Where are the Iraqis in the Iraq War?
Five years after the
Through all the special coverage and exclusive reports, very little is said about Iraqi casualties, who are either completely overlooked or hastily mentioned and whose numbers can only be guesstimated. Also conveniently ignored are the millions injured, internally and externally displaced, the victims of rape and kidnappings who will carry physical and psychological scars for the rest of their lives.
We find ourselves stuck in a hopeless paradigm, where it feels necessary to empathise with the sensibilities of the aggressor so as not to sound "unpatriotic", while remaining blind to the untold anguish of the victims. Some actually feel the need to go so far as to blame the Iraqis for their own misfortune. Both Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have expressed their wish for Iraqis to take responsibility for the situation in their country, with the former saying, "we cannot win their civil war. There is no military solution."
It would have been helpful if
Is it still a secret, five years on, that the war on
Of course, there are those who prefer to imagine a world in which a well-intentioned superpower would fight with all of its might to enable another smaller, distant nation to enjoy the fruits of liberty, democracy and freedom. But it is nothing short of ridiculous to pretend that Iraqis are capable of controlling the parameters of the ranging conflict, that a puppet government whose election and operation is entirely under the command of the
Equally absurd is the insinuation that the civil war in Iraq is an exclusively Iraqi doing, and that the US military has not deliberately planted the seeds of divisions, hoping to reinterpret its role in Iraq from that of the occupier to that of the arbitrator, making sure the "good" guys prevail over the "bad".
The idea of the US making an immediate exit from Iraq or taking full financial and legal responsibility for the devastation and genocide -- yes, genocide -- that occurred in the last five years is simply unthinkable from the viewpoint of the corporate US media, which still relates to the war only in terms of American (and never Iraqi) losses.
There are very few commentators who are actually arguing that the reasons for war were entirely self-serving, without an iota of morality behind them. Would Bush employ the same logic he used to justify Saddam Hussein's execution -- suggesting this was warranted by the Iraqi president's violence against his own people -- when dealing with those responsible for the deaths of over a million Iraqis as a result of this war?
And indeed Iraqis are dying in numbers that never subside regardless of the media and official hype about the "surge". Just Foreign Policy says the number of dead Iraqis has surpassed one million, while a survey by the British polling agency ORB estimates the number at over 1.2 million. But the plight of Iraqis hardly ends at a death count, since those left behind endure untold suffering: soaring poverty, unemployment rates between 40-70 per cent (governmental estimates), total lack of security in major cities and, according to Oxfam International, four million in need of emergency aid.
Indeed, there seem to be no promising statistics coming out of
In yet another "surprise visit" to
Meanwhile, Shlomo Brom, a senior fellow at
In considering such skewed logic, one can only hope that Cheney's successful experiment will end soon, and that
Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an author and editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His work has been published in many newspapers and journals worldwide. His latest book is The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle (Pluto Press,