“WE BRING PEACE AND FREEDOM TO THE WORLD”

“WE BRING PEACE AND FREEDOM TO THE WORLD”

 George W. Bush’s “State of the Union” Address, January 28, 2003

 Part VII

 

Reality Check

According to the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (eleventh edition), “reality check” means “something that clarifies or serves as a reminder of reality often by correcting a misconception.” The post-US invasion of Iraq scenario clarifies the claims of the US about the “preventive war” against Iraq as its divine mission against a “cruel” dictator and his “evil” regime, and to liberate the “oppressed people of Iraq” (G.W. Bush in the State of the Union speech on January 28, 2003, declared: “we are called to defend the safety of our people and the hopes of all mankind… Tonight I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of Iraq: your enemy is not surrounding your country; your enemy is ruling your country. And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation”). The US “preventive war” against Iraq was presented as a conflict between good and evil and to purge Iraq of evil.

The US’ Plans to Turn Iraq into a Colony

The real motives of the US are unfolding as the death and destruction continue in Iraq. A combination of a long-term military presence in Iraq and US direct control of Iraqi oil is at the horizon. For the US, it is important that Iraq is under its control as a colony, because Iraq contains the second largest oil reserves in the world. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), “Iraq holds more than 112 billion barrels of oil – the world’s second largest proven reserves. Iraq also contains 110 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and is a focal point for regional and international security issues.”

In November 2007, US President G.W. Bush and Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki signed a “Declaration of Principles,” which is a preliminary US-Iraq political, economic and security agreement. The purpose of this Declaration of Principles is to establish “cooperation in the political, economic, cultural and security fields.” The Declaration left open the possibility of an indefinite long-term US military presence in Iraq to “protect” the sovereignty of Iraq. Long-term military presence in Iraq was a motive of the US occupation of Iraq. On April 20, 2003 The New York Times reported that the US is “planning long-term military relationships with Iraq”. The “security agreement” is nothing but a plan to convert a sovereign country into a permanent colony establishing a permanent American military base. This agreement also gives legal immunity to American soldiers and mercenaries like Blackwater. They can also carry out raids on Iraqi homes without the permission of the Iraqi government, and arrest Iraqi citizens. Khalaf al-Alyan, a member of parliament from the Iraqi Accordance Front (IAF), told Iraqi media (Voices of Iraq) that “The Iraqi-U.S. agreement contains several items that impinge upon the sovereignty of Iraq, including the right of the U.S. forces in Iraq to attack any nation and raid any Iraqi house and arrest people without prior permission from the Iraqi government”.

The Declaration also contains a reference to the economy of Iraq, which means its oil resources. It states that the economy must be open to foreign investment, “especially American investments.” Control of Iraqi oil was a motive of the US “preventive war” against Iraq. This was confirmed by the documents released under the Freedom of Information Act from a National Energy Task Force chaired by Dick Cheney in early 2001. Cheney’s Energy Task Force authored a variety of documents relating to the oil industries of Iraq, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. The document Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts, dated March 5, 2001, includes a table listing 30 countries which have interests in Iraq’s oil industry. The document also includes the names of companies that have interests, the oil fields with which those interests are associated, as well as the status of those interests. The documents include a map of Iraq’s oil fields with markings for “super giant” oil fields of 5 billion barrels or more, other oilfields, fields “earmarked for production sharing,” oil pipelines, operational refineries, and tanker terminals.

After the occupation of Iraq, the US designed the Iraqi Oil Law and made the passage of this law as a benchmark for the Iraqi government to fulfill. This law changes the existing nationalized oil system to a privatized system in which potentially two-thirds of all of Iraq’s oil could be owned by foreign oil companies, and they could control the production with as long as thirty-year contracts. Under the proposed law, Iraq’s immense oil reserves would not only be opened to foreign oil exploration, but the executives of the transnational oil companies such as Chevron, Exxon Mobil, British Petroleum and other Western oil giants would actually be on the Board of Directors of the new Federal Oil and Gas Council that would control all of Iraq’s reserves. Iraq’s own national oil company would become just another competitor. The new law would grant the Federal Oil and Gas Council virtually all power to develop policies and plans for undeveloped oil fields, and to review and change all exploration and production contracts. Under the production-sharing agreements provided for in the law, companies would not come under the jurisdiction of Iraqi courts in the event of a dispute, nor go to the general auditor. G.W. Bush, who boasted in his State of the Union speech on January 28, 2003 that the “free” American people “know that freedom is the right of every person and the future of every nation”, drafted the Iraqi Oil Law in secret, undemocratically and under its military occupation.

The new $600 million American embassy in the “Green Zone” in Baghdad explains the real intentions of the US. This is the largest embassy in the world, occupying 104 acres with 21 buildings and facilities. It has its own electricity and water systems. It will eventually house a US staff of 5000. Ironically, this is housed in Saddam Hussein’s former palace, indicating that the Iraqi dictator is replaced by an imperial power.

The US Use of Nuclear and Chemical Weapons in Iraq

In order to protect and promote the imperial system of peace and freedom, the US has developed the doctrine of “preventive war”. According to this, it can attack first with “the full force and might of the United States military” (as Bush declared in his State of the Union speech on January 28, 2003) any country or people it deems a “threat” to its national security. Enemy is usually someone or a country that challenges the American imperial system of peace and freedom. The use of “full force and might” of the US includes the possibility of employing nuclear weapons. Edward M. Kennedy, Democratic Senator from Massachusetts, deplored:
Notion of a first-strike use in Iraq carries the seed of world disaster. A dangerous world just grew more dangerous. Reports that the administration is contemplating the preemptive use of nuclear weapons in Iraq should set off alarm bells that this could not only be the wrong war at the wrong time, but it could quickly spin out of control. Initiating the use of nuclear weapons would make a conflict with Iraq potentially catastrophic...The reports of a preemptive nuclear strike are consistent with the extreme views outlined a year ago in President Bush's Nuclear Posture Review and with the administration's disdain for long-standing norms of international behavior. According to these reports, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has directed the U.S. Strategic Command to develop plans for employing nuclear weapons in a wide range of new missions, including possible use in Iraq to destroy underground bunkers. Using the nation's nuclear arsenal in this unprecedented way would be the most fateful decision since the nuclear attack on Hiroshima. Even contemplating the first-strike use of nuclear weapons under current circumstances and against a nonnuclear nation dangerously blurs the crucial and historical distinction between conventional and nuclear arms. In the case of Iraq, it is preposterous.

 It has been reported that the US has used chemical weapons in Iraq. In the March of 2005 edition of Field Artillery, a magazine published by the US Army, officers from the 2nd Infantry’s Fire Support Element boasted about their role in the attack on Falluja in November of 2004:

“WP (White Phosphorus) proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE (high explosive). We fired ‘shake and bake’ missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out.”

 The usage of white phosphorus by the US on the people was confirmed by a reporter embedded with the Marines in the April of 2004 siege of Falluja. This reporter narrated: “”‘Gun up!’ Millikin yelled … grabbing a white phosphorus round from a nearby ammo can and holding it over the tube. ‘Fire!’ Bogert yelled, as Millikin dropped it. The boom kicked dust around the pit as they ran through the drill again and again, sending a mixture of burning white phosphorus and high explosives they call ‘shake’n’bake’ into… buildings where insurgents have been spotted all week.”

White phosphorus can be legally used to illuminate the battlefield or to produce smoke screen to hide troop movements from the enemy. It is not listed in the schedules of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Like other unlisted substances, it may be deployed for “Military purposes… not dependent on the use of the toxic properties of chemicals as a method of warfare.” However, it becomes a chemical weapon as soon as it is used directly against people. A chemical weapon can be “any chemical which through its chemical action on life processes can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm”.

After denying it at first, the Pentagon admitted in November of 2005 that white phosphorous was used in Fallujah. In addition, depleted uranium munitions, which contain low-level radioactive waste, were used heavily in Fallujah. The Pentagon admitted to having used 1200 tons of depleted uranium in Iraq. The effect of the usage of this “special weaponry” by the US is showing on babies born in Fallujah. Many thousands of illnesses, deformities and deaths among infants are reported. What G.W. Bush accused Saddam in his State of the Union address in January 28, 2003, – “The dictator who is assembling the world’s most dangerous weapons has already used them on whole villages-leaving thousands of his own citizens dead, blind, or disfigured” – Bush himself is doing to the people of Iraq. This proves that the US is capable of using its weapons of mass destruction on people and is a threat to the peace, freedom and security of people and the sovereign countries in which they live. 

The US’ Brutality

The self-proclaimed “civilized” country (US) that has boasted to be God’s chosen instrument to bring peace and freedom to the “oppressed” Iraqis, has brought death and destruction. The country that has been “liberated” from the bondage of the Iraqi “dictator” is experiencing the “fruits” of the American imperial system of peace and freedom.

Since the US led violence against the Iraqi people in March of 2003, the death and displacement of the owners of the land are increasing at an alarming rate. According to reports, over one million Iraqis died. At least 4.6 million Iraqis are displaced, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). By the end of 2007, about 2.4 millions are internally displaced persons (IDPs) and about 2 million have become refugees just in Syria and Jordan. In other words, many have become homeless in their own land, while others have been driven from their land into other countries resulting in homelessness. The US and its allies have destroyed civilian infrastructure and services, including health care and education. Child malnutrition in Iraq has increased from 19% in 2003 to 28% in 2007. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), more than 800000 Iraqi children are unable to go to school and only 40% of children can access safe drinking water. Due to the US violent invasion of Iraq “a large number of children, estimated in the tens of thousands, have lost parents, siblings and other family members to violence.” It reports that “childhood in Iraq is more precarious than ever” and “living with so much anxiety and loss has taken a heavy toll on children’s psychological and social well-being. Many are war-weary, unable to sleep or concentrate at school.” Thus, an entire generation of Iraqi children have been terrorized and traumatized. 

Along with death and destruction, prisons are mushrooming in Iraq under the US occupation. These have become centers of detention of defenseless men, women and children without charges and without due legal process. They have also become centers of psychological and physical torture in violation of international laws. According to the Human Rights Watch (HRW) there are about 21,000 prisoners held in Iraq by the US forces. It reports:

The detainees – all Iraqis, save for a small number of foreigners – are effectively denied their basic right not to be held indefinitely without charge or trial. Many are young men rounded up in mass, arbitrary arrests…On average detainees remain in custody for more than 300 days, according to MNF (US-led Multinational Force-Iraq) figures as of May (2008). The detainees divided between a remote prison near Basra and a smaller one near Baghdad’s airport, have little access to relatives, who in many cases cannot afford to visit or fear reprisal.

HRW further comments that these prisoners have “no meaningful access to legal counsel and no judicial review – both of which detainees are entitled to under international law.” It notes that “There are 360 children among the detainees, down from 500 in May (2008). Many have been held for months and some for more than a year.”

Kidnapping

Kidnapping of suspects and their families is a method employed by the US “liberating” forces in Iraq. Corporal Charles Graner, the alleged ringleader of the US brutality at Abu Ghraib prison, told investigators that the US military routinely kidnapped family members to force “suspects” to surrender. However, he did not specify who was involved in kidnapping Iraqis, as a broad range of the US forces were operating at Abu Ghraib, including the CIA and Special Operations troops. According to a memorandum among the documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) through the Freedom of Information Act, Special Operations troops, working with an elite unit called Task Force 6-26 (TF), allegedly abducted a 28-year old wife of a “suspected” Iraqi in Tarmiya, Iraq, on May 9, 2004. The memorandum, a formal complaint titled “Report of Violations of the Geneva Conventions,” was filed in June of 2004 by a 14-year veteran Intelligence Officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency. In the memorandum the officer described what had happened when he took part in a raid on an Iraqi “suspect’s” house in Tarmiya: “During the pre-operation brief it was recommended by TF personnel that if the wife were present, she be detained and held in order to leverage the primary target’s surrender.” When the Americans raided the house, they found the wife of the Iraqi “suspect”. The officer noted, “The 28-year-old woman had three young children at the house, one being as young as six months and still nursing,” and she was held in prison for two days.

Killing and Rape

The Iraqi resistance to the US occupation has brought brutality out of the US “liberators”. They have been killing not only Iraqis who are zealously resisting the occupation of their land, but also Iraqi men, women, children and the old, who are defenseless and had no capacity to cause harm.

The cold blooded massacre of 24 innocent, defenseless men, women and children in Haditha on November 19, 2005 has epitomized the US troops’ deliberate killing of Iraqi civilians. This was described as an act of terror and President G.W. Bush’s My Lai. This massacre came to light in March of 2006, when Time reported about it. Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas was killed in the early morning of November 19, 2005 by a roadside explosive device. In the hours that followed, Marines searched three houses, killing a total of 24 people. This cold-blooded killing has brought severe criticism from people around the world. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki criticized the US military for what he described as habitual attacks against civilians. “It looks like the killing of Iraqi civilians is becoming a daily phenomenon,” bemoaned Muayed al-Anbaki, the Chairman of the Iraqi Human Rights Association. Jack Murtha, a senior House Democrat with close ties to the US military, claimed that US Marines wantonly killed innocent Iraqi civilians, including women and children. However, the statement of Rumsfeld, then Defense Secretary, proved right that the word “regret” is generally missing in the American vocabulary. Rumsfeld’s adulation of the “exemplary” American soldiers continued even in the wake of their sadistic cruelty. He reiterated the American myth of innate goodness of Americans: “We know that 99.9 percent of our forces conduct themselves in an exemplary manner. We also know that in conflicts things that shouldn’t happen, do happen…We don’t expect U.S. soldiers to act that way, and they’re trained not to.” As a result of the Haditha massacre, the US Army announced that US troops in Iraq were to have “training on ethics”, forgetting that their very presence in Iraq was unethical and illegal.

Haditha is not an isolated incident. On March 15, 2006 the US soldiers killed the entire family of a schoolteacher in Ishaqi, 100km north of Baghdad. The eleven people killed included four women and five children, one as young as six months old. After killing them the US soldiers blew up the building in order to erase traces of their crime. However, the video tape obtained by the BBC showed clear gunshot wounds on the dead bodies.

News about the sadistic cruelty of the American soldiers continues to see the light. Testifying at a US base near the Iraqi city of Tikrit about the murder of three Iraqi detainees by four US paratroopers, Private First Class Bradley Mason said that the American murderers smiled before shooting them dead and even threatened to kill him if he revealed their crime. Mason also testified that the soldiers had been ordered to “kill all the male insurgents” in an operation on May 9, 2006. In some instances the American crusaders slew entire Iraqi families in order to satisfy their sexual gratification. In Mahmoudiyah, south of Baghdad, US soldiers noticed a woman while they were patrolling the area. They were attracted to the woman. On a tragic day five American soldiers went to her house and killed four of her family members. Then they raped the woman and killed her. An Army official commented that it was a “crime of opportunity”. The lust and cruelty of the US soldiers have even stooped to the level of raping a 15-year old Iraqi girl. In March of 2006 two US soldiers, who were attracted to Abeer Qasim Hamza, a 15-year old school girl, went to her house in the night. After killing her father, mother and a little sister in the bedroom, they raped Abeer repeatedly, shot her dead and burned her body.

The US soldiers’ brutality is epitomized by a video posted on the YouTube website. This video, called “Hadji Girl”, shows a serving US Marine in uniform strumming a guitar and singing about killing Iraqis, while his colleagues laughed and cheered. It also refers to Iraqis as “hajis”, a term usually applied to someone who has completed the pilgrimage to Mecca, but commonly used among the US troops as a derogatory term for the Iraqis. The four-minute song includes graphic descriptions of killings. Dressed in a green T-shirt and military style trousers and boots, the American “liberator” sings: “I grabbed her little sister and put her in front of me. As the bullets began to fly, the blood sprayed from between her eyes, and then I laughed maniacally.”

Commenting on the American sadistic cruelty, the Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, at a United Nations-Sponsored Conference on Transitional Justice in July 2006, criticized that the American government wanted Iraq “to stay under the American boot…We know there was a corrupt regime in Saddam, but a regime should be removed by surgery, not by butchering…The U.S. occupation is butcher’s work under the slogan of democracy and human rights and justice.”

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