Iraq +15: Accumulated Evil of the Whole

Brushing aside warnings that he was about to unleash Armageddon in the Middle East, George W. Bush launched an unprovoked attack on Iraq on March 19-20, 2003, the ramifications of which we are still grappling with today, Nat Parry writes.

By Nat Parry

Robert Jackson, the Chief United States Prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals, once denounced aggressive war as “the greatest menace of our time.” With much of Europe laying in smoldering ruin, he said in 1945 that “to initiate a war of aggression … is not only an international crime: it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of whole.”

The March 2003 attack on Iraq was an act of aggression in violation of international law.

When it comes to the U.S. invasion of Iraq 15 years ago today, the accumulated evil of the whole is difficult to fully comprehend. Estimates of the war’s costs vary, but commonly cited figures put the financial cost for U.S. taxpayers at upwards of a trillion dollars, the cost in Iraqi lives in the hundreds of thousands, and U.S. soldier deaths at nearly 5,000. Another 100,000 Americans have been wounded and four million Iraqis driven from their homes as refugees.

As staggering as those numbers may be, they don’t come close to describing the true cost of the war, or the magnitude of the crime that was committed by launching it on March 19-20, 2003. Besides the cost in blood and treasure, the cost to basic principles of international justice, long-term geopolitical stability, and the impacts on the U.S. political system are equally profound.

Lessons Learned and Forgotten

Although for a time, it seemed that the lessons of the war were widely understood and had tangible effects on American politics – with Democrats, for example, taking control of Congress in the midterm elections of 2006 based primarily on growing antiwar sentiment around the country and Barack Obama defeating Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primaries based largely on the two candidates’ opposing views on the Iraq War – the political establishment has, since then, effectively swept these lessons under the rug.

One of those lessons, of course, was that proclamations of the intelligence community should be treated with huge grain of salt. In the build-up to war with Iraq a decade and a half ago, there were those who pushed back on the politicized and “cherry-picked” intelligence that the Bush administration was using to convince the American people of the need to go to war, but for the most part, the media and political establishment parroted these claims without showing the due diligence of independently confirming the claims or even applying basic principles of logic.

For example, even as United Nations weapons inspectors, led by Swedish diplomat Hans Blix, were coming up empty-handed when acting on tips from the U.S. intelligence community, few within the mainstream media were willing to draw the logical conclusion that the intelligence was wrong (or that the Bush administration was lying). Instead, they assumed that the UN inspectors were simply incompetent or that Saddam Hussein was just really good at hiding his weapons of mass destruction.

Yet, despite being misled so thoroughly back in 2002 and 2003, today Americans show the same credulousness to the intelligence community when it claims that “Russia hacked the 2016 election,” without offering proof. Liberals, in particular, have hitched their wagons to the investigation being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is widely hailed as a paragon of virtue, while the truth is, as FBI Director during the Bush administration, he was a key enabler of the WMD narrative used to launch an illegal war.

Mueller testified to Congress that “Iraq has moved to the top of my list” of threats to the domestic security of the United States. “As we previously briefed this Committee,” Mueller said on February 11, 2003, “Iraq’s WMD program poses a clear threat to our national security.” He warned that Baghdad might provide WMDs to al-Qaeda to carry out a catastrophic attack in the United States.

Mueller drew criticism at the time, including from FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley, for conflating Iraq and al-Qaeda, with demands that the FBI produce whatever evidence it had on this supposed connection.

Today, of course, Mueller is celebrated by Democrats as the best hope for bringing down the presidency of Donald Trump. George W. Bush has also enjoyed a revival of his image thanks largely to his public criticisms of Trump, with a majority of Democrats now viewing the 43rd president favorably. Many Democrats have also embraced aggressive war – often couched in the rhetoric of “humanitarian interventionism” – as their preferred option to deal with foreign policy challenges such as the Syrian conflict.

When the Democratic Party chose Clinton as its nominee in 2016, it appeared that Democrats had also embraced her willingness to use military force to achieve “regime change” in countries that are seen as a threat to U.S. interests – whether Iraq, Iran or Syria.

As a senator from New York during the build-up for military action against Iraq, Clinton not only voted to authorize the U.S. invasion, but fervently supported the war – which she backed with or without UN Security Council authorization. Her speech on the floor of the Senate on Oct. 10, 2002 arguing for military action promoted the same falsehoods that were being used by the Bush administration to build support for the war, claiming for example that Saddam Hussein had “given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al-Qaeda members.”

Hillary Clinton arguing in favor of military action on Oct. 10, 2002.

“If left unchecked,” she said, “Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security.”

Clinton maintained support for the war even as it became obvious that Iraq in fact had no weapons of mass destruction – the primary casus belli for the war – only cooling her enthusiasm in 2006 when it became clear that the Democratic base had turned decisively against the war and her hawkish position endangered her chances for the 2008 presidential nomination. But eight years later, the Democrats had apparently moved on, and her support for the war was no longer considered a disqualification for the presidency.

One of the lessons that should be recalled today, especially as the U.S. gears up today for possible confrontations with countries including North Korea and Russia, is how easy it was in 2002-2003 for the Bush administration to convince Americans that they were under threat from the regime of Saddam Hussein some 7,000 miles away. The claims about Iraq’s WMDs were untrue, with many saying so in real time – including by the newly formed group Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, which was regularly issuing memoranda to the president and to the American people debunking the falsehoods that were being promoted by the U.S. intelligence community.

But even if the claims about Iraq’s alleged stockpiles were true, there was still no reason to assume that Saddam Hussein was on the verge of launching a surprise attack against the United States. Indeed, while Americans were all but convinced that Iraq threatened their safety and security, it was actually the U.S. government that was threatening Iraqis.

Far from posing an imminent threat to the United States, in 2003, Iraq was a country that had already been devastated by a U.S.-led war a decade earlier and crippling economic sanctions that caused the deaths of 1.5 million Iraqis (leading to the resignation of two UN humanitarian coordinators who called the sanctions genocidal).

Threats and Bluster

Although the invasion didn’t officially begin until March 20, 2003 (still the 19th in Washington), the United States had been explicitly threatening to attack the country as early as January 2003, with the Pentagon publicizing plans for a so-called “shock and awe” bombing campaign.

“If the Pentagon sticks to its current war plan,” CBS News reported on January 24, “one day in March the Air Force and Navy will launch between 300 and 400 cruise missiles at targets in Iraq. … [T]his is more than the number that were launched during the entire 40 days of the first Gulf War. On the second day, the plan calls for launching another 300 to 400 cruise missiles.”

A Pentagon official warned: “There will not be a safe place in Baghdad.”

These public threats appeared to be a form of intimidation and psychological warfare, and were almost certainly in violation of the UN Charter, which states:  “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, known as “shock and awe.”

The Pentagon’s vaunted “shock and awe” attack began with limited bombing on March 19-20, as U.S. forces unsuccessfully attempted to kill Hussein. Attacks continued against a small number of targets until March 21, when the main bombing campaign began. U.S.-led forces launched approximately 1,700 air sorties, with 504 using cruise missiles.

During the invasion, the U.S. also dropped some 10,800 cluster bombs on Iraq despite claiming that only a fraction of that number had been used.

“The Pentagon presented a misleading picture during the war of the extent to which cluster weapons were being used and of the civilian casualties they were causing,” reported USA Today in late 2003. Despite claims that only 1,500 cluster weapons had been used resulting in just one civilian casualty, “in fact, the United States used 10,782 cluster weapons,” including many that were fired into urban areas from late March to early April 2003.

The cluster bombs killed hundreds of Iraqi civilians and left behind thousands of unexploded bomblets that continued to kill and injure civilians weeks after the fighting stopped.

(Because of the indiscriminate effect of these weapons, their use is banned by the international Convention on Cluster Munitions, which the United States has refused to sign.)

Attempting to kill Hussein, Bush ordered the bombing of an Iraqi residential restaurant on April 7. A single B-1B bomber dropped four precision-guided 2,000-pound bombs. The four bunker-penetrating bombs destroyed the target building, the al Saa restaurant block and several surrounding structures, leaving a 60-foot crater and unknown casualties.

Diners, including children, were ripped apart by the bombs. One mother found her daughter’s torso and then her severed head. U.S. intelligence later confirmed that Hussein wasn’t there.

Resistance and Torture

It was evident within weeks of the initial invasion that the Bush administration had misjudged the critical question of whether Iraqis would fight. They put up stiffer than expected resistance even in southern Iraqi cities such as Umm Qasr, Basra and Nasiriya where Hussein’s support was considered weak, and soon after the fall of the regime on April 9, when the Bush administration decided to disband the Iraqi army, it helped spark an anti-U.S. insurgency led by many former Iraqi military figures.

President Bush addresses the nation from aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1 with the “mission accomplished” banner behind him.

Despite Bush’s triumphant May 1 landing on an aircraft carrier and his speech in front of a giant “Mission Accomplished” banner, it looked as though the collapse of the Baathist government had been just the first stage in what would become a long-running war of attrition. After the Iraqi conventional forces had been disbanded, the U.S. military began to notice in May 2003 a steadily increasing flurry of attacks on U.S. occupiers in various regions of the so-called “Sunni Triangle.”

These included groups of insurgents firing assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades at U.S. occupation troops, as well as increasing use of improvised explosive devices on U.S. convoys.

Possibly anticipating a long, drawn-out occupation and counter-insurgency campaign, in a March 2003 memorandum Bush administration lawyers devised legal doctrines to justify certain torture techniques, offering legal rationales “that could render specific conduct, otherwise criminal, not unlawful.”

They argued that the president or anyone acting on the president’s orders were not bound by U.S. laws or international treaties prohibiting torture, asserting that the need for “obtaining intelligence vital to the protection of untold thousands of American citizens” superseded any obligations the administration had under domestic or international law.

“In order to respect the President’s inherent constitutional authority to manage a military campaign,” the memo stated, U.S. prohibitions against torture “must be construed as inapplicable to interrogations undertaken pursuant to his Commander-in-Chief authority.”

A victim of U.S. torture at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

Over the course of the next year, disclosures emerged that torture had been used extensively in Iraq for “intelligence gathering.” Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh disclosed in The New Yorker in May 2004 that a 53-page classified Army report written by Gen. Antonio Taguba concluded that Abu Ghraib prison’s military police were urged on by intelligence officers seeking to break down the Iraqis before interrogation.

“Numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees,” wrote Taguba.

These actions, authorized at the highest levels, constituted serious breaches of international and domestic law, including the Convention Against Torture, the Geneva Convention relative to the treatment of Prisoners of War, as well as the U.S. War Crimes Act and the Torture Statute.

They also may have played a role in the rise of the ISIS terror group, the origins of which were subsequently traced to an American prison in Iraq dubbed Camp Bucca. This camp was the site of rampant abuse of prisoners, one of whom, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, later became the leader of ISIS. Al-Baghdadi spent four years as a prisoner at Bucca, where he started recruiting others to his cause.

America’s Weapons of Mass Desctruction

Besides torture and the use of cluster bombs, the crimes against the Iraqi people over the years included wholesale massacres, long-term poisoning and the destruction of cities.

There was the 2004 assault on Fallujah in which white phosphorus – banned under international law – was used against civilians. There was the 2005 Haditha massacre, in which 24 unarmed civilians were systematically murdered by U.S. marines. There was the 2007 “Collateral Murder” massacre revealed by WikiLeaks in 2010, depicting the indiscriminate killing of more than a dozen civilians in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad – including two Reuters news staff.

There is also the tragic legacy of cancer and birth defects caused by the U.S. military’s extensive use of depleted uranium and white phosphorus. In Fallujah the use of depleted uranium led to birth defects in infants 14 times higher than in the Japanese cities targeted by U.S. atomic bombs at close of World War II, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Noting the birth defects in Fallujah, Al Jazeera journalist Dahr Jamail told Democracy Now in 2013:

“And going on to Fallujah, because I wrote about this a year ago, and then I returned to the city again this trip, we are seeing an absolute crisis of congenital malformations of newborn. … I mean, these are extremely hard to look at. They’re extremely hard to bear witness to. But it’s something that we all need to pay attention to, because of the amount of depleted uranium used by the U.S. military during both of their brutal attacks on the city of 2004, as well as other toxic munitions like white phosphorus, among other things.”

A report sent to the UN General Assembly by Dr. Nawal Majeed Al-Sammarai, Iraq’s Minister of Women’s Affairs, stated that in September 2009, Fallujah General Hospital had 170 babies born, 75 percent of whom were deformed. A quarter of them died within their first week of life.

The military’s use of depleted uranium also caused a sharp increase in Leukemia and birth defects in the city of Najaf, which saw one of the most severe military actions during the 2003 invasion, with cancer becoming more common than the flu according to local doctors.

By the end of the war, a number of Iraq’s major cities, including Fallujah, Ramadi, and Mosul, had been reduced to rubble and by 2014, a former CIA director conceded that the nation of Iraq had basically been destroyed.

“I think Iraq has pretty much ceased to exist,” said Michael Hayden, noting that it was fragmented into multiple parts which he didn’t see “getting back together.” In other words, the United States, using its own extensive arsenal of actual weapons of mass destruction, had completely destroyed a sovereign nation.

Predictable Consequences

The effects of these policies included the predictable growth of Islamic extremism, with a National Intelligence Estimate – representing the consensus view of the 16 spy services inside the U.S. government – warning in 2006 that a whole new generation of Islamic radicalism was being spawned by the U.S. occupation of Iraq. According to one American intelligence official, the consensus was that “the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse.”

The assessment noted that several underlying factors were “fueling the spread of the jihadist movement,” including “entrenched grievances, such as corruption, injustice, and fear of Western domination, leading to anger, humiliation, and a sense of powerlessness,” and “pervasive anti-U.S. sentiment among most Muslims all of which jihadists exploit.”

But rather than leading to substantive changes or reversals in U.S. policies, the strategy agreed upon in Washington seemed to be to double down on the failed policies that had given rise to radical jihadist groups. In fact, instead of withdrawing from Iraq, the U.S. decided to send a surge of 20,000 troops in 2007. This is despite the fact that public opinion was decidedly against the war.

A Newsweek poll in early 2007 found that 68 percent of Americans opposed the surge, and in another poll conducted just after Bush’s 2007 State of the Union Address, 64 percent said Congress was not being assertive enough in challenging the Bush administration over its conduct of the war.

January 27, 2007 march on Washington

An estimated half-million people marched on Washington on Jan. 27, 2007, with messages for the newly sworn in 110th Congress to “Stand up to Bush,” urging Congress to cut the war funding with the slogan, “Not one more dollar, not one more death.” A growing combativeness was also on display in the antiwar movement with this demonstration marked by hundreds of protesters breaking through police lines and charging Capitol Hill.

Although there were additional large-scale protests a couple months later to mark the sixth anniversary of the invasion, including a march on the Pentagon led by Iraq War veterans, over the next year the antiwar movement’s activities steadily declined. While fatigue might explain some of the waning support for mass mobilizations, much of the decline can also surely be explained by the rise of Barack Obama’s candidacy. Millions of people channeled their energies into his campaign, including many motivated by a hope that he represented real change from the Bush years.

One of Obama’s advantages over Clinton in the Democratic primary was that he had been an early opponent of the Iraq War while she had been one of its most vocal supporters. This led many American voters to believe in 2008 that they had elected someone who might rein in some of the U.S. military adventurism and quickly end U.S. involvement in Iraq. But this wasn’t to be the case. The combat mission dragged on well into President Obama’s first term.

War, War and More War

After its well-publicized failures in Iraq, the U.S. turned its attention to Libya, overthrowing the government of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 utilizing armed militias implicated in war crimes and backed with NATO air power. Following Gaddafi’s ouster, his caches of weapons ended up being shuttled to rebels in Syria, fueling the civil war there. The Obama administration also took a keen interest in destabilizing the Syrian government and to do so began providing arms that often fell into the hands of extremists.

The CIA trained and armed so-called “moderate” rebel units in Syria, only to watch these groups switch sides by joining forces with Islamist brigades such as ISIS and Al Qaeda’s affiliate the Nusra Front. Others surrendered to Sunni extremist groups with the U.S.-provided weapons presumably ending up in the arsenals of jihadists or sometimes just quit or went missing altogether.

Beyond Syria and Libya, Obama also expanded U.S. military engagements in countries including Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and sent a surge of troops to Afghanistan in 2009. And despite belatedly withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq, with the last U.S. troops finally leaving on December 18, 2011, Obama also presided over a major increase in the use of drone strikes and conventional air wars.

In his first term, Obama dropped 20,000 bombs and missiles, a number that shot up to over 100,000 bombs and missiles dropped in his second term. In 2016, the final year of Obama’s presidency, the U.S. dropped nearly three bombs every hour, 24 hours a day.

President Obama announces the latest U.S. bombing of Iraq on Sept. 10, 2014.

Obama also had the distinction of becoming the fourth U.S. president in a row to bomb the nation of Iraq. Under criticism for allowing the rise of ISIS in the country, Obama decided to reverse his earlier decision to disengage with Iraq, and in 2014 started bombing the country again. Addressing the American people on Sept. 10, 2014, President Obama said that “ISIL poses a threat to the people of Iraq and Syria, and the broader Middle East including American citizens, personnel and facilities.”

“If left unchecked,” he continued, “these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region, including to the United States. While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, ISIL leaders have threatened America and our allies.”

Of course, this is precisely the result that many voices of caution had warned about back in 2002 and 2003, when millions of Americans were taking to the streets in protest of the looming invasion of Iraq. And, to be clear, it wasn’t just the antiwar left urging restraint – establishment figures and paleoconservatives were also voicing concern.

Retired Gen. Anthony Zinni, for example, who served as a Middle East envoy for George W. Bush, warned in October 2002 that by invading Iraq, “we are about to do something that will ignite a fuse in this region that we will rue the day we ever started.” Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser in the first Bush administration, said a strike on Iraq “could unleash an Armageddon in the Middle East.”

No matter, Bush was a gut player who had made up his mind, so those warnings were brushed aside and the invasion proceeded.

Campaign 2016

When presidential candidate Donald Trump began slamming Bush for the Iraq War during the Republican primary campaign in 2015 and 2016, calling the decision to invade Iraq a “big fat mistake,” he not only won over some of the antiwar libertarian vote, but also helped solidify his image as a political outsider who “tells it like it is.”

And after Hillary Clinton emerged as the Democratic nominee, with her track record as an enthusiastic backer of virtually all U.S. interventions and an advocate of deeper involvement in countries such as Syria, voters could have been forgiven for getting the impression that the Republican Party was now the antiwar party and the Democrats were the hawks.

As the late Robert Parry observed in June 2016, “Amid the celebrations about picking the first woman as a major party’s presumptive nominee, Democrats appear to have given little thought to the fact that they have abandoned a near half-century standing as the party more skeptical about the use of military force. Clinton is an unabashed war hawk who has shown no inclination to rethink her pro-war attitudes.”

Antiwar protest at the 2016 DNC Convention (Scott Audette/Reuters)

The antiwar faction within the Democratic Party was further marginalized during the Democratic National Convention when chants of “No More War” broke out during former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s speech. The Democratic establishment responded with chants of “USA!” to drown out the voices for peace and they even turned the lights out on the antiwar section of the crowd. The message was clear: there is no room for the antiwar movement inside the Democratic Party.

While there were numerous factors that played a role in Trump’s stunning victory over Clinton in November 2016, it is no stretch of the imagination to speculate that one of those factors was lingering antiwar sentiment from the Iraq debacle and other engagements of the U.S. military. Many of those fed up with U.S. military adventurism may have fallen for Trump’s quasi-anti-interventionist rhetoric while others may have opted to vote for an alternative party such as the Libertarians or the Greens, both of which took strong stances against U.S. interventionism.

But despite Trump’s occasional statements questioning the wisdom of committing the military to far-off lands such as Iraq or Afghanistan, he was also an advocate for war crimes such as “taking out [the] families” of suspected terrorists. He urged that the U.S. stop being “politically correct” in its waging of war.

So, ultimately, Americans were confronted with choosing between an unreconstructed regime-changing neoconservative Democratic hawk, and a reluctant interventionist who nevertheless wanted to teach terrorists a lesson by killing their children. Although ultimately the neocon won the popular vote, the war crimes advocate carried the Electoral College.

Nawar al-Awlaki, eight-year-old girl killed by U.S. drone on Jan. 29, 2017.

Following the election it turned out that Trump was a man of his word when it came to killing children. In one of his first military actions as president, Trump ordered an attack on a village in Yemen on Jan. 29, 2017, which claimed the lives of as many as 23 civilians, including a newborn baby and an eight-year-old girl, Nawar al-Awlaki.

Nawar was the daughter of the al-Qaeda propagandist and American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a September 2011 U.S. drone strike in Yemen.

Normalized Aggression

2017, Trump’s first year in office, turned out to be the deadliest year for civilians in Iraq and Syria since U.S. airstrikes began on the two countries in 2014. The U.S. killed between 3,923 and 6,102 civilians during the year, according to a tally by the monitoring group Airwars. “Non-combatant deaths from Coalition air and artillery strikes rose by more than 200 per cent compared to 2016,” Airwars noted.

While this spike in civilian deaths did make some headlines, including in the Washington Post, for the most part, the thousands of innocents killed by U.S. airstrikes are dismissed as “collateral damage.” The ongoing carnage is considered perfectly normal, barely even eliciting a comment from the pundit class.

This is arguably one of the most enduring legacies of the 2003 invasion of Iraq – an act of military aggression that was based on false pretenses, which brushed aside warnings of caution, and blatantly violated international law. With no one in the media or the Bush administration ever held accountable for promoting this war or for launching it, what we have seen is the normalization of military aggression to a level that would have been unimaginable 20 years ago.

President Bill Clinton launched the Operation Desert Fox bombing campaign on Dec. 16, 1998.

Indeed, I remember well the bombing of Iraq that took place in 1998 as part of Bill Clinton’s Operation Desert Fox. Although this was a very limited bombing campaign, lasting only four days, there were sizable protests in opposition to the military action. I joined a picket of a couple hundred people in front of the White House holding a hand-made sign reading “IMPEACH HIM FOR WAR CRIMES” – a reference to the fact that Congress was at the time impeaching him for lying about a blowjob.

Compare that to what we see today – or, more accurately what we don’t see today – in regards to antiwar advocacy. Despite the fact that the U.S. is now engaged in at least seven military conflicts, there is little in the way of peace activism or even much of a national debate over the wisdom, legality or morality of waging war. Few even raise objections to its significant financial cost to U.S. taxpayers, for example the fact that one day of spending on these wars amounts to about $200 million.

Fifteen years ago, one of the arguments of the antiwar movement was that the war on terror was morphing into a perpetual war without boundaries, without rules, and without any end game. The U.S., in other words, was in danger of finding itself in a state of endless war.

We are now clearly embroiled in that endless war, which is a reality that even Senate war hawk Lindsey Graham acknowledged last year when four U.S. troops were killed in Niger. Claiming that he didn’t know that the U.S. had a military presence in Niger, Graham – who chairs the Senate Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs – stated that “this is an endless war without boundaries, no limitation on time or geography.”

Although it wasn’t clear whether he was lamenting or celebrating this endless and borderless war, his words should be taken as a warning of where the U.S. stands on this 15th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq – in a war without end, without boundaries, without limits on time or geography.

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86 comments for “Iraq +15: Accumulated Evil of the Whole

  1. Abby
    March 24, 2018 at 11:19 pm

    One thing that Robert Jackson didn’t address when he said that aggressive war is a war crime is he didn’t mention how if businessmen hadn’t funded and equipped Hitler’s army, the war would not have happened.

  2. March 21, 2018 at 8:54 am

    We feel deep gratitude for this masterful piece of journalism. Congratulations.
    Now if we can only get the Rachel Maddows of the MSM to read this piece every
    day and night instead of whatever propagandist drivel they promote to their flocks.
    And if only the flocks understood that silence is complicity.
    One thing everyone seems to agree on – and especially among those of us who
    are growing old – these are the darkest days we have ever seen. It is in writing like
    this that holds our hope. May you stay strong and keep it coming.

  3. March 20, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    It will ever be thus until the US homeland is hit hard by a peer military power. Nothing will focus the American mind like a couple of dozen of it`s major cities being reduced to a smoldering ruin. Then and only then will the American population be brought face to face with the horrors that military, no matter what the nationality are designed to do. Anf for sure it has nothing to do with humanitarianism, or spreading democracy and all the other explanations used to inflick terror and destruction on peoples arounfd the world. in short Americans need an abject lesson on their not being immune and or exceptional. Then they just might learn.

  4. March 20, 2018 at 8:43 am

    Dissent, like a feeble old man, carrying his sign of dissent, but only allowed to do so in the halls of his nursery home. Nat Parry is eloquent and thorough in his indictment, and there was a steady erosion of our faithfulness to international law since the Iraq invasion, , but nine eleven was clearly a jolt that propelled the lawlessness we now witness. It was then that all the weapons needed to authorize a permanent state of war and the invasion of personal liberty in the US really were sanctioned by “law” and by our opinion and political leaders. Deliberately misdirected from the Saudi crazies, the blame was placed on all the enemies targeted by the neocons and voila, we had plans to invade Iraq and then on to the other enemies. It was a simplistic plan, all of it, but its implementation was genius, however evil. It took advantage of the fatal weakness of our democracy as it now exists, that government actions can be bought, and dollars far more important than our individual votes.

  5. March 20, 2018 at 3:11 am

    I wrote this in the mental hospital, not long after I returned to the U.S. from 27 months’ combat duty in Viet Nam:

    >>>>

    I still see her standing there
    Leaning against a tree.
    A beautiful young woman
    but with a crazed look in her eye
    wearing her intestines like a skirt.

    <<<<

    I have many such ugly personal memories. I feel helpless every time I hear a fellow citizen voice support for war. Ignorance can be deadly.

    • Nancy
      March 20, 2018 at 12:04 pm

      I’m sorry you have to live with these memories. It’s clear you are a wise and compassionate person who wants to keep humanity from repeating these horrific crimes.
      Shine on.

    • Realist
      March 21, 2018 at 12:38 am

      I escaped being drafted for that crime against humanity only because of a medical condition, but at least six of my former classmates were slaughtered in that hellhole for no good reason, the first in January of 1966. (His name was Walter and he has been deprived of 52 years of life and counting. These guys shared double desks with me in grade school. They shared pleasantries with my mother on our walks home.) Moreover, I got to know at least an equal number of graduate students and post-docs who had been forced to serve and every one of them had severe psychological problems beyond a decade later, by the time I had already become a professor. What some of them described to me, especially at the fire bases near the border, were similar to what you just said. It was like they couldn’t stop recounting those experiences because they made absolutely no sense in a sane world. But unloading them on others didn’t make them go away. I hope they found peace. Uncle Sam? He just can’t kick the habit of mass murder.

  6. Realist
    March 19, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    That said, I understand that the publishers of CN probably have good reason to fear what Brennan and the intelligence agencies can do to bollix up their operation. I mean, who is causing all the posts I try to make to, not be moderated, but simply disappear as soon as I click on “post comment?” There are obviously key words and phrases that are verboten, memes that someone doesn’t want anyone, including the readership of this blog, to entertain for even a moment.

    • Realist
      March 19, 2018 at 3:53 pm

      Oh, how sweet. My response to Mike K about his posts being moderated gets disappeared right alone with his post, leaving readers wondering what the hell the above remark is all about? The censorship here (or the hacking by parties unknown) is getting out of hand.

    • Pedro Quetzal
      March 19, 2018 at 6:39 pm

      Yes my very factual comment about former FBI director Freeh and his ethnically-biased whitewash “investigation” of the Penn State child-rape scandal was deleted twice, because I dared to say that Freeh did not investigate the management of the youth group that caused the problem, which is known to anyone who reads his report. Its CEO, the mass child-rapist, and the president of Penn State were all of a certain ethnic group that denounces everyone who opposes them as “anti-semitic.” It appears that someone of that ethnicity is contacting CN directly and making threats. Or someone afraid of being called “anti-semitic.” There appears to be a rogue moderator.

    • Zachary Smith
      March 19, 2018 at 10:10 pm

      I mean, who is causing all the posts I try to make to, not be moderated, but simply disappear as soon as I click on “post comment?”

      This has happened to me a few times over the last year or so, and I wonder if it’s not a software issue instead of censoring. Usually I can use the browser “go back” button and retrieve the text, but not always. As a matter of routine a long post on which I’ve spent some time gets copy/pasted to a text file before I hit that “post comment button”.

      I’ll admit there were a few times events got spooky enough that I suspected hackers too.

      • Skeptigal
        March 20, 2018 at 2:39 pm

        Your comments probably ended up in the spam folder. If you contact CN they will restore your comments.

        • Realist
          March 21, 2018 at 12:20 am

          Oh, really? Actual spam promising a six-figure income by working part time at home from your PC gets posted, but serious content gets waylaid to the trash can? Sounds too expedient an excuse. Just how do those wires accidentally get crossed?

      • Realist
        March 21, 2018 at 12:16 am

        Always try that, Zachary. It works on Saker and Unz but never here.

    • March 20, 2018 at 3:06 am

      Please don’t assume censorship. It could be a gun in the software.

  7. Nancy
    March 19, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    It should be noted that the brother of little Nawar al-Awlaki was also droned by none other than Barack Hussein Obomber, in addition to their father.

    • Gregory Herr
      March 20, 2018 at 5:39 pm

      And Obama’s press secretary at the time (Gibbs) said something to the effect that the 16 year-old (killed by a separate strike) should have had a better father.

  8. Cassandra
    March 19, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    “I think Iraq has pretty much ceased to exist,” said Michael Hayden, noting that it was fragmented into multiple parts which he didn’t see “getting back together.” In other words, the United States, using its own extensive arsenal of actual weapons of mass destruction, had completely destroyed a sovereign nation.

    That was exactly the goal of the operation. See Yinon Plan. Also, all that depleted uranium blowing around the middle east is a catastrophe for Israel as well where the fertility rate has plummeted into negative territory.

  9. Annie
    March 19, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    Based on this article the death toll is seen as much higher then the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths often cited.

    The Iraq Death Toll 15 Years After the US Invasion by Medea Benjamin,

    https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/03/15/iraq-death-toll-15-years-after-us-invasion

    “One survey found that most Americans thought Iraqi deaths were in the tens of thousands. But our calculations, using the best information available, show a catastrophic estimate of 2.4 million Iraqi deaths since the 2003 invasion.”

    • Chumpsky
      March 19, 2018 at 1:40 pm

      Yes, a horrific toll. Most deaths were (and still are, if they are even reported at all in the MSM) disguised as “collateral damage”.

    • Annie
      March 19, 2018 at 1:50 pm

      Great summary of the Iraq war, and it’s multiple players, and I especially liked Mr. Parry’s referencing Clinton’s hawkishness which is the main reason I didn’t vote for her, and voted for Obama in 2008, only to find from the outset he was a let down. As part of the anti-war movement I watched it die a slow death during the Bush years and witnessed it’s total demise under the Obama administration. I no longer trust the so called left in this country. All during the Obama years they had little if anything to say about his hawkishness, or those of his secretary of state, Clinton. Personally I think Trump got elected not for his lies about being less hawkish, but his rhetoric about being a supporter of the working class poor in this country. Although I found his position on getting along with Russia, and talking to the Palestinians appealing, I didn’t believe him.

    • godenich
      March 19, 2018 at 3:48 pm

      To Annie:

      It’s the gift that keeps on giving, in similar ways[1,2] around the world, like trucks, .50 calibre machine guns, Kalashnikovs and mountains of munitions. James Mattis[3] is asking “for more” of this “from us” on Friday despite futile protests from liberal democrats[4] who may rather spend our tax dollars on more welfare and public works projects. Personally, I’d rather keep the difference and just scrap the income tax for more take-home pay and less speculation on Wall Street,.. an apt tax.

      [1] America’s Guns: Secret Pipeline to Syria | People and Power | Youtube
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAUPOnoHtuA
      [2] James Steele: America’s mystery man in Iraq – video | The Guardian | 2013
      [3] James Mattis is linked to a massive corporate fraud and nobody wants to talk about it | Vox | 2018
      [4] “TRUMP’S BEHAVIOR IS ILLEGAL!!!” Bernie Sanders & His Fellow Senators EXPOSE Trump’s Illegal War | Youtube

    • Gregory Herr
      March 20, 2018 at 5:32 pm
    • Realist
      March 21, 2018 at 12:11 am

      I can’t remember the source, Annie, but do recall reading that America has been responsible for in excess of 5 million deaths in all the conflicts started by our last four presidents (from Yugoslavia to Yemen). Just think, if we were not still militarily and financially dominant, if our government had collapsed for some reason, we’d be accused of carrying out a holocaust against basically defenseless people.

  10. Zachary Smith
    March 19, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    I only skimmed this essay because reliving the Bush days makes my blood boil. Being reminded how Obama betrayed everybody except the Big Bankers and Big Neocons was no fun either.

    So I’ll restrict my comments to point to this piece from a British newspaper I found at Naked Capitalism which I fear relates to 2020.

    In her note, Clinton vowed that she was looking ahead.

    ‘I want us to be free to focus on the future,’ she promised.

    ‘A future in which I hope to be fighting for Democratic values of equal opportunity, social inclusion, and strong communities; for an economy that works for everyone; and for lifting up the next generation of leadership, particularly women,’ she said.

    In my opinion this b i t c h is one of only a handful of people capable of reelecting Trump. She is quite capable of taking another stab at trying to grab the nomination for 2020. Most of the people who have been named as possibilities are nearly as bad as HRC.

      • Annie
        March 19, 2018 at 6:58 pm

        I take no offense at you calling Hilary a bitch.

        • Skip Scott
          March 20, 2018 at 7:55 am

          Calling Hillary a bitch is an insult to bitches.

          • Annie
            March 20, 2018 at 12:23 pm

            True, sorry about that.

          • Gregory Herr
            March 20, 2018 at 5:28 pm

            Particularly those who (according to Albright) have a “special place in hell” reserved for them!

          • Realist
            March 21, 2018 at 12:00 am

            Hillary really must be living her own personal hell on earth these days, since the only reason she probably remained married to Bill all these years was to ensure “her turn” in the White House. And with the 90+% probability of a victory in the election predicted by the polling services, she must feel far worse than even Bill Buckner did when he allowed that ground ball to dribble between his legs.

            Two outs, two strikes, two run lead, bottom of the ninth should have been a lock but turned out just as elusive to nail shut as scaring up a few thousand more votes in Michigan, or in Pennsylvania, or in Wisconsin–well within the margin of graveyard voters or a sundry few double and triple dippers. The “if only’s” must be driving her crazy. It’s still priceless to watch the creeping disbelief followed by the wailing and gnashing of teeth displayed by the likes of Rachel Maddow and Cenk Uygur as the final results nailed the coffin lid shut. I’m sure Hillary wakes up to that bad dream every day.

  11. Steven A
    March 19, 2018 at 11:52 am

    Over and above this sordid history, a new iteration of “the supreme international crime” (this time against Syria and Lebanon, including a massive strike on Damascus and a ground occupation of a corridor linking Israel to “Kurdistan”) appears imminent. See Petri Krohn and Norumbega’s comments under the Weekly Review at Moon of Alabama, particularly comments 21, 55 and 56: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/03/weekly-review-and-open-thread-2018-11.html#comments

  12. Bart Hansen
    March 19, 2018 at 11:50 am

    Nat, thanks for showing the photo of the little girl toward the end. I had trouble continuing after that point.

    You write that it was easy …”for the Bush administration to convince Americans that they were under threat from the regime of Saddam Hussein some 7,000 miles away.” What is sad is how easy it is now to convince them that the Russian regime is another frightful enemy, as evidenced in the comments sections of the Post and Times.

  13. godenich
    March 19, 2018 at 10:31 am

    Power(military), Wealth(war profiteering) and Control(arbitrary law, economic deprivation, propaganda) are tools of tyrants. War taxes* fuel this despotism. Punishing criminals, via international law, treats the symptom and promotes dependence on a global governance. Fixing the tax system** treats the root source cause for working citizens of a society within a nation. This may allow the society to resolve their own unique socio-economic problems without the external propping up or toppling of failing regimes. Economic sanctions and military interventions punish innocent civilians and frequently replace one despot with yet another.The track record of international assistance and intervention has not been a shining example. Imposing our values on other societies (or others upon ours) is presumptuous and meddlesome. Leading, by example, may be a better, and more economical, course of action. Besides, we have dire problems in our own society to resolve due to our own national debt and war taxes before we can boast of any competence to help others.

    * Especially income taxes of 1798, 1842, 1863, 1913 that fueled the 19th-20th century British Empire and 20th-21st Century American Empire
    ** Edgar Feige’s APT Tax

    • godenich
      March 19, 2018 at 3:39 pm

      I will thank the ‘responsible party, parties or automaton’ be restrained from linking independent comments to other people’s comments. This has happened on multiple occasions which I have overlooked in the past. It is confusing now since I don’t know, for sure, whether people are responding to my comments or not. I’ll make sure to mark my independent comments as “To the author”, “Independent Comment” or specifically to a fellow commenter in the future since hitting the ‘Post Comment’ button and not hitting the ‘reply to’ button is not working consistently. I was not replying to Stephen J, thank you very much.

  14. March 19, 2018 at 10:19 am

    I believe war crimes trials are needed. More info on the depredations by the war criminals at link below on a number of countries.
    http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/05/the-war-gangs-and-war-criminals-of-nato.html

    • Bob Van Noy
      March 19, 2018 at 1:03 pm

      I’m totally with you on this Stephen J. For sometime now the only solace I could find, was by imagining a national tribunal, extra-Government, televised and ongoing. This Trial would be organized like the Price and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. The Treasonous, leaders of the past forced to publicly confess and face the consequences…

  15. Theo
    March 19, 2018 at 9:07 am

    German Chancellor Schröder and Joschka Fischer kept Germany out of the war on Iraq.Fischer said in UN’s general assembly he couldn’t believe Powell’s satellite images.Even German intelligence services said there was no proof.If Merkel would have been Chancellor then she would have gone headlong to war with the Bush administration.Since then German US relations are”somewhat”tainted.

    • David G
      March 19, 2018 at 11:41 am

      But it’s a pretty low bar that Germany, and France, cleared in 2002-2003. Yes, they didn’t debase themselves to become full-scale accomplices in the war.

      But they never opposed it enough to upend relations with the U.S. We didn’t see them suspend their participation in NATO, or make known that U.S. officials could be liable for war crimes. Germany could have thrown the U.S. military out of the bases it hosts, or at least insisted they not be used to support Iraq operations, except maybe for treating the wounded. And France didn’t use its Security Council veto to prevent the U.N. legitimization of the occupation of Iraq. And so on.

      • nonsense factory
        March 20, 2018 at 7:41 am

        Once the U.S. guaranteed French oil contracts in Iraq for the post-war period, the French dropped their opposition to the Iraq invasion. From an early 2003 article:

        “Industry experts say France’s state-controlled oil company TotalFinaElf is poised to win contracts to drill the largest unexploited reserves of easily accessible oil in the world.”

        “In the mid-90s, Elf and TotalFina, who have since merged, negotiated contracts for two huge fields, Majnoon and Nahr Omar, southeast of Baghdad. The combined reserves of these fields is estimated at 20 billion barrels. To put that into perspective, the United States has total, proven oil reserves of 31 billion barrels. . . .”

        “. . . The Iraqi most likely to take power in the wake of an American overthrow of Saddam Hussein has already indicated where his preference lies. Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi banker who heads the Iraqi National Council, the American-backed organization supposed to bring democracy to a post-Saddam Iraq, has said that American firms will be given a “preponderant role.””

        Once the US said French oil corporations would get a slice of the pie, they dropped their opposition. It was a war of aggression for economic interests, that’s the fundamental fact, and according to that, it was a war crime (let alone the quite deliberate lies about WMDs). Under international law, the architects and promoters of this war, from Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld, to Blair & friends, all deserve to be bundled up in orange jumpsuits, shackled to the floor of a plane, and given direct transport to the Hague to face criminal charges.

        • Sam F
          March 20, 2018 at 9:58 am

          Oil is clearly not the fundamental motive of US wars in the Mideast and Af/Pak.
          No doubt the oil companies sought to steal Iraq oil, but they were side players and got no free oil.
          Both the Iraq and Af/Pak wars were wars on behalf of Israel, the main troublemaker of the Mideast.
          Diversion of readers from zionist control of US foreign policy is misguidance.

          1. Read about the manufactured WMD evidence to see the zionist connection. It was zionists in secret agencies who faked up the WMD “evidence” to start Iraq War II;
          2. Zionism is also the sole cause of the anti-Russia propaganda. Kagan and Nuland and others promoted war in Ukraine to distract Russia from Syria, and Hillary’s top ten donors were all zionists;
          3. Zionists set up the US/Israel/Kurdish connection to split up Iraq, which has antagonized Turkey.

          • nonsense factory
            March 20, 2018 at 9:21 pm

            The oil is not the central issue, the CAPITAL from the oil sales is. Capitalism.

          • Sam F
            March 21, 2018 at 7:39 am

            Please see my comment above. The capital that makes decisions is the flow of bribes and publicity to politicians, which has been overwhelmingly zionist since long before the Iraq war.

        • Theo
          March 21, 2018 at 4:44 am

          David G ,Nonsense factory
          Thanks for your revealing information.David G you are absolutely right.Germany was participating in the war.The German government obviously was afraid of escalating the clash with the US by not allowing the US to use their airbases(the biggest in Europe) and German airspace.Maybe the German government was afraid the US would completely pull out of Germany.The German people was very divided by the decision of the government.

          • Sam F
            March 21, 2018 at 7:49 am

            France and Germany may have hoped for favorable oil contracts, but could not be guaranteed anything by the US, which could only hope to influence a new Iraq government. Neither had any reason to suppose that there would be excess money in Iraq after the war to squander on cheap oil deals, and neither was any position to get favorable oil contracts after the Iraq war.

  16. Joe Tedesky
    March 19, 2018 at 8:52 am

    For questioning all of these wars a peace minded American is considered unAmerican, all of this heavy criticism to enforce another nation’s Oded Yinon Plan.

  17. Skip Scott
    March 19, 2018 at 8:37 am

    Great article Nat! Thanks.

    “When the Democratic Party chose Clinton as its nominee in 2016, it appeared that Democrats had also embraced her willingness to use military force to achieve “regime change” in countries that are seen as a threat to U.S. interests – whether Iraq, Iran or Syria.”

    I think this is a bit of a mis-statement however. As wikileaks showed, it was the DNC, not the democrats as a whole, that embraced the use of military force for regime change by promoting Hillary and sandbagging Bernie. I think this is an important distinction. The DNC sabotaged the Sanders campaign, which while not exactly dovish, was much less in favor of endless war. And as you mentioned later, the DNC power brokers even cut the lights on the anti-war democrats at the convention. I think this is why the anti-war movement needs to go outside the two party system in 2020. The time is ripe for real change.

    • JoeD
      March 20, 2018 at 3:37 pm

      It’s not a mis-statement. It compares the Primary voters of 2008 and 2016.

      If a statement is misleading it’s yours describing Sanders as “not exactly dovish” and “much less in favor of endless war.”

      At what point did Senator Sanders promote war? Bernie Sanders is anti-war. Hillary Clinton is pro-war.

      • Skip Scott
        March 21, 2018 at 8:08 am

        Bernie Sanders made the ridiculous statement that it was time for the Saudis to “get their hands dirty” fighting terrorism, when it is obvious to anyone with 2 brain cells and a synapse that the Saudis hands are blood soaked from funding those same terrorists.
        I suggest you browse Bernie Sanders pro war votes. There are many articles to choose from.
        He is also all aboard with RussiaGate. That said, I backed him until he caved to the Clinton machine. Then I had to vote for Jill.

    • Skeptigal
      March 20, 2018 at 4:31 pm

      Here is the link to a very good article article that partly discusses the potential outcome and the implications of the November 6th elections. It states that there are “more than 50 military-intelligence candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in 102 districts”. Now that should cause your hair to stand on end! Therefore opposition to war will have to come from the people.

      https://www.globalresearch.ca/us-doubles-down-as-empire-declines-it-is-time-to-end-all-wars/5632621

      The article ends with a list of upcoming events that citizens can get involved in. There’s still hope!

      Join the days of action!
      April 14-15 – National Days of Action to End the Wars at Home and Abroad.
      October 20-21 – Women’s March on the Pentagon
      November 10 – 12 – No Trump Military Parade

  18. Jose
    March 19, 2018 at 8:32 am

    It is very difficult for an honest person to read this article and not feel being overwhelmed by sadness and disgust. As if the Iraq invasion and genocide have not been enough, Americans do not come together to put a stop to what is taking place in Yemen, Afghanistan, Libya, or Siria. History repeats itself: first as a tragedy and the as a farse.

    • Bart Hansen
      March 19, 2018 at 11:52 am

      Sad indeed, Jose.

  19. Pedro Quetzal
    March 19, 2018 at 8:24 am

    The most significant fact of the warmongering for US wars in the Mideast, Af/Pak, and Ukraine is that it is led entirely by zionists, with intent to destroy any Iran/Iraq/Lebanon/Russia unity against Israeli land thefts.

    The zionist DefSec Wolfowitz appointed three zionists (Perle, Wurmser, and Feith) to offices at CIA, DIA, and NSA to “stovepipe” discredited false “intelligence” to Cheney/Bush/Powell, who were known to have long conspired to recruit Netanyahu to trick the US into wars for Israel. See Bamford’s Pretext For War.

    Of course the US oligarchy goes for any attack on socialism (Iraq, Libya, many others) to prevent socialism in the US.
    Of course the MIC goes for any war that cannot be lost, to generate promotions and medals for killing the innocent.

    But all of the wars in the Mideast are wars for Israeli land theft, promoted by non-Jewish zionists in hope of rewards.

    • nonsense factory
      March 19, 2018 at 11:14 pm

      This is an oft-repeated notion but Israel and the Levant have always been mainly a sideshow in the Middle East, from World War I and the Balfour Declaration right on up to the present. The goal of the British was to control Persia and Mesopotamia, as they called Iran and Iraq back then, and the colonial Zionist outpost was just a means of establishing a local base.

      The U.S. took over from the British in the 1950s, but make no mistake, it’s the Persian Gulf oil – Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran – that the American Empire is bent on controlling above all. Israel and Saudi Arabia are allies in that agenda, but without the US playing the leading role, they’d not last long in their current form. Israel would ultimately have to give all Palestinians the vote in a one-state solution, and the House of Saud would soon have to cede most of its power to an elected parliament, although as with Iran, the religious clerics would likely maintain power.

      Take the invasion of Iraq – the closest historical analogy is the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany, with very similar excuses (‘pre-emptive war’), and with a similar economic component (Auschwitz being originally set up by IG Farben as a slave labor camp for production of methanol and synthetic rubber, along with a Krupp machine gun factory).

      Poland was destroyed by the Nazis, just as the US destroyed Iraq, while trying to implement radical neoliberal economic policies as seen in Bremer’s 100 Orders. The effort to push through an Iraqi oil law that would hand control of the oil production over to Exxon, Halliburton, Chevron, BP, Shell etc. was probably the main factor in the explosive growth of the Sunni-Shia joint insurgency, with the US responding by imprisoning and torturing any dissidents (along with killing many of them).

      In the end, Iran became the closest partner of the new Iraqi government, which is pretty hilarious all things considered, hardly the outcome Israel and Saudi Arabia were hoping for. A complete and utter debacle, which history will probably record as the beginning of the end for the American Empire’s dream of being the unilateral global superpower. Right now, the only real allies the US has are Saudi Arabia, Israel and the UAE, and that’s a fragile situation; the rest of the world is sick of the imperial idiocracy.

      • Sam F
        March 20, 2018 at 9:37 am

        The historical references do not argue that Israel has been a “sideshow” of US action in the Mideast:
        1. The US is not compelled to control the Mideast any more than its other oil buyers.
        2. China does not try to control the Mideast, and buys more oil there than the US.
        3. The US is not even the largest buyer of Iraq oil.
        So the US would be in exactly the same position in oil supply with no Mideast intervention.
        That leaves Israel as the cause of US wars in the Mideast and Af/Pak. Nothing could be more clear from the extensive history of zionist control of US mass media and elections, to induce the US into wars for Israel.

        • nonsense factory
          March 20, 2018 at 9:20 pm

          You’re wrong. You haven’t considered the cash flows. The American Empire doesn’t care where the oil goes, it only cares about where the CAPITAL from the oil sales goes. I’ll leave it to you to figure out the rest.

          • Sam F
            March 21, 2018 at 7:18 am

            No, consideration of where the capital goes does not support the “it’s the oil” propaganda::

            1. The Iraq war clearly would and did cause immense destruction, which even the usual oil revenue will not cover for a long time, so every US politician knew that Iraq could not give away their oil in gratitude after the war. Only dupes of the right wing fell for that one.
            2. The US overthrow of Iran next door in 1953 led to a revolution in 1979 and justifiable hatred of the US, which got cheap oil only while it propped up the dictator Shah prior to the revolution. So every US politician knew that Iraq either would become an impoverished dictatorship, or would not favor the US. The US got no oil price reduction, and most Iraq oil goes elsewhere.
            3. Every US politician knew that the Iraq war would expend huge amounts of US capital on the direct and indirect costs of war to the US, which would drain US capital and profit only those getting bribes from the zionists.

            The “it’s the oil, stupid” propaganda before the Iraq war never had any reasoning behind it, and was obviously a coverup for zionist aggression, which long preceded it and has long continued in countries all around Israel.

            The capital that makes decisions is the flow of bribes and publicity to politicians.

            1. Campaign funds are far greater from zionists than from oil companies. Obama’s initial backers and every one of Hillary’s top ten campaign donors was zionist. Even KSA has had influence only since their alliance with Israel, and were almost completely unheard-of on the mass media before that. The oil companies mostly want drilling and pipeline deals.
            2. The US mass media are almost all controlled directly or indirectly by zionists. Those who have not researched this can see that almost without exception they joined the evidence-free anti-Russia campaign to keep Russia out of the Mideast to support Israeli land thefts.
            3. The MIC will support small wars anywhere.
            4. The oil companies may hope to steal oil or retaliate for its nationalization, but that has not worked for three generations and the people are aware of the schemes, so politicians appear reluctant to try that again.

            I wish that we could avoid ascribing this to zionists, but those are the facts.

    • Zachary Smith
      March 20, 2018 at 12:33 am

      But all of the wars in the Mideast are wars for Israeli land theft, promoted by non-Jewish zionists in hope of rewards.

      Trump is following in the grand tradition, and in some ways he’s worse than Bush the Dumber.

      U.S. and IDF troops, in major joint drill, simulating battle on 3 fronts

      Washington and Israel have signed an agreement which would see the US come to assist Israel with missile defense in times of war and, according to Haimovitch, “I am sure once the order comes we will find here US troops on the ground to be part of our deployment and team to defend the State of Israel.”

      And those US troops who would be deployed to Israel, are prepared to die for the Jewish state, (USAF Third Air Force commander Lt.-Gen. Richard) Clark said.

      “We are ready to commit to the defense of Israel and anytime we get involved in a kinetic fight there is always the risk that there will be casualties. But we accept that – as every conflict we train for and enter, there is always that possibility,” he said.

      Dying for the thieving and murderous little apartheid state. I wonder how many recruiters were pitching that line to the prospective enlistees?

  20. Anonymous
    March 19, 2018 at 8:23 am

    The most significant fact of the warmongering for US wars in the Mideast, Af/Pak, and Ukraine is that it is led entirely by zionists, with intent to destroy any Iran/Iraq/Lebanon/Russia unity against their land thefts.

    The zionist DefSec Wolfowitz appointed three zionists (Perle, Wurmser, and Feith) to offices at CIA, DIA, and NSA to “stovepipe” discredited false “intelligence” to Cheney/Bush/Powell, who were known to have long conspired to recruit Netanyahu to trick the US into wars for Israel. See Bamford’s Pretext For War.

    Of course the US oligarchy goes for any attack on socialism (Iraq, Libya, and many others) to prevent socialism in the US.
    Of course the MIC goes for any war that cannot be lost, to generate promotions and medals for killing the innocent.

    But all of the wars in the Mideast are religious wars for Israeli land theft, promoted by non-Jewish zionists in hope of rewards.

  21. mike k
    March 19, 2018 at 8:17 am

    THE WEALTHY AND POWERFUL ARE THE ENEMIES OF MANKIND.

    It’s as simple as that. Once you understand that, you have the key to all that is driving our world towards human extinction. Until you understand this you will not know what needs to be done to save us.

  22. alley cat
    March 19, 2018 at 7:31 am

    “Winston could not definitely remember a time when his country had not been at war.”

    ”Power is the ultimate goal, and human beings can be ruled by a combination of technology, hatred, and fear.”

    “If human equality is to be forever averted—if the High, as we have called them, are to keep their places permanently—then the prevailing mental condition must be controlled insanity.”

    I happened to be reviewing 1984 and couldn’t resist citing a few passages from the book. We haven’t yet reached the point where, in view of the increasing destructiveness of war, oligarchs divide up the world and dedicate all their energies to terrorizing their own populations. But it may not be far off.

    Certainly the necessary technology for permanent subjugation of the populace is already in place. Now all that’s needed is the political will and determination to take new surveillance technology to its logical extreme.

    Mike Pompeo thinks that Ed Snowden should be executed for telling the truth. They say that the truth is always the first casualty in war—a war that is now permanent and continuous, and accepted by most Americans as the norm.

    Truth and peace become aberrations when the prevailing mental condition is controlled insanity.

    • mike k
      March 19, 2018 at 8:07 am

      Beautiful. Exactly.

    • Anon
      March 19, 2018 at 9:56 am

      “We haven’t yet reached the point where, in view of the increasing destructiveness of war, oligarchs divide up the world and dedicate all their energies to terrorizing their own populations. But it may not be far off”.

      I think we are there already.

      • Chumpsky
        March 19, 2018 at 1:34 pm

        Yes, we are there or certainly well along the path to the point of no return without a worldwide war that would set humanity back to a prehistoric setting. But it’s not just the oligarchs that are responsible. The corporates are eyeing and dividing the spoils of the populace–and the commons, as well–whenever they see an opportunity to strike.

        We are being chemically and electromagnetically lobotomized to passively accept their dictates without qualms or concerns over constitutionality or ethics. Our food, air and water are being tampered with: to the extent of debilitating human life into a codependent relationship between master and slave. All gene pools’ RNA and DNA is being manipulated without our knowledge or consent. And it’s not an issue of ethnicity, class, sexuality, religion, politics or national pride. No wonder Monsanto scientists won’t consume their own creations.

      • KB Gloria
        March 19, 2018 at 2:29 pm

        I agree–they’ve just selected certain social and racial groups to begin the terrorization effort.

  23. john wilson
    March 19, 2018 at 6:18 am

    no lessons were learned because the US war machine and the Neocon deep state, didn’t think for a moment that they had made a mistake, because they hadn’t. The war was calculated from the start as have been the subsequent wars since and those already in the pipe line now. As far as the west’s war activities go, they see the only mistake was when the British parliament voted NOT to go to war in Syria a while back. The war mongers in the US and UK were outraged by this. Since then as we all know, there have been numerous false flag attempts with so called chemical weapons. We have been softened up here in the UK with a ludicrous affair of a former spy being poisoned with a nerve agent and the whole of the West is screaming that “Russia did it” You can be sure that a big false flag effort is underway in Syria right now so the stage is set for an attack against Syria by the Yanks and their poodles in the EU.

    • mike k
      March 19, 2018 at 8:06 am

      Yes.

    • Sam F
      March 19, 2018 at 8:41 am

      Yes, it is remarkable that the US oligarchy must always make propaganda war upon the People of the United States before they make wars for the gangs of DC, in the Mideast case the zionists and their opportunist supporters. In Latin America, the US wars always serve the anti-socialist oligarchy, the ever-present DC gang.

      When I see this phenomenon in smaller units of government and social/recreational groups, it is simply the classical tyrant working with the modern tools of information control. They do not care for any principle or ideal or interest, but merely name propaganda schemes serving their gang, and keep their operations secret. A people trained by mass media to lie, cheat, and steal could only lead our former democracy to tyranny.

    • Sam F
      March 19, 2018 at 8:42 am

      Yes, it is remarkable that the US oligarchy must always make propaganda war upon the People of the United States before they make wars for the gangs of DC, in the Mideast case the zionists and their opportunist supporters. In Latin America, the US wars always serve the anti-socialist oligarchy, the ever-present DC gang.

      When I see this phenomenon in smaller units of government and social/recreational groups, it is simply the classical tyrant working with the modern tools of information control. They do not care for any principle or ideal or interest, but merely name propaganda schemes serving their gang, and keep their operations secret. A people trained by mass media to lie, cheat, and steal could only lead our former democracy to tyranny.

    • alley cat
      March 19, 2018 at 1:46 pm

      You nailed it, john wilson. How easy it turned out to be to hoodwink the American public about WMD in Iraq. “Softening up” the American and British public for another war of aggression is the perfect description of the Russiagate and Skripal hoaxes, this time against Syria instead of Iraq. The only difference between the Iraqi and Syrian WMD playbooks is Vladimir Putin, who now realizes that destruction of Russia is the real end game. Apparently, Putin has decided that he has more to lose than to gain by appeasing the neocon crazies. “Why would we want a world without Russia?” asks Putin, and by that I think he means that as far as he’s concerned, Russia’s existence is at stake in any showdown with the west in Syria.

      All this adds up to a world of hurt (possibly death) for the 99% who have to suffer the consequences of unending neocon aggression.

    • Saad
      March 21, 2018 at 8:49 pm

      exactly

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