THE WISDOM FUND: News & Views
May 21, 2008
counterpunch.org

Genocide in Iraq

by David Model

The Genocide Convention defines two basic levels of guilt: the direct commission of genocide and complicity to commit genocide.

Complicity in genocide must embody:

1. Intentional participation;
2. Knowledge of the genocidal intent of the perpetrators;
3. Organizing, planning, supplying arms, training intelligence, or direct military support.
One example of direct American genocide, Iraq, has suffered massive destruction to its infrastructure, the economy and human life, particularly since the imposition of American sanctions in 1990 and the bombing in 1991. UN Resolution 661 mandated sanctions against Iraq originally to force Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait. The resolution was worded in such a way as to grant the United States a veto over which products could be traded with Iraq. The American government exploited that veto to severely punish the people of Iraq in the hope that they would overthrow Saddam Hussein themselves.

According to a 1993 UNICEF study, "What has become increasingly clear is that no significant movement toward food security can be achieved so long as the embargo remains in place."

Declassified documents divulge the fact that the Americans were aware of and responsible for a humanitarian crisis caused by the sanctions. A Defense Intelligence Agency report on January 18, 1991 concludes that:

Failing to secure supplies [for Iraq] will result in a shortage of pure drinking water for much of the population. This could lead to increased incidences; if not epidemics of disease…Current public health problems are attributable to the reduction of normal preventative medicine, waste disposal, water purification and distribution electricity, and the decreased ability to control disease outbreaks.
On January 15, 1991, B-52s were flying towards their targets in Iraq and cruise missiles were fired from ships in the Indian Ocean. Iraqi defences were incapable of offering any resistance.

Restricting the bombing to only military targets was not part of the U.S. war plan whereas targets included hospitals, electric utilities, schools, factories, water treatment plants, irrigation systems, food storage facilities and community health centres. Over 200,000 people died, the majority of whom were civilians.

In 2003, George Bush Junior inflicted further atrocities on the devastated people of Iraq and on a country virtually bombed back into pre-industrial times by another so-called war. As of today, Iraq has suffered a further one million casualties and four million refugees.

Whether or not the administrations of Bush Senior, Clinton, and Bush Junior intended to commit genocide in Iraq is irrelevant because the consequences of the bombings and sanctions could have been predicted by any reasonable person. The actions of these administrations clearly resulted in mass killing, serious bodily and mental harm, and the infliction of conditions calculated to bring about Iraq's physical destruction in whole or in part. Iraq is a clear-cut case of genocide.

The carnage resulting from this genocide clearly exposes the disparity between the professed principles of American foreign policy and its manifest practice. This hypocrisy betrays the indifference of American leaders to basic democratic principles and to respect for both domestic and international law.

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David Model is a Professor of Political Science at Seneca College. He is the author of State of Darkness: US Complicity in Genocides Since 1945.

Enver Masud, "Iraq War: 'Supreme International Crime'," The Wisdom Fund, June 29, 2005

Enver Masud, "Iraq: Divide and Rule, 'Ethnic Cleansing Works'," The Wisdom Fund, October 10, 2006

[Life in Baghdad certainly is better than it was 18 months ago, when some 60 to 100 bodies were being found beside the roads every morning, the victims of Sunni-Shia sectarian slaughter. The main reason this ended was that the battle for Baghdad in 2006-07 was won by the Shia, who now control three-quarters of the capital. These demographic changes appear permanent; Sunni who try to get their houses back face assassination.--Patrick Cockburn, "Iraq: Violence is down - but not because of America's 'surge'," Independent, September 14, 2008]

[The report, published in the Environment and Planning A journal, uses satellite data to show the enormous number of minority Sunnis cleansed from neighborhoods by Shi'ite militias. By the time the surge began, according to study leader Dr. John Agnew of UCLA, "many of the targets of the conflict had either been killed or fled the country".--"Satellite Photos Show Sectarian Cleansing, Not Surge, Led to Drop in Iraq Violence," antiwar.com, September 19, 2006]

"One Day After 2007 Attack, Witnesses Describe US Killings of Iraqi Civilians," democracynow.org, April 8, 2010

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