By: Michael Drohan
On Tuesday night, August 31, President Obama declared almost triumphantly the end of the war in Iraq. He said he had so promised in his presidential campaign and he delivered on it. He continued “through this remarkable chapter in the history of the United States and Iraq, we have met our responsibility. Now it’s time to turn the page”. One wonders what world Mr. Obama inhabits with this “remarkable chapter” remark. By any estimate the US war on/in Iraq has virtually destroyed the social, economic, political and cultural fabric of Iraq. With this indescribable suffering and death has been visited on this poor suffering people. Probably a million or more unnecessary deaths of Iraqs, two and half million refugees have resulted and another two and a half million have been internally displaced.
Coinciding with Mr. Obama’s triumphant declaration, Joy Jordan of Fairfield University had just published a book entitled “Invisible Wars: The United States and the Iraq Sanctions”. This book details the way the US reduced Iraq to a “pre-industrialized country” through sanctions which the UN, principally at the instigation of the US, imposed on that country for 13 years 1991-2003. Firstly, in the bombing that preceded the sanctions, the US military had destroyed almost completely the entire infrastructure including electricity generating stations, sewage plants and public water supplies. Under the sanctions instituted almost everything necessary to run a modern industrialized economy was prohibited from importation. This was the time when Madeleine Albright, Clinton’s Secretary of State infamously declared that the deaths of a half million children under the age of five was worth it.
If the President were to speak just a modicum of truth last Tuesday night, he might have declared that the destruction of Iraq is now complete through thirteen years of sanctions and seven years of war. Pressing hope really beyond the limits we might have hoped that he would have declared that the US would undertake a program of reparations to this ravaged country. Sadly, however, no way is this on the horizon of the powers that be.