by Felicity Arbuthnot
Global Research, January 28, 2008
Thoughts on Holocaust Memorial Day.
It is seventeen years since America and Britain embarked on their ‘Final Solution’ for the population of Iraq.
The forty two day carpet bombing, enjoined by thirty two other countries, against a country of just twenty five million souls, with a youthful, conscript army, with broadly half the population under sixteen, and no air force, was just the beginning of a United Nations led, global siege of near mediaeval ferocity.
Having, as James Baker boasted they would, reduced ‘Iraq to a pre-industrial age’, the country was denied all normality : trade, aid, telecommunications, power, sanitation, water repairs, seeds, foods, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment.
As I write, seventeen years ago, Iraq would be entering the second week of a barbaric, near twenty four hour a day, carpet bombing, which, then, as now (lest we forget – yet again) scrupulously ignored Protocol 1, Additional to the Geneva Convention of 1977:
‘It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies such as irrigation works (denying them) to the civilian population or to the adverse Party … for any motive.’
The Blitzkrieg on Iraq deliberately targeted all ‘indispensable to survival’.
Within twenty four hours, most was destroyed. The electricity went off within two hours, leaving patients on life support machines and vital equipment, babies in incubators, or those on oxygen to die.
Refrigerators defrosted, all medicine needing refrigeration, blood banks and vital saline solutions for the injured were destroyed. Food rotted and between the bombing and the bank closures (latter for fear of looting) replacements were scarce to unbuyable.
In Najav, seventy dialysis patients, ‘old friends’, said the senior nurse in charge of the unit, died for want of electricity. The water supply was deliberately destroyed, parts denied subsequently by the pathetic, US-UK dominated Sanctions Committee – a Committee without a backbone between them – and remains lethal to this day.
This was the plan by US Central Command, it seems, all along. The destruction of Iraq’s water system has been described by Professor Nagy and Stephanie Miller as: ‘a slow motion holocaust’. Few could have put it better.
(See: How the US deliberately destroyed Iraq’s water. by Thomas J Nagy: http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/NAG108A.html )
The telecommunications tower was also one of the earliest casualties, an elegant, soaring, structure on the edge of Baghdad’s Mansur district. It lay, broken and crumpled, as did the remains of those who worked inside it. Iraq was thus cut off from the world, the extent of the bombing and atrocities largely unknown for considerable time. Iraqis throughout the world had no way of knowing if their families, friends, loves, were dead or alive. Radio and television stations across Iraq were blitzed so no warnings to populus could be given (journalists too have special protection in wars, but decision makers, seemingly are not only illiterate, but ignore legalities.)
Hospitals, health clinics, schools and kindergartens were bombed, education eradicated so totally that the stores for educational materials, in buildings separate from the schools (usually in a central distribution point some miles away) were also bombed.
Agriculture in all forms was deliberately targeted.
Chicken farms bombed, flocks of sheep and goats, broadly half of all buffalo were killed, dairy farms obliterated.
Crops, food processing factories reduced to rubble. A war crime stupendous in its immensity, for which not one murderous, genocidal, infanticidal, decision maker or pilot has stood trial.
Pharmaceutical factories were bombed, the medical syringe factory was destroyed.
And in an especially psychotic policy, the countries who were Iraq’s trading partners and had built factories and installations for the country, bombed those which they had built. America’s gung-ho goons whooped over bombing the Pepsi and Coca Cola factories. ‘Bravery’ doesn’t come more deviant, sub-normal and retarded than that.
Due to the use of defoliants and napalm, half of all Iraq’s trees, including the great, ancient palms, died. Remaining palms did not bear their succulent fruit for about five years.
In the tranquil, family farming settlements, amongst the palms, women and livestock alike aborted and often died.
Survivors consistently described a ‘vapor’ coming from the ‘planes, then the horrific aftermath, affecting those living in the shelter of the palm groves or copses of trees, where dwellers settled for relative cool from Iraq’s searing summers.
And, of course, in this decimation from above, which dropped more ordinance daily than was dropped daily in the second world war, five times more explosive power was dropped than on Hiroshima.
The weapons used were depleted uranium, which continues to irradiate Iraq and the region, the people, flora and fauna -and will continue to do so for four and a half billion years. ‘..protection of the natural environment against widespread, long term and severe damage’, is another absolute dictate under the Geneva Convention. It proscribes absolutely ‘… damage to the natural environment (prejucing) the health and survival of the population.’
Contraventions don’t come bigger than condemning inestimable generations yet unborn, to death and deformity. The Nuremberg Principles are exercised by the treatment of both civilians and prisoners and the: ‘… murder or ill treatment …of prisoners of war … further, extermination … and other inhuman acts against any civilian population’.
The ‘inhuman acts’, committed against the Iraqi people in 1991 constitute war crimes which, since no one was brought to justice, one can only hope haunt those responsible for all time.
The slaughter on the Basra Road, after the ceasefire, the fleeing civilians and retreating troops, ripped to pieces, or incinerated in General Norman Schwartzkop’s ‘turkey shoot’.
The whole war, of course, was nothing else. Saddam Hussein had offered, indeed, started to retreat from Kuwait before the carnage began, but as ever, for the United States, conciliation was ‘too late’. Buses, lorries, cars were also targeted throughout the forty two day massacre. Lorries carrying medicines, meat, essentials were burned, with their drivers. Western troops took their repulsive ‘trophy photos’, with the pathetic remains of the incinerated and dismembered.
When the (UK) Observer, to its credit, printed the picture which became the symbol of the 1991 atrocities, the Iraqi soldier, with his near melted face welded to the windscreen of his vehicle, there was an outcry.
The sensitivities of readers should not be exposed to such horrors. Maggie O’Kane, writing in the Guardian Weekly (16th December 1995) describes searingly, reality. Relatives, praying, hope against hope, that those they loved, had somehow miraculously survived the hadean inferno that was the Basra Road massacre. “On the day the war ended, at a bus station south of Baghdad, dusk was falling and the road was covered with weeping women.
The Iraqi survivors of the `turkey shoot’ on the Basra Road were crawling home with fresh running wounds. Their women were throwing themselves at the battered minibuses and trucks, pulling, pleading, begging. `Where is he, have you seen him ? Is he not with you ?’ Some fell to their knees on the road when they heard the news.
Others kept running from bus, to truck, to car, looking for their husbands, their sons or their lovers – the 37,000 Iraqi soldiers who would not come back. It went on all night and it was the most desperate and moving scene I have ever witnessed.” There was worse. Think of the excesses of horrors the Western media has deluged its readers with over the years, those perpetrated by people of other cultures, with other features: Stalin, Pol Pot, indeed Saddam Hussein and consider this in Maggie O’Kane’s article: ‘
When Sergeant Joe Queen returned to his home town of Bryson City North California, after the Gulf war, the first thing he saw was a huge banner draped outside Hardees Burger Restaurant, which read: `Welcome Home Joe Queen.’ Joe Queen, who’d been awarded a bronze star, wanted to chill out after the war, but Bryson City wouldn’t let him Joe, 19-years old, had gone straight from Desert Storm to become one of the first American troops to cross the Saudi border in an armored bulldozer. His job was to bury the Iraqis alive in their trenches and then cover over the trenches real smooth so the rest of the Big Red One, as The First Armored Mechanized Brigade is called, could come nice and easy behind him. ‘Joe Queen doesn’t know how many Iraqi troops he buried alive on the front line.
But five years later, in his military base in Georgia, he remembers well how it worked:
`The sand was so soft that once the blade hits the sand it just caves in right on the sides, so we never did go back and forth. So you are traveling at five, six, seven miles an hour just moving along the trench… You don’t see him. You’re up there in the half hatch and you know what you got to do. You did it so much you could close your eyes and do it… I don’t think they had any idea because the look on their faces as we came through the berm was just a look of shock. `While I was retreating, I saw some of the soldiers trying to surrender, but they were buried. There were two kinds of bulldozers, real ones, actual ones, and also they had tanks and they put something like a bulldozer blade in front of them. Some of the soldiers were walking towards the troops holding their arms up to surrender and the tanks moved in and killed them. They dug a hole in the ground and then they buried the soldiers and leveled it.’ One survivor described the friends buried alive, who he had laughed with, eaten with …’I really don’t know how to describe it. We were friends. I ate with some of them. I talked to some of them. I cannot express how I felt at that moment….. I saw one soldier and his body was just torn apart by a bulldozer. The upper part was on one side and the lower on the other side.’
I hope your nightmares and those of your colleagues haunt for all time Joe Queen. May the specter of those for whose live burial you and your murderous colleagues were responsible, follow in all your footsteps, for all time.
These mass graves also carry the names of the leaders who ordered the decimation of Iraq in 1991,their military Commanders and soldiers, on every one of them. Ironically, the mass graves of Saddam Hussein have seemingly not materialized, just war graves and those from the uprising encouraged by the US and UK at the end of the 1991 decimation. The war, of course, never ended. The thirteen year subsequent embargo cost maybe one and a quarter million lives.
Additionally, the US and UK, bombed Iraq (illegally) until the (illegal) invasion of 2003. In 2002, they stepped up their destruction of life, limb and of entire housing projects with families within, children playing, doing homework, flocks of sheep and goats with their child shepherds.
‘Approximately a year before the United States initiated Operation Southern Focus, as a change to its response strategy, by increasing the overall number of missions and selecting targets throughout the no-fly zones to disrupt the military command structure in Iraq. The weight of bombs dropped increased from none in March 2002 and 0.3 in April 2002 to between 8 and 14 tons per month in May-August, reaching a pre-war peak of 54.6 tons in September 2002.’ (Wikipedia.)
A recent study by the Centre for Public Integrity, has also uncovered lies of impeachable stature, leading to invasion, by the Bush Administration..
‘The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them, or had links to al Qaeda, or both. ‘Bush led with 259 false statements, 231 about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 28 about Iraq’s links to al Qaeda, the study found. That was second only to Powell’s 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq and al Qaeda.’ (http://www.publicintegrity.org)
Iraq’s post invasion (2003-2007) excess under five mortality has been estimated at over one million. In Afghanistan, post invasion, at 1.9 million (2001-2007.)
For another humanitarian abomination of our time, the Israeli siege of the Gaza strip (June 2007 and ongoing) total excess death figures are elusive.
CIA figures for infant mortality, however (2004) are woeful at 23.54 per thousand births. Sweden (2007) just 2.76 per thousand births. Given Israel’s withdrawal of electricity and just about all needed to sustain life since last June, some serious statistical data is needed – and relentless and absolute demands for humanity and human rights for our global neighbors in Gaza, Iraq and Afghanistan, the forgotten of Lebanon’s ‘Simmer Rain’ decimation, by ‘we the people …’
Like Joe Queen’s genocidal actions, the atrocities committed in these countries are being carried out in our name. ‘Silence is complicity’. (For much more shameful complicity – since 1950 – please see Dr Gideon Polya: ‘Body Count’, an academic, key and indispensable work: http://www.globalbodycount.blogspot.com)
‘There was no one left to kill’, declared General Norman Schwartzkopf after the Basra Road bloodbath, where even the injured holding white flags, and doctors accompanying them were obliterated.
‘Morally, we won’, an Iraqi doctor told me shortly afterwards. Indeed. ‘We are the new Jews’, is an oft heard, Arab refrain now.
As I write, on Holocaust Memorial Day, it is impossible not to reflect that is does not take forced labor camps, forced transport and Zyclon B to create a holocaust. When the figures of the dead in Iraq, Afghanistan and Gaza, reach six million, as the world stands by, will they too get their own Holocaust Memorial Day?
Will we all, regardless of color or creed, ever learn, before it is too late?
© Copyright Felicity Arbuthnot, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7920