Conservatives Target Greenlining
Pedophiles & Popes
Hungry By The Numbers
Living in District 9
keith harmon snow
2006 BP Probe
NAFTA & Immigration
The Past & Democracy
Herbert P. Bix
Media, Culture, Reviews
UGC & Media
Klare's Rising Powers
Zaps - 07-08/10
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
Blood On Our Hands
The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq
Book by Nicolas J.S. Davies; 2010, Nimble Books LLC, Ann Arbor, 440 pp.
Blood on our Hands is a powerful and important book that unravels the Bush administration's lies and deceptions, revealing its brutal policies and conduct during the invasion and occupation of Iraq. It explains the almost unbelievable violence—its rationales, applications, extent, impact, illegalities, and cover-ups—and what that violence means in human terms, to Americans as well as Iraqis.
The book explains the broad foreign policy of which the destruction of Iraq was a part. Briefly, the U.S. policy is to try to maintain a monopoly on military power in the world, so it can destroy its "enemies" with as few American casualties as possible by using a combination of proxies, covert action, propaganda, and overwhelming force. Once a nation is targeted, the corporate and bureaucratic interests that drive the military machine determine how to fracture it for generations to come, so that it will be manageable and exploitable. They hire the "best and brightest" American minds to cover their tracks. Davies unravels the machinations of the Bush regime while exposing its pattern of illegal criminal actions and the people complicit in them, including the media.
The history of the Iraq War is chilling. In the beginning the CIA hired Saddam Hussein and helped him rise to power. The U.S. supplied him with anthrax, other biological warfare agents, and satellite intelligence to support his chemical warfare. It encouraged him to attack Iran, looked away when he gassed the Kurds, and may have given him the green light to invade Kuwait—after which the U.S. bombed Iraq's army into oblivion and instituted sanctions and no-fly zones that crippled its economy.
When Iraq was sufficiently softened up and Saddam sufficiently vilified, the Bush administration used 9/11 as a pretext to effect an invasion that had been planned for years. It lied about Iraqi uranium purchases in Africa, interfered in the UN inspection process, undermined the UN Security Council, and used the image of a nuclear holocaust to terrorize the American people into supporting the invasion.
The son of a British Naval officer, Davies tells how Tony Blair rejected legal advice that warned the planned invasion would be an illegal crime of aggression. Nevertheless, the events leading up to the "shock and awe" campaign—whose architects compared it to a Nazi Blitzkrieg—were carefully scripted and preordained, with the complicity of the pro-war media.
Davies does a wonderful job articulating, and supporting with facts the mechanics of American control over every facet of occupied Iraq, from its hand-picked collaborators, to the military and security forces it organized and operated, and, of course, every penny appropriated for reconstruction and building military bases.
The media has propagated the myth that violence in Iraq is sectarian, with the Americans standing in the way of a far greater number of atrocities that would occur should they withdraw. As Davies explains, the truth is exactly the opposite. We learn about the "Salvador Option," a plan that involved special units hunting down and assassinating civilians suspected of being key figures in the insurgency, based on the CIA's Phoenix Program in Vietnam.
When Americans were not in charge of the death squads themselves, they were training Iraqis to do it. Davies names the protagonists and unravels the organizational shell game that enabled their deadly charade.
He explains how a former senior DEA officer and a retired U.S. army officer, most likely under contract to the CIA, created teams of commandoes within Iraq's Interior Ministry. Linked to a wave of extra-judicial killings in which the victims were invariably handcuffed, blindfolded, tortured, and shot once in the head, the plausible denial of the occupation's command and control of these terror teams protected the U.S. from worldwide condemnation over its crimes.
Always focused on law and language, Davies shows how the American recruitment and training of security forces in Iraq was not designed to stabilize Iraq, but to complete the conquest of the country. The horrors of wrongful and indefinite detention are described in detail. There is a particularly edifying chapter on how the occupation government's terror teams, aided by the American propaganda machine, exploited the conflict between Sunnis and Shiites. He presents the evidence necessary to trace the operational realities in the field back to those who were responsible for the policies, exposing the cover operations.
Davies tells how, as policy, the U.S. dismantled Iraq's industries and public institutions and thus created the soaring unemployment that made it possible to recruit young men to the puppet government's armed forces and militias, under U.S. command. He talks about the use of language to manipulate the American public: how smart bombs become a euphemism for carpet bombing, and how military planners knew full well that most casualties would be civilians, despite assuring people that their technology would minimize civilian deaths.
The military also propagandized its own troops, leaving them in the dark about their obligations under the Geneva Conventions and leading them to believe they were fighting a war of divine retribution. Davies pulls no punches in showing how American civilians and soldiers were conditioned by their politicians and the media into falsely believing that Iraq was involved in the attacks of 9/11 and connected to Al Qaeda. Deliberately deceived by the officer corps, many soldiers believed that all Iraqi civilians should be treated as insurgents.
The deception of the soldiers and the criminality of their leaders, enhanced by the most powerful weapons in military history, resulted in a brutal occupation in which torture, the killing of wounded enemy combatants, the abuse of civilians—from the theft and destruction of their money and private property, to the sexual abuse of detainees arrested on false charges—became commonplace.
All this happened because terrorizing the Iraqis into submission was the policy. Soldiers were rarely charged with any crimes, let alone murder. When cases did get to court, evidence was fudged or lost. When convictions were unavoidable, crimes were blamed on a few bad apples—invariably those who obeyed orders, not those who issued them.
During sieges of Iraqi cities, U.S. forces illegally used access to food, water, medicine, doctors, and electricity as a means of blackmail that people hand over resistance fighters. Then, when they refused, this became the pretext for savage bombardment. Before the final assault on Fallujah, young men and boys were detained at checkpoints or turned back to remain trapped in the killing zone, where snipers and aerial and artillery bombardment wasted everyone and everything. Americans destroyed the city, racking up a barbaric death toll of at least 4,000 civilians.
Davies, unlike the mainstream media, actually uses the word resistance, not insurgency, and tells how the resistance was initially characterized by nonviolent street demonstrations. The Americans, however, used violence to incite violence. As in Fallujah, they provoked conflict by killing civilians in cold blood before any armed resistance was present in the area. As the resistance grew, so did the assassination campaign designed to drive a wedge between the Iraqis and to forestall a united resistance. Those who spoke out publicly against the occupation were assassinated, often in ways that deliberately obscured responsibility. Having granted themselves immunity, the Americans began to revel openly in their violence. But, as Davies states, there is no political or military solution that can reconcile the people of Iraq to their invasion, subjugation, and subservience to American interests.
Blood on Our Hands explains why achieving peace is difficult, but not impossible and must be our goal. It is a sober reminder of the dangers of a foreign policy based on belligerent nationalism and how such policies can affect the very nature of the people who support them.
Douglas Valentine is a journalist and historian. His latest book is The Strength of the Pack: The Personalities, Politics and Espionage Intrigues that Shaped The DEA.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: email@example.com; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; email@example.com; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; email@example.com; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; email@example.com http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; email@example.com; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; email@example.com; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; email@example.com; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.