Tuesday was the tenth annivesary of the toppling of the statue of Sadam Hussein by U.S. Marines in Firdos Square in newly-conquered Baghdad, just 20 days after the start of America's longest war.
Like the "reasons" for invading Iraq in the first place, the statue-toppling was phony, a scripted event staged for propaganda purposes, a precursor of the even more phony "Mission Accomplished" debacle aboard an aircraft carrier less than a month later.
But on that infamous May day aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, the devastating cost, in dollars and blood, of American military madness was just beginning, and continues to this day. In dollars, the cost of the unfunded war passed three trillion in 2008 and still rises daily. We have lost nearly 5,000 young lives there; 33,183 were wounded and more than 200,000 went home with PTSD. We have slain 1.2 million human beings there -- men, women and children.
And what has all of this criminal activity bought?
Certainly not the peaceful civilian rule our lying government promised. On the tenth anniversary of the U.S.missile and bombing rampage called "shock and awe," dissidents killed more than 50 people in 13 separate attacks around Baghdad. More than 100 were injured. Sunni fighters tied to al-Qaeda continue terrorist attacks this year in an attempt to undermine Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shia-led government.
Remember what we called our carnage there? "Operation Iraqi Freedom." How we love to mask our murder with cute euphemisms! Is it "freedom" to live amidst quotidian sectarian and political violence? Or is it "unmitigated disaster," as one London academic put it? Iraq's U.S.-dictated constitution and puppet government were literally designed to sow sectarian and ethnic discord. Torture, sectarian death squads and billions of U.S. dollars have weakened the nation's social fabric and created a corrupt ruling class that gets richer by the day. The Shia faction controls the government, yet most of Iraq's Shia population remain the poorest of all the divided Iraqi population. Iraqi Kurdistan is a separate state in all but name. The U.S. and Turkey, a ruthless oppressor of the Kurdish people, pull the strings of the regional government, which is forging new links to Israel.
Throughout Iraq, popular anger against corruption and human rights violations is growing. Peoples' lives, for the most part, are scarcely better than they were under the dictatorship of Sadam Hussein. Millions live without potable water, adequate sanitation, health care or decent housing. Children are starving. Public infrastructure is non-existent in vast areas. Cancer rates are soaring.
An expatriate Iraqi living in the United States visited his homeland when the U.S. occupation "ended." He writes:
- Millions of Iraqis have been killed, injured or displaced. One of the most developed countries in the region at the time of the invasion, Iraq now is among the worst in terms of infrastructure and public services. Baghdad ranks lowest in the quality of life of any city in the world, according to a recent global survey from the consultant group Mercer.
- Moreover, the Iraqi national identity has been replaced by ethnic and sectarian affiliations.
- I am half Sunni and half Shiite — or “Sushi,” as Iraqis jokingly call kids of mixed marriages. I was never asked my sect before 2003. I did not know who from my friends was a Sunni or a Shiite until then. But now, these sectarian divisions have become a core component of Iraq’s new identity, and they continue to threaten its territorial integrity and national unity.
A former New York prosecutor and dean of the Kennedy College of Law, Paul Savoy, writes that "there is universal agreement (among legal experts) that carelessness in the use of deadly force is criminal."
What we've done in Iraq wasn't mitigated by carelessness. It was deliberate. There should be a new Nurenburg for those who planned and executed it.