Monday, March 19, 2012

Iraq War Newsletter #12 March 19, 2012

OMNI NEWSLETTER ON IRAQ WAR #12,  MARCH 19, 2012, ANNIVERSARY OF THE INVASION.      BUILDING A CULTURE OF PEACE TO REPLACE THE CULTURE OF WAR and EMPIRE, Dick Bennett, Editor.   (We seek a new editor.)   (#11 Feb.9, 2012;  #10, October 18, 2011; #9 August 8, 2011; #8 March 19, 2011; #7, April 29, 2010; #6 March 17, 2010, # 5 June 1, 2008; #4 April 3, 2008;  #3 March 24, 2008, #2 Jan. 16, 2008, #1 Nov. 2, 2007.)
This is the url for OMNI’S newsletters page; see the INDEX: Part of OMNI’s foundation in knowledge.
Includes OMNI’s National/International DAYS Project.

Contents of #10
Support the Lee Bill
Occupation and Resistance in Iraq and Afghanistan
Pew Poll of US Troops: War Not Worth It
Kucinich Steadfast
Bennis: Iraq War Continues
100 Poets Against the War
Violence Follows Withdrawal?
Leave Iraq When Promised
Van Buren: We Meant Well?

Contents of #11 Feb. 9, 2012
Haditha Films
IVAW Winter Soldier Film
Four Articles from HAW
Engelhardt: US Weakness
USA Today versus Invasion of Iraq
Cindy Sheehan on Leaving Iraq
WRL on Iraq’s Future
Cockburn, Lost Battle Against IEDs
Hedges and Al-Arian on Killing Innocents
Van Buren, on US Aid
Shear, Novel About Returned Marine
Zunes, Those Responsible
Hayden, Sectarian Future
Vets for Peace: Obama Declares End of War
Casualties and Deaths

Contents #12, March 19, 2012, Invasion Anniversary
Dick Bennett, Harms of Iraq Wars, Embargo, Occupation
Google References

Dick Bennett

This is only a sketch of course.  


Subversion of Law and Love: Training to Kill
The function of military basic training is to reverse one’s lifetime respect for law and rejection of killing.   “’Survive and kill.  That’s what it’s all about,’ said Lt. Col. Dave Bellon, commander of troops training at Camp Robinson. ADG (6-28-06).

False identification of Government with Country
“In celebration of the 4th of July there will be many speeches about the young people who "died for their country." Let's be honest about war. Those who gave their lives did not die for their country, as they were led to believe but for their government. The distinction between country and government is at the heart of the Declaration of Independence, which will be referred to again and again on July 4, but without attention to its meaning.” Howard Zinn


A.     Another Air War by the US  Against Civilians

WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, Libya, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Grenada, Panama, Iraq 1990: the US has made it routine to bomb civilian targets in opposition to international laws.   The deaths of civilians in WWI was approx. 10% of total casualties; in WWII 50%; in Vietnam War 85%.  With economic sanctions almost 100% of the victims are civilians.

B.     Air Warfare Violates International Laws

US air warfare is international terrorism as defined by the US legal code (Title 18’2331):  involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the US or of any State, etc.

C.     Embargo Also Against Lives of Civilians

Surgery is frequently carried out without anesthetics, and antibiotics are also scarce to unavailable.  Scanners, X-ray machinery, and incubators lie idle for want of spare parts.  Cancers have risen fivefold since the Gulf War.  According to the World Health Organization, in 1989 Iraq offered 92% access to clean water and high-quality healthcare, along with high nutritional standards.  By 1997 1,211,285 children had died of embargo-related causes, according to UNICEF, a figure comparable to Pol Pot’s genocide in Cambodia. Mothers are too malnourished to breastfeed and unable to afford milk power (a tin exceeds a doctor’s monthly salary).

D.    Embargo Caused Enormous Shortages of All Kinds and Inflation

The per capita income of Iraq has declined from almost $3000 to $60 a year.  The price of wheat flour in 1995 was 11,677 times higher than in 1990.  Knowledge is embargoed: medical journals are not allowed, or pencils, erasers, exercise books.  Shroud cloth for burials and  film to remember their dead children by are prohibited.  And toys, children’s bikes, shoelaces, sanitary towels.
Economic Sanctions Violate International Laws
Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Convention, 1977, Part IV, Section I, Chapter III, Article 54: 1. Starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is prohibited.
And: Charter of Economic Rights & Duties of States, UN General Assembly, 1974.   UN General Assembly Resolution 44/215, Dec. 22, 1989, Economic Measures as a Means of Political and Economic Coercion Against Developing Countries.  International Conference on Nutrition, World Declaration on Nutrition, Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization, 1992.   UN General Assembly, December 1997.  The violations are numerous.  See Ramsey Clark, ?

E.     The Future for Iraq’s People is Threatened

According to the UN, rebuilding the health infrastructure and other civilian needs would require $22 billion a year.   The Bush Admin. budgeted  ??. but diverted most of that money to the war.

F.      Who is the international criminal?

Amnesty International estimates  that Hussein’s regime killed 130,000 people between 1979 and 1989.  The sanctions have killed more than 10 times that number.   UNICEF estimated that 500,000 children died as the direct result of the Gulf War invasion and subsequent embargo.   Who has violated the Genocide Convention more?  And compare Iraq to Israel.  Israel occupies territory illegally, violates Geneva conventions, conducts terrorist assassinations and invasions, secretly built an atomic arsenal, imprisons the scientist who exposed it, employs spies to steal US secrets, yet Iraq and not Israel is labeled a “rogue” state.  Is Iraq more dangerous than any of the other nuclear states—than Pakistan? India?

G.    And who the hypocrite?

The US is the only country to have dropped a nuclear bomb on humans, and they were mainly civilians.  The US is the largest stockpiler of weapons of mass destruction.  And during the past 50 years it has supported some of the most atrocious dictators in the world.  Yet its harsh treatment of this one atrocious dictator exceeds anything ever seen in US history.

H.    The World (except the United Kingdom) Opposed US Bombings and Sanctions

In Dec. 1997 the Cairo Declaration to Save the Children of Iraq and ban economic blockades as weapons of mass destruction collected 18 million signatures in Europe and the Middle East, the world’s largest petition.


Some estimates give 130,000 civilians killed since the invasion.  The U.S. government—and none of the occupying forces-- keeps statistics on the civilians killed by our troops and by other causes.  See Collateral Damage: America’s War Against Iraqi Civilians by Chris Hedges and Laila Al-Arian, and The Deaths of Others: The Fate of Civilians in America’s Wars.

We can only guess at this extermination, since invading and  occupying governments disregard them completely. The horrors of mass killings of humans are so great, even the environmental organizations are largely silent about the torture and killing of animals.

As with animals, the blind callousness of Bush et al. prevents any consideration of the devastated earth, which will continue for decades from unexploded bombs, and for decades more from the “depleted” uranium.   See The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism by Barry Sanders.

The torture of Iraqis drastically undermined the morality not only of US military, Presidency, and Congress,  but of the populace that allowed it.   See Torture Team: Rumsfeld’s Memo and the Betrayal of American Values by Philippe Sands.

Here is one example:  According to a British Museum report, the ancient city of Babylon, one of the world’s most important archaeological sites and dating back to the time of Nebuchadnezzar, was substantially damaged by the invasion and occupation.  Despite objections from archaeologists, some 2000 U. S. and Polish Forces have used the city as a military depot for the past two years.  Examples of destruction are: military vehicles crushed a 2,600-year-old brick pavement; vast amounts of earth mixed with archaeological fragments were dug up for sandbags; and large areas of the site was covered in gravel brought in from the outside, compacted and chemically treated to provide parking and storage areas.  All of this violated the Hague convention requiring occupying forces to protect major archaeological sites. 

The military and surveillance functions of government have been vastly expanded.  Nothing now equals military expenditures in extent, with a budget of $500 billion for 2006-07 alone.   The Pentagon conditions all aspects of life in the U.S.  We are not merely the military-industrial complex, but the MILITARY-corporate-White House-Congressional-Mainstream Media Complex.   And the President is now Commander-in-Chief, not only for invasions, but for controlling the U. S. public by increasingly secret and pervasive surveillance of the people.  See The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic by Chalmers Johnson (and the other books of Johnson’s “Blowback” series).

The GOP has traditionally opposed big government, but under the Republicans the government has enlarged exponentially, particularly for violence, global aggression, and domestic repression  (rationalized as “national security” expenditures).  See: Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State.

The US deficit continues to skyrocket, building a massive debt for future generations of US public. 
Clinton left the federal government with a budget surplus of $237 billion.  We now face a deficit of over $400 billion.  This is not for welfare, for which the Republicans always blamed the Democrats, but for the military.  The total cost of the 2nd Iraq War will cost $1 trillion to $2 trillion, if we include the Pentagon (the pig of pigs), the Dept. of Homeland Security, The NSA, the CIA, the FBI, the National Counterterrorism Center, and many more agencies.  See The Trillion Dollar War by Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes.

Illegal detentions, “renderings,” torture.  See above: Torture.   See Blood on Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq by Nicolas Davies.

Most countries of the world oppose unilateral US militarism and imperialism.  Iraq, and the US , need support from the international community.  But the US chose unilateral wars and occupations, permanent war.  See Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War by Andrew Bacevich, The
American Way
of War: How Bush’s Wars Became Obama’s
by Tom Engelhardt.

Bush Admin. aggressions abroad and repression at home have earned our nation widespread hatred and contempt,not only from Islamic nations but  from former allies.  “The U. S. occupation is a catalyst for violence.  The longer the U. S. occupation continues, the more Iraqis will join the resistance, which primarily opposes the foreign presence.  Conservaztie estimates say the number of resistance fighters in Iraq increased from 5,000 in Nov. 2003 to 20,000 in Nov. 2006.”  AFSC

The occupation deepens tensions within Iraq.  The US made several major mistakes: 1) disbanded the Iraqi army and police while unprepared to take their place, 2)failed to dismantle the militias, 3) supported Shi’a desire for regional autonomy.

The invasion and occupation has undermined relations with other Middle East governments, even former allies, and US aggression has galvanized militants throughout the region to join the insurrection in Iraq and attack other countries, such as Jordan.

The Japanese democracy grew under U.S. occupation, but the conditions in Iraq are dissimilar and not conducive to the democratic system. 

1991 invasion, 12 years of bombings and sanctions, 2003 invasion, and the occupation have devastated Iraq’s infrastructure and its population.  Water and sewage treatment, electricity, health care are severely crippled.    The US has not rebuilt and restored what it has damaged.  While it has spent some $300 billion fighting, it has not spent half of the $18 billion originally allocat4d for reconstruction.  See We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People by Peter Van Buren.

Awarding major contracts to U.S. corporations creates little benefit to Iraqis, while Iraqis need jobs.

Funds are being cut on all levels in the US for schools, libraries, hospitals, transportation, the environment, preparing for climate change. 

When disasters strike, as with Hurricane Katrina, states are unable to respond as needed

Blurring lines between the military and aid efforts has caused almost all NGOs and UN agencies to leave Iraq.  On the humanitarian excuse for invading or intervening in another country, see Humanitarian Imperialism: Using Human Rights to Sell War by Jean Bricmont.

Ehrenreich, Barbara.  “Bush’s Bloat,”  The Progressive (June 2006).
Pemberton, Miriam and William Hartung.  Lessons from Iraq: Avoiding the Next War.  2008.
“Ten Reasons Why the U. S. Must Leave Iraq.”  American Friends Service Committee.

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What: As we enter into Holy Week to commemorate the Last Supper, arrest, ... What: March 19, 2012 mark's the 9th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
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Two Events to Mark the 9th Anniversary of the Iraq War. Two events in Los Angeles to commemorate the 9th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
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An event Monday at Utah State University, “Out of Iraq”, is a series of panels and programs to discuss the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq on the nine-year anniversary of the start of the combat. ... Story Created: Mar 15, 2012 at 12:02 AM MDT ...
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Tuesday, March 20 2012, 5:00pm - 8:00pm, by alexa, Hits : 47 ... In a matter of 9 years, the U.S. invasion resulted in a stunning 1.3 million killed, ... On the anniversary of the U.S. invasion, join us for a candlelight vigil to commemorate the more ...

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