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Analysis Last Updated: Jan 4th, 2007 - 01:08:31

Normalising genocide
By Ghali Hassan
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Nov 9, 2005, 01:16

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So far, 2,000 U.S. soldiers have been killed since the March 2003 illegal and unprovoked U.S. war on Iraq. The number has been meticulously pronounced and printed in every Western media outlet. What about the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women and children who have been needlessly massacred by the combined U.S.-British sanctions and war? It is a deliberate genocide.

With the exception of the war on the former Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia)--an Orthodox nation--U.S. wars of aggression have been consistently against defenceless people of colour. "They are the poor of the planet, being made poorer, dominated and exploited by the foreign policy of the U.S. and its rich allies designed for domination, exploitation and triage," wrote Ramsey Clark, former U.S. attorney general in the Carter Administration.

The U.S.-Britain wars on Iraq bear all the hallmarks of Western racism. Iraqis are not only dehumanised, they are abused and tortured to make the mass murder palatable to Western public. Meanwhile the corporate media and Western governments have masked imperialism in the black faces of Condoleezza Rice and Kofi Annan.

A comprehensive study conducted in December 1991 by the British Medical Education Trust in London estimated that more than 200,000 Iraqis had died during and immediately after the massacre of the 1991 U.S. war, the so-called the "Gulf War," as a direct or indirect consequence of attacks on civilian infrastructure. In addition, since August 1990, Iraq has been under economic and military attacks that contributed to the mass murder of Iraqi men, women and children in particular.

The forgotten genocidal sanctions is estimated to have killed more than 1.5 million Iraqi civilians, including 500,000 children under the age of five. The wholesale destruction of Iraqi children was defended as "a price worth it," by Madeleine Albright, the former U.S. Secretary of State. Can you imagine anyone saying; the killing of 3000 people in the 9/11 attack is "a price worth it."

The U.S. and Britain first systematically bombed Iraq's civilian infrastructure, including; water purification plants, sewage treatment plants, electrical power grids, pharmaceutical plants, transportation, communication, manufacturing, commercial properties, housing, mosques and churches out of existence. Food production, including baby milk, processing, storage, distribution, fertiliser and insecticide production, was targeted for destruction. Then the U.S. and Britain continued the sanctions to ensure that Iraq would be unable to repair or replace most of what had been destroyed. The point of this carefully calculated mass murder was to bully and intimidate not only Iraq, but also any other defenceless nation that dares resist as Iraq did. In addition, to bleeding Iraq to death, the U.N. Security Council ordered Iraq to pay more than $50 billion in reparations claims to Kuwait, U.S. corporations, and to many fraudulent and dubious claimants.

Despite Iraq's compliance with the terms of the 1991 war's cease-fire, the sanctions and the weekly bombings--"anything that flies on anything that moves"--of Iraqi cities and towns continued in order to harm the Iraqi people. "For me what is tragic, in addition to the tragedy of Iraq itself, is the fact that the United Nations Security Council member states . . . are maintaining a program of economic sanctions deliberately, knowingly killing thousands of Iraqis each month. And that definition fits genocide," said Denis Halliday, the former U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Iraq.

The Oxford Dictionary defines genocide as the deliberate extermination of a nation or race of people." In the 1948 Genocide Convention, the word genocide was defined as any act "committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic or religious group as such." Hence, genocidal acts included causing serious "mental harm" or inflicting "conditions of life" aimed at such destruction. Can anything be clearer than what the U.S. and Britain are committing against the Iraqi people?

"It is the function of the experts, and the mainstream media, to normalise the unthinkable for the general public," wrote American economist Edward Herman. The art of normalising mass atrocities has always been a prerequisite to neutralise a disciplined Western population in order to remove any conscience for moral responsibility.

According to John and Karl Mueller (Sanctions of Mass Destruction, Foreign Affairs May/June 1999, p. 43.), the sanctions alone "have taken the lives of more people in Iraq than have been killed by all so-called weapons of mass destruction throughout history." Therefore Iraq's genocide "arguably was the greatest genocide of the post World War II era," conducted and perpetuated with the tacit support of the U.N. member states.

Today, the U.N. is complicit in the continuing war crimes against the Iraqi people, and the destruction of the Iraqi society. Consistent with its role as the "handmaiden" of Western imperialism, immediately after the illegal invasion of Iraq, the U.N. legitimised the U.S. Occupation of a sovereign nation, and stands to support all U.S. violations of international laws, including the U.N. Charter.

Corruption and self-interest are the endemic characteristics of the U.N. member states and their staff. The Saddam government was able to exploit this and extract some revenues to keep Iraq functioning as a state despite the unjust sanctions. It was the only way available for Iraq to break out of the sanctions by corrupting the corruptible. By the end of 2002, the signs of genocidal sanctions were visible everywhere in Iraq.

Will the U.N. pass a resolution--like the one demanding Syria to "cooperate fully" with a U.N. investigation into the death of businessman and former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri--demanding the U.S. and Britain cooperate fully with a U.N. investigation into the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and the theft of tens of billion of dollars from Iraq's wealth? Will the U.N. Security Council condemn Israeli for its criminal and "medieval practice of political assassination" of Palestinian political leaders? Not likely.

The U.S. criminal invasion and occupation have only doubled the atrocity of sanctions. A recent UNICEF rapid assessment survey reveals that acute malnutrition among Iraqi children had almost doubled since before the war, jumping from 4 percent to almost 8 percent. The survey adds that; "Acute malnutrition sets in very fast and is strong indicator of the overall health of children." The general health of Iraqi children, the elderly and pregnant women in particular has declined because of deteriorating living conditions, including; lack of access to potable water, food, hospital care, and sharp decline in purchasing power.

In fact, U.S. occupying forces are deliberately starving Iraqis by cutting food and water supplies, and blackmailing Iraqis to submit to the Occupation. "A drama is taking place in total silence in Iraq, where the coalition's occupying forces are using hunger and deprivation of water as a weapon of war against the civilian population," said Professor Jean Ziegler, the U.N. human rights investigator at a press conference in Geneva on 15 October 2005. "Starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is a flagrant violation of international law," added the Swiss-born sociologist.

The 15-years long U.S. aggression and genocidal sanctions against Iraq have devastated Iraq's human resources for many generations. The brave generation of Iraqi men and women that lifted Iraq out of poverty and made Iraq the beacon of progress in the Middle East have been destroyed by the combined U.S.-British genocidal sanctions and criminal wars of aggression perpetuated and normalised by complicit corporate media.

It has been a taboo in Western corporate media and among Western elites to mention the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Only dead U.S. soldiers are counted as humans. Iraqis do not count. As far as I know, no one has lit candles for the more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians killed by the U.S. forces from March 2003 to October 2004. The conservative estimate was published on 29 October 2004 in the reputed and peer-reviewed British medical journal The Lancet. If one includes the atrocities of Fallujah, Ramadi, al-Qaim, Tel Afar, Hillah, Baghdad and the daily bloodshed instigated by U.S. forces and their collaborators, the number of Iraqis killed since March 2003 would be in the 200,000 mark or even more. The majority of the victims were innocent women and children, betrayed by Western media complicity in hiding U.S. war crimes from the outside world.

Dr. Les Roberts of John Hopkins University and the lead author of The Lancet study had expected a "moral outrage" response by the public; instead he was shocked by the muted reception. The experienced researcher, who used the same methodology to study mortality caused by war around the world, was praised by the scientific community for his Iraq's study. His study's findings in the Congo have been used by the U.N. and the International Red Cross.

"Tony Blair and Colin Powell have quoted those results time and time again without any question as to the precision or validity," he told The Chronicle of Higher Education. However, the Iraq study was deliberately ignored or dismissed by the British-American corporate media. In fact the study is censored because it reported genocide.

The word genocide has been used selectively by Western powers, the media and the elites to describe crimes allegedly--never proven--committed by the regime of Saddam Hussein or Slobodan Milosevic. Halabja in Iraq and Srebrenica in Bosnia are often used to describe crimes--with little or no evidence--allegedly committed by Hussein and Milosevic. The 'symbols' of Halabja and Srebrenica are the pretexts to justify the West's imperialist ambitions. We know now that Srebrenica was used to justify the attack on Serbia, and Halabja was used to justify the war on Iraq. Both criminal acts were disguised as 'humanitarian interventions'.

Genocide is never used to describe the mass murder of Iraqi civilians by U.S.-sponsored genocidal sanctions and U.S. wars. Saddam was demonised to justify the criminal policy of the West against the Iraqi people. The motives for this deliberate genocide are the colonisation of Iraq to enhance U.S. imperial dominance, the destruction of Arab nationalism, and support for Israel's Zionist expansion and criminal policies against the Palestinians.

Iraq is littered with countless U.S.-committed mass murders masked as "U.S. operations against al-Qaida fighters." The recent indiscriminate attacks--bombing the city water supply, electricity grid and communication networks and heavy use of cluster bombs in civilian areas--on towns and villages in western Iraq is a reminder of the Fallujah massacre. The Italian daily, La Republica reported, "The Americans are responsible for a massacre using unconventional weapons, the identical charge for which Saddam Hussein stands accused," quoting an Italian investigative story, which will be broadcast on Italian RAI-3 TV on 08 November 2005 [1]. U.S. forces and their collaborators are fighting indigenous Iraqi Resistance fighters defending their country against new a form of U.S.-led fascism.

A new Fallujah massacre is in the making. According to recent Iraqi and Arab media reports in al-Qaim, the "defence minister" in the puppet government (Saadoun al-Dulaimi) is calling on U.S. forces to "wipe out entire families and destroy the houses of resistance fighters with their women and children inside." Iraqi community leaders have condemned the attacks as "killing operations" and are calling on the "International Community" to intervene to stop the mass murder of civilians. "We call all humanitarians and those who carry peace to the world to intervene to stop the repeated bloodshed in the western parts of Iraq," said Sheikh Osama Jadaan, a community leader in Husaybah, close to the Syrian boarder. "He rightly added; "we say to the American occupiers to get out and leave Iraq to the Iraqis." The daily bloodshed and the destruction of the country by the U.S. forces are committed with the full complicity of the corporate media and Western elites.

The occupying forces and the media explain the violence in cultural terms, as "Iraqis against Iraqis," a colonial cliché to justify the Occupation. The U.S. aim is to make the public focus on the violence of the occupied and oppressed--the Iraqis--and justify the action of the occupiers. However, this "sectarian violence" is created and nurtured by the U.S. and Britain in order to terrorise the Iraqi population and push them into the arms of the occupiers for "protection." It is also the only way to justify an ongoing Occupation. Iraqis are well aware of that and have united to demand the end to U.S. violence and occupation.

We know now that there were no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq since 1991, and the sanctions and wars were the tools for a deliberate genocide. As it was predicted, the invasion and occupation of Iraq have brought only disaster and misery to the Iraqi people. More than 82 percent of Iraqis "strongly oppose" the U.S. Occupation of their country. "Less than 2 percent of Iraqis [brought into Iraq on the back of U.S. tanks] believe coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security," according to the British Ministry of Defence's recent poll. It follows that those who oppose the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, are acting as U.S. imperial propagandists complicit in normalising a deliberate genocide against the Iraqi people.

Today, most Iraqis view U.S. forces as "murderous maniacs." After the "handover" of fake sovereignty, the fraudulent January 2005 elections, and the recent massive fraud to pass the illegal U.S.-crafted constitution, the U.S. administration is left with one fraudulent card to play; the scheduled December elections. After that, it is time to put an end to the genocide and withdraw all U.S. and foreign forces from Iraq. The sooner this will happen, the fewer Iraqi lives will be lost. Then the "International Community" has a legal duty to prosecute those who committed these war crimes and crimes against humanity.


 [1] Fallujah. La strage nascosta (Fallujah, The Concealed Massacre) will be shown on RAI News tomorrow November 8th at 07:35 (via HOT BIRDTM satellite, Sky Channel 506 and RAI-3), and rebroadcast by HOT BIRDTM satellite and Sky Channel 506 at 17:00 and over the next two days.

Ghali Hassan lives in Perth, Western Australia.

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