By Mike Whitney
Iraq is the great tragedy of our generation. Every day men and women are brazenly killed in their own homes or cities by foreign troops who occupy the country without justification.
In Baghdad, â€œliberationâ€ has become a permanent state of martial law where one can never be certain if his door will suddenly be kicked in and he will either be shot or dragged off to some remote prison for torture.
Entire cities are now under siege; surrounded by concertina-wire and massive walls of dirt. The townspeople are forced to exit and enter through American-run checkpoints and forced to verify their identity to their foreign jailors.
The country has become so unsafe that it is impossible for
independent journalists to gather the information the world
needs to grasp the horror of what is taking place under the
rubric of â€œdemocracyâ€. Meanwhile, â€œembeddedâ€ journalists
continue to reiterate the same, worn fictions, generated in the
Pentagon or right-wing think tanks, that somehow the Iraqi
people are to blame for the massive tragedy which was created by
Iraqi blogger Riverbend summarizes the mood in Iraq saying:
Iraq is in a permanent state of bereavement. The suffering we have caused is immeasurable.
â€œThere are women who have not shed their black mourning robes since 2003 because each time the end of the proper mourning period comes around, some other relative dies and the countdown begins againâ€.
In Washington, President Bush has brushed aside a new survey which shows that over 600,000 Iraqis have been butchered in his â€œwar of choiceâ€. The â€œpeer-reviewedâ€ epidemiological study appeared in â€œThe Lancetâ€ and has thus-far been supported by every reputable analyst familiar with the methodology used to determine the number of casualties.
As Dr. Curren Warf, professor of pediatric medicine and board member of the Physicians for Social Responsibility, said:
â€œI wish to set the record straight. â€œThe Lancetâ€ study is superb science. The study followed a strict, widely accepted methodology to arrive at its sobering conclusion. The study is being attacked not on scientific grounds, but for ideological reasons.â€
To Bush, it makes no difference whether the number is 600,000 or 6 hundred million; the cost in human terms is irrelevant. In America, the life of one microscopic stem-cell is of more value that the entire population of Iraq. Thatâ€™s what happens when racism merges with apathy; the dead simply donâ€™t count.
Compare Bushâ€™s indifference to the Iraqi death-toll to his â€œpro-lifeâ€ rhetoric at home. Consider how he cancelled his Crawford vacation to speed back to Washington to sign legislation to save the life of Terri Schiavo even though Schiavo was showing no mental-activity and 19 courts had already ruled in her husbandâ€™s favor to allow her to die peacefully. Later, an autopsy confirmed that her brain had calcified and shrunk to half its normal size.
Still, Schiavoâ€™s political value was of greater importance to Bush than the 650,000 men, women and children he has slaughtered in Iraq.
Thereâ€™s simply no way to measure this degree of cynicism.
And â€œwhat if the 600,000 number is wrong,â€ Riverbend asks? â€œWhat if the minimum number is correct: nearly 400,000? Is that better? Prior to the war Bush kept claiming that Saddam killed 300,000 Iraqis over 24 years. After this latest report in The Lancet, 300,000 is looking quite modest and tame. Congratulations Bush et al.â€
Bushâ€™s crimes and the crimes of the United States are far greater than Saddamâ€™s. Saddam had no intention of dismantling the government, the army, the civic institutions; of looting the museums and killing the teachers and intellectuals, of ethnic cleansing the Christians and the Sunnis, and inciting violence between the sects. Saddam had no plan to increase malnutrition, to reduce the flow of clean water, to cut off the electricity, to remove the social-safety net, to increase the poverty and unemployment, or to set Iraqi against Iraqi in a vicious struggle for survival. Saddam did not abide by the neoconservative theory of â€œcreative destructionâ€, which deliberately plunged an entire nation into chaos destroying the fabric of Iraqi society and leaving the people to flock to militias for safety.
Saddam was a brutal, cold-blooded dictator, but compared to the calculated viciousness of Bush, he looks like a pillar of virtue.
America will never atone for its part in the genocide in Iraq. We have compromised our moral authority for the promise of oil, and lost both in the process. The mission is unraveling and the vulnerabilities of the empire have been thoroughly exposed. We will not prevail.
The occupation of Iraq is â€œone crime too manyâ€.
Note: Colin Powell stated that â€œgenocideâ€ was taking place in Darfur when the figures showed that approximately 200,000 Sudanese had been killed. Applying Powellâ€™s standard to Iraq, which has half the population of Sudan, The Lancet statistics prove that the United States is perpetrating genocide in Iraq.