‘War on terror’ has left millions dead across the Middle East
Critical issues are generally overlooked or ignored.
As research reveals of late, “counter-terrorism” operations led by the United States over many years have wrought increasing 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 to the early 1990s Gulf War against Iraq. The Gulf War was waged by the US, with France, Britain and Saudi Arabia providing welcome 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 fell upon civilian areas.
Hussein’s attack on Kuwait the previous year had drawn “international condemnation”. The above bombardments, infinitely greater in 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. Such measures were still “worth it”, as declared infamously in 1996 by Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State.
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.
A few weeks after September 11, 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 that any assault on Afghan territory was 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 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 British investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed wrote in June 2017,
“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.
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 (widely covered in Britain and the US). Remarkably, the McCann story is regularly reported to the present day.
McCann’s disappearance in May 2007 constituted a terrible tragedy for her family. Yet how much press coverage did the vanishing of a single child warrant afterwards? Far more than the deaths of millions in the Middle East and elsewhere. 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 – such policies making it very difficult to eliminate nuclear weapons. Virtually none of these NPT violations were reported in the mainstream, despite its potentially apocalyptic consequences. There is now an increasing chance of nuclear conflict in the South China Sea or along Russia’s borders, as NATO continues relentlessly advancing, and huge US military forces surround China “in a noose”.
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An earlier version of this article was published on The Duran in November 2017.
The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © Shane Quinn, Global Research, 2018