Sunday, October 14, 2012

More horrific consequences of the Iraq invasion emerge

Left: Fallujah victim of white phosphorus burns, compliments from the US taxpayer.

by Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

I commented on the situation in the Iraqi city of Fallujah after the US military laid siege to this city after residents mutilated the bodies of four US mercenaries.  US imperialism, like all occupying forces must punish resistance, teach a lesson, to those who resist occupation.  As I pointed out in a recent blog, long before the predatory war against Iraq, the British committed similar atrocities in their colonies. 

Among the Muslim and particularly Arab workers, as well as millions throughout the world, the resistance in Fallujah will be recognized as a heroic resistance by a tiny ill equipped and mostly civilian population against the most powerful military machine in human history.  Fallujah among those not blinded by the spin doctors will be seen as a shrine to the heroic resistance of a people to occupation.  It came though at a horrific price.  Every American should recognize that what our government did there was a crime against humanity.  Bush, Blair, Rumsfeld are mass murderers and war criminals and we as Americans have an obligation to at least speak out against these criminal acts, if we don't, we can't condemn the German people for not stopping the Nazi's.

Eight years after the assault, a battle in which the US used white phosphorous and aerial bombardment against civilians, the extreme consequences of the attack are becoming more widely known.  A recent study from the University of Michigan's School of Public Health reveals "compelling evidence" of a massive increase in deformities and other health abnormalities due to the use of munitions and white phosphorus. Consider these statistics:

"The latest study found that in Fallujah, more than half of all babies surveyed were born with a birth defect between 2007 and 2010. Before the siege, this figure was more like one in 10. Prior to the turn of the millennium, fewer than 2 per cent of babies were born with a defect. More than 45 per cent of all pregnancies surveyed ended in miscarriage in the two years after 2004, up from only 10 per cent before the bombing. Between 2007 and 2010, one in six of all pregnancies ended in miscarriage.  The new research, which looked at the health histories of 56 families in Fallujah, also examined births in Basra, in southern Iraq, attacked by British forces in 2003. Researchers found more than 20 babies out of 1,000 were born with defects in Al Basrah Maternity Hospital in 2003, a number that is 17 times higher than recorded a decade previously. In the past seven years, the number of malformed babies born increased by more than 60 per cent; 37 out of every 1,000 are now born with defects."
 (From the Independent UK)
After the British invasion of Basra, similar health problems have occurred.  The US military spin doctors initially denied using white phosphorus on civilians but did eventually admit to using it only on "Insurgents".   The leaders and fighters in the American Revolutionary war that led to the formation of this country as  modern nation state would have been designated "insurgents", "Militants" or "terrorists"  in Pentagon speak.  Kenyans that fought the British occupation and theft of their land were never recognized as being part of a rebellion, or an army; the British refused to do that for a reason.  Were the British occupiers to have recognized the Mau Mau as a rebellion, they would have had to afford them rights under the Geneva Convention.  US capitalism carefully designates any force that opposes imperialist domination as "enemy combatants".  They learned lessons from the British. It's OK to burn to death "insurgents" by pouring white phosphorus on them.  The reason the Germans used mustard gas against allied troops in the 1914-18 war, that has been so condemned by history was they they thought the allies were simply "insurgents". They can't be blamed for that then can they?

In Vietnam, another assault on a nation that never threatened or harmed the US in any way, the invaders poured dioxin (Agent Orange) on the population and their food supply. Three million Vietnamese died in that war at least and children are still being born with deformities from Agent Orange.  One of the war criminals responsible for these crimes, Henry Kissinger, is alive and well and on our shores. The US also poured it on their own troops, some 67,000 of whom died in that war, a war that was not in their interests. I lost two American friends recently, forty years later, from cancers they got in Vietnam.  Many Iraq war veterans have also diseases and cancers from depleted uranium, and military suicides are way above national norms.  That's why the rich folks don't like to send their kids to these ventures, it can be risky and it messes up their college studies and subsequent careers.

While we place responsibility for these murderous ventures on those who send our young people to kill and be killed on behalf of the corporations, we cannot say it is an honorable or proud cause.  these wars are predatory wars of occupation and plunder not defensive wars. We have to not fall in to their trap that we must "support our troops" which means supporting their wars.  The best way to support our troops is to bring them home, end these wars and use the money and resources to provide healthy productive employment. We must tell our young people the truth.  The world is upside down, the Iraq Veterans Against the War, and veterans that have thrown their medals away and condemned these wars are heroes, not traitors. We don't condemn the young workers that can't take this step, they are the war criminals' victims also, but we praise those that have, and were more of us to do so, more veterans would undoubtedly follow suit as the propaganda that it is unpatriotic and that these missions are defensive and honorable would be undermined. 

Pat Tillman, someone Rumsfeld, the US military and mass media held up as a hero, has disappeared from the scene. Tillman was to be their poster boy, their aide in duping more young people to sign up.  But he was an honorable and principled individual, a leader.  He gave up an incredible career for what he believed in but experience taught him that all was not it was thought to be.  He did not like what he saw and and he was not going to keep quiet about it---it cost him his life and it is my opinion he was murdered by his own government. And the US military lied to his parents, a staunch military family from day one.

We must show to the world a different face of America. We cannot continue to allow these thugs to represent us to the world.

Some recommended movies:

The Tillman Story
The Ground Truth
Sir No Sir
The Road to Guantanamo

Or visit the Iraq Veterans Against the War store for more stuff.

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