"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Monday, March 14, 2005

Lie Detector repaired


US pronouncements on Iraq and the Middle East follow an interesting pattern: tell lies, lies and more lies. Keep lying until the lies are exposed. Replace old lies with new ones. Accuse everyone else of lying - particularly those who want to rake up the past. US ambassador James C Kenny's attack on the Irish Anti-War Movement (opinion & analysis, March 8th) is a textbook example.

Those who remember lies about WMD are dismissed as "some people. . .who cannot stand success" and just want to "look back". Apparently, this is enough to excuse the monstrous lie that led to tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths, the destruction of countless thousands of homes, the ruin of the country's' infrastructure and an escalating spiral of violence.

Kenny challenges the Lancet figure of 100,000 deaths caused by the US-led invasion. The study was produced by the US-based Johns Hopkins University (hardly a mouthpiece of the Iraqi resistance), working with Baghdad University. It used sound and openly declared scientific and statistical methods likely to underestimate the death toll. For example, the figures for deaths in Fallujah were discounted because they would have skewed the figures dramatically upwards. Tal Afar, Ramadi and Najaf - cities that have seen some of the worst violence - were not included in the survey.

Iraq Body Count's figures are based only on killings reported in the media. The spread of the violence over such a wide territory and large population ensure that most killings go unreported.
The US forces, of course, "don't do body counts" (I wonder why), but did place a cordon around Fallujah for weeks after their assault on the city, preventing aid convoys entering, never mind anyone else to survey how many were killed.

Two doctors at Fallujah general hospital - itself occupied at the start of the assault because it was releasing casualty figures - reported personally being involved in recovering 700 mostly rotting corpses from the streets of the city.

US claims to have brought democracy to Iraq are laughable. There was almost no independent international monitoring of the election to verify turnout, fairness or results. We do know that only slightly more than 10 per cent of Iraqi exiles eligible to vote did so, though under no threat from insurgents. The "new" government issuing from the elections will feature almost exactly the same faces as the "old" US-installed interim government with only ministerial positions changing.

After the election, the winners immediately joined Condoleeza Rice in stating that US forces would stay, though they had campaigned on precisely the opposite basis. All polls show 70 to 80 per cent of Iraqis want the US out. Not surprisingly, violence in Iraq continues unabated.
US propaganda about democracy in Lebanon has been answered by 500,000 Lebanese on the streets rejecting calls for Syrian withdrawal and telling the US to stay out of their affairs. The smaller US-supported protests were in large part organised by the same Christian Phalange forces that carried out the massacre of Palestinians with Israel's assistance in Sabra and Shatila in 1982.

Current propaganda by US mouthpieces is an attempt to whitewash crimes in Iraq and lay the ground for an assault on Syria or Iran. Don't let them away with it.

Yours, RICHARD BOYD BARRETT, Chairperson, Irish Anti-War Movement, Dublin 1

The Irish Times