From Iraq, greedy war billionaires go to Libya

By Ameen Izzadeen

(This article first appeared in the Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka)

In the smoke rising from NATO airstrikes on Libya, Iraq, the biggest crime of the coalition forces, remains covered. The ninth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq came and went with little media attention. The mainstream media were counting how many Tomahawk missiles a trigger-happy US President was unleashing on Libya.

As though the blood being shed and civilians killed in Iraq and Afghanistan are not enough, the coalition forces have opened a third front. Once again the objective appears to be oil and a military base — this time to control the Mediterranean Sea. The manner in which Libya is being destroyed reminds one of how Iraq was destroyed and how the war capitalists made billions from its reconstruction. But before we come to that, here are some statistics of the eight-year US occupation of Iraq.

According to informationclearinghouse.info, a website which maintains the Iraq war statistics, the number of Iraqis slaughtered in the US war and the occupation of Iraq is a shocking one million four hundred and twenty one thousand and nine hundred and thirty three (1,421,933) as of yesterday. The number of US military personnel killed in the Iraq war — and the occupation — is 4,763. In Afghanistan, the figure is 2,394.

Hawks in the George W. Bush administration said the Iraq war would cost only US$ 40 billion. But as of yesterday, the two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have cost the US economy a staggering one trillion, one hundred and seventy six billion, two hundred and seventy eight million, nine hundred and thirty thousand and seventy two dollars ($1,176,278,930,072). Well this is 17 times the strength of Iraq’s economy and 40 times that of Afghanistan. The question arises as to how this money was raised and who benefited from the illegal war which was launched without UN approval.

Donald Rumsfeld, the US secretary of defence, with whom Bush discussed the Iraq war long before the 9/11 attacks, said the bulk of the funds for Iraq’s reconstruction would come from Iraqis — from oil revenues, recovered assets, international trade and direct foreign investment.

Isn’t this something like the gangster house builder next door demolishing your house and then telling you to sell whatever belongings you are left with and pay him the money for him to rebuild your house?

The gangster not only destroyed your house and asked you to pay for the reconstruction, but he also took the money that his own wife and children had and shared it with his fellow gangsters.

The Iraq war is largely a capitalist war, though it suited the agenda of the neocons, Israel and Islam-hating white evangelists. The goings on show that very little has changed since the European mercantilism era, during which the merchant class funded wars aimed at colonizing Asia, Africa and Latin America and plundered the resources of the colonized countries. The only difference appears to be that the war capitalists now dip into the house kitty. In the case of the Iraq war, it is the US taxpayers’ money. Their money and the money Iraq was asked to pay from its oil sales go to US arms and construction companies.

Chief among these companies that made billions of dollars in war profits are Halliburton where Dick Cheney, Bush’s Vice President and chief architect of the Iraq war, was once the CEO. Others include Parsons Corp, DynCorp International, Bechtel, General Electric and Blackwater. Joining the gang are the Western oil giants Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total, BP and Chevron. They are benefiting from lucrative oil contracts which the puppet Iraqi regime has handed over to them outside the tender procedures.

That the plunder continues unabated underscores the moral nakedness of the West. As the US occupation of Iraq enters its ninth year, the casus belli for the war — that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and that Iraq was sponsoring terrorism— has been proved to be a big lie.

It appears that people in the West won’t mind if their leaders tell lies as long as they also get a few crumbs by way of a trickle-down channel or as long as the target is a stupid, rich Arab.

A few inquiries were held but they were largely eyewash — probably a second deception to cover the first deception. Take for instance, the Lord Chilcot inquiry in Britain. It gave hope to the anti-war activists that the liars would be exposed. But as the inquiry proceeded, it became clear that this would also end up as another damp squib. Our doubts are largely because of Chilcot’s conflict of interest which he failed to declare. He is said to have successfully lobbied the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) to drop its opposition to a lucrative £150m wind farm project, of which he is a director, while the inquiry was going on.

Besides this, a leaked US embassy cable posted on WikiLeaks indicated that the British MoD had given an assurance to the US that measures had been put in place to protect US interests at the Chilcot inquiry. Accordingly, the British government has held back vital documents on grounds of national security.

So the robbery and the plunder by way of deception continue. With Iraq being well taken care of (thousands of US troops will remain in Iraq even after the final troop pullout on December 31 this year), the thieves of Arabian Night fame have set their eyes on Libya. But aren’t they like Cassim, Ali Baba’s brother, whose was killed by his greed?

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About ameenizzadeen

journalist and global justice activist
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5 Responses to From Iraq, greedy war billionaires go to Libya

  1. A Citizen of Earth and A Child of the West says:

    Your words were bad enough to incite mine:

    You mention the US casualties vs the civilian casualties in the Iraq War. How many of these deaths come from internal causes like insurgents? America may have lost less, but you have no data that shows how we were responsible for deaths caused by terrorists. This is blatantly unjust.

    The war was illegal because it was done without UN approval; the UN also issued multiple embargoes and restrictions on Iraq, because Saddam Hussein was committing genocide (https://sites.google.com/site/iraqiholocaustiraqigenocide/), killing around 3 times as many people as the war. Russia’s invasion of Georgia was also illegal; what do you have to say about that?
    Besides, you can’t call an administration evil and then go about trusting it’s estimates on a war, since after all, because they’re evil, they’d have underestimated it to ensure their evil war happened.
    Also, please note; if the United States are the gangsters taking everything from your house to rebuild it, why are they also throwing in billions of their own money, 17 times more than what your possessions are worth?

    For your point on said companies making billions of dollars; it makes perfect sense to me, and I find it infuriating. BUT, could I please see where you’re pulling these #s from? Mainly just because I’d be delighted to shoot down those corporate people, but I haven’t seen anything that supports that view.

    And for your hating self, we people of the west _GREATLY_ mind that billions of our tax dollars are disappearing to fund a war in a country on the other side of the world, where we can be merrily hated upon, especially considering the original causes for the war proved to be bogus. How are we supposed to deal with this situation now? If we just withdraw now, we will leave that area of the world in tatters, which is far worse. So, this rebuilding, however corrupt, must continue, for the sake of the Iraqi people. If you’re gonna hate, at least do it intelligently.

    On these three wars: how can you hate the West, when even as corrupt as we supposedly are, we’re doing away with two autocrats and a country literally run by terrorists. I noticed how little you talked about Afghanistan, but it really deserves to be covered. The Taliban are some of the most morally wrong people on the face of this earth, causing enough human rights violations that Hitler would have been surprised. Your hate for the West is blantant; it is also unjust. You’re stereotyping us as easily as we supposedly do you. Saddam Hussein killed millions; Gaddafi was a dictator. How is their removal wrong?

    • Dear Citizen of Earth and Child of the West.
      First of all, i am not a West-hater. I am indebted to the West for its contribution to the advancement of mankind. But my issue with the Westerners is that most of them are becoming morally bankrupt and therefore they can’t see that war is wrong. There are ways disputes and issues could be sorted out without war. Before resorting to war, one should exhaust all the other dispute-solving avenues.
      Now let me answer a few of your queries. If the US had not invaded IRAQ, 1.4 million Iraq’s would not have died. I did not say they were killed by the Americans. My insinuation is that they faced death as a result of the American invasion.
      I agree that Saddam was a tyrant and mass murderer. But during his reign, the Iraqis had relative security, electricity, peace and ethnic harmony. No Shiite killed a Sunni or no Sunni killed a Shiite. They even inter-married. Today, thanks to CIA manipulation, the two communities hate each other. This was the old colonial dictum of divide and rule, and sad to say, the neocolonialist Americans have adopted it. The founding fathers of America must be turning in their graves.
      Moreover, the Iraqis do not want a prolonged US presence in Iraq. Under the SOFA agreement, the Americans are required to get out of Iraq by the end of this year. But moves are under way to force the Maliki govt to make a request for the Americans to stay on. In terms of the agreement, any US presence after Dec 31, 2011 require a verdict at a referendum. Most Iraqis don’t want the Americans on their soil though the corrupt politicians do. That is why Maliki is avoiding the referendum and looking for other crooked ways to please his American imperial masters.
      One more thing, my fellow Earthling. Remember, the news from the mainstream media is largely propaganda and crap. Therefore seek the other side of the story, for every coin has two sides. Let peace and justice prevail on earth.

  2. Thomas Jefferson says:

    Were we of the West morally bankrupt, we would be extracting funds from your lands, not spending our dearly needed wealth in it. We are very concerned with morality, as is obvious by the fact that the American Congress wanted Obama to explain to them what all was going on with his operations in Libya. Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan have all faced the most severe restrictions possible, short of war, including economic sanctions. You speak of the ethnic harmony between the Sunni and the Shi’a in Iraq during Saddam’s time; I doubt this. To begin with, you can’t have ethnic harmony when a third is being completely written out of existence. Second, the Ba’ath party, run by Saddam, was predominantly Sunni, which is obviously unjust when the Shi’a are the majority. It sounds almost vaguely familiar, a minority populace dominating a weaker majority. Oh, right, Rwanda. And what would the CIA have to do with incurring ethnic tensions? How could they even attempt such a thing? That would entail having corruptible religious leaders, something I did not believe was a common thing in Islam.

    To your point on the numbers of deaths; I refer to the statistics about the genocide committed by Saddam. Let’s also include the millions of lives incurred in the Iran-Iraq war. Saddam has caused a far greater death toll. Then, there’s also the fact that American’s aren’t causing the actual deaths you speak of; those come from insurgents. We in the West have some moral issues with the wanton killing of civilians; something terrorists inherently lack. Blaming these deaths on us is like blaming all the deaths caused by AIDS on Africans.

    The Iraqis may not want the Americans there any longer, but rest assured, the Americans are in the same boat; they can’t even foot the bill. Why would they want to be in Iraq? There is nothing to be gained. However, they have an obligation that stems from their removal of Saddam Hussein.
    I agree on the news thing though. Why I generally weave my opinions from as many places as I can find. And as for your debt to the West, we really don’t care; we invented Coca-cola because it tasted good and sold well, if you happen to benefit too, then better for the both of us.

    • 1 Saddam Hussein had the backing of the United States when he was using chemical weapons against the Iranians and the Kurds.
      2 Have you forgotten that more than 30 members in the so-called deck of cards the US invaders prepared were shiites.
      3 Why aren’t ‘t the Western leaders bombing Syria, Bahrain and Yemen, where thousands of people are being killed for the crime of demanding more democracy.

      • Steven says:

        Can’t you two see that you both are right? One has an outside point of view and the other has the American point of view.

        I think its obvious that the leaders on both sides are crooked and corrupt and we the people are the ones dying for it being starved and deprived.

        Its clear that leaders across the world have never had the people at there best intrest. They only had they’re own agendas.

        When will people realise that they are all CLASS WARS.
        The rich are paying poor people to kill each other so they’er friends and themselves can get even richer.

        The leaders don’t care about the people they just want to plunder while they creat fights among the people we are being herded and slaughterd like sheep and pitted against each other.

        Its time to stop looking at other as “terrorists” and “westerners” and start seeing each other as people.

        Its time to expose corrupt private banks, defense companies, oil companies, leaders and politicion puppets who are controlled by these companies.

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