How Many Millions Have Been Killed in America’s Post-9/11 Wars? Part 3: Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen

In the third and final part of his series, Nicolas JS Davies investigates the death toll of U.S. covert and proxy wars in Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen and underscores the importance of comprehensive war mortality studies.

By Nicolas J S Davies Special to Consortium News

In the first two parts of this report, I have estimated that about 2.4 million people have been killed as a result of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, while about 1.2 million have been killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan as a result of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.  In the third and final part of this report, I will estimate how many people have been killed as a result of U.S. military and CIA interventions in Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen.

Of the countries that the U.S. has attacked and destabilized since 2001, only Iraq has been the subject of comprehensive “active” mortality studies that can reveal otherwise unreported deaths. An “active” mortality study is one that “actively” surveys households to find deaths that have not previously been reported by news reports or other published sources.

U.S. Army forces operating in southern Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Apr. 2, 2003 (U.S. Navy photo)

These studies are often carried out by people who work in the field of public health, like Les Roberts at Columbia University, Gilbert Burnham at Johns Hopkins and Riyadh Lafta at Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, who co-authored the 2006 Lancet study of Iraq war mortality.  In defending their studies in Iraq and their results, they emphasized that their Iraqi survey teams were independent of the occupation government and that that was an important factor in the objectivity of their studies and the willingness of people in Iraq to talk honestly with them.

Comprehensive mortality studies in other war-torn countries (like Angola, Bosnia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, Iraq, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sudan and Uganda) have revealed total numbers of deaths that are 5 to 20 times those previously revealed by “passive” reporting based on news reports, hospital records and/or human rights investigations.

In the absence of such comprehensive studies in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen, I have evaluated passive reports of war deaths and tried to assess what proportion of actual deaths these passive reports are likely to have counted by the methods they have used, based on ratios of actual deaths to passively reported deaths found in other war-zones.

I have only estimated violent deaths.  None of my estimates include deaths from the indirect effects of these wars, such as the destruction of hospitals and health systems, the spread of otherwise preventable diseases and the effects of malnutrition and environmental pollution, which have also been substantial in all these countries.

For Iraq, my final estimate of about 2.4 million people killed was based on accepting the estimates of the 2006 Lancet study and the 2007 Opinion Research Business (ORB) survey, which were consistent with each other, and then applying the same ratio of actual deaths to passively reported deaths (11.5:1) as between the Lancet study and Iraq Body Count (IBC) in 2006 to IBC’s count for the years since 2007.

For Afghanistan, I estimated that about 875,000 Afghans have been killed.  I explained that the annual reports on civilian casualties by the UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) are based only on investigations completed by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), and that they knowingly exclude large numbers of reports of civilian deaths that the AIHRC has not yet investigated or for which it has not completed its investigations.  UNAMA’s reports also lack any reporting at all from many areas of the country where the Taliban and other Afghan resistance forces are active, and where many or most U.S. air strikes and night raids therefore take place.

I concluded that UNAMA’s reporting of civilian deaths in Afghanistan appears to be as inadequate as the extreme under-reporting found at the end of the Guatemalan Civil War, when the UN-sponsored Historical Verification Commission revealed 20 times more deaths than previously reported.

For Pakistan, I estimated that about 325,000 people had been killed.  That was based on published estimates of combatant deaths, and on applying an average of the ratios found in previous wars (12.5:1) to the number of civilian deaths reported by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP) in India.

Estimating Deaths in Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen

In the third and final part of this report, I will estimate the death toll caused by U.S. covert and proxy wars in Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen.

Senior U.S. military officers have hailed the U.S. doctrine of covert and proxy war that found its full flowering under the Obama administration as a “disguised, quiet, media-free” approach to war, and have traced the development of this doctrine back to U.S. wars in Central America in the 1980s.  While the U.S. recruitment, training, command and control of death squads in Iraq was dubbed “the Salvador Option,” U.S. strategy in Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen has in fact followed this model even more closely.

These wars have been catastrophic for the people of all these countries, but the U.S.’s “disguised, quiet, media-free” approach to them has been so successful in propaganda terms that most Americans know very little about the U.S. role in the intractable violence and chaos that has engulfed them.

The very public nature of the illegal but largely symbolic missile strikes on Syria on April 14, 2018 stands in sharp contrast to the “disguised, quiet, media-free” U.S.-led bombing campaign that has destroyed Raqqa, Mosul and several other Syrian and Iraqi cities with more than 100,000 bombs and missiles since 2014.

The people of Mosul, Raqqa, Kobane, Sirte, Fallujah, Ramadi, Tawergha and Deir Ez-Zor have died like trees falling in a forest where there were no Western reporters or TV crews to record their massacres.  As Harold Pinter asked of earlier U.S. war crimes in his 2005 Nobel acceptance speech,

“Did they take place?  And are they in all cases attributable to U.S. foreign policy?  The answer is yes, they did take place, and they are in all cases attributable to American foreign policy. But you wouldn’t know it.  It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening, it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest.”

For more detailed background on the critical role the U.S. has played in each of these wars, please read my article, “Giving War Too Many Chances,” published in January 2018.

Libya

The only legal justification for NATO and its Arab monarchist allies to have dropped at least 7,700 bombs and missiles on Libya and invaded it with special operations forces beginning in February 2011 was UN Security Council resolution 1973, which authorized “all necessary measures” for the narrowly defined purpose of protecting civilians in Libya.

Smoke is seen after an NATO airstrikes hit Tripoli, Libya Photo: REX

But the war instead killed far more civilians than any estimate of the number killed in the initial rebellion in February and March 2011, which ranged from 1,000 (a UN estimate) to 6,000 (according to the Libyan Human Rights League).  So the war clearly failed in its stated, authorized purpose, to protect civilians, even as it succeeded in a different and unauthorized one: the illegal overthrow of the Libyan government.

SC resolution 1973 expressly prohibited “a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.”  But NATO and its allies launched a covert invasion of Libya by thousands of Qatari and Western special operations forces, who planned the rebels’ advance across the country, called in air strikes against government forces and led the final assault on the Bab al-Aziziya military headquarters in Tripoli.

Qatari Chief of Staff Major General Hamad bin Ali al-Atiya, proudly told AFP,

“We were among them and the numbers of Qataris on the ground were in the hundreds in every region.  Training and communications had been in Qatari hands. Qatar… supervised the rebels’ plans because they are civilians and did not have enough military experience. We acted as the link between the rebels and NATO forces.”

There are credible reports that a French security officer may even have delivered the coup de grace that killed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, after he was captured, tortured and sodomized with a knife by the “NATO rebels.”

A parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry in the U.K. in 2016 concluded that a “limited intervention to protect civilians drifted into an opportunistic policy of regime change by military means,” resulting in, “political and economic collapse, inter-militia and inter-tribal warfare, humanitarian and migrant crises, widespread human rights violations, the spread of Gaddafi regime weapons across the region and the growth of Isil [Islamic State] in north Africa.”

Passive Reports of Civilian Deaths in Libya

Once the Libyan government was overthrown, journalists tried to inquire about the sensitive subject of civilian deaths, which was so critical to the legal and political justifications for the war.  But the National Transitional Council (NTC), the unstable new government formed by Western-backed exiles and rebels, stopped issuing public casualty estimates and ordered hospital staff not to release information to reporters.

In any case, as in Iraq and Afghanistan, morgues were overflowing during the war and many people buried their loved ones in their backyards or wherever they could, without taking them to hospitals.

A rebel leader estimated in August 2011 that 50,000 Libyans had been killed.  Then, on September 8th 2011, Naji Barakat, the NTC’s new health minister, issued a statement that 30,000 people had been killed and another 4,000 were missing, based on a survey of hospitals, local officials and rebel commanders in the majority of the country that the NTC by then controlled.  He said it would take several more weeks to complete the survey, so he expected the final figure to be higher.

Barakat’s statement did not include separate counts of combatant and civilian deaths.  But he said that about half of the 30,000 reported dead were troops loyal to the government, including 9,000 members of the Khamis Brigade, led by Gaddafi’s son Khamis.  Barakat asked the public to report deaths in their families and details of missing persons when they came to mosques for prayers that Friday. The NTC’s estimate of 30,000 people killed appeared to consist mainly of combatants on both sides.

Hundreds of refugees from Libya line up for food at a transit camp near the Tunisia-Libya border. March 5, 2016. (Photo from the United Nations)

The most comprehensive survey of war deaths since the end of the 2011 war in Libya was an “epidemiological community-based study” titled “Libyan Armed Conflict 2011: Mortality, Injury and Population Displacement.”  It was authored by three medical professors from Tripoli, and published in the African Journal of Emergency Medicine in 2015.

The authors took records of war deaths, injuries and displacement collected by the Ministry of Housing and Planning, and sent teams to conduct face-to-face interviews with a member of each family to verify how many members of their household were killed, wounded or displaced.  They did not try to separate the killing of civilians from the deaths of combatants.

Nor did they try to statistically estimate previously unreported deaths through the “cluster sample survey” method of the Lancet study in Iraq.  But the Libyan Armed Conflict study is the most complete record of confirmed deaths in the war in Libya up to February 2012, and it confirmed the deaths of at least 21,490 people.

In 2014, the ongoing chaos and factional fighting in Libya flared up into what Wikipedia now calls a second Libyan Civil War.  A group called Libya Body Count (LBC) began tabulating violent deaths in Libya, based on media reports, on the model of Iraq Body Count (IBC).  But LBC only did so for three years, from January 2014 until December 2016.  It counted 2,825 deaths in 2014, 1,523 in 2015 and 1,523 in 2016. (The LBC website says it was just a coincidence that the number was identical in 2015 and 2016.)

The U.K.-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data (ACLED) project has also kept a count of violent deaths in Libya.  ACLED counted 4,062 deaths in 2014-6, compared with 5,871 counted by Libya Body Count.  For the remaining periods between March 2012 and March 2018 that LBC did not cover, ACLED has counted 1,874 deaths.

If LBC had covered the whole period since March 2012, and found the same proportionally higher number than ACLED as it did for 2014-6, it would have counted 8,580 people killed.

Estimating How Many People Have Really Been Killed in Libya

Combining the figures from the Libyan Armed Conflict 2011 study and our combined, projected figure from Libya Body Count and ACLED gives a total of 30,070 passively reported deaths since February 2011.

The Libyan Armed Conflict (LAC) study was based on official records in a country that had not had a stable, unified government for about 4 years, while Libya Body Count was a fledgling effort to emulate Iraq Body Count that tried to cast a wider net by not relying only on English-language news sources.

In Iraq, the ratio between the 2006 Lancet study and Iraq Body Count was higher because IBC was only counting civilians, while the Lancet study counted Iraqi combatants as well as civilians.  Unlike Iraq Body Count, both our main passive sources in Libya counted both civilians and combatants.  Based on the one-line descriptions of each incident in the Libya Body Count database, LBC’s total appears to include roughly half combatants and half civilians.

Military casualties are generally counted more accurately than civilian ones, and military forces have an interest in accurately assessing enemy casualties as well as identifying their own. The opposite is true of civilian casualties, which are nearly always evidence of war crimes that the forces who killed them have a strong interest in suppressing.

So, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, I treated combatants and civilians separately, applying typical ratios between passive reporting and mortality studies only to civilians, while accepting reported combatant deaths as they were passively reported.

But the forces fighting in Libya are not a national army with the strict chain of command and organizational structure that results in accurate reporting of military casualties in other countries and conflicts, so both civilian and combatant deaths appear to be significantly under-reported by my two main sources, the Libya Armed Conflict study and Libya Body Count.  In fact, the National Transitional Council’s (NTC) estimates  from August and September 2011 of 30,000 deaths were already much higher than the numbers of war deaths in the LAC study.

When the 2006 Lancet study of mortality in Iraq was published, it revealed 14 times the number of deaths counted in Iraq Body Count’s list of civilian deaths.  But IBC later discovered more deaths from that period, reducing the ratio between the Lancet study’s estimate and IBC’s revised count to 11.5:1.

The combined totals from the Libya Armed Conflict 2011 study and Libya Body Count appear to be a larger proportion of total violent deaths than Iraq Body Count has counted in Iraq, mainly because LAC and LBC both counted combatants as well as civilians, and because Libya Body Count included deaths reported in Arabic news sources, while IBC relies almost entirely on English language news sources and generally requires “a minimum of two independent data sources” before recording each death.

In other conflicts, passive reporting has never succeeded in counting more than a fifth of the deaths found by comprehensive, “active” epidemiological studies.  Taking all these factors into account, the true number of people killed in Libya appears to be somewhere between five and twelve times the numbers counted by the Libya Armed Conflict 2011 study, Libya Body Count and ACLED.

So I estimate that about 250,000 Libyans have been killed in the war, violence and chaos that the U.S. and its allies unleashed in Libya in February 2011, and which continues to the present day.  Taking 5:1 and 12:1 ratios to passively counted deaths as outer limits, the minimum number of people that have been killed would be 150,000 and the maximum would be 360,000.

Syria

The “disguised, quiet, media-free” U.S. role in Syria began in late 2011 with a CIA operation to funnel foreign fighters and weapons through Turkey and Jordan into Syria, working with Qatar and Saudi Arabia to militarize unrest that began with peaceful Arab Spring protests against Syria’s Baathist government.

Smoke billows skyward as homes and buildings are shelled in the city of Homs, Syria. June 9, 2012. (Photo from the United Nations)

The mostly leftist and democratic Syrian political groups coordinating non-violent protests in Syria in 2011 strongly opposed these foreign efforts to unleash a civil war, and issued strong statements opposing violence, sectarianism and foreign intervention.

But even as a December 2011 Qatari-sponsored opinion poll found that 55% of Syrians supported their government, the U.S. and its allies were committed to adapting their Libyan regime change model to Syria, knowing full well from the outset that this war would be much bloodier and more destructive.

The CIA and its Arab monarchist partners eventually funneled thousands of tons of weapons and thousands of foreign Al-Qaeda-linked jihadis into Syria.  The weapons came first from Libya, then from Croatia and the Balkans. They included howitzers, missile launchers and other heavy weapons, sniper rifles, rocket propelled grenades, mortars and small arms, and the U.S. eventually directly supplied powerful anti-tank missiles.

Meanwhile, instead of cooperating with Kofi Annan’s UN-backed efforts to bring peace to Syria in 2012, the U.S. and its allies held three “Friends of Syria” conferences, where they pursued their own “Plan B,” pledging ever-growing support to the increasingly Al-Qaeda-dominated rebels.  Kofi Annan quit his thankless role in disgust after Secretary of State Clinton and her British, French and Saudi allies cynically undermined his peace plan.

The rest, as they say, is history, a history of ever-spreading violence and chaos that has drawn the U.S., U.K., France, Russia, Iran and all of Syria’s neighbors into its bloody vortex.  As Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies has observed, these external powers have all been ready to fight over Syria “to the last Syrian.”

The bombing campaign that President Obama launched against Islamic State in 2014 is the heaviest bombing campaign since the U.S. War in Vietnam, dropping more than 100,000 bombs and missiles on Syria and Iraq.  Patrick Cockburn, the veteran Middle East correspondent of the U.K.’s Independent newspaper, recently visited Raqqa, formerly Syria’s 6th largest city, and wrote that, “The destruction is total.”

“In other Syrian cities bombed or shelled to the point of oblivion there is at least one district that has survived intact,” Cockburn wrote. “This is the case even in Mosul in Iraq, though much of it was pounded into rubble. But in Raqqa the damage and the demoralization are all pervasive.  When something does work, such as a single traffic light, the only one to do so in the city, people express surprise.”

Estimating Violent Deaths in Syria

Every public estimate of the numbers of people killed in Syria that I have found comes directly or indirectly from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), run by Rami Abdulrahman in Coventry in the U.K.  He is a former political prisoner from Syria, and he works with four assistants in Syria who in turn draw on a network of about 230 anti-government activists across the country.  His work receives some funding from the European Union, and also reportedly some from the U.K. government.

Wikipedia cites the Syrian Centre for Policy Research as a separate source with a higher fatality estimate, but this is in fact a projection from SOHR’s figures.  Lower estimates by the UN appear to also be based mainly on SOHR’s reports.

SOHR has been criticized for its unabashedly opposition viewpoint, leading some to question the objectivity of its data.  It appears to have seriously undercounted civilians killed by U.S. air strikes, but this could also be due to the difficulty and danger of reporting from IS-held territory, as has also been the case in Iraq.

A protest placard in the Kafersousah neighborhood of Damascus, Syria, on Dec. 26, 2012. (Photo credit: Freedom House Flickr)

SOHR acknowledges that its count cannot be a total estimate of all the people killed in Syria.  In its most recent report in March 2018, it added 100,000 to its tally to compensate for under-reporting, another 45,000 to account for prisoners killed or disappeared in government custody and 12,000 for people killed, disappeared or missing in Islamic State or other rebel custody.

Leaving aside these adjustments, SOHR’s March 2018 report documents the deaths of 353,935 combatants and civilians in Syria.  That total is comprised of 106,390 civilians; 63,820 Syrian troops; 58,130 members of pro-government militias (including 1,630 from Hezbollah and 7,686 other foreigners); 63,360 Islamic State, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) and other Islamist jihadis; 62,039 other anti-government combatants; and 196 unidentified bodies.

Breaking this down simply into civilians and combatants, that is 106,488 civilians and 247,447 combatants killed (with the 196 unidentified bodies divided equally), including 63,820 Syrian Army troops.

The SOHR’s count is not a comprehensive statistical survey like the 2006 Lancet study in Iraq.  But regardless of its pro-rebel viewpoint, the SOHR appears to be one of the most comprehensive efforts to “passively” count the dead in any recent war.

Like military institutions in other countries, the Syrian Army probably keeps fairly accurate casualty figures for its own troops.  Excluding actual military casualties, it would be unprecedented for SOHR to have counted more than 20% of other people killed in Syria’s Civil War. But SOHR’s reporting may well be as thorough as any previous efforts to count the dead by “passive” methods.

Taking the SOHR’s passively reported figures for non-military war deaths as 20% of the real total killed would mean that 1.45 million civilians and non-military combatants have been killed.  After adding the 64,000 Syrian troops killed to that number, I estimate that about 1.5 million people have been killed in Syria.

If SOHR has been more successful than any previous “passive” effort to count the dead in a war, and has counted 25% or 30% of the people killed, the real number killed could be as low as 1 million.  If it has not been as successful as it seems, and its count is closer to what has been typical in other conflicts, then as many as 2 million people may well have been killed.

Somalia

Most Americans remember the U.S. intervention in Somalia that led to the “Black Hawk Down” incident and the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 1993.  But most Americans do not remember, or may never have known, that the U.S. made another “disguised, quiet, media-free” intervention in Somalia in 2006, in support of an Ethiopian military invasion.

Somalia was finally “pulling itself up by its bootstraps” under the governance of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), a union of local traditional courts who agreed to work together to govern the country.  The ICU allied with a warlord in Mogadishu and defeated the other warlords who had ruled private fiefdoms since the collapse of the central government in 1991.  People who knew the country well hailed the ICU as a hopeful development for peace and stability in Somalia.

But in the context of its “war on terror,” the U.S. government identified the Islamic Courts Union as an enemy and a target for military action.  The U.S. allied with Ethiopia, Somalia’s traditional regional rival (and a majority Christian country), and conducted air strikes and special forces operations to support an Ethiopian invasion of Somalia to remove the ICU from power. As in every other country the U.S. and its proxies have invaded since 2001, the effect was to plunge Somalia back into violence and chaos that continues to this day.

Estimating the Death Toll in Somalia

Passive sources put the violent death toll in Somalia since the U.S.-backed Ethiopian invasion in 2006 at 20,171 (Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) – through 2016) and 24,631 (Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project  (ACLED)).  But an award-winning local NGO, the Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre in Mogadishu, which tracked deaths only for 2007 and 2008, counted 16,210 violent deaths in those two years alone, 4.7 times the number counted by UCDP and 5.8 times ACLED’s tally for those two years.

In Libya, Libya Body Count only counted 1.45 times as many deaths as ACLED.  In Somalia, Elman Peace counted 5.8 times more than ACLED – the difference between the two was 4 times as great.  This suggests that Elman Peace’s counting was about twice as thorough as Libya Body Count’s, while ACLED seems to be about half as effective at counting war deaths in Somalia as in Libya.

UCDP logged higher numbers of deaths than ACLED from 2006 until 2012, while ACLED has published higher numbers than UCDP since 2013.  The average of their two counts gives a total of 23,916 violent deaths from July 2006 to 2017. If Elman Peace had kept counting war deaths and had continued to find 5.25 ( the average of 4.7 and 5.8) times the numbers found by these international monitoring groups, it would by now have counted about 125,000 violent deaths since the U.S.-backed Ethiopian invasion in July 2006.

But while Elman Peace counted many more deaths than UCDP or ACLED, this was still just a “passive” count of war deaths in Somalia.  To estimate the total number of war deaths that have resulted from the U.S. decision to destroy Somalia’s fledgling ICU government, we must multiply these figures by a ratio that falls somewhere between those found in other conflicts, between 5:1 and 20:1.

Applying a 5:1 ratio to my projection of what the Elman Project might have counted by now yields a total of 625,000 deaths.  Applying a 20:1 ratio to the much lower counts by UCDP and ACLED would give a lower figure of 480,000.

It is very unlikely that the Elman Project was counting more than 20% of actual deaths all over Somalia.  On the other hand, UCDP and ACLED were only counting reports of deaths in Somalia from their bases in Sweden and the U.K., based on published reports, so they may well have counted less than 5% of actual deaths.

If the Elman Project was only capturing 15% of total deaths instead of 20%, that would suggest that 830,000 people have been killed since 2006.  If UCDP’s and ACLED’s counts have captured more than 5% of total deaths, the real total could be lower than 480,000. But that would imply that the Elman Project was identifying an even higher proportion of actual deaths, which would be unprecedented for such a project.

So I estimate that the true number of people killed in Somalia since 2006 must be somewhere between 500,000 and 850,000, with most likely about 650,000 violent deaths.

Yemen

The U.S. is part of a coalition that has been bombing Yemen since 2015 in an effort to restore former President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi to power.  Hadi was elected in 2012 after Arab Spring protests and armed uprisings forced Yemen’s previous U.S.-backed dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to resign in November 2011.

Hadi’s mandate was to draw up a new constitution and organize a new election within two years.  He did neither of these things, so the powerful Zaidi Houthi movement invaded the capital in September 2014, placed Hadi under house arrest and demanded that he and his government fulfill their mandate and organize a new election.

The Zaidis are a unique Shiite sect who make up 45% of Yemen’s population.  Zaidi Imams ruled most of Yemen for over a thousand years. Sunnis and Zaidis have lived together peacefully in Yemen for centuries, intermarriage is common and they pray in the same mosques.

The last Zaidi Imam was overthrown in a civil war in the 1960s.  In that war, the Saudis supported the Zaidi royalists, while Egypt invaded Yemen to support the republican forces who eventually formed the Yemen Arab Republic in 1970.

In 2014, Hadi refused to cooperate with the Houthis, and resigned in January 2015.  He fled to Aden, his hometown, and then to Saudi Arabia, which launched a savage U.S.-backed bombing campaign and naval blockade to try to restore him to power.

While Saudi Arabia is conducting most of the air strikes, the U.S. has sold most of the planes, bombs, missiles and other weapons it is using.  The U.K. is the Saudis’ second largest arms supplier. Without U.S. satellite intelligence and in-air refueling, Saudi Arabia could not conduct airstrikes all over Yemen as it is doing.  So a cut-off of U.S. weapons, in-air refueling and diplomatic support could be decisive in ending the war.

Estimating War Deaths in Yemen

Published estimates of war deaths in Yemen are based on regular surveys of hospitals there by the World Health Organization, often relayed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).  The most recent estimate, from December 2017, is that 9,245 people have been killed, including 5,558 civilians.

But UNOCHA’s December 2017 report included a note that, “Due to the high number of health facilities that are not functioning or partially functioning as a result of the conflict, these numbers are underreported and likely higher.”

A neighborhood in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa after an airstrike, October 9, 2015. (Wikipedia)

Even when hospitals are fully functioning, many people killed in war do not ever make it to a hospital.  Several hospitals in Yemen have been struck by Saudi air strikes, there is a naval blockade that restricts imports of medicine, and supplies of electricity, water, food and fuel have all been affected by the bombing and the blockade.  So the WHO’s summaries of mortality reports from hospitals are likely to be a small fraction of the real numbers of people killed.

ACLED reports a slightly lower figure than the WHO: 7,846 through the end of 2017.  But unlike the WHO, ACLED has up to date data for 2018, and reports another 2,193 deaths since January.  If the WHO continues to report 18% more deaths than ACLED, the WHO’s total up to the present would be 11,833.

Even UNOCHA and the WHO acknowledge substantial underreporting of war deaths in Yemen, and the ratio between the WHO’s passive reports and actual deaths appears to be toward the higher end of the range found in other wars, which has varied between 5:1 and 20:1.  I estimate that about 175,000 people have been killed – 15 times the numbers reported by the WHO and ACLED – with a minimum of 120,000 and a maximum of 240,000.

The True Human Cost of U.S. Wars

Altogether, in the three parts of this report, I have estimated that America’s post-9/11 wars have killed about 6 million people.  Maybe the true number is only 5 million. Or maybe it is 7 million. But I am quite certain that it is several millions.

It is not only hundreds of thousands, as many otherwise well-informed people believe, because compilations of “passive reporting” can never amount to more than a fraction of the actual numbers of people killed in countries living through the kind of violence and chaos that our country’s aggression has unleashed on them since 2001.

The systematic reporting of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has surely captured a larger fraction of actual deaths than the small number of completed investigations deceptively reported as mortality estimates by the UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan.  But both of them still only represent a fraction of total deaths.

And the true number of people killed is most definitely not in the tens of thousands, as most of the general public in the U.S. and in the U.K. have been led to believe, according to opinion polls.

We urgently need public health experts to conduct comprehensive mortality studies in all the countries the U.S. has plunged into war since 2001, so that the world can respond appropriately to the true scale of death and destruction these wars have caused.

As Barbara Lee presciently warned her colleagues before she cast her lone dissenting vote in 2001, we have “become the evil we deplore.”  But these wars have not been accompanied by fearsome military parades (not yet) or speeches about conquering the world. Instead they have been politically justified by “information warfare” to demonize enemies and fabricate crises, and then waged in a “disguised, quiet, media free” way, to hide their cost in human blood from the American public and the world.

After 16 years of war, about 6 million violent deaths, 6 countries utterly destroyed and many more destabilized, it is urgent that the American public come to terms with the true human cost of our country’s wars and how we have been manipulated and misled into turning a blind eye to them – before they go on even longer, destroy more countries, further undermine the rule of international law and kill millions more of our fellow human beings.

As Hannah Arendt wrote in The Origins of Totalitarianism, “We can no longer afford to take that which is good in the past and simply call it our heritage, to discard the bad and simply think of it as a dead load which by itself time will bury in oblivion.  The subterranean stream of Western history has finally come to the surface and usurped the dignity of our tradition. This is the reality in which we live.”

Nicolas J.S. Davies is the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq. He also wrote the chapter on “Obama at War” in Grading the 44th President: a Report Card on Barack Obama’s First Term as a Progressive Leader.

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63 comments for “How Many Millions Have Been Killed in America’s Post-9/11 Wars? Part 3: Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen

  1. Aditi Narayan
    May 1, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    Dear Mr. Davies,

    I hope you are well. Thank you for writing this.

    My name is Aditi Narayan, and I am a third-year undergraduate studying Media, Culture, and Communications at New York University.

    I wanted to inform you about some research I am doing on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, and how the United States’s involvement in Saudi Arabia’s attacks on the Houthi population has lacked coverage by mainstream American news media.

    I was wondering if you had faced any challenges in overcoming barriers set by the corporate media as well as liberal press in discussing alternative viewpoints regarding the crisis that don’t suit the interests of larger American corporations or governments? I would also love to learn about any other insight you may have on how such a grave situation is being misreported or ignored by American mainstream media. I personally find it challenging to be critical of how we as readers ingest the media, as we can only access what certain search engines allow us to access.

    I would also love to know about any other writers or journalists that have written about alternative viewpoints regarding this crisis that have not been addressed by mainstream media news.

    I would be happy to discuss this further at a time that’s convenient for you. Otherwise you can always reach me via e-mail.

    Thank you for your guidance and insight, and I hope you are having a lovely week.

    Sincerely,

    Aditi

    • Nicolas J S Davies
      May 5, 2018 at 3:16 pm

      Dear Aditi,

      You are welcome to email me at peacetopower@aol.com

      Best wishes,
      Nicolas

  2. Antiwar7
    April 27, 2018 at 11:10 pm

    6 million killed by the wars of choice launched by the US government since 2001. “Never again”? What baloney. It’s obscene.

    And this doesn’t include the millions killed in the Congo and Rwanda after the US/British sponsored RPF invasion of Rwanda. And all the death squads supported by the US government and what they’ve done in Central and South America.

    The US isn’t on the wrong side. It is the wrong side.

  3. Abe
    April 27, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    For over a month (since March 22, 2018), Nicolas J.S. Davies has not responded to questions concerning his presentation of the U.K.-Based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) as an “independent monitoring” group.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxIZNscLHnc

    Davies is obviously impressed by what he terms the “comprehensive efforts” of Rami Abdulrahman’s SOHR to supply impressive casualty tallies.

    However, Davies account of the “efforts” of Abdul Rahman and SOHR is far from comprehensive.

    Davies does mention reports that SOHR “seriously undercounted civilians killed by U.S. air strikes”.

    But Davies neglects to mention reports documenting SOHR “efforts” to grossly inflate the numbers of people killed and mis-attribute civilian casualties during Syrian government and allied military operations.

    SOHR reports about Aleppo and alleged chemical incidents in Syria are conspicuous cases in point.

    By any reasonable standard, SOHR “efforts” frequently qualify as the “incongruous propaganda exercise” that Davies understandably deplored in his article “The Illusion of War Without Casualties” (March 9, 2018) at CN.

    In fact, the main “efforts” of Abdul Rahman and SOHR have been to supply the illusion of war with casualties – immense casualties – nearly all attributed to designated enemies of the Israeli-Saudi-U.S. Axis “regime change” project in the Middle East.

    Davies deems SOHR too “successful” to investigate beyond Abdul Rahman’s impressive kill counts.

    Who is actually killing the people of Syria doesn’t seem to matter much to a busy tallyman. It’s yet another inconvenient “task” that Davies didn’t “set” for himself.

    The result is an incongruous exercise in journalism, at best, particularly in light of current events in Syria.

    • Nicolas J S Davies
      April 28, 2018 at 1:33 pm

      If you have read all three parts of my report, you will know that I have tried to find the most useful passive reports on war deaths in each country from which to calculate how many people have probably been killed. As I wrote in the section on Syria, nearly every published record of war deaths in Syria is actually derived from the SOHRC’s figures, so that seemed like the best starting point in that case. And of course it is precisely the pro-Western, anti-government bias of the SOHRC that makes its estimates likely to be a larger proportion of deaths than, for instance, UNAMA’s absurd under-estimates of how many Afghans have been killed in the American War in Afghanistan.

    • Abe
      April 28, 2018 at 7:16 pm

      Mr. Davies,

      The “useful” reports of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights have been used extensively by armed forces seeking “regime change” in Syria.

      Indeed, the fact that “nearly every published record of war deaths in Syria is actually derived from the SOHRC’s [sic] figures” is a cause for great concern.

      It appears that SOHR is not merely your “starting point” but your ending point concerning violent deaths Syria’s “dirty war”.

      Your article side-steps many concerns about SOHR and the reliability of its reports.

      Merely identifying the all-too-evident “bias” of SOHR befits the narrowness of your purported “task”.

      But ignoring the “information warfare” function of SOHR, and promoting Abdul Rahman’s operation as “independent”, situates your article in the realm of propaganda, not journalism.

  4. Abe
    April 27, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    For over a month (since March 22, 2018), Nicolas J.S. Davies has not responded to questions concerning his presentation of the U.K.-Based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) as an “independent monitoring” group.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxIZNscLHnc

    Davies is obviously impressed by what he terms the “comprehensive efforts” of Rami Abdulrahman’s SOHR to supply impressive casualty tallies.

    However, Davies account of the Abdul Rahman’s “efforts” is far from comprehensive.

    Davies mentions reports that SOHR “seriously undercounted civilians killed by U.S. air strikes”, but neglects to mention reports documenting SOHR “efforts” to grossly inflate the numbers of people killed and mis-attribute civilian casualties during Syrian government and allied military operations.

    SOHR reports about Aleppo and alleged chemical incidents in Syria are conspicuous cases in point.

    By any reasonable standard, Abdul Rahman’s “efforts” qualify as a form of “incongruous propaganda exercise” that Davies undersandably deplored in his article “The Illusion of War Without Casualties” (March 9, 2018) at CN.

    In fact, the main “efforts” of SOHR have been to supply the illusion of war with casualties – immense casualties – nearly all attributed to designated enemies of the Israeli-Saudi-U.S. Axis “regime change” project.

    Davies deems SOHR too “successful” to investigate beyond Abdul Rahman’s impressive kill counts.

    Who is actually killing the people of Syria doesn’t seem to matter much to the busy tallyman.

  5. Hans Zandvliet
    April 27, 2018 at 11:21 am

    So, adding the 1.5 m deaths of the First Gulf War and the following blockade, the death toll in the MENA countries stands now at around 7.5 m since 1990.
    That is on average some 270,000 people massacred every year over a period of 28 years.
    Washington has surpassed Hitler’s record massacre of 6 million jews…

  6. Loretta
    April 27, 2018 at 8:06 am

    Thank you for all the work you have put into these articles. I have sleepless nights worrying and wondering what can be done to stop this madness. It’s high time to start up a potent anti-war movement again, I feel. And high time to rescue our nations from the madmen who sacrifice human lives for profits.

  7. Abby
    April 26, 2018 at 12:46 am

    Good lord, the number of people who have been killed by our military is staggering. That men and women can willingly join up knowing that they will be sent into countries that haven’t done anything to ours is something that I will never understand. It’s no wonder that they come home from war with PTSD.

    This is from the “death squads” article .. This wasn’t only done by the people that we recruited, but by members of our military!

    “the U.S. responded to resistance in Iraq with a “divide and rule” strategy that relied heavily on recruiting, training and deploying Special Police commandos to detain, torture and summarily execute tens of thousands of young men and boys in areas that resist the illegal U.S. invasion and occupation of their country. At its peak in 2006, this genocidal campaign delivered over 1,600 corpsesper month to the morgue in Baghdad.”

    We are responsible for the creation of Al Qaida, ISIS and other death squads and the men who fought against them during the Iraq war are now training them to help us overthrow Assad. This group of killers are who we used to kill Gaddafi?

    Why are we going from country to country and causing murder and mayhem? For those country’s resources and for military positions so we can invade the next country on the list.

    Reverend Wright was right!
    .

  8. Abe
    April 25, 2018 at 10:57 pm

    “Besides having won an Oscar for making documentaries, the White Helmets receive (or have received) the financial backing of:
    The United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office
    Chemonics, a U.S. based private international development company
    USAID, the U.S. State Department entity allegedly run by the CIA
    The Canadian government
    The Danish government
    The German government
    The Japanese government
    The New Zealand government

    “It is important to point out here, that Chemonics International has received a boatload of criticism of contracts issued to the development company by agencies of the US government. This company is the poster child for no-bid contracts and U.S. government inefficiency, case in point the 2010 Haiti Earthquake aid fiasco, and more recently the $9.5 billion health supply chain project implemented by Chemonics, which is the largest USAID project ever launched. I needn’t point out the other revenue sources’ vested interests in Syria. Once again, the ‘rabbit hole’ of western influence and strategy in world crises widens each time we look at the truth of geo-policy today. […]

    “western media coverage relies on input from the White Helmets. Associated Press (AP) photos of dead and hospitalized child victims credited to the White Helmets are used alongside sketchily documented statements, to convey unified narrative. […]

    “Now, is everyone clear on how World War III is already being fought?

    Today’s Outlook: Global Annihilation, Grave Robbing, and More
    By Phil Butler
    https://journal-neo.org/2018/04/19/today-s-outlook-global-annihilation-grave-robbing-and-more/

    • Abe
      April 26, 2018 at 2:45 am

      Nicolas J.S. Davies my well be too busy applauding Rami Abdul Rahman’s Syrian Observatory for Human Rights “reporting” as “one of the most comprehensive efforts to ‘passively’ count the dead in any recent war” to have noticed SOHR’s loud applause for the White Helmets:

      http://www.syriahr.com/en/?s=white+helmets

      Davies was so busy “passively” reporting the claims of SOHR, particularly its claim of a “network of about 230 anti-government activists across the country”, to consider how many so-called “activists” are Western-backed combatants and their White Helmets allies.

      Davies has so far not responded to CN reader concerns about these issues.

  9. April 25, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    I appreciate this article, but stopping these serial killers of US, NATO, and other Western nations i honestly believe will be by the decline and demise of the imperial front, and i do believe it is coming. Nature will play a large role. I do believe in moral laws of the universe, and every other power that has acted this way has met its end. In the meantime, some antiwar activity is stirring, and we are seeing that the recent lies of US and UK are not working. We all have to speak out and up for whatever response we meet.

  10. JohnA
    April 25, 2018 at 8:53 pm
  11. Donald
    April 25, 2018 at 7:57 pm

    The estimates in this series should be taken with a truckload of salt. It’s all based in the claim that “passive” counts only count 5 to 20 percent of the true death toll, but nobody applies this correction to most wars without evidence because there is no reason to think every war follows this rule. The 2013 mortality study in Iraq found about 300,000 violent deaths ( about 500,000 total) by 2011 which was probably a bit more than double IBC’s civilian count at the time. The case of Guatemala is often cited, but people at the time realized the death toll was likely in the 100,000 range or higher. The death toll in El Salvador was also fairly accurately known as in the tens of thousands, totaling about 70,000 by the end. Nobody thinks it was really five to twenty times larger. The death toll of the wars in former Yugoslavia in the 90’s were probably actually overstated at the time.

    The useful part of the series has been the examination of the passive counts and other estimates by actual experts. No doubt the passive estimates are much too low in many cases.

    I would welcome serious efforts at determining the truth death tolls and in particular I bet the deaths attributed to our forces and our allies are understated, perhaps massively so. I often wonder how many civilians the Syrian rebels have killed. I bet that number is deliberately underreported. But this sort of thing would require hard work by professionals in very difficult or impossible situations and there is probably little chance it will happen any time soon.

    • Sam F
      April 26, 2018 at 7:29 am

      We do not know the ratios, so we should not suggest a low estimate until further study, or we shall not get it.

    • Nicolas J S Davies
      May 5, 2018 at 3:57 pm

      Please read the first part of this report, on Iraq, for an analysis of the 2015 PLOS study you’re referring to, and why I (and its authors) think it undercounted war deaths in Iraq.

      The reason to think that war deaths are routinely undercounted by a factor of 5 to 20 is that that is what epidemiologists have found in every war-torn country where they have conducted comprehensive surveys over the past 25-30 years. Those results were widely accepted by Western politicians and media until they dared to use the same methods in Iraq, a country destroyed by a U.S.-U.K. invasion and hostile military occupation. Then the epidemiologists and their studies quickly became targets of Western “information warfare.” The main thrust of Western propaganda was to muddy the waters and dissuade journalists from tackling these questions at all. That has been largely successful, but I hope that my report will contribute to reopening discussion of these questions.

      Thank you for thinking about these questions. I will be as relieved as anyone if serious on-the-ground research eventually reveals that fewer than 6 million people have been killed in these wars, but this is my best estimate based on the limited information available at present.

  12. April 25, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    Sometimes very high estimates weaken the argument. When they are attacked, the opposition often seeks to be vindicated by see it is not as bad as all that. Whatever the numbers, they are still evidence of killing that should not have happened, and point the finger at the perpetrators. While I agree that the size of the holocaust matters, the judgment for a hundred thousand or a million are the same, they are heinous crimes. That the killers justify it as serving some geopolitical purpose and their crimes as serving the national interest bespeaks of a country that has lost its bearings and engaged in insane and inhuman behavior.

    but

    • WC
      April 25, 2018 at 7:58 pm

      You make a good point that very high estimates weaken the argument. However, numbers do matter because it points to the determination of the killers. Stalin, Hitler and Mao are three good examples of extraordinary killers. Others less so. All heinous, for sure.

      . . . “but”, as the most successful predator on this planet, excuse me while I point to the nature of the beast again. People have been complaining about our proficiency for killing forever. We kill EVERYTHING including ourselves. :)

  13. Andrew Nichols
    April 25, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    “Hundreds of thousands of deaths took place throughout these countries. Did they take place? And are they in all cases attributable to US foreign policy? The answer is yes they did take place and they are attributable to American foreign policy. But you wouldn’t know it.

    It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.

    I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road. Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self love. It’s a winner. Listen to all American presidents on television say the words, ‘the American people’, as in the sentence, ‘I say to the American people it is time to pray and to defend the rights of the American people and I ask the American people to trust their president in the action he is about to take on behalf of the American people.” Harold Pinter

    • mike k
      April 25, 2018 at 6:17 pm

      Harold Pinter is right. The blind are doing a masterful job of leading the blind towards the abyss………..

      https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2005/pinter-lecture-e.html

      • Nicolas J S Davies
        May 5, 2018 at 4:00 pm

        I urge anyone to read Pinter’s whole Nobel lecture. I would have liked to include more of it in the report, but I thought it was already long enough!

    • Abby
      April 26, 2018 at 12:56 am

      This is brilliant, Andrew. Yep. People in this country have been hypnotized and fed decades worth of propaganda and getting them to believe that our country’s military is only used as a force of good when it’s just the opposite and they have been nothing more than murderers of millions of innocent civilians. Men, women and children’s lives don’t matter if they happen to live on top of the resources that our “special interests” covet.

      Men and women willingly join the military knowing full well that they will be sent to foreign countries to kill innocent civilians. It’s no wonder that many of them develop PTSD after the things that they have done. I’m not sure if I feel any sympathy for them or not.

      “The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”

  14. Realist
    April 25, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    One must also damn the NATO and EU countries for being complicit in all of this. It’s one thing for Washington to be blinded by its own hubris, but Europeans are facilitating their own downfall by failing to even try to contain the hegemon. Now independent news sources tell us that political unrest is being fomented in Armenia to replicate the Maidan coup and quickly recruit Armenia into NATO. For what? So Washington can capture another piece on the board to use against Russia? So age-old tensions between the Christian Armenians and their surrounding Islamic neighbors can be exacerbated? You’d think that Europeans would have noticed by now that Washington always starts this shit in their back yard that nobody can then stop. American MIC corporations spin a neat profit, ultimately paid in blood by peoples half a globe away. Europe is the missing piece in saying “no” to the American killing machine. Or do Merkel and Micron fear that they’ll get “Skripaled” by messengers from the Black House?

    • mike k
      April 25, 2018 at 5:50 pm

      These other white guys in Europe want in on the supposed spoils dropping from the Empire’s table. What they are going to get is a nuclear war that they could have helped avoid, but didn’t. Being too cowardly and greedy has a very high price.

    • Loretta
      April 27, 2018 at 2:10 pm

      Who knows what pressure is brought to bear on european leaders? It is a misery beyond imagination to feel so helpless, watching this unfold and unable to stop it.

  15. Joe Tedesky
    April 25, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    I feel there is no better example for our American leaders disregard for life than this….

    “Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?
    Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.
    —60 Minutes (5/12/96)”

    What did America get for that awful price the Iraqi children paid? You tell me.

    • mike k
      April 25, 2018 at 5:46 pm

      Joe, unfortunately we got more of the same, and most Americans didn’t even blink, the propaganda con was so smooth………

    • Sam F
      April 25, 2018 at 7:56 pm

      That is a spectacular example of amoral thinking.

      The great strength of Nicolas Davies’ concluding figure is that the casualties equal the Jewish “holocaust” used to “justify” killing unrelated victims for Israel’s land thefts. Let zionists squabble about the numbers; they will still see the inevitable conclusion. He may have been right to leave that inevitable conclusion to he reader.

      That allows the rejoinder to zionists, that we have now killed for Israel as many innocents as Hitler, with no better cause. We have done nothing for the holocaust survivors, of whom few remain, but provided a homeland for amoral racists and helped them make enemies throughout the Mideast, at the cost of worldwide security problems and the destruction of democracy for the US. Not a defensible policy, it would seem.

      • Abby
        April 26, 2018 at 1:07 am

        Yes. I see no difference between the things that Hitler did and what we have done. One difference is that we don’t use ovens to kill people. But we have used chemical weapons including depleted uranium, white phosphorus, and other heinous ones. We even use chemical weapons on our own citizens.

        Israel’s horrific war crimes equal the crimes that were done to their ancestors and others that were killed in the camps. The Israeli troops who are purposely murdering men, women and even children in Gaza are no better than the Nazi soldiers who killed their family members. In my opinion.

        The hypocrisy of the governments that say they will not tolerate children being gassed in Syria while turning a blind eye to the children in Yemen who their allies the Saudis are murdering is staggering.

        I wish I knew a way to stop the wars. But they will not stop as long as the sociopaths are in power.

    • Gregory Herr
      April 25, 2018 at 8:53 pm
      • Joe Tedesky
        April 26, 2018 at 9:45 am

        It’s all in the Benjamins, isn’t it Gregory? Thanks for the video. Joe

    • michael
      April 26, 2018 at 6:13 pm

      Cheaper Oil?

  16. Abe
    April 25, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    Nicolas J S Davies has repeatedly referred to Rami Abdul Rahman’s Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a U.K.-based propaganda outlet allied with Western-backed armed terrorist forces battling the government of Syria.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Kwd-8lJUhI

    Bellingcat, White Helmets, and the Syria Observatory for Human Rights, plus a whole range of less well known bloggers and self-styled “open-source information” analysts, are no longer playing a supporting role in the ongoing information war that is an important component of hybrid wars.

    These fake NGOs are now playing a leading role in what US military doctrine refers to as “shaping the information battlefield” within the “Full Spectrum Dominance” agenda.

    Naturally, these propaganda launders are not setting the agenda or calling the shots. They have been assigned roles by the Israeli-Saudi-U.S. Axis that has besieged Syria.

    Bellingcat, White Helmets, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights turn what would otherwise be recognized as propaganda into “breaking news”-style stories that are then run, with reference to the NGO in question rather than the true source of the disinformation, by the mainstream media.

    • mike k
      April 25, 2018 at 5:43 pm

      Thanks Abe. Everything is about war now, there are no other important determinants of the power addict’s considerations. Information, economics, environmental problems, politics – just like in Hitler’s Germany, everything must serve the war effort, the effort to make the master white race rulers of the world. Of course they never say that in so many words, they just make sure that the majority fall in line with their obsession.

      • WC
        April 25, 2018 at 6:37 pm

        Everything is about money.

  17. elmerfudzie
    April 25, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    A dangerous and new schism has opened between the Eastern & Western Occident nations. A constellation of events have occurred both simultaneously and very recently: Abrupt failure to complete the Canadian-Alberta tar-sand pipeline (keystone XL), China backing away from purchasing a sizable chunk of Saudi oil, the Eastern SCO decision to trade in currencies and commodities outside the USD/swift exchange system and just a few days ago, a Debka article reporting that the US, France, UK are sending additional navy units for a second and sustained assault on Syria, all put together, indicate that Xi’s CCP anticipates a U.S. led war against North Korea and Iran, that begins in Syria. My guess is, the Neocons are, hellbent on keeping this (major) war option ready, in secret, and away from speculative market indicators. This is a crazy, control-freakish, group but they are, fully in charge, running the show, not Trump or the Pentagon. This new war will happen suddenly, without the usual warning signs and may drag Russia and China into the milieu.

  18. Abe
    April 25, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    Nicolas J.S. Davies has listed the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Airwars as “independent monitoring groups”. In fact, they are “regime change” propaganda launderers and anything but “independent”.

    Information on casualties sourced from Airwars, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and other UK-based propaganda organizations should be approached with extreme caution.

    Airwars “understanding” of events in Syria is based on reports collated from “regionally-focused monitoring groups” that include three notorious UK-based propaganda launderers: Rami Abdul Rahman’s Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), Fadel Abdul Ghani’s Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), and Eliot Higgins’ Bellingcat.

    Airwars reports on bombing on bombing in Syria fabricate a “tale” about “alleged Coalition and Russian civilian casualty incidents”

    Airwars is determined to convince its readers that U.S.-led Coalition airpower is less lethal than its Russian counterpart. For example, nowhere does Airwars acknowledge that civilian casualty figures for Aleppo were grossly inflated by Al Qaeda media and their White Helmets propaganda allies.

    Unsurprisingly, Airwars receives funding from George Soros’ Open Society Foundations.

    Airwars receives “geolocation” services from Bellingcat “journalist” Christiaan Triebert. Triebert receives “journalism” training at the War Studies Department of King’s College London where Eliot Higgins is a “Research Fellow”. Bellingcat “open-source investigation” scams get fronted by Triebert when the propaganda is, well, it’s a little too obvious even for the likes of Higgins.

    Airwars “Syria researcher” is Kinda Haddad, a media consultant and former BBC reporter. In addition to her work for Airwars, Haddad is the founder of Bubula, a website that purportedly aims to “expand the scope of the debate by introducing the most exciting, diverse and powerful female voices” on the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region.

    Haddad’s site featuring “Eastern Women in Western Media” is named after a type of song bird known for its beautiful voice. The label “bulbul” is given to people who are “eloquent”. Haddad gave the name “a feminine spin by adding a letter A at the end of it”, claiming the site will “carry the voices of a group of women from that part of the world”.

    Haddad apparently does not believe that any “eloquent” women live in the Syrian Arab Republic. The Bubula “experts” on Syria are exclusively aligned with “opposition” groups, media and NGOs.

    For example, Bubula “expert” on Syria Alia Ibrahim is a Senior Correspondent with Saudi-owned Al Arabiya News Channel, based in Dubai Media City, United Arab Emirates. Another Bubula “expert” on Syria, Kholoud Mansour based in Sweden, is a former Senior Fellow at Chatham House, a British think tank devoted to “regime change” in Eurasia.

    Airwars has provided primary “analysis” and “narrative” for visual representations produced by Forensic Architecture, a media agency based at Goldsmiths, University of London.

    Forensic Architecture purportedly specializes in “modelling dynamic events” and “creating navigable 3D models of environments”, aiming to “present information in a convincing, precise, and accessible manner”.

    The media agency produces high-tech graphic presentations of alleged “evidence” on behalf of human rights NGOs like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, political groups like the Atlantic Council, and other organizations.

    Forensic Architecture has collaborated with Airwars “journalists”, the Atlantic Council’s Bellingcat, and Human Rights Watch in previous dramatic presentations of later debunked claims about bombing in Aleppo.

    Forensic Architecture provided “modelling” services for the recent Human Rights Watch report on the 4 April 2017 chemical incident at Khan Sheikhoun
    https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/syria0517_web_2.pdf

    The report states that Human Rights Watch “obtained photos and videos of remnants of the munitions used in the attacks. Specialists in weapons identification and chemical weapons inside and outside the organization analyzed the remnants. Forensic Architecture, a group specializing in spatial analysis, created a model of a crater related to the Khan Sheikhoun attack from videos and photos, allowing for exact measurement of its size.” (HRW report page 10)

    The Human Rights Watch report debuted at a 1 May 2017 press conference at the United Nations. Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, repeatedly referred to the new HRW report as “our own investigation”. Responding to questions, Roth stated, “Yeah, I mean, um, we’ve used open source material, we’ve checked this with experts, we’re… we’re quite confident”

    However, it is clear from the report that HRW activities were limited to laundering a list of names supplied by “opposition” forces in Al-Qaeda controlled Idlib, and conducting telephone interviews with the “opposition” vetted alleged “witnesses”.

    Following its well-established pattern of “investigation”, HRW performed no independent verification of any of the “opposition” claims presented in its report.

    The HRW report relied most heavily on information supplied by “opposition” forces and laundered by the Atlantic Council’s Bellingcat group. HRW makes no mention of Bellingcat’s close cooperation with the Atlantic Council “regime change” agenda in Syria.

    Bellingcat is repeatedly cited in the HRW report’s footnotes. A photograph in the HRW report refers to “Bellingcat, a group specializing in analyzing information posted online, including videos and photographs” (page 24). HRW makes no mention of the fact that claims by Dan Kaszeta and Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat about previous alleged “chemical attacks” have been repeatedly debunked.

    Human Rights Watch relied on Bellingcat to “geolocate” Al Qaeda and White Helmets video and photos of the Khan Shaykhun incident. The report specifically states that “Based on landmarks visible in the photos and videos, Bellingcat geolocated the crater” (HRW report page 28) in the middle of the road in Khan Shaykhun.

    Human Rights Watch’s “specialist” on “chemical weapons”: Eliot Higgins’ collaborator Dan Kaszeta of Bellingcat (HRW report pages 29-30)

    Human Rights Watch’s “specialist” on “weapons identification”: Hadi Al Khatib of Bellingcat (HRW report page 41).

    In addition to posing as a “journalist” at Bellingcat. Al Khatib runs an organization called the “Syrian Archive”, a large database of Al Qaeda and White Helmets videos, allegedly “verified” as “documenting” human rights violations in Syria.

    Immediately after citing Kaszeta’s description of a sarin bomb explosion, the Human Rights watch report mentions “modelling” of the crater provided by Forensic Architecture: “Based on photos and videos, Forensic Architecture, an organization specializing in spatial analysis, created a three-dimensional model of the crater.” (HRW report page 30)

    Forensic Architecture “modelling” of Airwars and Bellingcat “investigations” provide conspicuous cases of garbage in, garbage out (GIGO).

    Apparently it’s highly profitable garbage. Capitalizing on its network of propaganda relationships, Forensic Architecture even got the gig of designing a cool new look for the Airwars website.

    In short, Airwars is a “regime change” propaganda project designed to inspire “humanitarian” outrage.

  19. Abe
    April 25, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    Nicolas J.S. Davies has listed the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Airwars as “independent monitoring groups”. In fact, they are “regime change” propaganda launderers and anything but “independent”.

    Information on casualties sourced from Airwars, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and other UK-based propaganda organizations should be approached with extreme caution.

    Airwars “understanding” of events in Syria is based on reports collated from “regionally-focused monitoring groups” that include three notorious UK-based propaganda launderers: Rami Abdul Rahman’s Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), Fadel Abdul Ghani’s Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), and Eliot Higgins’ Bellingcat.

    Airwars reports on bombing on bombing in Syria fabricate a “tale” about “alleged Coalition and Russian civilian casualty incidents”

    Airwars is determined to convince its readers that U.S.-led Coalition airpower is less lethal than its Russian counterpart. For example, nowhere does Airwars acknowledge that civilian casualty figures for Aleppo were grossly inflated by Al Qaeda media and their White Helmets propaganda allies.

    Unsurprisingly, Airwars receives funding from George Soros’ Open Society Foundations.

    Airwars receives “geolocation” services from Bellingcat “journalist” Christiaan Triebert. Triebert receives “journalism” training at the War Studies Department of King’s College London where Eliot Higgins is a “Research Fellow”. Bellingcat “open-source investigation” scams get fronted by Triebert when the propaganda is, well, it’s a little too obvious even for the likes of Higgins.

    Airwars “Syria researcher” is Kinda Haddad, a media consultant and former BBC reporter. In addition to her work for Airwars, Haddad is the founder of Bubula, a website that purportedly aims to “expand the scope of the debate by introducing the most exciting, diverse and powerful female voices” on the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region.

    Haddad’s site featuring “Eastern Women in Western Media” is named after a type of song bird known for its beautiful voice. The label “bulbul” is given to people who are “eloquent”. Haddad gave the name “a feminine spin by adding a letter A at the end of it”, claiming the site will “carry the voices of a group of women from that part of the world”.

    Haddad apparently does not believe that any “eloquent” women live in the Syrian Arab Republic. The Bubula “experts” on Syria are exclusively aligned with “opposition” groups, media and NGOs.

    For example, Bubula “expert” on Syria Alia Ibrahim is a Senior Correspondent with Saudi-owned Al Arabiya News Channel, based in Dubai Media City, United Arab Emirates. Another Bubula “expert” on Syria, Kholoud Mansour based in Sweden, is a former Senior Fellow at Chatham House, a British think tank devoted to “regime change” in Eurasia.

    Airwars has provided primary “analysis” and “narrative” for visual representations produced by Forensic Architecture, a media agency based at Goldsmiths, University of London.

    Forensic Architecture purportedly specializes in “modelling dynamic events” and “creating navigable 3D models of environments”, aiming to “present information in a convincing, precise, and accessible manner”.

    The media agency produces high-tech graphic presentations of alleged “evidence” on behalf of human rights NGOs like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, political groups like the Atlantic Council, and other organizations.

    Forensic Architecture has collaborated with Airwars “journalists”, the Atlantic Council’s Bellingcat, and Human Rights Watch in previous dramatic presentations of later debunked claims about bombing in Aleppo.

    Forensic Architecture provided “modelling” services for the recent Human Rights Watch report on the 4 April 2017 chemical incident at Khan Sheikhoun
    https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/syria0517_web_2.pdf

    The report states that Human Rights Watch “obtained photos and videos of remnants of the munitions used in the attacks. Specialists in weapons identification and chemical weapons inside and outside the organization analyzed the remnants. Forensic Architecture, a group specializing in spatial analysis, created a model of a crater related to the Khan Sheikhoun attack from videos and photos, allowing for exact measurement of its size.” (HRW report page 10)

    The Human Rights Watch report debuted at a 1 May 2017 press conference at the United Nations. Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, repeatedly referred to the new HRW report as “our own investigation”. Responding to questions, Roth stated, “Yeah, I mean, um, we’ve used open source material, we’ve checked this with experts, we’re… we’re quite confident”

    However, it is clear from the report that HRW activities were limited to laundering a list of names supplied by “opposition” forces in Al-Qaeda controlled Idlib, and conducting telephone interviews with the “opposition” vetted alleged “witnesses”.

    Following its well-established pattern of “investigation”, HRW performed no independent verification of any of the “opposition” claims presented in its report.

    The HRW report relied most heavily on information supplied by “opposition” forces and laundered by the Atlantic Council’s Bellingcat group. HRW makes no mention of Bellingcat’s close cooperation with the Atlantic Council “regime change” agenda in Syria.

    Bellingcat is repeatedly cited in the HRW report’s footnotes. A photograph in the HRW report refers to “Bellingcat, a group specializing in analyzing information posted online, including videos and photographs” (page 24). HRW makes no mention of the fact that claims by Dan Kaszeta and Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat about previous alleged “chemical attacks” have been repeatedly debunked.

    Human Rights Watch relied on Bellingcat to “geolocate” Al Qaeda and White Helmets video and photos of the Khan Shaykhun incident. The report specifically states that “Based on landmarks visible in the photos and videos, Bellingcat geolocated the crater” (HRW report page 28) in the middle of the road in Khan Shaykhun.

    Human Rights Watch’s “specialist” on “chemical weapons”: Eliot Higgins’ collaborator Dan Kaszeta of Bellingcat (HRW report pages 29-30)

    Human Rights Watch’s “specialist” on “weapons identification”: Hadi Al Khatib of Bellingcat (HRW report page 41).

    In addition to posing as a “journalist” at Bellingcat. Al Khatib runs an organization called the “Syrian Archive”, a large database of Al Qaeda and White Helmets videos, allegedly “verified” as “documenting” human rights violations in Syria.

    Immediately after citing Kaszeta’s description of a sarin bomb explosion, the Human Rights watch report mentions “modelling” of the crater provided by Forensic Architecture: “Based on photos and videos, Forensic Architecture, an organization specializing in spatial analysis, created a three-dimensional model of the crater.” (HRW report page 30)

    Forensic Architecture “modelling” of Airwars and Bellingcat “investigations” provide conspicuous cases of garbage in, garbage out (GIGO).

    Apparently it’s highly profitable garbage. Capitalizing on its network of propaganda relationships, Forensic Architecture even got the gig of designing a cool new look for the Airwars website.

    In short, Airwars is a “regime change” propaganda project designed to inspire “humanitarian” outrage.

  20. Tobin Paz
    April 25, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    The rape of Iraq is not only confined to loss of life:

    Henry Kissinger’s Food Occupation Of Iraq Continues To Destroy The Fertile Crescent

    Ultimately, Order 81 and the actions taken by companies like Monsanto and Cargill have ensured that while Iraqis may no longer be under the thumb of Saddam Hussein, they’re trapped in a modern colonial struggle against an occupying force that seeks to control their livelihoods, their food supply and their cultural traditions.

    Perhaps this should come as no surprise, considering Bremer’s ties to Kissinger. It was Kissinger who reportedly once said: “Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.”

    Privatization of Iraq’s economy

    CPA Order 17 granted all foreign contractors operating in Iraq immunity from “Iraqi legal process,” effectively granting immunity from any kind of suit, civil or criminal, for actions the contractors engaged in within Iraq.[12] CPA Order 49 provided a tax cut for corporations operating within Iraq. It reduced the rate from a maximum of 40% to a maximum of 15% on income. Corporations working with the CPA were exempted from owing any tax.[13] CPA Order 12, amended by Order 54, suspended all tariffs, thus removing the advantage that domestic Iraqi producers had over foreign producers.[14][15] However, a 5% “reconstruction levy” on all imported goods was later reimposed to help finance Iraqi-initiated reconstruction projects.[16]

  21. Abe
    April 25, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    In his first report on America’s post-9/11 wars (March 22, 2018), Nicolas J.S. Davies listed Rami Abdul Rahman’s Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a U.K.-based propaganda outlet allied with Western-backed armed groups in Syria, as one of several purported “independent monitoring groups”.

    Operating out of his home in Coventry, Abdul Rahman has been a major source for propaganda used to sell Western military intervention in Syria.

    A New York Times feature article (9 April 2013) titled “A Very Busy Man Behind the Syrian Civil War’s Casualty Count” noted that “one-man band” Abdul Rahman was subsidized by “the European Union and one European country that he declines to identify”.

    Dramatic “death toll” claims from Abdul Rahman’s “observatory” are cited by Western mainstream media, “human rights” groups, and “regime change” think tanks like the Atlantic Council.

    For example, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights routinely broadcasts “chemical attack” claims from armed groups battling the Syrian security forces.

    A recent (20 February 2018) example:
    “the hysterical attack of the regime and its allies on the besieged Ghouta”
    http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=85284

    The Atlantic Council immediately (21 February 2018) claimed “Assad’s Forces Are Killing Dozens of Children in a Damascus Suburb” and described it as an “unrelenting bombardment”.

    As a preface to an interview with Frederic C. Hof on “developments in Syria”, the Atlantic Council cited Abdul Rahman’s operation: “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a United Kingdom-based monitor group, said the ongoing attack on Eastern Ghouta is the deadliest attack in that location since a chemical attack by the Assad regime in 2013.”

    Hof served as Special Adviser on Syrian political transition to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2012. He was previously the Special Coordinator for Regional Affairs in the US Department of State’s Office of the Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, where he advised Special Envoy George Mitchel. Hof had been a Resident Senior Fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East since November 2012, and assumed the position as Director in May 2016.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) belongs to a network of “regime change” propaganda launderers that includes fake “independent investigative journalist” Eliot Higgins of the Brown Moses and Bellingcat disinformation websites. Higgins and Hof were co-authors of the 2016 Atlantic Council “report” on Syria.

    It is clear that none of these “groups” are “independent” of Western “regime change” operations.

    Abdul Rahman’s Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is part and parcel of Israeli-Saudi-U.S. Axis “hybrid war” operations in Syria.

  22. April 25, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    It’s interesting that in all three of these articles, not a word was said about the real culprit in the Middle East, Israel, and its incremental genocide of the Palestinians. Why have you left them out?

    • Jose
      April 25, 2018 at 1:53 pm

      Israeli viciousness and brutally against Palestinians have been very well documented. You’ question is a fair one, I think. Perhaps the author should have included some numbers to show how Israel have committed terrible and atrocious crimes in other countries. Good post Greta.

    • Nicolas J S Davies
      April 25, 2018 at 9:41 pm

      The task I set myself in this 3-part report was to give an updated estimate of how many people have been killed as a result of U.S. invasions and attacks on these 7 countries since 2001. This report was already very lengthy without expanding its scope any further. I agree that Israel has committed horrific war crimes against the people of Palestine. In many ways, Palestine has served as a laboratory for systems of repression that the U.S. has then used on a much larger scale in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. In my book, Blood On Our Hands, I described how U.S. special operations forces were trained in Israel and North Carolina by Israeli Mista’aravim (assassins) before being deployed to occupied Iraq to conduct similar operations.

      • Sam F
        April 26, 2018 at 7:44 am

        Thank you, Nicolas Davies, for this explanation. Indeed it would take some space to make the comparison, and the article thesis should stand on its own merits. I had not known the significance of the recent NC ban on Israeli training of US forces; it says a lot about the education of NC lawmakers, in the NC research triangle of colleges. Boston’s education level supports similar awareness. If the nation can be made similarly aware of the wrongs, by efforts such as yours, we can make progress.

    • Abby
      April 26, 2018 at 1:11 am

      Thank you, Greta for mentioning Israel’s role in what is happening in the Middle East and elsewhere. We have been killing for them for decades while their citizens stay safe. Why are we having to pay for Israel’s wars? Why are our troops dying for them?

      • Sam F
        April 26, 2018 at 7:50 am

        You may know that our corrupt politicians get their campaign funds by working for Israel instead of the US. Those funds are the “aid” we give Israel for no reason, so this is racketeering crime. The only missing link is the private flow of funds via US zionists, a relationship for the FBI and HSI (Homeland) to uncover however laborious. But perhaps those agencies are substantially controlled by the zionists

        FBI must establish such cases “beyond reasonable doubt” and uses filmed bribery interviews and bank deposits as evidence, whereas civil racketeering cases can use persuasive lesser evidence. So we need some researchers into such schemes.

  23. mike k
    April 25, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    So many killed, horribly injured, their lives destroyed – this is the heavy karma of America. This is no fanciful idea, it is the reality of our guilt, our debt to all those murdered, starved, tortured, raped, abused. Does anyone really think we can just shrug all this record of our crimes off, and go on gaily down the road? If so, such people are psychopaths on a par with those who ordered or committed these horrendous actions. We have much to answer for and make good for as best we can, and our amends need to be commensurate with the damage we have done. Do you think the present leadership of America is ready to face this challenge, and make good on it? If not, then we desperately need some new leaders.

    • Jose
      April 25, 2018 at 1:58 pm

      I think the answer to your question is a resounding no. If they were, they would not have been selected to the positions that are now. Today’s leadership is out of control and fully committed to controlling the world by any means necessary. Will the people allow this to continue any longer is a question that remains to be seen. A very incise post Mike.

    • Bob Van Noy
      April 25, 2018 at 2:41 pm

      What’s so devastating mike k and Jose is that this may be one of the only places where this discussion is taking place in America. Definitely we need new leadership and certainly current leadership is not up to the challenge. All we can do is keep strategizing as to a possible way forward. If you read Sam F’s response about a federal college of policy debate that he put forward at the link below you may see a way forward…

      https://consortiumnews.com/2018/04/24/27223/

    • April 25, 2018 at 3:32 pm

      USA-ans seem to have shrugged off Native American attempted genocide and slavery.

      • Abby
        April 26, 2018 at 1:18 am

        Have we ever really acknowledged it? From the day we started school we have been brainwashed into believing that we have always been the good guys and it was the native Americans who were the bad guys.

        Same with slavery. Look at how many people say that it is acceptable because the blacks now have this country to call home.

        Way too many people are military worshippers and they don’t see the reality of what they do in foreign countries.

  24. Jose
    April 25, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    I believe that the only way to end these genocidal policies is to dislodge those in power responsible for the slaughter in the cited countries and bring them to justice. Short of that, I do not see a way out. For instance, US “ full spectrum dominance “ doctrine must be abolished so healing may commence for those beleaguer countries.

  25. john wilson
    April 25, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    Unfortunately the US doesn’t do body counts as readers will recall them saying during the Iraq war. When George Bush was confronted with the much respected ‘Lancet’ report which concluded that at least half a million people in Iraq had lost their lives, he brushed it off saying “I do not recognize that number”. With this kind of contempt for human life there seems to be little point in counting the losses as those who should hang their heads in shame, have no shame and just discount the deaths of the populations who they have murdered. However, when it comes to counting the deaths of so called fantasy chemical weapons attacks, the the Americans know exactly how many have died, either in fact, or just a white helmets made up number.

    • Jose
      April 25, 2018 at 1:13 pm

      A very persuasive post John. Regarding your last point, Noam Chomsky’s has called that “ worthy and worthy “ victims referring back to your point. Case in point, the coverage of “supposedly” chemical victims done by Assad in which some died compared to un controversial killings with thousands of victims at the hands of Israeli soldiers. By the way, I have not seen a single shred of evidence connecting Assad to any chemical attack. Israel is a friendly Ally so it gets favorable press coverage while negative coverage is reserved for official enemies such as Syria.

  26. Jose
    April 25, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    Even though it is tragedy that millions of people have perished, the worse part is that I do not foresee any end in sight for the carnage and killings to stop. To think that all this loss of life is done in our name is repulsive.

    • john wilson
      April 25, 2018 at 1:04 pm

      The trouble is Jose, the American state doesn’t see these people as human so they kill people in these countries without the slightest remorse of feeling.

      • Jose
        April 25, 2018 at 1:47 pm

        Sadly, you’re 100% correct. Your post begs the following question “ when a country and it’s people show apathy, disregard, and lack of compassion for the suffering being inflicted on their name to others for world dominance, isn’t such country approaching spiritual death? I kind a wonder what exactly some people mean by American exceptionalism?

        • Nancy
          April 25, 2018 at 1:52 pm

          Exceptionally stupid, smug and self-absorbed.

        • April 25, 2018 at 3:34 pm

          Exceptionally Violent and Greedy

        • Sam F
          April 25, 2018 at 7:31 pm

          There has been a spiritual or moral death in the US for many people, dragged into endless wars for vague notions with no clear cause but apparent lies. Many dare not look at the casualty figures, for they must admit complicity and do not know what to do. Many more are aware of the lies and the horrors than dare speak out in our economic tyranny, and many more would not be far behind if they thought a humanitarian party coalition had a good chance of winning.

          Even the amoral opportunists and scoundrels would come around to support a civilized policy if that were the accepted and profitable view, and after a generation even that sort would have to be persuaded that selfishness was again a viable course.

          We need progressive parties that truly represent their constituents, with realistic and idealistic leaders, to form coalitions to eliminate the dictatorship of the rich.

    • Realist
      April 26, 2018 at 1:13 am

      An additional appalling element to these wars being prosecuted or instigated by Washington is their interminable length. World Wars I & II lasted “only” for approximately five years each.

      It’s been unremitting violence now in Afghanistan for 17 straight years, 15 years of carnage in Iraq, 7 or 8 years of slaughter in Syria, 8 or 9 in Libya. When did the counting even start in Somalia where Slick Willy got his first taste of action bequeathed him by Bushdaddy (“Blackhawk Down” for war fans)? When did the Saudis start to massacre Yemenis with Washington’s blessing? If we count Ukraine, which was merely instigated rather than fought by Washington, the present year will be the fifth of armed conflict.

      And who knows what the hell is going on and when it started in places like Niger and Mali where American forces have been secretly active (without even Congress being the wiser)? Just who are we fighting in Africa and why? Most likely we are putting the kibosh on Chinese business interests there as they merely attempt to practice capitalism as we taught them. Upgrading the living standards of 1.5 billion people requires the acquisition of ever more natural resources. Will we war on India when they inevitably move to compete with us in the economic arena to feed, cloth and shelter their 1.5 billion citizens?

      If so, you don’t have to be Nostradamus to predict a helluva lot more war in our future. We will see the West, led by Washington, once again becoming a culture of raiders and plunderers rather than innovators and traders. Just call us the Latter Day Huns. (Maybe we’ll even make it a church because we are so exceptional and holy.) We won’t merely be tossing other peoples off the lifeboats in a resource-limited world, we will be blowing any such lifeboats on the horizon out of the water with our military, putting actual bombs into the predicted “Population Bomb.”

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