Who Are You Calling Savages, USA?

September 29, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


More than anything else, it is the United States that has created the nightmare that is Iraq today.  The U.S. ruthlessly bombed Iraq during the 1991 Persian Gulf war, killing 100,000-200,000 people. The U.S. continued to bomb and sanction Iraq for the rest of the decade, killing over 500,000 children—with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright saying in response to being questioned about those deaths, “We think the price is worth it."  At the time that Madeleine Albright made this statement, she was the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

A constant theme in the U.S. media and other propaganda organs is that people in the Middle East are uncivilized, religious fanatics or bloodthirsty savages, and that whatever blunders the U.S. makes, it's doing its best to help them.

In "Iraq: The Outlaw State," Max Rodenbeck writes, "Constant and fearsome violence has obviously added hugely to Iraq's woes." (New York Review of Books, September 25, 2014, emphasis ours)

He frames the beheadings by ISIS (or ISIL, the reactionary jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) this way:

"In short, the country that is now Iraq—although alas not, perhaps, for much longer in its current shape—is no stranger to the ghoulish and macabre. The Mongols, famously, built pyramids of skulls when they pillaged and razed Baghdad in 1258 and again in 1401. It was in Iraq in the 1920s that Britain introduced newer, cheaper methods for keeping unruly natives under control, such as chemical weapons and aerial "terror" bombings. Saddam Hussein's three-decade-long Republic of Fear, with its gassing of Kurdish villagers, grotesque tortures, and mass slaughter of dissidents, made the later American jailers of Abu Ghraib look downright amateur."

Use of white phosphorus shells by the U.S., Fallujah, November 2004

The U.S. used white phosphorous shells in a massive and indiscriminate way against civilians in Fallujah, November 2004, during the offensive against Iraq. AP photo

What is left OFF this list? In regard to Iraq alone: only the deaths of more than 700,000 on both sides in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war stoked by the U.S. Only the 500,000 children killed between 1990 and 2003 as a result of U.S.-UN sanctions against Iraq. Only the 600,000 to one million who died and the 4.5 million driven from their homes as a result of the 2003-2011 U.S. war and occupation, which installed reactionary Shi'a fundamentalists and directly fueled religious fundamentalism and sectarian ethnic cleaning. In other words, what's been left off is the actual history of U.S. crimes—crimes which make every other invader, conqueror, and tyrant look like "downright amateurs."

These omissions and outright lies are training people how to think about the unending wars the U.S. is waging in the Middle East: that they're necessary and for good, that U.S. enemies are evil, and that people should support more barbaric imperialist crimes in the region!

Volunteers Needed... for revcom.us and Revolution

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.