As research reveals of late, “counter-terrorism” operations led by the United States over many years have wrought astonishing devastation. Not to mention, continuing and worsening repercussions.
A rough estimate of four million Muslims have died as a result of US-led wars in the Middle East – dating back to the early 1990s Gulf War against Iraq. The Gulf War was waged by the US, with France, Britain and Saudi Arabia providing support.
It was in response to Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in early August 1990 – the Iraqi dictator having unwisely disobeyed orders from his Western masters. However, it was the Iraqi civilian population who would pay the real price, and not for the last time.
For 42 successive days and nights, US-led coalition forces subjected Iraq to one of the most destructive aerial assaults in military history. Over 88,000 tons of bombs were unloaded on Iraqi soil from mid-January 1991 to the end of February. Much of the bombing was upon civilian areas.
Hussein’s attack on Kuwait the previous year had drawn “international condemnation”. The above bombardments, infinitely greater in their destruction, were met with approval in some quarters and silence in others.
By this point, Western governments had already placed “genocidal” sanctions on Iraq – an immediate response to Hussein’s occupation of Kuwait.
The sanctions lasted a staggering 13 years (1990-2003) and brought unaccountable suffering. The lack of basic needs particularly affected Iraqi children, with those aged under 14 comprising 45% of Iraq’s population. Half a million youngsters were said to have died, though some doubts have recently been raised about that figure.
Such measures were still “worth it”, as infamously declared in 1996 by Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State, and current Georgetown University international relations professor.
Elsewhere, President Bill Clinton’s bombings in 1998 of Sudan, in North Africa, and Afghanistan had “effectively created” Al Qaeda. Clinton’s attacks led to Osama bin Laden becoming a rising symbol, while strengthening recruitment, financial aid and support for Al Qaeda-linked offshoots.
Clinton’s assaults further resulted in closer relations between Bin Laden and the Taliban, an association once based on suspicion. Later, in the early 21st century, the September 11 atrocities were used as a pretext to resume military operations in the Middle East.
Afghanistan, Iraq, and to a lesser extent (nuclear-armed) Pakistan came under Western bombardment or invasion. Indeed, today’s civilian death toll could be as high as six to eight million, when taking into account “higher avoidable death estimates” in Afghanistan.
Just weeks after the 9/11 attacks, the US unleashed its aerial campaign on Afghanistan. Abdul Haq, a respected anti-Taliban figure, described President George W. Bush’s air raids as “a big setback” in their fight to topple the Taliban from inside.
Informed beforehand any assault on Afghan territory was entirely illegal, President Bush responded: “I don’t care what the international lawyers say, we are going to kick some ass”.
Aid organisations working in Afghanistan insisted any bombings would result in a grave humanitarian catastrophe. Again, such warnings appeared of no consequence to the Pentagon. Haq, the Taliban opposition leader, further said: “They [US] don’t care about the suffering of the Afghans, or how many people we will lose”.
The reality is a foolproof death toll cannot be compiled, simply because US and British power centres do not investigate their own crimes. Fourteen years after the invasion of Iraq, the worst crime of this century, no one can declare with certainty the exact body count.
The British investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed wrote in June, “Due to severe lack of data in Iraq, almost complete non-existence of records in Afghanistan, and the indifference of Western governments to civilian deaths, it is literally impossible to determine the true extent of loss of life”.
The mainstream press also bears responsibility for the “lack of data” and “non-existence” of reliable death counts. Few Western reporters are ever on the ground to witness the reality unfolding before the eyes, let alone to report on it accurately.
Rather than focusing on the enormous bloodshed through orders given by their governments, Middle Eastern citizens have long come under the Orwellian heading of “unpeople”. Their existence is barely acknowledged even after they are killed. By contrast, mass shootings in the US receive enormous attention despite the minuscule death tolls in comparison.
In recent years, the destruction wrought by Barack Obama’s “surgical” drone terror campaign shines a brief light on the devastation. In late 2014, the “targeted killing” of his drones in attempting to eliminate 41 suspected terrorists, also killed 1,147 others. Bearing in mind, this is one documented example.
Those who are “targeted” are deemed a potential threat some day to the US, while the rest are mere “collateral damage”. Such policies tear up the principle of innocent until proven guilty.
Meanwhile, the Free Press have directed unprecedented attention toward cases like that of Madeleine McCann (massively covered in Britain and the US). Remarkably, the McCann story is reported widely to the present day, and as far away as New Zealand.
McCann’s disappearance in May 2007 constituted a major tragedy for her family. Yet how much press coverage did the vanishing of a single child warrant afterwards? Infinitely more than the deaths of millions in the Middle East, or indeed, Clinton’s “effective creation” of Al Qaeda through aerial warfare.
Ten years after McCann’s disappearance, major media outlets throughout Britain and the US devoted further blanket coverage to her disappearance. The 10th anniversary of the Iraq invasion received no such attention.
Just months before the McCann media explosion, it was revealed the US had repeatedly violated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) – more than any other nuclear state by far.
The US, along with other nuclear powers, have a legal obligation reinforced by the World Court to adhere to article 6 of the NPT. That being, to finally eliminate Nuclear Weapons, thereby ensuring the future survival of the human race.
The US further entered into a nuclear agreement with India, which was endorsed by Congress, that grossly undermined the foundations of the NPT. India themselves began developing Nuclear Weapons on their own in the 1960s, and are in constant stand-off with their old enemy and neighbour Pakistan, another nuclear nation.
Following the American lead, China subsequently approached India and Pakistan with similar nuclear deals – that make it very difficult to eliminate Nuclear Weapons. Virtually none of these NPT violations were reported in the mainstream, despite its potentially apocalyptic consequences.
In January 2017, the famous Doomsday Clock of the atomic scientists moved ominously closer to midnight (its previous advancement was in 2015). The scientists’ decision to move the hand to 2.5 minutes to midnight – the worst threat level since 1953 – was partly to do with Donald Trump’s election.
The Doomsday Clock’s progression is proving farsighted. In the months since, nuclear tensions have heightened significantly around the Korean peninsula. It has been rubberstamped on the public mind with the war of words between Kim Jong-un and Trump.
There is also an increasing chance of nuclear conflict in the South China Sea. US or Chinese ships and aircraft have had a string of perilous encounters with each other throughout 2017.
In Europe earlier this year, thousands of fresh American troops arrived as part of increasingly aggressive NATO operations near Russia’s border. Inevitably, there have been close encounters between American and Russian aircraft – such as an incident in June whereby a US warplane and Russian jet “flew within five feet” of each other.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.