By Neil Clark
Published time: March 30, 2015 12:52
An Iraqi family watches U.S. soldiers in in Baquba early June 28, 2007. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)
A report called Body Count has revealed that at least 1.3 million people have lost their lives as a result of the US-led “war on terror” in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s a report which should have made front page news across the world.
In the comprehensive 101 page document ‘Body Count,’
Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, have produced figures for the number of people killed from September 11, 2001 until the end of 2013.
The findings are devastating: the in-depth investigation concludes that the ‘war on terror‘ has, directly or indirectly, killed around 1 million people in Iraq, 220,000 in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan. As awful as that sounds, the total of 1.3 million deaths does not take into account casualties in other war zones, such as Yemen - and the authors stress that the figure is a “conservative estimate”.
“The total number of deaths in the three countries named above could also be in excess of 2 million, whereas a figure below 1 million is extremely unlikely,” the executive summary says.
Even if we take the lower figure of 1.3 million deaths, that’s still approximately 10 times greater than the figures propagated up to now by the media and NGOs. 1.3 million Iraqis equates to 5 percent of the population, the equivalent to 3.2 million Britons being killed following a foreign invasion.
One of the most sickening parts of the report is a paragraph about drone attacks on Pakistan entitled‘Festive Parties as Targets’ on Page 94.
“The presence of noncombatants at these entirely peaceful assemblies is totally ignored. Frequently, the first drone attack is followed by a second one an hour or two later, directed against people who are searching for survivors and trying to find the dead in order to bury them.”
In one such attack ten of the children killed were between five and ten years old.
The report certainly makes shocking reading but it fully vindicates those who have always maintained that the numbers of people killed in the ‘the war on terror‘, and particularly the figures in Iraq, had been deliberately played down by supporters of Western “intervention”.
Media Lens is definitely owed an apology by its neocon/ ‘liberal interventionist’ critics (as indeed are the authors of an earlier report published in 2006 by the renowned medical journal The Lancet which was dismissed by George Bush and Tony Blair of not being credible), but of course they won’t get one.
The war lobby have ‘moved on’ from Iraq and is now focusing its attention on demonizing Russia and further attempts to remove the Assad government in Syria via the imposition of ‘no-fly zones’. It’s interesting isn’t it that those who can tell us to the nearest thousand how many people have died in Syria (in order to propagandize for another Western ‘humanitarian intervention‘), have little or no interest in the Iraq death toll, a country where there was a full-scale Western ‘intervention’.
We remember how US General Tommy Franks, who led the illegal invasion, arrogantly declared “We don‘t do body counts.” How very convenient not to record the number of people your military interventions kill.
“Officially ignored are casualties, injured or killed, involving enemy combatants and civilians,” writes Dr Hans-C. von Sponeck, a former UN Assistant Secretary General and UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, in his preface to Body Count. “This, of course, comes as no surprise. It is not an oversight but a deliberate omission. The U.S. authorities have kept no known records of such deaths. This would have destroyed the arguments that freeing Iraq by military force from a dictatorship, removing al-Qaeda from Afghanistan and eliminating safe havens for terrorists in Pakistan’s tribal areas has prevented terrorism from reaching the US homeland, improved global security and advanced human rights, all at “defendable costs”.
Boys walk through the rubble of destroyed homes in Buner district which is located about 220 km (137 miles) by road northwest of Pakistan's capital Islamabad, September 14, 2009. (Reuters/Faisal Mahmood)
Body Count gives us 2 million reasons why we should not allow the neocon architects of the “war on terror” and the journalists who peddled pro-war propaganda to ‘move on’ from the carnage they have caused.
Let’s be clear that what we are talking about here is genocide. It’s a genocide caused by military campaigns which were allegedly about protecting us from “terrorism” and making the world a safer place but in fact did neither. 2,996 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks, but that number has been dwarfed by the number of people who have lost their lives in the US-led wars which followed. In fact Body Count reveals that between 2004 and October 2012 between 2,318 and 2,912 people were killed in US drone attacks on Pakistan, a great many of whom were civilians.
In addition to the 2 million killed in the 'wars on terror' investigated in Body Count (but which more accurately should be called ‘wars OF terror’), we must also add in the 50,000 or so who have lost their lives in Libya both during and after the NATO “humanitarian” military intervention of 2011.
We must not forget either the millions who have been made refugees, or the way that Western military intervention in the Middle East has enabled the rise of groups such as Islamic State. Body Count’s death toll, it’s worth pointing out, does not include deaths among the 3 million refugees from the Iraq war subjected to privations.
Afghan children play on a street in Kabul November 7, 2001. (Reuters/Stringer)
All things considered, the neocons and their ‘liberal interventionist’ allies are responsible for the greatest amount of death, destruction and human misery on this planet since the dark days of the Third Reich and Adolf Hitler - whose “illegally invade a different country every couple of years” foreign policy they have emulated. Yet the war lobby is still there in positions of power and influence, urging more ‘interventions’ as if nothing had happened.
The situation can be likened to Nazis being left in prominent positions in Germany after World War Two - they were of course put on trial - but unlike the Nazis, the neocons and ‘liberal interventionists’ have never been held to account for the deaths their wars have caused and so the bloodshed continues.
What ‘Body Count’ proves to us is that the true humanitarian foreign policy is a non-interventionist one. We need to return urgently to a system of international relations in which the waging of aggressive war is regarded as the ultimate crime. The judges at Nuremberg in 1946, repeating the words of Chief US Prosecutor Robert Jackson, said that “to initiate a war of aggression… is the supreme international crime, differing from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
In the last fifteen years or so, beginning with the 1999 bombardment of Yugoslavia, another illegal act carried out by the US and its allies, we’ve been told by our neocon/faux-left elite that ‘not-intervening’ is a greater crime than launching a war - but ‘Body Count’ provides evidence of just how morally bankrupt that argument is.
Those warmongers, who deny the genocide which has taken place - and which is meticulously detailed in Body Count, need to be publicly shamed and treated with the opprobrium they deserve. We must boycott media outlets and newspapers- like the ones owned by Rupert Murdoch - that endlessly beat the drums of war.
Page 46 of Body Count specifically mentions the Murdoch-owned Times newspaper for “regurgitating old accusations” against The Lancet report on Iraqi war deaths, which said that around 655,000 people, had died up to June 2006.
We need to be ready to link to Body Count whenever neocons and the fake-left have the nerve to lecture us on the need for further ‘humanitarian’ military interventions. The report, on page 53 quotes Les Roberts, co-author of The Lancet study, speaking at a hearing in the German Bundestag organized by the Left Party parliamentary group:
“When the President of Sudan denies widespread massacres in Darfur, when President Ahmadinejad downplays the Holocaust, we are all appalled. Please do not allow Germany to be associated with the Americans doing the same thing as part of their so-called war on terror.”
We must also do all we can to see that the architects of the ‘war on terror’ are arrested for war crimes. A website here offers a cash reward for anyone attempting a peaceful citizen’s arrest of Tony Blair. It’s an obscenity that this man, with the blood of so many innocents on his hands, is still at liberty, and has accumulated a personal fortune since stepping down as Prime Minister in 2007.
Americans, sick of how their country has been hijacked by the endless war lobby, need to focus on bringing their war-criminal ex-President George W. Bush to justice; we in Britain must focus on Blair.
We also need to counter elite attempts to turn the attention away from Western crimes to crimes committed by other groups in which less people lost their lives.
There’s been talk in European establishment circles of making Srebrenica genocide denial a criminal offence, but as terrible as that massacre was, the indisputable fact is that far more people have been killed by the US and its allies in subsequent years. If Srebrenica genocide denial is made an offence, but denying the genocide caused by the US-led ‘war on terror’ is not, then the double standards will be there for all to see.
The difficulty of the task of exposing and publicizing genocide caused by Western military interventions can be demonstrated by the lack of media coverage Body Count has received. What should have been a major news story has been all but ignored. Independent US researcher David Peterson, co-author of ‘The Politics of Genocide’, noted on March 27:
“I just ran a Factiva database search for mentions of the (Body Count) report. As best I can tell, within the universe of wire services and newspapers archived by the Factiva database, only four different English-language media have reported the existence of this document, and in these cases, two reports were picked up by two media.”
It seems that some genocides really are more important than others. We can only imagine what the coverage would have been like if Russia had launched wars in a 12 year period which had caused 2 million deaths. Or if a black African leader of whom the West doesn’t approve, such as Robert Mugabe, the President of Zimbabwe, had been involved.
But it’s the US and its allies who have caused this genocide so we’re expected to keep quiet and focus instead on the ‘crimes‘ of the latest ‘official enemy‘.
Neil Clark is a journalist, writer and broadcaster. His award winning blog can be found atwww.neilclark66.blogspot.com. Follow him on Twitter
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.