Iraq After Ten Years…

Madeline Albright had this to say about Iraq in regards to “sanctions” that were supposed to “punish the Hussein regime”.

Here is what former Congressman Ron Paul had to say about the impeachment process of Bill Clinton and the asinine bombings of Iraq, Sudan, and Afghanistan.

Notice how Ron Paul said that waging “unchecked war” like this invites attacks on the United States?  Here’s George W. Bush.

Bush, Jr. admits that Iraq had nothing to do with September 11, 2001.

Iraqi testimony in Congress.

Iraq seems like a distant memory, doesn’t it?  The “Mission Complete” banner that hung above the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln as President Bush called an end to combat operations in Iraq sort of immortalized his presidency.  Then all hell broke loose.

But, then again, what was “Mission Complete”?  Saddam Hussein’s poorly assembled military barely put up a fight as U.S.-led forces marched their way to Baghdad.  It didn’t take long for the American people (or at least those who didn’t need neocons inside the Bush White House and Fox News to tell them what to think) to see that the Bush administration had thought as far as the invasion and nothing more.  No clear defined enemy.  No clear defined victory.  No objective.  Just “stay the course”.  Horrors stories from Abu Graib that smeared the name of the United States.

So what have we learned from our experiences in Iraq?  I like to think nothing.  The left’s attacks during the Bush administration’s handling of the war was all for posturing.  They have their own wars they’d like to fight.  You know those untold millions the Obama administration is giving to the rebels is Syria?  The U.S. taxpayer will be paying that back.  How does a rebel pay back money that they don’t have?

In 1997, a neoconservative think-tank was created – The Project for the New American Century.  Comprising of Bush insiders such as Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush, and Dick Cheney – to make a long story short – the goal of PNAC was to lead the world militarily.  From the outset, Saddam Hussein’s regime seemed to be in the cross hairs of the PNAC members and attached conservatives.  (Please click the hyperlink to learn more.)

On September 20,2001, PNAC sent a letter to President Bush urging regime change in Iraq.

…even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Failure to undertake such an effort will constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism.

What’s the meaning?  The United States was invading Iraq regardless.  A quote from PNAC’s manifesto that draws more questions than answers was this:

Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event––like a new Pearl Harbor.

That “new Pearl Harbor” came on September 11, 2001.  And with it, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Osama bin Laden, who seems until recently, was forgotten.

In serving their own interests, the neoconservatives have placed both the sanctity and security of the United States in jeopardy.  I hope we have learned our lesson.  But I doubt it.

‘Treason doth never prosper’, wrote an English poet.  What’s the reason?  If it prosper then none dare call it treason.
– Kevin Costner, JFK


Ron Paul enters evidence of Bush war crimes into the Congressional record

Kurt Nimmo
February 5, 2011

Rep. Ron Paul read the text below into the Congressional Record earlier this year. Paul’s statement provides additional evidence to the established fact the globalist, bonesman, and former CIA director George Bush Senior duped Saddam Hussein, exploited his dispute with Kuwait – accusing Kuwait of slant drilling its oil – and gave Hussein a green light to attack Kuwait

From the Congressional Record, January 26, 2011, Page H503. It was posted on the Veterans Today website.

The SPEAKER pro tempore.

Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Paul) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, how did the 20-year war get started?

It had been long assumed that the United States Government, shortly before Iraq invaded Kuwait in August of 1990, gave Saddam Hussein a green light to attack. A State Department cable recently published by WikiLeaks confirmed that U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie did indeed have a conversation with Saddam Hussein one week prior to Iraq’s August 1, 1990, invasion of Kuwait.

Amazingly, the released cable was entitled,

Saddam’s Message of Friendship to President Bush.” (published below)

In it, Ambassador Glaspie affirmed to Saddam that “the President had instructed her to broaden and deepen our relations with Iraq.” As Saddam Hussein outlined Iraq’s ongoing border dispute with Kuwait, Ambassador Glaspie was quite clear that, “we took no position on these Arab affairs.”

There would have been no reason for Saddam Hussein not to take this assurance at face value. The U.S. was quite supportive of his invasion and war of aggression against Iran in the 1980s. With this approval from the U.S. Government, it wasn’t surprising that the invasion occurred. The shock and surprise was how quickly the tables were turned and our friend, Saddam Hussein, all of a sudden became Hitler personified.

The document was classified, supposedly to protect national security, yet this information in no way jeopardized our security. Instead, it served to keep the truth from the American people about an event leading up to our initial military involvement in Iraq and the region that continues to today.

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The secrecy of the memo was designed to hide the truth from the American people and keep our government from being embarrassed. This was the initial event that had led to so much death and destruction–not to mention the financial costs–these past 20 years.

Our response and persistent militarism toward Iraq was directly related to 9/11, as our presence on the Arabian Peninsula–and in particular Saudi Arabia–was listed by al Qaeda as a major grievance that outraged the radicals (sic) who carried out the heinous attacks against New York and Washington on that fateful day.

Today, the conflict has spread through the Middle East and Central Asia with no end in sight.

The reason this information is so important is that if Congress and the American people had known about this green light incident 20 years ago, they would have been a lot more reluctant to give a green light to our government to pursue the current war–a war that is ongoing and expanding to this very day.

The tough question that remains is was this done deliberately to create the justification to redesign the Middle East, as many neo- conservatives desired, and to secure oil supplies for the West; or was it just a diplomatic blunder followed up by many more strategic military blunders? Regardless, we have blundered into a war that no one seems willing to end.

Julian Assange, the publisher of the WikiLeaks memo, is now considered an enemy of the state. Politicians are calling for drastic punishment and even assassination; and, sadly, the majority of the American people seem to support such moves.

But why should we so fear the truth? Why should our government’s lies and mistakes be hidden from the American people in the name of patriotism? Once it becomes acceptable to equate truth with treason, we can no longer call ourselves a free society.”

Historian Mark Zepezauer notes that the equipment to slant drill Iraq’s oil illegally was bought from National Security Council chief Brent Scowcroft’s old company. Kuwait was pumping out around $14-billion worth of oil from beneath Iraqi territory. “Even the territory they were drilling from had originally been Iraq’s. Slant-drilling is enough to get you shot in Texas, and it’s certainly enough to start a war in the Mideast,” writes Zepezauer.

Iraq invaded Kuwait after it broke off negotiations.

Bush and the United Nations ordered the systematic destruction of facilities essential to civilian life and economic productivity throughout Iraq on January 16, 1991, at 6:30 p.m. EST.

Bush ordered 110,000 air sorties against Iraq, dropping 88,000 tons of bombs, nearly seven times the equivalent of the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, according to a report sent to the Commission of Inquiry for the International War Crimes Tribunal.

“The intention and effort of the bombing of civilian life and facilities was to systematically destroy Iraq’s infrastructure leaving it in a preindustrial condition. Iraq’s civilian population was dependent on industrial capacities,” Ramsey Clarke and others wrote in 1992. “The U.S. assault left Iraq in a near apocalyptic condition as reported by the first United Nations observers after the war.”

The invasion, enforced blockade of Iraq and the international sanctions which decimated the war-ravaged country for over a decade prepared the people of Iraq for the transformation their modern state into a hellhole now wracked by sectarian violence.

Over 500,000 people were slaughtered in Bush’s war. Between 1991 and 1998, there were 500,000 deaths among Iraqi children under five years of age due to brutal sanctions imposed by the United States and the United Nations. “If you include adults, the figure is now almost certainly well over a million,” Hans Von Sponeck said. Sponeck was a UN Assistant Secretary-General and UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq.

George Bush Senior announces his invasion of Iraq in 1991. The war was not declared by Congress as stipulated by the Constitution. It was an executive action by Bush and the globalists with the participation of the United Nations.

Bush’s son re-invaded Iraq under completely bogus circumstances. George Bush Junior killed or contributed to the death of more than 1.4 million human beings, according to Just Foreign Policy. “Iraq deaths. The number is shocking and sobering. It is at least 10 times greater than most estimates cited in the US media, yet it is based on a scientific study of violent Iraqi deaths caused by the U.S.-led invasion of March 2003,” they write.

The Lancet, estimated that over 600,000 Iraqis had been killed as a result of the invasion as of July 2006. Iraqis have continued to be killed since then. The death counter provides a rough daily update of this number based on a rate of increase derived from the Iraq Body Count… The estimate that over a million Iraqis have died received independent confirmation from a prestigious British polling agency in September 2007. Opinion Research Business estimated that 1.2 million Iraqis have been killed violently since the US-led invasion. This devastating human toll demands greater recognition. It eclipses the Rwandan genocide and our leaders are directly responsible. Little wonder they do not publicly cite it.

And yet Bush and his son are considered by the establishment and millions of Americans to be esteemed elder statesmen, not war criminals.

Understanding the Iraq Sanctions

Article written by Anthony Gregory

From the book Invisible War: The United States and the Iraq Sanctions by Joy Gordon

Between the Gulf War and the Iraq War, the United States enforced a comprehensive sanctions policy against the Iraqi people, under the auspices of the United Nations. Whereas the hot conflict of 1990 and the one that has run from March 2003 to this day have occupied American attention, the sanctions, beginning even before Operation Desert Storm and persisting until Shock and Awe, implemented by three presidential administrations, were largely ignored. Trade restrictions simply do not elicit the primetime excitement that bombs and aircraft do. Yet the devastation from depriving a nation of international trade is easily comparable to that of war.

On the eve of the Iraq War, moderate voices for “peace” even insisted that the sanctions were “working” in undermining Saddam’s regime and preventing it from rearming — as though such were worthy U.S. goals in the first place. But putting that question aside, the prospect of all-out war struck many Americans as imprudent, displeasing, perhaps even immoral — even as many of those same Americans defended the sanctions regime and advocated their continuation in lieu of war.

But more principled voices for nonintervention, and those aware of the enormity unleashed by the sanctions, had been protesting them for years. Indeed, as a practical matter, the sanctions ran counter to defending American lives on U.S. soil. Osama bin Laden cited the sanctions on Iraq, among other U.S. policies, as a main motive behind the attacks of September 11. Perhaps no single example of such policies is more horrific than the sustained and systematic destruction of Iraqi economic life — which is to say, Iraqi life — that took place in the “peacetime” era between the two wars. To this day, thanks to the sanctions as well as the wars, the Iraqis have “never [come] close to restoring the standard of living that most Iraqis had up to 1990,” according to Joy Gordon, whose new book, Invisible War: The United States and the Iraq Sanctions, is a powerful and rather comprehensive treatment of the topic.

War by other means

The sanctions began in August 1990, in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. During the actual Gulf War, 160,000 bombs were dropped on Iraqi forces and infrastructure. A UN envoy soon found 75 percent of the water access and 85-90 percent of the electricity infrastructure destroyed. The bombing and sanctions demolished Iraq’s relatively modern economy, turning the nation into a third-world country, and preventing it from recovering. “Between August 1990 and December 1995, food prices increased by 4,000 to 5,000 times.”

The result of these policies was mass devastation:

The destruction from the 1991 bombing campaign of electric generating plants, water purification, and sewage treatment facilities resulted in cholera and typhoid epidemics. In 1990 the incidence of typhoid was 11.3 per 100,000 people; by 1994 it was more than 142 per 100,000. In 1989 there were zero cases of cholera per 100,000 people; by 1994 there were 1,344 per 100,000.

Meanwhile, major surgeries fell to “30 percent of the pre-sanctions level.” Most terribly, child mortality rates skyrocketed. Although there is disagreement over the data, “the majority of the studies over the course of the sanctions regime strongly suggest that, for the period from 1990 to 2003 …at least 500,000” children died of malnutrition and disease who would most likely have otherwise lived.

All in all, “according to 1990 testimony before Congress, the sanctions eliminated 90 percent of Iraq’s imports and 97 percent of its exports. As a result, per capita income went from $3,510 in 1989 to $450 in 1996.” Iraq’s GDP, which had been $54 billion in 1979, sank to $10 billion in 1993.

At first, the goal was to pressure Iraqi forces to retreat from Kuwait. But sometime after the war began, the goal shifted to one of general containment and disarmament — at least as far as the UN Security Council was concerned — while the U.S. government and Britain upheld the more ambitious goal of regime change. That was a bipartisan policy in America. Bill Clinton said in 1993, “There is no difference between my policy and the policy of the [George H.W. Bush] Administration…. I have no intention of normalizing relations with [Saddam Hussein].” And as his secretary of State Madeleine Albright made clear in 1997, “We do not agree … that if Iraq complies with its obligations concerning weapons of mass destruction, sanctions should be lifted.”

But if the goal was regime change, the policy was virtually destined to fail. Gordon writes, If Saddam Hussein was supposed to be motivated by self-interest, and wanted sanctions to end, then there was no reason for him to comply with the demands of the Security Council, since sanctions could not be removed without U.S. agreement and the United States repeatedly made clear that it would never remove them while Hussein was in power.

In a chapter called “The Magnitude of Catastrophe,” Gordon documents the extent of that destruction and finds that only the combination of war, restrictions on imports, central planning of exports, and a systematic undermining of Iraqi infrastructure could produce the calamity that occurred. The destructive policies, such as the bombing of Iraq’s water treatment facilities and the UN ban on the importation of chlorine, worked together. “Or take, for example, the ceiling on oil exports: once the ceiling on oil sales was lifted, Iraq was blocked from obtaining the equipment necessary to increase oil production. Or consider the blocked contracts for electrical equipment: even if Iraq had been allowed to buy the equipment and chemicals for water and sewage treatment, there was not sufficient electricity to power the plants.”

Gordon writes,

The perversity and irony of the sanctions regime, imposed under the auspices of international law, is that it may have done more human damage than Saddam Hussein’s persecution of ethnic groups and human rights combined.

Imperialistic central planning

How did the program work? Initially, the UN forbade all member nations to import any Iraqi goods, and required them to prohibit their nationals from shipping any goods or sending funds to either Iraq or Kuwait. From August 1990 to March 1991, that included food. The program soon came to involve “a labyrinth of UN agencies as well as the establishment of an entirely new agency within the UN.” Beginning in August 1991, Iraq was allowed to export up to $1.6 billion every six months to trade for food and medicine. All humanitarian goods, food, and medical equipment would be purchased through the “661 Committee,” which came to possess “extremely broad responsibilities for the overall implementation of the sanctions regime.” The 661 Committee, made up of 15 delegates, “few of whom had expertise in economic development, emergency relief, oil, or any other of the committee’s substantive areas of work,” made about 6,000 decisions a year about what would be allowed into Iraq. From 1990 to 1995, that was “the sole legal means for Iraq to import any goods.” By 1995, food was so scarce that an Iraqi government rationing program provided “1,100 calories per person per day.”

And before Iraq could buy any goods, it would have to present a “distribution plan,” giving a

detailed description of the areas of need in each sector…. The plan then listed every single item to be purchased, how it would be used, and where it would be used: every piece of equipment for electrical production, and the specific power plant where it would go; every chemical or instrument for water treatment, and the specific laboratory or plant where they would be used; every dose of vaccine for poultry and cattle, and every syringe, needle and scissors for veterinarians; and so forth.

Even as Iraqi imports were controlled in this totalitarian manner, so too was its principal export, oil. By determining how much oil could be sold, the United States and UN exercised total domination over the Iraqi economy. Altogether, war and sanctions “meant an 85 percent decline in oil production.” In 1995, the UN set up the Oil-for-Food Program, in response to problems with and criticisms of the initial sanctions regime, but the control was still cruel and becoming of a total state. “The Oil-for-Food Programme originally allowed imports totaling $130 per person per year. Together with existing imports, which averaged $20 per person per year, total imports came to $150, well below the level of the poorest Arab countries.”

Moreover, Iraq never handled any of the funds. The “proceeds of all oil sales were deposited in [a UN] account and all payments to vendors were made from this account.” The U.S. meddling with oil prices through a socialist scheme of “retroactive pricing” also interfered greatly with trade with Iraq. “The chief economist at the American Petroleum Institute asked, ‘How can you do business if you don’t know what the price is?'”

The United States calling the shots

Although done through the UN, the sanctions were essentially a U.S. policy. “The United States exercised singular influence over every aspect of the structure and extent of the sanctions.” The Multinational Interception Force, which enforced the policy, “for its entire history was under the command of U.S. naval officers.” The United States first created the policy by intimidating and bribing member nations to vote for it — offering aid to Colombia, Ethiopia, and Zaire to vote for the sanctions; making deals with China and the Soviet Union; and canceling aid to Yemen for refusing to go along. Then, by exercising its veto power over the implementation of the sanctions, the United States would put a “hold” on various importation contracts — blocking agricultural goods, children’s milk, food-packaging materials, raw cotton, and glue. The United States even “blocked the purchase of salt on the grounds that it could be used for the salinization of leather, which contributed to Iraqi industry.” These holds were at times both absurd and devastating: “Vehicles in general were targeted by the United States on the grounds, for example, that a vehicle that could carry a bulldozer could conceivably be used by the military to carry a tank…. Sixty percent of transportation contracts on hold were for accessories such as tires, car batteries, or spare parts, making it impossible to maintain or repair whatever vehicles there were.”

This “dual use” rationale for blocking items that could supposedly be used for both civilian and military purposes was taken to obscene levels. The United States “blocked a contract for 1,000 water tankers on the grounds that they were lined with stainless steel and therefore were ‘WMD dual use.'” A “catering truck was blocked because it was refrigerated.” Propellant used to make inhalers was disallowed. Vaccines were blocked, because it was supposed to be possible to turn the weak viruses into biological weapons. Pesticides were blocked because “Iraq might extract chemical components … to make chemical weapons.” Although the UN monitored how imports were used, the United States insisted on blocking such important goods outright. And although the holds were supposedly for security reasons, the United States was willing to reverse itself to benefit nations that went along with its sanctions policy.

All the while, Congress was content to allow the executive branch to handle the sanctions, blindly accepting State Department propaganda and only occasionally speaking up insofar as it concerned the disarmament of Iraq and regime change. Only a few legislators spoke in behalf of the devastated Iraqi people. Gordon provides a very good chapter on congressional dynamics. Of course, even with the Democrats running “both houses of Congress until 1995, for the most part they had little interest in the humanitarian situation.”

The UN itself is to blame as well, but, notably, most other member nations, the elected members of the Security Council, and the humanitarian organizations within the UN tended to protest the policy as framed by the United States and to an extent Britain. UN agencies produced damning reports of the humanitarian disaster. UN secretaries general complained. Starting in 1991, nations such as India, Zimbabwe, Ecuador, Cape Verde, and Morocco proposed reforms to allow for more humanitarian aid. In 1999, UN panels issued reports finding that the Oil-for-Food Program could not be sufficiently reformed to deal with the horror. In 2000, delegates from more than 20 nations, at this point even including the United States and Britain, gave presentations urging reform. But at every turn, “the United States either prevented the reforms from being adopted or undermined their implementation after they had been adopted.”

As for the well-publicized Oil-for-Food scandal, Gordon has a whole chapter detailing the facts, showing that the corruption involved was overblown compared with the destruction and corruption of the sanctions policy itself. Even without the Oil-for-Food corruption, the Iraqi people would have been virtually no better off. And even here, the United States is hardly blameless: “By far the greater part of Iraq’s illicit funds came from ongoing trade with Jordan, Turkey, and Syria…. The United States blocked any punitive action by the Council against either Jordan or Turkey.” The amount of misallocated money involved in the scandal was dwarfed, for example, by the waste and mismanagement of Iraqi funds by the Coalition Provisional Authority established by the United States in 2003:

From 1990 to 2003 Iraq averaged about half a billion dollars in illicit trade annually. By contrast, in fourteen months of occupation, the U.S.-led occupation authority depleted $18 billion in funds, a good deal of it on questionable contracts with little justification, but much of it just an outright giveaway of cash.

None of this is to defend the Iraqi government, which Gordon writes about extensively in one chapter. Some people mistakenly place all the blame on Saddam’s regime for its corruption and cruelty; the Iraqi state did exacerbate the problem but not as much as is often believed. “The more serious failings concerned the basic structure and policies of the Iraqi government itself: the centralization, the reliance on oil income, reliance on imports and on foreign professionals, and the reliance on advanced technology.” Indeed, the centralized nature of the Iraqi state and the widespread public dependency upon it meant that its bankruptcy under the sanctions regime impoverished the whole country. Gordon credits the government for some of its rationing and subsidy efforts, but it is telling that one of the effective and positive things the Iraqi government did was to allow “the expansion of the private sector in health care, to compensate for the state’s inability to meet health care needs.”

Philosophical, legal, and political lessons

Gordon finishes with a couple of chapters exploring the implications for international law and political and ethical philosophy. Libertarians will not be overimpressed by the sanctions’ incompatibility with UN guarantees such as the “right to health care,” but they will find very compelling the discussion of the Geneva Convention, war crimes, and the like. Gordon finds little legal recourse for the Iraqi people in the form of prosecution or judicial oversight of the Security Council. The sanctions, she concludes, probably do not rise to the level of “genocide” or “a crime against humanity” — “but it seems to me this does not constitute a vindication of the sanctions, but rather a failure of international law.” She comes to a rather encouraging libertarian conclusion: “It may be that, in the end, there is a particular risk posed to humanity by international governance,” whose institutions “entail the risk of a new form of global violence.”

But there is so much to learn from this tragic and disgusting episode. Conservatives need to recognize that totalitarianism and socialistic central planning are indeed not just an abstract threat under the banner of the Democratic Party, but are a reality of U.S. policy, especially as it concerns foreign affairs. They must come to grips with the evil and systematic destruction and terror that are unleashed in the name of U.S. national security upon innocent people in other countries. Liberals should learn that central economic control and restrictions of free trade contain the seeds for near-genocidal levels of cruelty and oppression; that allowing international bodies to govern trade is far from a panacea but is rather a tool of imperialism; that no political party and no state — American, international, or Iraqi — can be trusted not to put political interests above the human right to engage in economic exchange. The Iraqis have been brutalized by the U.S. government for 20 years now, and neither their own government, for all its monopolization of public services, nor the United Nations, for all its high rhetoric, has done much other than worsen their misery. The rest of us can learn about the extent of death and destruction meted out by our own government, in our own name, and come to see why so many in the world would hate us and be willing to kill us — not for our freedom, but for Washington, D.C.’s, war on the freedom of others. Invisible War is a very important book about a very important topic, a topic at risk of being neglected and forgotten, as have so many other atrocities commited by the U.S. empire.

Hopefully Wikileaks can bring the Empire down

Hillary Clinton: Pioneer, Hero, Winner
Image by Tony the Misfit via Flickr

President John F. Kennedy once said that “the word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society.”  Hillary Clinton has said that we “should condemn in the most clear terms” any “disclosure” of classified documents.

I can about bet the Obama administration is hoping the American people, while they are worried about making their bills, will let this go over their heads.  In the meantime; anti-war Patriots like myself; hope that Wikileaks brings the Empire down.

In my mind; I don’t see how anyone can ignore the atrocious history the United States has had with Iraq.  The CIA gave Saddam Hussein biological weapons, Bush Sr. encouraged the deaths of thousands, sanctions killed 500,000 innocent people, and now torture.  What’s terrifying the most is that we are doing it all over again.

DUBAI (AFP) – Al-Jazeera on Friday released what it called “startling new information” from US documents obtained by WikiLeaks, alleging state-sanctioned Iraqi torture and the killing of hundreds of civilians at US military checkpoints.

It said that the major findings included a US military cover-up of Iraqi state-sanctioned torture and “hundreds” of civilians deaths at manned American checkpoints after the US-led invasion of 2003 that ousted Saddam Hussein.

The Qatar-based satellite broadcaster also said the leaked papers, dating from January 1, 2004 to December 31, 2009, show the United States kept a death count throughout the war, despite US denials.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned “in the most clear terms” the leaks of any documents putting Americans at risk.

Speaking to reporters in Washington, she declined to discuss the specifics of the WikiLeaks disclosures.

“But I do have a strong opinion that we should condemn in the most clear terms the disclosure of any information by individuals and or organisations which puts the lives of United States and its partners’ servicemembers and civilians at risk,” she said.

Al-Jazeera’s English channel told AFP in a statement that from 2100 GMT on Friday it would broadcast a series of programmes “that reveal startling new information about the operations of US forces during the Iraq War.”

It said the programmes are based on files from WikiLeaks “who gained access to over 400,000 documents regarding the War in Iraq making it the largest document leak in US history.

“The secret materials are more than four times larger then Wikileak?s Afghanistan files,” the broadcaster said in a statement issued in English.

WikiLeaks infuriated the Pentagon in July by publishing 77,000 classified US military documents on the war in Afghanistan.

“Although one of the stated aims of the Iraq War was to close down Saddam Hussein?s torture chambers, the Wikileaks documents show many cases of torture and abuse of Iraqi prisoners by Iraqi police and soldiers,” Al-Jazeera said.

“In addition, the documents reveal the US knew about the state sanctioned torture but ordered its troops not to intervene.”

It said “hundreds of civilians” were killed at US manned checkpoints.

“According to the documents, many Iraqi civilians were killed during the war at checkpoints in contrast to the official US position,” the channel said.

Al-Jazeera said the leaked documents also provide new information on the killing of civilians by US private security firm Blackwater.

“The secret US files reveal new cases of Blackwater (a company now known as XE) opening fire on civilians. No charges were ever brought,” the statement said.

The broadcaster’s Arabic-language service reported that the civilian death toll in Iraq was “much higher than officially announced.”

It reported that at least 109,000 people were killed, 63 percent of them civilians, between the invasion in March 2003 and the end of 2009.

“The confidential documents obtained by WikiLeaks reveal that the American forces had compiled a register of dead and wounded Iraqis, even if they deny it publicly,” it said.

“They show 285,000 victims of the conflict, of whom at least 109,000 were killed” between 2003 and the end of last year, it said, adding that 63 percent of the dead were civilians.

Al-Jazeera said that included in the papers obtained by WikiLeaks was information on what the station’s statement in English called the “secret involvement” of Iran in financing Shiite militias in Iraq.

“The files detail Iran?s secret war in Iraq and discuss Iran?s Revolutionary Guard acting as an alleged supplier of arms to Shia insurgents,” it said.

It said the papers also included US Army reports about Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki “and allegations of his association with death squads” in Iraq.

The Pentagon warned on Friday that releasing secret military documents could endanger US troops and Iraqi civilians.

“By disclosing such sensitive information, WikiLeaks continues to put at risk the lives of our troops, their coalition partners and those Iraqis and Afghans working with us,” Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said.

He said the documents were “essentially snapshots of events, both tragic and mundane, and do not tell the whole story.”

Amnesty International urged Washington to investigate how much US officials knew about ill-treatment of detainees in Iraq.

“We have not yet had an opportunity to study the leaked files in detail but they add to our concern that the US authorities committed a serious breach of international law when they summarily handed over thousands of detainees to Iraqi security forces who, they knew, were continuing to torture and abuse detainees on a truly shocking scale,” Malcolm Smart, Amnesty?s Middle East director, said in a statement.

Condi Rice says that “there were many mistakes in Iraq” – Gee, isn’t that nice?

New American Century
Image by PRJCT13 via Flickr

You know, it is always so nice that officials of previous administrations can come out and admit that “there were mistakes”.  Of course they can.  Now, in hindsight, the American people cannot touch them.

Just to be clear; Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was the same country just before invasion had no navy, no airforce, and a poorly assembled army.  There was no al-Qaeda in Iraq before 9/11 or after.  They found fighter jets buried in the sand for crying out loud.  And it’s not like the Iraqi military put up that much of a fight.  What was it; a coalition convoy all the way to Baghdad?

As you can find here on my blog and other places; the government during the 90s wanted to fly a U-2 spy plane over Iraq in hopes that Saddam would shoot it down.  The Project for the New American Century wrote many letters to then-President Clinton urging him to invade Iraq.

“I do believe I would take Saddam Hussein out of power again, but of course in the rebuilding of Iraq … I would do things differently,” Rice said. “I think we put too much emphasis on Baghdad and not enough emphasis on the provinces. Perhaps we didn’t fully understand the degree to which the society would start to come apart as a result of being held in tyranny for all those years.”

“Didn’t fully understand the degree to which the society would start to come apart?”  What part of common sense did the Bush administration miss?  Wasn’t it Dick Cheney in 1994 who said that if we toppled Saddam Hussein; Iraq would become a “quagmire“?  But, of course, Dick Cheney was a member of PNAC (Project for the New American Century).  Along with Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush, and Bill Kristol.

Sometimes things that look terrific at the time look pretty bad in retrospect, and vice versa, so ultimately this is a story that will be written in history.”

From where I am sitting; the legitimacy and legality of the Iraq invasion and later “success” looks pretty bleak to me.

U.S. Wanted To Use Downed Plane As Motive For Going Into Iraq

Money rules everything.  And it is to that of the point I am about to make.  In 2004 nations that loaned Iraq money over the tyranny of Saddam Hussien relieved 80% of Iraq’s debt.  The article is quite long, but in those bundle of words, however, one line is very telling.

In exchange, Iraq will surrender its economic sovereignty to global financial institutions, provide foreign investors greater access to Iraqi natural resources, and increase investment opportunities for multinational corporations.

Now I am no genius, but “surrender its economic sovereignty to global financial institutions” sounds a lot like an Iraqi ‘Federal Reserve’ style system.  Hence, the reason we have stayed there.

During the first Persian Gulf Conflict, throughout the ’90s, and before the fatal U.S. led invasion, Iraq was a poor and destitute country.  Sanctions under the Clinton administration would go on to kill more than 500,000 innocent Iraqis, and turn an already impoverished nation into an even more precarious situation.

This is the same predicament that Madeleine Albright would later say on 60 Minutes that the lives lost were “worth it”.  This piece of history cannot be ignored.

In 2007 Venezuela paid off the IMF  and the World Bank saying the two lenders curtailed their “economic sovereignty”.  Now there are members of Congress who want Chavez’s Venezuela to placed on the “terror” list.

Do you see where I am going with this?  War is fought for the military industrial complex and for money. 

Courtesy of the Huffington Post

In the publicity sheet that St. Martin’s Press has been sending out to spur interest in General Hugh Shelton’s new memoir, Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior, the last highlight is a doozy: “A high-ranking cabinet member suggests intentionally flying an American airplane on a low pass over Baghdad so as to guarantee it will be shot down, thus creating a natural excuse to reltaliate and go to war.”

Turns out the incident took place during the Clinton administration, and Shelton’s response to the suggestion…well, let’s just say it more than lives up to the title of the memoir.

Over at Salon’s War Room, Justin Elliott has the specifics.

Shelton sets the scene at a “small, weekly White House breakfast” that served as regular “informal” meetings that “encouraged brainstorming of potential options on a variety of issues.”

At one of my very first breakfasts, while Berger and Cohen were engaged in a sidebar discussion down at one end of the table and Tenet and Richardson were preoccupied in another, one of the Cabinet members present leaned over to me and said, “Hugh, I know I shouldn’t even be asking you this, but what we really need in order to go in and take out Saddam is a precipitous event — something that would make us look good in the eyes of the world. Could you have one of our U-2s fly low enough — and slow enough — so as to guarantee that Saddam could shoot it down?”The hair on the back of my neck bristled, my teeth clenched, and my fists tightened. I was so mad I was about to explode. I looked across the table, thinking about the pilot in the U-2 and responded, “Of course we can …” which prompted a big smile on the official’s face.

“You can?” was the excited reply.

“Why, of course we can,” I countered. “Just as soon as we get your ass qualified to fly it, I will have it flown just as low and slow as you want to go.”

 Go read the whole thing.

Readers aren’t told explicitly who had this particular brainstorm, but Shelton gives you some clues. The breakfasts, he says, were attended by NSA Sandy Berger, Secretary of Defense Bill Cohen, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, CIA Director George Tenet, Vice President Chief of Staff Leon Firth, and U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson. If you eliminate Berger, Cohen, Tenet, and Richardson and look at the Cabinet members that remain, you’re sort of left where Elliott is: with Madeleine Albright.

Of course, as Jonathan Schwarz points out, this would hardly be the first or only time this sort of plan was discussed. Here’s a New York Times article from 2006 on the build up to the 2003 Bush-led invasion of Iraq:

During a private two-hour meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, 2003, [Bush] made clear to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain that he was determined to invade Iraq without the second resolution, or even if international arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons, said a confidential memo about the meeting written by Mr. Blair’s top foreign policy adviser…“The U.S. was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in U.N. colours,” the memo says, attributing the idea to Mr. Bush. “If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach.”

Iraq – The Glorified Failure

President George W. Bush addresses sailors dur...
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In President Obama’s address to the nation on Tuesday night, he offered little in the way of anything different from the interventionist foreign policy.  I am still hesitant to believe that troops in Iraq will be begin withdraw at the beginning of next year.

It is doubtless that talking heads and neoconservatives will see this as a vindication and justification for the invasion of Iraq and the rebuild that followed.  But on the same token, however, neocons like big government John McCain (R) Arizona will denounce any set date for withdraw, and will claim that withdraw will need to be “condition based”.

John McCain has called this a “historic moment”.  But can the same be said of George Bush, while at the height of his glory, standing on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln with the banner proudly displaying “Mission Accomplished” announcing “major combat operations” had ended.  As we all know, they did not.

As most Americans can freely admit, Iraq, from the beginning, was, is, and will continue to be one of the biggest foreign policy blunders in the history of our nation.  Consider for a moment:

  • Despite insistence from his intelligence agencies to the contrary, George Bush constantly tried to make the Saddam Hussein/al-Qaeda connection.  He would later admit that there was none.
  • More that 4,500 soldiers lost their lives and more than 30,000 have been wounded.
  • More than 100,000 Iraqis have lost their lives.
  • The inevitable cost of Iraq will rise above $1 trillion.
  • Attacks for three years after invasion went up sevenfold by Jihadists.

Now excluding attacks on our men in Iraq and Afghanistan, the amount of attacks increased by one-third around the world.  The un-Constitutional, unprovoked invasion of Iraq did nothing to stem terrorism, if anything, if encouraged it.  As stated before, there was no al-Qaeda in Iraq before September 11, 2001.  They went there because we are there.

The promise to the American people that the invasion, liberation, and capture of Saddam Hussein would create some sort of “trickle-down theory” for democracies in the Middle East never materialized.

Pentagon official and Project for the New American Century member Paul Wolfowitz told Congress that oil revenues would pay to rebuild Iraq.  Pertaining to reconstruction, he said…”could bring between 50 to 100 billion dollars over the course of the next two or three years.  We’re dealing with a country that could really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.”

This was the furthest from the truth.  Iraq has never paid for itself, nor will it ever.  The failed foreign policy has yielded a gigantic black hole of which to throw our money into.  No weapons of mass destruction – of which images of mushroom clouds were conveniently placed into the minds of the American people found there were none.

Evidence to support the Bush administrations claims were fabricated and exaggerated to suit the need to mislead the American people.  Issues of torture which were conjured up and ordered by the Bush administration permanently tarnished the name of the United States and the flag of which we pledge allegiance to.

George Bush deserves no credit for any kind of “success” in Iraq.  In fact, he deserves a swift kick in the ass.  He was a bastard of a President and his administration was a cover-up from the beginning to end.

Tuesday night was not a historical moment in our nation.  It was an overplayed lie.  Freedom and liberty is not brought by the blood, sweat and tears by that of a foreign army, rather, it is forced by the sheer will of the people.

The inability of the new Iraqi government to form some sort of cohesive attitude leaves many of us feeling nervous.  In the wake of the topple of Hussein a vacuum has been created only to be filled by the power plays of greedy politicians.

Iraq is no success.  True success will come when our troops are brought home and Iraq for the first time since invasion will be forced to stand on its own.