I have a friend named Arthur whom I met through this blog. From time to time he emails me with extremely interesting reading materials, which I have vowed to boil down and write about on this blog but haven't gotten around to it yet.
The other day, after my post about being so far behind and feeling defeated by the neocons, and where I misspelled "feeling" as "felling," Arthur emailed me and said, "Your last post struck a cord. I feel the same way. Not that I want to depress you further, but I thought that you might want to see this."
Segments of the article are below. It is worth reading in its entirety.
Arthur's right. It is depressing, especially the fact that Congressional Democrats are refocusing on domestic issues and giving up on ending the war because they say they don't have enough votes to avoid veto. They are fucking silent about their constitutional ability to block funding for this war.
In that, they are complicit in this despicable war, occupation and genocide.
By Patrick Martin
15 September 2007
As part of its campaign to justify a long-term US occupation of Iraq, the Bush administration has increasingly resorted to warning of chaos and even genocide in the wake of a withdrawal of American troops. But a new report suggests that something akin to genocide is already taking place, under American auspices.
The British polling agency ORB reported Thursday that the death toll in Iraq since the 2003 US invasion has passed the one million mark.
According to ORB, US-occupied Iraq, with an estimated 1.2 million violent deaths, has “a murder rate that now exceeds the Rwanda genocide from 1994 (800,000 murdered),” with another one million wounded and millions more driven from their homes into internal or external exile.
ORB (Opinion Research Business), which has conducted polls in Iraq since 2005, released the findings of a survey of 1,461 adults across the country. Among other questions, it asked: “How many members of your household, if any, have died as a result of the conflict in Iraq since 2003 (i.e., as a result of violence rather than a natural death such as old age)? Please note that I mean those who were actually living under your roof.”
Of those responding, 78 percent said their households had experienced no violent deaths, 16 percent had experienced one death, 5 percent two deaths, 1 percent three deaths or more. Given the number of households in the country, 4,050,597 according to 2005 census figures, this works out to nearly 1.2 million deaths.
By far the worst death rate was in Baghdad, where nearly half of all those interviewed reported at least one violent death in their household. The reported death rate in Diyala province (Baquba) was 42 percent, and in Ninewa province (Mosul), 35 percent.
The survey found that 48 percent of the violent deaths were due to gunshot wounds, 20 percent to car bombs, 9 percent to aerial bombardment, 6 percent to other ordnance or explosions, and 6 percent to accidents.
The ORB study was made public on the same day that President Bush went on national television to deliver a report on conditions in Iraq that was nothing short of delusional. With a million Iraqis dead, a million wounded, and four to five million displaced, Bush hailed the return of “normal life” to the devastated country. “Sectarian killings are down, and ordinary life is beginning to return,” he said.
The Democratic Party is fully complicit in the creation of conditions of near-genocide in Iraq, since the congressional Democratic leadership has refused to cut off funding for a war which has cost the lives of more than one million Iraqis, as well as over 3,700 American soldiers.
In response to Bush’s Thursday night speech, there were renewed professions of impotence by leading Senate Democrats. Barack Obama, who began his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination touting his antiwar credentials, said the Democratic-controlled Congress could not force Bush to accept a deadline for ending the war.
“One way of ending the war would be setting a timetable,” he said in a speech in Iowa. “We’re about 15 votes short. Right now it doesn’t look like we’re going to get that many votes.”
Obama was referring to the 67 votes required in the Senate to override a presidential veto. He was silent on the fact that there are other constitutional methods of ending the war, such as refusing to appropriate the funds to finance it, which the Democratic congressional leadership has rejected.
Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota, chair of the Senate Budget Committee, told Congressional Quarterly, “The truth is we don’t have the votes to end the war.” He said Senate Democrats would seek to “move the things that we can move on domestic issues” in order to “have tangible accomplishments,” rather than persist in debates on Iraq.
Other senators endorsed this view, including Charles Schumer of New York, who said, referring to the upcoming 2008 campaign, “This election is shaping up to be about change. Not only change in Iraq, but change at home.” Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado said, “The Democratic message has to focus on things that are good for the middle class. The war should not be the only issue.”
In the House of Representatives, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not scheduled any vote on Iraq war policy this month, although the defense authorization bill still remains to be adopted for the fiscal year beginning October 1. All indications are that the congressional Democrats will rubber-stamp both the authorization and the emergency funding bill for the war, expected to approach $200 billion, which has not yet been sent to Congress by the Bush administration.
The silence from the Democratic and Republican parties and the media on the latest evidence of mass killing and social devastation in Iraq as a result of the US colonial war and occupation underscores the complicity of the entire American ruling elite and all of its official institutions in a war crime of catastrophic proportions.