Tag Archives: Iraq

On Veterans’ Day, Remember the Lies That Filled Military Cemeteries, by James Bovard

Watch what politicians do to veterans, not what they say to “honor” their service. From James Bovard at mises.org:

Politicians will be heartily applauded for saluting American’s soldiers today. But if citizens had better memories, elected officials would instead be fleeing tar and feathers. Politicians have a long record of betraying the veterans they valorize.

Veterans Day 2018 has been dominated by the confab of political leaders in Paris to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One. American media coverage fixated on President Trump’s cancellation of one of his two visits to U.S. military cemeteries. In his speech yesterday at a U.S. military cemetery in France, Trump declared that it is “our duty … to protect the peace they so nobly gave their lives to secure one century ago.” But that peace was sabotaged long before the soldiers’ corpses had turned to dust. Though the American media exalted French President Emmanuel Macron’s denunciation of nationalism at the armistice anniversary, it was conniving by French leader George Clemenceau at the Versailles Peace Treaty that helped assure that U.S. sacrifices in 1917 and 1918 were for naught.

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9/11 Wars In Iraq, Afghanistan, And Pakistan Killed 500,000 People: Brown University Study, by Tyler Durden

America’s wars after 9/11 make for one of the more ignominous chapters in American history. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

A shocking new study produced by Brown University finds that between 480,000 and 507,000 people were killed during America’s Post-9/11 Wars. The study examined the three “war on terror” conflicts of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan the latter an extension of the Afghan war and focus of US drone attacks.

The half million figure accounts for both combatant and civilian deaths from direct fighting and war violence, however the number could be much higher as the study didn’t account for the perhaps far higher number of civilians killed through infrastructure damage, such as hospitals or water supplies becoming inoperable, or other indirect results of the wars.

Tragically, civilians make up over 50% of the roughly 500,000 killed, and the study estimates further that both US-backed foreign forces and opposition militants each sustained over 100,000 deaths.

In terms of American forces, the report finds that over 60,000 US troops were either killed or wounded within the three post 9/11 conflicts. This includes 6,951 US military personnel killed in Afghanistan and Iraq since US invasions of those countries in 2001 and 2003.

Concerning the now seventeen year long “forgotten war” in Afghanistan, the study concluded, according to VOA:

Fatalities in Afghanistan, as of October 2018, stood at about 147,000 people, including Afghan security forces, civilians and opposition fighters. The figure also included the deaths of 6,334 American soldiers and contractors, as well as more than 1,100 allied troops.

Notably the Brown study explicitly calls out the US government’s attempts to “paint a rosy picture” of the wars which has shielded the true scope of American and foreign civilian casualties from the American public.

From the newly published study, Human Cost of the Post-9/11 Wars: Lethality and the Need for Transparency:

Full accounting of an accurate total death toll has been “inhibited by governments determined to paint a rosy picture of perfect execution and progress,” according to the report.

Essentially this is the Brown report acknowledging Washington’s massive and consistent propaganda efforts throughout close to two decades of the so-called “war on terror”.

The report also notes the chaos of war and inaccessibility of dangerous locations prevents a narrower, true, and more accurate accounting:

Indeed, we may never know the total direct death toll in these wars. For example, tens of thousands of civilians may have died in retaking Mosul and other cities from ISIS but their bodies have likely not been recovered.

In addition, this tally does not include “indirect deaths.” Indirect harm occurs when wars’ destruction leads to long term, “indirect,” consequences for people’s health in war zones, for example because of loss of access to food, water, health facilities, electricity or other infrastructure.

Some estimates in the past compiled by independent watchdog groups and polling organizations have put the death toll in Iraq alone at over one million people.

 

The US Pretends to Support the Independence of Syria and Iraq, by Elijah J. Magnier

US intervention in Syria and Iraq continues on its disastrous course. From Elijah J. Magnier at ejmagnier.com:

During the International Institute for Strategic Studies 14thdialogue in the Bahraini Capital Manama, Bert McGurk, the US envoy for the global coalition to defeat the Islamic State group (ISIS), took leave of his designated function by expressing unusual solicitude for Syria when he said it is “necessary for the Iran-Backed militias to leave Syria to ensure a stable and independent country”. The US presidential special envoy also said he is looking forward to promoting “mutual US-Iraq interests and for the Iraqis to strengthen their own interests and sovereignty”.

McGurk, who was directly involved in the formation of the Iraqi leadership (Speaker, President and Prime Minister) in the last few months, didn’t manage to return his favourite candidate Haidar Abadi to power and failed to prevent Faleh al-Fayyad from coming to power. According to private sources in Baghdad, al-Fayyad will be nominated as Interior Minister, a position that requires coordination with US forces in Iraq. McGurk clashed with Fayyad on several occasions when he unsuccessfully sought to limit the activity of Iran and Hezbollah in supporting the formation of the new Iraqi leadership in Baghdad.

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The Limits of Power – The Myth of the Magical American Soldier, by Maj. Danny Sjursen

By now the belief that the US can solve problems in foreign lands just be sending over the troops should be dead, but it’s not. From Maj. Danny Sjursen, who admits he’s not a miracle worker, at antiwar.com:

Americans worship their fighting men and women; but it is dangerous to believe the mere presence of U.S. troops will achieve the miraculous in the Greater Middle East – it won’t

We aren’t miracle workers. We’re just soldiers after all – kids barely out of their teens and officers in their mid-20s do most of the fighting. Still, policymakers in Washington, and citizens on Main Street both seem convinced that the mere presence of a few hundred or thousand American troops can alter societies, vanquish the wicked, and remake the world.

A colleague of mine refers to this as the myth of the magic soldier: sprinkle US troops in some horrific mess of a country and voilà – problem solved!

It sounds great, but this sort of delusional thinking has led the United States into one failed quagmire after another, killing some 7,000 US troops and close to one million locals. After 17 years of fruitless, indecisive war, its quite incredible that a bipartisan coalition of mainstream Republicans (neocons, mostly) and Democrats (neo-liberal relics) still cling to the idea that American soldiers wield magic powers. It’s long past time to review the record of our over-adulated troopers and reframe the actual – limited – capabilities of military force.

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Balance Sheet of the Forever War, by Patrick J. Buchanan

There’s not much on the revenue side of the Forever War, but there’s a long list on the expense side. From Patrick J. Buchanan at lewrockwell.com:

“It is time for this war in Afghanistan to end,” said Gen. John Nicholson in Kabul on his retirement Sunday after a fourth tour of duty and 31 months as commander of U.S. and NATO forces.

Labor Day brought news that another U.S. serviceman had been killed in an insider attack by an Afghan soldier.

Why do we continue to fight in Afghanistan?

“We continue to fight simply because we are there,” said retired Gen. Karl Eikenberry who preceded Gen. Nicholson.

“Absent political guidance and a diplomatic strategy,” Eikenberry told The New York Times, “military commanders have filled the vacuum by waging a war all agree cannot be won militarily.”

This longest war in U.S. history has become another no-win war.

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The Other Side of John McCain That Nobody Is Talking About, by Max Blumenthal

John McCain was a tireless promoter of the American Empire. From Max Blumenthal at consortiumnews.com:

If the paeans to McCain by diverse political climbers seems detached from reality, it’s because they reflect the elite view of U.S. military interventions as a chess game, with the millions killed by unprovoked aggression mere statistics

As the Cold War entered its final act in 1985, journalist Helena Cobban participated in an academic conference at an upscale resort near Tucson, Arizona, on U.S.-Soviet interactions in the Middle East. When she attended what was listed as the “Gala Dinner with keynote speech”, she quickly learned that the virtual theme of the evening was, “Adopt a Muj.”

I remember mingling with all of these wealthy Republican women from the Phoenix suburbs and being asked, ‘Have you adopted a muj?” Cobban told me. “Each one had pledged money to sponsor a member of the Afghan mujahedin in the name of beating the communists. Some were even seated at the event next to their personal ‘muj.’”

The keynote speaker of the evening, according to Cobban, was a hard-charging freshman member of Congress named John McCain.

During the Vietnam war, McCain had been captured by the North Vietnamese Army after being shot down on his way to bomb a civilian lightbulb factory. He spent two years in solitary confinement and underwent torture that left him with crippling injuries. McCain returned from the war with a deep, abiding loathing of his former captors, remarking as late as 2000, “I hate the gooks. I will hate them as long as I live.” After he was criticized for the racist remark, McCain refused to apologize. “I was referring to my prison guards,” he said, “and I will continue to refer to them in language that might offend some people because of the beating and torture of my friends.”

‘Hanoi Hilton’ prison where McCain was tortured. (Wikimedia Commons)

McCain’s visceral resentment informed his vocal support for the mujahedin as well as the right-wing contra death squads in Central America — any proxy group sworn to the destruction of communist governments.

To continue reading: The Other Side of John McCain That Nobody Is Talking About

Deadly Protests in Iraq Push Country to Brink of Revolution, by Middle East Eye

Iraq is yet another shining success for the neoconservative vision of the Middle East. From Middle East Eye at theantimedia.org:

Major protests were set to take place across Iraq on Friday as anger continued to mount over power cuts, unemployment and water shortages in the south, as well as the heavy-handed government response to demonstrations.

Protesters attempted to gather in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, as well as in public spaces across the country, as a mounting death toll and reports of arbitrary arrests by security forces and militias stoked resentment.

Thousands gathered in Nasiriyah, Dhi Qar province, which has been a hotspot for protests in the south. Placards and Twitter hashtags referred to a “hunger revolution”.

At least 16 people have been killed and hundreds wounded and arrested since protests began less than two weeks ago in Basra over power cuts and high water salination.

 

Some activists have put the death toll much higher, but repeated government shutdowns of the internet have made documenting the violence difficult. The Ministry of Defence has claimed that 274 security personnel have been injured.

In a statement on Friday, military spokesperson Brigadier General Yahya Rasool said that the “right to peaceful protest is guaranteed by the Iraqi constitution” and that Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had “instructed the security forces to facilitate and protect peaceful protests”.

However, the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights said on Friday that 336 people had been arrested and then released during the protests in the south.

Amnesty International quoted sources in Baghdad saying that protesters were being “beaten and killed” under the cover of the internet blackouts.

“Deliberately disabling the internet is a sinister restriction to the right to freedom of expression and strongly indicates that the authorities have something to hide,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, in a statement on Thursday.

“We fear this blackout is deliberately designed to give carte blanche to the security forces to repress peaceful activists without being recorded and held accountable.”

To continue reading: Deadly Protests in Iraq Push Country to Brink of Revolution