Posts Tagged ‘DU’

Oil, Dollar Hegemony and Islam by Prof. Francis A. Boyle

January 16, 2012

Oil, Dollar Hegemony and Islam by Prof. Francis A. Boyle

Global Research, January 15, 2012
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=28661

Little has changed in the imperialist tendencies of American foreign policy since the founding of the United States of America in seventeen eighty-nine. The fledgling United States opened the nineteenth century by stealing the continent of North America from the Indians, while in the process ethnically cleansing them and then finally deporting the pitiful few survivors by means of death marches (a la Bataan) to Bantustans, which in America we call reservations, as in instance of America’s manifest destiny to rule the world.

Then, the imperial government of the United States opened the twentieth century by stealing a colonial empire from Spain – in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines, then inflicting a near-genocidal war against the Filipino people. While at the same time, purporting to annex, the kingdom of Hawaii and subjecting the native Hawaiian people to near-genocidal conditions from which they still suffer today- all in the name of securing America’s so-called place in the sun.

And today at the dawn of the twenty first century, the world witnesses the effort by the imperial government of the United States of America to steal a hydrocarbon empire from the Moslem states and peoples, surrounding central Asia and the Persian Gulf under the pretext of fighting a war against international terrorism or eliminating weapons of mass destruction or promoting democracy which is total nonsense.

For the past two hundred and sixteen years, the imperialist foreign policy of the United States of America since its foundation, has been predicated upon racism, aggression, genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, war crimes and outright genocide. At the dawn of the third millennium of humankind’s parlous existence, nothing has changed about the operational dynamics of American imperial policy. And we see this today in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and what appears to be an illegal attack upon Iran.

Now the topic today is the Middle East Agenda : Oil, Dollar Hegemony and Islam. So, I’m only going to limit my comments to that subject. We have to begin the story with the Arab oil embargo in nineteen seventy-three. As you know in nineteen sixty-seven, Israel launched an illegal and preventive war against the surrounding Arab states, stole the land and ethnically cleansed the people. But eventually Egypt offered a Peace Treaty to Israel which Israel rejected and the Egyptians and the Arab states decided then to use force to recover their lands.

Israel almost collapsed, the United States and Europe came to their support by providing weapons and in reaction the Arab states imposed an oil embargo on the United States and Europe, and brought their economies to their knees. Whereupon, the then U.S Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger threatened them and said, this will never happen again, and if you do, we will prevent it. And it was not just a threat. The United States government then at that time, planned, prepared and conspired, to steal the oil of the Persian Gulf. They did not have the military capability to do this at that time, to carry out the Kissinger threat, which was also then repeated by the Ford administration, and the Carter administration under Harold Brown and Brzezinski.

So they put into planning an interventionist force, designed expressly for the purpose of stealing Arab oil fields, and that was called the rapid deployment force. And it took ten years of training, planning, positioning, and supply to build that interventionist force of that capability and eventually it was called the U.S. Central Command. The purpose of the U.S. Central Command is to steal and control and dominate the oil and gas resources of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia. And that’s exactly what the U.S. Central Command proceeded to do in the Bush Sr. war against Iraq, their first military expedition.

And as we know, that war exterminated probably two hundred thousand Iraqis. Half of them innocent civilians. Simply wiped out in a bombing campaign and a military expedition of unprecedented dimensions. But remember, it took fifteen years for the Pentagon and three different administrations both Republicans and Democrats to get the capability to do this. And then, when that genocide or conflict was over, what happened? The United States carved Iraq up into three pieces with their air force, the so-called no-fly zones, a zone for the Kurds in the North, a zone for the Shi’ah in the South, and the Sunni in the middle. Why? To destroy Iraq as an effectively viable state.

In his book, Clash of Civilizations, Huntington from Harvard who advised the Pentagon and advised the state department pointed out that the only Arab state with the capability to lead the Arab world and challenge the United States and Israel was Iraq. And so Iraq had to be destroyed, to maintain the domination of the United States and its proxy, Israel. And remember after nineteen seventy-three, whatever it was before then, Israel is nothing more than a catspaw of the United States. They do what America tells them to do. Otherwise Israel is nothing more than a failed state.

In addition then, to destroying Iraq as a state, carving it up into three pieces, was the decision to debilitate and destroy the Iraqi people. And so they continued the genocidal economic sanctions on the people of Iraq, that my colleagues, Denis Halliday, Hans Von Sponeck, so courageously resisted and finally resigned as a matter of principle, calling them by what they really were, genocide. The United States and Britain maliciously and criminally imposed genocidal sanctions on the people of Iraq, that killed approximately 1.5 million Iraqis, all of whom were innocent civilians.

And when U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was asked about the five hundred thousand dead children, she said that she thought the price was worth it. Now, I could have taken that statement to the International Court of Justice, and filed it against the United States as evidence of genocidal intent against the people of Iraq in violation of the 1948 Genocide Convention. And indeed I offered to do so to the then President of Iraq, but for whatever reasons he decided not to take these claims to the International Court of Justice.

And now, as you see, he is on trial in a total kangaroo court proceeding in Baghdad that is completely controlled and dominated by the United States government. So, 1.5 million Iraqis died as the result of these genocidal sanctions. And then came September 11. And we know for a fact that the Bush Jr. administration knew that a major terrorist attack was going to be launched on the United States. And they let it happen anyway deliberately and on purpose. Why? They wanted a pretext for war. And not just one war but for a long war which they are talking about today.

Indeed, from my research the war plans drawn up by the Pentagon for the war against Afghanistan were formulated as early as 1997. Enormous military forces fielded by that same U.S. Central Command, were already in and around and surrounding the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean before September 11. This war had been planned against Afghanistan. And armed, equipped, supplied, trained and war-gamed and ready to go. They just needed the pretext and that was September 11. Why? The United States wanted access to the oil and natural gas of Central Asia.

That had been a Pentagon objective since at least before the collapse of the Soviet Union in nineteen ninety-one. And the Nine Eleven attack gave them the pretext to make this major grab for the oil and gas of Central Asia. And they are there today with their bases, with their troops, in the surrounding countries in Central Asia. And of course in the process, obliterated, we don ‘t even have an estimate of the Muslims in Afghanistan who were killed in the air bombardment, twenty, twenty five thousand, maybe more, and tens of thousands of others starved to death and still suffering today.

But that, as we know from all the records was only the first step in the process. They wanted to finish the job in Iraq. And so immediately after September 11, Bush ordered Rumsfeld to update and operationalize the plans for attacking and invading Iraq. It had nothing at all to do with weapons of mass destruction. We in the peace movement in America had been saying that all along. The United Nations had determined there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. These were lies designed to scaremonger the American people and Congress into supporting an illegal war of aggression, a Nuremberg crime against peace, against Iraq. And they told whatever lies and broke what international laws they had to break in order to attack Iraq.

And today the estimate, again we don’t know. Perhaps two hundred thousand people in Iraq had been killed outright by the United States, Britain, its allies, Australia in Iraq. And again, most of them civilians. Clearly if you add up what United States government has done to Iraq from August of 1990, when it imposed the genocidal economic embargo until today. The United States and Britain have inflicted outright genocide on the Muslim and Christian people of Iraq and they are predominately Muslim as we know.

Now comes the third step in the Pentagon’s pre-existing plan, to control and dominate the oil and gas resources of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia. It’ s sounds a bit like the plan that Hitler and the Nazis had in the 1930″s. Does it not? First go into Austria, then go into Czechoslovakia, then go into Poland. So first Afghanistan, then Iraq, and now Iran. And so now Iran is going to be the next victim of these outright criminals unless you and I can stop them.

Right now there are three aircraft carrier task forces in the Persian Gulf. And whenever they had put three aircraft carrier task forces over there, it’ s always to prepare for an attack. And according to Seymour Hersch, the award winning journalist, it will probably be an aerial bombardment, along the lines of what they did to Yugoslavia in 1999. As you remember there, seventy eight days of aerial bombardment by the United States and NATO with no authorization from the Security Council. Clearly illegal. Killing again, we don’t know the exact number outright, four to five thousand innocent civilians. And targeting civilian infrastructure, all up and down, from which the people still suffer today. The use of depleted uranium ammunitions, outbreaks of cancer are documented today.

So this is what, is being planned right now as we speak; an attack upon Iran. Using jet fighter aircraft, fighter bombers, on these three aircraft carrier task forces, using cruise missiles on submarines and of course Israel will be involved and have a role to play, doing exactly what the Americans tell them to do. In addition, it appears that if they attack Iran, they will also attack Syria. Yesterday, if you heard President Bush’s press conference in Vienna, he threatened Syria, right? There’s no other word for it. He threatened Syria.

These Neo-Conservatives want to take out Syria as a favour to Israel. Remember, many of these Neo-Conservatives are affiliated personally and professionally with the Likhud Party in Israel and Ariel Sharon, the butcher of Beirut, the man who exterminated twenty thousand Arabs in Lebanon, most of them, not all of them were Muslims. And in addition, slaughtered two thousand completely innocent Palestinian women, children and old men at Sabra and Shatila. Ariel Sharon, the man who went to Haram Al-Sharif, the third holiest site in Islam, where Muhammad, (Peace Be Upon Him) ascended into heaven, and desecrated the Haram on September

28th, 2000, and deliberately provoked the start of the Al-Aqsa Intifada and has inflicted death and destruction on the Palestinian people since then. Close to thirty seven hundred Palestinians since then alone have been killed..most of them shot down like dogs in the street, and what has the Muslim world done about this?

My Palestinian friends tell me that they are worried that the government of Malaysia might recognize Israel and establish diplomatic relations with Israel. I certainly hope this is not true. We must treat the criminal apartheid regime in Israel, the same way the world treated the criminal apartheid regime in South Africa. If the United States attacks Iran, they will probably attack Syria with the Israeli air force and they will attack Lebanon to take out the Islamic resistance movement in southern Lebanon – Hezbollah that defended the legitimate rights of Lebanon and the Lebanese people and expelled the invading longstanding occupying Israeli army that had the full support of the United States government for over twenty years.

So they could attack Iran, Syria, Southern Lebanon and inflict yet another round of ethnic cleansing on the suffering Palestinian people. Remember Sharon and Likhud believe that Jordan is Palestine. And they want to drive as many Palestinians as possible out of their homes and into Jordan.

So if the United States as reported by Hersh and other reliable sources, goes ahead and attacks Iran, we could see warfare erupt all the way from Egypt to the border with India. This whole area convulsed in warfare. And who will be the primary victims of this war? Muslims. The United States could not care less about Muslim life. Look at the demonization and victimization of Muslims that we have seen inflicted by the United States and its surrogate, Israel. Look at Guantanamo, where six hundred Muslim men have been treated like dogs in a kennel. Pretty much the way the Nazis treated the Jews. Look at Abu Ghraib and the sadism and sexual exploitation and perversion of Muslims by their American captors. And the same thing has been done in Baghram in Afghanistan. And when Professor Sharif Bassiouni, the UN special rapporteur filed the report with the Security Council against US practices in Afghanistan, the Americans had Kofi Annan fire him. Just as they had Kofi Annan fire Mary Robinson, the UN high commissioner for human rights, when she protested what was going on down in Guantanamo.

The United States could not care less about Muslim life. And the same is true for the genocidal apartheid regime in Israel. They would be happy to use nuclear weapons against Iran. They would be happy to break the taboo of Hiroshima and Nagasaki against Muslims in Iran. It would create no problem at all for them. Indeed, I went to school with these Neo-Conservatives at the University of Chicago. Wolfowitz was there, Chalabi, Khalilzad, Shulsky, all the rest of them. I went through the exact same program. Their mentor, Professor Leo Strauss. And who was his teacher in Germany and his sponsor? Professor Carl Schmitt who went on to become the most notorious Nazi law Professor of his day, justifying every atrocity that the Nazis inflicted on everyone.

We must understand that these Neo-Conservatives are in fact Neo-Nazis. They have espoused the Nazi doctrine of Schmitt and Strauss and Machiavelli and Nietzsche, the ‘superman’. They are the supermen, and the Muslims are the scum of the earth.

Now, I do not believe the United States will initially start bombing Iran with nuclear weapons. But if things get out of control they are fully prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons. And here in our materials, you have the Pentagon’s Joint Publication 3-12, which you can get on the internet.. just do a Google search and read it. And you will see there dated fifteenth March 2005; nuclear, tactical nuclear weapons have been fully integrated into United States conventional forces.

So if Iran were to defend itself, human wave attacks, whatever, they will be happy to use nuclear weapons, tactical nuclear weapons against Iran. Remember, these Neo-Nazis, Neo-Cons want to break the taboo of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They want to use tactical nuclear weapons, to be able to say to the rest of the world, you do what we tell you to do or else look what we did to the Iranians.

It’s a very serious situation. And this could even get further out of control. Remember that before Bush invaded Iraq, President Putin of Russia said that if he invades Iraq he could set off World War Three. Well, I interpreted that as an implicit threat. Even the famous American news broadcaster Walter Cronkite said that if Bush invaded Iraq he could set off World War Three. Two weeks ago we had the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization; China, Russia and Iran. So again, if Bush were to attack Iran, he very well could set off a Third World War, a nuclear war. And that is where you come in.

Francis A. Boyle is a leading American expert in international law. Professor Boyle teaches international law at the University of Illinois, Champaign and is author of, inter alia, The Future of International Law and American Foreign Policy, Foundations of World Order, The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence, Palestine, Palestinians and International Law, Destroying World Order, Biowarfare & Terrorism. And Tackling America’s Toughest Questions. He holds a Doctor of Law Magna Cum Laude as well as a Ph.D. in Political Science, both from Harvard University.

DU, White Phosphorus and the Story of Fallujah

November 28, 2011

In September 2009, Fallujah General Hospital, Iraq, had 170 newborn babies, 24 percent of whom were dead within the first seven days, and 75 percent of the dead babies were classified as deformed. A significant number of babies who survived also have severe disabilities. (photo: BBC News)
In September 2009, Fallujah General Hospital, Iraq, had 170 newborn babies, 24 percent of whom were dead within the first seven days, and 75 percent of the dead babies were classified as deformed. A significant number of babies who survived also have severe disabilities. (photo: BBC News)

DU, White Phosphorus and the Story of Fallujah

By Hannah Gurman, Foreign Policy in Focus

27 November 11

 

even years after the US invasion of Fallujah, there are reports of an alarming rise in the rates of birth defects and cancer. But the crisis, and its possible connection to weapons deployed by the United States during the war, remains woefully under-examined.

On November 8, 2004, US military forces launched Operation Phantom Fury 50 miles west of Baghdad in Fallujah, a city of 350,000 people known for its opposition to the Saddam regime.

The United States did not expect to encounter resistance in Fallujah, nor did it initially face any in the early days of the war. The first sign of serious hostility appeared in April 2003, after US soldiers from the 82nd Airborne division fired into a crowd of protesters demonstrating against the occupation and the closure of their local school building, killing 17 civilians and injuring 70. The following February, amid mounting tensions, a local militia beheaded four Blackwater employees and strung their bodies from a bridge across the Euphrates River. US forces temporarily withdrew from Fallujah and planned for a full onslaught.

Following the evacuation of civilians, Marines cordoned off the city, even as some residents scrambled to escape. Thirty to fifty thousand people were still inside the city when the US military launched a series of airstrikes, dropping incendiary bombs on suspected insurgent hideouts. Ground forces then combed through targeted neighborhoods house by house. Ross Caputi, who served as a first private Marine during the siege, has said that his squad and others employed “reconnaissance by fire,” firing into dwellings before entering to make sure nobody inside was still alive. Caputi later co-founded the group Justice for Fallujah, which dedicated the week of November 14 to a public awareness campaign about the impact of the war on the city’s people

By the end of the campaign, Fallujah was a ghost town. Though the military did not tally civilian casualties, independent reports put the number somewhere between 800 and 6,000. As The Washington Post reported in April 2005, more than half of Fallujah’s 39,000 homes were damaged, of which 10,000 were no longer habitable. Five months after the campaign, only 90,000 of the city’s evacuated residents had returned. The majority still lacked electricity, and the city’s sewage and water systems, badly damaged in the campaign, were not functional. A mounting unemployment crisis – exacerbated by security checkpoints, which blocked the flow of people and goods into and out of the city – left young residents of Fallujah especially vulnerable to recruitment by the resistance.

The Official Success Story

Although the initial picture of the devastated city looked grim, by 2007 Fallujah had become a key part of the emerging narrative of successful counterinsurgency in Iraq. At a press conference in April of that year, Marine Colonel Richard Simcock declared that progress was “phenomenal” and that Fallujah was an “economically strong and flourishing city.” According to the official narrative that has since crystallized, the second siege of Fallujah turned out to be a major turning point in the war. “By taking down Fallujah, the Marines denied a sanctuary for the insurgents,” said Richard Natonski, commander of the 1st Marine Division during Phantom Fury, in an oral history published by the Marines in 2009. In contrast to the insurgents who relied on “brutal tactics,” he explained, the Marines were able to w in over the good will of the people. This contributed to the larger “Awakening” in Anbar province, the linchpin of counterinsurgency’s “success” in Iraq.

Official “progress” narratives of war rarely tell the whole story, especially when it comes to the war’s long-term effects on the civilian population. Seven years after the second siege of Fallujah, despitelucrative US-funded contracts to rebuild infrastructure, much of the city is still in ruins, and unemploymentremains high. As terrorist attacks in Anbar and across the country have risen in the past year, security is increasingly tenuous. In August, a car bomb exploded at a police station near Fallujah, killing five officers and wounding six more.

Of the current problems in Fallujah, the most alarming is a mounting public health crisis. In the years since the invasion, doctors in Fallujah have reported drastic increases in the number of premature births, infant mortality, and birth defects-babies born without skulls, missing organs, or with stumps for arms and legs. Fallujah General Hospital reported that, out of 170 babies born in September 2009, 24 percent died within the first seven days, of which 75 percent were deformed – as compared to August 2002, when there were 530 babies born, only six deaths, and one deformity. As the years go by, the problem seems to be getting worse, and doctors are increasingly warning women not to have children.

Many residents have suspected a link between the drastic rise in birth defects and the weapons deployed by US military during the war. The United States has admitted to using white phosphorus in Fallujah, a toxin in incendiary bombs that causes severe burns. But it denies targeting civilians or employing a class of armor-piercing weapons that contain depleted uranium, a byproduct of nuclear weapons used in the production of munitions and armory and known to cause mutagenic illnesses.

The Science and Its Critics

Two recent studies led by Dr. Christopher Busby, a chemistry professor at the University of Ulster who specializes in environmental toxicology, have attempted to document and explain Fallujah’s health crisis. The first was an epidemiological study conducted by a team of 11 researchers who visited 711 households in Fallujah. Published in the December 2010 issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, it found that congenital birth defects, including neural tube, cardiac, and skeletal malformations, were 11 times higher than normal rates, and rose to their highest levels in 2010. The study also found a seven-to-38-fold increase in several site-specific cancers, as well as a drastic shift in the ratio of female-to-male births, with 15 percent fewer boys born in the study period.

In a follow-up study, Busby and his team tested hair samples from 25 mothers and fathers of children with genetic abnormalities in Fallujah. In addition to normally occurring elements, they found uranium. The study, published in the October 2011 issue of the Journal of Conflict and Health,concluded that this was a “primary” or “related cause” of the increase in birth defects and cancer in Fallujah. In a recent interview on Russia TodayBusby explained that, although the research team expected to find depleted uranium, they actually found a slightly enriched form of the element. This has led him to speculate that a “whole new set of anti-personnel weapons” was secretly deployed in Fallujah and possibly elsewhere.

Busby, who wears a black beret and speaks with a burning intensity in his voice, is not your typical laboratory scientist prone to avoid superlatives or qualify claims. “This is like nothing we’ve ever found in any epidemiological study ever,” he said. Yet the journal Lancet rejected his studies without explanation.Busby believes it is part of an intentional sabotage: “There are some serious operators out there,” he says, “and they don’t want the story to get out.” These stark conclusions and provocative conspiracy theories deliberately blur the line between science and politics. In a world in which these two realms are generally sharply divided, there is something refreshing about a scientist who is not afraid to get political.

Yet, as experts at NYU Medical Center confirmed in their response to my queries about the quality of these studies, Busby’s findings are not without their problems.

In their assessment of the epidemiology study, NYU Professors Paolo Toniolo, Judith Zelikoff, and George Friedman-Jimenez were critical of the study’s methodology and cast doubt on the accuracy of its conclusions. They acknowledged the challenge of conducting epidemiological research in wartime and postwar conditions, but argued that the study did not adequately address the inevitable biases involved. Toniolo questioned the report’s claim that the researchers conducted a random sampling of houses in the study area and observed that, among other biases, the study did not address socioeconomics as a factor in the health of the population still living in Fallujah. Zelikoff explained that the findings omitted important information concerning the background of the individuals in the study, including smoking, contagious disease, and the quality of maternal health care.

Friedman-Jimenez noted that, especially in a climate of fear and mistrust, the method of gathering information through questionnaires to households would likely result in an overestimate of risk. “The magnitude of these biases, however, is not likely to be big enough to completely explain the extraordinarily large observed relative risks,” he said. “What fraction of the increased risk is due to these and other biases is very unclear. The role of ‘quick and dirty’ studies like this one, conducted under difficult conditions, is not to inform policy, but rather to generate hypotheses about important questions when resources are not yet available and other research methods are not possible.”

Terry Gordon, a professor in NYU’s Department of Environmental Medicine, referred to the toxicology study as both “strange” and “interesting.” He too cited methodological issues, including the lack of a baseline for local levels of uranium. (The study compared levels in Fallujah to those in southern Israel, Japan, Brazil, Sweden, and Slovenia.) Several of the experts challenged the study’s conclusion that the discovery of mutagens can be indisputably linked to a rise in cancers. Zelikoff explained that the study does not address the lack of information about duration or amounts of exposure. Gordon also noted that, “While congenital effects can be seen after such short term exposures, it is unlikely that cancers would be elevated 6 or 7 years after the war.” Toniolo was critical of the statement that the goal of this second study was to determine “the cause of the increased risk” and its specific connection to US weaponry deployed during the war. “This is a statement that most scientists would not have the guts to make. One cannot determine the cause of anything.”

Despite the serious problems with Busby’s findings, the respondents generally agreed that the studies should not be dismissed but instead should be regarded as prompts for more investigation and attention to the issue

Further Investigation

Unfortunately, the situation in Fallujah today makes further investigation difficult. The Fallujah Hospital is understaffed and lacking in research capacity. The Shia-dominated Iraqi government has not made studies of health risks in Fallujah, a center of the Sunni-based insurgency, a priority.

According to Busby, his own team had barely completed gathering their data when the government declared them terrorists and threatened to jail anyone who responded to further questionnaires. For obvious reasons, the US Defense Department isn’t lining up to support any further study of the issue and routinely rejects or ignores any claim that there is a serious health crisis in Fallujah or that the US military is responsible for it.

In November 2009, British and Iraqi doctors petitioned the UN to investigate the cause of Fallujah’s health crisis. In response, the World Health Organization (WHO) agreed to conduct its own investigation, although it too has been delayed. A WHO representative in Iraq said the delay was due to changes in methodological design and informed me that the Iraqi Ministry of Health will gather data from households in 18 districts from January-February 2012. Meanwhile, the United States has simply dismissed the petitions as “anecdotal” and “inconclusive.”

Media Response

Scientists are not the only ones with a role to play here. It is also the job of the media and other public commentators to report on the situation. In addition to giving us a better picture of what is happening from the perspective of the population living in Fallujah, they should draw attention to the Iraqi and US governments’ obfuscations as well as convey the strengths and weaknesses of the studies done thus far. The issue demands principled, critical journalism.

So far, the media’s coverage of the birth defects and cancer epidemic in Fallujah has been disappointing, to say the least. In 2010, major British newspapers-including the Guardian, the Telegraph, and the Independent-ran brief, suggestive stories on Busby’s first study. These simply reported the study’s conclusions without addressing the methodological problems or framing the political challenges. In the short run, these kinds of reports are valuable for drawing attention to the issue. In the long run, however, such superficial reportage fails both to inform readers and to advance the possibility of formal justice for the population of Fallujah. None of these newspapers has covered the second study at all.

Feurat Alani’s 2011 documentary, Fallujah: A Lost Generation?, shown on French television earlier this year and screened in New York, Boston, and Los Angeles as part of Justice for Fallujah’s awareness campaign, offers one of the few in-depth reports on the evolving issue. Alani is French, with parents from Fallujah. In the film, he interviews doctors and parents of deformed children in Fallujah and Iraqi and American participants in the 2004 battle, as well as researchers and activists. Although the film also glosses over the problems concerning the current science, it is nonetheless extremely informative and an invaluable tool for raising public consciousness.

So far, the mainstream press in the United States has been completely silent. As far as I can tell, no major US news outlet has devoted even a single article or segment to the issue.

A generous explanation of this US media blackout might grant that, in light of questions about the quality of the scientific evidence backing the anecdotal claims, American journalists are just being cautious. But considering the huge stakes, there is no reason they could not report on the studies with a tentative critical eye, just as the researchers who responded to my query did. And given the kind of rampant speculation that regularly peppers mainstream news in the United States, caution is probably not the main factor here. It is more likely that this is yet another example of the US media’s complicity when it comes to America’s wars.

As long as the US press continues to ignore the issue, the US government will feel free to do the same, and the chances of making much progress on the interrelated fronts of scientific investigation, international law, and policy will remain slim.

Illusory Visions of a Post-American Iraq

The current silence of the US press on the health crisis in Fallujah reflects an understandable, though problematic, desire to leave behind a shameful chapter in the history of US foreign policy. If we give in to that desire, we risk losing sight of what is actually happening in Iraq right now. This has implications not only for how we understand the ongoing health crisis in Fallujah but also for how we understand the current and future role of the United States in Iraq more broadly.

Since Obama’s election, coverage of Iraq has followed the administration’s public emphasis on the drawing down of the war. Following the announcement in October of a full withdrawal of US troops by the end of the year, reports in major US newspapers have focused on issues of security in Iraq after the US military’s departure from the country. On November 6, for example, The New York Times ran a front-page story with the title, “Leaving Iraq, US Fears New Surge of Qaeda Terror.” This echoed a news analysis piece published two weeks earlier, which focused on the scaling back of plans to build huge US consulates in politically and economically important cities in Iraq.

This picture of an Iraq emptied of US influence is illusory. In the end, the neocon dream of Iraq as a US client state didn’t come true. But long after December 31, 2011, the United States will continue to have a significant diplomatic and military presence there. Although the Iraqi parliament rejected the US proposal to allow 5-10,000 US troops to remain in Iraq, Obama and Prime Minister Maliki are scheduled to meet in December to continue discussing the issue. Meanwhile, the United States has already established an agreement to keep at least that many troops in neighboring Kuwait. Within Iraq, there will be private security contractors, and Baghdad will be host to the largest embassy in the world – the main base for an army of diplomatic personnel that will carry out security and covert intelligence operations throughout the country.

For Americans who opposed the war, visions of a post-American Iraq are especially tempting. But they are also deceptive. In addition to sparking our consciousness about the health and environmental impact of the war, the ongoing crisis in Fallujah should wake us up to the fact that in multiple ways – most of which are currently ignored or suppressed by the US spin machine – the legacy of the US war in Iraq is far from over.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 81 other followers