None Dare Call It Genocide
By Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
09/18/07 "LewRockwell" -- -- -How comfy we are all in the United
States, as we engage in living-room debates about the US
occupation of Iraq, whether "we" are bringing them freedom and
whether their freedom is really worth the sacrifice of so many
of our men and women. We talk about whether war aims have really
been achieved, how to exit gracefully, or whether we need a
hyper-surge to finish this whole business once and for all.
But there's one thing Americans don't talk about: the lives of
Iraqis, or, rather, the deaths of Iraqis. It's interesting
because we live in an age of extreme multiculturalism and global
concern. We adore international aid workers, go on mission trips
abroad, weep for the plight of those suffering from hunger and
disease, volunteer in efforts to bring plumbing to Ecuador,
mosquito nets to Rwanda, clean water to Malawi, human rights to
Togo, and medicine to Bangladesh.
But when "we" cause the calamity, suddenly there is silence.
There is something odd, suspicious, even disloyal about a person
who would harp on the deaths of Iraqis since the US invasion in
2003. Maybe a person who would weep for Iraq is really a
terrorist sympathizer. After all, most of the deaths resulted
from "sectarian violence," and who can stop crazed Islamic sects
from killing each other. Better each other than us, right?
Well, it's about time that we think about the numbers, even
though the US military has decided that body counts are not
worth their time. Opinion Research Business, a highly reputable
polling firm in the UK, has just completed a detailed and
rigorous survey of Iraqis. In the past, the company's results
have been touted by the Bush administration whenever the data
looks favorable to the US cause. But their latest report
received virtually no attention in the US.
Here is the grisly bottom line: more than one million people
have been murdered in Iraq since the US invasion, according to
the ORB. Yes, other estimates are lower, but you have to be
impressed by what they have found. It seems very credible.
In Baghdad, where the US presence is most pronounced, nearly
half of households report having lost a family member to a
killing of some sort. Half the deaths are from gunshot wounds,
one-fifth from car bombs, and one-tenth from aerial bombs. The
total number of dead exceeds the hugely well-publicized Rwandan
genocide in 1994.
You are welcome to inspect the detailed data.
Aside from the astonishing detail, what jumps out at me is the
number of dead who are neither Sunni nor Shia. It is also
striking how the further geographically you move from US troop
activity, the more peaceful the area is. Americans think they
are bringing freedom to Iraq, but the data indicate that we are
only bringing suffering and death.
If you have ever lost a family member, you know that life is
never the same again. It causes every manner of religious,
social, and marital trauma. It's bad enough to lose a family
member to some disease. But to a cold-blooded killing or a car
bomb or an airplane bomb? That instills a sense of fury and
motivation to retribution.
So we are speaking of some 1.2 million people who have been
killed in this way, and that does not count the numbers that
were killed during the invasion itself for the crime of having
attempted to oppose invading foreign troops, or the 500,000
children and old people killed by the US-UN anti-civilian
sanctions in the 10 previous years.
And let's not flatter ourselves into thinking that these are
nothing but ragheads killing each other for no good reason. Just
this past weekend, there is an example in point. Some of the
legendary contractors for the State Department were driving
through the Sunni neighborhood of Mansour in Baghdad. They were
driving their SUVs when witnesses reported an explosion of fire
that lasted 20 minutes. The SUVs drove off, leaving at least
nine people dead on the road.
Why? No one knows. Sure there will be investigations. There have
already been apologies. The company in question has had its
license to practice occupation revoked by the Iraqi government.
For how long, no one knows. But these are merely symbolic
gestures. There will be no justice, and no forgetting.
To the extent anyone pays attention to this stuff, they only
hear the words of the State Department spokesman: "The bottom
line is that the secretary wants to make sure that we do
everything we possibly can to avoid the loss of innocent life."
In light of the one million plus figure, such statements come
off as evil jokes. The US has unleashed bloodshed in Iraq that
is rarely known even in countries we think of as violent and
torn by civil strife. It is amazing to think that this has
occurred in what was only recently a liberal and civilized
country by the region’s standards. This was a country that had a
problem with immigration, particularly among the well-educated
and talented classes. They went to Iraq because it was the
closest Arab proxy to Western-style society that one could find
in the area.
It was the US that turned this country into a killing field. Why
won’t we face this? Why won't we take responsibility? The reason
has to do with this mysterious thing called nationalism, which
makes an ideological religion of the nation's wars. We are
god-like liberators. They are devil-like terrorists. No amount
of data or contrary information seems to make a dent in this
irreligious faith. So it is in every country and in all times.
Here is the intellectual blindness that war generates.
Such blindness is always inexcusable, but perhaps more
understandable in a time when information was severely
restricted, when technological limits actually prohibited us
from knowing the whole truth at the time. What excuse do we have
today? Our blindness is not technological but ideological. We
are the good guys, right? Every nation believes that about
itself, but freedom is well served by the few who dare to think
An essential postulate of the Western idea, or so we tell
ourselves, is the universal and ultimate value of human life.
And indeed it is true. No person or group of people is without
value – not even those whom our own government chooses to label
H. Rockwell, Jr. [send
him mail] is president of the
Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, editor of
LewRockwell.com, and author of
Speaking of Liberty.
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