David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.

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SOCIOCIDE: Iraq Is No More

Sociocide: Iraq Is No More

By David Swanson


As we approach the 8th anniversary of a U.S. invasion of Iraq, and having just passed the 20th anniversary of another, it’s worth reflecting on what’s been accomplished through two wars and the intervening sanctions that former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright so famously approved of even at the cost of a half million children’s lives.

While a growing mob of at least six Americans has noticed this week’s videotaped confession by key WMD-liar “Curveball,” our iraqui refugeesachievements in Iraq do not rest on whether anyone in Washington actually managed to convince themselves that Iraq had weapons, or even on whether anyone in Washington believed there was a reason to attack Iraq that actually made any moral or legal sense (as, of course, the possession of weapons did not). Our unprecedented accomplishments in the land where our civilization began stand or fall on their own merits, regardless of whether international law survives the blow we have dealt it by sending the architects of a sociocide off to book tours rather than prisons.

While our efforts in Iraq have taken a bit longer and cost a little more than the efforts of Egypt’s young people to begin remaking their country, the results are far more grand. Let’s compare. Setting aside years of training and organizing, in three weeks and at the cost of 300 deaths, Egypt has established that all of its people will have some say in its future. In Iraq, the United States has spent or wasted trillions of dollars over two decades, destroyed trillions of dollars worth of infrastructure, killed millions of people, injured and traumatized many millions more, driven several million people from their homes creating the greatest refugee crisis in the Middle East since the Nakba, encouraged ethnic and religious strife, segregated towns and neighborhoods, empowered religious fanatics, set back women’s rights horribly, effectively eliminated gay and lesbian rights, nearly killed off some minority groups, decimated the nation’s cultural heritage, and created a generation of people without the experience of peace, without education, without proper nutrition, without tolerance, without proper healthcare, without a functioning government, and without affection for or even indifference to the United States.

I can’t recommend highly enough a new book called “Erasing Iraq: The Human Costs of Carnage,” by Michael Otterman and Richard Hill with Paul Wilson, with a foreword by Dahr Jamail. This comprehensive survey of the damage puts the past eight years into the context of other aggressive acts of imperialism and finds Operation Iraqi Liberation (to stick to its original name) a stand-out, in large part because of the Bush-Cheney regime’s attempt to create a neocon corporate economy from scratch in Baghdad, a project that required erasing everything that had been there before. The book’s greatest contribution lies in humanizing the suffering and providing us with the viewpoints — a wide spectrum of viewpoints — of Iraqis, including Iraqi refugees living outside Iraq, the vast majority of whom have not yet returned and many of whom have decided they never will. These are people, 100% of whom — judging by a 2007 UNHCR survey of 754 Iraqis in Syria — had experienced bombings, shootings, interrogations, harassment by militias, and/or torture.

The authors of “Erasing Iraq” interviewed Iraqis as far afield as Sweden and Australia: “Every Iraqi we spoke with reported similar events: houses bombed, possessions lost, children kidnapped, lives destroyed. ‘Americans — when they hear one shot — even if it’s like 10 kilometers away — they’ll just open fire on everything,’ said Laith as he lit a cigarette with the small red heating coils warming his cramped two-room house in East Amman, Jordan.” The authors did not mention it, but this experience has been reported by American soldiers who took part in it as well, including Ethan McCord:

“We had a pretty gung-ho commander, who decided that because we were getting hit by IEDs a lot, there would be a new battalion SOP [standard operating procedure]. He goes, ‘If someone in your line gets hit with an IED, 360 rotational fire. You kill every motherfucker on the street.'”

Another way to kill “every motherfucker on the street” is to destroy water supplies, sewage plants, hospitals, and bridges. This we have done most extensively in 1991 and 2003. On the first occasion, a U.S. Air force planning officer justified these criminal acts as no worse and having no other purpose than economic sanctions:

“People say, ‘You didn’t recognize that it was going to have an effect on water or sewage.’ Well, what were we trying to do with sanctions — help out the Iraqi people? No. What we were doing with the attacks on infrastructure was to accelerate the effect of the sanctions.” A UNICEF survey concluded that these actions killed 47,000 children. Awesome and shocking, but shock and awe hadn’t even been invented yet. And by the time it was, Iraq would be a shadow of its former self.

Here’s Edward Said in 2000, three years before the Mission was begun and Accomplished, and nine before the siege of Gaza: “For almost a full decade, an inhuman campaign of sanctions — the most complete ever recorded in history — has destroyed Iraq as a modern state, decimated its people, and ruined its agriculture, its educational and healthcare systems, as well as its entire infrastructure. All this has been done by the United States and the United Kingdom, misusing United Nations resolutions against innocent civilians.”

During the 2002-2003 marketing campaign for a new assault on what remained of Iraq, a handful of Iraqi bloggers pushed back. Now hundreds of Iraqis share their experiences online, but the handful that did so then suggests the potential of antiwar online journalism in whatever nation is next. As Obama demands from Congress the power to switch off the internet Mubarak style, Americans gaze at their navels and imagine it is their own reporting that constitutes the threat to US plutocracy. It may in fact primarily be the blogging of the grateful victims of our next “liberation” that Washington does not want us to access. In October 2002, Iraqi blogger Salam Pax wrote:

“Excuse me. But don’t expect me to buy little American flags to welcome the new Colonists. This is really just a bad remake of an even worse movie. And how does it differ from Iraq and Britain circa 1920. The civilized world comes to give us, the barbaric nomadic arabs, a lesson in better living and rid us of all evil (better still get rid of us arabs since we are evil).”

By late 2003 there were at least 23 Iraqi bloggers, by late 2004 at least 66, by late 2005 at least 112, and by late 2006 over 200. It just wouldn’t do to have a thousand Iranians or Venezuelans reporting to Americans on their compatriots’ actual sentiments as we prepared the drones to strike and the soldiers to collect the chocolates and flowers.erasing Iraq

“Erasing Iraq” quotes Iraqi bloggers and interviewed Iraqis, giving personalities to people who have indeed been effectively erased. How many Americans even know that millions of Iraqis have had to flee the hell of their “liberation”? The U.S. media has self-censored almost all reporting on Iraqi suffering that has not been censored by the military, and polls of Americans have found approval for such censorship. Americans, along with Donald Rumsfeld, want to not know, and to not know what they do not know.

“Erasing Iraq” reviews the evidence quantifying the damage and the deaths, as well as the immeasurable hypocrisy of the US corporate media, which treated as the height of scientific achievement (as in fact it was) surveys on deaths in the Congo, while dismissing as meaningless studies conducted in the same manner by the very same people in Iraq. In an effort at “balance,” the authors find fault with the Lancet’s study in Iraq for not distinguishing civilian from combat deaths. I beg to differ. A more accurate count was available by avoiding a distinction that is of very little moral or legal meaning. If the United States were occupied, would we deem the killing of those who fought back acceptable?

As the U.S. corporate media warns, against all evidence, of the dangers of religious rule in Egypt where a dictator has been overthrown while still in the good graces of the Pentagon, it’s worth noting everything the Pentagon has done to establish religious lunacy and terror in Iraq. Women are less safe. Girls are less safe. And this has been the case since shortly after the shock and awe. “‘A month ago I was walking from my college to my house when I was abducted in the street by three men,’ said 23-year-old university student Hania Abdul-Jabbar in a July 2005 interview with IRIN. The men, she continued,

“‘dropped acid in my face and on my legs. They cut all my hair off while hitting me in the face many times telling me it’s the price for not obeying God’s wish in using the veil. Today I cannot see out of one eye because the acid made me lose my vision. I am afraid to leave my house. Now I am permanently disfigured with a monster face.'”

I suppose both God and the March of Freedom work in mysterious ways. Prior to the past 20 years of U.S. assault on Iraq, there were gay bars and open homosexuality in Baghdad. Now the shiny new Iraqi Constitution sanctions the murder of unfaithful women and of homosexual men whether faithful or not. “Abu Qussay, an Iraqi father who killed his son after the son’s homosexuality was revealed, is proud of the murder. ‘I hanged him in my house in front of his brother to give an example to all of them and prevent them from doing the same.'” Between 2003 and 2009 at least 455 gay men were brutally murdered , many through a technique that glues the anus shut and then forces the victim to consume a drink that causes diarrhea. Videos of this have been proudly circulated.

Your tax dollars at work, my fellow Americans. You cannot destroy a nation and hire religious fanatics to attack other types of religious fanatics without creating hell on earth. And that is what we have done in Iraq. Meanwhile our own gay activist groups take some interest in advancing the rights to marry or work or obtain healthcare without discrimination, but primarily they have been obsessed with the goal of participating openly in the next sociocide.

Iraqi Christians have been slaughtered and driven out. Mandaeans have been reduced from 40,000 to 5,000. Yazidis too, and Shabaks, as well as Iraqi-Palestinians, all cleansed. Our own cultural heritage in the form of Iraq’s treasures in museums and libraries, has been destroyed with the support of the U.S. military after having been misidentified as the valueless creations of enemy creatures. When one civilian “reconstruction” official burst in on a group of U.S. and British military commanders to beg them urgently to protect the Iraqi Museum in 2003, “the British generals by and large understood the importance of protecting the museum, and started to respond almost immediately. And the American generals, by and large, just looked at us with, ‘What do you expect us to do about that?'” Next time try telling them the museum is sort of like a Wal-Mart, only with even bigger and cheaper crap. They’ll hop to it. Maybe.

As we busy ourselves denouncing the Republican budget for all of the traits it shares with Obama’s proposal, and as Obama fights off the teeny cuts to the Pentagon that the Republicans are seeking, bear in mind what that money is used for. If we really bear it in mind, if we really consider what the majority of every US tax dollar goes to fund, the day will come when Freedom Plaza in Washington DC resembles Tahrir Square in Cairo. May that day come before it is too late.

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Posted by on February 16, 2011, With 147 Reads Filed under Iraq War (2003-2011), WarZone. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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12 Responses to "SOCIOCIDE: Iraq Is No More"

  1. Thomas  February 18, 2011 at 2:50 am

    Really excellent article David Swanson, thank you. The consequences of our government’s actions have become so removed from the reality of every day American’s lives that anything can be done to others with no regard to consequences. Don’t know how, when, or why this seems to have changed so drastically in my lifetime, but can only hope books like mentioned above become required reading in our schools. Fat chance of that huh.

  2. Tim  February 17, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Alot of heat in these comments. I think the skin color of Iraqis is the same as Native Americans and Mexicans. Since the history of this country is only half taught, the half that is not taught continues to play out in these wars against natives for their resources. If they dont trade their land or gold or oil for our beads they die or their culture is erased. The majority of americans are not compassionately curious about the suffering that is done by our tax money and in our name. Wisconsin should be a wake-up call to the established rulers and their bankers who lie cheat and steal. The wrathful sword of non-violent protest is coming. Dont know when but it is. Lets pray that it stays non-violent at this end. I am concerned about some of the rage, anger, and resentment, and an armed populace. This could be bad. Leave the guns at home. Egyptian protesters did not bring guns to the square. Thank god or whoever.

  3. Ken Rechtstein  February 17, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Jon Jon, Javisst, har du rät, men det er inta klokt att slänga alla Amerikanerna i samme Korg…

    Well, the author is one of thoses millions Decent American who dare speak up the truth.

    Controlled-Hijacked and led by the noses both CIA Bush-Assassin of J.F. Kennedy and his son Poppy-Bush fell for the Zion Talmudic Mafia Dons rationale, for greed and lust for power.

    They wiped out one the most anciant civilization on earth, starting with the destruction of its infrastructure (1991), illegally imposing, together with GB, on the Iraqi people the most unhuman restrictions, with the aim to bring it down to its knees, and when the country was defenseless and weak they staged 9/11 together with the Zio Gang og the PNAC and ERAZED IRAQ.

    It’s a cowardly crime committed by cowards against innocent people.

    The Inglish ruling class has allways been cowards, expert in the stab in the back, and that tendency got even worse since it became ally of the Rothschilds in devicing ways to plunder other nations.

    What’s new is the nefastous influence GB has had on America, thanks to the infiltration and hijacking of the USA by the Zion Talmudic Mafia, which pillars are the Federal Reserve, speculative-fraudulent banking-stock exchange practices vía Wailing Wall street and total control of the Media, used to make the US citizens more ignorant-brute and oblivious to what is happening to them and to America.

    • Ken Rechtstein  February 17, 2011 at 3:07 pm

      Yes indeed Jon Jon, the ‘HUMAN’ RESPONSABILITY (mankind) for our ill fated predicament is for sure shared, though very few people are aware of what is happening even in their own neighborhood. They go to work and when they come back, they turn on the Zio controlled or/and owned cable TV and get brain washed.

      Even in the Scandinavian countries, the brainwashing is going on. Danmarks Radio has been hijacked by the Zion Talmudic Mafia and so is the majority of the written press, so is the BBC: The news served there, reader digest wise are for people with IQ less than 50, entwined with subliminal and opinion forming messages…

      Olof Palm had balls to stand up. They killed him. He was mistaken on one account: The Americans, involved in Vietnam were themselves victims of the manipulations of BIG FINANCE and the ARMAMENT INDUSTRY, both controlled by the Zion Talmudic Mafia Dons, who nowdays are ruling the USA-GB-EU and have their nose stuck in Scandinavia trying to pervert it, the same way they did with the USA.

      Hâlsningar.
      Ken

  4. Democracydiva  February 17, 2011 at 3:41 am

    Jon Jon….I want you to know that though it would appear I have a lovely family and a comfortable life..I am so ashamed and appalled by my fellow Americans,our media, our government…our cruelty….There are times I am not so sure I want to live on this planet anymore.

    I am sorry…..so very sorry….

    …and I also thank you INGRID for your lovely, heartfelt poem.

    • Ingrid B  February 17, 2011 at 11:44 am

      thanks guys, I know how you feel, sometimes you feel like just giving up, after reading Debbie`s piece earlier I thought, why the hell do the bad guys always seem to win? but we have to keep on, caring and speaking out..

  5. Ingrid B  February 17, 2011 at 2:06 am

    Jon Jon, it will happen..

  6. Ingrid B  February 17, 2011 at 2:02 am

    Some years ago I wrote a poem, it was in the pre 9/11 days, a poem about greed and cruelty. Now I think it reflects the neocon/Zionist agenda and I dedicate it to Iraq and the Iraqi people. Here it is:
    Dick and Delilah were reindeer
    Roaming the hills and the glens
    Munching on bracken and heather
    Far from the presence of men.
    Now Dick had a fine set of antlers
    Up on the top of his head
    For these he was hunted and hounded
    By people who wanted him dead.
    Who were ruled by greed and not beauty
    By killing and death and mayhem
    They`ll awaken one dawn, to find all beauty gone
    And a world full of nothing but them..

  7. Frank  February 16, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Erasing Iraq was the Isreali game plan. It is intent in fracturing the ME into warring enclaves. Notice Sudan has now split in two. Egypt will be fractured. The big targets are Pakistan (the zionist can’t tolerate a nuclear Islamic nation) then finally its hearts desire IRAN. Little Isreal will become Greater Isreal. Supreme ME power. All done with the blood and treasure of Americans which is totally controlled by these alien psychopaths. And by the way they are fractioning America too. Look around at the mess we’ve are

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