The coming atrocity in the city of Fallujah, in which British troops, against the wishes of the British people, are to be accessories, is a case in point. For American politicians and journalists – there are a few honourable exceptions – the US marines are preparing for another of their “battles”. Their last attack on Fallujah, in April, provides a preview. Forty-ton battle tanks and helicopter gunships were used against slums. Aircraft dropped 500lb bombs: marine snipers killed old people, women and children; ambulances were shot at. The marines closed the only hospital in a city of 300,000 for more than two weeks, so they could use it as a military position.
When it was estimated they had slaughtered 600 people, there was no denial. This was more than all the victims of the suicide bombs the previous year. Neither did they deny that their barbarity was in revenge for the killing of four American mercenaries in the city; led by avowed cowboys, they are specialists in revenge. John Kerry said nothing; the media reported the atrocity as ‘a military operation’, against ‘foreign militants’ and ‘insugents’, never against civilians and Iraqis defending their homes and homeland.
Moreover, the American people are almost totally unaware that the marines were driven out of Fallujah by heroic street fighting. Americans remain unaware, too, of the piracy that comes with their government’s murderous adventure. Who in public life asks the whereabouts of the 18.46 bn dollars which the US Congress approved for reconstruction and humanitarian aid in Iraq?
“Making conservative assumptions, we think that about 100,000 excess deaths or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq,” researchers from Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, said in a report published online by The Lancet medical journal on Thursday.
Neither does he nor anybody else with a public profile ask why the people of Iraq have been forced to pay, since the fall of Saddam, almost 80m dollars to America and Britain as ‘reparations’. Even Israel has received an untold fortune in Iraqi oil money as compensation for its ‘loss of tourism’ in the Golan Heights – part of Syria it occupies illegally. As for oil, the ‘o-word’ is unmentionable in the contest for the world’s most powerful job. So successful is the resistance in its campaign of economic sabotage that the vital pipeline carrying oil to the Turkish Mediterranean has been blown up 37 times. Terminals in the south are under constant attack, effectively shutting down all exports of crude oil and threatening national economies. That the world may have lost Iraqi oil is enveloped by the same silence that ensures Americans have little idea of the nature and scale of the blood-letting conducted in their name.
And the serious purpose behind this? Madeleine Albright, Bill Clinton’s secretary of state, once told the United Nations that America had the right to ‘unilateral use of power’ to ensure ‘uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies and strategic resources’. Or as Colin Powell, the Bush-ite laughably promoted by the media as a liberal, put it more than a decade ago: “I want to be the bully on the block.” Britain’s imperialists believed exactly that, and still do; only the language is discreet.