Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Iraq—ten years after

One of the things that annoys me no end is that the idiots and liars who stampeded this country into the war crime that was the Iraq invasion are still, almost without exception, in the same jobs they had when the lying started.

The whole bunch should be in jail.  Seriously.  And that most especially includes the so-called "liberals" who should have known better.  And for those who claim that "everyone" was for the invasion I would like to point out that there were more protests against this crime than for any other "war" in history.  I would also like to point with a (very little) pride that my street was lined with lawn signs protesting the very idea of an invasion.

Ten Years Later

Paul Krugman  March 16, 2013

Anniversaries of important events generally lead to a spate of articles and news reports looking back at those events. It’s not exactly irrational: the date can serve as a kind of focal point, in which articles that could have been written at any time can be published in the expectation that other pieces on the same subject will be published at the same time, raising the story to prominence.

And there’s a very big anniversary coming up next week — the start of the Iraq war. So why does there seem to be so little coverage?

Well, it’s not hard to think of a reason: a lot of people behaved badly in the runup to that war, and many though not all people in the news media behaved especially badly.

It’s hard now to recall the atmosphere of the time, but there was both an overpowering force of conventional wisdom — all the Very Serious People were for war, don’t you know, and if you were against you were by definition flaky — and a strong current of fear. To come out against the war, let alone to suggest that the Bush administration was deliberately misleading the nation into war, looked all too likely to be a career-ending stance. And there were all too few profiles in courage.

The war, then, was a big test — a test of your ability to cut through a fog of propaganda, but also a test of your moral and to some extent personal courage. And a lot of people in the media failed.

Am I wrong to think that this is one reason this tenth anniversary isn’t getting more play? more

'United States of Amnesia': No accountability for ‘grievous errors’ in Iraq

March 18, 2013 11:19

Ten years after the US invasion of Iraq, the humanitarian situation in the country is bleak. Critics say the hugely unpopular occupation of Iraq, and the lack of accountability for the officials responsible, has irreparably damaged America’s image.

On March 20, 2003, the United States – in defiance of the United Nations, which had weapons inspectors on the ground in Iraq – opened a military offensive against the Arab Republic on the premise that the Baathist government of Saddam Hussein was harboring weapons of mass destruction.

One decade later, the global community is aware that the intelligence claims of Iraqi WMDs were patently false at least – and a blatant fabrication at worst – but this knowledge has done nothing to erase the damage of the conflict.

The exact number of Iraqi civilians who lost their lives during the war varies considerably, depending on the source. The Iraq Body Count project (IBC), for example, puts the number between 110,937 and 121,227. But the Opinion Research Business (ORB), an independent polling agency based in London, has calculated the number of fatalities at over 1 million.

For the survivors, each of whom seems to know somebody who was killed or injured in the conflict, the physical aftermath of eight years of war and insurgency is visible everywhere.

In Fallujah, previously the site of fierce fighting between Iraqi resistance fighters and US forces, more than half of all babies conceived after the start of the war were born with heart defects, and the area has a disturbingly high infant mortality rate.

A World Health Organization (WHO) study published last year connected the grave situation with the effect of toxic substances prevalent in many conventional weapons. Hair samples taken from the civilian population of Fallujah showed levels of lead in children with birth defects five times higher than elsewhere; mercury levels were recorded at six times higher.

Much of the country’s infrastructure remains in shambles as well. Critics point to corruption and the mismanagement of reconstruction funds: Of the $60 billion that Washington supposedly spent on reconstruction, much of that amount was squandered.

“President George W. Bush asked for $20 billion dollars for reconstruction, but Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld said ‘$20 billion may be too much because of Iraqi oil, Iraq will be able to pay for reconstruction itself,” John Gannon, former deputy director for intelligence at the CIA, commented at the Center for National Policy, a Washington think tank.

This broken promise is yet another debt to the Iraqi people that remains unpaid, Gannon added.

At the same time, the American people – who lost 4,488 military personnel and 3,400 security contractors in the conflict – are also suffering 10 years later, although in much less perceptible ways. One recent study put the price of the war at $2 trillion dollars, with a price tag that could eventually reach $6 trillion over the next four decades. more

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