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9/12: Never Forget

Every year in the United States, September 11 features newspapers, television shows and websites repeating the phrase “Never Forget.”

I agree that the death of 2,980 innocent civilians in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington DC is tragic. I agree we should not forget.

Today is September 12, 2015.

Today, we should agree to never forget that between 142 thousand and 165 thousand innocent civilians in Iraq have died because the United States declared war against a nation that was not involved in the attacks of September 11, 2001, on the basis of lies about fictitious weapons of mass destruction. That is a scale of innocent civilian death between 48 and 55 times as great as the deaths of September 11.

Graph: civilian deaths in Iraq

A majority of Americans cheered as this war began.

Never forget.

13 thoughts on “9/12: Never Forget”

  1. Larry says:

    I think that in the 4th paragraph you meant to sat 2001, not 2015 (???).

    Might want to repost it corrected?

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Thanks for catching the typo, Larry! Corrected.

  2. Dave says:

    The number of civilian deaths over the last decade in Iraq pales somewhat compared to the number the NYT estimates Saddam killed in the previous decade, which is perhaps a million. One estimate has 200,000 people disappearing every year just prior to the U.S. invasion. That alone is no good reason for the U.S. invasion.

    Mass graves, human shredders, children’s jails, rape rooms. I agree, disgusting as they are, those in themselves are not reason enough to invade. According to the NYTimes there was indeed the “discovery of thousands of chemical weapons, including warheads and shells containing mustard gas and sarin” after the invasion, but they were “remnants of long-abandoned programs, built in close collaboration with the West.” The “Army kept a veil of secrecy over discoveries and the medical issues suffered by the soldiers who were exposed to nerve agents.”

    Funny thing is, those soldiers would not have been exposed had we not invaded.

    At one time we gave Saddam Hussein all the help he needed to create weapons in order to keep him friendly toward the West and to keep the oil flowing. He was supposed to be the buffer between Western interests and the erratic new Islamic State of Iran. (Remember the Ayatollah?) After years of war with Iran that had been promoted by the West, and a million dead from both sides, it was during the stand-off that Hussein’s behavior changed.

    The gassing of Kurds to the north, war with Iran to the east, invasion of Kuwait to the south, and threats of the destruction of Israel to the west, and the U.S. now understood they had created a monster. It was time to attempt a fix, and 9/11 was the U.S. government’s best excuse.

    This is about oil. Our invasion of other lands, lamentable as it is, is not the root of the problem. It is our disastrous foreign policy in the middle east from the deposing of the Shah (Carter) to the propping up of Hussein (Reagan) that is driven by the West’s need for oil. One might also add that our government’s desire to prop up Israel as a strong ally in the region is also a factor.

    As we depose the bloody tyrants who rule Middle Eastern nations — Syria, Egypt (Mubarak), Iran (the Shah), Iraq, the Nation of Islam types come in to fill the vacuum. U.S. foreign policy in the region has gone down the bloody sewer, and hundreds of thousands now seek “asylum” in Europe, Great Britain and soon in the U.S.

    The real irony here is, did the U.S. government lie about weapons of mass destruction? Well, sort of. Did the U.S. government lie about the weapons that they actually did find? Absolutely. The stockpiles that were discovered had “Made in U.S.A.” stamped all over them. How embarrassing.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Let’s not obfuscate.

      You write “at one time…” — the gassing-the-Kurds episode you describe without naming a year was long, long, long before 2002-2003, when the Bush administration — to name a year, 1988. The Bush administration claimed that Saddam Hussein currently had weapons of mass destruction, and even claimed to know where they were. Did the U.S government “sort of” lie about weapons of mass destruction? There is no “sort of” about it.

      “We know where they are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat.” — Donald Rumsfeld, March 2003

      That’s just lie #1 out of many.

      To say Saddam Hussein was worse does not remove the moral stain upon our own nation.

  3. frank says:

    Millions die around the world Cookie..in senseless wars,get over it. Isis is massacring the whole Iraq…forgot that? I’d say: let them kill one another. Not our business. Leave the Middle East alone. do not tale in ANY refugees from anywhere and close the borders. Let Israel deal with them..they know what to do.

  4. Charles Manning says:

    Thanks for reminding us of the horrendous loss of life in Iraq.

    I also thank Dave for a thought-provoking comment. But I want confirmation of his figures. If Saddam Hussein was responsible for the deaths of 200,000 innocent Iraq civilians in the years leading up to the ill-fated 2003 U.S. invasion, that’s certainly unforgettable, as well as unforgivable. My impression has been that Iraq was a relatively stable country that lost a lot of people in a war with Iran, which also suffered tremendous casualties — a war that the U.S. evidently tolerated, if not supported. I want evidence that innocent civilians on the order Dave mentions were killed by Saddam. Stopping that would have justified U.S. intervention of some kind, as opposed to mythical weapons of mass destruction and responses to affronts to the first Bush by Saddam.

    1. Dave says:

      Thanks Charles. The figures vary tremendously, but Wikipedia being a starting point for the armchair statistician that I am, I went to the NY Times after reading Human Rights in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, Item 3 Number of Victims and 3.1 Other Atrocities. Also the WAIS Forum at Stanford.edu has many excellent articles including Human Rights Watch stats which show at least 1000 victims a day in the months leading up to the war. The 200,000 figure was from memory of reading during the war. Some estimates say 300,000.

      Interestingly, there seems to be a school of thought that deaths in Iraq would have been much higher in the last decade had Hussein been allowed to rule, but these days ISIS and the like may prove otherwise.

      1. Jim Cook says:

        Could you provide links to the sources that make specific claims?

      2. Charles Manning says:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_Saddam_Hussein's_Iraq is the Wikipedia article. I haven’t had time to read everything available on this topic. However, there’s no doubt that the only justification for anything the U.S. did against Iraq would have been the treatment of innocents that apparently led to many thousands of deaths, as well as non-lethal torture, rape, and other crimes. Somehow the story told by the Bush administration downplayed these facts. All we heard about was the take-over of Kuwait, followed by weapons of mass destruction.

        I would like to see the most reliable account of the Hussein atrocities against Iraq’s citizens (were the Kurds citizens of Iraq?). I think it’s important to compare that information to what has gone on in other countries, including the infamous slaughter in Rwanda, that has not prompted any sort of intervention by the U.S., or the U.N., or any other military power. I seem to recall that there was some kind of threat of mass killing in Lydia (not actual killings) led to the attacks on that country.

        In short, the loss of innocent civilians is a major moral issue that somehow seem to be overlooked by the American public and media, as suggested in this Irregular Times article. What do groups like Human Rights Watch make of this? What implications are there for the military establishment of the U.S.?

        1. Charles Manning says:

          Libya, not Lydia.

  5. Tom says:

    frank: have you lost your humanity, or are you just a Republican? What if YOU needed help? You’d want everyone to turn their backs on you? Come on, man – we’re supposed to be helping one another. If we’d stop bombing those countries and wreaking financial havoc in others, there wouldn’t be as many refugees. [However, now that climate change is taking over, we can expect ever more of them.]

  6. Tom says:

    Nation with Crumbling Bridges and Roads Excited to Build Giant Wall [this is satire, ok?]

    http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/nation-with-crumbling-bridges-and-roads-excited-to-build-giant-wall

    [begins]

    WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—As America’s bridges, roads, and other infrastructure dangerously deteriorate from decades of neglect, there is a mounting sense of urgency that it is time to build a giant wall.

    Across the U.S., whose rail system is a rickety antique plagued by deadly accidents, Americans are increasingly recognizing that building a wall with Mexico, and possibly another one with Canada, should be the country’s top priority.

    Harland Dorrinson, the executive director of a Washington-based think tank called the Center for Responsible Immigration, believes that most Americans favor the building of border walls over extravagant pet projects like structurally sound freeway overpasses.
    [read the rest for a good laugh surrounding a solid truth]

  7. Quinton Underwood says:

    The prior statements only show that we have Monday morning quarter backing grossly wrong on both sides and
    neither has any idea how to deal with the ills in front of us. My major concern is that this nation, The USA
    is being torn to shreds and erroneous bickering from the Monday Morning Quarter Backs in reference to past issues is the best that we have.

    Quinton Underwood

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