Iraq - Sixteen Years and Counting

Yesterday, March 20, marked the sixteenth anniversary of the Iraq War, an illegal war started under false pretenses by the Bush administration acting on behalf of the neocon military industrial complex. The September / October 2006 edition of Mother Jones published a detailed timeline of the decisions leading up to the US invasion of and war in Iraq.

Let's take a look at some statistics, some of which may be under counts, particularly those related to civilian casualties and the costs. Using tweets by Kyle Kulinski of Secular Talk, below are some raw numbers. These numbers were taken from the March 20, 2013 edition of Business Insider. Since they are five years old, some of the numbers may have changed or increased since then. Pay close attention to contractor profits and the very last number in his series of tweets.

The numbers are staggering even though some may be under counts. And what have we learned or gained from this war? Apparently nothing except that war is the most profitable export of the United States, particularly for the military industrial complex. For the American people, the fiscal costs have been enormous. And for the Iraqis, the human and the environmental costs of this war will continue to linger long afterwards.

And now some of the same architects behind the Iraq War are pushing for war with Venezuela and Iran. Meanwhile the house of cards that is the United States is collapsing under the cost of its military imperialism. And the American people have become desensitized to the destruction and violence that is being waged woldwide in our names.

The hard truth is that, while the Iraq War may be publicly remembered as an “embarrassment” for the neocons, it was the true beginning of our transformation into a nation of their passive enablers. Regular Americans may not plan and plot forever wars or the destruction of nations and innocent lives, but most certainly go along with it, especially when we are told that “Leader X” kills his own people and “Leader Y” represents a threat to “national security.” Our consent to be governed and guided by madmen has led us to become a nation of passive neocons.

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zoebear's picture

Take our money by gutting social programs and reducing civil servants pension benefits so they can butcher, maim, and displace men, woman and children all over the world because of greed and power is beyond sickening. It is the greatest crime against humanity and disgrace of our time.

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If we surrendered to earth's intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees
~ Rainer Maria Rilke

gulfgal98's picture

@zoebear in this country. This is what is so shocking to me. In my four plus years with the Peace vigil, we met very few people who supported these wars, but we also saw little to no outrage. This was the reason I included the quote at the end of my essay. We have been numbed down and dumbed down to exactly how evil all of this is.

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare." Sun Tzu

"Propaganda is one hell of a drug." Abby Martin

"politicians are cowards." Mike Gravel

Lookout's picture

@gulfgal98

US citizens are ignorant of our war mongering. Most can't find Yemen on a map and have no idea we are starving children, spreading disease, committing war crimes, etc...

Even so called educated people will deny we are terrorists despite the fact we sell more weapons than anyone, have 800+ military bases, blatantly promote coups anywhere our corporations don't control, drone anyone anywhere anytime for whatever we want, threaten anyone or country that isn't complicit in our imperialistic desires to control the world.

Willful ignorance perhaps, but none the less our fellow citizens don't even recognize us for what we have become (or perhaps always have been). It is easier to see the US as the beacon on the hill like we were programed to see throughout our lives.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

gulfgal98's picture

@Lookout American exceptionalism has been ingrained in us from birth. Most people see it as a positive. I see it as a fatal disease, fatal to anyone who crosses us up.

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8 users have voted.

"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare." Sun Tzu

"Propaganda is one hell of a drug." Abby Martin

"politicians are cowards." Mike Gravel

dkmich's picture

Kulinksi needs to put them into one document instead of a series of tweets. Together, the cost of that lie is mind numbing. Thanks for sharing this GG.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

*donate to c99 *like us on Facebook *follow us on Twitter

gulfgal98's picture

@dkmich I need to edit this essay to openly give credit to Business Insider which is where Kulinski got the numbers. He linked it in his last tweet, but it is easy to miss. I used his tweets because I thought it would be easier to digest.

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9 users have voted.

"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare." Sun Tzu

"Propaganda is one hell of a drug." Abby Martin

"politicians are cowards." Mike Gravel

Shahryar's picture

instead of an all-volunteer Army, how about an all-draft one?

We've gone from "I don't want to kill, I don't want to die" to "They signed up for it and I honor their service".

I don't honor that. I don't thank them for that. Volunteering means being willing to turn the handle of the meat grinder. It has nothing to do with "protecting our country". Wait....gotta stop here because it's so easy to go into a long rant, one which you not only agree with but almost surely have thought yourself.

"little to no outrage" is itself an outrage.

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@Shahryar Many rejoiced when the draft ended (me among them), but others pointed out that the military needed the moderating influence of citizens who did not volunteer (actually usually join for financial reasons). The latter were correct. It is much easier to start and maintain wars now than it was in the era of Vietnam. It is also easier to support wars (or not think about wars) if your son or daughter are not in danger of being drafted.

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Shahryar's picture

@Roy Blakeley

if they needed more people for their wars and could only get enough by drafting kids then when they stopped the draft there would be such a shortage of participants that wars would cease.

Not only would "we" not go, nobody would. Except it hasn't turned out that way.

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gulfgal98's picture

@Shahryar joining the military is a way out for young people.

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare." Sun Tzu

"Propaganda is one hell of a drug." Abby Martin

"politicians are cowards." Mike Gravel

@gulfgal98 And that is exactly the way our owners want it. And they plan not only to keep it that way but to make things even worse to perhaps increase the numbers of desperate young people willing to "volunteer" simply so they can eat. And the rest of the country who don't have to volunteer for service can sit back in their comfortable living rooms and lament how these volunteers are simply war mongers who desire to kill and how all the wars would magically stop if these dumb kids would just simply refuse to serve. The American Way.

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lotlizard's picture

@gulfgal98  
in Hawaii could get to see and experience the world outside of the Islands.

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gulfgal98's picture

@Shahryar All four of us in the Peace vigil believed that a draft with no exceptions would be a good first start. Don, one of my fellow Peace vigil participants, is a retired medical doctor who was actually drafted out of medical school in the 1950's.

I wrote an essay some time back about how few Americans nowadays actually have known a living family member who has served in the military. My father served with the First Marine Division in Okinawa in WWII. Since then, no family member in my or my husband's family has served in the military.

For two decades after World War II, the standing force remained so large, and the Depression-era birth cohorts were so small, that most Americans had a direct military connection. Among older Baby Boomers, those born before 1955, at least three-quarters have had an immediate family member—sibling, parent, spouse, child—who served in uniform. Of Americans born since 1980, the Millennials, about one in three is closely related to anyone with military experience.

Further, as the time that essay was written, only 18% of all Congress had ever served, most of whom never saw combat.

The famously neutral country of Switzerland has mandatory military conscription for every able bodied male.

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10 users have voted.

"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare." Sun Tzu

"Propaganda is one hell of a drug." Abby Martin

"politicians are cowards." Mike Gravel

the Mideast, flooding Jordan, Syria, and Europe with refugees and refueled the Holy War between Islam and Christendom. Assholes.

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lotlizard's picture

There are no neocons whom such “progressives” won’t close ranks with.

There is no neocon cause that such “progressives” won’t embrace.

All because “Orange Man Bad.”

The mind boggles.

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