U.S. war crimes: one million murdered


Richard Moore

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A Deafening Silence On Report Of
One Million Iraqis Killed
By Patrick Martin
17 September, 2007

When those responsible for the American war in Iraq face a public reckoning for 
their colossal crimes, the weekend of September 15-16, 2007 will be an important
piece of evidence against them. On Friday, September 14 there were brief press 
reports of a scientific survey by the British polling organization ORB, which 
resulted in an estimate of 1.2 million violent deaths in Iraq since the US 

This staggering figure demonstrates two political facts: 1) the American war in 
Iraq has produced a humanitarian catastrophe of historic proportions, with a 
death total already higher than that in Rwanda in 1994; 2) those arguing against
a US withdrawal on the grounds that this would lead to civil war, even genocide,
are deliberately concealing the fact that such a bloodbath is already taking 
place, with the US military in control.

The reaction to the ORB report in the US political and media establishment was 
virtual silence. After scattered newspaper reports Friday, there was no coverage
on the Friday evening television newscasts or on the cable television news 
stations. There was no comment from the Bush White House, the Pentagon, or the 
State Department, and not a single Republican or Democratic presidential 
candidate or congressional leader made an issue of it. On the Sunday morning 
talk shows on all four broadcast networks the subject was not raised.

This was not because those involved were unaware of the study, which received 
wide circulation on the Internet and was prominently reported in the British 
daily press. Nor was there any serious challenge to the validity of the study¹s 

Opinion Research Business (ORB), founded by the former head of British 
operations for the Gallup polling organization, is a well-established commercial
polling firm. It gave a detailed technical description of the methods used to 
make a scientific random sample.

Six months ago, by contrast, an ORB survey in Iraq was hailed by the White House
because some of its findings could be given a positive spin in administration 
propaganda. That survey, conducted in February and made public March 18 in the 
Sunday Times of London, found that only 27 percent of Iraqis believed their 
country was in a state of civil war and that a majority supported the Maliki 
government and the US military ³surge,² and believed life was getting better in 
their country.

That survey also reported figures on violence that largely dovetail with those 
of the survey conducted in August and reported last Friday, including 79 percent
of Baghdad residents experiencing either a violent death or kidnapping in their 
immediate family or workplace. But its findings of Iraqi political opinions‹not 
the figures on deaths‹were given headline treatment in the US press, with 
articles in the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor and other 
national media outlets.

White House press spokesman Tony Snow cited the ORB poll at a March 23 news 
briefing, when he used its findings to rebut the results of a poll of Iraqis by 
ABC News, the British Broadcasting Corporation, the German ARD network and USA 
Today newspaper. Asked about the ABC poll¹s finding that Iraqis were more 
pessimistic about the future, Snow declared, ³there was also a British poll at 
the same time that had almost diametrically opposed results.² He added that the 
British poll had ³twice the sample² of the ABC poll, and should therefore be 
considered more authoritative.

The March ORB poll was widely hailed in the far-right media, including Fox News 
Network. The right-wing magazine National Review declared, ³Supporters of 
Operation Iraqi Freedom will be buoyed by a new poll of Iraqis showing high 
levels of support for the Baghdad security plan and the elected government 
implementing it.²

The latest ORB poll, focusing on the enormous death toll produced by the US 
invasion, has received no such positive reception at the White House. There is, 
of course, ample reason for such hostility. The figures reported by ORB 
undermine Bush administration claims that its goal in Iraq is to ³liberate² the 
Iraqi people from tyranny and terrorism, or to defend ³freedom and democracy.²

The real motivation for the war was spelled out by former Federal Reserve Board 
chairman Alan Greenspan in a newly published book of memoirs, in which he wrote,
³Whatever their publicized angst over Saddam Hussein¹s Œweapons of mass 
destruction,¹ American and British authorities were also concerned about 
violence in an area that harbors a resource indispensable for the functioning of
the world economy. I¹m saddened that it is politically inconvenient to 
acknowledge what everyone knows: The Iraq war is largely about oil.²

Equally significant is the silence from congressional Democrats and the 
Democratic presidential candidates, all of whom claim to be opposed to the Iraq 
war. This antiwar posturing, however, has nothing in common with genuine 
compassion for the plight of the Iraqi people or principled opposition to the 
predatory interests of American imperialism in the oil-rich country.

The Democrats oppose the Bush administration¹s conduct of the war, not because 
it has been a bloody and criminal operation, but because it has been mismanaged 
and unsuccessful in accomplishing the goal of plundering Iraq¹s oil resources 
and strengthening the strategic position of US imperialism in the Middle East.

The Democrats do not want to highlight the massive scale of the bloodbath in 
Iraq, as suggested by the ORB survey, because they share political 
responsibility for the war, from the vote to authorize the use of force in 
October 2002, to the repeated congressional passage of bills to fund the war, at
a total cost of more than $600 billion. In any war crimes trial over the 
near-genocide in Iraq, leading Democrats would take their place in the dock, 
second only to the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld war cabal.

Appearing on NBC¹s ³Meet the Press² program Sunday, the 2004 Democratic 
presidential candidate, Senator John Kerry, denounced suggestions that 
congressional Democrats would allow the United States to be defeated in Iraq. He
criticized the Bush administration¹s conduct of the war on the ground that it 
had weakened US national security interests, particularly in relation to Iran.

³We¹re not talking about abandoning Iraq,² Kerry said. ³We¹re talking about 
changing the mission and adjusting the mission so that the bulkier combat troops
are withdrawn, ultimately, within a year, but that you are continuing to provide
the basic backstop support necessary to finish the training, so they stand up on
their own, and you are continuing to chase Al Qaeda.²

Kerry made it clear that he advocated a more aggressive, not less aggressive, 
policy in the Middle East. ³We need to get out of Iraq in order to be stronger 
to deal with Iran,² he said, ³in order to deal with Hezbollah and Hamas, to 
regain our credibility in the region. And I believe, very deeply, they 
understand power.²

When ³Meet the Press² host Tim Russert pressed Kerry on the refusal of the 
Democrats to force the White House to stop the war by cutting off funding, Kerry
evaded the question, claiming‹falsely‹that such action would require 67 votes in
the Senate to override a presidential veto. The supposed 67-vote hurdle is an 
obstacle deliberately conjured up by the congressional Democrats, in order to 
play their double game of publicly posturing as opponents of the war while 
allowing the Bush administration to continue waging it.

Kerry continued: ³I will fund the troops to protect the national security 
interests of America, to accomplish a mission that increases our national 
security and protects the troops themselves. We are not proposing failure...²

What does the pursuit of ³success² mean in the context of the reports of 1.2 
million violent deaths in Iraq since the US invasion and occupation? It means 
the devastation of that country will continue until the American and 
international working class intervenes to put an end to it.

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