. Almost 30% of the population. Even the German invasion of the USSR between 1941 and 1945 didn't create such a high population percentage of casualties. Only the Nazi invasion and genocidal occupation of Poland from 1939 to 1945 was worse in recent history.

Before the war, Iraqi Christians were prominent in all aspects of Iraqi life. Now over 90% of them are refugees. Before the war, Iraqi females were the most highly educated women in the Middle East outside of Israel. Now, a very high percentage of educated Iraqi females have either left the country, or have been killed or disfigured. Their chances for a higher education or satisfactory employment have been reduced to almost nil.

All our major national level politicians blame all of this, including the current dysfunctional state of Iraq's government on the Iraqis. No existing mainstream narrative looks at the situation there from a perspective remotely resembling what you've read above.

1 comment:

clark said...

you describe this in an intelligent way, by making the point that it didn't go away during the clinton years. i was always a bill clinton fan [maybe until very recently with his a bit over-the-top comments about how much the candidates love/hate america] but the fact is the sanctions and containment led to huge damage, loss of life and an erosion of civil society. i don't know if even obama will be strong enough to get us to do the right thing, get the hell out of there and stop building the permanent bases.