Iraq Today: America’s Genocidal Legacy

Dees Illustration

Stephen Lendman
Activist Post

America came to Iraq to stay. Contingents of US forces remain. America’s embassy cost over a billion dollars to build. It’s the world’s largest.

It’s inside Baghdad’s Green Zone. It includes 21 buildings. Extraordinary security measures protect them. They’re on 104 acres of land. It’s the equivalent of 80 football fields.

Democracy is verboten. So-called liberation is a convenient illusion. Iraq was ravaged and destroyed. Daily violence rages out-of-control. Unemployment, poverty and human misery are extreme.

An epidemic of birth defects, cancer and other war related diseases plague the country. So do tens of thousands of US and other Western private military contractors, advisors and security personnel.

At issue is controlling the region’s oil, gas, other strategic resources as well as economic policy and politics.

America’s imperial legacy reflects destroying the cradle of civilization. Pre-1990 Iraq no longer exists. Charnel house conditions replaced it.

Over two decades of war, sanctions, and occupation wrecked Iraq’s ecosystem. Scores of pollutants contaminate vast parts of country’s soil and water.

They include depleted and enriched uranium, benzene and other harmful chemicals, toxic metals, oil, bacteria and other poisons.

One hundred Paul Bremer orders raped Iraq. They turned it into a cutthroat free-market laboratory. Inside the bubble is paradise. Outside is hell. Basic services for the vast majority of Iraqis don’t exist.

Pillaging on the grandest of grand scales continues. Iraq remains a virtual US colony. Its sovereign independence is gone.

Gideon Polya maintains body count numbers. War related deaths come from violence, starvation, preventable diseases, poverty and neglect. Apocalyptic conditions follow.

Polya defines avoidable mortality as “the difference between actual deaths in a country and (those) expected for a peaceful, decently governed (one) with the same demographics.”

On the 10th anniversary of Washington’s invasion, he said Iraqi deaths from sanctions, violence, and violently-imposed deprivation since 1990 totaled 4.6 million.

Extinguishing human lives on this massive a scale constitutes genocide.

Article II of the Genocide Convention defines it as including:

any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

In stark contrast to “science-based estimates,” said Polya, imperial liars and complicit media scoundrels lowball numbers disgracefully.

They practically ignore daily violence and horrific conditions. Millions of internally and externally displaced refugees don’t matter. Washington’s full responsibility gets no coverage.

Some of the greatest ever crimes of war and against humanity are airbrushed from history. They continue daily out of sight and mind. No end game suggests relief.

Puppet Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki serves at America’s pleasure. His tenure began in May 2006. His longevity reflects his subservience.

On November 1, he arrived in Washington. He did so hat in hand. Oval office photos with Obama followed. Earlier ones showed him with Bush. A duplicitous joint statement said in part:

In their meeting today at the White House, President Obama and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki reaffirmed the strategic partnership between the United States and the Republic of Iraq and pledged to advance common interests to support a stable, secure, and prosperous Iraq and Middle East. 

Since most US forces redeployed nearby in the region, both countries “entered a new phase of their relationship, based on mutual respect and a shared commitment to build a strategic partnership between two sovereign nations.”

They recalled the thousands of Americans and Iraqis who have given their lives in our common fight against terrorism and extremism in Iraq. 

The President and Prime Minister renewed their determination to honor the memory and sacrifice of those killed by strengthening our joint long-term strategic partnership across the fields covered by the SFA, including security, diplomacy, trade, education, energy, culture, science, and justice.

Obama calls Iraq an emerging democracy. Bush said its future reflects a “beacon of democracy.” Reality reveals otherwise. High-minded rhetoric rings hollow.

Iraq is a failed state. It’s totally dysfunctional. Basic services and security don’t exist. Corruption and daily violence are out-of-control.

Hopes for eventual stability and prosperity are ill-founded. Destroying the cradle of civilization created a blank slate. Iraq, Inc. replaced it.

Chicago School fundamentalism rules run things. US corporations got first dibs. Bremer orders institutionalized plunder. Occupation harshness persists.

Today’s Iraq reflects everything wrong with imperial wars, colonization, and predatory capitalist ruthlessness. Ordinary Iraqis are entirely shut out. They’re on their own, out of luck, sink or swim.

Survival is their problem. Shock and awe, invasion, occupation, and rapid transformation from what was to what is killed millions.

Survivors struggle to get by. Doing so isn’t easy. Many don’t make it. Puppet governance masquerades as legitimate.

America calls the shots on what matters most. Maliki and other stooges do it bidding. Failure assures replicating Saddam’s fate. White House photo-ops reward subservience.

George Bush said America came to Iraq “to plant seeds of democracy.” Ghoulish dystopia reflects today’s reality.

Iraq is a violent dysfunctional wasteland. Nightmarish conditions exist. Washington bears full responsibility. Multiple car bombings occur almost daily.

July was the bloodiest month since 2008. Violence killed over 1,000. Over 2,300 others were wounded. Maliki’s response is severe repression.

Thousands of suspected regime opponents are imprisoned uncharged. Torture and other forms of abuse follow. Mass arrests continue.

According to Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Iraq and Afghanistan are America’s most expensive wars by far.

No one knows when they’ll end. No one can determine their final cost. From what’s known to date, up to $6 trillion may be spent. Costs go way beyond combat.

Externalities include longterm medical care, disability and survivor benefits, interest on debt related to war and occupation, as well as other social, economic and political costs.

War doesn’t come cheap. Multiple ones are hugely expensive. Waging them one after another sacrifices other budget priorities.

Most US resources go for militarism, aggression, corporate handouts, and homeland police state harshness.

Social America is being destroyed. It’s to maintain what demands condemnation. Bipartisan complicity is turning the nation into a dystopian backwater. It’s being thirdworldized.

Perhaps it’ll end up like Iraq. October exceeded July’s violence. Deadly car bombings killed over 1,000. Thousands more were wounded.

Fear, human misery and deprivation grip the country. Normalcy is nonexistent. Bloodshed, insecurity, and extreme repression reflect daily life. Obama wants Maliki to crack down harder.

New York Times editors march in lockstep with America’s imperial agenda. They supported the Gulf war, years of genocidal sanctions, Bush’s shock and awe lawlessness, and occupation that followed.

They’ve done so unapologetically. On November 1, they headlined “Can Iraq Be Saved?”

Maliki came to Washington looking for help. Times editors blame him for ongoing turmoil. True enough for complicity with America.

Times editors pointed fingers the wrong way. Bush and Obama administrations bear full responsibility. Maliki does what he’s told.

According to Times editors, Iraq might be safer with more US troops on the ground. Their arrival instigated what’s now ongoing.

“(T)here is no reason to trust Maliki unless he adopts a more inclusive approach to governing and ensures that next April’s election will be fair and democratic,” they said.

Reality is polar opposite. America deplores democracy. Iraq has none for sure. Ordinary people have no say.

America decides who runs things. Strings are pulled in Washington. Maliki’s in charge as long as he remembers who’s boss. Don’t expect Times editors to explain.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at His new book is titled How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War. Also visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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