The High Cost of Order Out of Chaos in Iraq
Amazingly, the CIA’s favorite newspaper, the Washington Post, is reporting this morning that “American and Iraqi epidemiologists [estimate] that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq since coalition forces arrived in March 2003 than would have died if the invasion had not occurred…. It is more than 20 times the estimate of 30,000 civilian deaths that President Bush gave in a speech in December. It is more than 10 times the estimate of roughly 50,000 civilian deaths made by the British-based Iraq Body Count research group.”
Add to this the 1.5 million killed as a result of the United Nations imposed (at the behest of the United States and Britain) sanctions—more than 500,000 of them children—and you have a total working its way toward the 3,500,000 killed in Southeast Asia from 1960 to 1973 (see Matthew White’s well referenced Death Tolls for the Major Wars and Atrocities of the Twentieth Century).
Of course, this report will be largely ignored or attacked by neocons and their supporters, even though the “great majority of deaths were … substantiated by death certificates,” according to physicians and epidemiologists from Iraq and Johns Hopkins.
Even though, as Tommy Franks admitted, the Pentagon does not “do body counts,” a Department of Offense representative felt compelled to respond to this latest damning report. “The Department of Defense always regrets the loss of any innocent life in Iraq or anywhere else,” said Lt. Col. Mark Ballesteros. “The coalition takes enormous precautions to prevent civilian deaths and injuries,” and added “it would be difficult for the U.S. to precisely determine the number of civilian deaths in Iraq as a result of insurgent activity. The Iraqi Ministry of Health would be in a better position, with all of its records, to provide more accurate information on deaths in Iraq,” never mind that in 2003 Iraq’s Health Ministry “ordered a halt to a count of civilians killed during the war and told its statistics department not to release figures compiled so far,” according to USA Today.
“I expect that people will be surprised by these figures,” Sarah Leah Whitson, an official of Human Rights Watch in New York, told the Post. “I think it is very important that, rather than questioning them, people realize there is very, very little reliable data coming out of Iraq.”
It will only be a “surprise” to the clueless, the intellectually incurious who don’t bother to read history and instead get their historical information served up in 40 minute chunks on the History Channel. How many Americans understand that well over three million people were systematically murdered in Southeast Asia? Most Americans, when asked, say “we lost” the war in Vietnam. In fact, the Vietnamese lost, albeit a couple decades later, as they are now a sweatshop satellite run by the global elite, a war damaged country where near-slaves crank out Nike shoes for 20 cents an hour.
Moreover, it is assumed the United States fought the war with “one hand tied behind its back,” even though the Pentagon dropped 6.5 million tons of bombs and 400,000 tons of napalm on the people of Southeast Asia. “Short of nuclear weapons, it’s not clear what additional forms of violence we could have unleashed on the people of Vietnam,” writes Robert Jensen. “If people can convince themselves that we were restrained gentlemen during the war, it is easier to ignore the saturation bombing of civilian areas, counter-terrorism programs that included political assassination, routine killings of civilians, and 11.2 million gallons of Agent Orange to destroy crops and ground cover—all part of the U.S. terror war in not only Vietnam but Laos and Cambodia as well. All those are clear violations of international law—that is, war crimes.”
Indeed, they are war crimes and this brutal régime has continued unabated, even though “we” are now “losing” Iraq as well. In fact, “losing” Iraq is part of the “order out of chaos” plan—the neocons, of course, have no intention of delivering Bushian hyped upside-down, black-is-white democracy to Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, or any other country in the Middle East, but rather destroying the civilian infrastructure, instigating sectarian, tribal, ethnic, and religious violence in these countries, thus breaking the entire region into a haphazard patchwork of mutually antagonistic vassal states and fiefdoms ruled by thugs and dictators, all beholden to the United States and its client, Israel. Slaughtering 655,000 Iraqis in the period of three and a half years—an effort rivaling the genocide in Southeast Asia (including the depredations of Pol Pot in Cambodia, who received direct assistance from the United States; see John Pilger, The Friends of Pol Pot, the Nation magazine, May 11, 1998)—is an integral part of this plan, never mind crocodile tears issued for public consumption by the Pentagon.
Unfortunately, this madness—or, more accurately, murderous pathology—will cease only when people are willing to place their “bodies upon the gears” of the mass murder juggernaut, as Mario Savio declared in the mid-60s, as the Vietnam War began to ramp up. “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part, you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!”
However, the current generation appears unwilling to gum up the machine with their precious bodies—that is short of the state pressing them into military slavery, otherwise known as conscription or a draft. As it now stands, the neocons do not have the military resources to see their plan to poisonous fruition, thus bullet-stopper slavery increasingly seems likely. This slavery will arrive under the rubric of “national service,” and probably sooner before later. The smoke screen of “national service,” window dressed as selfless duty to nation, will eventually radicalize the current generation, especially when the bodies bags arrive in large numbers.
Finally, as an example of how effortlessly previous commitment can be marginalized and sold-out, consider the fact that Savio’s widow permitted her late husband’s famous quote to be paraphrased in March of this year by Universal Studios in the season finale of Battlestar Galactica. Universal is owned by NBC and NBC by General Electric. GE is not only a major death merchant, “one of the world’s top three producers of jet engines, supplying Boeing, Lockheed Martin and other military aircraft makers for the powering of airplanes and helicopters,” according to CorpWatch, but is also responsible for conducting “experiments” consisting of irradiating the scrotums and testes of prisoners (see the Multinational Monitor, August 1st, 2001), activity right up there with “medical experiments” of Dr. Sigmund Rascher at Birkenau, Dachau and Auschwitz.
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