Obama, Human Rights and the WikiWars

  • October 25, 2010

If America’s war in Iraq came in the form of a Wikipedia article – with full control over it’s twists and turns by any unqualified or uninformed member of the public – would it look any less schizophrenic, urologist violent and out of control?

First there was former-US President George W. Bush, ambulance who opened the WikiWar on Iraq with the false claim, the basis upon which the war was waged, that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

“The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program,” he claimed without providing any proof, references or links. “Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.”

But no one banned this user from his new WikiWar and he continued.

“The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa,” Bush claimed a year later.

Then his deputy, former US Vice President Dick Cheney, chimed in: “We believe [Saddam] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.”

George Tenet, then-director of the CIA, added: “[The CIA possesses] solid reporting of senior-level contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda going back a decade.”

Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell told the UN Security Council: “Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent. That is enough to fill 16,000 battlefield rockets.”

Finally, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld: “We know where [Iraq’s WMD] are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat.”

Wrong, wrong and wrong again…The infamous aluminum tubes could not, in fact, be used to enrich uranium, the US knew the uranium in Africa story was a lie, the CIA had absolutely no evidence of an Iraqi nuclear program, there was no proof of an Iraq-Al Qaeda relationship, no chemical weapons stockpile has been found and despite searching east, west, south and north, Donny Rumsfeld never found his weapons of mass destruction.

Why these lying nut-jobs ever had editorial rights over America’s WikiWar is a question Americans will be asking themselves for decades.

But fast forward seven or eight years later, and a different kind of Wiki platform is ripping all of them, and their predecessors, into pieces.

The whistleblowing website Wikileaks has revealed the mother of all stacks of American military documents – 391,832 secret US army field reports from the Iraq War – which detail torture, summary executions and a number of war crimes.

The significance and potential impact of the recently publicized documents cannot be overstated, and has been covered extensively by the US and international media.

The documents, which span January 2004 to December 2009, reveal that the US military not only knows of widespread torture, prisoner abuse and summary executions by Iraqi forces, but has an explicit policy (Frago 242) of ignoring it. They also reveal that well over 100,000 people have been killed in Iraq since early 2004, over 60 percent of them classified by the US Army itself as civilians (American officials have previously maintained that no official record of civilian casualties exists). That’s 31 civilians a day.

These revelations are important. What’s more important is what they lead to, and who will write the next chapter in America’s WikiWar.

Americans: Write to your representatives to demand that the US investigate human rights abuses by Iraqi forces. For those outside the US, email the United Nations Human Rights Council and contact your nearest American embassy or consulate to add to the pressure.

Photo credit: Raymond Salvatore Harmon

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