American Genocide In The Middle
East: Three Million and Counting
by David Goodner, Common Dreams
Global Research, August 13, 2007
Deaths directly and indirectly attributable
to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq have neared one million
people, a body count higher than the genocides in Rwanda and Sudan
combined, according to a new report released by Just Foreign Policy.
That brings the U.S. caused death count
in the Middle East to over three million people, and that's not
even counting fatalities in Afghanistan or Palestine.
The Just Foreign Policy report is an update
to two controversial studies published by the prestigious British
medical journal the Lancet. In 2003, the Lancet reported over
100,000 excess deaths in Iraq were attributal to the U.S. invasion.
That study may be read here.
In 2006, the Lancet updated their study
and found over 600,000 excess deaths in Iraq since the U.S. invasion.
That study may be read here.
The killing of Iraqis since the U.S. invasion
includes violence caused by the overwhelming air and ground power
of U.S. military forces, mortalities caused by the destruction
of civilian infrastructure, and disappearances and murders caused
by sectarian conflict and internal power struggles among different
The report's methodology is controversial
because it bypasses the normal model of death verification - which
requires documenting each and every individual body tallied by
governments, hospitals, and morgues - and instead uses a model
first developed to estimate deaths caused by earthquakes, hurricanes,
tornadoes, and other natural disasters, where bodies are often
Many defenders of the occupation of Iraq
claim that a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq would spark a
genocide as sectarian conflict and civil war escalated out of
control. Indeed, violence may increase temporarily in the short
term following a U.S. withdrawal. Nature abhors a vacum and competition
among Iraqi factions for power may increase as they rush to fill
However, what is clear is that the U.S.
invasion and continuing occupation of Iraq in and of itself constitutes
a kind of genocide. American economic sanctions against Iraq in
the 1990s killed one million civilians, according to a 2003 study
by the Centre for Population Studies. And the U.S. funded both
sides of the Iran/Iraq war in the 1980's, contributing to well
over one million Arab and Persian casualties, according to Farhang
Rajaee in a 1993 article published by the University of Florida
titled The Iran-Iraq war: the politics of aggression.
Now an additional 996,836 Iraqis have
been killed since the U.S. invasion in 2003. The instability and
sectarian conflict were stoked by this unilateral, preemptive,
and illegal invasion, and there is little hope of the internal
conflict ending while Iraq is under foreign military occupation.
This situation is historically similar
to the colonial period, where infighting between African and other
indigenous tribes around the globe increased because of the havoc
wreaked by colonial powers and their divide-and-conqueor strategies.
Indeed, the seeds of conflict and disputes
between ethnic groups, e.g. in Rwanda, were planted by Western
colonialism. People of color around the world reap what we sow.
The immediate future of Iraq looks grim,
with solutions ranging from bad to worse. Our only hope of ending
the senseless violence is an unconditional and immediate withdrawal
of U.S. forces from Iraq, followed by some kind of responsible
assistance by the U.N. and Arab peacekeeping forces.
If the Iraqis have to go to civil war
to sort out the mess that our government has left them in, let
them. It will eventually burn itself out like in Lebanon and,
without any further interference from the West besides reconstruction
and reparations, the Iraqis will be able to begin rebuilding their
David Goodner is senior at the University
of Iowa majoring in international studies and human rights.