By Bill Hare


One of the grave tragedies of our times is how Iraqi deaths receive no accountability.  This occurs at the point where President Obama and others hold the U.S. out as a major source to achieve global stability.  

The question is this:  How can the U.S. hold itself out as a guardian of peace and security when the subject of Iraqi deaths extending from that first “shock and awe” aerial assault to the present is ignored?  

It should be recalled that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld sought to assure Americans that newly developed U.S. “smart bombs” would penetrate the forces of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein but would bypass Iraq’s citizenry.

As for the U.S. dodging accountability, a comment made by General Colin Powell in the aftermath of the earlier Gulf War is instructive for the tragedy of avoiding responsibility that it denotes.

When Powell was questioned by reporters following the U.S. victory in the Gulf War conducted during the administration of George Bush the Elder, he was asked by reporters how many deaths occurred in the conflict.  Powell responded by stating that the fatality count was a question that he did not even wish to consider at that time.

Consider that Powell was considered later in the nineties as a potential presidential candidate to run for the Republicans against Bill Clinton as he sought reelection in 1996.  Those urging his candidacies noted that he was a new age breed of Republican who could draw large numbers of votes from independents and moderates.  

Such was the response on a critical question of lives lost in the Gulf War from a new style of political figure known for his moderate views and independence.

Tuesday night following Obama’s speech a prominent progressive television moderator often denounced by the right as far left wing discussed the Iraq War and failed to make any mention of dead and displaced Iraqis.  

If such an omission comes from the left, and in the instance of an individual praised by progressives regularly, it becomes more understandable for Powell to make his comment following the Gulf War and for the crucial issue of dead and displaced Iraqis to be ignored.

There is one website that treats the issue of Iraqi deaths with the seriousness it deserves.  Just Foreign Policy has followed the tragic plight suffered by Iraqis based on an unjust war in defiance of international law and the U.S. Constitution.  It has posted the numbers regarding deaths along with the critical issue of displacement.

A highly respected British source that has supplied figures on Iraqi deaths that Just Foreign Policy has regularly posted is The Lancet.  The mainstream media prefers to ignore The Lancet and its findings for good cause.  

Because it is an old and respected British medical journal The Lancet is difficult to accuse with a typical Karl Rove style smear of being a tool of leftists ideologues and linked to terrorists.  The better strategy is to simply ignore their findings, which are supported by explanations concerning how their conclusions were reached.  

The current estimate of deaths resulting from the U.S. invasion, which appears on the Just Foreign Policy along with an accompanying explanation on how it was reached, stands at 1,366,350.  There is another important figure that Just Foreign Policy reveals.  

This figure concerns how many Iraqis were compelled to live as refugees after having been driven from Iraq.  That number stands at 1.5 million.

In the wake of the aforementioned, the results of a preventive war quickly launched before a UN inspection team could file its concluding report that no weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq, how truly appalling is the spectacle subsequent to Obama’s Tuesday night speech.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the same person who insists that if George W. Bush’s tax cuts are not reinstated that Obama will have raised taxes during a recession, has weighed in on the subject of the Bush legacy in the Iraq War.

McConnell along with certain other Republican propagandists have criticized Obama for failing to praise his predecessor for a job well done in launching and conducting the Iraq War.

The British expression bloody cheek has been carried to new levels.  Do some research on the tough standards invoked largely through U.S. leadership at the Nuremberg Trials.  

By applying those standards what would the fates have been of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and others relative to their Iraq War conduct?  If you need any clues read the works of Telford Taylor, one of America’s prosecutors at Nuremberg and later a distinguished law professor at Columbia University.  

Read what Taylor had to say about legal responsibility concerning the Vietnam War.  It is easy to see what Taylor, considered to be one of America’s foremost legal minds, would have concluded concerning the perpetrators of preventive war in Iraq.        

In conclusion, yes, it was preventive war, as Noam Chomsky and others pointed out, and not a preemptive conflict since the United States was not faced with the prospect of imminent attack.  

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