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

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Passing Lie Detector Test 101

"Myth 1 - "Let Iraqis determine their own future without interference." Before the January elections, Iraqis had been unable to do that. Saddam's brutal tyranny had oppressed Iraqis. Now, a legitimate, freely and democratically elected government deriving its powers from the consent of the governed is in Baghdad.

Iraqi and Coalition forces work together against Baathists, Jihadists, and foreign terrorist supporters who want to kill Iraq's nascent democracy and return it to tyranny.
Iraqis have no interest in a premature Coalition withdrawal that would bring back the thugs. They do want Iraq's own forces to take over the security job. That is what we should all want and what the Coalition is in fact helping to achieve."

It is true (but unnecesscery to state, as it is 'a given') to say Iraqis had no self determination under Saddam, however, as George Bush has stated "...We know that democracy cannot survive while occupied by a foreign force." Therefore it is also under US/UK occupation that Iraqi self determination is again supressed.

The idea that "Iraqis have no interest in a premature Coalition withdrawal" is easily refuted, one simply has to look to the principal prongs in the campaign of the recently elected party in Iraq. Of which the main one, was a call for immediate withdrawl of coalition troops. Subsequent to election results, this was withdrawn (this says more about the democratic nature of those elections than anything else).

"Myth 2 - "100,000 Iraqis killed as a result of the US invasion." Patently false. Iraq Body Count, a group that is not pro-American, pro-war, or supportive of the Coalition convincingly refutes that falsehood. According the Iraq Body Count website, and as shown daily on the Irish Anti-War Movement's own website, the actual count of non-combatant civilians killed in Iraq is under 20,000, many killed by insurgents' car bombs, suicide attacks, beheadings, kidnappings, and executions.

We now know that Saddam's own policies and his corruption of the "Oil for Food" programme - not UN sanctions - killed thousands of children by denying them needed medicines and food while he could fuel his regime's security apparatus and his megalomania.
Millions more were killed in Saddam's wars against Iran and Kuwait, his slaughter of Kurds and Shias, and by ultra-repressive security forces - the full scope of the killing fields and mass graves is not yet clear. From what we already know, it is horrific enough. Saddam's overthrow has meant countless Iraqi lives saved. Standing up to the insurgents and terrorists - who target civilians as a matter of routine - is essential to prevent future deaths by another tyrannical regime."

It may surprise one to see a US official citing an independent source on a subject as important as the number of people killed due to US military force, however this is due to the fact the US does not record those deaths. And although 'iraqbodycount' have been tireless in their research, their figures are based only on reported deaths. The Lancet report ("Mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: cluster sample survey, Roberts L, Lafta R, Garfield R, Khudhairi J, Burnham G, LANCET 364 (9448): 1857-1864 NOV 20 2004") is a detailed study into deaths due to invasion and it is the key to the 100,000 figure. It has yet to be challenged as the definitive report on the subject.

Concerning the sanctions and 'oil for food', what we now know changes little of who is to blame for the deaths of 500,000 children. Although corruption may or may not have taken place, it was the imposition of sanctions that led to the predictable result of hundreds of thousands of needless deaths.

What we know about the "Millions more...killed in Saddam's wars" and gasings, is paired with what we know about western support for the dictator at that time. His brutality was made possible by the ignorance of the western populace and the greed of those in power.

Myth 3 - "Falluja is an assault on peaceful citizens and it killed thousands of innocents." Simply wrong. US and Iraqi forces warned civilians through leaflets and broadcasts to leave the city. The vast majority did. Terrorists hid in houses, mosques, hospitals, schools; they hid behind the civilian population; they killed civilians who tried to leave. Soldiers risked their lives to end al-Zarqawi's imposed terror on the city.

Falluja amounted to a war crime (several actually). Women and children were found dead in large numbers, military aged males were refused exit from the city, services were cut off, banned weapons were used and the city basically levelled. Many who once called it home, are now homeless.

"Myth 4 - "Iraq is an illegal war." Wrong. The UN Secretary General commented last September that he personally believed the war in Iraq was not in conformity with the UN Charter. That is not the institutional judgment. UN Security Council Resolutions 678, 687, and 1441 clearly mandated the use of force against Iraq. A total of 17 UN Resolutions, including 1441, detailed Iraq's obligations, its refusal to disarm, and the consequences it would suffer for noncompliance. The United States and its partners made sure that the use of force was in compliance with UN Resolutions.

Saddam Hussein's regime did not want to hear the voice of the people; it used a highly repressive police state, mass executions, poison gas, and intimidation to stay in power. There can be no question that morally, the regime's removal is better for the Iraqi people."

Simply put, noncompliance did not allow military action (even though we now know Saddam was compling). There was no clear mandate for war.

"Myth 5 - "American soldiers are deserting and refusing to go to Iraq." Wrong again. The anti-war movement must be desperate. It invents facts; it wildly exaggerates figures - claiming 5500 American soldiers have deserted, gone into hiding, been sent to jail, or escaped to Canada to avoid military service. Only three soldiers have gone to Canada to avoid service, and one of them has Canadian citizenship. The total number of desertions is only about a half-dozen. The issue of conscientious objectors and deserters is virtually a non-issue in an all-volunteer army of over two million who serve willingly and bravely."

Not a very convincing statement since it is an unsupported claim.

"During the Vietnam war an estimated 55,000 deserters or draft-dodgers fled to Canada." (1)

5,500 is not really that outlandish.

"Iraq's January elections showed the world what the Iraqi people want: peace, stability, democracy, and self-government."

Was there ever a doubt that the Iraqi people would want these things?

Original article ("...") by James C Kenny, United States ambassador to Ireland

The Irish Times

1. Associated Press