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(DV) Petersen: Genocide in Iraq







Genocide in Iraq
The Numbers Tell the Horrific Story of a Lying Government and Complicit Corporate Media  
by Kim Petersen
October 16, 2006

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As reported by BBC News [1], a forthcoming study in the academic peer review journal Lancet estimates the extra number of people killed because of the aggression-occupation of Iraq at 655,000 -- up from a previous Lancet study that estimated 100,000 deaths since the US-UK attacked Iraq. [2] All the killing has its origin in US-UK government lies. Weapons of mass destruction were just a pretext as acknowledged by Ziocon Paul Wolfowitz in a Vanity Fair interview, and the invasion was a foregone matter as revealed by the Downing Street Memos. [3]

There is an ongoing genocide in Iraq. What else can over 600,000 killings be deemed but genocide? A price “worth it”? [4] George W. Bush, who some consider the elected president of the United States, labeled the killings in Darfur as genocide over a year ago. [5] But, in totality and proportionally, the number of deaths in Sudan pale in comparison to the number of deaths in Iraq. Sudan with a population of 41,236,378 (July 2006, CIA Factbook estimate) is purported by some sources to have incurred 200,000 deaths from “fighting, famine and disease.” [6] Using the figure cited in the latest Lancet to-be-published study, Iraq with a population of 26,783,383 (July 2006, CIA Factbook estimate) has a far greater extraordinary fatality rate covering approximately the same period of time.

The genocide in Iraq is perpetrated by US imperialist interests. Despite the large number of body bags returning to the US (at best a lowball figure, as who can really trust the number of US troop fatalities reported given the mendacity and secrecy of the Bush administration -- not to forget the complicity of the Democratic Party?), the corporate media continues to pump out the outrageous disinformation and propaganda supporting societal destruction and murder. The media is an ensanguined partner in imperialism.

Why the media pumps out the disinformation is understandable: it is effective in swaying much of the public to the “national interest” -- i.e., the interests of corporate “elites.”

The duped support imperialism

A 10 October e-mailing from Project Censored exemplifies the effectiveness of disinformation through a unique methodology for gathering and analyzing polling data. The data collected and analyzed by the firm Retro Poll reveals a connection between people’s ignorance and the opinions they hold. Not surprisingly, misinformation or disinformation appears to affect public perceptions.

Retro Poll’s methodology asks both factual and opinion questions and compares the opinion responses on accurate and inaccurate understanding.

In a recent Retro Poll phone survey, 151 Americans in 40 states were contacted. Among the results were that only 53 (35%) knew that none of the 19 al Qaeda members alleged to be directly involved in the 9-11 attack were Iraqis; about the purported connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, 23% said there were no ties while 28% didn’t know; only 44% knew the International Red Cross has charged the US with systematic torture at Guantanamo; only 40% knew of the “extraordinary rendition” of prisoners by the US to countries that torture.


86% of people who think Saddam and Al Qaeda worked together agreed that prisoners held at Guantanamo without trials must all be guilty simply for being picked up, while two thirds (67%) of those who knew the truth about Saddam and Al Qaeda reject blanket assumptions about prisoners’ guilt. Three quarters (75%) of those who have not heard about the “renditions” in which prisoners have been secretly transferred between nations say they think that all the prisoners at Guantanamo are guilty, compared to just 39% of those who did answer the rendition question accurately. Statistically such differences were highly unlikely to occur by chance (far less than 1%).

“But the important point,” stressed Dr. Marc Sapir, executive director of Retro Poll, “is how strongly these opinion differences are linked to bad information in our surveys.” Most of the bad information came from TV sources; about half of the TV viewers cited Fox or CNN as their source.

Sapir warned, “What people think they know -- if it is consistently wrong -- can endanger our nation in a world environment of war, crisis and US dominance.”

Giving credit where it is due

The BBC News noted that the Lancet findings are “vigorously disputed by supporters of the war in Iraq, including US President George W Bush.” Bush described the methodology of the discredited researchers as “pretty well discredited.” One cannot help wondering about how thoroughly discredited a warring president must be who justified an invasion based on phantom WMD, leading to the untimely killing of so many people, who described the mission as accomplished but whose troops remains mired in the death and mayhem that engulfs Iraq.

With his credibility in tatters, Bush still uttered: “Six-hundred thousand or whatever they guessed at is just ... it’s not credible.”

The BBC News mentioned that the 655,000 figure has a built-in “survivor bias.” A bias toward underreporting deaths is reasoned to exist for slain resistance fighter, infant mortality, and the fact of completely annihilated families.

The corporate media abysmally covered the Iraqi civilian fatalities first study published in the Lancet. It is expected that the corporate media will once again focus on the inexpert politicians’ opinions as to what constitutes proper methodology. The effectiveness of such corporate media reporting will depend on the public continuing to trust a media steeped in a genocidal project.

There is, after all, another media that is not beholden to profit nor the spilling of blood to obtain greater profit.

Kim Petersen, Co-Editor of Dissident Voice, lives on the outskirts of Seoul in southern Korea. He can be reached at: kim@dissidentvoice.org


[1] “‘Huge rise’ in Iraqi death tolls,” BBC News, 11 October 2006.

[2] Les Roberts, Riyadh Lafta, Richard Garfield, Jamal Khudhairi, Gilbert Burnham, “Mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: cluster sample survey, Lancet, 29 October 2004.

[3] Downing Street Memos. “But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”

[4] In 1996, then US ambassador to the United Nations, Madeleine Albright, gave the infamous necrophilic reply that the murder of a half-million Iraqi children was a price “worth it” in a 60 Minutes interview.

[5] Jim VandeHei, “In Break With U.N., Bush Calls Sudan Killings Genocide,” Washington Post, 2 June 2005.

[6] “Sudan: Obasanjo Warns of ‘Near-Genocide’ in Darfur,” allAfrica.com, 11 October 2006. About genocide in Darfur, Nigeria’s president Olusegun Obasanjo finds Bush to be hasty.

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