Isn’t it ironic how the architects and supporters of the illegal US invasion of Iraq are screaming the loudest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?
One of the most laughable denunciations came from David Frum, the neoconservative Bush speechwriter who coined the phrase “Axis of Evil” and till this day remains confident in the rightness of the Iraq war.
But the hypocrisy isn’t limited to neocons.
Lecturing Russia about its invasion of Crimea on Sunday’s Meet the Press, US Secretary of State John Kerry said, “[Y]ou just don’t invade another country on phony pretext in order to assert your interests.”
I agree. But where was this sentiment when Kerry, as a Senator in 2002, voted to authorize use of force against Iraq based on a “phony pretext”? Before you start pointing to his many criticisms of the Bush administration’s “shock and awe”, keep in mind that Kerry later admitted that in hindsight he would still vote yes.
So really, the only thing praiseworthy about Kerry’s condemnation of Russia is his ability to say it with a straight face.
In case we needed anymore proof that David Gregory, host of Meet the Press, is a hack rather than a journalist, it’s worth noting that he responded to Kerry’s brazen hypocrisy by demanding to know if the US was prepared to hit back at Russia with a “military option.”
It’s an embarrassment that no one in the mainstream media, which unquestioningly cheerled the Iraq war, has challenged Kerry on this.
At a news conference during his visit to Ukraine yesterday, Kerry proclaimed: “It is not appropriate to invade a country and at the end of a barrel of a gun dictate what you are trying to achieve. That is not 21st-century, G-8, major-nation behavior.”
Again, what about Iraq? Unless I’m mistaken, the US invaded Iraq in the 21st century to do exactly that. Still, the New York Times said nothing about this blatant contradiction in its reporting.
Keep in mind that the Iraq war—which killed upwards of a million Iraqis, leaving in its wake 5 million orphans, 2 million widows and 4.5 million refugees—isn’t over, at least not for Iraqis.
As I write this, the US-installed Iraqi government is slaughtering civilians in Fallujah, a crime that has been largely ignored in the establishment press. But who cares about US-backed atrocities in Iraq when there is an anti-US superpower to vilify, right?
Meanwhile, President Obama—a man who extra judicially executes people abroad (including American citizens) based on secret evidence—has accused Russia of violating international law.
“When it comes to preserving the principle that no country has the right to send in troops to another country unprovoked, we should be able to come up with a unified position,” said Obama on Monday.
If only he would preserve that principle in his own foreign policy, which just this morning resulted in a US drone strike that killed three “suspected militants” as they rode in a car in Yemen. (Media outlets should be required to add a disclaimer next to that phrase to make it clear to their readers that Obama labels all military-age males in a strike zone “suspected militants”)
Drone strike supporters on twitter have been quick to criticize my comparison between Obama’s drone policy and Russia in Ukraine. But war crimes are war crimes, whether they take the form of an on-the-ground or sky invasion.
More importantly, the glaring contrast between the media’s obsession with Ukraine versus its collective apathy toward nations that have their sovereignty routinely violated by the US war machine (Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, etc.) reveals a colossal double standard.
On Monday, even the local evening news in my area was talking about Ukraine. But not a word was said about the US drone strike that killed three Yemenis, including a man sleeping near his car, that very morning.
That’s because outrage over Russia has nothing to do with genuine concern about violations of international law and everything to do with maintaining US hegemony.
And who is holding the US accountable for these war crimes and crimes against humanity?
The number of civilians killed and wounded in Afghanistan’s war rose 14 percent last year, with nearly 3,000 people dead as violence escalates and the US prepares to withdraw the bulk of its forces.
The United Nation’s annual protection of civilians in armed conflict report, published on Tuesday, documented 2,959 civilian deaths and 5,656 wounded in 2013.
The UN said the figures are the highest since 2009, the worst year since the US invasion of 2001.
PARIS (AP) Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai lashed out at the United States, accusing it of making threats in the dispute over an agreement to keep U.S. troops in the country beyond 2014.
In an interview published Tuesday by the French daily Le Monde, Karzai says the U.S. is ‘‘absolutely’’ acting like a colonial power in its attempts to force him to sign the bilateral security agreement by the end of this year. The paper quoted him as saying: ‘‘The threats they are making, ‘We won’t pay salaries, we’ll drive you into a civil war.’ These are threats.’’
"The proposed accord would allow the U.S. to keep up to nine military bases in Afghanistan—and mandate that it fund the Afghan government’s security forces through at least 2024.
"It also allows for the presence of an indefinite number of foreign troops, though Karzai claims the number will be some 15,000 soldiers, the majority of them from the U.S. U.S. troops and contractors working with the Defense Department would be allowed to enter the country without having to obtain passports or visas.
"U.S. troops will be able to engage in combat operations in "mutually agreed" circumstances, including giving support to Afghan forces. Under the agreement, U.S. soldiers are exempt from civil or criminal complaints under Afghan law—jurisdiction will lie solely with the U.S., which has never allowed its own soldiers to face charges in Afghanistan for the killing of Afghan civilians."
Rolling Stone investigates the role of the Green Berets in the deaths of 10 Afghan villagers found near a U.S. army base in spring 2013.
Rights group catalogues many unaccounted casualties in North Waziristan.
… Amnesty International’s report on US drone strikes in Pakistan is duly titled “Will I Be Next?” The report, to be released today (Tuesday), does not claim to be a comprehensive report; but it is a qualitative assessment based on detailed field research into nine of the 45 reported strikes in North Waziristan between January 2012 and August 2013.
The report focuses on the arbitrary deprivation of life, categorically stating – and proving with its case studies, survey and fact-finding – that the “United States has carried out unlawful killing in Pakistan through drone attacks, some of which could even amount to war crimes.”
The punishment, considered unprecedented in modern Marine Corps history, came after an insurgent attack in Afghanistan in 2012 killed two Marines and destroyed six fighter jets.
America’s Afghan Victims
New comprehensive study reveals that up to 6,800 civilians [i.e., not counting “military combatants”] have died in Afghanistan as a result of war-related actions by the United States, its allies and Afghan government forces, from the invasion in October of 2001 through the end of 2012.
That’s the equivalent of over three 9/11-size catastrophes that the US government has wrought upon innocent civilians who just happen to live in a part of the world that the US has decided to bomb mercilessly and continuously for over a decade straight.
Overwhelming public opposition to bombing Syria has been repeatedly attributed to the Iraq war by various media outlets. They’ve even come up with clever terms, like “Iraq fatigue” and “Iraq syndrome”, to describe the supposed illness that afflicts an overwhelming majority of the American public—because, it turns out, not wanting to drop bombs on people is a horrific affliction that must be eradicated.
William Galston of the Brookings Institute took to the Wall Street Journal to scold the illness for getting in the way of saving the Syrian people. ”Little more than a decade after the Vietnam syndrome was laid to rest, an Iraq syndrome has replaced it,” writes Galston. “The question is whether this new sentiment will dominate policy—whether acting for the wrong reasons in Iraq will prevent us from acting for the right reasons in Syria.”
Obama giving a speech on the legacy of MLK even as he prepares for war with Syria might actually be more galling than when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize just days before he announced a massive expansion of the war on Afghanistan.
This is almost surreally disgusting.
On June 10, 2013, 30-year-old Iraq War veteran Daniel Somers killed himself after writing a powerful letter to his family explaining his reasons for doing so.
During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity. Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from. I take some pride in that, actually, as to move on in life after being part of such a thing would be the mark of a sociopath in my mind. These things go far beyond what most are even aware of.
… Is it any wonder then that the latest figures show 22 veterans killing themselves each day? That is more veterans than children killed at Sandy Hook, every single day. Where are the huge policy initiatives? Why isn’t the president standing with those families at the state of the union? Perhaps because we were not killed by a single lunatic, but rather by his own system of dehumanization, neglect, and indifference.
It leaves us to where all we have to look forward to is constant pain, misery, poverty, and dishonor. I assure you that, when the numbers do finally drop, it will merely be because those who were pushed the farthest are all already dead.
And for what? Bush’s religious lunacy? Cheney’s ever growing fortune and that of his corporate friends? Is this what we destroy lives for
Yet it’s okay for the Turkish government to use chemical weapons against protesters — 5,000 of whom have been injured by tear gas canisters and toxins — because those chemical weapons are sold to Turkey by US-based manufacturers …
Also, why is “chemical weapons” the line? The U.S. killed hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis, and tens of thousands of Afghan people, with “regular old” weapons. Their deaths are no less unjust and criminal …
President Barack Obama has authorized sending weapons to Syrian rebels for the first time, U.S. officials said Thursday, after the White House disclosed that the United States has conclusive evidence President Bashar Assad’s government used chemical weapons against opposition forces trying to overthrow him.
Obama has repeatedly said the use of chemical weapons would cross a ‘‘red line,’’ suggesting it would trigger greater American intervention in the two-year crisis.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., one of the strongest proponents of U.S. military action in Syria, said he was told Thursday that Obama had decided to ‘‘provide arms to the rebels,’’ a decision confirmed by three U.S. officials. The officials cautioned that decisions on the specific type of weaponry were still being finalized, though the CIA was expected to be tasked with teaching the rebels how to use the arms the White House had agreed to supply.
Still, the White House signaled that Obama did plan to step up U.S. involvement in the Syrian crisis in response to the chemical weapons disclosure.
I’ve heard NPR do countless features on political prisoners in China in which the reporters breathlessly recount the harrowing persecution of the victims and unabashedly empathize with them against the government. But I have yet to hear NPR do anything even remotely comparable in their coverage (or rather, complete lack thereof) of the U.S. political prisoner, Bradley Manning, who the UN has identified as a victim of torture at the hands of the U.S. government.