AMERICA’S PUSH TO BREAK UP RUSSIA IS A TOTAL JOKE

Even The Most Vociferous Opposition Leaders Say Creating New States Out Of The Federation Would Be Fraught With Disaster. Learn Why.

There is a small but growing lobby in America and it’s European client states making the case for the break-up of the Russian Federation. Their main argument is that Putin’s denial of Ukraine’s right to exist proves that the Russian state is irredeemable imperialist, and that none of its neighbors can feel safe living alongside such a revisionist and expansionist state.

Advocates of this position also draw the analogy with the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union seemed to be a permanent feature of the international landscape, but it abruptly collapsed like a house of cards in 1991. They argue the same thing could happen to the Russian Federation, which occupies 60 percent of the territory of the Soviet Union and rules over 190 ethnic groups inside 21 republics in the federation.

Such arguments were advanced at a meeting in Brussels convened by the European Conservatives and Reform group, the conservative bloc in the European Parliament, on January 31st. They called for the creation of 34 new states on the territory of the Russian Federation. In Washington, DC the Hudson Institute and Jamestown Foundation met to discuss “Preparing for the dissolution of the Russian Federation” on February 14; while a “Free Peoples of Russia Forum” convened in Sweden in December 2022. The case was laid out by Janusz Bugajski in his book “Failed State: A Guide to Russia’s Rupture.”

They have some supporters in Ukraine. On October 18, 2022, Ukraine’s Parliament declared the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria “temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation.” In February, novelist Oksana Zabuzko published an op-ed in the New York Times calling for the break-up of Russia.

This maximalist approach to the Russia problem is unrealistic and unhelpful. Yes, an ideal world would be populated by hundreds of little Switzerlands living at peace with their neighbors. But the real world includes many large, powerful states that use military force to defend their interests. There are over 6,000 distinct nations on the planet, but only 193 sovereign states in the United Nations.

There is minimal chance of the Russian Federation breaking up in the foreseeable future. While Russians accounted for only 51 percent of the Soviet population, they make up over 80 percent of the Russian Federation’s inhabitants. Sovereignty is not a credible option for any of the non-Russian peoples who live in Russia’s vast territory. The Chechen wars showed the lengths which Moscow was willing to go to resist secessionism. No one — including the Chechens themselves — want to repeat that experience.

In only six of the 21 ethnically designated republics does the titular nationality make up a majority of the local population. According to the 2021 census, only five nations have more than 1 million adherents (Tatars, Chechens, Bashkirs, Chuvash, and Avars). The Tatar, Bashkir, and Chuvash republics are located in the middle Volga region and are completely surrounded by Russian territory.

If the Russian Federation was to fragment, it would trigger a wave of local civil wars and ethnic cleansing — a grim prospect made even more alarming by the presence of thousands of nuclear weapons on Russian territory. For these reasons, the break-up of the Russian Federation would not serve America’s national interests.

Another problem with the “Russia must go” approach is that it will antagonize Russian political elites and make it even less likely that a post-Putin ruler will emerge who can reach a reasonable modus vivendi with Russia’s neighbors. Non-Russian nationalists criticize Russian opposition leaders such as Aleksei Navalny or Mikhail Khodorkovsky for failing to confront Russia’s imperial nature, and for believing that the North Caucasus region belongs in the Russian Federation.

Indeed, Khodorkovsky is adamant that it is “irresponsible to wish for the collapse of the Russian Federation” and insists that “the Putin regime is leading to the destruction of Russia.” He continued, “A broken up Russia could cause more problems that the current version.” Writing in Politico he argued that if disintegration did occur, “a new need will arise for the forced unification of Russia’s main territory, and this will be accomplished by a Russian dictator. It will set in motion a new totalitarian cycle in Russia.”

There were some dissenting voices at the Hudson Institute symposium in February. For example, Natalia Arno, the president of the Free Russia Foundation (and herself an ethnic Buryat) said, “We want to fix Russia, not to dissolve it,” adding that “There is no demand for dissolution on the ground level, aside from emigrants.”

These issues came up in the 1950s, during Cold War 1.0. In 1959 Congress established the National Captive Nations Committee to promote the liberation of the nations living under Soviet rule. The next year, 16 distinguished historians published a letter in Russian Review complaining about the law’s treatment of the Soviet Union as synonymous with Russia, and arguing that the liberation of the Russian nation should also be a priority. And sure enough, what brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 was the defection of the Russian Federation under the leadership of Boris Yeltsin.

Another drawback of the “Russia must go” approach is that it amplifies one of Putin’s main propaganda claims — that the West is out to destroy Russia, and that the war in Ukraine is therefore one of self-defense. Putin said in September 2022 that Western leaders “say openly now that in 1991 they managed to split up the Soviet Union and now is the time to do the same to Russia, which must be divided into numerous regions that would be at deadly feud with each other.” On February 26th, he said that the West wants to break Russia into pieces. Nail Mukhitov, a Security Council adviser and former FSB general, said, “The West’s main goal is the destruction of Russia,” and in support quoted Zbigniew Brzezinski’s 1997 book “Grand Chessboard.”

This theme resonates with the Russian public. Denis Volkov of the Levada Center argues that, “The idea that NATO wants to ruin Russia or at least weaken … it has been commonplace for three-fourths (of poll respondents) for many years.”

Marginalized and in exile, one can understand why the leaders of ethno-nationalist movements such as the Erzya or Idel-Ural would try to hitch their cause to the Ukrainian wagon. It is an opportunity for them to get attention and possibly support from Western powers.

Indeed, Putin should be condemned for his opposition to the nationalist opposition inside Russia, and the mounting restrictions on the right to education in the native languages of the ethnic republics. But that does not mean that America should put any political capital into promoting a fantasy future where Russia does not exist.

THE AMERICAN EMPIRE ONLY SEES THE XI-PUTIN VISIT AS A THREAT TO THE EMPIRE

This Risks Pushing Russia And China Into A Tight Alliance And America Missing Out On Opportunities For Peace In Ukraine.

The most popular foreign policy related activity in Washington this week is raising the alarm about Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow and what it might mean for a Chinese-Russian alliance.

But this outcry threatens to conceal the complexity of the situation, and most importantly the freedom of action America still has to head off such an alliance. Using that freedom of action is going to require a more conciliatory, flexible, and imaginative foreign policy than we have seen in recent years. This will be a tall order, particularly as there are many in Washington who seem to wish to lock America into a full blown new cold war against a Russian-Chinese alliance.

The Xi visit reflects Beijing’s ongoing effort to uphold its close relationship with Moscow while, crucially, avoiding an unqualified endorsement of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. In crafting this balancing act, Xi seeks to present China as a trustworthy, if not completely neutral, proponent of peace. This is the perspective presented in China’s recently unveiled twelve point position paper on Ukraine.

The paper implicitly counters Moscow by championing territorial sovereignty and opposition to nuclear threats. This is a position likely to appeal to neutral states. But the paper also refers to the need to respect the legitimate security interests of states, an obvious reference to Moscow’s stated concerns about its border security and the expansion of NATO.

Both Putin and Xi released statements at the end of meetings on Tuesday. Neither reflected any new or expanded positions on the relationship vis-a-vis Ukraine. Xi in fact, continued to insist that China “adhere to an objective and impartial position.”

China has significant motives for trying to keep at least some distance from Moscow, including maintaining economically important links in Europe and keeping international credibility with neutral states. But rather than appreciate these motives and try to build on them, Washington has categorically condemned China for failing to explicitly condemn Putin’s invasion and demand Russia’s withdrawal from Ukraine. This approach puts China in the same box with Russia. Instead of building on Beijing’s hesitation to fully support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it simply pushes Moscow and Beijing closer together.

This position is made even more problematic by the fact that it undercuts Ukraine’s own efforts at triangulation. Zelensky has not aligned himself with the American-led stance, seeking instead to look for the positive in the Chinese position and do what he can diplomatically to keep China from full military support of Russia.

There is no question that Beijing’s resistance to condemning Russia’s invasion outright runs counter to its own stated support of national sovereignty and territorial integrity. But we should realize that it is in part the level of hostility being expressed by Washington toward China that drives this hypocrisy. So long as Beijing perceives a full-blown American campaign to weaken China and overthrow the CCP — as strikingly illustrated by XI Jinping’s unprecedented recent comments on American “suppression” — it is unrealistic to expect it to come out in full opposition to Russia, its most significant strategic partner in opposing such a campaign.

If America is unwilling to distinguish between Russia and China as challengers to American interests and international law, and persists in rhetoric and actions that seem to substantiate Beijing’s worst case assumptions about American motives, it gave Xi Jinping little reason to put any pressure at all on Putin during his three-day visit to Moscow. This alone reduces the chances for peace. Indeed, contrary to our position that Ukraine is fully in control of any peace process, America has already unilaterally rejected any cease fire that might emerge from Chinese efforts.

Even more dangerously, an American position that seems to prejudge China as a full supporter of Russia’s worst instincts may have the opposite effect and encourage China to provide more extensive military support to Russia. Particularly if it appears Russia might actually lose the war in a decisive way; a China that sees Washington as an intractable enemy would have a strong incentive to prevent such a defeat of its most powerful ally against American global control.

To avoid this outcome, Washington needs to show more openness to the possibility that China might play some constructive role in the resolution of the war — or at least need not play a negative role. At minimum, it would require America to tone down its attacks on Beijing’s motives and role in the international order. An American willingness to reassure China on this score might give it more reason to keep its distance from Moscow.

But some in Washington might even welcome a closer alliance between China and Russia, despite the fact that it would be harmful to America’s long-run strategic interests. From the perspective of domestic politics, driving China and Russia into a coalition of independent states makes it easier to win support for a more militarized and more aggressive American global posture based on the framework of a new cold war. For those who believe this more aggressive stance is needed for America to protect its global primacy, there are many advantages to making a conflict between America and a tight China-Russia alliance of free countries appear inevitable.

But it’s not yet inevitable, and we should try to avoid making it so. For reasons obvious from a glance at a map, some of the most respected figures in American foreign policy have long warned of the risks of a closer Russia-China alliance. As Zbigniew Brzezinski stated in his magnum opus The Grand Chessboard, “the most dangerous scenario would be a grand coalition of China, Russia, and perhaps Iran, an ‘anti-hegemonic’ coalition united not by ideology but by shared grievances.” As this possibility draws nearer, we need diplomats adroit enough to prevent it through actually engaging in diplomacy.

DO YOU THINK AMERICA’S “VIETNAM SYNDROME” HAS EVER GONE AWAY?

This is the 20th anniversary of one of the greatest strategic errors America has made since 1945: the invasion and occupation of Iraq. The war was based on lies, supported by cowering politicians, and justified by the media. It destabilized Iraq for decades, increased insecurity throughout the Middle East, and permanently damaged American credibility. Worst of all, around 400,000 Iraqis, 5,000 American soldiers, and 3,650 contractors (a.k.a mercenaries) were killed, while thousands more were left wounded, a vast legacy of human suffering.

The Iraq invasion was part of an effort by policy-makers and the military to cure the nation of “Vietnam syndrome,” the idea that America was afraid to use military muscle to assert its will in the world.

The lies, the frightened politicians, the supine media – all went back to the 1960s and “our war” in Vietnam. Whether you fought in the jungles, resisted at home, left the country, or just ducked, Vietnam was seared into the soul of every American male born between 1941 and 1955 (a few million others). The lies and the manipulations had a price, then, one from which we failed to learn. “Iraq” was Arabic for Vietnam.

Vietnam was a blip on our radar screen in 1963. We didn’t find out the truth until Daniel Ellsberg courageously leaked the Pentagon’s war history to the media.

But in 1965, we were headed into the big muddy in Vietnam. Commanders were urgently calling for more troops. Lyndon Johnson didn’t want to be the president who lost the war. He nearly doubled troop levels to 125,000 and doubled the draft call, putting the war in the lap of America’s families.

Many men of my generation were fighting and dying in Vietnam. Some of us at home took off our suits, grew facial hair and became anti-war activists. Some of are still doing the same after that and the following tragedies America provoked….

WHY IS AMERICA OCCUPYING SYRIA?

It Is All To Do With Weapons Sales, Oil, Regime Change, And More Specifically, Regional Power Games, Global Hegemony, And Grand Imperialist Designs Spat Out By Neocon Think Tanks.

In early March, Syria’s foreign ministry condemned a surprise visit by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley to an army base in northeast Syria, with Syrian media dubbing it “illegal” and a “flagrant violation of the sovereignty and integrity” of Syrian territory, adding that America ought to “immediately” cease support for “separatist armed groups”. The article, published by VOA, also casually notes that America has “about 900” troops deployed in “several bases and posts across northeastern Syria” allegedly as part of the fight against ISIS.

Nearly a decade since American forces officially entered Syria and ISIS is still America’s reason for staying? How is this possible after numerous assurances from American officials – including a president – that ISIS has been defeated? Why has every American president from Obama to Trump to Biden launched airstrikes inside the country? Is the American mission in Syria actually about fighting terrorism, or does it go deeper? And most puzzling, why the hell is the America occupying Syria?

Breaking numerous promises to the contrary, President Obama announced in late 2015 that America would be deploying troops into Syria to “fight ISIS”. The number started with 50, which soon became 250. In October 2017, an American general said there are 4,000 troops in Syria, and two months later, the Pentagon put the number at 2,000. As of this article’s publication, the consensus seems to be 900 troops, although there’s reason to suspect the number may actually be higher or lower. Regardless, American forces have occupied parts of Syria now for almost a decade. But why?

When I took it over it was a mess,” Trump told reporters at the White House back in March 2019. “The [ISIS] caliphate is gone as of tonight.”

Just a few days later, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that ISIS had lost all of its territory in Syria, adding that Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan briefed Trump and that the Pentagon “made the call” that ISIS had been “eliminated” completely in Syria.

In October, the warmongering hell spawn from South Carolina known as as Senator Lindsey Graham released a statement on American allies in Syria who “fought so bravely” to destroy ISIS: “By continuing to maintain control of the oil fields in Syria, we will deny [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad and Iran a monetary windfall. By increasing production of the oil fields, we will be helping our Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) allies who fought so bravely to destroy the ISIS Caliphate. We can also use some of the revenues from future oil sales to pay for our military commitment in Syria.”

He added:

While I agree that America is not the policeman of the world, I firmly believe the American military is the most capable to protect America and should be used wisely to do so. A wise use of American military power would be to have a small but capable military partnership with SDF elements to prevent the reemergence of ISIS and maintain control of ISIS held fighters. To do this, America must also continue to control the skies over Syria.”

In other words, even if ISIS is mostly – if not entirely – defeated, America should continue to occupy the country indefinitely to, y’know, make sure they don’t come back – aka the same argument for every American occupation from Afghanistan to Iraq: we have to stay, because if we don’t, something bad might happen. Heavy paranoia makes up the very fabric of every argument trying to justify more war: It’s not a fear of what we know so much as a fear of what we don’t know. It doesn’t matter if ISIS is defeated. It doesn’t even matter if ISIS exists at all. The point is they could come back. The point is they could exist – just like weapons of mass destruction could have existed in Iraq when American troops invaded back in 2003.

Despite promising a withdrawal of American troops, President Trump flip-flopped on the issue in late 2019 and ordered “hundreds of additional troops and armored vehicles” into Syria to guard the Deir Ezzor oil fields.

“We’re keeping the oil,” Trump said in October. “I’ve always said that – keep the oil. We want to keep the oil, $45 million a month. Keep the oil. We’ve secured the oil.”

By November, the head of America’s Central Command admitted there is no “end date” on the American occupation of Syria.

The following year, Tom Bowman, an NPR reporter embedded in Syria, told the publication that President Trump initially wanted all American forces out but “agreed to keep a small number, about 600 or so, to secure these oil fields not only from ISIS but also from Syrian government and Russian forces.”

But if Syria’s oil is to be kept from what remains of ISIS, from Russia, and from Syria, who actually gets to keep it?

In April 2020, Delta Crescent, a newly-formed American-based oil company with ties to the Republican Party was granted a one-year sanctions waiver in order to “advise and assist” oil production in northeast Syria. An anonymous State Department official told The Daily Beast that officials decided oil produced in northeast Syria “did not really” belong to the Syrian government, and a former senior American military official also told the publication that America actively trained a unit within the SDF to specifically protect oil fields where Delta Crescent would be operating.

By August, CNN reported that Delta Crescent, which was formed “for the sole purpose” of securing Syrian oil, was granted an exclusive sanctions waiver to “develop and upgrade” more than half of the country’s oil fields under SDF control.

Later that month, Pentagon spokesperson Jessica McNulty assured Politico that the Department of Defense “does not have an affiliation with any private companies in regard to the oil fields in northeast Syria” but then added that American forces in the region are “securing” critical petroleum infrastructure.

When the Biden administration took over in January 2021, it became clear that the waiver for Delta Crescent would be discontinued, and yet throughout much of the year, the company reportedly continued to receive waiver extensions from Biden as a “formality” meant to help Delta Crescent “wind down” operations.

In November 2021, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (which handles regulation and enforcement of American sanctions) issued a new general rule for Syria, granting permission for non-governmental organizations to operate “assistance-related investment activities in support of certain not-for-profit” activities in Syria.

Less than two years later, Delta Crescent’s website no longer exists, and UK-based oil company Gulfsands – which holds oil investments in Syria and founding ties to Delta Crescent – announced that they are coming up with ways to find “indigenous solution[s]” to Syria’s “humanitarian” crisis. Gulfsands labeled their “humanitarian” drilling mission “Project Hope” and claims it will sell oil through accredited traders, with revenues going towards paying for humanitarian projects.

And while western powers deliberate on which favored companies will be gifted the rights to drill in Syria, several media outlets have published reports showing long lines of American convoys transporting tankers full of oil from Syria to American bases in Iraq. America denies it is stealing Syrian oil, yet it’s hard not to believe such accusations when everyone from American presidents to senators have blatantly stated otherwise.

So, why the hell is America occupying Syria?

First, the Assad government has a longstanding trade relationship with China and Russia, with a storied history of buying weapons and selling oil. The American regime would much prefer opening business to American companies like Raytheon and Exxon and closing business to companies like Rosoboronexport – Russia’s state-owned weapons manufacturer. The invisible hand of the free market works in mysterious ways.

Second, confrontation with Iran is the ultimate goal for American foreign policy in the Middle East, and Syria is one more strategic stepping stone in the process. In 2010, America proposed dropping five year-long sanctions against Syria in return for the country dropping ties with Iran. Assad rejected the offer.

And lastly, American troops remain in Syria because regime change in Syria is simply part of American foreign policy and has been for years.

In 2011, before accusations of chemical weapons attacks and even before ISIS, Obama flat-out demanded that Assad step down. He then proceeded to provide training and armaments to “rebel” groups in Syria through a covert CIA project that ultimately ended up putting weapons in the hands of actual terrorists – not counting the CIA, of course.

Years prior, President Bush levied economic sanctions against Syria. Bush also famously labeled Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as part of the “Axis of Evil” and later, perhaps less famously, then-Undersecretary of State John Bolton gave a speech in 2002 entitled “Beyond the Axis of Evil” and added Cuba, Libya, and Syria to the list.

Wesley Clark, a former commander of NATO’s forces in Europe, claimed he met a senior military officer in November 2001 who told him America planned to attack Iraq first before taking action against Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Iran.

Additionally, months before 9/11, neoconservative David Wurmser, with the assistance of his American Enterprise Institute colleague Douglas Feith, drafted a set of war plans for America and Israel to “strike fatally, not merely disarm, the centers of radicalism in the region – the regimes of Damascus [Syria], Baghdad [Iraq], Tripoli [Libya], Tehran [Iran], and Gaza [the Palestinians]” to establish the recognition that fighting either the United States or Israel is suicidal.

Ultimately, the more the Syrian conflict sucks up the attention and resources of Syrian allies like Iran and Russia, the greater America’s influence becomes. American intervention in the country has less to do with WMDs, ISIS, or defeating terrorism, and everything to do with weapons sales, oil, regime change, and more specifically, regional power games, global hegemony, and grand imperialist designs shat out by neocon think tanks.

And that’s why America is occupying Syria.

AN ABU GHRAIB SURVIVOR REVEALS THE CRIMES OF AMERICA DURING THE IRAQ WAR

A Former Detainee At The Notorious Abu Ghraib Prison In Iraq Recounts The Horror And Pain Of His Incarceration Two Decades After The War.

His stories paint a horrific picture of inhumane abuse, humiliation, torture and sadistic behaviour.

I was standing on the box. It is so strong, not breakable. They tied wires and started electrical shocks. I remember biting my tongue, my eyes felt they were about to pop out. I started bleeding from under the mask and I fell down,” says Ali.

Despite his hand losing complete function because of the torture, Ali likes to paint in his spare time. His apartment is full of canvases. One stands out – a hood, orange jumpsuit, and handcuffs with 151716 painted on it, Ali’s prisoner number. He says they wrote “Big Fish” with a marker on his forehead, a common practice of “marking” high-profile prisoners.

A TOP SECRET PLACE”

Without prison records, it cannot be verified he is the man under the hood. But with testimony from two decades ago, his deformed hand that earned him the nickname “the claw”, his photos, court cases, and interviews with former prison officials and lawyers, it is clear Ali was among the victims at Abu Ghraib.

Ali was kept for months, between 2003 and 2004, at the prison. At one point after his torture, he says, he lost track of time for weeks as he was left in the tents where prisoners were held.

Abu Ghraib was feared from the time of Saddam Hussein, who built torture chambers there. After the 2003 American-led invasion, American contractors built more cells equipped with deadbolts.

Now-demoted, General Janis Karpinski was commander of Abu Ghraib prison when the abuse scandal erupted. She told Al Jazeera she was unaware of the torture between May and September 2003 when she was in charge of the prison.

There was a central wing which served as the cafeteria. On the left were cell blocks 1A and B, 2A and B … and on the right, the last building which was not damaged in the [air] strikes. This became a top-secret place. The last cell block was where Pappas [Colonel Thomas Pappas, who was in charge of Abu Ghraib prison’s intelligence unit] had his satellites and his men were stationed. They had a direct line to [Defense Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld there. They did interrogations there. Females were kept over at the airport facility. There may have been a few in Abu Ghraib,” says Karpinski.

FEMALE “HOSTAGES”

Ali wells up when he describes the screams of women kept on the other side of his cell block. “Women were put on the sector to our left on the second floor. We heard their cries. The guards used to get a male detainee to serve them food but on one condition, he should serve them food while he is fully naked. We were all kept naked by the way. We used to hear their screams, there was a guy called Fredrik who used to harm them.”

Ali broke down at this point, sobbing. “We could not help them, we could not do anything for them. Some of us were banging heads against the wall, we do not want this to happen again and again. Occupation is the worst shape of terrorism, crushes the dignity of people and destroys countries. It was not easy to hear these women cry. They did nothing, they were brought as hostages. When [the Americans] carry out a raid against a former regime official or a nuclear scientist and fail to detain the wanted man, they brought women as hostages.

We heard them crying and screaming what they have been going through. I have witnessed a horrible scene – a man had his wife raped before his eyes.”

Human rights groups have documented beatings, prolonged sleep and sensory depravation, and detainees being held naked and tortured.

THEY WERE SADISTS”

The images – taken and released by an American soldier – shocked the world with their sheer brutality. The most explicit photographs depict nudity, degradation, simulated sex acts, and American guards posing with decaying corpses. After an international outcry, 11 US soldiers were convicted, but others were reprimanded without any charges.

Abu Ghraib, Camp Bucca and other torture sites lowered the bar for adherence to the Geneva Conventions and other international obligations to treat prisoners humanely,” says Letta Tayler from Human Rights Watch.

Ironically, one of the many flimsy justifications made by President George W. Bush to invade Iraq was that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein would aid terrorists. Yet it was the American-led invasion that created a security vacuum and fueled grievances that enabled the rise of al-Qaeda in Iraq, which morphed into ISIS [ISIL], prompting yet more cycles of violence.

All US presidents since George W Bush, who started the Iraq war, have refused to prosecute any of the architects of the war crimes committed during the Iraq war. For example, no ranking official has been prosecuted for the horrors inflicted on detainees at Abu Ghraib, only lower-level military personnel who in most cases received negligible sentences. Most civilians never received any funding or other amends for deaths, injuries, or property damage by US forces, much less apologies.”

Ali says the pictures only reflect a fraction of the abuse that took place after the invasion.

Abu Ghraib prison was one out of 75 other sites used as detention centres with these violations. What kind of human being can do such things? To force people to be naked, sexually humiliated, inserting broken wood sticks in sensitive parts until they bleed, electric shock to genitals. I remember one man … he died before our eyes while he was tortured. They were sadists.”

He was asked about the infamous dog photos, Ali replies, “I was humiliated, I was mauled by a dog right here”, pointing to a bite scar on his neck. “I was naked in the cell. You know there was no bed. They meant to harm us by bringing the dog into the cell.”

Ali says he has dedicated his life to seeking justice from the architects of the abuse. His lawyer Andreas Schüller works for the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR).

It’s a very clear-cut case of torture in prison under the military occupation by the US, but on the other hand you can also show the chain of command in setting up the prison system, the mistreatment of prisoners in Iraq by the US military. And this goes all up to Donald Rumsfeld,” Schüller says.

Ali’s lawyers say German authorities should have done much more since the case was filed in 2015. ECCHR requested the prosecutor to secure evidence and take testimonies of survivors and experts. Schüller says German federal prosecutors have not pursued Ali’s case as they did previous ones.

There are political reasons not to do that, to go against an ally against the United States. Even 20 years after the invasion of Iraq, it’s a constant topic. You saw it in 2003 with the US-UK-led invasion of Iraq and now see it with Russia in Ukraine. And as long as it’s not punished, the risk is that we see it again in different constellations,” says Schüller.

Ali was asked, “Why did they call you the claw at Abu Ghraib?”

This happened when they hanged me on the wall. Because of the weight of my body, the handcuff was piercing my hand. The wound was almost rotten,” he says.

So were the hangings and electrocutions the worst of the torture?

Another way of torture was music. It is worse than physical torture. They force you [to] lie on your stomach on the ground, all tied up. And they bring big speakers thumping with an unbearably loud noise placed on either side of your head. I remember the song they played called Babylon, Babylon, even when they turned off the speakers, it kept ringing in my ears.”

Ali’s ordeal ended when he was taken in a truck and released on a highway away from Abu Ghraib with dozens of other prisoners. He was never charged with a crime.

As he waits for justice, Ali refuses to let the world forget his story. He says his worst nightmare is if people do not remember and it happens again to others in another war.

Although his lawyer is not hopeful that Ali will see justice in his lifetime, he is adamant to carry on.

I think even after 1,000 years, our great grandsons will receive our rights. The world is changing and people who were tortured in Vietnam and other places, they are getting their rights … Even for those who were tortured by the Nazis or by Stalin, Hitler and others, now they are getting their rights,” says Ali.

Many “good” Americans will be upset with what their regime did in Iraq but they will find it was much less painful than what their afterlife will be like.

THE AMERICAN REGIME REALLY, REALLY WANTS YOU TO KNOW AMERICA IS THE WORLD’S “LEADER”

The Message They’re Putting Out Is, “This Is Our World. We’re In Charge. Anyone Who Claims Otherwise Is Freakish And Abnormal, And Must Be Opposed.”

In response to questions he received during a press conference on Monday about Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin cementing a “new era” in strategic partnership between China and Russia, the White House National Security Council’s John Kirby made no fewer than seven assertions that America is the “leader” of the world.

Here are excerpts from his comments:

  • The two countries have grown closer. But they are both countries that chafe and bristle at U.S. leadership around the world.”

  • And in China’s case in particular, they certainly would like to challenge U.S. leadership around the world.“

  • But these are not two countries that have, you know, decades-long experience working together and full trust and confidence. It’s a burgeoning of late based on America’s increasing leadership around the world and trying to check that.”

  • Peter, these are two countries that have long chafed, as I said to Jeff — long chafed at U.S. leadership around the world and the network of alliances and partnerships that we have.”

  • And we work on those relationships one at a time, because every country on the continent is different, has different needs and different expectations of American leadership.”

  • That’s the power of American convening leadership. And you don’t see that power out of either Russia or China.”

  • But one of the reasons why you’re seeing that tightening relationship is because they recognize that they don’t have that strong foundation of international support for what they’re trying to do, which is basically challenge American leadership around the world.”

The illusory truth effect is a cognitive bias which causes people to mistake something they have heard many times for an established fact, because the way the human brain receives and interprets information tends to draw little or no distinction between repetition and truth. Propagandists and empire managers often take advantage of this glitch in our wetware, which is what’s happening when you see them repeating key phrases over and over again that they want people to believe.

We saw another repetition of this line recently at an online conference hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce, in which the American ambassador to China asserted that Beijing must accept America as the “leader” of the region China happens to occupy.

American empire managers are of course getting very assertive about the narrative that they are the world’s “leader” because that self-appointed “leadership” is being challenged by China, and the nations which support it with increasing openness like Russia. Most of the major international news stories of our day are either directly or indirectly related to this dynamic, wherein America is struggling to secure unipolar planetary domination by thwarting China’s rise and undermining its partners.

The message they’re putting out is, “This is our world. We’re in charge. Anyone who claims otherwise is freakish and abnormal, and must be opposed.”

Why do they say the America is the “leader” of the world instead of its “ruler”, anyway? I’m unclear on the difference as practically applied. Is it meant to give us the impression that American rules the world by democratic vote? That this is something the rest of the world consented to? Because we sure as hell don’t remember voting for it, and we’ve all seen what happens to governments which don’t comply with American “leadership”.

We believe a multipolar world will be a wonderful thing, we just recognize that it beats the hell out of the alternative, that being increasingly reckless nuclear brinkmanship to maintain global control. America has been in charge long enough to make it clear that the world order it dominates can only be maintained by nonstop violence and aggression, with more and more of that violence and aggression being directed toward major nuclear-armed powers. The facts are in and the case is closed: American unipolar hegemony is unsustainable.

The problem is that the American empire itself does not know this. This horrifying trajectory we’re on toward an Atomic Age world war is the result of the empire’s doctrine that it must maintain unipolar control at all costs crashing into the rise of a multipolar world order.

It doesn’t need to be this way. There’s no valid reason why America needs to remain in charge of the world and can’t just let different people in different regions sort out their own affairs like they always did before. There’s no valid reason why governments need to be brandishing armageddon weapons at each other instead of collaborating peacefully in the interest of all humankind. We’re being pushed toward disaster to preserve “American leadership around the world,” and you should not consent to this.

THE INVASION OF IRAQ WAS A CRIME NOT A “MISTAKE”

We Should Never Forget And Never Forgive The Architects Of That Evil War After It’s 20th Anniversary. The Iraq War Was A Calculated, Premeditated Crime Perpetrated On A Massive Scale.

Twenty years ago, American and allied ground troops invaded Iraq. The “shock and awe” bombing campaign had started the day before.

What happened on March 20, 2003 wasn’t a “mistake.” It wasn’t well-intentioned but “unwise.” Thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died in a war premised on transparently nonsensical lies.

THE HUMAN TOLL

By the time President George W. Bush ordered the invasion, People had spent months marching in antiwar protests and sitting in organizing meetings in church basements. On February 15, 2003, the Greater Lansing Network Against the War in Iraq brought four thousand people out to the streets, marching from the union building at Michigan State University (MSU) to the steps of the state capitol in Lansing. It was one small part of the largest coordinated protests in human history. Between six and ten million people turned out in six hundred cities around the world to tell the war planners “no.”

They didn’t listen. And in the coming months and years, more than four thousand Americans came home in flag-draped coffins. We must imagine the recruiters told perspective soldiers the usual things about how the American military exists to “defend freedom.” Instead, many died on the other side of the world in the process of imposing an occupation bitterly resented by the vast majority of Iraqis.

The consequences for ordinary Iraqis dwarfed the “Coalition” casualties. According to an estimate published this month by the Watson Institute at Brown University, since the invasion between 550,000 and 580,000 people died in Iraq and then Syria when the chaos spread there — and “several times as many may have died due to indirect causes such as preventable diseases.” In addition, more than seven million people fled the two countries, and another eight million became “internal refugees.”

DAVID FRUM REWRITES HISTORY

In a speech the year before the invasion, Bush castigated Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as “the axis of evil.” The idea that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and the Islamic Republic of Iran, which fought a long and bloody war through the 1980s, were part of an “axis” was already bizarre before you threw in North Korea — but this was the height of America’s post-9/11 jingoistic fervor, and Bush’s rhetoric didn’t have to make sense for a huge portion of the country to nod along.

The author of that speech, David Frum, might have slunk away from public life in shame after the catastrophic consequences of Bush’s wars in the Middle East became clear — if he were capable of shame. Instead, he’s the author of a piece released last week in the Atlantic under the jaw-dropping headline, “The Iraq War Reconsidered.”

In it, Frum admits that the war went badly and grants that it may perhaps have been pragmatically “unwise” — even as he insist America didn’t act with “unprovoked aggression,” argues that it might have been worse to leave Hussein in power, and bristles at any comparison between Iraq and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Above all, he seems to regret that the debacle in Iraq dampened public enthusiasm for new wars elsewhere:

The belief that America could be a force for good in the world sadly and wrongly dimmed. Memories of Iraq became a powerful resource for extremists and authoritarians who wanted to push democracies aside and leave the world to the autocrats.

Frum says the Iraq invasion wasn’t “unprovoked aggression” because the first Gulf War in 1990–91 was “clearly legitimate” given Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, and Iraq hadn’t complied with the conditions of the cease-fire. But if Frum were serious about this argument, he would also have to maintain that if some other power had bombed American cities after, say, the American invasion of Grenada or the American invasion of Panama, this would have been “clearly legitimate” — and any American violations of the subsequent cease-fire would been grounds for the cluster bombing, invasion, and long-term occupation of the entire country.

Does David Frum really think that? Does anyone think that?

A WAR BASED ON ABSURD LIES

At the time, Bush and his cronies didn’t say, “We’re going to invade Iraq because there were some cease-fire violations from the war that ended twelve years ago, and that’s all the justification we need.” They knew no one would have accepted such a rationale. Instead, they asserted that (a) Saddam Hussein had “Weapons of Mass Destruction” and (b) the Iraqi dictator, who’d long brutally repressed local Islamists, was going to magically decide to share these “WMDs” with his mortal enemies in al-Qaeda. Bush administration officials argued that this theoretical possibility of WMDs falling in al-Qaeda’s hands was too terrifying for anyone to wait for real evidence. The “smoking gun,” Vice President Dick Cheney infamously said, could be a “mushroom cloud” over an American city.

David Frum claims to have been shocked that there were no WMDs in Iraq. And it’s true that much of what the Bush administration said about WMDs later turned out to be based on deliberate distortion. But even at the time, the evidence presented to the public was paper thin.

We were told that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons and was at least working on nuclear weapons. When asked how anyone could possibly know that, the regime referred to the president’s many confident statements. Surely all these assertions were based on information Bush was getting from the intelligence agencies.

Many of us didn’t buy it. If definitive evidence existed, why weren’t they sharing it — the way that, for example, John F. Kennedy’s administration showed the whole world surveillance pictures of Soviet missile sites in Cuba in 1962?

The closest we got was Secretary of State Colin Powell waving around a vial of anthrax at the United Nations as he made wild claims about the Iraqi threat.

NEVER FORGET

That skepticism didn’t make any of us unique. Again: six to ten million of us marched in antiwar protests that February. The global antiwar movement was absolutely correct — and no one who was on the wrong side in 2003 should be allowed to forget it. Not shameless ghouls like David Frum, not the politicians in both parties who voted for the war because they were afraid of looking weak, and not all the oh-so-clever centrist pundits who ran cover for the Bush administration on their blogs or in New York Times op-eds.

None of these people were making an innocent mistake. They were throwing in their lot with conspirators openly planning to destroy a society on the other side of the world — killing hundreds of thousands at minimum in the process — in a war that was based on barely coherent nonsense. A war that was very good for the shareholders at Halliburton and Raytheon and Lockheed Martin and bad for nearly everyone else.

This isn’t a “live-and-learn” situation.

The invasion of Iraq wasn’t a “mistake.”

It was a crime.

And it’s unforgivable.

JOHN BOLTON’S PROMINENCE IN THE MEDIA PROVES AMERICAN SOCIETY IS DISEASED

Bolton Claims That The Notoriously Cruel Sanctions That Were Inflicted Upon Iraq Between 1991 And 2003 Were Too Lenient, Saying There Should Have Been “Enforced Cold-Bloodedly”.

In order to narrative-manage the public conversation about the Iraq War on the 20th anniversary of the invasion, those who helped unleash that horror upon our world have briefly paused their relentless torrent of “Ukraine proves the hawks were always right” takes to churn out a deluge of “Actually the Iraq War wasn’t based on lies and turned out pretty great after all” takes.

Council on Foreign Relations chief Richard Haas — who worked in the American State Department under Colin Powell when Bush launched his criminal invasion — got a piece published in Project Syndicate falsely claiming that the government and his former boss did not lie about weapons of mass destruction, and that “governments can and do get things wrong without lying.”

Former Bush speechwriter David “Axis of Evil” Frum cooked up a lie-filled spin piece with The Atlantic claiming that “What the U.S. did in Iraq was not an act of unprovoked aggression” and suggesting that perhaps Iraqis are better off as a result of the invasion, or at least no worse off than they would otherwise have been.

Neoconservative war propagandist Eli Lake, who has been described by journalist Ken Silverstein as “an open and ardent promoter of the Iraq War and the various myths trotted out to justify it,” has an essay published in Commentary with the extraordinary claim that the war “wasn’t the disaster everyone now says it was” and that “Iraq is better off today than it was 20 years ago.”

But by far the most appalling piece of revisionist war crime apologia that’s come out during the 20th anniversary of the invasion has been an article published in National Review by the genocide walrus himself, John Bolton.

Bolton sets himself apart from his fellow Iraq war architects by arguing that the actual invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein “was close to flawless,” and that the only thing America did wrong was fail to kill more people and topple the government of Iran.

Bolton criticizes “the Bush administration’s failure to take advantage of its substantial presence in Iraq and Afghanistan to seek regime change in between, in Iran,” writing that “we had a clear opportunity to empower Iran’s opposition to depose the ayatollahs.”

Unfortunately, however, as was the case after expelling Saddam from Kuwait in 1991, the United States stopped too soon,” Bolton writes.

Bolton claims that the notoriously cruel sanctions that were inflicted upon Iraq between 1991 and 2003 were too lenient, saying there should have been “crushing sanctions” that were “enforced cold-bloodedly”.

As Reason’s Eric Boehm notes in his own critique of Bolton’s essay, perhaps the most galling part is where Bolton dismisses any responsibility America might have for the consequences and fallout from the Iraq invasion, attempting to compartmentalize the “flawless” initial invasion away from all the destabilization and human suffering which followed by saying “they did not inevitably, inexorably, deterministically, and unalterably flow from the decision to invade and overthrow.”

Whatever Bush’s batting average in post-Saddam decisions (not perfect, but respectable, in my view), it is separable, conceptually and functionally, from the invasion decision. The subsequent history, for good or ill, cannot detract from the logic, fundamental necessity, and success of overthrowing Saddam,” Bolton writes.

This is self-evidently absurd. A Bush administration warmonger arguing that you can’t logically connect the invasion to its aftereffects is like an arsonist saying you can’t logically connect his lighting a fire in the living room to the incineration of the entire house. He’s just trying to wave off any accountability for that war and his role in it.

One might suspect that Bolton imagines a world where actions should not have consequences because he’s been living in exactly that type of world for the past two decades,” Boehm writes. “Somehow, he’s retained his Washington status as a foreign policy expert, media commentator, and presidential advisor despite having been so horrifically wrong about Iraq.”

And that to us is what’s the most jaw-dropping about all this. Not that John Bolton still in the year 2023 thinks the invasion of Iraq was a great idea and should have gone much further, but that the kind of psychopath who would say such a thing is still a prominent news media pundit who is platformed by the most influential outlets in the world for his “expertise”.

It’s actually a completely damning indictment of all western media if you think about it, and really of our entire civilization. The fact that an actual, literal psychopath whose entire goal in life is to try to get as many people killed by violence as he possibly can at every opportunity is routinely given columns and interviews in The Washington Post, and is regularly brought on CNN as an expert analyst, proves our entire society is diseased.

To be clear, when we say that John Bolton is a psychopath, we am not using hyperbole to make a point. We am simply voicing the only logical conclusion that one can come to when reading reports about things like how he threatened the children of the OPCW chief whose successful diplomatic efforts in early 2002 were making the case for invasion hard to build, or how he spent weeks verbally abusing a terrified woman in her hotel room, pounding on her door and screaming obscenities at her.

And that’s just Bolton’s personality. The actual policies he has worked to push through, sometimes successfully, are far more horrifying. This is the freak who has argued rabidly for the bombing of Iran, for bombing North Korea, for attacking Cuba over nonexistent WMD, for assassinating Gaddafi, and many other acts of war. Who helped cover up the Iran-Contra scandal, who openly admitted to participating in coups against foreign governments, and who tried to push Trump into starting a war with Iran during his terrifying stint as his National Security Advisor.

This man is a monster who belongs in a cage, but instead he’s one of the most influential voices in the most powerful country on earth. This is because we are ruled by a giant globe-spanning empire that is held together by the exact sort of murderous ideology that John Bolton promotes.

Bolton is not elevated at maximum amplification in spite of his psychopathic bloodlust, but exactly because of it. That’s the sort of civilization we live in, and that’s the sort of media environment that westerners are forming their worldviews inside of. We are ruled by murderous tyrants, and we are propagandized into accepting their murderousness by mass media which elevate bloodthirsty psychos like John Bolton as part of that propaganda.

That’s the world we live in. That’s what we’re up against here.

And that’s why they’ve been working so hard to rewrite the history on Iraq. They need us to accept Iraq as either a greater good that came at a heavy price or a terrible mistake that will never be repeated, so that they can lead us into more horrific wars in the future.

We are being paced. Until now, “Iraq” has been a devastating one-word rebuttal to both the horror and failure of American interventionism. The essays these imperial spinmeisters have been churning out are the early parlay in a long-game effort to take away that word’s historical meaning and power. Don’t let them shift it even an inch.

60 MINUTES HYPES THE CHINA THREAT, AND ASKS IF THE AMERICAN NAVY “IS READY”

CBS Correspondent Norah O’Donnell’s Piece Smacks Of A Scare Tactic To Convince Us We Need More Ships. The Propaganda Ministry Is At It Again.

CBS’s 60 Minutes did not spend any time this week commemorating the Iraq war’s 20th anniversary. Instead, it appeared eager to help entangle the United States in another disastrous and costly conflict — this time with China.

Greasing the public for war with Beijing isn’t all that new for the network’s prestigious TV news magazine. When 60 Minutes correspondent Norah O’Donnell interviewed Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the early days of the Biden administration, she appeared at times intent on pressuring the newly minted top American diplomat into taking a more combative and militaristic approach toward China.

This week, O’Donnell visited the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Pacific Fleet to warn us about the threat that China’s navy poses, largely because of its size, and that the United States is lagging behind in shipbuilding to meet this purported threat.

To underscore the alarm, O’Donnell set up the piece by noting that China has the world’s largest Navy (a point she made four times throughout the 15 minute segment) and that while the American Navy “remains a formidable fighting force … even officers within the service have questioned its readiness,” particularly in the context of China choosing to take Taiwan by force.

Except none of the officers she spoke with said anything about the American Navy not being ready to take on China. In fact, they said quite the opposite.

When asked by O’Donnell if the American Navy was ready to defend Taiwan should the president issue that order in the event of a Chinese invasion, Admiral Samuel Paparo, commander the Pacific Fleet said, “We’re ready, yes.”

Later in the segment, O’Donnell spoke with the chief of naval operations, Admiral Mike Gilday, who is responsible for building, maintaining, and equipping the entire U.S. Navy:

O’DONNELL: Is the Navy in crisis?

GILDAY: No, the Navy is not in crisis. The Navy is out on point every single day.

O’DONNELL: Is it being outpaced by China?

GILDAY: No. Our Navy`s still in a position to prevail.

There’s also a bit of a problem with O’Donnell’s premise, that the size of China’s navy is somehow some kind of relevant benchmark for the American Navy to compete with.

If you go just by numbers, yeah we’re behind. But it’s more than numbers, it’s the capabilities of the ships. They have nothing like our aircraft carriers.” Lawrence J. Korb, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress said.

Korb, a Navy veteran who also served as assistant secretary of defense during the Reagan administration, added that not only does the American vastly out spend China on defense, but its regional allies and partners also need to be taken into account when making any comparisons. “You’ve got the Quad, you’ve got AUKUS, [and] you’ve got our agreement with Japan,” Korb added.

Indeed, Admiral Paparo made this point during the 60 Minutes piece. While he said the size of China’s navy has at least some relevance, Paparo added that, for example, American submarine technology outpaces China’s by “a generation.”

So, if senior American Navy officers say we’re ready to take on China if necessary, who says we’re not?

For this, O’Donnell turned to former Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), chair of the newly formed House China Select Committee, which doesn’t appear to be seeking ways to cooperate with Beijing to solve the world’s most pressing issues.

I think we share a sense of the urgency of the moment. We see increasing threats from China in particular in the Indo-Pacific. We feel like we’re not moving fast enough to build a bigger Navy,” Gallagher told 60 Minutes.

And why might the Wisconsin lawmaker be so interested in building a bigger navy?

Both Mike Gallagher and Elaine Luria have lobbied for government money for the shipyards in or near their districts,” O’Donnell noted, adding that, wink-wink, “they say this is less about jobs and more about national security.”

So what was the point of this segment? The American Navy appears to believe it’s ready to take on China. But lawmakers who stand to benefit from hyping the China threat don’t. And that in a nutshell is the military-industrial-complex, or in this case, the military-industrial-congressional-media-complex.

The 60 Minutes piece offers a myopic, solely military-centered definition of the security challenge China poses and the way to address it,” says Michael Swaine, senior research fellow at the Quincy Institute whose expertise focuses on China and East Asia. Swaine added that the segment didn’t address the political and diplomatic dynamics at play, particularly with regard to Taiwan.

It is certainly the job of the U.S. military to deter conflict when ordered to do so, but that job does not constitute the be-all and end-all of U.S. strategy,” he said. “It is one tool in a much larger tool box that this 60 Minutes piece largely ignores.”

Indeed, there’s one concept that 60 Minutes didn’t even bother to explore: whether or how the United States and China can work out their differences diplomatically and through negotiation. Of course, diplomacy is not really on America’s agenda these days.

20 YEARS LATER WE HAVE IRAQ WAR II

We Are Fighting A War For Israel. When The Body Bags Come Home, And The Dead Are Buried, Let This Be Inscribed On Their Tombstones: They Died For Ariel Sharon.”

Well it seems like only yesterday, though it was half a lifetime ago.

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and their men and women, especially the neoconservatives, knowingly and deliberately lied this country into starting an aggressive war against Iraq – a war they pretended was a “preemptive” attack against a nation that could never have laid one hand on the United States of America in a trial of a thousand years.

According to his later CIA interrogator, Saddam Hussein, the evil dictator said to be plotting with al Qaeda terrorists against us, was instead semi-retired, busy writing a romance novel and refusing to believe America would really invade and occupy his country when he was giving them no cause to whatsoever.

It was later credibly reported that Saddam had offered virtually unconditional surrender twice to neocon ringleader Richard Perle who told Hussein’s emissary: “Tell them that we will see them in Baghdad.”

One hundred and fifty million Americans, if mostly for partisan reasons, knew better. The other 150 million, mostly fooled into believing Iraq had attacked us on September 11, did it anyway.

What was the real reason behind it all? As the great Justin Raimondo told the crowd in his important speech to the Libertarian Party of Illinois, “Libertarianism in the Age of Empire,” 20 years ago:

We are fighting a war for Israel. When the body bags come home, and the dead are buried, let this be inscribed on their tombstones: They died for Ariel Sharon.”

It was never the weapons. America had disarmed Iraq of unconventional weapons in 1991 and they knew it. They also had two spies at the highest levels of the Iraqi government who both confirmed there were no banned weapons left before the war. That’s why they had to resort to citing forged documents, Katusha rocket tubes, cartoon drawings of mobile biological weapons labs and the wholly invented threat of mushroom clouds over American cities to convince Americans to support the war.

And they knew Iraq was not working with al Qaeda. The CIA did a major review just after the September 11th attacks of 2001. They told the president there was nothing there. So the CIA tortured Abu Zubaydah and Ibn al-Libi, two associates, though not operatives of the al Qaeda group, into pointing the finger at Saddam Hussein’s regime.

But the neoconservatives, determined to improve Israel’s position in the region, outdid even the CIA when it came to coming up with the lies to justify the war. After setting up what Secretary of State Colin Powell later called, “a separate government” inside the government, including “Douglas Feith’s Gestapo office” at the Pentagon, Cheney and the neocons pushed the lies through and got their war.

They got 4,500 American soldiers, marines, sailors, airmen and guardsmen killed. Hundreds more contractors, including mercenaries were killed with them.

On the other side of the ledger, the United States destroyed the nation of Iraq, probably permanently. By fighting a brutal civil war on behalf of the super-majority Shi’ite Arabs, and helping them “cleanse” especially the capital city of its minority Sunni opposition who had dominated the former government, America helped get approximately a million people killed. They decimated small, local minority religious sects and ethnicities, including Chaldean Christians, Jews, Turkmen, Marsh Arabs and others, and they deprived the rulers of the new parliament of the last incentive to compromise with their defeated enemies.

Hell, they no longer had any incentive to compromise with the United States. The Iraqi regime W. Bush installed forced him to sign on the dotted line and agree to pull American forces out by the end of 2011.

Instead of empowering the American-Israeli-Turkish-Jordanian alliance, as the neocons had envisioned, the Americans had moved Iraq to Iran’s side of the ledger, where Baghdad would join with Tehran, Damascus and Lebanese Hezbollah instead. The Sunni Arabs of the Anbar and other western provinces were left men without a country.

This is why Bush’s successor, Barack Obama, and his Israeli, Turkish, Saudi and Qatari allies backed the radical Sunni jihad in Syria next door which grew into the so-called Islamic State, seizing eastern Syria in 2013. It is also why ISIS then had no trouble rolling right in and taking over western Iraq a year later, leading to the declaration of the so-called Caliphate and then America and its allies’ Iraq War III to destroy them again in 2014–2017.

The war of course also spread to Libya, Mali and the rest of West Africa, Syria, as mentioned above, then Yemen. Hundreds of thousands more people have been killed; 37 million refugees have been forced from their homes, the greatest such crisis since the second world war.

It’s the damndest thing, all of it.

George W. Bush himself now finally admits it. On May 19, 2022, After his big Freudian slip when he blurted “Iraq” instead of “Ukraine” while denouncing Putin’s “wholly unjustified and brutal invasion,” his conscious mind then conceded: “Iraq too.”

It is as certain that he deliberately lied us into that war as it is that neither he nor any of his people will ever be held accountable for their crimes. Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell have already set the precedent.

But we can at least work to make sure they are remembered only as liars and butchers.

And we can keep in mind that the same media stars who lied us into that war have remained in a position to lie to us about everything under the sun in the time since then, including the current war in Ukraine.

And we can remember fondly our great friends and mentors Justin Raimondo, Alan Bock, and Burt Blumert who knew better and tried to show us the way.