Tag Archives: Iraq

Ten Years on, New Estimates of the Economic Cost of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

open quoteLast week the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University released a new set of estimates. The numbers are summarized on the web site of the institute’s Cost of War project and detailed in a paper by Professor Neta C. Crawford. The institute’s estimate of the total cost of the two wars now comes to just under $4 trillion.

It wasn’t supposed to cost so much

The wars were not supposed to cost so much. As the administration of President George W. Bush was building a case for the Iraq war in 2002, with some 5,000 American troops already deployed in Afghanistan, the question of cost naturally came up. In September of that year, Lawrence B. Lindsey, then Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, estimated that a new Iraq war would cost $100 billion, maybe $200 billion at a maximumclose quote (Read more)

MI6 and CIA were told before invasion that Iraq had no active WMD

open quoteFresh evidence is revealed today about how MI6 and the CIA were told through secret channels by Saddam Hussein’s foreign minister and his head of intelligence that Iraq had no active weapons of mass destruction.

Tony Blair told parliament before the war that intelligence showed Iraq’s nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programme was “active”, “growing” and “up and running”.

A special BBC Panorama programme tonight will reveal how British and US intelligence agencies were informed by top sources months before the invasion that Iraq had no active WMD programme, and that the information was not passed to subsequent inquiries.close quote (Read more)

police persecution of gays in Iraq

open quoteA BBC World Service investigation has revealed that law enforcement agencies in Iraq are involved in the ongoing systematic persecution of homosexuals.

Activists say hundreds of gay men, and some women, have died in targeted killings in Iraq in recent years.

These numbers are difficult to verify, but the United Nations confirmed it was extremely concerned about what it called a deadly anti-gay campaign.close quote (Read more)

Tony Blair and George Bush’s phone conversation a week before Iraq invasion ‘must be released’

open quoteWords that Tony Blair spoke over the phone to George Bush on the eve of the Iraq war are to be made public, a tribunal has ordered.

The Foreign Office has been ordered to release parts of the note detailing the conversation on 12 March 2003, a week before the invasion of Iraq began.

A panel chaired by tribunal judge Professor John Angel overruled objections from the Foreign Office that publishing any part of the conversation could do “serious damage” to relations with the USA

They said in their ruling: “The circumstances surrounding a decision by a UK government to go to war with another country is always likely to be of very significant public interest, even more so with the consequences of this war.”close quote (Read more)

Bush Convicted of War Crimes in Absentia

open quoteKuala Lumpur — It’s official; George W Bush is a war criminal.

In what is the first ever conviction of its kind anywhere in the world, the former US President and seven key members of his administration were yesterday (Fri) found guilty of war crimes.

Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo were tried in absentia in Malaysia.

The trial held in Kuala Lumpur heard harrowing witness accounts from victims of torture who suffered at the hands of US soldiers and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They included testimony from British man Moazzam Begg, an ex-Guantanamo detainee and Iraqi woman Jameelah Abbas Hameedi who was tortured in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

At the end of the week-long hearing, the five-panel tribunal unanimously delivered guilty verdicts against Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their key legal advisors who were all convicted as war criminals for torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.close quote (Read more)

Iraqi students killed for having ‘strange hair and tight clothes’

If this happened in a country our politicians WANT to invade, this would be front page news for weeks. Instead, it is a side note.

open quoteYoungsters in Iraq are being stoned to death for having haircuts and wearing clothes that emulate the ‘emo’ style popular among western teenagers.

At least 14 youths have been killed in the capital Baghdad in the past three weeks in what appears to be a campaign by Shia militants.

Militants in Shia neighbourhoods, where the stonings have taken place, circulated lists yesterday naming more youths targeted to be killed if they do not change the way they dress.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2112960/90-students-Iraq-stoned-death-having-Emo-hair-tight-clothes.html#ixzz1p6mDv11M
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Mondoweiss: What did AIPAC do and when did it do it? (Iraq)

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As I pointed out yesterday, the Center for American Progress (CAP), a Democratic-Party-linked thinktank in D.C., has met quietly with officials of the Israel lobby group AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and explicitly sought to squelch suggestions by its own journalists that AIPAC is pushing war on Iran.

Notably it squelched a CAP blogger, Eli Clifton, who wrote in August at the thinktank’s site that AIPAC’s summons to Congress for sanctions on Iran “brings to mind eery parallels” to its campaign for Iraq sanctions that paved the way for that stupid war. Clifton’s piece concluded:

It would appear that AIPAC is now using the same escalating measures against Iran that were used before the invasion of Iraq.

But in December the thinktank came under heat from a neocon smear campaign that accused Clifton and others of anti-Semitism, and CAP put its tail between its legs and stuck a long amendment to Clifton’s piece, kinda eviscerating it:

we want to make clear that we are not reporting on whether AIPAC lobbied for the Iraq war.

Also as a matter of clarification, international sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, particularly those engineered by the Obama administration, are useful…

What is the truth here?

Though AIPAC wants to deny it now, it lobbied for the Iraq war. And CAP is participating in a coverup.

Here’s the data:

Back in 2000, AIPAC specifically worked to ramp up sanctions on Iraq because of its “weapons of mass destruction.” Remember them? In March 2000, AIPAC circulated an Action Alert to Congress, urging its members to put pressure on Congress to pressure the Clinton administration.

If sanctions were lifted, Saddam could spend the oil revenue to accelerate Iraq’s military programs rather than on the humanitarian needs of Iraqi citizens.

It is essential that you contact your representative today and urge them to sign the letter to President Clinton:

Very similar to the Iran sanctions AIPAC pushed last summer.

Then in April 2003, according to JWeekly, AIPAC rose up against a congressional effort led by California Republican Tom Campbell, then taking on Dianne Feinstein in a Senate race, to weaken those sanctions:

The military threat from Iraq is a major concern of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which favors retaining economic sanctions.

“Lifting sanctions wouldn’t benefit the Iraqi people,” said Amy Friedkin, an AIPAC national vice president who lives in San Francisco. Rather, it would enable Saddam to obtain more oil money, and use it to amass more weapons. That would constitute a danger to the rest of the Middle East and the world, she added…

Campbell and his allies are now rallying behind H.R. 3825, legislation by Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) that would allow U.S. companies to export food and medicine to Iraq outside of the U.N. oil-for-food program. Campbell and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) are among the bill’s co-sponsors.

Friedkin said AIPAC opposes the bill, although the organization recognizes the sponsors’ “very compassionate reasons” for proposing it.

Elliot Brandt, AIPAC’s Pacific Northwest regional director, said: “AIPAC has no desire to hurt the people of Iraq, but we have a vested interest in hurting Saddam Hussein’s ability to build weapons of mass destruction. Rather than blaming the sanctions for hurting the people of Iraq, we should be putting the blame on Saddam Hussein, who is cynically and cruelly using his people as a political card to generate sympathy and support.”

Talk about eery parallels: When Obama tried to stop sanctions on the Iran Central Bank, AIPAC posterized Obama in the Senate 100-0 last December.

Let’s skip forward to the Iraq war itself, 2003.

In The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, Walt and Mearsheimer clearly show that AIPAC pushed the Iraq war, though quietly.

AIPAC usually supports what Israel wants, and Israel certainly wanted the United States to invade Iraq. Nathan Guttman made this very connection in his reporting [in Haaretz, April 2003] on AIPAC’s annual conference in the spring of 2003, shortly after the war started: “AIPAC is wont to support whatever is good for Israel, and so long as Israel supports the war, so too do the thousands of the AIPAC lobbyists who convened in the American capital.” AIPAC executive director Howard Kohr’s statement to the New York Sun in January 2003 is even more revealing, as he acknowledged “‘quietly’ lobbying Congress to approve the use of force in Iraq” was one of “AIPAC’s successes over the past year.” And in a lengthy New Yorker profile of Steven J. Rosen, who was AIPAC’s policy director during the run-up to the Iraq war, Jeffrey Goldberg reported that “AIPAC lobbied Congress in favor of the Iraq war.” 

Dana Milbank reported in the Washington Post on that AIPAC conference as the Iraq war began:

Officially, AIPAC had no position on the merits of a war against Iraq before it started. Officially, Iraq is not the subject of the pro-Israel lobby’s three-day meeting here.

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