January 11, 2008

Credibility Is A Bitch

When the USA first accused Iranian gunboats of harassing their warships, I was skeptical. When the USA released video of the incident, I was intrigued. But when the Iranians claimed that the US video was a hoax, the whole thing started to sound like just another sorry charade. That has been confirmed now that the USA had admitted that they doctored the video.

Then there is the latest Iraq body count from the World Health Organization, which puts the number of deaths from violence from April 2003 through June 2006 at between 101,000 and 224,000. As Juan Cole notes, whatever the discrepancies with the Lancet guesstimate of over 600,000 deaths, "the last time Bush admitted his war had killed civilians, he quoted the figure of 30,000, and we can definitely dismiss such tiny numbers as woefully inaccurate. Bush has to face up to what he has done."
One of the arguments warmongers gave for overthrowing Saddam Hussein was that his regime was responsible for the violent deaths of some 300,000 civilians between 1968 and 2003. That estimate now appears exaggerated, since the number of bodies in mass graves has not borne it out. But what is tragic is that in 4 1/2 short years, a foreign military occupation has unleashed killing on a scale achieved by the murderous Saddam Hussein regime only over decades. Bush did not kill all those people directly, of course, but he did indirectly cause them to be killed, since these are excess deaths beyond what you would have expected if there had been no invasion and occupation.

I am often struck by how clueless the American public is to the vast destruction we have wrought on Iraq and its people, directly or indirectly. It strikes me as a bitter joke that 4 million are displaced, often facing hunger and disease, and the rightwing periodicals and presidential candidates are talking about how the "surge" has "turned things around." For whom? How many orphans have we created? How many widows? How many people who weep and cry every night while trying to fall asleep on straw mats?
The fact that Bush would even dare to push such a ridiculously low figure speaks for itself.

Gone are the days when anyone ever took the USA at its word. The US military in particular has disgraced itself over the past 8 years or more. Bush's "war" on terrorism may be a bogus construction, but Truth (starting with lies about 9/11 and WMD) has nevertheless been its first casualty.

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