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The Sociocide of Iraq by Bush/Cheney
By Ralph Nader
Ten years ago George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, as war criminals, launched the
sociocide of the people of Iraq – replete with embedded television and newspaper
reporters chronicling the invasion through the Bush lens. That illegal war of
aggression was, of course, based on recognized lies, propaganda and cover-ups that
duped or co-opted leading news institutions such as the New York Times and the
Wars of aggression – this one blowing apart a country of 25 million people ruled by a
weakened despot surrounded by far more powerful adversaries – Israel, Turkey and
Iran – are major crimes under international law and the UN Charter. The Bush/Cheney
war was also unconstitutional, never declared by Congress, as Senator Robert Byrd
eloquently pointed out at the time. Moreover, many of the acts of torture and brutality
perpetrated against the Iraqi people are illegal under various federal statutes.
Over one million Iraqis died due to the invasion, the occupation and the denial of
health and safety necessities for infants, children and adults. Far more Iraqis were
injured and sickened. Birth defects and cancers continue to set lethal records. Five
million Iraqis became refugees, many fleeing into Jordan, Syria and other countries.
Nearly five thousand U.S. soldiers died. Many other soldiers committed suicide. Well
over 150,000 Americans were injured or sickened, far more than the official Pentagon
under-estimate which restricts nonfatal casualty counts only to those incurred directly
in the line of fire.
So far the Iraq War has monetarily cost taxpayers about $2 trillion. Tens of billions
more will be spent for veterans disabilities and continuing expenses in Iraq. Taxpayers
are paying over $600 million a year to guard the giant U.S. Embassy and its
personnel in Baghdad, more than what our government spends for OSHA, whose task
is to reduce the number of American workers who die every year from workplace
disease and trauma, currently about 58,000.
All for what results? Before the invasion there was no al-Qaeda in Saddam Hussein’s
secular dictatorship. Now a growing al-Qaeda in Iraq is terrorizing the country with
ever bolder car bombings and suicide attacks taking dozens of lives at a time and
spilling forcefully over into Syria.
Iraq is a police state with sectarian struggles between the dominant Shiites and the
insurgent Sunnis who lived together peacefully and intermarried for centuries. There
were no sectarian slaughters of this kind before the invasion, except for Saddam
Hussein’s bloodbath against rebellious Shiites. The Shiites were egged on by
President George H.W. Bush, who promptly abandoned them to the deadly strafing of
Saddam’s helicopter gunships at the end of the preventable first Gulf War in 1991.
Iraq is a country in ruins with a political and wealthy upper class raking off the profits
from the oil industry and the occupation. The U.S. is now widely hated in that part of
Asia. Bush/Cheney ordered the use of cluster bombs, white phosphorous and
depleted uranium against, for example, the people of Fallujah where infant birth
deformities have skyrocketed.
As Raed Jarrar, an Iraqi-American analyst observed: “Complete destruction of the
Iraqi national identity” and the sectarian system introduced by the U.S. invaders in
2003, where Iraqis were favored or excluded based on their sectarian and ethnic
affiliations, laid the basis for the current cruel chaos and violence. It was a nasty,
brutish form of divide and rule.
The results back home in our country are soldiers and their extended families
suffering in many ways from broken lives. Phil Donahue’s gripping documentary Body
of War follows the pain-wracked life of one soldier returning in 2004 from Iraq as a
paraplegic. That soldier, Tomas Young, nearing the end of his devastated life, has
just written a penetrating letter to George W. Bush which every American should read.
The lessons from this unnecessary quagmire should be: first, how to stop any more
wars of aggression by the Washington warmongers – the same neocon draft dodgers
are at it again regarding Iran and Syria. And second, the necessity to hold
accountable the leading perpetrators of this brutal carnage and financial wreckage
who are presently at large – fugitives from justice earning fat lecture and consulting
In the nine months running up to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, at least three
hundred prominent, retired military officers, diplomats and national security officials
publically spoke out against the Bush/Cheney drumbeats to war. Their warnings were
prophetically accurate. They included retired Generals Anthony Zinni and William
Odom, and Admiral Shanahan. Even Brent Scowcroft and James Baker, two of
President George H.W. Bush’s closest advisors strongly opposed the invasion.
These outspoken truthsayers – notwithstanding their prestige and experience – were
overwhelmed by a runaway White House, a disgraceful patsy mainstream media and
an abdicatory Congress. Multi-billionaire, George Soros was also courageously
outspoken. Unfortunately, prior to the invasion, he did not provide a budget and
secretariat for these men and women to provide continuity and to multiply their
numbers around the country, through the mass media and on Capitol Hill. By the time
he came around to organizing and publicizing such an organized effort, it was after
the invasion, in July 2003.
Nine months earlier, I believe George Soros could have provided the necessary
resources to stop Bush/Cheney and their lies from stampeding the government, and
country, into war.
Mr. Soros can still build the grassroots pressure for the exercise of the rule of law
under our constitution and move Congress toward public hearings in the Senate
designed to establish an investigative arm of the Justice Department to pursue the
proper enforcement against Bush/Cheney and their accomplices.
After all, the Justice Department had such a special prosecutors’ office during the
Watergate scandal and was moving to indict a resigned Richard Nixon before
President Ford pardoned him.
Compare the Watergate break-in and obstruction of justice by Nixon with the
horrendous crimes coming out of the war against Iraq – a nation that never
threatened the U.S. but whose destruction takes a continuing toll on our country.