The Iraq War then and Iraq now and what we don't want to know, as Americans who did it:
"We wrecked Iraq.
We caused the deaths of as many as a million people and displaced internally and externally, another 4.7 million. Today there are still more than a million Iraqis lost in their own country — internally displaced — mostly in Baghdad, according to unembedded journalist Dahr Jamail.
"Most of them have fled from sectarian cleansings," Jamail said when he was interviewed on Democracy Now! last year, on the 10-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. "They're living in horrible situations" — without government help, without hope for the future, surrounded by garbage, anticipating only more sectarian violence.
Our invasion wreaked havoc on the physical and social infrastructure of the country. And the weapons we used, including depleted uranium munitions and white phosphorous, shattered its health. In 2010, for instance, The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published an epidemiological study, "Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005-2009," which found that Fallujah — the city we "cleared of terrorists" with two bloody assaults in 2004 — is experiencing higher rates of cancer, leukemia and infant mortality than Hiroshima and Nagasaki did in 1945.
The country as a whole, according to Jamail, has seen an enormous jump in cancer rates since the U.S. began dismantling it. In 1991, before the first Gulf War, there were 40 registered cases of cancer per 100,000 Iraqis, he noted. By 2005, "we saw 1,600 Iraqis with cancer out of 100,000."
And Fallujah, in particular, has been devastated by an increase in birth defects since 2004 — 14 times higher than the rate measured in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after they were bombed, according to Jamail.
It's common in Fallujah, he said, citing Iraqi Dr. Samira Alani, "for newborns to come out with massive multiple systemic defects, immune problems, massive central nervous system problems, massive heart problems, skeletal disorders, babies being born with two heads, babies being born with half of their internal organs outside of their bodies, cyclops babies literally with one eye — really, really, really horrific nightmarish types of birth defects. And it is ongoing."
This is the context in which war talk and the "vital interests" of empire must be placed. Such a context is unacceptable to the corporate and political status quo, of course; so the media it controls have begun to perform cosmetic surgery on recent U.S. history, resurrecting the goodness and purity of our intentions and the simplistic evil of "the terrorists." All they need to be successful is complete denial of reality.
But the invasion of Iraq, Jamail said, "is a crime against peace, according to the Nuremberg Principles." And that makes it, and all future wars, a crime against our own, and the planet's, vital interests.