“[T]he broad masses of a
nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their
emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the
primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the
big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in
little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods.
It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and
they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the
truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may
be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and
will continue to think that there may be some other explanation.”
-- Adolf Hitler (1)
"If you tell a lie big enough
and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie
can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people
from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It
thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to
repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by
extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State."
-- Joseph Goebbels
from our leaders and mainstream media, it seems these two gentlemen above
didn’t die in vain.
A few days ago, the
Chicken-Hawk-in-Chief said: “Stop throwing the Constitution in my
face. It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!” (3) On 29
January 2003, at the State of the Union speech, the same
Chicken-Hawk-in-Chief addressed the Congress: “And as we and our coalition
partners are doing in Afghanistan, we will bring to the Iraqi people food
and medicines and supplies -- and freedom.” [It followed one of the many
standing ovations from the Congress’ members. Good to remember when still
so many think the Congress should impeach the President. My grandma would
say: If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself.]
According to “The State of Iraq: An Update,” an article published
by The New York Times: “A sober reading of the data argues
against a rapid withdrawal, which would concede the fight to the
terrorists.” (4) One wonders how many people must be
murdered before (soberly) calling someone terrorist: 30,000?
100,000? 500,000? 1,000,000?
“The war in numbers: From WMD to the victims” is a collection of numbers
published on 13 December 2005 by The Independent. It reads: “30,000
Estimated Iraqi civilian deaths.” (5)
What’s the source of this number? Is The Independent (and the other
mainstream media) accepting the numbers given by the official sources,
which is to say the White House and the Pentagon? Why did most of the
Western mainstream media bury the most serious study conducted on the
subject? (6) This study, published on 29 October 2004 in
the prestigious medical journal The Lancet (7),
reads: “Making conservative assumptions, we think that about 100000 excess
deaths, or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Violence
accounted for most of the excess deaths and air strikes from coalition
forces accounted for most violent deaths.” (Interpretation) “Most
individuals reportedly killed by coalition forces were women and
Les Roberts, of the Center
for International Emergency Disaster and Refugee Studies at Johns Hopkins
Bloomberg School of Public Health, one of the world’s top epidemiologists
and lead author of the report, recently wrote:
It is almost a year since a
group of scientists from Al-Mustansirya University in Baghdad, and
Columbia and Johns Hopkins Universities in the US, released a report in
the medical journal The Lancet estimating that 100,000, and perhaps far
more, Iraqis had died due to the US invasion. The issue of civilian deaths
in Iraq and The Lancet report in particular were deemed by the group
Project Censored as the second most under-reported story of 2005. (…) I
thought the press saw their job as reporting information. This may indeed
be the case for the coverage of auto accidents and the cost of
pig-futures, but it was not the case regarding civilian deaths in Iraq.
On the same day The
Independent gave those numbers, it published the leading article “The
perils of planting democracy in a hostile land.” The first and the last
One thousand days. This is
how long British troops have been in Iraq, and still we are counting.
Such an accumulation of time seemed inconceivable in the days after the
invasion, when the military operation looked likely to be completed in
weeks. As we now know to our cost, the ease of removing Saddam Hussein
offered no preparation for the multifarious resistance that was to come.
Ousting a dictator is one thing; sowing and watering the seeds of
democracy where none existed is an undertaking of quite a different
[. . .]
It is possible that, if the security situation deteriorates further,
not leaving now will come to be seen as a mistake and an ignominious
retreat will follow. On balance, it is probably worth waiting in the
hope that the elections usher in calmer times and serious reconstruction
can begin. The only bright point in this whole sorry episode will be if
we are able to plan an orderly departure and leave Iraq in a better
state than we found it. Anything else will constitute a shaming defeat.
For those of you who don’t
know, The Independent is considered to be an anti-war newspaper. No
Let’s see how we have been “sowing and watering the seeds of democracy.”
Never mind the British colonialism, the slaughters and the use of poison
gas by the British Empire, let’s not consider the Iraq-Iran war and the US
governments’ role behind that war, providing weapons, intelligence and any
kind of financial help and support for the carnage to continue. Let’s just
start from 1990.
The UN sanctions against Iraq, wanted by the governments of the US and the
UK and imposed on 6 August 1990 (HIROSHIMA DAY) ended only with the
invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003.
In 1996, Madeleine Albright -- US Ambassador at the United Nations and
soon to become Secretary of State under President Clinton -- said about
half million children murdered by those sanctions: "I think this is a very
hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it."
Those sanctions killed a terrifying number of innocent people. One
million? Two millions? Will we ever know?
Denis Halliday, former UN Assistant Secretary General and Humanitarian
Coordinator for Iraq (1997-98) said: “I had been instructed to implement a
policy that satisfies the definition of genocide: a deliberate policy that
had effectively killed well over a million individuals, children and
adults.” After thirty-four years with the United Nations, he resigned in
protest over the effects of the embargo on the civilian population.
Hans Von Sponeck, who had succeeded Denis Halliday as UN Assistant
Secretary General and Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq (1998-2000),
resigned on February 13, 2000. He asked: “How long should the civilian
population of Iraq be exposed to such punishment for something they have
never done?” Like Halliday, he had been with the United Nations for more
than thirty years. (12)
Remember the first Gulf War? Surgical bombings, smart missiles and a great
show on TV. There were between 142,000 and 206,000 Iraqi deaths directly
attributable to the Gulf War in 1991. (13)
Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib,
kidnappings, tortures, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, white phosphorous,
Fallujah… “sowing and watering the seeds of democracy”!
The “big lies,” the
“colossal untruths,” the “large-scale falsehoods.” When our ruthless
leaders and their apologists in the media use words such as democracy,
freedom and human rights just run and run fast!
Whatever the reasons Afghanistan and Iraq have been bombed and occupied,
they have nothing to do with freedom, democracy and human rights. And the
other big lie, the war on terror, is just a show for the western audience,
a smoke screen Hitler and Goebbels would be proud.
Every time our leaders and mainstream media “tell a lie big enough and
keep repeating it,” let’s “dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of
the lie.” And as Oscar Wilde wrote: "If one tells the truth, one is sure,
sooner or later, to be found out."
is an independent
filmmaker, writer and journalist living in London. He's the producer and
director of the documentaries XXI CENTURY and The Peace! DVD
and author of American Voices of Dissent (Paradigm Publishers). He
can be reached at
Find out more about him and his work at
Other Articles by Gabriele
Watching Human Rights Watch
1) Mein Kampf, published in Germany in 1925-1926. Author: Adolf Hitler
(1889-1945) Founder and Leader of National Socialism (Nazism), and German
2) Joseph Goebbels (1897–1945), German Propaganda Minister 1933-1945.
3) Bush on the Constitution:
“It's just a goddamned piece
by Doug Thompson,
Capitol Hill Blue, December 9, 2005.
The State of Iraq: An Update,
by Nina Kamp, Michael
O’Hanlon and Amy Unikewicz, The New York Times, December 14, 2005.
The war in numbers: From WMD
to the victims,
The Independent, 13 December 2005.
6) Suggested reading:
BURYING THE LANCET --
September 5, 2005
BURYING THE LANCET --
September 6, 2005
BURYING THE LANCET --
September 12, 2005
WATCHING HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH.
Open Letter to Kenneth Roth,
Executive Director Human Rights Watch, by Gabriele Zamparini, December 7,
7) Mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: cluster sample
online October 29, 2004.
8) A year later -- 100,000 deaths in Iraq, by Les Roberts. This op-ed was
sent to me by the author.
9) Leading article:
The perils of planting
democracy in a hostile land,
The Independent, 13 December 2005.
10) Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: "We have heard that a
half million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in
Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?" US Ambassador at the
United Nations (soon to become Secretary of State) Madeleine Albright: "I
think this is a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is
worth it." CBS 60 Minutes, May 12, 1996.
11) Source: The New Rulers of the World, by John Pilger, Verso,
13) Source: U.N. 1991 the Ahtisaari report; Daponte 1993.