Iraq Today: America’s Imperial Legacy


imagesUS imperial wars reflect mass slaughter, widespread destruction, ecocide, resource theft, exploitation, unspeakable human pain, suffering and misery, as well as permanent occupation.

Washington came to Iraq to stay. US military and other security elements infest the region. It’s the oil and unchallenged Middle East dominance, stupid.

The price of imperial arrogance is unconscionable. Ordinary people bear the cost. Countries are laid waste. Victims suffer most. Iraqis understand.

America’s war remains one of history’s greatest crimes. Iraq was the region’s most developed country. The cradle of civilization no longer exists. A militarized giant free trade zone replaced it.

Raping and plundering Iraq continue daily. Ordinary Iraqis have no say. They’re victimized, exploited and shut out. They’ve lost all rights. They’re aliens in their own country.

Imperial priorities matter most. Washington’s a scourge on humanity. No others historically approached its savagery. It reigns terror globally. It plans doing so from space.

Iraq is lawlessly occupied. It’s balkanized. It’s victimized by genocide. Vital infrastructure is absent. Millions are on their own out of luck.

Poverty is extreme. So are unemployment, malnutrition, repression, fear and human misery. Iraq represents the worst of new world order dystopian harshness.

From August 1990 to today, millions died. Millions more were externally and internally displaced. Refugees International estimates around 2.8 million currently.

Tens of thousands seeking refuge in Syria returned home. “Internally displaced Iraqis are extremely vulnerable and live in constant fear, with limited access to shelter, food and basic services.”

Obama’s US combat troop drawdown was more subterfuge than real. Most redeployed US forces shifted to Kuwait and other regional locations. Permanent occupation is policy. Four super-bases remain.  

They include one near Baghdad International Airport, Tallil Air Base near southern Iraq’s Nasiriyah, H-1 Air Base in western Al-Anbar Province, and northern Iraq’s Bashur Airfield. The Pentagon retains access to other bases handed over to Iraqi authorities.

Thousands of private military contractors (PMCs) and other paid US employees remain. They’re based at Washington’s huge Baghdad embassy and two large consulates.

One’s in Basra. Another’s in northern Iraq. Around 1,000 paid US personnel staff each one. Washington’s Baghdad embassy has up to 20,000.

America largely retains control of Iraq’s air space. Drones and satellite surveillance augment internal and regionally positioned ground and naval power.

Unacknowledged US special forces, CIA and FBI agents, as well as unknown numbers of other covert elements infest Iraq. So does out-of-control violence.

It rages daily. On May 12, investigative journalist Dahr Jamail headlined “Iraq’s Invisible Refugee Crisis,” saying:

“As violence in Iraq reaches levels not seen in years, untold numbers of Iraqis are once again seeking refuge elsewhere.”

April was the deadliest month in nearly five years. According to UN figures, 712 Iraqis died. They included 117 Iraqi security forces.

According to a man named Ahmed:

“The situation in Iraq is so tense, all of us are on edge. There are random arrests, no freedom of speech or opinion, and the security forces are completely politicized.”

“We can’t sleep there because we are so worried all the time. Who can live in a country like Iraq is today?”

“Everybody who has a chance to leave are trying to leave,” he added. Washington bears full responsibility.

“Me and my family have been living in such a bad situation these last ten years,” he said. “We’ve been hoping things would get better, but now they are only getting worse.”

Vital services are lacking or are in short supply. They include clean water, sanitation, electricity, housing, healthcare and education.

Iraq’s a toxic wasteland. Scores of pollutants include depleted uranium, dangerous chemicals and metals, oil, gasoline, pesticides, bacteria, and other poisons.

Tigris and Euphrates river waters are contaminated and unsafe. Pollution causes birth deformities, typhoid, dysentery, cholera, hepatitis, cancer, diarrheal diseases, and others.

On May 22, Russia Today (RT) headlined ” ‘US opened Pandora’s box in Iraq, regional sectarian violence almost impossible to stop now.’ ”

America’s regional wars bear testimony to what’s now ongoing. According to political analyst Chris Bambery:

“Everyone in Iraq must be terrified that the situation in Syria is spilling over into Iraq.” Almost daily, dozens are dying. Sectarian violence grips the country. Sunni/Shia/Kurd divisions remain.

For months, minority Sunnis protested against discrimination, arbitrary arrests, detention, torture, and extrajudicial killings.

Expect violence to continue. Escalation may intensify it. Al Qaeda elements are involved. Iraq and Syria share a common border. It’s largely open. Hostile elements move freely back and forth.

On May 20, RT reported multiple bombings across Iraq. Blasts targeted Shia Muslims in Baghdad, Basra and Balad. At least 95 deaths were reported. Dozens more were injured.

A Basra police officer said he “was on duty when a powerful blast shook the ground. The blast hit a group of day laborers gathering near a sandwich kiosk. One of the dead bodies was still clutching a blood-soaked sandwich in his hand.”

Monday’s violence spread to Sunni areas. A Samarra blast killed three and wounded 13. Anbar Province officials said eight policemen were killed in Haditha. Gunmen ambushed them.

Since mid-May, bombings killed over 200 Iraqis. Baghdad was worst hit. Iraq’s unsafe everywhere. Sectarian conflict grips the country. Washington bears full responsibility.

In 2003, Security Council Resolution 1500 established the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). SC Resolution 1770 expanded its mandate.

The UN’s Department of Political Affairs administers it. The Department of Field Support as well as the Department of Peacekeeping Operations support it.

It’s comprised of 10 UN agencies and international partners.  Secretary-General-appointed Special Representative (SRSG) Martin Kobler heads it.

On May 17, he pointed fingers the wrong way. He failed to blame Washington for violence-plagued Iraq.

Instead he “urged all Iraqi leaders to do everything possible to protect Iraqi civilians as another wave of bombings hit the country during the past few days, claiming more lives.”

“It is the responsibility of all leaders to stop the bloodshed in this country and to protect their citizens.”

“Small children are burned alive in cars. Worshippers are cut down outside their own mosques. This is beyond unacceptable.”

“It is the politicians’ responsibility to act immediately and to engage in dialogue to resolve the political impasse and put an end to this.”

“Peace must come to this country now. The people of Iraq have suffered enough. We will continue to remind the leaders of Iraq that the country will slide backwards into a dangerous unknown if they do not take action.”

In 1992, Ramsey Clark founded the International Action Center (IAC).

Days after the 10th anniversary of Washington’s Iraq war, IAC headlined “Iraq occupation shows US imperialism destroys humanity,” saying:

“….Washington brought the long plague of invasion, occupation and mass murder to the Iraqi people.”

“Women’s rights and access to basic social services (were) set back centuries.”

“Security forces routinely torture inmates….(Iraq’s considered) a failed state.”

Widespread violence and bloodshed marked the 10th anniversary. Sixty-five people died. Another 240 were seriously wounded. It was 2013′s bloodiest day. Near daily violence followed.

Catastrophic US interventions reflect “a toxic psychosis at the heart of empire that can’t be negotiated or reformed. It must collapse entirely.” Humanity’s survival depends on it.

It’s very much in doubt. Unchallenged global control matters most. “(H)istory’s most violent military empire” enforces it. Crimes of war, against humanity and genocide reflect it.

Hegemonic US ambitions represent “the greatest affront to humanity imaginable.” Survival depends on challenging it no matter what. The alternative can’t be tolerated. It’s too grim to accept. If that’s not incentive enough, what is?

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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About the author

Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960.   After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967, remaining there until retiring at year end 1999.   Supporting progressive causes and organizations, he began writing in summer 2005 on a broad range of issues. Topics regularly addressed include war and peace; social, economic and political equity; and justice for long-suffering peoples globally - notably, victims of America's imperial wars, Occupied Palestinians and Haitians. In early 2007, he began hosting his own radio program. Currently he hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. Airing three times weekly, it features distinguished guests discussing vital world and national issues in depth. Today perhaps more than ever, vital social, political and economic change is needed. What better way to spend retirement years than working for it. We owe at least that much to our loved ones, friends and humanity.