Escaping Accountability in Iraq

Ancient history sometimes provides guidance for us. Consider that way back in late 2002 and early 2003, the political class, reinforced by the punditry, hyped the threat of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). These groups used weapons of mass deception – newspapers, talk radio and television ‘news’ programs – to build support for an unwarranted and illegal attack on Iraq over non-existent WMDs.

A few brave politicians, reporters and peace activists challenged the misrepresentations, but their voices were mostly missing from the media. For example, MSNBC dropped Phil Donahue’s successful television program because he had true patriots on who clearly refuted the administration’s case for a war of aggression on Iraq.

Robert Jackson, a U.S. Supreme Court Justice and the chief U.S. prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials of Nazis addressed wars of aggression when he said: “To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime….” Justice Jackson added: “If certain acts in violation of treaties are crimes they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them, and we are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us.”

Hundreds of thousands were killed during the aggression against Iraq. In addition, as a result of this horrific war crime and the sanctions and bombings that lasted over a decade, millions of Iraqis are experiencing hell on earth. Hundreds of thousands of the soldiers who fought in Iraq have also suffered terribly, both physically and/or psychologically. Also not to be overlooked is the fact that the U.S.’s use of torture and its barbaric campaigns against Fallujah did severe damage to this country’s reputation.

However, the pundits and most of the politicians who were involved in spreading the lies that led to the colossal disaster were not held accountable. None of the political leaders from either major political party were put on trial for their roles in the war crimes against Iraq. In addition, most of the media ‘experts’ escaped accountability for abetting these war crimes.

Note that in this country we jail people for ‘crimes’ such as sleeping on park benches or for leaking incriminating information about questionable governmental actions. However we allow those who facilitate or commit war crimes to remain in positions of political leadership or in the media posing as experts. (As an aside, we also failed to charge, let alone jail, any of those on Wall Street who, abetted by the political class, committed the greatest heist in history.)

Moreover, Iraq was forced to pay reparations to Kuwait for its invasion of and damage done to that country in 1990. However, the U.S. has not paid reparations for its war crimes against Iraq. In a rational world, the U.S. and its ‘coalition of the willing’ would be required to pay reparations. Given the level of devastation wreaked on Iraq, reparations of a trillion dollars or more certainly would not be out of the question.

Given the lack of accountability as well as the lack of shame, there is nothing to prevent these political criminals from repeating their crimes. Unfortunately, as if on cue, the politicians and pundits have already been employing a similar disinformation campaign to generate support for another unwarranted and illegal attack. This time the target is Iran and the alleged reason is the ever-handy charge of nuclear weapons. It does not matter that Iran has no nuclear weapons. In addition, for several years now the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate has found no evidence that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program. Thus, although the case for an attack on Iran is even flimsier than for the aggression against Iraq, you would never know that from the complicit U.S. corporate media.


For more information about the concocted Iranian crisis, see No Attack on Iran! and, in particular, check out the sections ‘Case Against Attacking Iran’ and ‘Political Essays and Analysis of the Iran Crisis’.

To prevent a catastrophe much more deadly, risky and costly than the disastrous war crime against Iraq, please contact the White House (202-456-1111) and Congress (202-224-3121) and voice your opposition to an attack on Iran.

Ron Forthofer is a retired professor of biostatistics from the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston and was a Green Party candidate for Congress and also for governor of Colorado. Read other articles by Ron.